Tile Fix Direct Blog

August 2015

NEW BAL Level Max Floor Leveller

New BAL Level Max

BAL Level Max is a brand new product from UK-based manufacturer BAL. Unlike competitor products, the high performance self-levelling compound can be used to create bed depths of up to 80mm in a single application. BAL Level Max rapid-setting leveller is easy to use, and could save you time and money on your installation. BAL Level Max can be used in conjunction with the following floor coverings:

  • Ceramic tiles
  • Porcelain tiles
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Natural stone
  • Vinyl
  • Linoleum
  • Carpet
  • Wooden floors including parquet & laminate

This high performance new floor levelling compound can be used on cement, overlaid timber floors, unglazed ceramic tiles, hard natural stone, tile backer boards, mastic asphalt, anhydrite or calcium sulphate screeds and tile adhesive residues. Unlike other self levelling compounds, BAL Level Max can be used to create bed depths of up to 80mm in just one application, as is perfect for floors with varying heights. It only needs a minimum bed depth of 3mm on timber, providing three times more coverage than other levellers, and saving you time and money.

Benefits of BAL Level Max

  • Bed depths of up to 80mm in a single application
  • No need for aggregate in isolated areas
  • 30 minutes working time
  • Levels backgrounds with varying heights easily
  • Self smoothing formula
  • Rapid setting – tile after just 4 hours
  • Highly polymer modified
  • Compatible with underfloor heating
  • Only requires a minimum 3mm bed depth on timber
  • Contains BAL’s Fibre Stand Technology (FST)
  • Comes with a 25 year guarantee

When installing BAL Level Max a steel trowel should be used on most areas, however the mixture can be pumped on to very large surfaces and spread with a long hand blade. Do not use a spiked roller as it will pull the fibres to the surface. If any trowel marks remain run down before the compound has hardened (after 3 hours). The surface can be tiled after 4 hours, and soft floor finished like vinyl and carpet can be laid after 24 hours. See the video below for more information about BAL Level Max.

Order BAL Level Max online at Tile Fix Direct today.

Low Height Heated Screeds With Schluter BEKOTEC-THERM

schluter screed

Schlüter DITRA-HEAT is an extremely popular form of electric underfloor heating thanks to its efficiency, low installation height and ease of use. However, if you are looking to heat larger spaces or a whole house, wet underfloor heating is a much more efficient choice. Thankfully, Schlüter also have that covered with their innovative BEKOTEC-THERM thermal comfort floor system.

Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM is a modular system which is created bespoke for each installation. The wet underfloor heating system is quick and easy to install, making it the perfect choice for renovations and new build projects. The system can also be connected to an existing radiator system or directly pumped off the boiler for extensions and conservatories. As much less screed is needed than in normal pipe-based underfloor heating systems, BEKOTEC-THERM can respond quicker and heat up faster. This also means that it can be used with lower temperatures, saving you energy and therefore money.

Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM is a modular system which uses less screed than conventional systems, giving it a much lower installation height. The studded polystyrene BEKOTEC panel is installed directly over the load bearing substrate. The studs are situated 75mm apart, creating separate sections of screed which absorb the contractions and stresses that occur when the screed cures, removing the need for movement joints in the screed. The studs also allow easy installation of the heating cables, which sit between the studs. Screed is applied covering the studs and heating cables by a minimum of 8 mm and a maximum of 25 mm, resulting in a screed thickness of at least 32 mm between the studs.

Benefits of the Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM System

  • Save energy – low 30ºC supply temperature to heat tiled floors.
  • Reduced costs – less energy is required which will save money.
  • Environmentally friendly – a reduction in cement screed, materials, weight, transport and CO2 makes the system much more green. The system can also be used with renewable energy sources like heat pumps and solar equipment.
  • 5 year guarantee – the guarantee protects not only the full system, but any damage to the floor construction.
  • Move in much faster – no need to wait 4 weeks or more for the screed to dry and quicker installation time.
  • Fast reaction heated floors – quicker response thanks to lower screed mass.
  • Easy to control – control temperatures in each room, and across the whole building.
  • Even heat distribution – heat is dispersed evenly via interconnected air channels.
  • Warm in winter, cool in summer – use the system in the warm summer months with the option for passive cooling.

The video below shows how the Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM system is installed.

As the Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM system is designed to specifically suit each individual project, we do not sell the components direct. Once you have filled in Schlüter BEKOTEC-THERM quote form we will provide you with an estimated quote. If you would like to see full plans for your system you will need to pay a £250 deposit, and the specialist Schlüter engineers will create a plan including everything you need. If you decide to go ahead with the installation of the system, the deposit will be deducted from the final cost once your plans have been approved.

Schluter BEKOTEC-THERM quote system

How To Waterproof Your Wetroom Using The Orbry Waterproofing System

Orbry Waterproof System

In traditional bathrooms grout, tiles, and waterproof adhesive help keep moisture out of the walls, however as wetrooms will be subject to much more water on both the walls and floors, an extra layer of waterproofing is required. This tanking helps protect wetrooms and walk in showers from leaks, which could be inconvenient and costly to fix in the future. Wet room supplier Orbry have a broad range of products including the Orbry Waterproofing System. Using the Orbry 2-Part Waterproofing System is a simple way to create a waterproof seal within a wetroom. The 2-Part Orbry synthetic latex tanking system is combined with Norcros Permalayer to create a waterproof and crack-free tiled finish.

Benefits Of The Orbry Waterproofing System

  • Waterproof
  • Suitable for applications on timber or concrete substrates
  • Ready for use on screeds after only 48 hours
  • Insulating
  • Ideal for use with underfloor heating
  • Doubles up as a decoupling membrane, as well as a Waterproofing System
  • Requires much less adhesive, compared to competitor membranes
  • This Orbry Waterproofing System does not require joint tape
  • Suitable for all types of tile

The Orbry Waterproofing System will fix 4m² of Permalayer. Each kit contains:

  • 8kg cement-based Waterproofing Adhesive Powder
  • 2.4 litres Waterproofing Admixture

This Waterproofing System is suitable for use on both timber and concrete floors, as well as for use alongside underfloor heating.


Before applying this system to your substrate, you must ensure that it is clean and dry. This surface should be level, even, and able to support the additional weight of tiles to be fixed.

  • Concrete/Cement Applications: It is important to leave new screeds for a minimum of 48 hours before application.
  • Existing Glazed Surfaces: Degrease the entire surface before applying a slurry-bonding coat (1 part Prime Bond:2 parts cement-based adhesive) using a brush and allow to dry.
  • Water Resistant Chipboard (Flooring Grade): Using countersunk screws, the boards must be fixed to joists at a maximum of 300mm centres. Insert additional noggins where necessary.
  • Tongue And Groove Floorboards: Follow the preparation for Water Resistant Chipboard, and then glue the edges of the boards. Prime with a coat of neat Prime Bond and allow to dry.
  • Plywood: Ensure plywood is WBP or Marine grade, with a minimum thickness of 15-18mm to prevent deflection under load. Then prime both sides and all the edges of the plywood board with Prime Bond. Screw countersunk screws in maximum 300mm centres between boards and joists.
  • Plywood Overlay To Existing Timber Floors: Again, the plywood must be WBP or Marine grade, and a minimum of 15mm thick and primed all over with Prime Bond. Screw into place through the existing timber floor as well as the joists, staggering the joints (with 300mm centres).

Mixing The Orbry Waterproofing System

Firstly, shake the bottle of Waterproofing Admixture thoroughly, this should result in an even dispersion of colour in the bottle. This should then be dispensed into a bucket, and gradually incorporate the Waterproofing Adhesive Powder by stirring. This should result in a smooth lump-free mortar, which is thick enough to hold the adhesive ribs without slumping. Once mixed, this product has a pot life of 30 minutes at 20°C, so it is essential to only mix enough material for 30 minute’s application.


Use a suitable notched trowel to apply an even bed of 2mm of mixed product to the prepared substrate. Roll out the Permalayer onto the adhesive bed. Press the tanking membrane firmly into the adhesive bed, allowing the Orbry Waterproofing Adhesive to push through the holes in the Permalayer. Ensure no gaps are left in the adhesive bed. To guarantee a 100% coverage, Orbry recommends a skim, coat of the Waterproofing Adhesive is applied on top of the Permalayer.

Joints between walls and floors, as well as shower trays, can be waterproofed using Orbry Waterproof Tape and Orbry Sealing Compound.

Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating mats and cables should be laid on top of the Orbry Waterproofing System and bedded into a screed of Pro 50 Levelling Compound. This must be left with the heating turned off for 14 days , and then brought up to operating temperature gradually (5°C/24 hours).

Both the Orbry 2-Part Waterproofing System and the Permalayer are available to order online at Tile Fix Direct.

Create A Thin Screed Fast With The Schluter BEKOTEC Modular Screed System

Schluter BEKOTEC Modular Screed

The Schlüter BEKOTEC system allows you to create a thin screed using a modular system. The system has many benefits for new builds, renovations and extensions, thanks to its low assembly height and reduced install time. Schlüter BEKOTEC is suitable for use with a range of floor coverings including ceramic and porcelain tiles, natural stone, parquet flooring, and carpet.

Benefits of the Schlüter BEKOTEC Modular Screed System

The Schlüter BEKOTEC system has many benefits to both the installer and the end user.

  • Reduced install time – lightweight panels and reduced materials make installation faster
  • Less materials needed – only 57kg or 28.5l of screed needed per square metre
  • Less labour intensive – easy modular installation method thanks to the BEKOTEC panels
  • Movement joint free screed – the studded panel crates sections in the screed, removing the need for movement or control joints
  • Guaranteed crack free tile floor – shearing tension is reduced, eliminating cracking
  • Thin screed height – the BEKOTEC panels remove the need for reinforcement in the screed
  • Non buckling construction – buckling of the screed or tiles is virtually impossible even with temperature variations
  • Lower floor height – save up to 37mm in height, giving you increased room height
  • Highly durable – can support loads of up to 5kN per m2
  • Move in quicker – floor coverings can be installed as soon as the screed supports weight, usually just 48 hours
  • Proven stability – used on thousands of projects and independently tested so you have peace of mind in the installation
  • Ideal for multi-storey buildings – lower construction weight, great foundational strength and multi-level access for heavy construction materials

The Schlüter BEKOTEC panel is installed directly over the load bearing substrate or conventional insulation panels. There are two options for the BEKOTEC panel; a studded polystyrene panel suitable for conventional screeds, or a foil coated polystyrene panel which can be used with flowing screeds. These panels have a series of raised studs situated 75mm apart in a grid pattern, which create separated smaller sections within the screed. This means that stresses that occur while the screed is curing are absorbed by the studded pattern, eliminating deformations such as curling. It also means that movement joints do not need to be installed within the screed, however these will still be needed around the edges of the room. The studs allow a screed depth of 32mm between them, and just 8mm above them. This results in a reduced volume of screed needed – approximately 57kg per m2, or 28.5l per m2.

Once the screed is ready to support weight installation of the floor covering can begin – usually 48 hours. If you are using tiles, a layer of DITRA matting should be installed over the screed before tiling. If you are using a covering which is not susceptible to cracking, for example carpet or parquet, this can be installed directly over the screed as soon as it reaches the necessary residual moisture level for the corresponding covering. Use movement joints in the covering layer according to industry guidelines.

Schlüter BEKOTEC Cross Section

Schluter BEKOTEC cross section

  • 1. Schluter BEKOTEC-EN panel
  • 2. Schluter BEKOTEC-BRS edging strip
  • 7. Schluter-DITRA matting
  • 8. Schluter-DILEX expansion joint
  • 9. Schluter-RONDEC trim
  • 10. Screed
  • 11. Adhesive
  • 12. Floor covering e.g. tiles

Interested in the Schlüter BEKOTEC modular thin screed system? Find out more and order online at Tile Fix Direct today.

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