When it comes to tiling and wetroom installations the N&C Nicobond catalogue features a product for every conceivable application. Professional Builder’s Lee Jones discusses some of the options with the company’s Richard Hill.
With a pedigree that stretches back to 1875, N&C Nicobond has had the time to develop its expertise across a wide portfolio of products in the tiling, flooring, bathroom & healthcare sectors. Indeed, the company prides itself on offering the trades total system solutions, together with all the technical support they will ever require.
“Essentially, if it’s possible to tile on it, N&C Nicobond will have an answer”, declares company director, Richard Hill. “Our solutions are all designed to work together, and the floor to ceiling technical substrates, tile backing boards and adhesives that sit behind the finished project – and safeguard its success – are all designed to ensure that a builder won’t be getting a call back.”
Despite being a habitual practice for many years, it is now the case that BS EN standards no longer recommend the use of plywood for walls in wet areas, with floors likely to follow within the current update. In substrate systems with wooden floors, N&C Nicobond now offers a range of options. Its expanded polystyrene, Nicobond Tile Backer Board is reinforced with fibreglass mesh and a polymer enriched cement layer on either side. It’s rigidly and dimensionally stable and, even if fully immersed in water, won’t expand, contract, delaminate, or warp. That makes it the perfect substrate for wet areas, where there is vertical, and horizontal movement, or on uneven floors, whilst it can be either be mechanically fixed or adhered to the floor to create a level. It’s particularly easy to work with and cut, and the Nicobond Tile Backer Board installation can be continued up the tiled walls, with part cut boards used to create curves and design features.
“As well as our Backer Board, our patented Plastic Ply product makes us unique as a manufacturer,” enthuses Richard. “It’s a timber floor reinforcing sheet, designed to deal with vertical vibrational movement, and it’s such an easy product to use.” If the builder’s confronted with a bathroom with timber floor boards the first steps are to screw the boards down to the joists and apply Nicobond PVA and water, which will dry in twenty minutes.
The Plastic Ply is a mesh product supplied in 600x500mm, 2mm thick sheets, with a self-adhesive backing. In installation it is as simple as peeling off the back and sticking to the floor in a brick bond pattern. It can be cut with a flooring knife around toilets, for instance, and a Nicobond S1 polymer-rich adhesive can then be applied ready for tiling, or a self-adhesive tanking system if it’s a wet room installation. The average-sized bathroom can be completed by a general builder in just half an hour, and there should be no subsequent issues with deflection, and tile failure.
In projects where its lateral movement rather than vertical deflection that’s an issue in a timber floor, builders should choose Nicobond D-MAT 3L. This disconnecting and anti-fracture matting, will accommodate the lateral expansion and contraction inherent in chipboard floors, disconnecting the tiling from the floor below, and preventing floor failure. “It’s also very good on screeds”, reveals the N&C Nicobond Company Director, “particularly if there are differences in the co-efficient of thermal expansion (CTE) between the substrate and tiles. Similarly, our 1.2mm thick Nicobond Disconnecting Sheet can allow builders to tile on screeds that are cracked but remain stable, whilst this product, or D-MAT 3L, should be specified under any type of natural stone flooring, where the tiles need to be routinely disconnected from the substrate.”In addition, the Disconnecting Sheet stands apart from its competitors in another crucial respect. BS EN standards also specify that building tile bays should not extend any further than 40m2. Open plan designs in larger properties can, however, easily extend beyond those dimensions, which then require the addition of an unsightly movement joint, but there is a Nicobond answer: “By using our Disconnecting Sheet it’s possible to tile up to 80m2 bay, with a maximum of 10m in one direction. Apply the sheet over the screed floor, allow a 10mm gap around the perimeter, with skirting coming down over the top, and the whole floor can move if required.”
Continuing that theme of single source of supply for the industry, there is a full range of adhesives under the Nicobond banner. Its Rapidflex Adhesive is a dependable material in up to 60 per cent of projects but there are instances where a more specialist product will be required. Large format tiles are still very much in vogue, for instance, and here Richard would recommend Large Format Flex.
“Today, 60x60cm porcelain tiles are not uncommon, and an adhesive which has been developed for just that job will make an installer’s life so much easier. It’s a low viscosity, pourable flow bed adhesive that can be easily moved around with a trowel. There’s a 100 per cent wet transfer to the back of the tiles, and that prevents any prospect of cracking at the edges. In addition, our Rapid Tile and Stone Adhesive will lock in the moisture in the mix preventing the water from coming up and staining natural stone tiles.”
“We have over 40 technical executives out full time, who are happy to visit sites, and work with builders to create a full specification from floor to ceiling,” concludes Richard. “Whether it’s screeds, anti-fracture and disconnecting mats, backing boards, adhesives, or tiles, all of our products are designed to complement each other, and builders can have confidence in them. In fact, everything that would be visible in the likes of a finished wet room, for example, can be supplied by us. From the builder’s perspective they can source all the materials and support they’ll need from a single specialist in the field – and that’s an attractive proposition.”
For further information on the range of solutions for tiling from Nicholls & Clarke visit https://www.nichollsandclarke.com/