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At last: tilers gain complete control of setting times

At last: tilers gain complete control of setting times

Tilers can now control adhesive setting times with precision, thanks to the launch of BAL Variset XP. A patent application is pending for a floor tiling adhesive unlike any other. The revolutionary new adhesive is supplied in two parts: a sack of extremely fast-setting adhesive and a bottle of liquid retarder. Varying the amount of retarder added to the powder, when mixed with water, gives an almost infinite degree of timing flexibility. A fixer can vary the adhesive’s pot life between 5 and 80 minutes, with a setting time of anywhere between 10 and 160 minutes.

It allows a fixer to adjust setting times to suit environmental conditions, for faster setting in cold weather or slower setting as temperatures rise. It means an end to a number of problems that have always plagued fixers.

In cold weather, a standard adhesive can take up to 48 hours to set, causing inconvenient and costly project delays. Even a rapid-setting adhesive can still take much longer than the usual 2-3 hours at 20°C – sometimes up to 24 hours. A fixer laying tiles in the afternoon knows that he will have to return the following day to grout. With BAL Variset XP, setting can take as little as an hour, even when the ambient temperature is as low as 5° C. Fixers no longer have to wait a day or more for adhesive to set, so grouting can be carried out the same day. When a task that used to take two or three days becomes a same-day job, the fixer’s earning potential is boosted dramatically.

Warmer weather means that adhesives set faster, because they lose moisture more quickly. Faster setting times should be a benefit to fixers, however it is not a benefit if the fixer has no control over the adhesive as it sets too quickly and working times are massively decreased. Any professional tiler can describe the frustration of having to throw away adhesive that has set in the bucket before being applied or the difficulty of not being able to slightly adjust tiles during the work if needed. The only alternative previously was to revert to a standard-setting adhesive for longer workability. This means that grouting will be delayed up to 16 hours or more, which is the other extreme. Tiles laid during the afternoon will not be groutable until the following morning. BAL Variset XP will allow the fixer to control the working and setting-times at 30°C to ensure they can work comfortably and still finish the same day.

The flexibility of BAL Variset XP enables fixers to vary the setting time of their adhesive throughout the job. If a fixer has a 10 m2 floor to tile, fixing will take around six hours. With a rapid-setting adhesive, setting in three hours, the last tiles laid will only be ready to grout nine hours after the job started. Who wants to start at nine, work until three, then sit and do nothing until six before grouting? It is at least a two-day task, using any traditional product — but a same-day job with BAL Variset XP. They can use BAL Variset XP throughout, gradually decreasing the amount of retarder added, or start with a rapid-setting product and switch after a couple of hours. The first rows will be ready for grouting before fixing has finished. The last rows, setting within 20 minutes, will be ready by the time that that fixer gets to them.

Fixers will benefit. Using BAL Variset XP lets them fit more jobs into a week, increasing their earning power dramatically. They will also be able to win more work than fixers using only traditional products because their labour charge, the largest part of any quote, will be significantly lower.

Contractors, in particular, will benefit. Because a fixer can always grout the same day, other trades will not be delayed at the start of a morning while fixers are grouting. Even tiles laid at the end of the previous day will have been grouted and the surface will be ready for traffic. “Out of bounds” zones will be cleared faster. In addition, more tiling is possible within a working day, with no need to stop early to allow for setting times. Some contract work will have extremely tight timescales for work to take place. If a project, such as work on a public area overnight has only a 4 hour window for work before opening for a new day of trade, traditional adhesives might only allow a two-hour fixing window as the adhesives need 2 hours to dry. BAL Variset XP with its adjustable setting can deliver up to 3 hours 40 minutes of tiling, with all areas being dry for opening. A massive 80% increase. Simply, BAL Variset XP means that large-scale tiling is much faster.

Consumers will benefit, because BAL Variset XP is equally suitable for domestic projects. A tiler can arrive in the morning to tile a bathroom or kitchen floor and leave at the end of the day with the job completed. For many domestic jobs, “See you in the morning,” will be a thing of the past.

With so many advantages over traditional adhesives and their inflexible setting times, the only question about BAL Variset XP will be how many bags a fixer would always carry in their van.

BAL Variset XP is ideal for most types of floor tile, including porcelain, and offers excellent bond strength with good flexibility. It can be used on both interior and exterior floors and in dry and wet environments, being highly frost and water-resistant. It is available in distinctive 20 kg sacks with 1L bottles from more than 500 authorised distributors nationwide. As with all BAL products, BAL Variset XP carries a full 25-year guarantee.

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