Stairs Tiles Design

before and after stairs tiles project, Gaza 2019 by Zahi Alrayyes

This project is stairs tiles as application for Using Tiles for stairs, the project is outdoor stairs for ORIGIN DESIGN office entrance. The old situation as shown in the before and after photo is black tiles and four steps of Rosa Beta granite. We have redesigned the stairs and garden to have four steps each in size of 120*150 cm. Beside the steps, will add grass in sloped level to enhancing stairs beauty, this beside rearrange and developing the landscape. Through this topic we will discuss stairs building stages from drawings, selecting tiles, building blocks, tiling and finishing.

Prepare Drawings and Selecting tiles

Stairs drawings designed according to available tiles at the market, usually designers have knowledge about tiles sizes at the market. The process after choosing the tiles size, is to select the proper tiles texture and color. In this project, I have selected parquet in size of 15*120 cm to fill area of 90*120 cm. Unfortunately, choices were limited in this size, and I haven’t like tiles texture and color for this size. As an alternative I have found 120*20 cm parquet tiles in color I like, but this size doesn’t fit the drawings. 4 tiles pieces will cover area of 120*80 cm, in addition to cut a piece to 120*10 cm, but it won’t look professional.

Drawings for stairs tiles, 2019 Gaza ORIGIN DESIGN

Another alternative in the market was a Spanish parquet tiles from UNDEFASA in size of 15*90 cm. This mean we can rearrange tiles where 8 tiles will cover area of 90*120 cm perfectly. For border tiles and risers, we selected light gray 120*60 cm Italian tiles from ABK in thickness of 7 mm. Both tiles color and texture match, and they add to stairs design beauty. 120×60 tiles need to be cut in size of 15*120 cm and few in size of 30*120 cm. In order to have a clear edge cut, we sent the tiles to marble factor to cut tiles using saw machine. Now tiles are ready for the next stage.

Building the Stairs

After ordering building materials from cement blocks, cement, lime and sand. And demolishing the old steps, in order to prepare the site for building as shown in the drawings. The block walls top-level built to be lower than tiles level by 5 to 10 cm. This due to block dimensions and to allow craftsman adapting the steps levels. Then to fill sand between steps walls, and top 10 cm was mix between sand and cement. The mixture between sand and cement will enhance the ground strength, If there is a water leakage it will become a concrete surface. After finishing these works, now we are ready for tiling stage.

Building stairs for outdoor using blocks and fill with sand and cement

Stair’s Tiles

Usually craftsmen begin to install stairs from first step at the bottom then going upward. in this case, it’s more convenient to use downward method by installing step tread then the riser. Another advantage of building upper level going downward because there is a certain upper level and flexible lower level. 

tilling stairs tread, professional  works. Gaza 2019

First of all craftsman arrange tiles at straight level, matching parquet colors together making area of 120*90 cm. Then add gray tiles around them, we face a problem where the gray tiles are 119.5 cm instead of 120 cm. Also parquet make area of 121×90 cm, we planned to install parquet without grout, but still there is a millimeter between each. The solution was to cut a 1.5 cm from a parquet tile to have area of 120*90 cm. Together with the light gray tiles it made an area of 150*120 cm. 

installing  tiles from up level to downward, Gaza 2019

After installing the step tread, for the riser we use regular connection, where tread will lay over the riser gives straight angle. Also risers between each other will gather using 45 degrees method, to appear as one mass. 

Tiles Finishing

Finishing showing the beauty, especially for tile edges details. Grout is important, we used Vitra Cement grout CG1 white color for the stairs. Using liquid colors to give it a color similar to tiles, The parquet color is mixed using black, brown and mustard color. For the gray color we mixed to the black and a little brown color to the white cement grout. Notice that to have a well bond cement grout to the tile, you need to clean cement and sand between tiles. Then to fill the grout probably and leave to setting well. Then using metal sponge, clean the rest of the grout, you need to clean tiles well because they are rough.  

Stairs tiles finishing, ORIGIN DESIGN 2019 Gaza Palestine.

Why tile size is 119.5 cm instead of 120 cm ?

This is related to shipping and size of shipping container. Tiles pack by cardboard to reach 120 cm, then it could fit the wooden plate. These few millimeters will save a lot of money. And sometimes this happens during cutting tiles at factory, Saw cutting will have the blade thickness around 3 mm. Therefore i prefer laser cutting tiles where it’s more accurate and thinner during cutting. 

Why not using a tile adhesive for the grout?

Tile adhesive will crack when sun rays reach it, so it doesn’t fit outdoor applications. Another reason not to use tile adhesive, that tile adhesive has fast setting, and it couldn’t clean the rest of the grout by metal sponge. It need to grind the material, this fit marble but tiles can’t be grinding.

Plaster Edges

Plaster or rendering is a layer added to wall to give straight surface. Plaster edges is the wall weak point, a small force could break the edge. There are several solutions for plaster edges: Regular edge, plaster trim and metal angle. Each of these solutions has advantages and disadvantages. Throughout this topic we will discuss the different solutions for plaster edges.

Plaster edge waving problem

Plaster Trim or Stop Bead

Plaster trim / stop bead is a rigid angle that fix to walls using steel mesh to Strengthen edges. Also plaster trim gives straight edges  as references to get straight surface. The trim have a nice round detail, therefore to keep nice details the trim has to install from tile’s level to ceiling level. Plaster trims are available in different heights, like 2.4 meter and 3 meters this according to producer. The following photo shows a plaster trim installed at a part of the edge only, resulting in a different detail for other parts. Plaster trims are available in different thickness and qualities, thicker trim resist more forces. Also choice plaster trim with wider steel mesh is better to increase trim bonding to wall.

Plaster stop beads are available in different profile and materials like Galvanized steel, Stainless steel, Aluminum, UPVC and vinyl. Metal and steel plaster trims are not recommended because it could rust easy, especially that plaster mortar has lime. lime corrodes metals and accuse rust. Plaster trims available in a certain length (approximately 2.4 – 3 m). Width of the steel mesh vary from 20 to 50 mm, the wider is more expensive but it will connect better to plaster. Good steel angle thickness from 2 to 3 mm in order to resist crushing.

Plaster trim height problem

Plaster trim disadvantage is maintenance, if the plaster trim break it’s hard to maintain. It will look ugly after maintenance, the following photo shows the plaster bead after maintenance process. The plaster trim has crushed while moving furniture, and maintaining works done by plaster craftsman then painter continue the works but still look ugly.

Plaster trim maintenance problem

Regular Edges

Regular edges is by creating the edge out of cement then to smoothing the edge either by small round or diagonal shape. The edge take shape in order to resist small forces. Edges in plaster or any other works like furniture are in place to get daily hits. Since plaster bead is hard to maintain, it’s not recommended installing it. This because when plaster trim broken, this mean plaster craftsman and painter need to fix it. And if there is no plaster trim, painter can fix all the damage by himself. 

The lower part of the wall could be round edges while the upper part straight, this will give a nice wall edge details. Also there are many other details for plaster edges. In the past they used to do a stone edges to avoid damage.

Plaster edge details

Metal Angles

Steel angle made from L shape profile, it used as corner protector at edges that could hit by heavy forces like car park and industrial spaces. The L angle available in profile of 3 cm each side and thickness of 5 mm, this allows it to resist heavy forces. Some models can install by cement mortar and other by bolts. Heavy forces will not crush the steel profile but forces will transfer to plaster around the angle, acute damaging at the wall. also some parking corner protectors are made of rubber to prevent transfer forces. The corner protectors can be fixed at the height exposed to hits only, average height between 75 and 100 centimeters.

Using Tiles for Stairs

Selecting proper tiles for stairs is a hard mission, because stair is in high traffic area. Designers choice a high strength cladding material like granite because it’s solid. Due to high price of granite, usually people choose the cheapest granite type. Rosa Beta, has a low price because it doesn’t look nice, traders says “Rosa Beta is granite in marble price”. Using marble is the next option, but marble surface will scratch and fragment due to stairs’ high traffic. However marble is weak and nice, but could maintenance easily by grinding and polishing it surface. after maintenance and renovation marble will look as it’s installed yesterday. Porcelain tiles is economical choice, it’s artificial material where tile body could be different from tile’s face according to different types. This post will cover how to select tiles for stairs, what are riser and tread connections types and how to install stairs’ tiles.

How to Select Porcelain Tiles for Stairs

Selecting the proper stair tiles is a sensitive mission. Take in mind few things while choosing stair’s tile: the tile’s classification, the size of the tile, the glossiness, and finally choice anti scratch tile.

  1. Do not use ceramic tiles, ceramic body is weak and stairs has high traffic. Also ceramic’s body color usually is red and this doesn’t fit the connection between step’s riser and tread. Even for porcelain’s tile Choice full body tile or color body’s tile. 
  2. Choose proper size tile’s to fit stair’s width. In market, there are tiles in size of 120*40 cm and 120*60 cm. These tiles size fit with stairs’ in width of 120 cm or less. Using small tile’s size isn’t recommended because tiles will be weak and easy to break.
  3. Choosing matte tile’s or high glossiness, depends on the context design. Personally i don’t like glazed porcelain, because glaze layer is usually wave. Matte tile’s is a better choice especially for riser and step tread connection as we will discuss in the next paragraphs. 
  4. One last thing to take in consider especially for high glossiness glazed tiles. Due to stair’s high traffic, tile could scratch, it’s recommended to choice anti scratch tiles. Also you can test scratch resistance at material lab.

Stairs Tile’ Edges Types

The difference between marble and porcelain, marble’s edge could polish to have safe edge in nice finish. This due to marble’s body and surface are the same material. When it comes to tiles, even full body tiles, tile’s polished edge glossiness won’t appear as nice as the surface glossiness. Therefore designers look for special edge details for riser and step treads that fit porcelain material. There are several types for edge details either by installing tile trim or polished porcelain tiles: bull nose type, straight riser, or to use advanced details like Costa Retta or Gradone types.

Tile trim

This by installing a porcelain, metal or stainless steel tile’s trim at the connection between riser and step tread. The tile trim will have a hard edge however it doesn’t have a high aesthetic value.

Bullnose

This type of stair’s tile, by cut and polish the edge of step tread in round or semi-round end. The edge will be safe and hard to break. On the other hand, the tile has to be full body or color body, to allow edge polishing. Another disadvantage of this type that not all tiles contractors could implement it, because it requires special machines.

Bullnose stairs porcelain tiles method
Bullnose stairs porcelain tiles method

Straight or Angled Riser

Simplest way to install stair tiles. Where riser installed at right angle or acute angle to improve the safety of the staircase. In case of acute angle, craftsmen create a template to install riser, this makes the job easier and aligned. In right angle, tread lay over the riser, and 45 degrees edge use when tile’s body difference than the surface. It depends on the quality of tiles, remember that 45 degrees edge connection is weak.

45 degrees stairs porcelain tiles method
Straight 45 degrees stairs porcelain tiles method
Angled stairs porcelain tiles method

Straight Nose (Costa Retta)

This by creating a detailed step nose from several tiles pieces. Implement this type require an experienced craftsman. The void of nose is filled with cement mortar. Costa Retta is Italian word mean straight nose, this type has a high aesthetic value.

Costa Retta stairs porcelain tiles method

Large Step (Gradone)

This method also has a step’s nose but it’s simpler to implement than Costa Retta. This by gluing a tread as shown in the following photo. Gradone mean long step in Italian, also this type has a nice appearance.

Installing Tiles on Stairs

Installing stair tiles need a professional, he needs to also calculate the height of stair’s risers. Then making few millimeters slope at step’s tread toward downward. Tread slope is necessary to prevent water from collecting on each stair tread, for long periods of time. Tiles laid over cement mortar, and below the mortar a mix of sand and cement in 1:1 ratio. The cement and sand mix, will be a concrete when water reaches it through tiles or tile’s grouts. The last important thing to implement is anti slip lines at each step, this is necessary for outdoor and glazed stairs.

Conclusion this, installing tiles at stairs is economical but has to choose the right tile and install it the correct way. The following photo is porcelain tiles’ stairs installed 13 years ago in high traffic outdoor restaurant. Thousands of people pass through this staircase daily, the stair situation still good compared to it low price.

Porcelain stairs, Lighthouse Restaurant Gaza 2019

Aluminum Composite Panels Edges

Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP) is modern, cold, lightweight material, it gives aerodynamic feeling for architecture. Aluminum Composite Panels Edges’ details and finishing is the beauty. Throughout this post we will discuss the different edge types, there are three main edges types: ACP edge’s profiles, Folding ACP and Gluing ACP edges. Edge types beauty is to have glossiness continuity of ACP panels to achieve aerodynamic feeling design. ACP designed to be able to groove and fold, this by using different machines and techniques. Also there are a method to install edge’s profiles.

ACP Edge’s Profile

Aluminum composite panels edges’ profiles available in different shapes to fit different applications. F profile use for right angle edge, while H profile use for straight angle edge, this beside other profiles for special uses. These profiles are available in different colors according to RAL index, also some materials like mirror and golden mirror …etc. Notice that ACP edge’s profiles have to fit ACP colors, if color isn’t available paint it using powder coating. Advantages of edge’s profile, it’s easy to install, edges will be straight, cutting finishing will be fair enough. However ACP edges’ profile are easy to install, but profile doesn’t have aesthetic value, where profile level is higher than sheets. Different levels mean glossiness won’t be continuous through different sheets, This hide the beauty of aerodynamic glossiness.

aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN 2018

ACP Folding Edges

Despite its difficult and has high cost method but it shows the beauty of ACP. The folding concept by creating a groove at the back of ACP that allow the sheet to fold. The groove placement has to be well measured. The grooves implemented by a blade installed at router, or table saw, CNC machine cut and create grooves at one stage. The Blades are available in different sizes and shapes to reach the needed groove for required application. The difficulties facing folded edges’, it’s hard to level panels together, it’s a sensitive in-site mission need accurate. The high aesthetic value by having straight same level, and continuity of soft glossiness.

Aluminum composite panel folding type
Aluminum composite panel folding type
Aluminum Composite panels glossiness
Aluminum Composite panels glossiness, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN 2018

ACP Edges Gluing

For special cases like curves we could use edges’ profiles or to glue edges. Glue edges will appear better, however it’s sensitive and has many processes to implement. Although Gluing is weak compared to edge folding and profiles, and it won’t last for a long time. 
To implement edge gluing, it requires to cut both sheet ends at 45 degrees. Then gather them using Sikaflex, and avoid using indoor silicon. Notice that SikaFlex will glue in a while mean both sheets need to stay temporarily in place until SikaFlex dry. Check if SikaFlex dried by doubt it by a needle , if needle is clean this mean its dry, otherwise needle will have remains of SikaFlex. After that using small brush paint the edges with the same color of ACP. This Method is useful also for 3D applications and decorations ends.

Aluminum composite panels gluing edges, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019
Aluminum composite panels gluing edges, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019

Generally, Details have a big effect. The photo below shows a petrol station in circular shape and curve section I have designed and implemented for Alhelou Petrol station in Gaza 2018. The job was very sensitive and accurate, and edges’ finishing added much to this project. The client was happy and proud with the design and results. Now you have a good knowledge about ACP edges’ connections, feel free to ask any question. i like to hear from you. 

Alhelou station by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2018
Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN , Gaza 2018

Marble edges finishing

Decorations using marble are majestic, marbles’ colors, veins and glossiness and much to space beauty. Marble wall cladding appear elegant when it appear as it build out of marble blocks, try to avoid to appear as tile cladding. Although contemporary interior designers like to have lightweight materials feeling, this through appear the thickness of marble tiles. Edges connections affect feeling of marble materials, this topic will discuss some edges connections techniques. We could classify marble corners types as traditional method, 45 degree method, half on half method and fillet method. 

Traditional Marble Edges Connection

Traditional connection is to install marble as shown in the photo above, it’s simple connection and easy to install. However it’s simple, marble appear cheap as it’s a cladding of few centimeters. Usually marble’s face is polished or treated, but edges need to be polished at site. Some types of marble will polished at site and appear as it face. Other types like Crema Nova, Omani marble, black marble and granite or any high strength marble won’t give good results. Polishing high strength marble requires to polish using different grades sanding papers to get to smoother surface. If the results are unsatisfactory, craftsmen paint edges by lacquer to get glossiness, however lacquer won’t last long. Edges need to be polished before installing, to avoid ruin glossiness of other marble tiles during polishing. Therefore designers and craftsmen looking for other edges connection methods.

Traditional Marble Edges Connection
Traditional Marble Edges Connection
Traditional Marble Edges Connection
Traditional Marble Edges Connection, Gaza

45 degrees Marble Edges Connection

45 degrees edges connection fit marbles that have veins, it gives the continuity of surfaces  appearing as a marble block. This connection doesn’t need to polish edges as in traditional connection. Implement this connection by trimming both edges at 45 degree then to install them together. The connection will be very thin, and require to fill either by tiles grout or marble adhesive. When edge cut at a 45 degree thin as pencil, soft marble will cut perfectly, but high strength marble will fragment. Alignment is another problem face this connection, where if angle is less than 90 degrees craftsman can’t install it. Therefore craftsman like to make narrower than 45 degrees to align easier, however it will fragment easier during edge cutting. Also 45 degrees connection used for ceramic and some types of porcelain, when tiles body is different than tiles face.

45 degrees Marble Edges Connection
45 degrees Marble Edges Connection
45 degrees Marble Edges Connection
45 degrees Marble Edges Connection, Gaza 2016

Half on Half Marble Edges Connection

All of the above connections have disadvantages make designers looking for new solutions. Half on half is a new connection method that require a groove at on end or by two ends. Advantage of half on half that craftsman could modify the edge after installation, where it will show a nice detail. Shade and shadow appear the beauty of this connection, as a tiny edge effect either in outdoor or indoor. This connection is expensive compared to previous connections because it requires a skilled craftsmen and wet table saw.

Half on Half Marble Edges Connection, Gaza 2016
Half on Half Marble Edges Connection, the two ways to implement this method, Gaza 2016
Half on Half Marble Edges Connection
Half on Half Marble Edges Connection, Gaza 2016

Fillet Marble Edges Connection

Fillet method is by creating a 45 degrees connection then to polish the edge either on angle or round edge. This method will give safe edges, hard to break and will not allow people to notice where the connection is. This connection requires well polishing of the edge to appear nice, and since this it need to polish a marble workshop. Then this connection is suitable for kitchen top and freestanding applications.

 Fillet Marble Edges Connection
Fillet Marble Edges Connection
 Fillet Marble Edges Connection
Fillet Marble Edges Connection, Gaza 2016
Why we don’t use tiles trim for marble?

We can, however tiles trim look cheap compared to marble lavishness. Simply it doesn’t fit marble.

How to select marble edge type for building elevation?

It’s a game of scale. Basically view difference where close view like ground floor need to be well implemented. On the other hand, marble installed at far distance from eye will not appear if it’s not well polished. Generally in far distance from eyes use simple edges connections, and expensive connections at close distance.

How to install Palestinian Stones edges

Palestinian stone usually has rough surface, i prefer to install it half on half. In traditional edges case, make sure to rough the edges like in the right hand side wall.Palestinian stone edges

Concrete Floor Renovation – Concrete Grinding

Grinding Concrete surface
Grinding Concrete surface

Concrete floors are elegant, especially when it’s smooth and colored. Concrete is hard to maintain, many factors can affect the quality of concrete. In an average of 20 years concrete top surface will begin to crack and fragment. Maintenance of concrete surface is hard mission, where it could paint using epoxy layer. However epoxy look nice, it does not suit outdoor applications because the sun will ruin it. Therefore it will not last for long period and will be expensive solution. On the other hand, grinding concrete top surface is another solution, however it grinds is a hard and sensitive mission. This topic will discuss the process of concrete grinding as FAQs. I got these informations throughout my experience at renovation of a petrol station that has a concrete floor.

FAQs

By grinding the surface it will remove the color?

The concrete color is a powder added to concrete surface during concrete initial sitting. Craftsman distributing color powder by throwing it over the surface. Thickness of colored layer can’t be customized, and it isn’t equal it all areas. Therefore, if concrete defected and cracks are small then it will be easier to grind a thin layer and keep it color. In case of large cracks it has to be grinding until reach concrete gray color. Noted that color layer thickness usually is few millimeters, but could be a few centimeters in some spots. 
Remove concrete floor color

What are the machines used for grinding concrete?

Grinding concrete is about the blades, the blades can install at hand grinder or floor grinder machine. Floor grinder is better because it gives level grinding surface, however floor grinder is hard to reach small area. Hand grinder is suitable for small areas, but it requires a skill worker to smooth and level concrete surface.
Concrete grinding blades came in different sizes, 10” to suite floor grinder and 7”, 5” and 4” fit hand grinding. When blade’s segments number increases it will grind faster, also different segments shapes can give smoothing, leveling or reaching corners. Producers write at the products the differences between them and where to use each.
Concrete grinding machines

How to collect dust during grinding?

Grinding the concrete surface will cause a lot of dust, dust is air pollution that affect the environment. Also the powder on the surface has to be collecting because it will give roughness to the surface. Dust can collect by a vacuum (dry grinding) or by pouring water (Wet grinding) to dissolve the concrete power in order to remove it away from site.
Dust during grinding concrete

What is the difference between wet and dry grinding?

Wet and dry grinding are methods to collect grinding dust. Dry grinding is to collect dust by vacuum, where it requires a special system and accessories for tools. Wet grinding requires fewer machines and installation, it requires water only. However wet grinding requires less installation, water will ruin the blade faster.Also powder and water will contaminate the sewage system, especially when it has a colored powder.

Grinding Concrete will result smooth surface?

Unfortunately, concrete has sand therefore it will not be smooth as top surface or terrazzo tiles. Sand particles are very strong and hard to break, sand used for sanding materials to have rough surfaces. So sorry you will not have a smooth surface.

How can i get a smoother concrete surface?

By adding chemical materials like stains. Stains will make concrete appear as it’s wet, although different products have different glossiness. Stains also protect the concrete surfaces from scratching and reduces absorption to avoid oil and water leakage inside the concrete.
Concrete sealer

Can i paint the grinding surface?

There are anti-scratch paint types, also use outdoor paints to protect it from the sun rays. Some types of epoxy paints has auto level specifications, which will level the surface in order to have it smooth and elegant. Some types of stains have color in it, it will remain translucent and concrete texture will appear in different colors. 

How can i add aluminum profiles to concrete?

This by creating a saw cut in concrete surface in width of few millimeters and few centimeters deep. Then using Sikaflex product to glue aluminum T profile to the groove on concrete surface. Be careful to clean aluminum and the groove from any dust before glue it. Remember that aluminum is installed at the floor, and it’s prone to scratching and unglued from concrete due to movement.

Stairs Hidden Lighting

Stairs with hidden Light, Alrayyes 2019
Stairs with hidden Light, Alrayyes 2019

The staircase is the focal point inside any space, designers like to make staircase the aesthetic element of the space. Staircase is expensive because it large scale especially when cladding with marble or granite. Also designers like to enhance the beauty of the staircase by adding some elements and design techniques. Stairs Lighting is one of the most important techniques. Lighting could be target on the steps or hidden inside the steps, other designs depend on handrail lighting. This topic will discuss stairs hidden lighting type and its construction details.

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Aluminum Handrails

Glass and aluminum rectangular handrail system in champagne color. Gaza 2018

Aluminum handrails become to expand in the market since 2013. Compared to other materials like wood and steel, Aluminum does not require periodic maintenance. Handrail maintenance is not an easy mission, where it requires carefully sanding all details then painting them. Although Comparing aluminum handrails with stainless steel handrails. Aluminum installing by screws while stainless steel require welding, this make aluminum is the best choice for handrails. 

Aluminum Handrail Profile

Producers have developed aluminum handrails design to fit both classic and modern style. Handirail profile available in rectangular and circular shapes and sizes. Handirail is available in 5 cm diameter to fit an adult hand, and available in 3 cm use for children and as handle at pool edge. Profile’s thickness of aluminum layers range from 2 to 3 mm we recommend 3 mm for large spaces between posts.

classic aluminum handrail

Aluminum Handrail Accessories

Aluminum handrail system have all need fitting from angles that twist 360 degree. The system manufacturers compete to produce angle fitting that look simple, neat and doesn’t install by screws. Any handrail system first post is wider to enhance handrail strength, also it’s unique to increase beauty. Another system fitting is profile end cap and cover used to hide connection between floor and posts. Since aluminum won’t rust, it’s not rational to use steel screw. It’s better to use Stainless steel 304 screws to avoid any rusting.

Aluminum handrail fitting
Aluminum handrail fitting

Aluminum Handrail Finishing

In the same hand aluminum handrail can painting in any RAL paint, also available in Anodize colors. Some profile is available in rough texture and different colors, also in crystal style profiles. Some handrail systems designed to integrate it with other materials like glass and wood. It enhances the beauty of handrail system.

Aluminum Handrail Installation

Installing the handrail system require well-trained craftsmen, to calculate and determine the height and corners. Installing handrail post to floor can be either by screws for light uses and using anchors for heavy use. Opening in marble for anchors require to drill very sensitive to avoid breaking marble. Then install anchor with marble adhesive to increase the handrail system strength.

How to buy aluminum sliding windows

Secrets to buy aluminum sliding/gliding windows. Aluminum opening systems made to fit different building designs, therefore the alternatives are wide, there are many choices and cases. Different products may look similar, but quality could totally different according to system specification. This article discuss aluminum sliding systems’ specification in FAQs type to get understanding of aluminum sliding system and how to check quality.

sliding windows , Gaza 2018
sliding windows , Gaza 2018

How to select Aluminum Sliding Window?

Why using aluminum for openings?

The aluminum material is formed into profiles to complete aluminum systems for openings. Aluminum does not affected from natural factors like sun and humidity, therefore aluminum systems customized to prevent water and wind leakage. Another benefit to choose aluminum because it easy to customize and install aluminum opening, compared to wood, steel.The beauty of the aluminum appears in its straightness profiles and the wide variety of paint options either by color or texture.

What is aluminum material types?

Aluminum is alloy contain several materials, the difference of material percentage and manufacturer process result several aluminum types. Alloy systems are classified by a number system (ANSI) or by names indicating their main alloying constituents (DIN and ISO). Selecting the right alloy type for a given application entails considerations of its tensile strength, density, formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance. You can test a sample in lab to ensure the quality of aluminum alloy.

Aluminum is waterproof?

Yes Aluminum is waterproof, but the aluminum sliding windows is not aluminum only. Window contain other materials like glass, sealers. Installing methods is an important issue, selecting the right aluminum profiles,the place of holes and accessories are taken into consideration.  

Aluminum profile can accrue water leakage?

Yes, Since sliding window has a roller and rail at the bottom means there is an empty place, that allow water to enter indoors. This requires a small holes toward outdoor to allow water to slide away. Wind direction may not allow collected water to slide away, therefore it requires accessories that allow water to slide out. In the case of heavy rain, small openings can not get water out at the required speed, which may leak rain inside. As a solution for that aluminum companies develop a lower profile that have container underneath the rollers rail to accommodate the largest amount of water away from the roller rail.
Another thing to take into consideration that low thickness of aluminum can affected from heavy wind. Aluminum will bend and become hard to open and close, and it may accrue water leakage.sliding windows rails, Gaza 2016

ًWhat to fill between aluminum and wall?

Filling between the aluminum and wall require a material to fill and prevent water, wind and insects. Filler by auks sealers, divided into three main types: Acrylic, Silicone and Polyether.
Acrylic use as indoor filler, moisture affected it and it will collect bacteria. In other hand Silicone is indoor filler, but it’s an antibacterial product, which is transparent and can be customized to any color. The problem facing silicon is to connect with wall where it’s designed to indoor usage only. Polyethers products like SikaFlex made in Switzerland, it’s made for outdoor usage, it can resist the natural factors affect the filler. 

What type of sliding window roller?

First of all, rollers run over rails, these rails are available in plastic easy to break, therefore aluminum rails is better. There are several rollers types, single or double roller, and depend on how many K.G. it designed to load. Important aspect to understand for window panel, the ratio between height and width. Narrow panels will not open easily because it’s accrue bending moment during opening.

What are window panels types?

Basicly the aluminum profile depend on the thickness of the glass. Normally we use 6 mm and for large opening 8 mm. Notice that glass has high heat transfer coefficient, as a solution we use double panel glass. A two layers of glass and air in the middle, the static air has a low heat transfer coefficient. To improve this technology there is triple glass, made of three layers of glass and static air between them. For more information about glass sheet types, check  Glass Sheets types topic.

What are aluminum painting types?

For more understanding of aluminum painting types check Aluminum painting types topic.

Conclusion

It’s hard to select Aluminum Sliding/gliding windows, you need to have many information about producers. Also aluminum has many secrets than what we mention above. Keep always up to date and feel free to ask any question.

Glass Sheet Types

Glass types samples
Glass types samples

Glass is made from liquid sand, it forms in sheets in order to fit architectural needs. The different architectural needs led to produce variety of glass sheets types. glass available as Transparent glass sheets, decorated glass, reflected glass and painted glass.

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Marble Floors Disadvantages

Installing Marble at Floor, ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019

Marble flooring give the interior an elegant appearance, however marble floor have many problems because marble is sensitive. Installing marble at floor is more sensitive than wall. At wall dust and water will slide away from marble, but on floor it remain at marble ruining it surface.

Level surfaces problem

One of marble floors disadvantages is surface level. After extracting marble from quarries , marble cuts into slabs using band saw or bridge type saw. Band saw produce a wave surface, comparing to bridge type saw it’s produce a straight surface. During installing of marble flooring, craftsman has to level the floor surface. IF the marble cut using band saw machines craftsman has to arrange the tiles in a way to avoid different surface level.

To check if marble surface leveled, keep you eyes at floor reflection, the reflected photo has to be straight not sporadic or wave. In case that marble surface isn’t leveled, it requires grinding marble and polishing it. Personally I don’t recommend grinding marble because original grinder will lose for longer period. 

Fragmentation of marble Surface

Another marble floors disadvantages is surface fragmentation. Marble floor has to be always clean, where dust and sand at floor with people movement will scratch marble surface, marble will lose reflection of marble. When small area in marble scratched it will affect other areas and will make the surface look bad. Although i prefer grinding marble only if the marble surface scratched, it will return as it installed last month.

Marble flooring disadvantages
Marble flooring disadvantages, Omani marble, Gaza 2016

Water as we discussed before, its ruin marble. Grinding marble surface can protect from natural factors like dust and water, but marble sides and back will gain water. It will gain water if there is a problem with sewage or water supply system underneath the marble. Therefore marble sides and back has to be protected against water and moisture. 

Porcelain Tile Mortar

Tile mortar used to bond tiles to wall. There are two main options as mortar, cement mortar and tile adhesive mortar. Cement material is not glue, dissolving cement with water become fluid state. It poured in between other materials pores and when it dries it becomes rigid and bonding different materials. Porcelain doesn’t have pores, means cement will not bond with it. Unlike ceramic where cement mortar poured into ceramics, it bonding it to wall. As well as, the wall need to be rough to increase bonding mortar to wall. Tile Adhesive is white cement, with materials like glue and other admixture to increase setting time. Since tile adhesive has glue, it’s better than cement mortar for porcelain.

Cement mortar make either from white or Portland cement. Portland cement has dark gray color, it gives the porcelain tiles darker tone color. Therefore white cement is better especially for white and light colors tiles. Mixing cement mortar at site, where each 50KG cement bag need 12 Sand buckets and 0.5 bucket of lime.  Lime gives the mortar elasticity to enhance workability, in high humidity areas we prefer to use hydrated lime S. Sometimes, craftsmen add shampoo to cement mortar which I reject because it weakens the mixture. Notice that cement has initial setting time, and mortar has to used within half an hour. When installing porcelain with cement mortar make a mixture of water and cement only, and pour it between tile and cement mortar.

installing large size tile by cement mortar
installing large size tile by cement mortar, 2019

Mortar adhesive is available in different types, ISO13007 has classified the tile adhesive in codes. The following table will describe the main letter used to write the code, and what each means.

ISO13007 table

To convert the above table to function
C1E : Internal use for ceramic flooring, small tiles
C1TE : Internal use for ceramic walls, small tiles 
C2E : Internal use for porcelain or large scale tiles flooring
C2TE : Internal use for porcelain or large scale tiles walls
C2TES1: External use and swimming pools.
C2TES2 : External use building elevations.

What is Salted Water Effect on Tile Mortar ?

Using salted water is forbidden in construction. Salted water reduce mortar life, the appearance of efflorescence and then tile will loose and fall. Always use a drinking water to protect the beauty of tile work and to increase it life. Since porcelain and ceramic tiles’ laid on  tile adhesive or cement mortar . Both has cement that contain calcium hydroxide which is formed during the cement hydration. When rain water pass through tiles grout will dissolve calcium hydroxide then tile will lose from mortar. Avoiding this use salt water resistant sealer admixture to mortar for avoiding this problem even with drinking water.

This information in enough to understand tiles mortar. Notice that low quality tiles mortar will ruin the tiles, take the right decision and feel free to ask any questions. 

How to Buy Aluminum Composite Panels

ACP catalogs & samples
ACP catalogs & samples

Aluminum Composite Panels ACP is aluminum panels’ use for decoration’s cladding in architecture applications. ACP contains of two sheets of aluminum, in the middle a core layer of low density polyethylene LDPE. The aluminum painted in the required color to fit the architecture requirements. This post will discuss how to select aluminum composite panels and it specifications.

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CREMA NOVA Marble

Creme color marble is favorite choice for many people. In market, there are a variety of choices of creme marble. Crema Nova the Turkish product is a common choice. because it quality, beauty and low price comparing to competitive marble types.

Crema Novva building
Crema Novva building, By ORIGIN DESIGN 2017
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Methods of ceiling marble cladding

Marble ceiling cladding gives the architecture feeling of marble masses, the building appear as a piece of marble. However there are several types to install marble at ceilings, each method has advantages and disadvantages. Through this article we will discuss ceiling cladding methods,then you can make a decision about which method to use.

There are three methods of installing marble at ceilings. A method before casting the slab and two methods after casting the slab, one of them is using mechanical system. We will discuss the mechanical way of installing in another topic.

Before casting slab method

it’s the most common and simplest way of installing. Where marble place on the wooden framework, and it installs a steel inside the marble. Marble adhesive used to connect marble tiles together. This method sounds easy but it doesn’t reach a good result because it may move during concrete casting. Tiles could move, then it is recommended to put a mortar over the marble to enhance the bond and to protect marble adhesive from ruin by sun rays.

A problem facing this method, frameworks surface is hard to get it leveled, and any defect will appear clearly. Solving this problem can be either by chamfer the tiles edges, then it’s hard to notice its not level. Another alternative is to adopt the wood frame level, either by putting an over layer plywood to re-level the surface. For professional it’s recommended to make cladding surface lower than the rest of the slab by 5 cm. Then put sand into this area and arrange marble tiles as its verse tiling, then you can control the level precisely. 

marble cladding for ceilings methods
During working at marble cladding for ceiling, and before installing it rips blocks and steel bars. Gaza 2018
This craftsman, install Travertine tiles for ceiling cladding, using before casting method. He uses small marble pieces to gather tiles at same level by marble adhesive. Gaza, ORIGIN DESIGN, 2019
marble cladding for ceilings defects
marble cladding for ceilings defects, Gaza 2018

After casting slab – by casting method

This method has a better quality than the previous method, but it is not suitable for a large area. By making a new framework underneath the slab and by leaving the thickness of the marble and a space for cement mortar. Then steel wire will connect to the marble tile, after that arrange marble at the framework. Then connecting the marble wires to a steel mesh connecting to the concrete slab, and then it’s ready for concrete casting. We need to cast the concrete from the top, this by opening a 10 cm open at the concrete slab. But be aware to add more water to the concrete and extra cement to have a good concrete suitable for this job. It’s better to open several openings for casting at the slab. Because we need concrete to reach the top and air will get out through them.

After Casting method, Gaza 2018

As much as marble has a brilliant appearance at ceiling but also installing it is not an easy job, and it’s hard to fix and defects after installing.