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Tiling
  • 1. What is the difference between ATR Floor and Universal spacing plates?

    The difference is in the spacer piece that forms the gap between the tiles. On the Universal plates, the blade is solid (of 2 or 3 mm width). The Floor plates use two thin blades to create the gap (2 or 3 mm overall width). Floor structures can be prone to movement, so the flexibility of the twin blade arrangement on the Floor spacer can be beneficial. By contrast, you would not want movement of vertically mounted tiles, so a Floor spacer is not advisable on walls. All three plates (Cross, Edge and T) are available in the Universal form. Floor plates are only available as Cross and Edge. Use the Universal T-plate for Offset joints on floors.

  • 2. Why are fewer ATR Spacing Plates needed in comparison to other systems?

    Crucially, ATR Spacing Plates are fitted at the intersection of a tile, which not only saves on hardware but also ensures level joints with minimal effort. Consider how a single Cross Plate levels the four adjacent tiles. By contrast with a strap and wedge systems, you’re probably going to use four individual spacers, each of which will have to be adjusted individually. And the same applies with T or Offset joints – one ATR T-plate does the work of the three Strap & Wedge items; you make one adjustment with the ATR system as opposed to individually setting three Wedges. So you save on hardware and time plus there is greater certainty the joint will stay level during the curing process.

  • 3. What tiles can the ATR system be used on?

    The ATR Tile Levelling system is suitable for most tile types at thicknesses between 6 and 18 mm – ceramic, porcelain, marble, onyx, granite and most composites.

  • 4. Will the Screw pierce my waterproof membrane?

    NO. The base of all spacing plates is solid. In addition, the bottom of the screw is flat so even with vigorous tightening, it will not pierce the base of the spacing plate

  • 5. How often can the Spindles be re-used?

    The metal thread in the spindle is sufficiently robust for multiple uses. Feedback suggests spindles are regularly re-used two or three times. The level of economy achieved with re-use of spindles is entirely in the hands of the user.

Quikpoint
  • 1. Will the Quikpoint PLUS attachment fit on any drill?

    The Quikpoint PLUS mortar pointing attachment can be fitted to a wide range of small rotary drills. We would not recommend fitting to SDS drills or any heavy duty drill, due to their bulk and weight. Most users operate the Quikpoint mortar pointing gun at between 1000 and 1500 rev/min. A drill with a rotary speed selector (on the trigger) is ideal – a free running drill, with no speed limiting, is not recommended. A mains-powered drill will usually be most productive. Using a cordless drill suits some situations – but a cordless drill may only have two (maximum three) fixed speed settings. We offer the Quikpoint PLUS assembled on Hikoki (Hitachi) D10VC3 and Makita 6510LVR mains drills; our current cordless system uses the Makita DHP458Z drill. Feel free to call or email us for further advice.

  • 2. What mortar can I use with the Quikpoint PLUS?

    The Quikpoint PLUS repointing gun is suitable for cement or lime-based mortars. This can be self-mixed from the raw components or a ‘bagged’ product where you simply add water. Coarser aggregates can be carried through the gun, Heritage lime mixes being a good example. In all instances, using a ‘proper’ cement mixer is preferable; a Forced Action Pan Mixer is often used for Lime mortars. Using a drill and mixer paddle should be limited to ‘bagged’ mortars where only water is being added.

  • 3. Will the Quikpoint PLUS repointing gun clog?

    This question usually arises due to previous experiences with a handheld ‘mastic’ repointing gun where under pressure, the water can easily separate from the sand/cement mix. The Quikpoint PLUS mortar gun uses an auger to deliver the mortar to the pointing nozzle with very little pressure involved. In addition, there is a vibrator rod within the hopper, which agitates the mortar, before it reaches the auger. With a properly constituted mortar, the Quikpoint PLUS will not clog. If clogging is reported, the cause will usually be a poorly mixed mortar (we advise to run the mixer a bit longer) or the vibrator rod not functioning properly – the latter is a simple mechanical arrangement so at worst, it will involve replacing a couple of worn parts

  • 4. How much can I repoint in a day with a Quikpoint PLUS?

    Many factors involved but repointing and ‘striking’ 20 square metres of regular brickwork per day is well within the reach of any competent person and users have reported figures far in excess of this. Quikpoint PLUS pointing guns are also widely used on newbuild facades with brick-slip systems – this application lends itself to particularly high productivity rates. In terms of efficiency, it is well accepted that a Quikpoint mortar gun is significantly more productive (and less tiring) than a hand-operated ‘mastic’ pointing gun. A Quikpoint PLUS hopper can also be filled in less than 10 seconds – one user commented how he could dispense the contents of the Quikpoint hopper in less time than it previously took to dismantle, fill and re-assemble his ‘mastic’ gun.

  • 5. How long will a Quikpoint PLUS auger last?

    The impossible question. Wear rate will depend upon the abrasiveness of the mortar. The Quikpoint PLUS mortar gun is fitted with a hardened auger that does last considerably longer than a standard specification auger. An experienced operator (who has used Quikpoint repointing guns for more than 25 years) suggests a hardened auger “is good for” 400 – 500 square metres of regular brickwork. Few people comment on the wear rate or the replacement cost of an auger; many comment how the Quikpoint is so much faster than anything else they have used. The main wear parts in a Quikpoint mortar gun are the auger and the tip blades. The auger fits inside a replaceable hard polythene sleeve; a sleeve typically lasts the life of three hardened augers. To maintain efficiency, the Vibrator Rod and Tube combination along with the associated Cam Roller are worth replacing on a regular basis.

Manhole Buddy
  • 1. What size and weight of cover can the Manhole Buddy lift?

    Covers in the range 820 to 850 mm wide; at the top limit, the depth of the cover becomes a contributory factor. Depending upon the equipment configuration, maximum lifting is in range 105 kg to 130 kg. Since the device is ‘powered’ by the operator, we ‘say’ an average-build person can comfortably lift covers equal to their own weight, all day long.

  • 2. How safe is the Manhole Buddy cover lifter?

    From a construction perspective, the product has been fully tested and certified to the limits advised in its User Guide; the product has been sold worldwide for over 10 years so the concept and functionality are well proven. From a user perspective, crucially the Manhole Buddy distances the operator from the danger areas in the vicinity of the drain cover, so traditional risks of slips, trips and trapped fingers or feet are eliminated. Secondly, traditional musculoskeletal risks are largely eliminated as lifting is achieved by a downward input from the operator.

  • 3. What are the limits of the Manhole Buddy magnetic manhole cover lifter?

    The MagTec magnet is limited to lifting iron and steel covers – it won’t lift stainless steel or non-ferrous alloy items. Because there is no need to use the key slots in the cover (or clean them out) it is a much faster method of lifting manhole covers. In addition, the freedom to place the magnet at any point on the cover, allied to the high leverage facility on the Manhole Buddy lifting trolley, means jammed covers can be ‘cracked’. Safe and secure lifting of metallic covers is well proven and the User Guide outlines a simple technique for confident lifting of heavy covers. Some large metallic split covers may be challenging with the Manhole Buddy magnet option and for these we would recommend the alternative KeyTec lifting set, using the same Manhole Buddy lifting trolley.

  • 4. How does the Manhole Buddy compare with a Hydraulic manhole cover lifter?

    Whilst the Manhole Buddy is quite a unique concept (being a human ‘powered’ lifter) there are a wide range of hydraulic manhole cover lifter designs in the marketplace, with differing capacities and functions. Generally, the Manhole Buddy is superior in its portability, speed of deployment and user safety. Its lifting limits, in terms of cover size and weight, meet the requirements of the majority of users, be they water engineers, surveyors, maintenance teams or security staff. A hydraulic cover lifter will be superior for much larger or heavier covers – certain hydraulic lifters are able to span wide covers and the power of hydraulics can raise 250+ kg covers.

  • 5. What is the single stand-out feature of a Manhole Buddy cover lifter?

    Subject to cover width, all four Manhole Buddy lifting attachments permit 360 degree access for lifting, due to the presence of a swivel at the trolley connection point. Contrast this with probably every other key-based lifter, where the orientation of the key slots in the cover dictate how the equipment is attached. This usually results in only two lifting positions, 180 degrees apart, being available. In the working environment, where access can be limited by anything from a vehicle, a tree, street furniture or even a pothole, these two possible positions may be impossible to use. The potential 360 degree access offered by the Manhole Buddy makes it more likely the cover can be accessed.

Dust Extractors and Dust Control
  • 1. What is the difference between L, M and H class vacuums?

    The classification relates primarily to the specification of the filter. L class filtration is suitable for Low hazard materials, M class for Medium hazard, H for High hazard. L class filters are required to have a leakage no greater than 1% of the collected dust, M class no greater than 0.1% and H class no greater than 0.005%. Put simply, a H class filter will block particles that would pass through an L or M class filter.

  • 2. What class of vacuum do I need on a building site?

    For construction works, general waste is considered Low hazard. Concrete and mortars are rated medium hazard as are some natural woods, notably beech and oak; engineered woods such as MDF are also Medium rated. Carcinogenic substances such as Asbestos are classed as High hazard.

  • 3. Can I upgrade my L class vacuum by changing the filter type?

    You may well be able to fit a higher specification filter to your basic vacuum but that will not change its classification and it could reduce its performance. In practical terms, M and H class filters have a finer weave (than L class) so as to block finer dust particles. But inevitably, this also constricts airflow. So M and H class vacuums have other features which compensate for this condition e.g. larger motors, pre-separation elements, integral filter cleaning. Put simply, there is much more to vacuum or dust extractor performance than the filter.

  • 4. What are the three key considerations in selecting a dust extractor for construction work?

    Product selection should mirror the end-to-end requirements of the work. Firstly, select a filter type that is suitable for the materials you are going to be dealing with. Secondly, consider the performance requirements of the work you are doing e.g. volume of dust and waste being collected, intensity of work, accessibility (determines hose length required). Thirdly, consider how the waste will be contained and disposed of. Effective dust control starts with capture of dust at the point of creation, ends with dust-free disposal of the waste and in between, ensures exhausted air from the vacuum system is devoid of harmful particles.

Pointing & Repointing Brickwork
  • 1. When does a wall need repointing?

    There are often clear signs the mortar joints are failing and the structure needs repointing. At other times, the first sign may be small cracks between the mortar and the brick face, in essence breaking the bond between the two elements. Subjected to even moderate rainfall, such failures can lead to moisture seeping into the wall. A heavy frost will cause dampened mortar to expand and over time, crumbling of the mortar is inevitable. Damp walls are often the first sign that repairs are needed to the mortar. Repointing may also be required if a wall develops a crack which extends to the masonry, in which case, strengthening of the wall may be needed, before renewing the mortar joints.

  • 2. What is the best way to remove the old mortar?

    Firstly, it could be removed by hand, with a hammer and chisel and this method might be entirely appropriate for small areas or sensitive structures. More commonly, power tools are used to speed the process and achieve consistent results. These generally constitute a small format angle grinder, fitted with either a circular diamond blade or a tungsten mortar rake. In both instances, a method of ensuring a consistent depth of ‘raked out’ joint and the removal of dust and debris are pretty essential and angle grinder attachments are available with these combined functions. Both the foregoing methods will apply to regular brick or stonework structures where straight joints are present. Irregular joints, such as those you will find on a random stone structures, can probably only be ‘raked out’ with a mortar rake.

  • 3. What is the best repointing mortar?

    Much will depend upon the what, where and how of the job. If repointing small areas, it may be important to ensure colour matching, whilst repointing a complete wall should remove that constraint. Properties over 100 years old will almost certainly have been constructed using lime-based mortars and here it is advisable to use a lime product and not just for aesthetic reasons. Experienced tradesmen will be adept at producing consistent batches of self-mixed pointing mortar but for the less skilled, pre-mixed pointing mortar requiring only the addition of water is a much safer bet. And weather is an important consideration – whether it’s the alignment of your property or the part of the country you live in, the mortar needs to be formulated for the weather conditions it will be expected to endure.

  • 4. What is the best way to put mortar into the joints?

    Before we consider the how, its best to reflect on why the work is being undertaken and what is expected of the finished joint. The new mortar will be required to strengthen the structure and provide a sealed face to the weather. For that to be achieved, the joints must be of sufficient depth, be free of voids and be well compacted so as to bond with the existing structure. And the external face must be sealed, a process generally known as ‘ironing’. You can fill the joints with a small trowel, use a hand-operated ‘mastic’ gun or a powered device, most likely electric or air-driven.

  • 5. What is the best way to finish the mortar joint?

    Mortar joints are usually finished (‘ironed’) with a few common shapes or ‘profiles’. Bucket Handle is a basic concave finish. Recessed Joints, as the name suggests, sit a short distance behind the face of the brickwork – this is primarily for decorative reasons but the joints still need to be ironed to ensure proper sealing. Weatherstruck is an angled profile which is very effective at shedding water, so appropriate for walls regularly subjected to driven rain or spray. There are a number of other specialist profiles which will most probably apply to older properties or be unique to a geographic location. Regardless of the profile chosen, the mortar must be sufficiently compressed to constitute a strong joint and provide an outer skin that can not easily be penetrated by moisture.

  • 6. Should I seal the finished mortar joint?

    It can be appropriate to seal brickwork, usually if there is an inherent porosity that would otherwise only be addressed by replacement of the structure. In doing so, it is entirely acceptable to seal the mortar joint. However, it is important to use a sealant that remains permeable, so that the brickwork can continue to ‘breathe’. In addition, it is not advisable to seal new mortar joints before they have fully dried out.

Mortar Termite Raking
  • 1. When can I use a mortar rake?

    When the mortar is of soft to medium hardness. Mortar rakes are not suitable for hard mortars.

  • 2. Where would I use a mortar rake?

    Mortar rakes are perhaps the only solution for raking out irregular joints (such as random stonework) where a diamond raking disk or oscillating plunge blade can not follow the joint profile. They are also ideal for the short perp joints on brickwork, where a circular blade will not reach adequate depth due to the limitations imposed by the bricks above and below.

  • 3. What are mortar rakes made from?

    Our mortar rakes comprise carbide tungsten cutting strips (we refer to them as ’cutters’) brazed onto a steel core, which is secured in a hex-shaped holder, having an internal M14 thread to match that of an angle grinder spindle.

  • 4. What width options are available?

    We offer 6, 8, 10 and 12 mm diameter rakes, at a standard length of 26 mm, making them the obvious choice for raking out regular brick and stonework mortar joints. All rakes are available with 3 cutters (‘cutters’ as explained in previous answer) with selected widths also available with 4 and 6 cutter configurations.

  • 5. What difference does the number of cutters make?

    A 3 cutter rake will cut most aggressively so will be best for soft or crumbling mortar. By contrast, it is likely a 6 cutter rake will provide smoother operation on harder mortars, even though it may not cut any faster.

  • 6. What rake can I use for making a deeper cut?

    We provide 60 mm long (XL) rakes in 8, 10 and 12 mm diameters, all with 3 cutters. A deeper joint might be required for inserting strengthening bars or to remove the mortar around a brick that needed removing (albeit a 60 mm rake is slightly short of a typical brick joint depth). For deep cuts, it is probably best to make the initial cut with the standard 26 mm long rake and follow up with the same diameter of XL rake. This should permit faster removal and cause less stress on the angle grinder, in addition to ensuring maximum dust control and debris collection (see next question).

  • 7. Can I control dust with a mortar rake?

    We offer the Termite angle grinder attachment which provides dust control / extraction in addition to a depth setting facility. When coupled with a suitable dust extractor (vacuum unit) substantially dust free operation will be achieved and the waste debris will also be collected. It is possible to use both 26 mm and 60 mm XL rakes with the Termite attachment; on deep cuts, two stage cutting using 26 mm and 60 mm rakes successively, will ensure maximum dust control.

110 Volt vs 240 Volt
  • 1. Why do we have 110 volt site working in the UK and Ireland?

    Because it is considered to be safer than 240 volt working.

    The hazardous voltage you are exposed to in a 110 volt system is actually only 55 volt. By comparison, a direct mains connection is nominally 230 volt. You are more likely, by a considerable margin, to survive a 55 voltshock, than one at 230. 110 volt supply is described as Centre Tapped to Earth (CTE) and comprises minus 55 and plus 55 volt circuits, hence the 110 volt Potential Difference, also known as Voltage

  • 2. Surely an RCD on the 240 volt supply will protect me?

    It is a good solution, but NOT perfect.

    An RCD (Residual Current Device) should quickly break the circuit if a current leakage to earth is detected. However, the weakness with an RCD is that it is an electro-mechanical device and has the potential to fail. If the latter happens, you have little protection from the full 230 volt shock.

  • 3. Is it a legal requirement to use 110 volt?

    Not that we know of, but it is widely accepted Best Practice.

    Employers and Site Operators have a significant obligation to ensure persons engaged on their behalf are not exposed to undue risks. The default for operation of single phase electrical equipment on site has therefore become 110 volt, as it is generally accepted as being inherently safer. This permits the Employer / Site Operator to most effectively discharge their responsibilities to persons under their control. It will be rare to find a Commercial Construction Site that permits 240 volt working.

  • 4. What size of 110 volt transformer do I need?

    You simply add up the requirements of the devices being connected and …

    It is almost that simple but there are some important considerations to bear in mind. There are three popular sizes of 110 volt portable transformer, 3 kVa, 3.3 kVA and 5 kVa. As an approximation, these will support loadings of 3, 3.3 and 5 kW respectively. So add up the wattage of each connected device (should be shown on the equipment label) and make your selection. BUT TAKE NOTE - portable transformers will typically only deliver their maximum output for about 5 minutes. If your application involves longer running, you have to assume power output from the transformer will be reduced by 50%. The CONTINUOUS ratings (more than 5 minutes continuous operation) for the three transformers previously listed are 1.5, 1.5 and 2.5 kW

  • 5. With 110 volt, what length extension cables can I use?

    One 15 metre extension cable of the CORRECT construction …

    Because of the reduced voltage level, 110 volt tools operate with double the current (amperage) of 240 volt equivalents. This means cables with larger copper cores (larger cross section area / csa) are needed. The thinnest 110 volt cables (1.5 mm² csa) are only suitable for light loads such as lighting or single power tools. A load of greater than 800 watt needs a minimum 2.5 mm² csa cable. Using a larger core cable is rarely a handicap, hence for maximum efficiency, the 4 mm² csa variety should be used wherever possible. Only one 15 metre extension cable should be used between the transformer output and the power tool – if you use excessively long 110 volt extension cables, you will experience significant voltage drop. This will cause increased current flow which will potentially overheat and damage both the cable and attached electrical devices.