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W Rodgerson & Sons (WRS) chooses Weber products for 17th century mansion

WITH 30 bathrooms, eight kitchens and a large entrance hall, there is every conceivable form of tiling to contend with at The Coach House in Gosforth.

The building is one of the last remaining parts of the now demolished Coxlodge Hall, a 17th century mansion in the Gosforth area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Originally built in 1796, it has undergone an extensive transformation from offices to luxury homes.

The property has been completely refurbished to create eight modern, luxury living spaces comprising houses, bungalows, and apartments. The interior design aims to balance period features with 21st century living.

Main contractor DP Builders, appointed tiling specialist, W Rodgerson & Sons (WRS) to complete the works which included fixing a range of ceramic, porcelain, mosaic, and natural stone tiles. The high specification kitchens were finished with intricate designs and patterns including hexagonal floor tiles and herringbone wall tiles. The floors in all bathrooms were fitted with electric underfloor heating adding to the complexity of the scheme.

With such a broad range of tiles being used, it was important to find versatile fixing products that could be used across the whole project. Products by Saint-Gobain Weber were specified throughout with a total wall and floor space of 1,027sq m. These products included weberset rapid SPF tile adhesive, weberjoint premium tile grout and weberjoint silicone.

Craig Scott of WRS explained his rationale for choosing Weber products for this project: ‘Using Weber products removes any concerns about effective performance, as we know from experience that every Weber product will work perfectly, whatever condition we find the job in. The complexity of this project presented numerous challenges, but we’re delighted with the final outcome.’

Reportedly one of Weber’s most popular tile fixing products, weberset rapid SPF, was chosen for the project. It’s suitable for fixing ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tiles to walls and floors and is ready for light foot traffic and grouting in two hours. It’s cement based and can be used as a pourable adhesive for large tiles.

This adhesive will reportedly accommodate limited movement from heated screed and even over-boarded wooden floors and is said to have the added benefit of low dust technology which ‘significantly reduces the amount of airborne dust created during the pouring and mixing process’.

‘It’s been a privilege for WRS to be involved in such a prestigious project,’ said Neil Rodgerson, partner at WRS. ‘It’s been a real challenge to hit all deadlines with the complexity of tile designs. The building has every form of tiling – porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, large format, brick-bond, stack-bond, 45deg, herringbone, and mosaic – as well as installing underfloor heating to all bathrooms. It’s rare you have all these elements in one project.’

A common problem fitters experience when tiling on top of electric underfloor heating is tile movement owing to thermal expansion and contraction. Ensuring the substrate is rigid, sound clean and dry helps avoid issues. On wooden substrates, knowing that it’s capable of supporting the expected load without excessive deflection will reduce the risk of movement. For extra rigidity, overlaying the existing timber boards with WBP plywood that’s a minimum 18mm thickness, or tile backer board will give extra reassurance.

Tiling on uneven floors in a property of any age can also cause problems for appearance and safety. If the substrate isn’t flat it’s still possible to create a level surface, but bear in mind that more time will need to be factored in.

Continues the company: ‘Filling deep holes with a product like webercem pyrapatch repair mortar first, then priming the substrate with weber PR360 followed by a levelling compound such as weberfloor flex will smooth out the irregularities, small holes, and gaps to create a flat and level surface. As a fibre-reinforced self-smoothing levelling compound, weberfloor flex is suitable for most interior floor substrates up to a depth of 50mm. It can be tiled onto after between 1-2 hours helping to get back on programme.’

For the grouting, weberjoint premium tile grout was specified because it offers what’s described as a high-quality finish with the choice of 18 colours and matching silicones. Says the company: ‘It’s long-lasting, scratch-resistant, and designed for interior and exterior tiling onto walls and floors where some movement or vibration is expected. As a professional-standard grout, it’s water repellent and has the additional advantage of PURE CLEAN anti-stain technology. This unique feature greatly improves resistance to staining and discolouration. ‘

On a project of this nature, a high quality finish is key to its success. Blending the old with the new means choosing the appropriate colour of grout to draw out the natural characteristics of the tiles. The colours in the weberjoint premium range include browns and greys specifically to complement wood effect flooring tiles, as used at The Coach House.
When choosing the colour of grout, consider whether to go for a contrasting colour, which will highlight any pattern on the tile, or whether to go for a more unified approach by choosing a colour that closely matches the tile. Going for a grout just a little lighter than the tile can enhance the overall appearance.’

Paul Bevan, senior project manager of interior designers Ward Robinson, added: ‘WRS were able to quickly identify design issues, crafting elegant solutions to intricate problems on a regular basis. There was a rapid pace of change on the project due to sold units and client options. WRS were always on hand to provide expert advice and work alongside the interior design team to achieve outstanding results. This resulted in the sympathetic conversion of a grand heritage property into equally stunning individual apartments.’

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