The next time you splash-out on an expensive spa break, warming yourself in beautifully tiled saunas and steam rooms between massage treatments, take a moment to ponder how Roman Britons enjoyed equally luxurious facilities nearly 2000 years ago. There are in fact numerous well preserved examples of Roman bath-houses across the UK, where aside from the hot water system, sophistications like underfloor heating were concealed beneath lavish tessellated floors – mosaics as we term them – offering glimpses of their battles, banquets and other excesses.
So while we probably cannot feel too superior about the actual scope of our leisure destinations, we have made considerable progress in the way that facilities, such as health spas and swimming pools, are constructed and delivered. Looking further back in time, a recent BBC documentary expounded the theory that Stonehenge was dismantled and transported to Wiltshire from its original site in Wales when its creators moved east. Despite this staggering logistical achievement by an ancient tribe, evidence indicates that most Roman mosaics were formed from shards of locally available rock and stone. By contrast, today’s specifier has access to a truly global supply chain complemented by modern manufacturing techniques which, in the case of the Slicedstone range from Marmox (UK), can literally be described as ‘cutting edge’.
The range presents a palette of 10 different sedimentary rock types from India, cut to a thickness of 4mm with extraordinary accuracy using the latest laser processing machinery to achieve precisely dimensioned pieces that are then set out on a waterproof membrane. Customers can choose between 25x25mm or 50x50mm tiles, and 1000x500mm rolls or 300mm square sections; all delivering crisp lines and a consistent 3mm grout line. Options include Copper, Bronze, Graphite, Mars Stone and Sea Stone, as well as mixes of three mosaics, while the surfaces are coated with a clear polycarbonate solution to protect them and make it simple to clean off any spillages.
The tiles are supplied in easy to handle rolls which being much larger than the sizes which traditional mosaics are supplied in are up to 80 per cent faster to install. Another benefit is that because since they are only 4mm thick, they require 60 per cent less grout than typical 10mm thick tiles.
A major benefit of mosaics which are both affordable and practical, and in the case of Slicedstone, part of a much larger and compatible set of wetroom product solutions, is that they become applicable to a wider variety of venues. This was borne out by the completion last year of a dog grooming parlour at the My Rural Activity Centre near Adisham in Kent. Here, Genevieve Parsons utilised Slicedstone sheets and rolls in conjunction with sections of Marmox Multiboard and Marmox 360 adhesive to form a very user-friendly wash-station. A key factor in the decision to adopt this integrated, single source solution was the need to avoid any water seeping into the structure of the timber cabin chosen to house the salon. The straightforward installation provided total confidence in the integrity of the waterproof barrier, as well as ease of cleaning in use.
The build commenced with 60mm thick panels of Multiboard cut to form a set of steps as well as the shallow tray itself and to line the walls. Special floor and wall brackets helped secure the vertical sections, while Marmox 360 adhesive bonded the treads in place, with more pieces of the Multiboard forming an upstand along the side of the steps to prevent overflow. An extra layer of waterproof fleece tanked the entire area, and was dressed up the vertical edges with the corners folded in the style of ‘hospital’ bed-making, before being secured with glue. The multi-coloured Slicedstone mosaic rolls were cut to size and bonded in place using the Marmox system’s Mapei adhesive, and all the joints grouted to complete the pristine appearance.
Jonathan Parsons commented, “Opting to build our own grooming station with steps rather than the usual stainless steel assembly has given Gen’ a wash area that is five times larger, while improving the comfort and wellbeing of the dogs. Many dogs are more comfortable and conditioned to the texture and feel of tiles underfoot, as opposed to slippery stainless steel or standing on uncomfortable soakaway grates. And using the extra layer of waterproof fleece and the sheet mosaics that also have a waterproof fleece has given me double the amount of waterproofing.”
More details on Slicedstone can be found here. For further information please call 01634 835290, email or visit the Marmox website.