Fully detached –
Durabase CI decoupling mats tough enough for Opel cars
One or two tons of weight spread over four square metres: car dealers know just how much weight their floors need to take. One ugly crack in the floor-tiling and their beautiful display is ruined. Pulling the whole floor out and relaying it can be really expensive. A smarter solution is the one chosen by Opel dealer Klaus Günther of Ransbach-Baumbach. When it came to replacing his floor in March 2007, this dealer decided to let some invisible detail take the strain. He actually retained his existing floor but utilised Dural’s Durabase CI underlay mats.
The mat lies on top of the old tiles and new tiles can then be laid on top of the mat. This “sandwich” technique developed by Dural provides nothing but benefits. Just the time it took to install the new floor shows that - 450 square metres were laid in just a week. You can’t replace an old floor much quicker than that. If the builders had used conventional methods, it would likely have taken a whole month.
A week to install
Günter Steuder, owner of the eponymous tiling firm from Ransbach-Baumbach, was responsible for the retiling work at Autohaus Günther. “There was no real alternative to using the decoupling mat,” he recalls. If he had been forced to first remove the existing floor then it would have been impossible to do the work in the time available. It would probably have taken four weeks just for the new screed base to harden, at least if he had used conventional materials. The project at the Opel showroom, however, needed to be finished in just a week. “We were working to a deadline,” says Steuder. Extending the deadline was not an option.
A car dealership without a showroom is effectively a nightmare for the sales staff. This explains why Klaus Günther was over the moon that the work could be completed in such a short time. There was no doubt at all that a new floor was needed. The old tiles had lasted precisely 23 years, but were increasingly showing signs of age, with thin cracks here, broken edges there. In addition Opel themselves were demanding a consistent decor for their dealerships. Ransbach-Baumbach was required to have the corporate “Opel tiles” by Marazzi too.
Covering the cracks with no trouble
How could all this be achieved? Manuel Frensch from Dural’s German sales team went into action. He was already familiar with Günter Steuder’s business as a result of previous projects. Frensch made the suggestion to Steuder that Durabase CI underlay mats could be used. The reason is simple: “The matting covers existing cracks. That was vital to this project,” explained Frensch when the work was completed. Not only that, but Durabase CI can also take heavy loads with ease and that was obviously an essential prerequisite in the Günther showroom.
The Dural underlay works on a simple principle. The new floor covering is virtually completely decoupled from the existing foundation. That means no matter what the old flooring does, it has no effect on the new, firm tiling on top. Oscillations, movements, expansion and contraction, the layer separating the original floor from its new covering smoothes everything out.
Never anything but good experiences
For Günter Steuder's team, working with Durabase CI was no big challenge. “I’d used the underlay before in private houses,” confided Steuder after the work was done. The mats can for example be used in kitchens so that tiles can be laid over existing wooden floors. He had this to say about his experiences: “The matting is ideal. We’ve never had anything but good experiences with it.” He adds that, in his opinion, the Dural underlay matting is as safe as can be.
The advantages of Durabase CI primarily include its high rigidity and its excellent bonding with thin-bed mortar. This results from special texturing of the matting with a recessed grid. The material is capable of expansion and does not rot. Even corrosive substances and liquids like alkalis, solvents or oil have no effect on the yellow HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Nevertheless Durabase CI is also characterised by its excellent sealing against diffusion of water vapour. One other particularly important feature is, of course, its thinness. It is only 3.0 mm thick.
Installation made easy
Dural underlay mats are bonded to the floor using flexible thin-bed mortar. The mortar is best applied using a spreader with 4 x 4 mm serrations. It is important, though, that the tile adhesive is appropriate to the surface beneath. Experience has shown that the best results can be achieved with hydraulically binding mortar. The matting itself is pressed down evenly onto a surface which is already fully coated with fresh mortar, with its back (the side with the fleece carrier layer) facing downwards. The thin-bed mortar needs to bond well mechanically with the woven fleece on the bottom of the Durabase-CI matting. For joints, wall edging and junctions there are special accessories (Durabase WPF sealing band or Durabase WP). Inward and outward facing corners as well as special sections for drainpipes are sealed by Durabase-WPF corner pieces or WPF sealing bushes.
Tiles are laid on top of the underlay using the thin-bed technique with no air pockets once the lower bond for the matting has hardened. The mortar should be spread in such a way that it fills the textured recesses. The result is that there is no direct bond between the two layers of mortar so that the foundation and the new floor covering are decoupled from one another.
For Autohaus Günther this intelligent but effectively simple principle is also a safe solution. It needs to be, because the new tiles are much larger than the old ones. Whereas the old tiles were just 25 x 25 cm in size, the new ones measure 30 x 60 cm. It is also a common rule of thumb that larger tiles are more susceptible to cracking and breakages. That means you cannot be too careful.
Using Durabase CI underlay matting also has one other quite different advantage. The short installation time obviously leads to major cost savings. “Our system is definitely cheaper than using conventional methods,” claimed Manuel Frensch, a member of the Dural sales staff.
14 cars within 450 square metres: the showroom Ransbach-Baumbach will have to stand up to a lot in the future, but it is designed for just that. Until the end of the 1990s, people tried to make good damage to ceramic floors with various types of fillers. Their disadvantages lay in their relatively large thickness and the complexity of the preparation.
Suitable even for outdoors
Durabase CI makes problems such as these a thing of the past. The matting is also extremely versatile. It can be used outdoors as well as indoors. Example applications include balconies and patios that need to be properly sealed. When used in conjunction with tiled flooring, it is possible to prevent water seeping up during the building work and causing permanent damage. Even difficult crumbling surfaces can be made into a safe foundation layer by means of decoupling.
Durabase CI is supplied in rolls 1 m in width. Rolls are 5, 10 or 25 metres in length.