Grout lines and tile layouts

Grout lines and tile layouts

While grouting is not always discussed in great depth at the design consultancy stage, it is frequently a point of contention when the tiling work is finished. Most tile retailers will confirm that ‘misaligned grout lines’ is their number one consumer complaint.

We’ve create a Technical Bulletin to help you keep on top of your tiling layouts and avoid disputes down the track. The Bulletin answers questions like:

  • What is grout and why is necessary?
  • Why do joint widths (grout lines) matter?
  • What are the ‘rules’ around joint widths (Australian Standards)?

This Bulletin will be a great resource to add to your library. Complete the form below and we’ll verify your Membership and get a copy to you ASAP. Alternatively, use the link we sent you a little while back (emailed to Members last month) and you’ll get access to all of our 2019 Bulletins in your own time.

Request for Technical Bulletin

Silicone sealants and mould

Silicone sealants and mould

The application of silicone sealant is often – quite literally – the finishing touch to a newly installed kitchen or bathroom. 

It is also a common cause of conflict, according to our Members, when mould and mildew begin to appear. Many homeowners underestimate the importance of keeping their bathrooms and kitchens free of mould, and are often perplexed about the consequences.

In this Technical Bulletin, we set out considerations for selecting, applying and maintaining silicone sealant, and encourage you to share this information with your client when you hand over a shiny new project.

Request for Technical Bulletin

Request for Technical Bulletin

Getting to the CORE of your design service

Getting to the CORE of your design service

Are the prices (fees) you charge your clients in line with the value of service you’re providing? 

When clients understand the full extent of the services you’re offering, you’ll be better positioned to pitch your proposal based on value over price. 

And when you’ve broken down the stages of your design service, you’ll have a helpful reminder of the time you’ve allowed for each part of the design puzzle.

If you don’t already do this, we encourage you to try this strategy when presenting your next fee proposal. You may have your own terminology for each phase, but we’ve developed a ‘C.O.R.E’ order to help get you started:

C | Collaborate and Collect

In the Design Survey stage, you’ll be collaborating with your clients to ascertain their practical needs for the design, along with their style preferences. You’ll be determining their budget, and discussing their expectations around timing. You will also be collecting physical site details – measuring up the existing space, identifying site parameters, locating existing services and assessing structural limitations. 

How long do you allow for this comprehensive collection of data?

O | Organise and Optimise

If you’re clever, you’ll collate the information you’ve gathered above within a few hours of your meeting. You’ll set out a clear and concise design brief, and make sure you have all the information you need about the site. To ensure both you and your clients are on the same page, you’ll also want to send them a summary of your findings, and get them to sign off on your design brief. 

What is your procedure for this stage of the game? How long do you allow yourself to organise and optimise your brief?

R | Research and Review

Finding finishes, fixtures and fittings that meet your client brief can be a time-consuming exercise. 

This research phase is a critical part of your Concept Design/Design Development work, but when you’re lost in a Google-vortex, are you keeping track of time?

E | Execute and Deliver

You’ve gathered your information, organised your findings and researched the best products for the project – let the fun begin! 

How much time do you set aside for Design Development and Documentation? Is this the ‘weightiest’ component of your project, or is it relatively light work when you’ve laid out ‘C, O and R’ above?

With a comprehensive scope of work set out in your fee proposal, your clients will see that there’s much more to design than picking pretty colours.

Our KBDi Design Consultancy Agreements are designed to help you formalise the above when the contract is being settled. The document sets out all stages, from Design Survey to Project Consultancy/Management, and helps keep you and your client on the same page. Remember this contract is FREE (and exclusive) for KBDi Members – if you haven’t seen it yet, contact us today, and we’ll send you a copy.

Do you have a ‘top tip’ to share when it comes to selling value over price? Do you have a favourite tool to keep your time tracking tight? We’d love your input – comment below if you’ve some worldly wisdom or queries of your own.

Designers who mean business

Designers who mean business

A message from our Education Partner, Designer Training Australia

DTA have launched a suite of courses to give kitchen and bathroom designers opportunities to work on their business with the helpful guidance of industry experts. Over the coming weeks, we will profile the various courses from this series.

#1 K&B Design Business Blueprint

This short course presents participants with a proven formula for running a successful business as a Kitchen and Bathroom Designer and provides a systematic approach to running Kitchen and Bathroom Design Business. Participants will walk away with over 30 customisable tools including templates, checklists and documents to run a successful design business.

It is targeted at designers who are either new to business or looking to start a business, and also those who are looking to refine their existing business processes.

The course is run over 3 weeks In November 2019 with weekly classes run webinar-style so you can participate from anywhere. Class sizes are capped to allow for interaction and one on one assistance and advice.

With tools for all phases of the design process including Initial Enquiry, Design Brief, Site Evaluation, Design Development, Initial Presentation, Refine and Finalise Documentation, Procurement and Contract and Implementation along with general Administration tools.

All tools are customisable so you can just add your own logo and modify to suit your business.

Tools we use include

#1 Client Enquiry Form

#2 Client File Form

#3 Schedule of Fees Template

#4 Client Agreement Template

#5 Portfolio Template

#6 Tax Invoice Template

#7 Invoice Template

#8 Time Tracker

#9 Client Interview for a Kitchen Form

#10 Client Interview for a Bathroom Form

#11 18 Point Checklist Template

#12 Site Survey Checklist

#13 Site Survey Grid Paper

#14 Design Analysis

#15 Title Block Template

#16 Consultation Report

#17 Concept Drawing

#18 Samples Request Form

#19 Variation to Design Form

#20 Kitchen Specification

#21 Bathroom Specification

#22 Specification Checklist

#23 Quotation Template

#24 Purchase Order Template

#25 Contract Template

#26 Project Plan Template

#27 Letterhead Template

#28 Envelope Template

#29 To Do List Form

#30 Quality Control Checklist

For more information email or go to

HPL vs LPM: a guide to laminate and decorated board

HPL vs LPM: a guide to laminate and decorated board

A message from our Diamond Sponsor, Laminex

Understanding the differences between high-pressure laminate and low-pressure melamine is the best way to choose the right product for the project.

Laminex launched the first high-pressure laminate, or HPL, onto the Australian market way back in 1952. Since then, Laminex laminate has become a mainstay in Australian homes and commercial spaces, in the process evolving into a technologically advanced, design-driven surface material. Decorated board, also known as low-pressure melamine or LPM, was introduced more recently and is now commonly specified alongside laminate by designers and fabricators. The two products go by several different names and are sometimes even referred to collectively as “Laminex”, but they’re actually very different. Understanding these differences is vital to getting the best outcome for every project, and the most cost-efficient outcome too.

The fundamentals of HPL and LPM

The technology behind the production of high-pressure laminate, or HPL, has moved on considerably since 1952, but the basic principles remain the same: sheets of technical kraft paper are impregnated with water-based resin and decorative surface papers are treated with water-based melamine resin; the papers are dried and cut to size, then collated together and pressed under high pressure (hence the name) and heat. This process activates the resins and fuses the paper layers together. The finished appearance is determined by the decorative top layer of paper, with solid colours using coloured paper and patterns such as woodgrains using multiple image layers, topped with an overlay paper to produce textural detail. The end result is a versatile and highly durable decorative surface that’s resistant to heat, UV, moisture and everyday wear and tear. By contrast, decorated board, also known as low-pressure melamine or LPM, uses medium density fibreboard (MDF) or particleboard as a rigid core, with melamine-impregnated decorative paper bonded to both sides. This process delivers a product with an almost identical surface appearance to HPL, but a very different structure and different properties and applications.

Choosing the right product

HPL is the best choice for medium-impact applications like kitchen benchtops, bathroom vanities and wall panelling, where it’s adhered to a solid substrate. It’s also a great solution for commercial applications, because of its durability and longevity. It comes in different grades for different uses: horizontal HPL offers maximum impact resistance for applications where durability is particularly important; postformable HPL can be heated and moulded to a radius, for seamless benchtop designs; vertical HPL is a thin product used primarily for visual impact, mostly with specialty decors such as metallics; and compact laminate is an extra-thick double-sided self-supporting laminate used for partitions, cubicles and locker systems, and benchtops. There’s also chemical-resistant HPL, for use in laboratories, and fire-rated HPL, for compliance with specific fire safety standards.

In comparison, the extra thickness of LPM and the fact that it is a pre-finished panel make it a cost-effective solution for structural work such as cabinetry carcasses, doors and panels, and furniture. The product is simply cut to size, finished with edging and assembled into the final design. HPL can also be used for these purposes, but it first has to be adhered to a rigid substrate, which adds time and work to the fabrication process, and is much less cost-effective (except for projects where the enhanced durability of an HPL surface is a priority). This difference becomes even more apparent when considering the newly updated Laminex Made-to-Measure Doors and Panels offering, which delivers doors and panels fully finished to custom specifications, leaving the fabricator to focus on assembling the cabinetry and completing the job.

LPM panels are also well suited to larger-scale projects that require a mix of installation efficiency, aesthetic appeal, durability and ease of maintenance, such as retail, office fit-outs and multi-residential projects.

Working with Laminex HPL and LPM

Laminex now has manufacturing plants at seven locations across Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, and its products are designed specifically for Australian conditions. The Laminex Colour Collection is heavily inspired by the colours and textures of the natural world, with decors that reflect what we see in the Australian landscape. And across the entire product range, including HPL, LPM and Essastone engineered stone, they’ve been designed to work beautifully together in coordinated interiors palettes. Meeting the expectations of contemporary designers and fabricators, the range is also bound together by an overarching commitment to sustainability in both manufacturing and product life.

To access the full Laminex library of tools and resources for fabricators, designers and specifiers, click here.

Silica and silicosis – what specifiers need to know

Silica and silicosis – what specifiers need to know

For many decades, silicosis has been acknowledged worldwide as a serious lung disease caused by occupational exposure to silica dust. In the past 24 months, an alarming number of cases – in our stone masonry industry specifically – and the associated media coverage of these devastating stories, has highlighted the issue here in Australia and driven many overdue calls for change.

In this Member-only technical bulletin, we’re outlining the definition of the disease and its causes, and identifying risks and solutions associated with silica-based stone products – particularly those routinely specified for benchtops.

Request your copy of this month’s technical bulletin by completing the form below: