“Tiles and steel enamel are my dream team in the bathroom.”

Ahlen, December 2016. – For over 30 years Bartholomäus Fliesen GmbH has been advising its customers in modern bathroom design and tiling. Stephan Bartholomäus, Managing Director of this illustrious family business in Werther, North Rhine-Westphalia, tells us in an interview why for him enamelled shower surfaces in wet areas complement tiles on the walls and surrounding bathroom floor. “For me, tile and steel enamel go together perfectly and they’re my dream team in the bathroom. Two materials for eternity,” is how Stephan Bartholomäus describes his ideal solution for floor-level shower design.

Mr. Bartholomäus, what percentage of your bathrooms do you fit out with a floor-level shower?
“As a matter of fact, all my customers want a floor-level shower. That goes for both private customers and hotels. And I can nearly always deliver a step-free solution. In new-builds I can fulfil 100 % of requests. Where a floor-level shower can’t be fitted this may be down to the site-specific conditions of refurbishment or modernisation projects.”

You are a tile expert – but you still recommend floor-level shower surfaces made of Kaldewei steel enamel for wet areas. Why is that?
“Despite the trust I have in tiles, a floor surface with seams is definitely not the best solution for wet areas in the bathroom. If the work isn’t done absolutely perfectly, there is a risk of damage from water or moisture penetration. That’s why in this case I recommend one solid shower surface – seamless and made of a single material. For me personally, a shower surface made of steel enamel is clearly the best choice and I’m speaking here from experience: I have two Kaldewei models installed at home.”

In your experience what are the biggest risks posed by tiled shower areas?
“A tiled shower area stops looking good at some stage. The seams are the problem here. Whether it’s hair dye or various shower creams and conditioners, the shower has to cope with quite a lot. So you can’t actually blame the seam when it starts soaking up all these liquids at some point. Acidic cleaning agents have to be used to ensure hygiene but these are toxic for the seams – they start getting porous and permeable to water. The average lifetime of a bathroom is 20 years but you’ll never get that with a tiled shower area.”

Generally speaking, how easy is it to clean tiled showers?
“The rougher a tile the more difficult it is to clean. I can always clean a tile – it’s a great product – but when I use a limescale remover, it not only removes the limescale but also attacks the seam. And that’s when the problems start.”

What would say to a customer who comes to you and asks for a floor-level tiled shower?
“My experience of talking to customers is that they simply want a floor-level shower. Their first idea is almost always a tiled shower area because they’re just not familiar with the alternatives. Initially they can’t even imagine a step-free shower surface made of steel enamel. If someone is in love with the idea of a shower floor with small tiles or maybe even mosaics, I point out that this means extra cleaning effort. Based on my own experience I then always recommend floor-level shower surfaces made of steel enamel because I am completely convinced of the material quality. If I then also explain that everything will be installed completely flush with the floor in a colour to match the tiles, many of my customers are persuaded that this is a really good alternative. After all, in 30 years’ time enamelled shower surfaces will look and work exactly as they do today.”

So you prefer to forgo floor tiling in wet areas?
“Absolutely. I lose nothing except the huge responsibility for an area in the bathroom that is fraught with risk. And I’m happy to lose that. I’m glad to forgo floor tiles in the wet area in order to provide my customers with the most durable solution. So instead I’ll use more tiles on the wall – for example by fitting lovely tiles all the way up to the ceiling.”

And if the customer insists on his mosaic?
“Then I say: ‘No problem. Let’s just fit a floor-level shower in steel enamel and then we can tile around it just the way you want.’ That way we can both sleep easy but we still have the high-end look we want in the bathroom – that’s what makes steel enamel and tile the dream team for eternity.”

Source: Franz Kaldewei GmbH & Co. KG. Copy requested.

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Stephan Bartholomäus, Managing Director of the illustrious family business Bartholomäus Fliesen GmbH in Werther, North Rhine-Westphalia: “For me, tile and steel enamel go together perfectly and they’re my dream team in the bathroom. Two materials for eternity.”

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At the elements bathroom showroom in Bielefeld, Stephan Bartholomäus shows customers how high-end tiles and an enamelled shower surface can be perfectly combined.

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Enamelled shower surfaces from Kaldewei can be installed completely flush with the floor, they are seamless, protect against damage caused by moisture and are exceptionally easy to clean. The premium manufacturer Kaldewei backs up this high quality and durability with a 30-year warranty. Pictured: Enamelled Kaldewei Scona shower surface

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