Welcome to Boxer's FAQ area. With the answer-to-answer method we will try to clear many doubts and questions that we have seen arising from private customer over the last few years. So you want to find out everything you've always wanted to know about the mosaic world and you've never dared to ask.....?? Just keep on reading.

Q: But who is and what does Boxer sell ?

A: Boxer was founded in 1982 by the same family who still holds and directs it today. It is a company that over time has evolved into what today is a trade company with a consolidated sales network both in Italy and abroad. Our focus is to sell mosaics, decorations, home enrichments, both wall and floor, mainly for bathrooms and kitchens, but also for living rooms, spa and exteriors. We DO NOT sell ceramic tiles (which you can find, on the other hand, from very goog trade units), though often matching the tile with mosaics is an aesthetically and technically optimal solution. The most important metaphor we use is the tie: you first decide which jacket, what shirt, what trouser, but tie is up to us! We have it for all styles, all prices and always available in stock.

Q: What's the meaning of “mosaic”?

A: Mosaic is a set of chips close to each other so as to form a design, a pattern. The art of the mosaic dates back thousands of years ago as the artistic form of the Mosaic masters who layed down every single chip by hand. Actually, nowadays, there are chips of infinite materials (stone, glass, resin, wood, metal, just to name a few) that are glued to a back net (usually in 30x30cm sheets) in order to simplify handling and laying of the material. The enormous variety not only of materials, but also of surface finishing (gold coating, sandblasting, lustre, digital decoration, bas-relief, ecc.) and of the shape of the chips, makes the mosaic an extremely decorative and characterizing element in the context in which it is used. Most of Boxer items are pre-assembled with this system, but we also offer different non-mosaic decorations such as reconstructed bricks, recycled wood boards, aluminum decorative profiles, precious marble or cement sinks, and so on.

Q: What is the ideal destination for your mosaics and decorations?

A: Practically wherever your style and imagination wish them to be. Though the immediate locations can be bath or kitchen, there are almost endless destinations that can satisfy your sense of aesthetics. Just to name a few: living room walls, bed headboards, counter tops in shops, spa, outdoor walls, cruise ship interior, ecc. Have a look at our Facebook or Instagram profile to share some ideas and take inspiration.

Q: Are your decorations industrial?

A: Not at all. Mosaics and decorations are still a perfect example of craftsmanship, It is important that you keep this in mond when surfing our site, because although market needs have led to the production of large volumes of these handicrafts, the process is always manual and brings with it all the advantages, the preciousness, the exclusivity and, at the same time, the boundaries that distinguish it. For example: when you bay a porcelain tile, you buy an industrial product with specific features that can be summed up in a technical fiche that is comparable to others. With mosaics this is not possible. Talking about industrial shades, technical fiches, markings, and anything else is misleading. As a metaphor image you are in an old Murano workshop where the craftman offers you a magnificent blown glass vase: would you ask for a technical fiche? Well, the mosaic is chosen for its beauty, not for its “technique”. Of course, there are basic criteria that join most of our products and simplify things by allowing the most varied uses of mosaic without bad mood. And, in any case, if one of our mosaics has aesthetic features requiring special and absolute attention to laying and maintenance, these will be specified in the description of the product. You will always have clear what you are buying.

Q: How many pieces should I buy?

A: We believe the customer has to face the easiest purchasing process, so you can also buy just one single mosaic unit (except for a few products that can be purchased in complete boxes clearly marked on the website). However, a suggestion is required: after measuring the surface to be covered with mosaic, we recommend to exceed in the quantity to buy for about 10-15%. If at first sight this margin may seem too cautious, it almost always turns out to be the winning choice for two reasons: measurement errors or changes in sheets laying (both of which are much more frequent than you might imagine), or as spare part set when masons would in the future remove the product posed, for example, for troubleshooting and leakage. It's true that you can make a subsequent purchase later, and if you send us a photo of what you initially bought we will do our best in Boxer to help you to find the product with the most aesthetic features similar to your previous purchase, but this is not a mathematical formula. The best thing is to always have all the mosaic sheets from the same batch, including the spare sheets.

Q: I would like to receive a comment from Boxer about the average price-level of mosaics.

A: We are happy to answer with the help of examples coming from other fields (in order to contextualize the issue by creating mental comparisons) and by setting an average hypothetical expense of about 700/900 euros:

> Smartphone/tablet of American or Korean famous brands. Average duration? 3-5 years.
> Motorcycle exhaust by Japanese or Slovenian brands. Average duration? 6-8 years.
> Summer branded dress. Average duration? 1-3 years.
> Medium quality 3 places sofa. Average duration? 7-9 years.
> Medium quality bathroom furniture. Average duration? 12-15 years.

Let's now focus on the same figure to invest in an average quantity (for prices and surface) of mosaic, that is, a product that enriches and brightens your environment, that has no obsolescence and does not age and is often bought only once during building renovations: average duration? probably a whole life. Mosaic is not "square meter", it is not functional wall covering. It is a pleasure, often with a few sheets like a painting, to make a sensorial experience, “making a house a home” through a craft product that, like a jewel, never grow old. Do you bet that after a year you will not get any more attention to the porcelain tiles in your bathroom? And what will you continue to look at the chosen mosaic?

Q:Who and where are the boxer mosaics produced?

A:Most of the Boxer mosaics are totally designed by our internal team or heavy revisited in the look and combinations, when comes from external suggestions and ideas which do not satisfy the Italian style that distinguishes us and that we try to offer through our products. Concerning supplying, being Boxer a trade company, we buy everywhere in the world we find suppliers with the best mix among quality / cost / production capacity / respect of our ethical and environmental standards. The countries where Boxer buys or has bought from are: Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, USA, Tunisia, Albania, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, India.

Q: Can mosaic sheets on net be cut?

A: Of course! Indeed it is a common practice with a simple cutter or scissors to cut mosaics as per the attached figure: In this way, mosaic strips can be used along the perimeter of the room between tiles or on the top of their edges (boiserie look).

Q: I bought your mosaic but now I also need tiles, glue, sanitary ware, workers, etc. How can I do ?

A: Click on ASK A RETAILER and we will let you know a selected reseller in your area that will give you all the advices and products you need to complete your renovation.

Q: I appreciate your website, but I always prefer to browse the paper catalog. Is it available? How can I have it?

A: Yes, it is possible. We have a paper catalog of over 600 pages.  You can receive our catalogue for free by e-mail by clicking on RECEIVE CATALOG BY E-MAIL by filling out the appropriate form and then printing such catalogue with your printer.

Q: Why do these symbols appear on some pages of your catalogue ?

Consegna non disponibile
A: It means that the product is too fragile to be shipped by express courier. From our experience, the risk of breakage is too high. In this case, you have to pick up goods at our warehouse in Via Casiglie Basse 11, 41049 Sassuolo (MO) with your own personal van, or with a forwarder selected by you. Alternatively you can make a traditional purchase (no online) at a selected retailer in your area to which we will send you if you click on ASK A RETAILER.

A: Item subject to color and shade variations. We strongly recommend orders of an adequate number of pieces to avoid probable problems of tonality in case of reminder of the order.

A: Product sold in full boxes only.

A: - Product has additional and special technical data. It's important to read them before buying.

Q: How need Boxer products to be laid ?

A: With a good professional fixer and possibly certified (www.assoposa.it). Does it seem trivial? Actually, over the years we have seen our products ruined by bad laying many times ...... To stay in the metaphor, if you bought a famous red supercar made here in this area, would you take it to the first unknown car wash? Or to the first mechanician on the road? Of course not. So when you buy a magnificent mosaic do not make it ruin with a bad laying.

Laying and grouting Boxer products requires normal diligence, competence and knowledge of materials. All things rarely within the reach of improvised craftsmen but, on the contrary, normal for a good fixer who knows all the tricks of his job. By this, we mean that the following notes that you find here should not replace the professionalism and the instructions that your fixer will use during laying and of which he remains the only person in charge. If and when there are mosaics that have special characteristics and warnings that are beyond his knowledge, we have drawn up a fiche that eliminates doubts and errors (you find it on the product page in the website and inside mosaic boxes) and that we recommend you to print in order to assist and check your fixer.

It is therefore with pleasure that we share with you some concepts concerning the installation of mosaics and decorations, also to make you become familiar with the topic. 

BACKGROUND: the basic concept for ceramic tiles becomes a must for mosaics, the base must be clean and free of mold, infiltrations, moisture spots, etc. Especially the infiltrations, often basic if they contain some cement from the bottom, have the power, in the months, to ruin some materials contained in the mosaics (eg the back decorated glass can deteriorate). So make sure the base is suitable by checking it for a reasonable period of time.

MOSAIC PRE-CHECK BEFORE INSTALLATION: as with the tiles, even more, it is always essential to open all the boxes, spread the sheets on the ground and check the correspondence to what has been bought, the color, the size, etc. Please pay special attention to any differences in shade for tumbled marble providing, before laying, to clean it with a clean cloth (if necessary, wet it with simple water). It is understood that Boxer will respond only the NOT laid material in the times and methods described. This means that the installation excludes the "100% satisfied or reimbursed" guarantee. 

GLUE: often the mosaics are made with different materials mixed together. However this does not involve any particular problems. Unless the mosaic is made of a single material, in which case the specific adhesive will be used (eg a specific glue for wood will be indicated for a wooden mosaic), for the vast majority of Boxer products a common tile adhesive can be used. In any case, if a specific glue was mandatory (under penalty of failure of the laying) this will be indicated in the product fiche.. 

JOINT: this is the most important chapter and it is the phase in which the greatest mistakes are made by poor fixers. We can distinguish grouts in two macro families: cement-base or epoxy (bicomponent). The following table gives you a synthetic comparison between the two highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

You will notice that the main advantage of the cement grout is basically the price, certainly an important element but, we believe, considering the amount spent on the mosaic, excessively risky due to the modest technical characteristics, and the innate basicity due to the presence of cement (again we can use a metaphor: would you bring a branded dress to the first laundry you find to save a few euros?) that could react with some varnishes and coatings used in the mosaic, expecially in case of retro infiltrations of water. If you also consider that some of the main destinations of the mosaic are wet areas such as shower, bathroom, spa, kitchen backsplash, etc., in which every competent fixer will recommend a good epoxy grout, then it is natural to suggest the use of same epoxy grout as privileged solution for practically all the mosaics both for the superior technical qualities, and for the superior aesthetic characteristics that, if well calibrated, boost the look of the decor (in some cases its look radically changes: try and see!).

Also not to forget that epoxy can often be used both as glue and as a grout: with just one product, you have both solutions. But also remember that the epoxy used as a grout in some cases can tonalize the STONE, boosting the colors and protecting it at the same time. In case this tonality is not wanted, it is necessary to use an natural-effect coating liquid before grouting. 

CLEANING: being this the final part of the grouting, it is also of absolute importance. Two are the "must" not to forget: 1. the cleaning of the surface must be done just after grouting (not after hours and/or the day after). 2. never use abrasive / aggressive tools or products that could damage the superficial preciousness of the mosaic. Soft sponges and plenty of clean water are necessary and sufficient for an optimal cleaning of the mosaics. 

Although well-specified in the special product information fiche, it is important to remember that it is always advisable not to cover the mosaic with ADHESIVE TAPE (paper-tape too) in order to avoid any possible detachment of decorative coatings.

TREATMENT: Although not mandatory, if the just laid mosaic has marble or natural stone chips, it is advisable to proceed with a wax coating. After cleaning, when you are sure that the marble is perfectly dried, it is appropriate to make the treatment.
This way of proceeding has two good reasons to be made (not necessarily by a professional installer, but even by the final private customer): a) refreshs and mantains the natural color of stones and b) with treatment you protect the marble from possible stains from accidental oil or coffee fall, etc..
We suggest the use of products from the best known chemical industries usually on the market. Treating marble does not represent any difficult: spread uniformly the chosen product with a brush or a clean sponge on the surface to be treated avoiding product heaps. Let it dry and go ahead, if needed, with a second hand of treatment, mostly in that points where the greater porosity of marble determine almost the total absorption of the product.
It is to consider quite normal the need of a second hand treatment even after some weeks, ever based on the quite different absorption characteristics of each marble type, as well as it is appropriate to repeat periodically this process of treatment (after six months/one year) in order to mantain the colors brightness and low absorvation level of fluids of marble surface.

MAINTENANCE: Maintenance of most of boxer mosaics is limited to cleaning with neutral and non-abrasive detergents. For those in woods or other special materials,refer to the information sheet if present in the page that you are visualizing on the website.

Q: Are there many quality complaints in the mosaic world ?

A: No, a rarity. Given that you have shared the above-mentioned thoughts (ie the non-industrial mosaic nature and its intrinsic product characteristics), few arguments occur in 99% of complaints for the following three reasons:

> Differences in shade for the tumbled marble mosaic discovered after laying. In this case, the problem arises from a poor control by the fixer before laying procedures. Preventing sheets floor preparation and, when useful, their wet wetting by wet sponge avoids facing trouble at the end.

> The retro-decoration of the glass tiles is erased or modified in the shades after laying. In this case the fixer used a particularly basic cementitious glue whose high PH literally chews the back paint. This is primarily the case with cheap cementitious adhesives, suitable for large surfaces, due to their price. In case of doubt, and considering the common destination of mosaics in wet areas, it is recommended to use two-component (epoxy) glue.

> The precious mosaic surface coatings (golden leaf, glossy coating effect, etc.) are scratched during cleaning after grouting. Here, unfortunately, the fixer did not comply with the product information sheet at the time of final cleaning and either: used abrasive tools or waited too long between sealing joints and cleaning, or covered the mosaic with tape that rips the decoration when it’s removed.

Among other things, the concept of "hidden defect" in the mosaic is virtually non-existent: it is not a household appliance, a car, etc., but a verifiable product before being laid or damaged by it if it is not professionally performed.

Moreover it’s very important that the post-laying cleaning of mosaic takes place before the installation of shower trays, furniture, built-in structures, work surfaces, sanitary wares and taps, etc., etc..

Definitely, therefore, the fixer is a crucial person for a good end result of the job. Give part of your time to his selection to ensure a nice result that will accompany you for a lifetime.

Q: If before/during/after laying and cleaning phases I think I need help or advice, who can I contact? ?

A: If you use a certified or professional fixer you definitely have all the answers to your questions thanks to him at all stages. In any case, to have further feedback, you can contact our technical partners with whom we have been working for years and who have previously tested our products before marketing.

For background, laying, glue, ecc.: LITOKOL SPA, info@litokol.it
For cleaning, treatment, maintenance, ecc.: FILA SPA, customer-careBX@filachim.it
Of course you can always contact us at support@boxer.it

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