The history of Schluter
Profile of innovation
Always one step ahead of the times!
Based on his extensive knowledge of tile assemblies, Werner Schlüter has consistently met the needs of a rapidly evolving industry by developing practical solutions to tile installation challenges. What began as a modest idea has since evolved into a company with over 40 product lines that are promoted in countries around the world.
After having observed a tile setter on his way home from school when he was only 12 years old, Werner Schlüter decided to become a Master Tile Setter. Seven years later, he had completed the required training as an apprentice and a journeyman. In 1966, he established his own tile installation company, Schluter Tile.
While working on an unusual bathroom project in Germany that included four thresholds, Mr. Schlüter came up with a solution to a common problem. Typically, exposed tile edges were left vulnerable to chipping and breaking. Mr. Schlüter concluded that a metal "L" angle, installed prior to placing tiles, would not only serve as edge protection, but also hide the unglazed edge and provide a straight and clean transition to adjoining surfaces. Hence in 1975, the Schluter-SCHIENE was born—the first in a long line of successful products and systems that have made Schluter-Systems the largest and most innovative supplier in the industry.
The right idea - at the right time!
The concept of using profiles fits perfectly into the context of new developments in tile production and construction materials.
The oil crisis in the seventies meant that the firing processes in tile manufacturing had to change. To save energy, tiles are now fired only once. It is impossible, or at least extremely involved, to produce tile trim pieces for corners and edges using this technique.
Also, tiles are no longer laid in a mortar bed, but embedded into special adhesives. The outer edges of the tiles therefore remain exposed and unprotected. The profile quickly proved to be excellent edge protection, and was aesthetically pleasing at the same time! Small wonder that the Schluter-SCHIENE became a world renowned product.
Schluter-Systems' North America subsidiary, Schluter Systems L.P., was founded in 1986. With offices both in Montreal, Canada and Plattsburgh, New York, this subsidiary is the second-largest operation in the International Corporation, the first being the home company in Germany.
Schluter Systems L.P. has over 100 employees who work closely with dealers, distributors, tile contractors, architects, specifiers, and various other members of the building/construction industry, providing the best customer service available - actively helping to ensure a long-lasting tile installation.
We share our knowledge!As the industry's source for innovative solutions for ceramic and stone tile installations, we are committed to education and training in industry-approved installation methods through nationwide on-site seminars and training sessions.
A brief overview of our company's history
1966 - Schluter Tile
1975 - In the beginning was the profile
The first Schluter-SCHIENE is produced - Werner Schlüter and a friend produce the first Schluter-SCHIENE prototype out of brass. Production and sales begin.
The Schluter-TREP stair-nosing profiles are developed to protect tile edges and provide a slip-resistant tread surface for durable, safe, and visually appealing tiled stairs.
1982 - Schluter makes the first balcony drainage system
Temperature fluctuations and the resulting freeze/thaw cycle can cause the gradual deterioration of the mortar bed in exterior tile applications. Werner Schlüter developed water management systems, including the Schluter-TROBA drainage matting and the BARA and BARIN edging and gutter systems.
1985 - Movement without cracks
The Schluter-DILEX profile series hits the market. For the first time, it is possible to construct long-term, maintenance-free movement joints.
1987 - Schluter invents the uncoupling membrane
One of the most influential advancements in the tile industry was the introduction of the uncoupling membrane, Schluter-DITRA. For thousands of years, tile was successfully installed using the sand strata method. This method incorporated a layer of sand to uncouple the tile surface from the substrate, allowing the two surfaces to move independently. Thin-set mortar was developed in the 1960's, and tile-setting techniques took a new direction. Force-conductive bonding, or bonding the tile directly to the substrate, became the standard. Since the substrate and the tile react to changes in moisture and temperature at different rates, stresses in the force-conductive assembly can produce cracks in the tiled surface. Werner Schlüter developed Schluter-DITRA, which replicates the function of the sand strata method, effectively uncoupling the tile from the substrate. This improved version of the sand strata method also incorporates waterproofing and vapor management functions.
Schluter-KERDI, a pliable sheet-applied bonded waterproof membrane is introduced. Unlike traditional waterproofing, KERDI is bonded to the substrate and allows for the direct application of tile using the thin-set method. This prevents moisture from infiltrating the mortar setting bed, thus reducing the risk of leakage, efflorescence, and mold growth in wet areas (e.g., showers, commercial kitchens, etc.).
1990 - Christening!
Schluter is henceforth called Schluter-Systems.
Schluter-BEKOTEC, a lightweight modular screed system for producing permanent flooring assemblies that are free from cracks is introduced. BEKOTEC allows the installation of continuous screed surfaces without any control joints or wire reinforcement and accommodates hydronic radiant heating tubes. Since it is a floating system, the assembly can be customized to meet a range of heat and sound requirements.
2001 – The integrated bonding flange
Conventional two-stage floor and shower drains are designed to clamp to waterproofing membranes below the mortar bed, while bonded waterproofing membranes are topically applied. The revolutionary Schluter-KERDI-DRAIN is developed with an integrated bonding flange that allows for a watertight connection to Schluter-KERDI, and other bonded waterproof membranes, at the top of the assembly.
2001 - Profile of innovation
The patented joint spacer gives Schluter-Profiles an exclusive, uniform joint appearance and simplifies the grouting process.
2003 - Fulfillment of the Schluter-Shower System
The Schluter-KERDI-SHOWER-ST/-SC/-SR prefabricated EPS foam shower substrates are introduced to provide a lightweight, easy-to-install alternative to mortar bases. They are designed to integrate with Schluter-KERDI and Schluter-KERDI-DRAIN. This family of products integrates to form the Schluter-Shower System.