Eiffel Tower

Uncoupling an Icon

There are few landmarks in the world more famous than the Eiffel Tower. When it came to the latest round of renovations for this romantic French landmark, two of Schlüter’s own iconic products proved to be key.

Constructed between 1887 and 1889, the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was a feat of engineering and architecture and today welcomes almost 7 million visitors a year.

With these extraordinary visitor credentials, it is hardly surprising that the structure has undergone a number of renovations in recent years; the latest of these was the overhaul of the first-floor platform, situated at a height of 57m, self-financed by the operator company SETE (Société d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel) with a sum of approximately €25 million. A delicate operation due to the unique characteristics of the building and the levels of interest it attracts, it involved rebuilding the Eiffel and Ferrié pavilions as well as three access structures to the elevators, along with renovating the façade of the restaurant. As part of the project, natural stone coverings were installed across 300m2 of floor space, 85m2 of wall space and a selection of other items, including a staircase, seating benches and counters; Schlüter-Systems was engaged to provide an uncoupling solution that would support and protect the material.

In selecting the exact products for the installation, particular emphasis was placed on achieving maximum durability whilst minimising assembly height and weight, a task for which Schlüter’s uncoupling membrane of 30 years’ standing, Schlüter-DITRA 25, was well suited and specified. With the architect having requested large-format natural stone panels of 100 x 100cm for the bulk of the floor area, EDM enlisted the services of Stone Performance, who provided a material mix panel consisting of a 10mm natural stone layer on fibreglass, structurally bonded across the entire surface. The panels were installed over a steel substrate panel, following the application of a bonded primer and installation of the Schlüter-DITRA 25, and were set into place with suction lifters. The entire covering area was subdivided into 40m² segments, using Schlüter-DILEX-EKSN movement joints. These movement joint profiles, which were also installed in the door transition areas, are ideally suited to absorbing the expansion and contraction anticipated.

An uncoupling membrane is always recommended for tile and stone installations, and is installed in-between the tile and substrate to prevent cracking and debonding of the materials. Schlüter-DITRA 25 is a polyethylene membrane of just 3mm thickness, with square, dovetailed recesses and an anchoring fleece laminated to the underside. The bottom of the recesses, when filled with thin-bed adhesive, directly transfer load impact on the tile covering through to the substrate, preventing damage. The design of the recesses also facilitates the creation of a system of interconnected air channels between the fleece and the membrane, which allows moisture to evaporate from the substrate and neutralises vapour pressure. The fleece itself ensures secure bonding of the membrane to the tile adhesive.

The specifiers of this project found their perfect solution in Schlüter-DITRA 25. The Schlüter-DITRA range also contains solutions specially designed for underfloor heating, sound reduction, large format tile and external drainage (DITRA-HEAT/DITRA-HEAT-DUO, DITRA-SOUND and DITRA-DRAIN.

For more information on how Schlüter-Systems can help with your tile and stone projects, call 01530 813396 or email


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