Why do NTCA Five Star Contractors all have an active safety program in their company?

In many instances, the need for an active safety program is required to bid or secure work. Effective safety programs perform many positive functions. Here are some examples:
• Avoid costly interruptions to the project
• Reduce Insurance Costs
• Lower workers compensation costs
• Improve employee morale and trust
• Improve company performance
• Improve overall quality of workmanship
• Reduce job site accidents
• Reduce the need for training replacement workers
• Cultivate an environment that encourages quality company applicants

For these reasons, and many more, NTCA Five Star Contractors are making a commitment to improving workplace safety. Many of them have dedicated considerable resources to safety training, which is the cornerstone of identifying potential risks. If a tile installer or helper is educated on the means and methods to protect themselves and others from project site risks, along with the steps necessary to correct these risks, he/she is equipped to manage and eliminate unsafe work practices. This in turn reduces costly delays in the construction process.

One of the key components to reducing risk is to empower employees to take action if they witness unsafe practices or hazards on the job site. This is why it is important for the tile contracting company to properly train their supervisors and employees so they realize that not only do they have the right to take time to correct a safety-related shortcoming, they have an obligation to correct it. There is a fundamental difference between the ability, or right to correct, and the obligation to correct. NTCA Five Star Contractor employees understand that it is completely acceptable to shut down operations in order to address a safety concern.

As you educate your workforce, it is necessary to break the myth that correcting a safety-related problem is an expense. You must educate your workers so they understand that risk or hazard identification and correction offers significant savings and adds value to the project and the company bottom line. Most importantly, though, it is the right thing to do for the safety of each and every individual on site. Most safety-hazard corrections take almost no time at all to correct, while an unsafe practice can have a horribly negative and sometimes life-altering effect.

NTCA Five Star Contractors often require a project-weekly meeting, in order to keep every project team member informed about site-specific issues related to safety. These meetings offer a great opportunity to communicate concerns related to quality and production as well. Furthermore, they can serve as a forum for all individuals on site to express safety concerns. The discussion, and action taken immediately after, can have a positive impact on site for everyone.

NTCA Five Star Contractors are committed to an injury-free worksite, and to increasing safety throughout the tile industry. If each tile contracting company continues or begins to put forth this type of effort into employee education and raising expectations for all involved in the tile trade, our industry will continue to reduce installation-related injuries.

Editor’s Letter

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Happy New Year! The start of every year is a time for hope, resolutions and new beginnings, and this year is no exception, especially at TileLetter.

We begin 2012 with a newly-designed, clean, crisp format for our monthly publication that includes many of your favorite features and some new ones. You’ll find content that focuses on a project theme each month – such as bath and spa for January. In addition to our cover story, we’ll feature a themed project from one of our contractor members that illustrates challenges experienced and creative, skilled solutions employed.

Our Ask the Experts section has evolved to become Tile Tip, which coordinates with our monthly theme for Tile-TV online (www.iwantmytiletv.com). “New Products” have morphed into Product Links, which are concise announcements of new products with a link to the company website for more information. Our Distributor Bulletin Board provides a place for distributor partners to announce news. We’ll track our NTCA Tile & Stone Symposiums on a monthly basis now, with a short summary of recent workshops and some photos too! Be sure to visit the NTCA home page at www.tile-assn.com and click on the NTCA Tile Symposium link at bottom scrollbar to view the schedule and see when a free Symposium event is coming to your area.

This month we add a regular spotlight on our Five-Star Contractors, which will include a brief overview of the company and of a recent project. And of course, we are continuing our NTCA Family Album as a forum to showcase your families, hobbies, talents, skills and life outside of the tile industry. Please send images to me at [email protected]!

If you haven’t visited www.tileletter.com lately, you’ll find changes there too! While stories, products and news are still posted every month, the WordPress format now allows us to post information daily to keep current with what’s happening in the industry.

Starting at Coverings, we will launch TADA, (Tile for Architects, Designers & Affiliates), a large-format, quarterly publication which is targeted to bring information about tile specification to the A&D community. NTCA publications and media are quickly becoming THE place to go for information about any aspect of our industry, from specification, to design, to installation to new products to news. We’re happy to have you aboard as we venture out into this fresh, exciting New Year!


Start the New Year with the Partnering For Success Program

Now in its seventh year, the Partnering for Success program from NTCA rewards contractors for membership in the world’s largest association dedicated to the tile contractor.

Participating manufacturer sponsors in the “Partnering for Success Program” feel so strongly about the value the NTCA provides its members, that they have committed to contribute free vouchers that more than offset investment in NTCA membership. That’s $1,500.00 in vouchers for products you use every day, just for joining NTCA! The value of these vouchers is above and beyond the investment in NTCA dues, so in addition to experiencing all NTCA has to 2012 Sponsorsoffer through membership, the Partnering for Success vouchers may actually enable you to make money as an NTCA member!

Participating manufacturers have authorized NTCA to provide vouchers for their products to be redeemed by NTCA Contractor Members, directly from the manufacturer or through participating distributors. Vouchers from each available product category will be provided to NTCA contractor members who have paid their dues. The combined value of all vouchers may be equal to, but not exceed, $1500. New and renewing Contractor Members will receive the vouchers they have selected; including technical information on the products being marketed.

Product categories may include the following: Backer board, setting and grouting materials, membranes, cleaning and sealing materials, tools, floor heating systems, and ceramic/porcelain tile.

Visit https://www.tile-assn.com/Voucher/Default.aspx?mid=107 for details on vouchers from participating members Aqua Mix, Daltile, Dependable Bagging, Dural, Florida Tile, Georgia Pacific, LATICRETE, MagBacker, MAPEI, Mark E. Industries, Metropolitan Ceramics, National Gypsum/Permabase, Noble Company, Nuheat, Pearl Abrasive Co., Proflex, QEP, Rubi Tool, Schulter Systems, SunTouch, TEC Specialty (H.B. Fuller), Texrite, The Tile Doctor, Tuscan Leveling System and others.

Mountain Star Bath Project Shines with Variety and Precision

Five-Star contractor Lambert Tile & Stone tackles eight-bathroom project.

This beautifully-designed home by J.L. Viele Construction has eight bathrooms that offered NTCA Five-Star contractor Lambert Tile & Stone, Inc. of Eagle, Colo., (www.lambert-tile.com) many challenging and complex layouts that had to be carried out with precision.

Each individual piece of matte and polished glass on both return walls has to be polished to create a seamless finish.

For instance, in the Blue Glass Bathroom, not only did the random-sized glass tile from Interstyle have to match perfectly at the corners and around the window, but each individual piece of matte and polished glass on both return walls had to be polished to create a seamless finish.

In the Stone Pebble Bathroom steam shower, Lambert waterproofed the entirety of the shower walls with RedGard® from Custom Building Products. To ensure a seamless flow of pebbles, each piece of 12” x 12” mesh was cut out around the pebbles and pieced together during the installation.

Cutting the mosaic from Granite & Marble Resources in the Stone Basketweave Bathroom was a huge challenge. Not only did the mosaic have to match the pattern and layout, but it also had to match the color of the sheet next to it. Lambert had to order extra tile to source enough individual pieces and create this continuous flow. Only the corners of the shower were caulked with sanded caulk because the tightness of the pattern didn’t allow room for grout.

In the two hallways, Lambert had to continue a seven-piece, random pattern of Peacock Pavers’ concrete paver tiles from a larger floor in a radius. After the tile was installed, each of the 14 4” x 24” vents and 12 floor lights had to be individually cut with an angle grinder and hole saw. To meet the elevation of the hardwood floor, the contractor built up the floor with a pallet of fiber bedding mortar and LATICRETE antifracture fabric.
The steam shower in the Master Bathroom was prepped using Durock®, and 2” x 8” stone tile from Ann Sacks was installed in a herringbone pattern. In this time-consuming process, corners needed to be exact. Lambert’s crews invested additional time to do a dry layout to insure minimal small cuts around window sills, above windows, bench, shower floor and ceiling.

In the Porcelain Black Exercise Bath, crews installed a mesh-mounted hexagon pattern from Ann Sacks on the floor that was cut and adjusted during installation to minimize sheet confluence. Every single piece in the shower was inspected and tested against the pattern to make sure if flowed properly with the tile before it.

Lambert used silicone to install striped glass tile from Waterworks over the wood cabinet face in the Powder Bath, creating a tenacious bond that won’t break down over time. The back wall featured Rex’s Matouche large-format 24” x 24” porcelain tile with elephant-skin finish, installed to a height of 11’.

The living room wet bar backsplash features a sandstone mosaic that looks like corks from wine bottles, creating a visually interesting background.

Finally, in the Living Room Wet Bar backsplash, Lambert Tile & Stone installed a sandstone mosaic that looks like corks from wine bottles , creating a visually interesting background.

Suppliers included: Ann Sacks, Walker Zanger, Decorative Materials, American International, Peacock Pavers, Island Stone, and Waterworks. Setting materials – sourced through Capco Tile – included RedGard from Custom Building Products, LATICRETE anti-fracture fabric; Durock and Denshield backer boards; mortar and grout from Custom and DuPont Stonetech Bulletproof stone sealer.

To Your Health – Luxury Resort Spas!

Luxury resorts frequently offer their patrons deluxe spa treatments in well-appointed, aesthetically pleasing surroundings. Such is the case at two mountain resort spas that chose to make a statement with glass and mosaic tiles installed by master craftsmen.

Sparkling Hill Resort – Vernon, British Columbia

Sparkling Hill Resort is owned by Swarovski and combines the magic of more than 3.5 million crystals in all its designs, including Swarovski luminaires and lighting products, crystal strands, crystal art pieces and architectural elements. The Western Canada location features tranquil views of Lake Okanagan near Vernon, BC.

Plouto’s Enterprises of Kelowna supplied and installed various tile products in the pool, change rooms and sauna areas, and installed 40,000 square feet of tile and other flooring throughout the resort.
Begun in 2009, the majority of the work was done from February through May 2010. A crew of 45-60 began the job, swelling to 80 in the last two months, led by project manager Rob Kormish.

The KurSpa whole-body health and wellness area was a huge project with many challenges – from the waterproofing of pools and hot tubs to the typical tile- and stone-related issues common in fast-paced construction. To ensure success, all the lead installers on the crews had a set of plans with everything mapped out; Kormish constantly updated the book and conferred with his lead installers. Waterproofing was done with Mapelastic AquaDefense and tiles set with Kerabond/Keralastic and Granirapid mortar systems.

The pool deck and walls in the spa area were installed with mosaic tiles, and larger tiles in the treatment rooms.

The ultra-elegant Kneipp pool consists of a walking pool area, festooned with many curves. Slip-resistant European pool tiles by Agrobuchtal varied between 2” x 2” and 4” x 4”. The crews installed many cove caps and inside-outside corner pieces to meet stringent health code requirements, such as eliminating 90-degree corners.

“It was a lot like doing a negative-edge pool,” Kormish said. “The big deck sits in the middle, then large troughs of water fill the area where you walk around. Water must fall across gutters on both sides of the walking area at the same rate. There was a lot of work just to prepare the pool before we started tiling.”

A great deal of cut work was needed because of the detail requested by the owners.

The hot tub also presented challenges. “The water falls into gutters and grates all at the same rate,” Kormish said. “A lot of grinding, patching, filling and mathematics were required to get everything at the correct angle and at the right pitches to bring it all together.”

Kormish’s crews tiled the tub first; later when the grates arrived from a company in Europe, they were precisely installed to achieve a perfect fit.

Plouto’s tiled primarily the spa sauna floors since the cabins — which were pre-made in Europe and shipped to the site — already contained some tile. Workers came from Europe to install the cabinets, but wherever they ran out of installation products, Plouto’s crews finished the work for them, using the same MAPEI products, supplied locally.

The Orient room, featuring massage and hot mud areas, were installed with marble using Kerabond/ Keralastic on floors and walls. Installers also set tile on the floors surrounding this, North America’s first cold sauna, which operates at a temperature of minus 166 degrees Fahrenheit. Marble was installed on the walls of the wellness treatment areas, the pool areas and all the changing rooms.

Thousands of square feet of glass mosaic were used throughout the spa and the rest of the resort. Plouto’s crews used Kerabond/Keralastic to wrap huge pillars near the pools in glass mosaics, plus common areas and rest rooms.

“I’ve been in the flooring business since 1976, and I have never been faced with a challenge of this scale and scope detail before, especially the saunas and pool areas,” Kormish said. “However, I think our crews did an exceptional job and brought real luxury to Sparkling Hill Resort.”

Montage Resort – Park City, Utah
Caffall Tile & Marble of Salt Lake City, Utah, created another masterpiece at the Montage Resort at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. After winning a very tight competitive bid, they began this project at a time when the market had just changed dramatically. Caffall’s prior experience with several other resorts in the Park City area gave them the background needed to win the job.

Caffal’s crews worked both summer and winter on the resort’s interior tile work, tenting and heating the area in the winter. The general contractor resolved minor difficulties with propane heaters that brought the area to the necessary temperatures for tile installation.

Caffall’s biggest challenge was the limited staging area, requiring precise coordination to get needed materials in place on specific dates. Still, the project ran smoothly under the direction of project manager Jeremy Drake.

The pool deck and walls in the spa area were installed with mosaic tiles, and larger tiles in the treatment rooms. Most of the mosaics were mounted on 12” x 12” sheets, but liners were all individual pieces.

After waterproofing with Mapelastic AquaDefense, crews installed the floors with MAPEI’s Ultraflex 1 mortar and the walls with Ultraflex LFT, and then grouted with Keracolor S. In the spa rooms containing large soaking tubs, the large-format floor tile was also set with Ultraflex 1.

The resort’s interior designer supplied all the drawings with the details for the spa column and wall tile. Drake frequently consulted with the designer and architect to ensure everyone was on the same page. Call-outs showed the placement of materials, and Drake color-coded his crew’s drawings for clarity to facilitate the installation.

The completed project wowed everyone. “This turned out to be a great project for Caffall,” said Drake. “We worked very well with the owner and contractor. The job took from January to December 2010 to finish, and the whole project included over 100,000 square feet of flooring. We are celebrating our 100th year in business in 2011, and this was a great project to introduce our centennial anniversary year. We are sure it will lead to future work of this caliber.”

Emser Tile to Unveil New Products Introductions at 2012 Surfaces Trade Show in Las Vegas

Los Angeles, California: (January 11th, 2012) – Emser Tile, a premier designer and marketer of floor, wall, counter tile and natural stone will introduce an extensive line of new product offerings at this year’s Surfaces Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV, on January 24-26, 2012.
Emser’s new introductions will include fourteen new ceramic and porcelain collections, namely Alpine, Cabana, Cosmopolitan, Del Mar, Dimensions, Granada, Napa, Paseo, Peninsula, Perspective, Rock, Sakai, St. Moritz, and Titan. The fashion forward Lucente Glass series has been expanded to over 150 items. Image, an extraordinary new glass collection, will feature 18 colors and 6 blends.
Camelot metal series, boasting nearly 50 items, and Treasure metal mosaic series, which consists of six colors and 3 blends, will also be featured.

Emser’s industry leading selection of Natural Stone products is also expanding with many new introductions. Included in these introductions are full lines of Trav Cottage Tumbled Collection, Trav Ancient Tumbled Silver Collection, Bianco Gioia Honed Collection and Hamlet Mini Split-face Series. In addition, Emser Tile has added a Scabos Travertine, an Onyx Trav Chiseled and a Champagne Light Limestone to the program. Emser Tile has also expanded many of its current best sellers including decorative additions to the Trav Ancient Tumbled Series and has added sizes to Bianco Gioia Polished , Crema Marfil Classico, and Crema Marfil Plus, expanded its Marble Metro Series with 2 additional colors, and added a 24×24 and a Banded Versailles to the Earth Slate and Golden Sand collections.
“Surfaces is a terrific venue for Emser to highlight and introduce new products. Many of our customers use this show to view new items and identify trends and we are eager to assist”, said Bob Baldocchi, Director of Marketing at Emser Tile.

Surfaces Show 2012 will take place on January 24-26th, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Emser’s booth number is B4215, Exhibit Halls BaySide A-D section.
For meeting and press appointments, please contact Aris Gharapetian at [email protected]

About Emser Tile LLC:

Emser Tile LLC is the largest privately held designer and marketer of tile and natural stone products in the United States. Our principal offering includes an extensive line of ceramic, porcelain, natural stone and decorative products to service the design and product needs of our customers. Our products are distributed nationally through a company-owned network of local sales and service locations that service our trade partners. The company’s products are used extensively in new home construction, remodel applications as well as commercial projects including multi-family housing, hotels, malls, office buildings and education facilities. For more information, please visit www.emser.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/emsertile.

For Additional Information Contact:
Emser Tile
Attn: Aris H. Gharapetian
Marketing Manager
8431 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
323-650-2000 Ext 345
[email protected]

Time is Now to Enter Your Installation Into the New Coverings Installation and Design Awards

Ceramic tile, natural stone and mosaic tile/glass offer designers, architects, installers and contractors endless and timeless design styles to choose from to create character and beauty for their residential and commercial projects.

Coverings has transformed the TileLetter & NTCA Installation Awards into the CID Awards which honor achievement in the outstanding use of the materials and the synergy between installation and design.

Projects will be judged on their levels of creativity, craftsmanship, and outstanding use of materials and achievement in the use of ceramic tile, natural stone, and/or glass within the residential and commercial project categories. Of particular interest are projects that demonstrate an original or unusual use of materials, incorporate an innovative technology, reflect installation excellence or successfully combine aesthetics with function in a unique and interesting way.

To download the application and enter your project, go to the following address:

Coverings Installation and Design Awards

NTCA to Hold Winter Meetings in New Orleans, Louisiana

With an aggressive agenda designed to increase membership and industry outreach, and to develop and revise new standards, the National Tile Contractors Association will hold its winter Board of Directors and Committee Meetings February 28th-March 2nd. Sponsorship opportunities are available for various activities taking place in conjunction with the meetings, which are being held at the beautiful Royal Sonesta hotel in the French Quarter. NTCA will host its Executive and Board of Directors officers, as well as members of the Technical, Standards and Methods, Convention Planning, Membership and Training and Education Committees. In addition, the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program will hold its own meeting for its members, as well as a reception and dinner. Spouses and guests are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Executive Director Bart Bettiga at [email protected]

Laticrete and Crossville Generously Donate to NTCA and Tile Partners for Humanity

For many years, Nativity Lutheran Church of Brandon, Mississippi has served the local community through social ministry. Volunteers from the church have worked with Habitat For Humanity, victims from Hurricane Katrina, and the Center for Violence and Protection, as well as other community programs. Recently, the leaders of the church were faced with a dilemma. Because of unexpected damage to the structure and interior of their building, the leaders of this small congregation were faced with monetary needs that were beyond their capability. Thanks to the NTCA and its contractor member Kelty Tile and Marble, and especially, to Tile Partners For Humanity, Crossville Ceramics and Laticrete International, the church will have a beautiful new porcelain tile floor by Mid-February. Crossville donated over 3,000 square feet of porcelain tile and Laticrete has supplied the thinset mortar, grout, and leveling materials for the church floor. A full story on this project will be featured in an upcoming TileLetter in the Helping Hands section. The NTCA is indebted to our suppliers and their generosity.

Florida Tile 40% Recycled Content in All Porcelain Lines

Florida Tile has recently achieved certification by the Bureau Veritas for inclusion of 40% pre-consumer recycled content across all porcelain products made in its Lawrenceburg, KY facility. Florida Tile has been committed to sustainable manufacturing practices for decades and now as part of the CARES (Creating A Responsible Environmental Strategy) program, those practices have been third-party tested and verified. For more information on how this is done and all the ways Florida Tile CARES, visit our website. www.floridatile.com

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