Carson launches new PR/ marketing company

Eric Carson, well-known marketer and publicist for the tile industry, recently launched Blueprint Global Media, a new public relations and marketing company. The full-service agency is dedicated to supporting manufacturers of architecturally-specified building products and related services for residential and commercial projects. With years of professional experience working to build brand awareness and sales on behalf of a wide-range of U.S. and global clients, Blueprint Global Media has in-depth knowledge across several key categories including hospitality, healthcare, retail and stadium construction, as well as more complex integrated mixed-use destination projects.
The agency has gained worldly exposure representing many different manufacturers of porcelain, ceramic, glass and glass mosaic floor and wall tiles for LEED building projects. It maintains extensive relationships with editors and publishers of thousands of magazines and online vehicles, including those particularly focused on manufacturing, designing, and installing tile, stone, hardwood, resilient and other flooring types.
Based in Lima, Peru, with a satellite office in Portland, Maine, Blueprint Global Media also speaks and writes in Spanish, offering the unique ability of connecting South American manufacturers with U.S. architects, designers, distributors and dealers – and vice versa.
Blueprint Global Media bolsters its proven writing skills with professional, high-resolution digital photography and 1080p HD streaming video capabilities, perfect for trade show support and social media platforms. The company manages social media, provides SEO consultation, brand development, print ad production, website copy, project spotlights, sales literature, eblasts and targeted media buying programs.
Contact Eric Carson: [email protected] and/or visit In Peru call: +51 226.1354, in the U.S. call toll free, 612.524.7888.

Tile Redi Introducing Mosaic Niche Kit™ @ KBIS 2012

Mosaic tiles are the latest trend in design offering stunning accents to walls and fixtures in home, office and commercial settings.  For the do-it-yourselfer, the Tile Redi Mosaic Niche Kit™ is a dream product because it includes everything you need to create your mosaic niche.  With 11 tile choices: glass mosaics, ceramic tile mosaics, and natural stone and glass blends –  all on mosaic tile sheets for easy tiling – there is a color, pattern, and texture choice to complement any room you choose to create a functional and beautiful recessed shelf.  The Mosaic Niche Kit™ includes Redi Niche®, the premier tileable niche, known for being easy to install and ready-to-tile directly on the surface.  Not just for the bathroom any longer, create a Mosaic Bedroom Niche, Mosaic Dining Room Niche, Mosaic Foyer Niche, Mosaic Kitchen Niche, Mosaic Shaving Niche, Mosaic Office Niche … name the room, choose your tile and you’ve got a designer recessed wall shelf kit to display your treasures or hold the items you need to access quickly every day.  Mosaic Niche Kit™  Imagination … the only limitation!™

Product Description:
The Mosaic Niche Kit™ provides a stunning accent piece to any room in a home, office, or commercial setting. This designer piece is so attractive, functional, and yet flexible, it’s hard to believe it’s a kit!

  • 11 tile choices
  • Glass shelf can be positioned at virtually any height

Whether you are a DIYer or a building professional, Mosaic Niche Kit™ fits any room, any décor; whether it’s for display or for everyday use, you’ll show it in style!

The Mosaic Niche Kit™ includes everything needed to create your mosaic niche:

  • 16”x20”x4” Redi Niche®
  • Mosaic Tile Sheets
  • Thinset, Grout, Caulk
  • Trowel, Sponge, Spreader
  • Glass Shelf, Shelf Hardware and Screws
  • Niche Sill and Glue
  • Furring Strips and nails
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Tiling Schematics for both the interior and exterior

Of course, it offers all the Tile Redi® features you expect – fast and easy installation, ready-to-tile™, and for wet areas, no mildew and no leaks!

Where do you display a treasured heirloom? The Mosaic Living Room Niche™. Your loved one’s trophies? The Mosaic Family Room Niche™. A favorite photo? The Mosaic Hallway Niche™.

What do you do with your keys and the mail when you walk in the door? Put them in your Mosaic Foyer Niche™. How do you keep your frequently used cooking spices handy, but off the counter? In the Mosaic Kitchen Niche™.

The options are endless … see our display below for a few ideas on how this versatile product will become an essential fixture throughout your home or office.



What’s new in tile and stone? Answers were found along the aisles of Coverings, the international expo and conference that exclusively focuses on the architectural building materials. The show wrapped up here Friday, April 20, concluding its annual four-day run. What was resoundingly clear about the standouts was that mastery of today’s technology is driving the trends and enabling manufacturers to take unprecedented leaps into production of adventuresome, jaw-dropping, inventive designs. The aesthetic results are more exciting than ever before.

Textured Tile

The sense of touch was teased at Coverings with numerous tiles that incorporate texture. Mosaico+ surprised by bringing 3D dimension to its Italian made glass mosaics with the introduction of Nova, a pillow shape, and also Pulsar, a basket weave look.

At Falcan, a Tile of Spain manufacturer, the temptations to touch were too strong to resist on tiles such as Secret, which, owing to its mixed glaze process, has a granular surface that added visual interest as well as the tactile experience to a floral motif. A buttons and bows decoration on Duo mesmerized with bas relief stitches detectable only by drawing a finger across it.

And, then there was a whole crop of wood lookalikes but made from porcelain that also mimic textural details of the real thing. Among some of these no-trees-harmed-in-production styles were those from the U.S. manufacturer Mediterranea, such as Boardwalk and Coney Island that are ideal for residential or even commercial projects. Porcelanite/Lamosa, another North American manufacturer, was showing Cortex Wood, a design resembling a crosscut of authentic lumber.

One of the great beauties of porcelain versus wood is, of course, its durability and suitability to installations in bathrooms, kitchens and pool areas. Unaffected by water or insect infestations, these non-slip surfaces increasingly are winning favor throughout American households.

Wood wasn’t the only texture being imitated. A close facsimile of Corten steel, capturing the contours as well as the patina that occurs with natural aging and weathering, could be found at the Apavisa booth. This Tile of Spain manufacturer has nailed a copycat look with its Bend tiles, a series that can go outside or inside a building.

Stacy Garcia, who addressed Coverings attendees during a trends forecast conference session, noted that another textured effect showing up more and more is what she called “calcification.” A specialist in surface design, Garcia described this look as imitating natural erosion, fossilization, and deconstruction. Exemplifying this tactile experience was Porcelanite/Lamosa’s Piedra Dorsal. Another example was in the Spanish Pavilion, where Colorker was showing its Natura tile simulating the aged, time worn appearance of wood planks. And, at Atlas Concorde, a Ceramic of Italy company, Evolve decidedly featured the erosive qualities of concrete but on a porcelain body.

Garcia also remarked on the growing popularity of medallions, and at Coverings this look also brought dimension to the tiles. A real showstopper was at the Saint-Gaudens booth where the jeweler turned tile maker Valerie Saint-Gaudens was showing inlaid bronze medallions in limestone and marble tiles. Nearby, another American artisan tile maker, CR Studio 4, also had wall tiles encrusted with bronze medallions, creating a decorative look that straddled classic periods with contemporary times.

Minimal Grout Lines

Many tile manufacturers have been able to produce such precision edges and rectified shapes that the grout lines are significantly reduced. Heading this parade were companies like Italy’s Del Conca, which was showing Due, a

20 mm thick tile for outdoor use that can be dry set completely grout-less. Indoor tiles such as Crate, from American manufacturer Stonepeak, require minimal grout, and this plank style even more highly resembles wood flooring with barely a grout line showing.

Artistic Tile showed exquisite glass mosaic designs, Estrella and Fiori, with petal-shaped tiles in such tightly composed floral and leaf formations that, though grout was apparent, the lines of each mesh-backed component were imperceptible.

Star Power

Trends aside, a little star power has its value, and at Coverings, Ceramics of Italy held the trump card. At manufacturer Lea Ceramiche a tile collection by Hunger Games actor and designer Lenny Kravitz was on display. Titled Goccia, the sculpted shape is punctuated by a raised disc and its glossy finish is amplified by the matte sheen of the rest of the tile. Luminary of fashion, Roberto Cavalli was represented with a tile collection for Richetti that was on exhibit. Among the offering was Diva Nero, a leopard spotted look that could impress even diehard fashionistas.

The next Coverings show is scheduled for April 29 to May 2, 2013, at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

About Coverings   

Coverings is the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone. It has grown to be the largest and most important show of its kind in the U.S., featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, plus the press and journalists who cover this vital and dynamic industry. Coverings is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees, with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge. Coverings 2013 is set for April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. For more information visit or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703.683.8500


Attendance at Coverings 2012 was up by 19 percent over last year’s show, with registration totaling over 22,000. This year’s tile and stone expo, having returned last month to Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, put the brakes on what had been a decline experienced over the past three years in the wake of a global economic downturn. Helping to hit this year’s increased number was a huge spike in attendance among architects and designers, which climbed 84 percent. With Coverings next scheduled for Atlanta, April 29 to May 2, 2013, at the Georgia World Congress Center—its first time in that city—optimism abounds for another benchmark year amid what’s known to be a robust regional community of architects and designers.

Other market segments saw a rise at Coverings 2012, as well. Attendance among fabricators was up 69 percent from last year. Distributor attendance rose 16 percent.  Installer/contractor visits, were up 26 percent.

“These numbers are valid indicators that the tile and stone industry is in a recovery mode,” said Karen Fendrich, show director of Coverings. “No way has the dust fully settled from the economic turmoil, but there are decided improvements in business, with building projects re-booted and remodeling on the upswing—all good signs for anyone involved in this product category.”

Helping the Attendance Turnaround

According to Fendrich, no stone – or tile – was left unturned in working to make Coverings 2012 a success. “We enacted a very strategic, very aggressive marketing program, undertaking several new initiatives that helped attract visitors to the show.”

Reflecting its embrace of social media, the show incorporated for the first time a dedicated 1,500-square-foot area — Coverings Central — where attendees gathered to digitally interact and network with one another. The highlight of Coverings Central was the 18 social-media seminar sessions that provided great tips in 15 minutes. This area drew strong participation and was a hub of daily activity throughout the four-day event.

Another first:  more than 160 contractors took advantage of a specially guided tour of top resources on the show floor as part of the new Contractor Days. This program, in collaboration with the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), provided a well-edited visit for installers, helping to maximize their time at Coverings without second-guessing which of the 800-plus exhibitors to see. Additionally, it allowed them to personally meet and hear from company executives as they traveled booth-to-booth, direct access they might not ordinarily have experienced on their own. Tours included lunch, and the day was capped with a happy hour directly on the show floor in the Contractor Lounge. In fact, daily happy hours at Coverings have proved to be a welcome stimulus to added business networking, and they have become incentive to remain at the convention center and continue perusing the exhibits until closing.

Another growing attraction for attendees has been the Installation Design Showcase. This year’s project was a tour de force of three imaginary room settings where tile was the star material. The design concepts were brought to life by NTCA Five-Star master installers as attendees observed the process first-hand over the course of the show until completion. The resulting settings were jaw dropping. Nationally known Florida-based kitchen designer Joan DesCombes stepped out of her comfort zone into the outdoors to create a pampering patio setting. She was teamed with Cox Tile and Marble, of San Antonio, TX, which faithfully translated her vision, including construction of a working tiled fountain. Orlando native Grant Gribble, ASID, IIDA, partnered with Collins Tile and Stone, Arlington VA, and the outcome was a 70s inspired bath where tile composed into wall art was emphasized. Foreman Rogers, ASID, a senior designer with tvsdesign, Atlanta, stole the show with his boutique hotel guest room. Practiced in hospitality design, having recently completed the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Rogers was paired with David Allen Company, Raleigh, NC, who met the design challenges, creating a visual treat of unorthodox cuts and skilled applications.

Exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the ROI delivered by Coverings 2012, and seemed to be counting on Atlanta to deliver in 2013, as well. Darren Caraway of Vidrepur said, “We’ve exhibited for eight years now, and are happy to report another very busy and successful show. We saw a variety of attendees. Most strongly represented were distributors. It’s great to see distributors you currently work with, and, of course, show product to those who are learning about your company. We look forward to exhibiting next year, for sure.”

Esther Halferty, of Lilywork, was pleased with this year’s show. “We did have good foot traffic this year, and are looking forward to exhibiting next year in Atlanta, which we know is rich with architecture and design professionals.”

“We will definitely be back next year,” said Enrico Guazzi, area manager of LEA Ceramiche. “We had a very good show this year, with great response to the very design-oriented products.”

About Coverings   

Coverings is the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone. It has grown to be the largest and most important show of its kind in the U.S., featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, plus the press and journalists who cover this vital and dynamic industry. Coverings is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees, with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge. Coverings 2013 is set for April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. For more information visit or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703.683.8500.

Mammoth Mosaic Tile Chandelier Hangs Tough with LATICRETE Products

Paul Pearman is an accomplished mosaic artist who works out of his studio in Augusta, Ga. Known for his attention to detail and for using the tiniest of mosaic tiles within his creations, Pearman’s projects can range in size from miniscule to mammoth.

“From small projects such as mosaic designs on belt buckles to immense projects such as three-dimensional mosaic-clad hanging chandeliers, I want my artwork to be of the highest quality,” Pearman said. “And I want the designs I create to last for generations. That’s why I depend on the LATICRETE system. There is no other product line which offers mosaic tiles the bonding strength of LATICRETE materials.”

One of Pearman’s most recent creations is an incredibly intricate, ornate, and one-of-a-kind sculpted chandelier, which is suspended above the lobby at Georgia Health Sciences University’s new College of Dental Medicine. According to Pearman, who was commissioned by the university to produce this unique, abstract piece of art, “It took nine months to build and quite frankly, drove all of us including family and friends to near insanity. But, the final outcome was of such a strong image, was so visually appealing, that right now people are colliding into each other taking pictures of it. There have been two film documentaries chronicling the building of this mosaic chandelier. There is even going to be a competition held in the near future to give it a name. I am very proud and thankful to have been given the opportunity to create this design.”


Inspired by Dali

Pearman’s initial ideas were inspired by the world-famous Salvador Dali painting, 
Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of a New Man. “In that painting,” he stated, “you see a man breaking out of an egg, with an amazing warped draping of gilded colors hanging directly above him. That draping really got my mojo working.”

Pearman subsequently assembled a team of skilled laborers to work on the sculpture, which began directly after a new building was erected just for this project in the artist’s backyard. The sculpture’s steel foundation was covered with carved foam and fiberglass. Thousands upon thousands of pieces of reflective glass and metal, some extremely minute, were cut with tiny nippers and then bonded via LATICRETE materials to the structure’s “body,” all by hand. In some cases, because the pieces were so small, affixing them to meet the extremely-high creative standards of the artist required the use of dental utensils. The final abstract design, which to some is reminiscent of a gigantic jellyfish, has a surface consisting of four separate hanging tiers all covered with an ongoing design incorporating three brilliant colors of iridescent and non-iridescent glass mosaics. “In the middle tier,” declared Pearman, “there is more than $20,000 worth of hidden LED’s to add illumination.”


Easy-to-use, permanent bond

When bonding the mosaic tiles to the body of the sculpture, Pearman was emphatic about only using installation materials produced by LATICRETE. “I prefer using LATICRETE® products; I’ve used them successfully for quite awhile. For this mosaic sculpture, we used LATICRETE SpectraLOCK® PRO Grout (United States Patent No.: 6881768 and other patents) as both the adhesive and the grout. Typically, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout is not used as an adhesive. However for unique pieces of art it is common to use this method of installation. It’s easy to use, the colors are extraordinary and in particular, the product is unbelievably strong,” exclaimed Pearman.

The multi-tiered sculpture, with its blue, gray and white colors, at its lowest level has a teardrop pendant wrapped around a brushed chrome globe, containing a clock. The sculpture is 28’ tall from top to bottom, and its lowest point is 9’ from the floor. Initially, the sculpture was funded as a gift from Emile Fisher, a patron of the dental school and via other private donations.

“We did not want our new building to have the look of an institution or a hospital,” said Connie Drisko, dean of the College of Dental Medicine (and the person who initially asked Pearman to make his chandelier production proposal to the school). “We wanted a warm, inviting environment. We wanted unique artwork.” Pearman’s sculpture actually fronts the beginning of a larger program jumpstarted by Drisko, which is slated to add more art pieces inside the new dental college in the future.

“When we use LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout, we know the mosaic tiles that are put down are there for life,” Pearman said. “Whether we’re working with micro-mosaics or large-format mosaics, even if we used the highest quality dental tools to pull out a tile that was set in LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout, it probably wouldn’t come out and ultimately, the tools would be ruined.

“And,” continued Pearman, “you should note that LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout was a very easy product to use. After the installation, there was no grout haze; it was very easy to clean up. And, once it cured, everything looked perfect. Frankly, it provided a permanent, trouble-free installation!”

Steve G. Rampino, LATICRETE Technical Services training supervisor added, “This sculpture was a one-in-a-million piece. The artist wanted top-quality installation material for his mosaic designs. And because the fabrication consisted of a large item suspended up in the air with people walking below, it was imperative that all mosaic tiles were adhered with the highest overall bonding strength, minimizing any risk of de-lamination. LATICRETE SpectraLOCK PRO Grout was ideal for this project because of that.”

First Ever Certified Sustainable Tile Products Unveiled

After 5 years developing an all-encompassing multi-attribute sustainability standard for tile and tile installation materials, the very first certified sustainable products are being announced.

Cumulatively, eight major manufacturers of tile and installation materials have hundreds of products that are already certified or will be certified by the start of Coverings on April 17, with yet even more of their products still in the evaluation process and expected to earn certification this year. At least six additional manufacturers have started the certification process for hundreds more products that are expected to be certified within the year.

According to Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America, “This early adoption, within just a few months of the passage of the Green Squaredsm ANSI standard, is a clear indication of the commitment North American manufacturers have made to sustainable manufacturing and sustainable products, in many cases starting years ago when conversations began regarding an industry standard for sustainability. Manufacturers looked at the breadth of their operations and made significant improvements to meet the multi-attribute criteria of the standard. They are to be congratulated for their willingness to do so, and their willingness to bring in outside certifiers to verify and substantiate their claims.”

Only those products independently evaluated and certified by a third party may bear the Green Squared Certified mark, making it easy for specifiers and consumers to select sustainable products and busustainable tile systems. Manufacturers with products already certified are Crossville, Ironrock, and Porcelanite Lamosa. Additionally, Daltile, Interceramic, Laticrete, Mapei, and Marazzi expect to receive notification of product certifications within the next two weeks.

Bonsal American, Florida Tile, Quarry Tile Company, StonePeak, TEC, and Vitromex expect to have Green Squared Certified products by year end.

Green Squared (ANSI A138.1) is the industry standard for sustainable tile and tile installation products. Because sustainability shouldn’t be defined by a single attribute, Green Squared takes a multi-attribute, balanced approach by establishing criteria for environmental and social issues alike. Covered by the standard are environmental product characteristics, environmental product manufacturing and raw material extraction, end of product life management, progressive corporate governance, and innovation.

To be in conformance with Green Squared, a product must meet all mandatory requirements and a specified number (depending on product type) of elective requirements, providing a total package that reflects the full range of environmental considerations.

Products covered by Green Squared include ceramic and glass tiles, grouts, mortars, trowelable membranes, polymer additives, backer boards, underlayments, and crack isolation and waterproof membranes. By seeking out Green Squared Certified products, specifiers can put together total sustainable systems when it comes to tile installations.

The ANSI A108 Accredited Standards Committee representing green building stakeholders, tile consumers, manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and many other relevant interests approved Green Squared at the end of 2011.

Currently, the approved third party Green Squared certifiers are NSF International, Scientific Certification Systems, and UL Environment. The certifiers conduct worldwide operations and are available to conduct Green Squared certifications wherever tile is manufactured.

For green news, links, and updates, please visit and follow @Green_Squared on Twitter.
For a high-resolution image of the Green Squared Certified logo or the Sustainability Criteria Chart for use with your news story, contact Andrew Whitmire ([email protected]).

MAPEI Gives Away $75K in Honor of 75 Years of Excellence

As part of its celebration of Mapei Group’s 75 years in business, MAPEI Americas is rewarding its loyal customers with a sweepstakes worth a total of $75,000 in cash and prizes. During 2012, contractors in the tile, stone and floor-covering installation sectors and in the concrete restoration sector will have a chance to enter the “$75K Giveaway” sweepstakes each time they purchase select MAPEI products. Entry forms and rules are available online at “We’ll keep everyone updated on the promotion via our Facebook and Twitter presence, in addition to regular communications through our sales force,” said Operational Marketing Manager Steven Day.

MAPEI is giving away $50,000 (U.S.) in cash as the grand prize. The sweepstakes runs from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2012. A drawing will take place on January 4, 2013, to determine the winner of the grand prize, as well as the winners of one Polaris Ranger RZR XP™ 900, four  60″ (152 cm) flat-screen TVs and eight Apple® iPads. Announcements of the winners will take place during the 2013 Surfaces and World of Concrete trade shows.

“Of course, it’s not very often that you get to celebrate 75 years of excellence,” Day said, “and we want to let our customers know that we really appreciate their business.” The sweepstakes will be highlighted at a number of off-road events being held during 2012 in conjunction with Robby Gordon Motorsports’ off-road team, where the Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900 will be featured.

Day is encouraging everyone to join in the sweepstakes: “We feel that 2012 will be a great year for MAPEI, with the introduction of several new products in both our flooring and concrete restoration categories. The $75K Giveaway is a great opportunity for contractors to try these new products along with some time-tested standard products and get a chance at winning the cash and having a great time. So, let’s celebrate!”


MAPEI Group, with 67 subsidiaries including 58 plants in 27 countries, is today the world leader in the manufacturing of adhesives and complementary products for the installation of all types of floor and wall coverings. The company also specializes in manufacturing other chemical products for building, including waterproofing products, special mortars and admixtures for concrete, products for the restoration of ancient buildings, and special decorative and protective coatings for walls.

Eighteen MAPEI manufacturing facilities are located in the Americas, with headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida. MAPEI is an environmentally conscious manufacturer – the company has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council since 2001 and a member of the Canadian Green Building Council since 2008. MAPEI Americas is a registered provider to the AIA/CES program and also offers training related to ceramic and stone tile, floor coverings and concrete repair through the MAPEI Technical Institute. The Quality Management Systems of the majority of MAPEI Americas facilities are ISO 9001 certified. Visit for technical data or call 1-800-42-MAPEI (1-800-426-2734) for the nearest location.

Ask the Experts – April 2012


If a tile installer damages things in my home, should he fix them?  As a result of this tile installer’s sloppy work, my arcadia door (where the tile comes up to) now drags and squeaks. Before installation, no problems for 20 years. He also scraped the metal track of the door so I will have to paint the metal. He told me I could take care of both things myself. Shouldn’t he????


This is a fair question, and addresses whether you have a quality contractor. I was a contractor for many years. I assume that the door now rubs and squeaks because the new tile is higher than the old flooring, so the door now scrapes along its bottom. This is an issue that needed to be discussed and decided before work commenced. Our company would seldom modify doors, but there were times when we would subcontract a carpenter (if the door was wood) to cut the bottom of a door. But this was always discussed during bid time, so the client knew there was an additional expense.

As far as damage to other finishes, we always repaired or fixed things we messed up. But then, we were one of the top companies in our area, not the cheapest, so our reputation on customer satisfaction and ethical dealings was of utmost importance to us.

Michael Whistler, NTCA Symposium presenter

ConestogaTile presents…Installation Expo 2012

During the third week of June, Conestoga Tile will be presenting the “Installation Expo 2012” to an expected 400 attendees representing 175 dealers, contractors and architectural firms. This wonderful educational opportunity focuses on the current hot topics of tile installations. The program will include product seminars by Laticrete International, Schluter Systems, NuHeat Industries, Trending Accessibilities and Aqua Mix. In addition, there will be 17 tabletop demonstrations from various ceramic tile installation manufacturers. And, the NTCA and CTEF (Ceramic Tile Education Foundation) will be highlighting their organizations and how they can help the industry.

The Installation Expo will begin on Tuesday, June 19th in Harrisburg, PA and then move during the next 2 days to Baltimore, MD on June 20th and Dulles, VA on June 21st. The program will run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day.

“The tile industry continues to see many improvements and technological advances to the installation products and methods and we want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn about these changes,” said Jim Vogel, president of Conestoga Tile. “We will have a very full schedule of seminars and demonstrations throughout the day.”

Starting at 10:30 am, Trending Accessibilities will be show casing an incredible curb-less shower pan. Often, installers avoid installing a curb-less shower because it normally involves dropping the floor to allow for the mud pan. In order to drop the floor, they must cut into the joist system and then reinforce the joists so that they do not compromise the integrity of the joist system. The Trending Accessibilities shower pan is a glass reinforced plastic that is only ¾” thick and provides a slope to the drain in accordance to industry standards of ¼ inch over 12”. The pan is adhered directly to the joists. It eliminates the need to cut into the joists and possibly causing a compromise in the joist system.

Laticrete International will be focusing their seminar on “How to properly install Glass Tile.” Our industry has seen a boom in glass tile being used in installations. But often, the installer struggles with glass mosaics in various aspects; such as, proper cutting of the glass to not have chips, ensuring that the proper thin-set is used to create an adequate bond, or having the small mosaics buckle on the wall prior to the setting material curing because of sagging. Laticrete will also address “When is it proper to use a Medium Bed Mortar”. With our industry continuing to see larger format tiles and planks being used in installation, the need for a medium bed mortar has increased. Unfortunately, many installers believe they can use a thin-set method with these tiles and incur problems with lippage and unsatisfactory installations.

Schluter Systems takes the floor in the mid-afternoon to discuss their different building materials for shower systems. Last year, Schluter introduced Kerdi-Board, a multifunctional tile substrate and building panel with a bonded waterproof coating on both sides of the panel. Kerdi-Board comes in several sizes from a 3/16” size to help plumb a wall, ½” size for an easy to install waterproofed shower wall, to 2” thick to build a fully structured wall. Along with their shower kits, the Schluter shower system allows an installer to build a fully waterproofed shower. This year, Schluter is introducing a linear drain to allow for a shower floor to use more than just mosaics.

Aqua Mix will be giving an informative session on “How to solve Grout Problems”. This informative session will explain why various grout problems occur and how to solve the grout problem, but they will also discuss how to avoid these problems in the future. There have been a lot of advancements in grout technology and as an industry we should move away from the traditional sanded and unsanded grouts to the more advanced hybrid grouts that exist today.

NuHeat Industries will finish up the program talking about many different facts about Electronic Radiant Heating Systems so that the installers understand how these different systems work. In addition, they will compare the use of a custom mat versus a standard mat to provide the best heating coverage of a floor.

Also on hand to offer advice and demonstrations are manufacturer representatives from Fin Pan Util-A-Crete, The Noble Company, StarQuartz Grouts, Barwalt Tools, BASF, National Gypsum PermaBase, DeWalt Saws, Ebbe Drains, Imer Saws, No More Slips, Rubi USA, and SuperiorBilt Tools.

Conestoga Tile is a wholesale tile distributor for the mid-Atlantic region since 1958. Over the years, Conestoga Tile has been dedicated to bringing various educational programs to their dealers, contractors and architects. “Providing employees who are well educated about our industry and having opportunities to pass on our education about the new technologies is a major goal of our company” states Jim Vogel. “In order for the tile industry to continue to grow, we need to ensure that the installers have the knowledge to provide superior installations.”

If you would like to receive more information on this excellent educational opportunity, feel free to email Jim Vogel at [email protected] or call him at 717-564-6860.

NTCA Five Star Contractors reap additional benefits from manufacturers NTCA and TCAA recognition programs raise the bar for the industry

NTCA’s group of premier installers, the Five Star Contractors, has grown to 33 as of March 31, 2012.
The tile industry’s manufacturers are supporting this group in numerous ways. Crossville, in addition to sponsoring a three-day seminar for the elite group at their Tennessee facility this upcoming June, is providing a 1% rebate on purchases by Five Star Contractors. Other manufacturers who are championing the Five Star group are Daltile, which offers a $600 voucher for product; MAPEI offering a $300 voucher and a 2% rebate paid quarterly; LATICRETE, Custom Building Products and H.B. Fuller/TEC will each offer a $250 voucher. Collectively these programs provide a total of $1,650 in product vouchers for Five Star Contractors. Rebates from Crossville and MAPEI will also be significant for volume purchasing by Five Star Contractors.
Demonstrated industry support is broad for the growing Five Star Contractor program, and is expected to increase as new language in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation that recommends specifying qualified labor becomes widely accepted.
Five Star Contractors are required to complete a rigorous peer-approval process, demonstrating their commitment to training, service, quality, safety, fiscal responsibility and superior job performance. Stricter qualifications for applicants in 2012 include certifying a minimum of 10% of installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program.
In January 2012 the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) announced a major initiative in agreeing to mutually promote and market their company recognition programs, the NTCA Five Star Contractor program and the TCAA’s Trowel of Excellence program. This unprecedented partnership is expected to raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade, and to provide architects, builders, and project owners the opportunity to demand installation excellence.
NTCA president Nyle Wadford said, “I’m looking forward to where this leads in both our associations’ efforts to acquire work for our membership. The synergy produced from the alliance of labor and manufacturing for the benefit of both demonstrates the power of unifying for similar goals within the industry.”
Carole Damon, TCAA executive director, added, “By working together to increase the professionalism and expertise of tile installation companies, we ensure quality craftsmanship and increase consumer confidence in the durability, beauty and value of tile.”

Currently, about 55 companies in both associations have been approved in the recognition process; this number will increase as awareness of the partnership and benefits are more widely known. The leaders of both groups continue to collaborate in developing jointly-promoted educational efforts for the architectural and design community.
Both NTCA Five Star Contractors and TCAA Trowel of Excellence certified installers are listed in recently approved TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications. The revised Handbook stresses, “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials,” emphasizing the inclusion of qualified labor on tile and stone installation projects.
Visit to learn more about the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program
Visit for more information on the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program.

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