Countdown to Cersaie! What to expect from tile’s hottest event

This year marks the 30th edition of Cersaie – the premier international ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings exhibition in Bologna, Italy – that will take place from September 25-29, 2012. Promoted by Confindustria Ceramica in cooperation with BolognaFiere and organized by Edi.Cer SpA and Promos, the show features nearly 1,000 exhibitors from 31 countries and a sprawling 176,000 square meters of exhibition space. Like the Milan Furniture Fair of the ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings industry, companies will use the show to introduce cutting edge designs, designer collaborations and new technological innovations to the world.

Highlights of this year’s “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” conference program include: a keynote speech by 2011 Pritzker Prize winner Eduardo Souto de Moura (on Friday, September 28), a talk on “Design Goes Sci-Fi” with American science fiction writer Bruce Sterling and Italian designer Cini Boeri (on September 25), a lecture on emergency and intervention architecture with Shigeru Ban (on September 26) and a presentation by Heike Hanada on her design for the new Bauhaus Museum in Weimar (on September 27).

For more information on the exhibitors and the full conference program visit

DITRA 25 Contest at Schluter Systems

If you’re a fan of Schluter Systems, you’ll want to find out more about their DITRA25 contest.  To celebrate DITRA’s 25th anniversary, Schluter is inviting all DITRA-lovers to tell their story, for their chance to win a trip to Montreal, Canada, a free roll of DITRA, or a Schluter soccer jersey.  If you’ve used DITRA in a successful tile installation, make sure and visit to submit your story and pictures for your chance to win. Contest closes November 30, 2012.

Find our more!

Tile of Spain Introduces CERSAIE’12 Show APP

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), has introduced a CERSAIE’12 show app.

This free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android allows you to have access to all Tile of Spain exhibitors at CERSAIE’12 at your fingertips.

Download the app and search by exhibit hall, sector or company. Select your favorite brands and create a ‘must visit’ list. It also includes a full database of companies and contacts at your disposal.

The Tile of Spain CERSAIE’12 show app can be downloaded at

For a preview of the Tile of Spain brands exhibiting at CERSAIE’12, September 25-29 in Bologna, Italy visit

Also, be sure to visit the inspiration gallery at

About Tile of Spain

In Spain, tile makers labor as they have for centuries – pushing their passion for design and innovation to new levels of artisanship. With one of the purest and strongest domestic clays available, Spanish manufacturers have an unparalleled ability to make the end product more diverse. From rustic handmade forms; to technical facades that cool buildings and clean the air; to the impossibly slim, sustainable recycled and ink jet masterpieces that fire the imagination. The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) is the private organization whose primary objective is to support Spain’s ceramic tile manufacturers and the industry as a whole by stewarding and promoting the Tile of Spain brand worldwide. A strong global leader, the ceramic tile industry of Spain comprises 125 manufacturers concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón. For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain, 2655 Le Jeune Road, Suite 1114, Coral Gables, FL  33134. Call 305-446-4387 or visit

For photography, interviews or questions, please call Lori Dolnick at 609-490-0999 x22 or [email protected]

USG Facebook Photo Contest Supports “Strength Beneath the Surface™” Campaign

CHICAGO, September 13, 2012- USG Corporation (NYSE: USG), a leading building products company, is offering their Facebook fans a chance to win up to $500 through their Strength Beneath the Surface™ Contest which requires contestants to submit an on the job picture of themselves and USG Tile and Flooring products.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a $500 gift card, and the four runners-up winners will each receive a $100 gift card. All entrants will receive a free t-shirt.

This contest is open to professional contractors, subcontractors, do-it-yourselfers and others who are engaged in the construction or remodeling industry. In order to participate, entrants must be a legal resident of the United States and 18 years of age and older.

The Strength Beneath the Surface photo must show the participant and USG Tile and Flooring products on the job. Products can include: DUROCK® Cement Board, FIBEROCK® Tile Backerboard, FIBEROCK® Underlayment, DUROCK™ Tile Membrane, DUROCK™ Tile Membrane Adhesive, FIBEROCK™ Floor Protector Paper, Builder Paper, DUROCK™ Multi-Use Self-Leveling Underlayment, DUROCK™ Quick-Dry-Self-Leveling Underlayment, DUROCK™ Floor Patch, DUROCK™ Primer-Sealer, DUROCK™ Tile Backer Tape and DUROCK™ Tile Backer Screws.

Judging will take place October 22 through October 26, 2012, with a judging panel consisting of marketing and product managers from USG Tile and Flooring Installations. Finalists will be selected based on craftsmanship, creativity and use of USG Tile and Flooring Installation Products. Voting will then be turned over to the public on October 29-November 11, 2012, when each person can vote once a day for their favorite picture. Judges will announce the final winner on or by November 16, 2012.

For more information about the Strength Beneath the Surface Contest, please visit

USG Corporation is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors, LLC, L&W Supply Corporation and other subsidiaries. Headquartered in Chicago, USG’s worldwide operations serve the commercial, residential, and repair and remodel construction markets. USG’s wall, ceiling, flooring and roofing products provide leading-edge building solutions for customers, while L&W Supply branch locations efficiently stock and deliver building materials nationwide. For additional information, visit the USG website at

Surfaces Launches The Metallika Collection

Miami-based Surfaces, Inc., one of America’s premier producers and suppliers of glass tile, has announced its new glass wall tile collection Metallika. Metallika brings to you the beauty of pure aluminum, transformed in sophisticated patterns and color combinations with stone and glass.

Aluminum has many unique, advantageous properties such as light weight, with high strength and resistance to corrosion, which contribute to low environmental loading and superior malleability allowing it to be easy to mill, drill, punch and weld.  A perfect “green” material, aluminium can be reused and recycled over and over again. And, unlike many other materials, it does not  lose its unique properties. A modern and chic look to enlighten any room, Metallika is offered in a 12”x13” sheet on a pure aluminum linear pattern and 12”x12” sheets mixed with glass and stone in 1”x1” chips; it is available and stocked in the US. With Surfaces’ Metallike Collection, eco-friendly never looked so good.

About Surfaces

Miami-based Surfaces is constantly creating new products. The firm created the first iPhone App for the tile industry. Additionally, Surfaces created a brand new nationwide program at Lowe’s to sell 100% recycled glass produced with discarded automobile windshields. Surfaces, in the past has also successfully created the exclusive Britto Glass Collection in partnership with world-renowned pop artist Romero Britto, as well as backsplash kits under the DIY Network brand. And, Surfaces recently forged an agreement to market a line of glass mosaics in conjunction with Crayola, LLC, the Easton, Pa.- based brand known for its iconic art tools that inspire kids’ creative expression, which has 99% name recognition in U.S. consumer households. For more information, please contact Nauro Rezende at Surfaces, Inc. [email protected]  305-372-9787 or visit the Surfaces website:  3009 NW 75th Ave., Miami, FL 33122 – Phone: (305) 372-9787 – Fax: (305) 372-9683  [email protected]

FEATURE COVER STORY – Tiling entryways and foyers

How to successfully install tiles in high-traffic areas prone to water, dirt, and movement stresses

By Sean Gerolimatos, Schluter Systems LP

Entryways and foyers vary in size, use, and style, depending on the type of building. Despite their inherent differences, there remain various requirements that apply to virtually every case. Much of the building traffic will enter via the entryway or foyer, making these spaces ideal for creating positive first impressions.

Ceramic tiles are durable, hygienic, and offer a wide range of design palettes, making them a perfect fit for these applications. A comprehensive installation system will ensure a successful tile application, thereby creating an entryway and foyer that is both attractive and durable, and sets the tone for the rest of the building. 

Mitigating movement stresses

Virtually all substrates present significant challenges for ceramic tile coverings. For example, all wood materials, including plywood, OSB, and framing members, are subject to expansion, contraction, bending, and deflection due to changes in moisture content and loading. Concrete, often considered a “good” substrate for tile, moves at a different rate than tile with changes in temperature, shrinks during the initial drying process as excess moisture is lost, and often cracks. This results in stresses in the tile covering and risks of cracking and delamination when tiles are bonded directly to the substrate using the thin-bed method.

Uncoupling membranes provide lateral flexibility and independent movement between the tile and substrate, limiting the transfer of movement stresses. This protects the tiles from damage, thereby improving the performance of thin-bed assemblies. This method is based on a configured membrane with an anchoring fleece laminated to the underside. The membrane is bonded to the substrate by embedding the anchoring fleece in thin-set mortar. The top of the membrane features a grid of cavities that provide a mechanical lock for the thin-set mortar used to set the tiles. Support for the tiles is ensured by the column-like mortar structures formed in these cavities, which carry the loads from the tiles to the structural base.

Because all tile coverings expand and contract with changes in moisture, temperature, and loading, movement joints are an essential component in any tile assembly. Prefabricated movement-joint profiles can replace sealant joints in tile fields and at restraining surfaces. These profiles provide a maintenance-free alternative to sealant joints that typically require periodic replacement. They also protect tile edges and improve the integrity of the tile assembly as a whole.

Waterproofing protects moisture-sensitive substrates

Inhabitants or visitors often track dirt, dust and water on their shoes when they enter the building. Uncoupling membranes are typically waterproof and offer essential protection for moisture-sensitive substrates. For complete waterproofing, seams and floor-to-wall transitions can be sealed with bonded waterproofing membranes. Waterproofing floor-to-wall transitions ensure that moisture from the outdoors and from cleaning solutions will not penetrate and damage the base of gypsum board walls.

Profiles enhance and finish tile bases

While wood bases are very popular and can be installed over bonded waterproofing membranes, tiled bases or wainscotings are more durable and hygienic in the long run. Poorly-designed floor-to-wall transitions, however, can collect dust and dirt and are difficult to keep clean. Cove base is a ceramic base that provides a rounded transition between the floor and wall, thus making cleaning easier. When tile lines don’t include cove base or other ceramic trim pieces, cove-shaped profiles provide a solution. They can be integrated with field tile to create a smooth, easy-to-clean transition that enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the application.

The availability of ceramic tile trim supply can be spotty, depending on the manufacturer. In fact, imported European tile lines may not provide trim at all, since ceramic trim has limited use overseas. Wall profiles are an alternative to ceramic trim, which can be used instead of surface bullnose or to finish and protect tile edges at outside wall corners and at the top of tile bases and wainscotings.  A variety of accessories, including inside and outside corners, are available for most wall profiles.

Profiles are effective at floor-covering transitions

While most of us in the tile industry would prefer to see tiles used on floors throughout the building, in reality there is a need for clean transitions from tiled entryways and foyers to adjacent floor coverings, such as hardwood or carpet, particularly in residences.  Floor profiles are used to finish and protect tile edges at these transitions, with sloped profiles available to address height differences between tile coverings and adjacent floor coverings. In fact, many of these profiles provide slopes that comply with the guidelines in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Entrances that combine beauty with durability

Ceramic tiles are durable, hygienic, and offer a wide range of design options, making them the ideal covering for entryways and foyers. A comprehensive system approach as presented above will help ensure an attractive entrance into a home or public building that successfully combines beauty and utility with long-term durability.

Case Study – Virginia Contractor crafts crown jewel in Virginia Beach

The Town Center is one of the most prominent construction projects built throughout the entire Hampton Roads region in recent years, and is the keystone in Virginia Beach, Va.’s urban downtown central business district. Phase I of the projected four-phase Main Street-style development included the construction of a 21-story, 254,000 square foot office tower and high-end apartments with nearby upscale hotels, retail shops, parking garage, bank, and restaurants. Later phases – which covered 17 city blocks and 33 acres – brought in the 1,300-seat Sandler Center for Performing Arts, a towering Westin Hotel and luxury condominium residences, and further growth of residential, retail, parking and office space.

Phase I of the projected four-phase Main Street -style development included the construction of a 21-story, 254,000 square foot office tower and high-end apartments with nearby upscale hotels, retail shops, parking garage, bank, and restaurants.

Installed throughout the original 21-story tower were approximately 20,000 square feet of Daltile La CostaTM  ColorBody porcelain tile on the floors, walls and base in the bathrooms. Installed in the tower elevator lobbies were 4,000 square feet of granite tiles, fabricated granite vanities in the tower bathrooms, and 10,000 square feet of custom-fabricated exterior and interior granite floors, base, elevator surrounds and column cladding at the main entrance and throughout the lobby.

The most challenging – and ultimately, the most stunning part of the installation – was the main lobby, including an ornate geometric pattern consisting of five different granites imported from both Brazil and Saudi Arabia, and ornamental columns wrapped in dimensional granite wainscoting. The granites used on this project were Preto Aracruz (Black), Café Imperial (Brown), Asa Branca (White), Golden Leaf (Gold) and Turquoise (Blue).

Approximately 34,000 square feet of ceramic tile and granite throughout the original 21-story tower were installed on this project.

Innovative planning included importing full bundles of slabs of each of the granites prior to the start of the installation. By providing a solution before a problem ever occurred, the contractor was able to accommodate last minute revisions and changes, while still maintaining the schedule. With as many as 40 installers and fabricators sometimes working 7 days a week for three months straight, there was a flawless safety record on this project with zero lost-time incidents.

Proactive legwork made the project flow smoothly. To overcome the challenges and obstacles associated with installing an intricate pattern of granites quarried and fabricated in different countries, contractor personnel traveled to Americana Granitos in Brazil to inspect production and quality, and also to Orlando, Fla., to meet with Mystic Granite and Marble, the importer of the granite that was quarried and fabricated from Red Sea Mining in Saudi Arabia, ensuring that cut-to-size stones from two different countries would fit together perfectly.

MAPEI UltraFlex 1 mortar was used throughout the project. Tile was grouted with MAPEI Keracolor sanded grout and granite was grouted with Keracolor unsanded grout.

The collective result of hard work, thoughtful planning and careful attention to detail is reflected in the stunningly beautiful granite lobby, which is the crown jewel of the Town Center tower.

Personnel traveled to Brazil to inspect granite production and quality and to Orlando to meet with the importer of the Saudia Arabia-sourced granite to ensure the cut-to-size stones from two different countries were a perfect fit.

NTCA Benefits Box – September 2012

NTCA Fleet Pricing Program

Your association is actively investigating programs, products and services that will enhance and provide advantages in your business such as the new Fleet Pricing Program partnership between NTCA and Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. The dealership, located in Flowood, Miss., near NTCA headquarters, will provide fleet pricing to NTCA members who purchase from authorized Chrysler dealerships via the NTCA Fleet Pricing Program. With this program, members can purchase vehicles from Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram at prices that compete with major corporate fleet customers who purchase hundreds of vehicles annually.

For more information about this program, please contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director at 601-939-2071 or email [email protected]

Green Tip – September 2012

Federal initiatives: sustainable product procurement

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

In 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 for Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This order required the federal government to demonstrate leadership in the use of sustainable technologies and environmentally-preferable materials, goods and services.

Over the past three years, Executive Order 13514 has generated several directives, including federal green purchasing programs. Through these programs the federal government has used its enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products. This has impacted the construction industry in a number of ways, especially as it pertains to governmental construction and product procurement.

Various new laws and parts of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) now require that agencies purchase environmentally-sustainable products. Per the National Technology Transfer Act (NTTAA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, federal agencies have been directed to use voluntary, consensus standards in their regulatory and procurement activities. On many occasions the government has turned to industry for these standards. Often only industries with sustainable product specifications have been considered under preliminary procurement efforts, making the establishment of the tile industry’s sustainable product standard, ANSI A138.1/Green Squared®, very relevant.

For government building projects the General Services Administration (GSA) now requires that its employees comply with the GSA Green Purchasing Plan (GPP) when selecting building products. GSA employees rely on industry sustainability standards for direction on which products to choose. Many of these standards, including ANSI A138.1/Green Squared®, are referenced in the GSA’s Performance Based P100 Program – Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service.

To further the goals of Executive Order 13514, the Section 13 Workgroup on Product Standards and Ecolabels, co-chaired by the GSA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed. This group is currently developing a report with product selection guidelines based on existing environmental sustainability standards and eco-labeling programs. If completed and released later in 2012, this report would go to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and be published in the Federal Register.

While these initiatives are centered predominantly on federal government procurement, it is likely they will have a strong influence on the greater green building community and green product selection in general. Given the direction sustainable product specification is heading and the emerging demand for industry standards, having ANSI A138.1/Green Squared® already in place is huge for our industry, as it ensures ceramic tile and related installation products can be considered for federal government projects.

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