Product Spotlight – November 2013

TEC® products endorsed for use with Laminam® by Crossville®

Products from TEC® have been endorsed by Crossville for use with its Laminam® by Crossville® line of large thin porcelain panels.

Crossville recently launched its line of large porcelain panels for wall and floor applications through an exclusive distributorship with Italian manufacturer Laminam S.p.A. The line features the first-ever large format slab with a thickness of as few as 3 millimeters.

tec-laminam-partnershipTEC and Crossville have jointly developed Laminam-specific installation guidelines, since the revolutionary panels require different handling and installation techniques than traditional products.

Successful installation of large format thin panels requires specific materials. TEC offers a variety of setting materials for use with Laminam by Crossville – including surface preparation products, mortars, grouts and caulks.

“Our goal is to educate contractors on the methods and products that will help them deliver high quality results,” said Tim Bolby, executive technical service director at Crossville. “Our recommendations, which include select TEC products, specify the equipment, materials, handling, storage and installation methods to help contractors achieve success.”

As part of the collaboration, H.B. Fuller Construction Products, the manufacturer of TEC brand products, offers an extended limited warranty (available through a TEC associate or via the website) for TEC bonding systems used with Laminam by Crossville.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Crossville on their large format panel initiative,” said Grant Huffine, senior market manager for H.B. Fuller Construction Products. “The installation system we’ve developed with Crossville for these innovative products reflects our commitment to expanding design possibilities for both those who imagine spaces and those who build them.”

New Products – November 2013

procolor plus grout 25lb bag (2)ProSpec® recently launched ProColor Plus Grout, an extension of its ProColor line as the first of several new grout lines planned for the ProSpec ProColor brand. It provides durable grout joints that are color-consistent, efflorescence-free and rapid-setting. It is a portland cement-free, highly-engineered blend of special cements and additives which will eliminate common problems with portland cement grout. Offered in 20 of the most popular colors found in the ProSpec ProColor Grout line, it incorporates proprietary ProSpec Rapid Cure Technology for high strength and durability, and Expansion Stabilization Technology for improved crack and shrink resistance. ProColor Plus Grout can be opened to foot traffic within three to four hours, shower use within 24 hours and water immersion within seven days. With increased stain resistance, it can be used both indoors and outdoors and in residential, light commercial and heavy-duty commercial installations. ProSpec ProColor Plus Grout is a part of the ProSpec limited lifetime system warranty and is available in 25-pound bags.

durock shower system portfolio (2)USG Corporation introduces its new DUROCK Shower System, a fully-bonded waterproofing system for tiled shower installations, designed to control moisture independently of the tile covering, while creating a solid base for a long-lasting shower. The system reduces installation time by featuring 2% pre-sloped molded EPS foam shower trays in three sizes that install quickly and  accommodate center and off-center drains; a thin, pliable, and extremely-durable high-density polyethylene waterproofing membrane with a cross-laminated core that provides strength and tear resistance at 0.12 mil – and that is ideal for showers, wet areas and continuous-use residential and commercial steam showers. The easy-to-install drain assembly that accepts all DUROCK Shower System 4” or 5” grates (more 50 options in 10 finishes) and can accommodate ABS or PVC waste lines with an integrated bonding flange featuring a nonwoven fleece on the bottom and top of the flange for superior adhesion and bonding. The Durock Shower System also includes shower benches and niches. The benches are made from durable solid 3-lb. density EPS, offering superior strength and can be cut to any size or shape. The niches are constructed from rugged ABS plastic and feature a nonwoven fleece that is co-molded with the ABS plastic structure on the flanges and interior surfaces, which provides a superior bond to thin-set mortar. The system can be purchased as a kit or as separate components, yet all pieces work harmoniously together as a proprietary system. or

emser-pergamoEmser introduces Pergamo glazed porcelain, which captures the dramatic movement and vivid colors of Cabos Valencia travertine with the aid of HD technology. Available in five colors, in 12” x 24,” 13” x 13” and 18” x 18” formats with V4 variation rating.

blast-seriesInternational Wholesale (IWT) introduces the Blast Series from Tesoro. A never-before-seen, eye-catching multi-marble blended-look porcelain tile series, Blast from Tesoro is a one-of-a-kind extreme pattern range series that is an immediately remarkable line.

The Blast series will be available in a 12″ x 24″ format with a 3″ x 24″ bullnose trim. Blast is also created using high-definition inkjet technology.

For more information regarding the Blast series, please contact Ken Baker, director of customer relations at: 772/223-5151 or [email protected]


Living Room Interior With Ocean ViewMediterranea utilizes Dynamic HD Imaging design technology to blend the modern look of cement with delicate veining and coloration from unique stones in its new Ocean Drive glazed porcelain series. Available in four neutral colors derived from Miami Beach, Art-Deco and surfside influences in 12” x 24”, 18” x 18” and 13” x 13” formats with matching bullnose trim and 2” x 2” mosaics.


feet-heated-floorsBostik is proud to introduce HeatStep™, a safe, comfortable and cost-efficient electric radiant heat system that can be used on concrete slab or plywood substrates. Almost every type of floor covering can be warmed with HeatStep, including engineered hardwood, ceramic and porcelain tile, stone, laminates, vinyl, or carpet.

ARDEX Americas announces ARDEX WA™ Epoxy Grout and Adhesive. ARDEX WA has two components and a unique creamy consistency that is easy to apply. It is cleaner than traditional epoxies, yet delivers the durability required in the most difficult environments where epoxies are typically specified.

ARDEX WA is ideal for tile installations in swimming pools, food processing facilities, industrial areas, breweries and other installations where maximum chemical resistance and cleanliness are required.

ARDEX WA provides excellent color consistency and stain resistance in the most demanding environments and is available in the most popular colors. It is available in 9 lb. units at ARDEX Tile & Stone Installation Systems distributors throughout North America.

Bosch Measuring Tools combine the precision of laser measures with the convenience of Bluetooth® wireless technology with the launch of the GLM 100 C Laser Measure. Featuring an extended measuring distance, best-in-class memory storage and angle measurement in two axis, this innovative product allows users to make accurate measurements that are instantly transferred to smart devices via the free Bosch Measurement mobile app.

With the help of the mobile app, professionals can easily store and manage measurements without relying on pen and paper, making it fast and easy to calculate material needs and estimate labor costs on-site. Measurements also can be superimposed on jobsite photos, allowing users to quickly create and share detailed quotes containing pictures and comments. The device boasts first-in-its-class remote control functionality, and professionals can control the GLM 100 C from smart phones or tablets to make steady measurements along long range, short range targetless measurements or in hard-to-reach spots.

Bosch_mobileappFeaturing an extended measuring distance of 330 feet, increased memory storage of up to 50 measurements and angle measurements in two axes, the GLM 100 C offers multiple features for increased versatility. The integrated 360-degree tilt sensor provides improved angle functionality, while the large, automatically illuminated flip display makes measurements easy to read and interpret. As with all Bosch measuring tools, precision is important, and the GLM 100 C is accurate up to 1/16 inch.

The versatile and easy-to-use Bosch GLM measure and document mobile app allows users to sketch or overlay measurements on jobsite photos, calculate measurements or assume control of the tool’s measuring functions from their smart devices. For further processing, measurements and photos also can be transferred from smart devices to personal computers (PC) via USB. When connected to a PC, the GLM 100 C’s integrated Li-Ion battery conveniently re-charges.

The GLM 100 C will come complete with a Li-Ion battery charger, USB cable for data transfer, hand strap and belt pouch. The Bosch GLM measure and document mobile app is available for download and works with Bluetooth® Smart Ready devices on Android and iOS operating systems. To find out more or to find a local dealer, visit or call 877-BOSCH-99.

Feature Story – Custom drives high-speed, large-format tile installation at immense New York mall



Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, N.Y., is the third-largest shopping mall in the U.S. Only 20 miles from New York City, and featuring over 220 retailers, the mall draws 24 million visitors annually – making it one of the busiest malls in the country. An impressive array of upscale attractions includes an ice rink, a Ferris wheel and an IMAX theater along with the largest indoor climbing attraction on the east coast. The mall’s owners, Pyramid Management Group, decided to transform and refresh the space by adding premium porcelain tile to the heavily-trafficked aisles.

With more than 600,000 square feet of public access areas to tile, the sheer scale of the project required extensive planning and consultation. Pyramid called on the expertise of Kevin Killian, owner of ProFast Commercial Flooring of Ijamsville, Md. Kevin knew right away he wanted to partner with the tile installation experts of Custom Building Products.

2-mall“I wanted to put together the very best team in the industry,” said Killian. “That means heading the list with Custom Building Products. Not only does Custom have the best setting materials and warranty available, but their national construction systems manager, David DeBear, is one of the most knowledgeable people in the country.”




Keeping up with demands

3-mallLarge-format porcelain tiles manufactured by Iris U.S. were chosen for their superior design and easy maintenance qualities. These 24″ x 24″ and 12″ x 24″ tiles were sourced by Ceramic Technics of Alpharetta, Ga., who worked with Iris U.S. to rapidly deliver the significant quantities needed to keep up with installation demands. This was especially important with everyone on the team working to keep the project ahead of schedule.

A primary consideration behind the choice of the installation products was driven by the Custom Building Products System Warranty. Product performance, workability and compliance with current standards – plus prompt customer service – were of the utmost importance to ProFast Commercial Flooring. Surface preparation of the existing stained concrete flooring was also a significant factor.

4-mallThe mall chose to remain open for business throughout the renovation process. To accommodate this, the use of rapid-setting patching and leveling materials as well as installation products from Custom minimized the time needed for each area to be closed off to the public.

David DeBear of Custom developed installation system recommendations for the team, conducted due diligence and performed field evaluation. DeBear also coordinated a 20-year Installation System Warranty for this specific tile installation. Custom technical services representative Matt Grandinetti regularly visited the site to advise the installers and inspect subfloor conditions.

Surface preparation began with Custom’s new TechLevel XP-1 Self-Leveler and CrackBuster® Pro Crack Prevention Mat Underlayment. These two products were specified to address the uneven condition of the cement substrate and ensure an installation system designed for large-format tiles. The size of the tiles and the requirement for speed dictated the use of Complete Contact™ Rapid Setting Fortified Mortar. Complete Contact eliminates the need for back-buttering, allows grouting in two hours and traffic in as few as four. Both characteristics – along with Complete Contact’s ability to hold its ridges for deeper trowel notches – were vital to this project’s success.

8,000 square feet of tile set and grouted each shift!


“Our crews worked day and night averaging over 8,000 square feet of tile set and grouted each shift,” said Kevin. “That is insanely fast!  With the size of these tiles, not to mention the size of the mall, having the precise installation materials we needed for this job saved us weeks of time.”

The tile installation was completed with PolyBlend® Sanded Grout and 100% Silicone Caulk. Custom’s exclusive line of Profiles and Transitions products was specified to create smooth, code-compliant transitions between flooring finishes, such as tenant spaces and carpeted areas.

6-mallPalisades Center’s owners did not wait for a grand opening before starting to showcase the work in progress on their website. Shoppers are expected to be very happy with the inviting new look and feel of their favorite mall when the project is complete. With a 20-year Installation System Warranty in place, all involved with the project know that the quality of the installation products used are the best in the industry – backed by Custom Building Products.


Tile Patterns – bringing tile to life


By Corinthia Runge, manager, Daltile Design Studio

Ceramic tile continues to reign as one of the most favored design staples in the floor-covering industry because of its performance, design versatility, color options and beauty. The range of design possibilities with ceramic tile is truly endless, which affords tile manufacturers the opportunity to meet the varying needs of residential and commercial audiences through extensive portfolios of stylish floor and wall tile options – but there’s more to a tile installation than the tile itself.

How tile is laid can change the look and feel of any space – and there are so many exciting tile patterns to choose from and ways to use them to a space’s best advantage. No matter how you want to alter the appearance or scale of an installation, there’s a tile pattern designed to work for you. Using any classic tile pattern can help transform a standard tile job into an extraordinary one. Considering the wide variety of tile and trim tiles available, the possibilities are limitless.

Trending tiles and patterns

Many of today’s most popular tile patterns are inspired by the emerging trends driving modern design. These trends take some time to get seeded, but once a trend is identified, it tends to evolve and last for years. The most popular shapes right now are rectangular large formats and planks, which are often being used on both the floor and on the wall. This results in many more pattern options, which designers are utilizing more frequently to create unique designs. For larger format sizes, the most popular patterns are Running Bond, Straight Joint and Third Stagger.

2-tile-patternsRunning Bond is a basic yet beautiful layout, also called a brick or offset pattern. In this pattern, the tiles are offset by half the width of the tile, offering a timeless look for almost any style. With each joint centered over the tile below, this pattern resembles classic brickwork. Larger formats (any side measuring over 18”) require an offset of no more than 33% when installed in this pattern.

Straight Joint is one of the simplest tile patterns that showcases the beauty of every tile. The straight joint pattern offers a more contemporary, linear look. Whether tile is installed vertically or horizontally, the pattern’s clean lines make any space feel taller or wider.

Third Stagger is a variation of the Running Bond layout that features a stair-step pattern with each joint offset 1/3 from the row of tiles below it.

These larger format sizes (12”x24”, 18”x36” and 24”x48”) offer a more transitional, clean look and have less grout. Running Bond and Third Stagger provide a traditional spin on the modern cut tile, while the Straight Joint offers a more modern look.

Patterns for planks

1-tilepatternsFor plank sizes, the most popular patterns are Chevron, Herringbone and Random Stagger. The rise in popularity of these layouts is due in part to wood-look tile, one of the hottest trends in the marketplace. What was first introduced as a traditional take on hardwood floors has evolved to include more colors and textures to choose from than ever before. There has also been a significant rise in the selection of natural stone planks due to the beautiful vein-cut natural stone options being offered today.

Chevron is an inverted V-shaped pattern. In this design, all planks are the same length and the pieces are installed at an angle to match up perfectly with one another. This creates a perfectly straight line on both sides of the planks. Herringbone is very similar to Chevron, but instead of having the ends line up with one another, they overlap, creating an entirely different and unique look.

Mosaics are also “must-haves” right now, especially in kitchen backsplashes, shower walls and floor accents. The texture and color movement possible with these mosaics add a depth, sparkle and luminescence to any space.

In terms of mosaic patterns, if you can imagine it, you can create it. From vivid colors and on-trend shapes to unique patterns and bold borders, one simple design can turn any space into an incredible work of art. There are hundreds of patterns and borders available that can be modified to complement any design scheme. Many mosaics are available in custom (made to order) and standard patterns that can be used in any application.

On the level for proper installation

The primary challenges with large-format tile patterns are foundation and installation. For large-format tiles, the foundation must be perfectly level, which at times requires extensive preparation work for the surface. It may also require a crack-prevention membrane. Also, during installation it may require extra setting material and extra manpower, since the large tiles may be difficult to maneuver.

When in doubt, always refer to the industry standards. Industry standards include the 2013 TCNA (Tile Council of North America) Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation, which includes Natural Stone Tile Selection and Installation and Assembly Methods for the Installation of Stone Tile. In addition, consult the current Version 2013.1 edition of ANSI A108, A118, and A136.1 (Visit the NTCA store at, click on Books & Periodicals).

For more information and diagrams on tile patterns, visit tile manufacturer websites such as,, or


Achieving ambitious design at Coba Cocina restaurant

TEC products provide stunning aesthetic and impeccable performance


Coba Cocina Restaurant in Lexington, KY contains more than 60,000 square feet of glass, porcelain and ceramic interior and exterior tile, all installed with TEC® Power Grout® and IsoLight™ mortar.

The design of Coba Cocina was inspired by cenotes, a natural wonder found most often in the Yucatan Peninsula, where land has eroded over centuries to create a mystical underwater world. The focal point of the restaurant is an aquarium that is home to the largest private collection of moon jellyfish in the world.

1-cobaThe project team decided that the best material to simulate the limestone bedrock and underwater atmosphere would be a variety of tile. To achieve this intricate look, the team immediately turned to TEC products because of their wide variety of options and ultimate performance.

“There was really no other choice when it came to deciding which products to use,” said Todd Ott, AIA, Associate with CMW, Inc., architect for the project. “IsoLight™ and Power Grout did everything that we needed for all interior and exterior tile applications throughout the project through a single source. The products enabled us to get the look we imagined, with peak performance.”

TEC Power Grout Ultimate Performance Grout was used for all tile applications on Coba Cocina. It provides permanent stain resistance, crack resistance, efflorescence resistance and superior color uniformity. Power Grout is available in 32 color options that match the latest design trends – yet another advantage for the Coba Cocina design and project team.

2-coba“The design of the floor and walls at Coba is a work of art,” said Ott. “The numerous color options of Power Grout allowed us to choose from a broad range of grout colors to fit our creative design.”

By using ceramic and glass tile of various sizes and colors, including iridized blacks, greens, golds, silvers and aqua, on the floors and walls, restaurant patrons can experience a sense of underwater movement.

TEC IsoLight Mortar was used to set all of the tile. IsoLight is a lightweight mortar that protects tile from up to 1/8″ substrate cracking from in-plane horizontal substrate movement. It contains recycled materials that enable superior handling and ease of use. Additionally, IsoLight can be applied over many substrates, an extra bonus for the installer of the Coba Cocina project. “


The mortar was applied over various substrate surfaces and used with a variety of tile materials,” said Donnie May, president of May Contracting who served as installer on the project. “Not having to change products during installation saved us time and allowed us to focus on the intricate details of this installation.”

The exterior of the restaurant is covered in solid porcelain tile that gives it a travertine look. The large-format 12”x24” tile is set using the same TEC products as the interior. IsoLight and Power Grout are both ideal for outdoor installations.

“I can always turn to TEC products to achieve the desired outcome of any project,” said Donnie May. “Coba is another example of the aesthetic and functional results that TEC products have to offer.”

Coba Cocina was completed in spring 2013. The project team consists of architect CMW, Inc., Lexington, KY, tile installer May Contracting, Lexington KY, and distributor Louisville Tile, Lexington, KY.

Visit to learn more about TEC products.


Tech Talk – November 2013

TEC-sponsorKeys to successful installation of large thin tile panels

tom_plaskota_webBy Tom Plaskota, Technical Support manager, H.B. Fuller Construction Products

Large-format tile has become a popular choice for commercial floor and wall installations. Because it requires fewer grout lines, large-format tile visually expands rooms and produces a neater, modern appearance. Building owners and designers, now more than ever, are demanding these aesthetic benefits. Meanwhile, technological advances have enabled manufacturers to produce larger – and thinner – porcelain tiles, some with facial dimensions as large as 5’ (1.5 m) x 10’ (3 m). Thicknesses are reduced compared to traditional tile, ranging from 1/8” (3 mm) to 9/32” (7 mm).

These larger and thinner tiles can be challenging to handle and install. Here are some key factors to consider:

Handling – Large-format tiles often arrive in oversized crates, which require specific handling equipment. To prevent damage during forklift operation, specific fork sizes must be used. For example, to handle a crate of 3’ x 10’ tiles from the side, 44” long forks are recommended. To handle the same crate from the narrow end requires forks that are at least 84” long. Lifting multiple crates with longer forks may require forklifts with a greater lift capacity.

fig1_tectalkTools and equipment – Specialized tools and equipment are currently available for the installation of large porcelain panels. Innovative trowels with unique notch configurations can help increase the consistency of the mortar coverage on the back of the tile (See fig. 1). As with any size tile installation, full and complete coverage provides a strong bond and minimizes the likelihood of damage from impact or heavy loads.

Fig2-tectalkTo assist in the handling and setting of individual tiles, frames and handles with suction cups can be purchased or rented from tile distributors. Since mis-cuts of large panels can result in costly waste, the use of a rail cutting system is highly recommended (See fig. 2).

Installation materials – Since not all setting materials are appropriate for installing large porcelain panels, setting-material manufacturers have specific large-tile product recommendations. Whether you are installing 1/8” (3 mm) thick tiles that have a resin/mesh backing (See fig. 3) or 7/32” (5.6 mm) tiles with a porcelain bonding surface, the greater bond strength and resistance to impact of latex/polymer modified portland cement mortars are required. The “tack time” of a mortar is another consideration. When troweling mortar onto a substrate, it is important that the mortar surface remains in a wet, tacky state and doesn’t skin over before the tile is set. Tack time is especially important when troweling out the area to set a 30-plus square foot tile.


Setting-material manufacturers must also evaluate grout requirements for reduced thickness porcelain panels. Strong durable grouts are required for these installations for two reasons:

1. Grout-joint depth is limited by the reduced thickness of the tile

2. Reduced-thickness tiles have a rectified corner edge, which may be susceptible to impact damage in some circumstances. Grouts with premium strength qualities address these conditions.

Substrate preparation – First, check with the tile manufacturer to make sure your substrate type is acceptable. For example, some large thin-tile manufacturers limit floor installations to concrete substrates. While a clean, sound substrate is critical to any tile installation, large porcelain panels have the added criteria of substrate flatness. The maximum allowable variation in the substrate for tiles with all edges shorter than 15” is 1/4” in a 10’ span. There should be no more than 1/16” variation in a 10’ span when measured from the high points on the surface. For tiles with at least one edge 15” in length, the maximum variations are 1/8” in 10’ and 1/16” in 24”. For floor installations, a self-leveling underlayment can help meet these substrate requirements.

Staffing the job properly – Having the right size crew is critical. The largest of these tiles must be handled by at least two people. Back-buttering is typically required, with the mortar being applied to the substrate and the back of the tile by two people simultaneously. To keep pace with the installation, at least one individual will be required to mix and maintain the flow of mortar. Taking this into consideration, even the smallest installations require at least a four-person crew.

Finally, there are additional recommendations that manufacturers can provide, so the best approach is to consult your tile and setting material manufacturer before you begin the installation. That way, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges you may face and have the knowledge to take on large tile installations with confidence.

The TEC® brand is offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc. – a leading provider of technologically advanced construction materials and solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential construction industry. Headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, the company’s recognized and trusted brands – TEC®, CHAPCO®, Grout Boost®, Foster®, AIM™ and others – are available through an extensive network of distributors and dealers, as well as home improvement retailers. For more information, visit 

Metropolitan Ceramics adds new features to site

Metropolitan Ceramics®, has recently updated its website

The new site is designed for easy navigation throughout with a clearly-defined menu bar and drop down menus. The site includes a combination of installation photography, technical data, downloads and pertinent information about the complete Metropolitan Ceramics product line.

The site is designed in a format that fits well with both wide-screen and tablet viewing. A mobile version is also part of the design. The site features rotating installation photography on the home page highlighting various design themes.

One other feature of the site is a plant tour video (fashioned in the same vein as the popular show “How It’s Made”) that shows the behind-the-scenes manufacturing of quarry tile.

The site also links to the Metropolitan Ceramics blog site which contains technical and informative posts about Metropolitan Ceramics products and tile in general.


TCNA Hires Lynn M. Zott

zottTile Council of North America (TCNA) has hired Lynn M. Zott as project manager. Zott has joined TCNA to further develop its communications and publications programs, along with TCNA project manager Stephanie Samulski. Zott brings a wealth of experience in publishing, having spent the last nine years as president of Zott Solutions, Inc., an editorial services company that provided contracted project management, editorial, and production services for 175+ reference and textbook titles worth millions in annual revenue.

Both as a small business owner and during her tenure at Gale, a major reference publisher where Lynn served as managing editor in charge of several award-winning, flagship reference series, she has honed her skills in writing and editing, product and marketing conceptualization, researching, designing for print and digital publications, and project management. Lynn particularly enjoys analyzing workflows, locating ways to maximize efficiencies in production, and designing methods and strategies to support optimal individual and team performance.

Eric Astrachan, TCNA executive director, said, “With Ms. Zott on staff, we believe we can better communicate industry initiatives, better inform our members, and make better use of content TCNA develops.”

NTCA Five Star Contractor participates in 12th Annual Minnesota Tile Festival

The Twelfth Annual Handmade Tile Festival dawned on a sunny September 21 at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. The outdoor event hosted a combination of 30 handmade tile makers/artists and related industry exhibitors from across the country.

With the retirement of longtime festival coordinator Norma Hanlon last year, Handmade Tile Association (HTA) executive director Josh Blanc stepped in to manage the event with the help of Mercedes Austin of Mercury Mosaics and Trebuchet Communications.

Five hundred and forty seven people came to the event, which featured some new concepts: The Installation Booth, where artists could purchase a wall to showcase their installation, and the Tile Boutique, managed by Seattle’s Carol Dean, which displayed work from artists from other parts of the country who couldn’t afford to travel could participate in the show.

Jan_at_handmadetileFive Star NTCA Contractor Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., and Region 7 NTCA board member had a booth promoting NTCA as well as quality tile installation (CTEF-CTI) for all the handmade tiles that people were buying.

The fashion show was a bigger draw in this, its second year, with many artists and fashion designers collaborating and creating unique tile and fashion garments for the runway. Tiles were attached to the garments, with most custom-made for the garments and accessories, which were professional and consumer-ready. The tile fashion show gives tile artists and fashion designers the ability to transcend their everyday focus and experiment with challenges and new forms. Besides allowing the exploration of new ideas and craftsmanship, the fashion show also helped to bring in a new type of audience to learn about tile.

1-tile-dress“Six clothing designers teamed up with handmade tile makers to create fashions that incorporated tile into the design of the clothing, making tile wearable; the results were wonderful,” Hohn said.  “Most people wouldn’t think of tile sewn into clothing, but the range of designs and the use of tile was quite innovative. The designs ranged from  ‘tile jewelry’ to casual wear to evening dresses and even a walker that incorporated tile.”

The American Swedish Institute’s Karin Krull and staff helped put on and sponsor the event as well as many volunteers including: Layl McDill, Jack Kazrowski, JoAnn Hendricks, Deb George, Elliot McDill and Eric Moe.

Due to a number of factors the Handmade Tile Association is evaluating whether the annual event will continue to be the best way to raise awareness of handmade tile and celebrate tile artists and tile makers.


“The Tile Festival’s main goal is to introduce and promote handmade tile to the public,” Hohn said.  “Because of the nature of handmade tiles, they are not for everyone, but when a person chooses handmade tiles, the projects can be customized much more than any machine-made tile. It allows a person to put their own stamp of artistic influence on a tile installation.”


Visit for more information on the association, handmade tile and the tile festival.

Benefits Box – November 2013

benefitsboxNTCA Members Speak Out

If you’ve been following the benefits presented in this section for the last few years and you STILL aren’t sure why becoming a member is a good idea, take it from a few of the members themselves:

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile
Annville, Pa.

Why do I belong to the best tile association in the world?

One word, passion. Over the years since joining the NTCA, the biggest word that comes to my mind when I think of this organization is “passion.” Passion for people and passion for improving this industry step by step. Whenever I call the NTCA for help or support, I am always inspired. When I go to an event I am inspired as well to be around people who have worked hard to get in a position to represent and help others in this industry. There is no substitute or shortcut in doing our job the right way. The NTCA is there to provide the education, training, and support. I have made many lasting friendships in this organization. Thank you all, I am grateful to be a part of the NTCA.

Gary Kight
Conceptual Tile Solutions
Jacksonville, Fla. 

I belong to the association because of what it believes in, what it is willing to do to help tile installers be better installers, and what it does for the tile industry itself.

The NTCA offers me many great resources. The NTCA Reference Manual in itself is a valuable tool. The NTCA offers me contacts throughout the tile industry, including tile installers, tile inspectors and numerous other people within the trade that I can ask questions of and trust the information I am getting. NTCA offers Tile & Stone Workshops throughout the United States, by trained professionals who have worked in the trade, giving us hands on-training, where we can ask questions and learn new techniques. Along with the training workshops, there are also videos that show installation techniques that I can use to show my helpers. Training manuals and other literature are available.

The greatest benefit is that I know I am part of a group of people who are willing to learn and better themselves in a trade I am passionate about.

People like to do business with  people who want to better themselves and their industry. I use NTCA membership as marketing tool to let my customers know it is one of the ways I stay up on the growing trends and products in our industry.

Tom Hambrock
T & J Construction Services
Manchester, Tenn. 

Hambrock has been a John Bridge Forum member for many years, and via John Bridge, attended Coverings five years ago. That’s when he learned about NTCA and was persuaded to join.

“Being a real small contractor in a remote locality, I didn’t know what benefit it would be to me at first,” Hambrock said. “The carrot was the rebate (Partnering for Success Vouchers). Being a one-man contractor, $400 to join an organization at that time was a lot of money. But I thought, ‘If they will give me the money back on products I use, it’s a no-brainer.’

“Well, having done that and gotten involved with it, I gained more knowledge and more personal and professional relationships from it,” Hambrock continued. “I stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take the middle state of Tennessee state directorship for NTCA – from Chattanooga to Nashville, Crossville to the Tennessee River.”

Since then, Hambrock has become close personal friends with NTCA trainer/presenter Gerald Sloan, and has been on hand to support Gerald’s Tile & Stone Workshops in Hambrock’s area.

“NTCA membership has been a tremendous benefit to me, being in a remote area. Without the NTCA, I would not have the knowledge and experience that I have now, because there is nobody here to give me any insight.”

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