Tall and slim tile is de rigueur at Coverings in Chicago
By Lesley Goddin
Chicago, Ill. – Exhibitor booths at last month’s Coverings 2016 global tile experience were packed with the possibilities of large, thin, “gauged” porcelain tile (read the sidebar at page bottom for the new “gauged tile” definition!) – even as the industry works towards finalizing and adopting standards for product and installation of these tiles and slabs. What follows is a sampling of product on display at the show, often in marble, travertine or Crema Marfil aesthetics.
Crossville – 1 M x 1 M and 1 M x 3 M Laminam panels in 3+ mm and 5.6 mm thicknesses come in a range of finishes, like the Oxide collection of authentic metallic aesthetics, the new Satori finish that offers textured, plaster-like wabi-sabi looks, and the I Naturali collection of stone finishes including Bianco Statuario (stone on counter and desk front), and Calacatta d’Oro, a very popular marble trend at the show. www.crossvilleinc.com
Florim – Magnum is the name of Florim’s mammoth thin porcelain tile slab program, with 5’ x 10’ formats that are only 6 mm thin. This book-matched marble shower is only one of the finishes available. www.florimusa.com
Inalco – Tile of Spain producer Inalco showed Ker in a Calacatta Statuario, installed as a heat-resistant, stain-resistant counter, flowing into a sink. Made in 1/2” counter thickness, Ker is also offered in 6 mm for walls and 12 mm for floors in 40” x 8’ lengths, designed to be easier to fit into small spaces. www.inalco.es/en
Iris – Iris Ceramica in Italy is the mother company of Iris USA, StonePeak and Graniti Fiandre, with manufacturing facilities in Tennessee. Iris has a tradition of large, thin porcelain, available now in Maxfine 5’ x 10’ 6 mm porcelain slab sizes, Plane large thin slabs at StonePeak and Maximum Tiles by Fiandre. www.irisus.com
Levantina – Techlam is a thin tile that doesn’t require epoxy mortar for installation. Thicknesses start at 3 mm up to 5 mm (included 3+3 and 5+5 for specific applications) for walls and floors. It comes a range of aesthetics, including stone, wood, steel, and other effects. Also new at Coverings was Levantina’s unique 36” x 24” x 1/2” and 36” x 18” x 1/2” formats of Crema Marfil Coto® tiles and its black Canfranc marble – a Levantina exclusive – now also available as a tile, in polished and vintage finishes. These new formats also include a microbevel in the stone, designed to reduce chipping; and the 36” x 18” format is especially easy and lightweight to handle. www.levantina.com
Florida Tile – This company celebrated its 10th anniversary of Panariagroup ownership during Coverings. One of the announcements was that the Cotto D’Este brand – also owned by Panariagroup – is now being added to the Florida Tile operations. That means in addition to Florida’s Thinner lightweight thin porcelain panels, the company will also distribute Kerlite with a dedicated customer service center. Luca Setti will oversee Cotto D’Este USA, Sean Cilona is the director of marketing and product development and Doug Hayes is sales director. Florida Tile is preparing an updated web presence to reflect the line addition, all new U.S. merchandising and CEUs specially for the Cotto D’Este brand. Kerlite is offered in a range of thicknesses: Kerlite’s original 3 mm thickness; Kerlite Plus with 3 mm and a fiberglass mesh backing; Kerlite twin, that sandwiches a fiberglass mesh layer between two 3 mm slabs for heavy floor traffic applications; and Kerlite 5 Plus, which is a 5 mm slab with a fiberglass mesh backing. www.floridatile.com
Progress on product and installation standards; new terminology for “thin tile” develops
At the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) press conference, executive director Eric Astrachan discussed the ongoing development of ANSI A137.3: draft product standard for “gauged porcelain tiles and gauged porcelain tiles/slabs” and ANSI A108.19 draft installation standard for “gauged porcelain tiles and gauged porcelain tiles/slabs.” Inherent in these standards development is an evolution of language from “thin” to “gauged” porcelain tiles (up to 1 square meter or approx 10 sq. ft.) and “gauged” porcelain slabs (larger than 1 square meter). The term “gauged” emphasizes the precision required to manufacture tiles to a particular thickness. The first draft of ANSI A108.19 was released to the committee on April 17, for collaborative development that combines best practices recommended by manufacturers with experience gained by the installation community including tile and installation materials manufacturers; contractors/installers, and associations.
Next steps include continued efforts toward consensus, with the balloting of both standards (product and installation) by year-end likely. TCNA is leading the effort to review all related ASTM tile testing methods and how they apply to gauged tiles and tile panels/slabs.