Editor’s Letter – Tech 2016

Lesley psf head shot“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

As science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke aptly stated, advanced technology is a bit of magic. We see the stuff of this today – surface treatments, glazes and inkjet printing processes for tiles that replicate anything from lace to wood with perfect authenticity or quirky artistry; tiles that are thinner than the diameter of a pencil; mortar that can bend and flex…the list is endless. Our industry truly is a marvel of advanced engineering that provides a spectrum of amazing surfacing materials, setting materials, tools, and accessories with which to make projects more enduring and better performing, while streamlining the process for the installer. The magazine you hold in your hands pays homage to this.

Welcome to the 2016 repeat performance of our TECH issue of TileLetter. NTCA debuted this publication in 2015, and it’s back this year by popular demand.

Overall, this issue takes an in-depth look at new technologies and advances of a range of product categories: substrate preparation; electric floor warming; shower systems; mortars; grout; tools, accessories, and apps; and this year we added a sustainability category.

Within each category, you’ll find manufacturer comments about the direction the category is taking and what advances we can expect to see emerging over the next year. As an adjunct to each category, we present a range of new products that demonstrate these cutting-edge advances.

And in many categories we include comments from contractors and installers working in the field. These give a view on what REALLY works and what doesn’t by those putting them to the test on the job – and occasionally ideas for improvement.

In addition to our category content, we have a cover feature by TEC about the expansion of The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Ind., and a collection of stories that support the advance of technology and standards in our industry. Kevin Fox, Methods and Standards Committee chairman discusses the development of some new submissions and additions to the 2017 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. Crossville’s Noah Chitty updates us on the latest in the quest for product and installation standards for gauged porcelain tile, the tile formerly known as large thin porcelain tile. NTCA president Bart Bettiga uses his Publisher Letter to report on the first-ever Installation Summit, held in Dallas at the beginning of August, which brought together 70 representatives from all flooring installation sectors (25 from tile and stone alone!) to put their heads together about what is being called an “installation crisis” – particularly quality work and lack of experienced installers.

Something that’s new for this year is the Regional Sales Snapshot, where several major suppliers share information about what is selling in their region, in terms of setting materials, tools and tile and stone products.

We’re grateful to everyone who shared their wisdom and perspectives in this issue. We hope it’s a useful reference document for the entire year to come, and brings technological magic within reach for your upcoming projects. Think of something you’d like to see in the 2017 edition? Send your ideas to me at [email protected]

God bless,