Taking a look at the testing behind the tech: TCNA Lab active in new gauged porcelain tile standard

Traditionally, Tech Talk is a place to bring information of specific, practical tips for day-to-day tile installation. But this installment will focus on the technical work that goes on behind the scenes in the TCNA labs, which impacts testing, standards and other aspects of tile and associated products that contractors work with every day. This information was made public at Coverings in April.

TCNA Lab active in new gauged porcelain tile standard

When ANSI A137.3-2017 and A-108.19-2017 were approved recently, their 32 cumulative pages represented many hours of work on behalf of “thin tile” advocates across the globe. The science behind the standards, meanwhile, was provided by a tightly knit group based out of Anderson, S.C., who logged approximately 4,000 hours over six months to make the standard a reality.

“While a number of folks in the industry were absolutely critical in spearheading the thin tile project, and in keeping it moving forward at an incredibly rapid pace, there’s no question our lab played a decisive role in its eventual composition,” said Eric Astrachan, executive director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “In fact, our lab plays an integral role in the development of many of this industry’s standards – thin tile is just the latest example. We couldn’t develop consensus as we do today without the lab leading the way through their R&D efforts. We’re very proud of the work they do.”

TCNA Lab Technician Scott Davis (l.) reviews results with Claudio Bizzaglia. Testing and research conducted at the TCNA Lab contributes to the development of many tile (and related products) indus- try standards – the ANSI A137.3-2017 and A108.19-2017 gauged porcelain standards being the latest examples.

“Standards development is a challenging and interesting cross-disciplinary project for our staff,” said director of Laboratory Services Claudio Bizzaglia. “We have a standards team that attacks each particular standards project we work on, and then, depending on the nature of the project, we pull in specific additional staff members, depending on their specialties. The standards we’ve worked on recently or we’re working on now include a new surface abrasion method for ceramic tiles, multiple water absorption methods, various aspects of the glass tile standard, ongoing coefficient of friction studies, and the Robinson floor test method.”

“Having a diverse talent base to pull from here at TCNA is a tremendous asset in standards development and other industry-facing projects, just as it is for customer assignments,” Astrachan said. “With standards, the team has the additional benefit of knowing that they’re contributing something to an industry that we care very much about – and then, of course, it’s nice to have that expertise when it comes to helping our customers should a standard be ratified.”