Thin Tile – June 2018: Ponder prep before predicting price

By now, hopefully much of the tile industry has been hearing about gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP) and realize that their installation requires specialized expertise and training as compared to typical large-format tile like 12” x 24” formats. But what’s really involved? 

Recently NTCA Training Director/Trainer/Presenter Mark Heinlein fielded a question about pricing for a 48” x 96” GPTP. While he couldn’t give a figure for such an installation, he did detail what’s involved in the installation and what’s needed as compared to traditional tile. Following is his response:

Installation of GPTP requires specific training on substrate prep, setting material selection and usage, specialty tool usage, material handling, teamwork and timing for successful installations. ANSI A118.19 is the installation standard for this material. It is the standard for every aspect of a successful installation.

Many manufacturers of GPTP team with setting material and tool companies to provide this specific training. NTCA is currently conducting GPTP training for our members in regional locations throughout the U.S. Our next program is coming up in the Chicago area in July. (Visit page 8 of this issue or this link for a calendar of upcoming regional training programs and workshops: https://bit.ly/2JjtEjr)

I strongly encourage any installers looking to work with GPTP to receive training based on ANSI A118.19 before attempting to perform an installation.

As far as pricing a job, items such as: substrate prep; proper mortar selection and use; appropriate specialty tool sets; lippage tuning systems and a well-trained, highly functioning team are required to set these tiles/panels. There is money to be made on these installations, but it takes some significant understanding of the process to determine appropriate pricing. Each job should be approached individually as each one will require very specific substrate preparation, etc.

NTCA’s day-long, member benefit regional training programs are currently training on GPTP, and Substrate Preparation and Large-Format Tile. They always incorporate Tile Industry Standards. In addition to installers, I have had project managers and designers attend these extensive training programs. The information and experience they gain has helped them better understand what their company is getting into on these projects. If you’d like to know more about these programs, contact me at
[email protected].