NTCA INCREASES EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP NUMBERS IN 70TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will celebrate 70 successful years as a leading trade association in 2017. Each year, the NTCA reaches over 4,000 industry professionals through a variety of educational programs including hands-on workshops, through which it provides training for installers and tile industry professionals on industry standards and how to prevent and address problems on the job. These educational programs are fundamental to the continued success of the association.

Utilizing four trainers, over 140 educational workshops and training sessions are scheduled for 2017, the most training seminars in NTCA history. In addition to record-breaking workshop numbers, for the first time ever, the association will perform training programs in Spanish, to be held in ten locations across the country, where the language is spoken commonly in the construction industry.

A major sponsor of the workshop program in 2017 is Daltile, who will host over 120 programs alone. Additional sessions will be supported by independent distributors including The Tile Shop and Louisville Tile, who are set to host 14 and eight educational events, respectively. “The success of the educational workshops in the first quarter has been so strong, that several independent distributors are working with NTCA to add more events in more locations this year, making it possible that the number of seminars will increase to more than 150 by the end of 2017,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director.

In addition to workshops and educational seminars, trainers also perform custom-sponsored programs and will complete several this year. To learn more about hosting an NTCA workshop, please contact NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson at [email protected], via telephone at (612) 788-4726, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA CONTINUES CAREER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS WITH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

In an effort to provide online training to support tile contracting companies, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is in the process of completing the first year of its Apprenticeship Program. The first year, introduced at Coverings 2016, is broken into six-month increments. The first section focuses on introducing the worker to the tile industry, promoting safety in the workplace, the types of tools that will be used on a regular basis, and basic knowledge of mixing materials and how products are used together. The final phase of the first year of the program will go into further detail of installation processes like surface preparation and profiling.

The Apprenticeship Program was developed to attract people into the trade by demonstrating a clear path for them to be properly trained while they are employed and being compensated. The online program is intended to support contractors own training efforts on the jobsite. It serves as related learning for a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program that a contractor provides, or any additional training for introductory employees including sales people, counter help at a distributor, or helpers. The program can also serve as a refresher course for those who haven’t had training or education in these areas in a while. Contractors can sign up for the program through NTCA University for an all-access subscription and can register any current or future employee.

According to Education and Training Coordinator Becky Serbin, the association will soon begin developing the second year of the program, which will include more in-depth knowledge of grouting techniques, waterproofing, transitioning into a tile setter helper role, and introducing the worker to management courses to provide training for individuals to manage their own finishing crew.

“While the content development has been slower than I originally expected, I have been working with contractors and manufacturers to ensure that the information we are providing can be used to give the next generation of mechanics the tools they need for successful tile installations,” Serbin said. “I’m looking

forward to the next year as we continue to grow NTCA University into a site that all tile installers can come to learn something new, no matter their skill level.”

NTCA is in the final stages of working out agreements with technical colleges about using this program as curriculum for the education portion of their classes. The next steps in development of the apprenticeship program will be a tile setter related learning program which will also be a two-year related training program. The curriculum will continue to be announced in six month increments, and will be available for viewing and purchase online as each course is completed.

NTCA PARTNERS WITH DALTILE TO GIVE AWAY FREE TRIPS TO TOTAL SOLUTIONS PLUS

The National Tile Contractors Association and Daltile are pleased to announce their sponsorship  of a special association membership promotion to have a chance to win an all- expense paid trip to Total Solutions Plus. Seven lucky winners will be randomly chosen out of all new members who join NTCA in 2017 to win these trips to the leading management and leadership conference, taking place November 4th-7th at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington D.C. Trip benefits will include three nights’ hotel, roundtrip airfare for two persons per company, full conference and events registration fees, and a $500 gift card. As a major sponsor of Total Solutions Plus, Daltile believes that contractors who attend the conference will find the experience to be highly valuable, and engaged NTCA to partner with them in this effort.

All new contractor members who join NTCA by August 31st are eligible and will be entered into the drawing. Winners will be notified by September 1st, and will have time to make arrangements to attend the conference. Only one entry per person will be allowed for the drawing.

Total Solutions Plus is jointly promoted by the NTCA, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, the Tile Contractors Association of America, and the Tile Council of North America. The actual conference and tabletop networking event takes place on November 7th and 8th, while association meetings and activities are held November 5th and 6th. For more information about this opportunity contact Jim Olson at [email protected] assn.com.

COVERINGS 2017 TO FEATURE TINY HOMES DURING INSTALLATION DESIGN SHOWCASE

Coverings, the largest international tile & stone exhibition in North America, will feature a new display at the 8th annual Coverings Installation Design Showcase (IDS). National Tile Contractors Association Five Star Contractors will collaborate with leading designers to install tile in tiny houses on the showroom floor. Creative designs utilizing many types of tile will be installed in the three tiny homes throughout the show, allowing attendees to see their progress. All three installation companies have successfully completed the NTCA Five Star Contractor recognition program and employ installers who have passed the Certified Tile Installer exam administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. The design and installation teams will be supported by industry-leading tile and installation material manufacturers to complete the project. Coverings 2017 will be held April 4-7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

Dan Welch, Welch Tile

Dan Welch of Welch Tile and Marble will collaborate with Michigan designer Lauren Figueroa of The Georgia Pear Interiors to install materials provided by Florim USA to complete their project, the West Michigan House, with installation materials provided by LATICRETE. Welch Tile provides tile and marble installation services to a plethora of markets, including healthcare, education, hospitality, industrial, entertainment, residential and corporate facilities.

 

 

 

Sam Bruce, Visalia Tile

Visalia Ceramic Tile will work with Kim Lewis, founder of Kim Lewis Designs. Tile for their Retro Bungalow will be provided by Ceramics of Italy, and MAPEI will contribute installation materials to the project. Sam Bruce is the project manager for Visalia Tile, who specializes in both commercial and residential installation. They are based in Visalia, Calif., and have been licensed and bonded since 1985. Visalia tile is also recognized by NTCA as the nation’s 38th Five Star Tile Contractor.

 

 

Erin Albrecht, J&R Tile

Erin Albrecht of J & R Tile Inc. will be paired with Nikki Vega of bluetreehome. Crossville Tile will furnish tile and ARDEX will contribute the setting materials to make The Vitruvian tiny house come together. J & R Tile prides itself in being a Five Star commercial contractor in Central Texas, and has provided installation services for commercial, healthcare, education, historical, religious and government entities. Founded over 30 years ago with a focus on education and certification, the company is committed to installation excellence.

The IDS exhibits will be available for viewing during Coverings on the show floor, giving attendees the opportunity to visit and explore the tiny homes. On Thursday, April 6 at 3:00 p.m. attendees will be invited to meet with the designers and contractors for a one-hour interactive session discussing the design and installation of each project.

Unlike in years past, when the IDS projects would be torn down and deposited in a landfill, these Tiny Homes will be transported to a vibrant community in Orlando, and will be made available for purchase. A local builder in the Orlando community is collaborating with Coverings show management to make this a smooth transition.

About Coverings

Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States. It features exhibitors from more than 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.

The exposition serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with more than 75 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). The show is managed by Taffy Event Strategies, LLC.

Coverings 2017 takes place April 4-7 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. For more information, visit coverings.com or contact Taffy Events, Coverings Show Management, 703-539-5504.

About NTCA

NTCA is a non-profit trade association serving every segment of the industry, spearheading education for the professional installation of ceramic tile, natural stone and allied products. For more information, please contact NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga at [email protected], via telephone at (601) 939-2071, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

Metropolitan Ceramics Features Raven Color in Extensive Color Palette

Metropolitan Ceramics offers one of the widest selection of unglazed ceramic quarry tile available. Metropolitan’s natural earth tone color palette goes well beyond the standard red and gray often associated with quarry tile. Colors include both single (monotone colors) and flashed range color products. And all of Metropolitan Ceramics products are designed with slip resistance and durability in mind.

One of the more recent additions to the product line is a dark charcoal black color appropriately named Raven. The use of black and near black in tile design and design, in general, is quickly becoming a popular trend.

Metropolitan Ceramics developed the Raven color option to allow designers the freedom to create contemporary and appealing floors in demanding heavy traffic areas. Raven can handle the spills and moisture and all the abuse these (indoor and outdoor) areas produce.

Raven is the perfect choice for these areas because Raven is designed to be both durable and slip resisting. Raven’s color is through the body, and the body is low absorption with an unglazed slip resisting surface. Raven is available in 8”x 8”, “4 x 8”, and 6” x 6” sizes. Trim is also available.

With Raven and the other colors available in the Metropolitan Ceramics color palette, design and functionality can come together, even in the most demanding applications.

To learn more about Raven and the other fine ceramic quarry tile products from Metropolitan Ceramics visit the website www.metroceramics.com

Tech Tip: Q&A with NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein

NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein was recently asked the following question regarding the use of marble thresholds and the options available to installers who need to transition tile or stone to another flooring product.

Question
I have a school cafeteria with Marble thresholds all are broken. Is there something more stable that I can use to replace them with. There are several 3′, 4′ and up to 8″ lengths. Before the 3/4 marble only came in 3′ so there are many joints.

Mark’s Answer:
While marble is among the softer natural stones, if the substrate is sound with no deflection and if the marble is properly bedded, it should hold up well.
As an alternative, I would suggest contacting a stone fabrication shop.  They often have remnant pieces of harder stone or composite materials that they can mill to your specifications for length and width.  They can also put beveled or bullnose edges on them for you.  I have found that 2cm thick material works well for this sort of thing.

TCNA Handbook Method TR611-16 is your reference for more information and a schematic detail for proper installation of a threshold.

Any material you install will still require proper preparation of the substrate and proper bedding with appropriate mortar.

COVERINGS 2017 ENGAGES INDUSTRY LEADERS FOR COMPREHENSIVE SCHEDULE OF CONFERENCE PROGRAMMING

Coverings, the largest international tile & stone exhibition in North America, will feature over 65 sessions in the 2017 conference program. Distinguished speakers will share their knowledge and cutting-edge industry information with Coverings attendees. The conference program will highlight the most pressing topics for the tile and stone industry throughout the show from April 4-7, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The conference sessions build upon Coverings’ dedication to providing world-class education with content tailored to each attendee segment: architects, builders/remodelers, designers, distributors, fabricators, installers, retailers, and Spanish-speaking attendees.  New for 2017, Coverings will offer contractor advanced business topics, contractor beginner-intermediate and the thin tile mini-track. The conference is open to all attendees and, with many CEU credits available, these sessions continue to bring unmatched and invaluable free education to the show.

Coverings 2017 will present 10 featured sessions highlighting various topics from industry leaders. To learn about the full range of conference sessions at coverings visit Coverings.com/conference.

 

Featured Sessions:

Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America, Eric Astrachan, will moderate the panel “Critical Changes to Industry Standards, Guidelines and Best Practices” with participants Stephanie Samulski of TCNA, Martin Howard EVP of David Allen Company, Inc., Kevin Fox, Owner of Fox Ceramic Tile, Inc., and Chuck Muehlbauer, Technical Director, MSI + BSI. Focusing on the ever-changing industry standards and guidelines, the panel will provide attendees an overview of the most critical recent changes to better specify, sell, bid and install tile and stone.

Tuesday, April 4, 8 – 9:30 a.m.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute and Director at Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, will share insights on the origin of color trends, understanding upcoming trends and assist attendees in determining the best choices to make when specifying with color palettes in her session titled, “Communicating with Color/Design: Inspiring and Defining Essential Trends.”

Tuesday, April 4, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design magazine, will sit down with Hagy Belzberg of Belzberg Architects, Denise Cherry of Assembly Design, Jennifer Kolstad of Interior Architects and DB Kim, Hospitality Designer for “Design: A Global Affair.” As much of designers’ work took place overseas during the economic downturn, this conversation  will center around the global influence on current design trends within the U.S. and address tile and stone within these current trends.

Tuesday, April 4, 3 – 4 p.m

President and Owner of Stone Trends International, Vince Marazita, will discuss the state of the stone industry in his session “Stone Trends: A Historical Perspective.” Focusing on information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year, topics will include international sourcing channels for natural stone, how stone is used in interior and exterior architecture and design, and an overview of testing criteria for designing with natural stone.

Wednesday, April 5, 8 – 9 a.m.

Presented by Contract Magazine, Editor in Chief John Czarnecki, will hold a fireside chat with Todd-Avery Lenahan, Founder of TAL-Studio. This intimate conversation will focus on the power of design, Lenahan ’s experiences, and the influences which led to his current creative vision and how he successfully authors and implements design standards for global brands.

Wednesday April 5, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Joann Gonchar, Senior Editor of Architectural Record, will highlight addressing extreme weather events and sea level rise in her panel “Coastal Resilience – Rethinking Design for Extreme Weather Conditions.” Joined by Ramiro Diaz, Waggoner & Ball; Douglas Pierce, Perkins + Will; and Reinaldo Borges, Borges Architects + Associates; the team of experts will discuss what types of infrastructure are suited for different climates, explain the differences between hard infrastructure and green infrastructure and address challenges around flood protection and building codes.

Wednesday, April 5, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

In his session titled, “Behind the Curtain to Zero-Incident Safety!TM” David Sarkus, MS, CSP, Speaker, Consultant and Coach will dive into strategies and tactics that assist in achieving zero-incident workspaces for years of sustainable success.

Wednesday, April 5, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Moderator Stacy Garcia, Founder of StacyGarcia, Inc., will lead the panel “What’s Trending in Hospitality?” along with panelists Malcolm Berg, EoA, Inc.; Justin Colombik, Puccini Group; Glen Coben, Glen & Co Architecture. This group of industry professionals will share key information on how to stay ahead of the competition and create spaces that authentically speak to the consumer when it comes to hospitality design.

Thursday, April 6, 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Randy Fiser, will be the Keynote speaker for the Keynote and Cocktails event hosted by ASID and Interior Design Magazine. In his session, “Design, Health and Wellness in the Workplace” he will discuss how our physical surroundings have a significant impact on our behaviors, decisions, and overall health and wellness. To further the discussion, there will be a reception immediately following with ASID and Interior Design in the Destination Lounge.

Thursday, April 6, 5 – 5:30 p.m. Reception 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Owner and President of Dionco, Inc., Jim Dion, will present ideas and strategies to enhance customer engagement in the retail environment both online and offline in the session “What’s Next in Customer Engagement – More Than Ten Ideas Your Customers Will ‘Like’ and ‘Love’ You For.

Friday, April 7, 10 – 11 a.m.

NTCA issues position statement in reference to method EJ 171

One of the most consistent installation replacement or repair claims made in the tile industry centers around problems associated with the lack of accounting for movement of a building and how it affects the tile assembly.  The National Tile Contractors Association felt the issue is so signifiant to tile contractors that it issued a position statement that will be published in its 2017 edition of the NTCA Reference Manual.  At the heart of the concern is who bears the responsibility for designing, specifying or locating movement joints in a tile installation.  It points out that special attention to method EJ 171, located in the Tile Council of North America Handbook for the Installation of Ceramic and Stone tile, should be considered.
The position statement will be made available to all NTCA contractor members to include in documentation and correspondence.  Its intent is to point out that it is beyond the scope and ability of a tile contractor to properly design and specify movement accommodation, for either commercial or residential tile construction projects.

Lack of Movement Joints in a tile assembly can lead to installation failure

Tile Contractors and their installers should be aware of EJ 171 and its requirements, and should use the position statement to request in writing where the movement joints should be located.  They should use this method to point out to the building owner or design professional that the tile industry recommends that movement joints be installed every 20 to 25 feet in each direction in interior applications,and every 8 to 12 feet in each direction on exterior projects.  If interior jobs are exposed to direct sunlight or moisture, it should be treated as an exterior project and have movement joints located every 8 to 12 feet in each direction.

The NTCA recommends that the tile contractor take the responsibility to point out the requirements of EJ 171 before they begin the tile work and to not take on unnecessary liability by proceeding with work until movement accommodation is addressed.

To order your copy of the NTCA Reference Manual, go to www.tile-assn.com and visit the NTCA store.

New Slip Resisting Tile from Metropolitan Ceramics

With the addition of XA Abrasive to their QUARRYBASICS® product line, Metropolitan Ceramics® introduces the next evolution of slip resisting tile. XA Abrasive combines two grip enhancing additives in one tile for decades of slip resisting performance.

During manufacturing, in the raw material blending stage, a metallic additive is incorporated into the mix of natural clays and shales that go into making XA Abrasive. After extrusion, silicon carbide is added to the surface of each XA tile.

This one-of-a-kind combination of a silicon carbide embedded surface and a metallic additive through the body of the tile work together to combat the effects of spills, moisture, extreme temperatures, and heavy traffic.

Like Metropolitan Ceramics other unglazed quarry products, XA Abrasive is low absorption, less than 3% and qualifies as vitreous. And at ½” thick, XA Abrasive is extremely durable and ready for the most demanding environments.

Use XA Abrasive anywhere spills/moisture and heavy traffic combine to create slip fall concerns. Commercial kitchens and food prep areas are two prime examples of spaces that would benefit from using XA Abrasive.

There are four color options available with XA Abrasive, 31XA Mayflower Red, 57XA Puritan Gray, 15XA Buckskin, and 18XA Chestnut Brown. The product line is available in 6” x 6”, 8” x 8”, and 4” x 8” sizes.

For more information about XA Abrasive or any of their other fine products, you can call Metropolitan Ceramics customer service at 1-800–325-3945. You can also visit the Metropolitan Ceramics website – www.metroceramics.com.

BUSINESS TIP – JANUARY 2017

IRS continues to enforce “reasonable” sharehold-employee salaries

 

 

In the ceramic tile industry there are many small businesses which may be Subchapter S Corporations, since there are many appealing tax benefits while still providing liability protection to the shareholders. If you’re a shareholder-employee of an S Corporation, you more than likely considered the tax advantages of this entity choice. But those very same tax advantages also tend to draw IRS scrutiny. And the agency has made clear that its interest in S Corporations – including possible audits – will continue. The IRS focuses on determining whether the salary of the shareholders is unreasonably low. The tactics listed below will help protect your company from this IRS examination.

 

 
What’s the problem?
The IRS pays particular attention to S Corporations because, as you well know, shareholder-employees of these organizations aren’t subject to self-employment taxes on their respective shares of the company’s income. This differs from, say, general partners in a partnership.

 
To better manage payroll taxes, many S Corporations minimize shareholder-employee salaries (which are subject to payroll taxes) and compensate them mostly via “dividend” distributions. If this holds true for you, the IRS may take a close look at your salary to determine whether it’s “unreasonably” low. The agency views overly-minimized salaries as an improper means of avoiding payroll taxes.
If its case is strong enough, the IRS could recharacterize a portion of distributions paid to you and other shareholder-employees as wages and bill the employer and/or employee for unpaid taxes, interest and possibly even penalties.

How do you define it?
By following certain guidelines, your business can ensure salaries paid to you and other shareholder-employees have a higher likelihood of meeting the agency’s typical standards of reasonableness.
For starters, do some benchmarking to learn how S Corporations of similar size (as indicated by capital value, net income or sales) in your industry and geographic region are paying their shareholder-employees. In addition, pay close attention to certain traits held by your shareholder-employees. These include:
Background and experience
Specific responsibilities
Work hours
Professional reputation
Customer relationships

 

The stronger these traits are, the higher the salary should be in the eyes of the IRS. Shareholder-employee salaries should be fairly consistent from year to year, too, without dramatic raises or cuts.
For more in-depth information about the particulars of S Corporations, visit https://www.thebalance.com/the-s-corporation-your-questions-answered-397844 or http://tinyurl.com/hp2qwna.

 
CTDA helps you succeed in your business through a variety of programs and services that include educational opportunities, webinars, and discounts on shipping, client collection services, telephone charges, auto rentals, and more. CTDA offers networking and relationship-building opportunities through participation in Total Solutions Plus all-industry conference and Coverings annual trade show. Membership in CTDA also increases your national exposure and gives you access to the annual membership survey, a valuable resource to evaluate your company in terms of profit improvement, employee compensation, distribution and company performance. The CTDA website, CTDA Educational Opportunities, Weekly Newsletters and TileDealer Blog are all free resources that will “keep you in the loop” as well. CTDA is always looking for ways to improve the benefits of membership. To learn more about membership, please contact [email protected] or 630-545-9415 visit the website at www.ctdahome.org. Like CTDA on Facebook and Twitter @Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA).

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