NTCA member Evergreen Tile & Stone suffers huge loss: how to help

On September 11, Pavlo (aka Pasha) Starykov of Star Tile & Stone, LLC reported on the “NTCA Members Only” Facebook group that his good friend and NTCA member 39-year old Andrey Zelenko suffered a terrible tragedy. Zelenko went on a boat trip on the Columbia River with his wife, 41-year old Natalia (aka Natasha), on Sunday, September 2. Unfortunately their boat collided with another boat beneath the Camas Slough bridge and Natasha was killed. Andrey sustained serious injuries.   (https://youtu.be/QwfNeQGaqJk).

 

Starykov said that currently, Andrey is in stable condition as he is slowly recovering, and has learned of the loss of his wife, who “who was his best friend on earth.” Starykov said, “He doesn’t know yet how he will live without her. His friends and relatives are with him all the time at the hospital. The full physical recovery will take at least 3-4 months. If you could say a few words of support, I will read it to Andrey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrey’s friends and relatives have set up a fundraiser to aid with funeral costs, and all the costs that will incur with medical treatment and time away from work for him, Starykov said. Monetary gifts are very much appreciated but they are asking for everyone to please pray for Andrey to recover and for God to carry him through this the most difficult time in his life. To donate to the fundraiser, visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-natasha-zelenko

Andrey is the owner of Evergreen Tile & Stone, LLC (Gladstone, Ore.), with wife Natasha. The company joined NTCA in April during a workshop hosted by Robb Roderick in Portland. He had been considering taking the CTI test.

Roderick recently visited Andrey in Portland where he is undergoing physical therapy for recovery from broken leg and ribs, shoulder dislocation, punctured lung and several lacerations.

Roderick said, “Andrey has a deep faith which is sustaining him during this dark and terrible time. He is unable to install tile in his present condition. So If any of you have extra money and would like to help support Andrey during this time of recovery there is a gofundme page set up for that very purpose (link above). The NTCA has already donated to this cause. But, more important than financial support, continue to support Andrey with your thoughts and prayers, which could be the greatest gift and the best medicine he could receive during this time of healing.”

Richard Maurer transitions to Outside Consultant for Noble Company

After 24 years as Director of Marketing & International Sales with The Noble Company, Richard Maurer moved to the position of Outside Consultant for the company in July.

Those familiar with Noble Company will recall the warm, friendly presence of Director of Marketing & International Sales, Richard Maurer, at many industry events. Indeed, this editor has had the pleasure of working with him over the years and always enjoyed his kind personality, gentle humor and gracious smile. 

After 24 years in this role, Richard Maurer transitioned to the role of Outside Consultant for the Noble Company this past July.

Richard started out in the world as a graduate of UCLA with a B.S. degree in Finance, and has over 40 years of sales and marketing management experience between Noble Company and Dow Chemical Company. After his college graduation, Richard honorably served his country in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart. 

“I have had a broad range of life experiences ranging from being an infantry Lieutenant in Vietnam to Regional Sales Manager at Dow Chemical Company,” Richard said. “However, I’ve worked longer in the tile industry at Noble Company than anywhere, learned more, and enjoyed it more.”

Richard has given presentations and authored articles on issues related to NobleSeal® sheet membranes, such as moisture problems and mold mitigation, sound insulation for ceramic and stone tile flooring, and protecting thin-set tile from cracking.

Richard and his son, Michael Maurer, at Noble Company.

Richard is known for his quick wit and willingness to talk to anybody to try to solve their issues. And it brought Richard much joy that his son, Michael – the apple of his eye – is Chief of Security of the Noble Company.

Noble Company managers and employees have fond remembrances of the time spent working with Richard. Here are just a few of their comments:

Paul Kik, Sr.,
President Emeritus

For nearly a quarter century, Richard has brought his skills and willingness to get the job done at Noble. I have always admired Richard’s ability to listen to our customers and be their advocate. The relationships Richard created in the industry played a significant role in Noble’s success. Richard’s son Michael was also a daily blessing for everyone in the office. His daily rounds always offered a big smile, often with a joke or two and occasional traffic report. We wish both Richard and Michael our best.

Lynnette Bloomberg,
C.O.O. Emeritus

Noble was fortunate to have Richard join our team in 1993. He is a unique individual who has top-notch marketing skills and the ability to understand and communicate – both verbally and in writing – the technical aspect of our products. He has been a very dedicated employee and genuinely liked to help customers. His quick wit and all around fun personality will be greatly missed on a daily basis in the office, and he is wished an abundance of blessings as he spends more time with family and friends.

The Noble Team at Coverings 2016: Left to Right: Dave Wormmeester, Nelson Wilner, Richard Maurer, Lynnette Bloomberg, Pat Delahanty, Dean Moilanen, Jon Outcalt.

Dave Wormmeester,
Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Richard has an outstanding way of connecting with people. When people would call in with technical questions or concerns, Richard would spend just as much time in getting to know the people as he did in helping to resolve their issues. His compassion and concern about everyone he encountered will be missed, and we wish him nothing but the best as he enjoys his family and friends in retirement.

Eric Edelmayer,
Director of Div. 9 Sales & Contractor Training

It has truly been a pleasure to work alongside Richard, from the first day he showed up at a company meeting in Sky Valley, Ga., until the last day he walked out of the building. His input into so many of Noble Company product offerings during their development was instrumental to their success. He truly is one of those people that nobody has anything negative to say about and has always gone above and beyond what is expected.

Dean Moilanen,
Director of Architectural Services

There are those stellar performers who choose to keep a low profile. Their consistent levels of superior performance are often unnoticed…ironically, their steadfast, unassuming levels of excellence are so “normal” they become routine.

Richard Maurer exemplifies such excellence. Over the years, his contributions to Noble Company and to Noble’s loyal customers have been truly immeasurable.

He has been a friend and mentor to me, and I will always be grateful for the time we spent together and the knowledge he imparted. 

JSG’s Stephen Belyea made the leap from chef to tile contractor

What do Legal Sea Foods of Boston and tile contracting have in common? Stephen Belyea, owner of JSG Tile and Stone LLC in Weymouth, Mass. (jsgtileandstone.com) is the common thread in both scenarios. Belyea gave up his career as head chef at Legal Sea Foods and pursued commercial flooring work with a small company while he was contemplating his next move in the restaurant business.

“When I realized how much better life could be not working 12-15 hours a day, I stuck to learning as much as I could about flooring,” Belyea said. “I worked my way up to a lead installer and enjoyed the work I was doing” – work that included installing carpet, wood, vinyl, rubber and turf in the gyms at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park.

Belyea gravitated towards tile, captivated by the rewarding technical aspects of the installations, and eventually focused solely on tile. Pursuing his passion for tile the same way he pursued his passion for food, he made excellence his goal. “I wanted to be as good as I could be,” he said. “I attended any and all events I could to network, meet people and learn as much as I could.”

The Tile Geeks Madison Fields Project in 2017 was one of the most rewarding personal and professional projects in which Belyea ever participated.

In 2014, he discovered Tile Geeks on Facebook – only 500 strong at that time. “I realized from that page that there was a hell of a lot of knowledge about tile I did not have.” Belyea said. “So I made a point to learn about all the new/different techniques and tools there were. I have attended Coverings in Las Vegas, Chicago, Orlando, and Atlanta.” Belyea met Salvatore DiBlasi through Tile Geeks and in person at the Journal of Light Construction show in 2015 and the two have been great friends since.

In Chicago 2016, Belyea met NTCA member Bradford Denny, who signed him up as a NTCA member. “Joining the NTCA has been a great choice for me,” Belyea explained. “It has given me access to some of

Brad Denny (L) signed Stephen Belyea to NTCA membership in Coverings 16 in Chicago.

the best and brightest in the business. I know that I have access to people like Mark Heinlein – who is a great friend and resource – to turn to when I have questions about an installation method I might not be well versed in. A year after joining, I became a State Ambassador for the NTCA. I attend workshops all over New England giving support to the NTCA at their events.”

In December 2016, Belyea and DiBlasi took a road trip to the CTEF in South Carolina to attend a Tile Love/Schluter/CTI event. Belyea also took the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test and passed as CTI #1274.

“I have the pleasure of seeing my test in Sal’s video, which is also used by the CTEF in a video to promote qualified labor,” Belyea said. “I am currently a Regional Evaluator for the CTEF and look forward to certifying more installers in my area. Being a CTI has helped me in my business because it shows my customers that I have a vested interest in the industry. Educated consumers realize that they are better off having their project done right by a professional the first time, rather than a costly failed project being done for a second time.”

CTEF’s Scott Carothers evaluates Belyea’s CTI hands-on test.

Today Belyea is cooking with gas, bringing artistry and excellence to high-end residential custom tile projects, from new construction on summer houses in Cape Cod to renovations on multi-million dollar residences in downtown Boston.

“I take great joy and pride in what I do,” he said. “I compare the finished tile project to a prepared meal. The customer’s approval of the finished project is very rewarding to me.”

Another rewarding experience – one of the highlights of both his life and his career – was to be part of the Tile Geeks Project last year in Dickerson, Md., for the Madison Fields Autism Foundation (see TileLetter, January 2018 issue). “It was nine grueling days of work,” he said. “But I am so glad I did it. I got to meet and work with great people, installers and now friends.”

JSG Tile and Stone LLC project work

Challenging mermaid pool and backsplash project

Handmade mosaic murals by Ruth Frances Greenberg required careful prep and attention to detail from Hawthorne Tile

Two challenging hand-made mosaic designs by Portland’s Ruth Frances Greenberg (rfgtile.com) have recently been installed in a Portland residence by Hawthorne Tile. The precision of the design and process of installation initially challenged Hawthorne Tile when the tile contractor set Greenberg’s mermaid mosaic in the bottom of a pool in summer 2017. But once the owner saw the beauty of the expertly installed pool mermaid, she immediately commissioned a Ruth Frances Greenberg backsplash for the pool house kitchen. 

Once the design is created, Greenberg lays the tiles out in place, face-mounts them with plastic, cuts them into sections, and numbers them.

Bringing a mermaid to life

The 14´ diameter mermaid project involved “pretty intense logistics,” said Travis Schreffler, project manager for the install. He explained that after the tiles are made by hand, fired and then re-fired for exterior use and the design is created, Greenberg lays the tiles out in a huge circle and face-mounts them with plastic, cuts them into sections and numbers them. They are then placed on pieces of cardboard to deliver them to the jobsite. 

That required Schreffler to build a map to clarify where the design was going – it had to be laid out and put back together like a puzzle. Compounding the difficulty was the slope of the pool – it sloped from the shallow to deep end on a radiused arc rather than on a straight plane, so it was a perfectly flat curved arc: an intersecting plane that was flat in one direction and arched in the other. 

The crew, with Schreffler, three Certified Tile Installers and two apprentices, started early
in the day while it was cool to keep the ARDEX X77 thinset viable.

The bottom of the pool needed to be prepped first with ARDEX AM100 rendering mortar with a radius established based on the arc; then an installer and an apprentice created a series of screeds that followed the pool’s arc. The installation prep took two and a half days. 

Each piece of the mosaic puzzle had to be moved down to the swimming pool, and the relationship between the pieces appraised since, as Schreffler said, “each piece relates to the other pieces in that they are loosely mounted, and needs the next piece to be adjusted, like a gear.” This meant that once the installation began, it had to be done in one four-hour take. 

Compounding the difficulty was the slope of the pool – it sloped from the shallow to deep end on a radiused arc rather than on a straight plane.

The crew, with Schreffler, two other Certified Tile Installers and two apprentices, started early in the day while it was cool to keep the ARDEX X77 thinset viable. ARDEX’s William White was onsite to help with the logistics, providing extremely attentive support, said Schreffler. 

There were some nail-biter moments during the install. “Every piece you put down, you felt like it wasn’t going to fit,” Schreffler said, so at times he also jumped in to lend a hand. In the end, the job was done by noon, and left to sit protected overnight. The next day, the plastic was removed, loose tiles reattached, and it was cleaned. Two days after the install, it was grouted with ARDEX FL and was ready for the plasterers to come in and finish up with pool plaster. 

The Hawthorne Tile crew admires their work – a job well done: (L to R) Sean Carline; Travis Schreffler; Bo Carney; and Yakov Blashchishchin.

Mosaic mural adorns pool house kitchen backsplash

Installing the mosaic mural are (L to R) Bo Carney, Vladmir Blashchishchin and Yakov Blashchishchin.

The mural for this backsplash was a 6´ x 8´ Hawaiian beach scene with breaching humpback whales, sea turtles and tree frogs, again created by Ruth Frances Greenberg. Plus the homeowner had befriended stray cats while in Hawaii, so the mural included them as well. 

The process of assembling all the parts and pieces was the same as with the pool, but Hawthorne Tile was now familiar with this system. 

Schreffler said, “Ruth laid them out with me so I knew where everything was to go. She gave me some creative license – with relief flowers and some other pieces. Before the first install in the pool, she never experienced CTI installers before, so the experience for her was very welcoming.” 

Again, the mural needed to be installed in one fell swoop, using ARDEX X77 as thinset. “We started this one at 7 a.m. and were done by 11 a.m.,” Schreffler said. This was after the crew spent a day prepping the wall surface to be sure it was flat. “We had the same crew,” he said, “So they knew exactly what they were doing and acted as a fantastic team. They took the bull by the horns, were confident and did a fantastic job, impressing the homeowner.” 

Mural detail. After the CTI-certified install team won the artist’s confidence with the pool install, she gave them some creative license to place flowers and some other pieces at their discretion

This is the kind of work upon which Hawthorne Tile thrives. “We welcome this kind of challenge,” Schreffler said. “Exactly this kind of thing – outside the box – we set out to do this a long time ago. Those moments that feel like you can’t get there from here are extra sweet when you step back and it’s done.”

 

The finished backsplash.

 

 

 

StonePeak: first US plant to produce gauged porcelain tile panels

New Continua production line aims to produce 1000 5’ x 10’ gauged porcelain panels a day

Crossville, Tenn. – On September 12, a group of customers, press, state and local dignitaries, and company management assembled at the StonePeak High Tech Porcelain plant here to celebrate the expansion of the first U.S.-based plant to produce 5’ x 10’ gauged porcelain panels.

Image may contain: text

The $70 million expansion adds 160 workers to the facility, which now measures 1 million square feet. Federica Minozzi, CEO of the Iris Ceramica Group, parent company of StonePeak, SapienStone, FMG, Porcelaingres, Ariostea, Eiffelgres, and Fiandre, spoke during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, stating that not only is this plant the first in the U.S. to produce gauged porcelain 5’ x 10’ panels, but it’s the first in the world to also to offer the capacity to cut those panels to smaller sizes such as 12” x 12”.  Panel thicknesses range from 6 mm to 2 cm.

“We didn’t even do this investment in Italy,” she said. “We decided to do it in Crossville.”

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standing

Iris Ceramics Group CEO Federica Minozzi with StonePeak leadership and state and local dignitaries cut the ribbon on the Crossville Tennessee’s factory expansion, the first in the world that produces 60 x 120 gauged porcelain tile panels and also cut sizes down to 12 x 12.This $70 million expansion also adds 160 workers and at peak will produce 1000 panels a day.

 

Clays are sourced from the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee to manufacture the panels, said Fiandre USA’s director of sales marketing Eugenio Megna, who led visitor tours through the plant.

The company uses the Continua production process and Sacmi machinery on the line, and utilizes sophisticated inkjet graphics to achieve looks like Calacatta or other aesthetics that are nearly indistinguishable from natural stone, as well as other in-demand looks. Random patterns, continuous veining and bookmatching can also be achieved here. It takes two hours from start to finish to produce a porcelain slab, and the end product is 25-30% harder than granite, when measured on the Mohs scale. Full size panels including StonePeak’s Plane 2.0 line, are shipped on A-frames, 25 to a side. The line has been operational since May.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Fiandre USA’s Eugenio Megna led tours through the new plant expansion. This A-frame filled with porcelain panels is ready for shipping, and holds 25 5′ x 10′ panels on each side.

 

Local dignitaries praising the investment in the Crossville, Tenn., local economy included Angela Regitko, business development consultant for the State of Tennessee, Crossville Mayor James Mayberry, and newly-elected County Mayor Alan Foster, who noted that StonePeak has made a $200 million investment in machinery and its facility since it opened in 2005, and has provided jobs for 400 workers in Crossville.

After expressing thanks to employees and state and local support, Minozzi revealed that the decision to hold the ceremony on September 12, a day after the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the U.S., was intentional, as a way to both honor the significance of the day and to celebrate the resilient, renaissance spirit of the USA to rebuild after that tragedy. “I love America,” she said.

In the evening, guests and hosts gathered for a soiree at LA Jackson, the rooftop bar of the new Thompson Hotel in Nashville.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, suit

At the post-tour party on the rooftop bar of Nashville’s Thompson hotel are (l to r) StonePeak Ceramic’s Todd Ware, exec vp of national accounts;Leonardo Pesce, vp of operations; and Iris’s Marco Portiglia, sales & marketing director.

 

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

Mediterranea’s Michael (l) and Don Mariutto at the StonePeak afterparty atop the Thompson hotel in Nashville.

 

Leadership and learning

Editor’s Letter – September 2018

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy

As we move into the fall, we focus on a number of training events and technical stories in this issue. Our Business Tip on the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone gives information on some online courses that can enhance your knowledge and professionalism. NTCA Technical Trainer Robb Roderick’s Tech Talk story on mock-ups is a comprehensive story on something we don’t discuss that often but that is really essential to the success of an installation – creating a mock-up to not only fully visualize how the product will look, but also troubleshoot other aspects about the job such as lighting that will impact its ultimate success.

In our Thin Tile/GPTP section, MAPEI’s Dan Marvin reports on a thin tile seminar and demo that took place at Coverings and the essential information presented and demonstrated on this increasingly popular tile format. In our Training & Education section, we spotlight the NTCA Five Star Contractor Summer Meeting, held in Nashville, Tenn., and the caliber of technical and business training that took place, in addition to a tour of Daltile’s Dickson, Tenn., manufacturing plant.

Ron Meler was the business speaker at this Five Star meeting, and in this issue he shares his expertise on the change order process, to help you navigate what can be a complex and confusing aspect of doing business. 

We also check in with NTCA member Stephen Belyea of JSG Tile & Stone in Weymouth, Mass., to learn about his path to professional tile setting when he started out as a professional chef! And we spotlight Hawthorne Tile’s challenging and beautiful install of first, a mermaid mosaic by Ruth Frances Greenberg in a residential pool, followed by RFG’s backsplash mosaic in the pool house kitchen. These projects are true testaments to the skills qualified tile setters possess. 

What is your favorite topic to read about? We are in the throes of putting together our editorial calendar and story topics for next year. Give us your input on what you want to learn about or see, and help us hone our content to be more useful to you. Just email me at the address below!

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

New NTCA member Skyro Floors, turns knack for flooring into satisfying profession

Certifications and NTCA membership feeds his hunger for knowledge

New NTCA member Ken Ballin, owner of Skyro Floors in West Creek, N.J. (www.skyrofloors.com), located near the Long Beach Island and the Jersey shore, got his feet wet learning about tools from his grandfather, who

This Skyro vehicle is as beautiful as the floors it helps Ken to install.

was a carpenter and a Seabee in the Navy. “He taught me everything I know about tools,” Ballin said. “After my wife and I purchased our first home and started renovations, it was pointed out that I have a knack for flooring. I started installing for customers on my days off from my ‘regular job’ and business took off. I was lucky enough to pick up a contract with a local box store and quickly became the guy they called to fix the mistakes.”

NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein (L) signed Ken up as a member at a recent training event.

Ballin  started out installing only laminate flooring but learned about other types along the way. The box store “asked if I could install hardwood (so I learned),” he said. “Then they asked if I could install tile (so I learned). Then they asked me if I could install carpet (so I hired a couple carpet crews). At my peak with them I was running about a dozen or so crews and we did the work for about a dozen or so stores.”

Ballin says that unfortunately the proverbial rug was pulled out from under his feet when the box store decided to go with a work room format instead, jettisoning the small companies doing their installs. Today, Skyro Floors installs tile, hard surface flooring, and concrete overlays in mostly residential remodel projects with some new construction. 

Though Ballin has only joined the NTCA in the last few months, he’s always been focused on training and bettering himself. “I’m hungry for knowledge so first I got certified for hard surface flooring with CFI, then I took and passed the CTI test, and most recently joined the NTCA,” he explained. “I try to focus on higher-end/higher-paying customers since I live in a tourist market. While I’m still learning every day myself, I try to share my knowledge with others as much as possible. 

“I joined the NTCA because aside from my love of the industry I wanted to see firsthand what it can do for my business,” he continued. “I’ve heard the ‘voucher argument’. I’ve also heard that some small business owners felt it was more geared towards bigger companies so instead of just listening to stories I decided to find out for myself. What better way than to jump right in?

“So far the greatest value in joining the NTCA is the support,” he said. “I don’t mean technical support. I mean from the other members and yes, I know, I didn’t have to join the NTCA for that but the reassurance from other members and knowing that I’ve got someone to turn to if I need a hand is well worth it. The vouchers are nice too.” (Learn more about the Partnering for Success program here: https://www.tile-assn.com/page/vouchers?)

Ballin feels a great responsibility as CTI #1392. “Responsibility to my customers, responsibility to myself, and responsibility to the other men and women who’ve decided to make it their responsibility to represent high standards,” he said. “Being a CTI has given me the confidence to charge a premium for my services and the confidence to know I’m worth that premium.”

Ballin said the greatest satisfaction he gets in being an installer is “knowing that  my customers will be making memories for the rest of their lives on one of my floors,” explained. “Something I did will be with them through birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and everything else a family goes through. I shouldn’t say I don’t do this for the money because it’s how I (attempt to) pay my bills, but I genuinely love what I do and I love being around others who feel the same way.”

Contractors get creative with green solutions

Recycling options can benefit homeowners, contractors, and community members as well as the earth

With this issue addressing issues of sustainability, environmental friendliness and recycling, we turn to a couple of contractors to see what might be percolating in the green arena for them. 

Nadine Edelstein, owner of NTCA member Tile Design by Edelstein located in Vashon, Wash., addresses the recycling issue with a program she’s dubbed, “No Tile Left Behind.” Edelstein said, “It’s enabled me to pull a LOT of material out of the waste stream, and then I am able to make creative spaces for clients with it. I don’t charge them for the material, but they pay me to design with it.”

Edelstein’s original hex concept made from her No Tile Left Behind program.

Edelstein was asked to create a feature wall for a new local salon and used No Tile Left Behind material to create it.

“I was thrilled when I found out that the branding was around the concept of the hive,” she said. “Several years earlier I had created a concept wall for a local group tile show. I cut kite shaped tiles from tile and stone (from No Tile Left Behind) and arranged them into a dimensional wall of hexagons for the show’s entry. Of course I saved all the tiles and hoped I would find an imaginative client. 

“Then along came The Hive! I had to tweak the color palette and add some more pieces but I was finally able to give the piece a place in the real world,” she said.

The wall Edelstein created for The Hive salon, using “waste” material.

Another recent No Tile Left Behind project was a shower for a previous client of Edelstein. “I was able to utilize glass, ceramic, and porcelain in a blue/green color palette to create a large scale mosaic for their master bathroom remodel,” she said.

“Fortunately, I have a large studio,” she said. “So I am able to store the rescued tile and stone until I can find them a new home.”

Another “Green” perspective

Another “green” perspective on recycling comes from appropriately named NTCA member Phil Green, owner of PGC Construction, Remodeling and Design in Gilberts, Ill. He’s also the creative genius behind the “Back Butter Buddy” tool, a tile-centric Lazy Susan that sits atop a bucket and allows large tiles to be turned more ergonomically. He’s putting his innovative mind to work on the recycling issue and he’s outspoken about the need for novel solutions. 

Glass, ceramic and porcelain from Edelstein’s No Tile Left Behind tiles created this stunning shower.

“We in the tile/remodeling industry generate a fair amount of waste materials during the course of our projects. Even the cartons and bags from our tile and thinset become something that we need to deal with,” he said.

“As the planet gets more and more cluttered with debris from a ‘disposable-minded’ society we NEED, MUST, ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO do our personal fair share to chip in and become part of the solution. Many programs already exist, and new ones are on the horizon that look for alternatives to bagging and shipping everything to the dump.”

Green detailed  a few things that his company has chosen to do to help: “When we demo a kitchen or bath we do it in such a way as to not damage the reusable products from the project,” he said. “Sure, sledge hammers work, but they are just to add drama on the DIY/HGTV shows. We take cabinets, countertops, faucets, light fixtures, doors, and even old paint to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore. For any valuable products, I fill out a donation sheet and give it to my homeowners as a tax write off. They appreciate it and it means less in the landfill. Win, win!”

Cuts and broken tiles are the perfect materials for mosaic projects.

Cuts and broken tiles make excellent materials for mosaic projects, Green has discovered. “I love the look of mosaic designs, and once again the tile gets a new life and is not buried in some hill,” he said.

“I would suspect most towns have a recycling program along with their normal garbage pick-up,” he added “I try to bring cardboard and plastic home to be disposed of in my personal container. I am also lucky enough that I can have an open burn pit at my home. I take paper and wood products home and burn them there. If I get any metal from my jobsite – other than copper and aluminum – I bring that home too, separate it from my normal waste and set it aside. I know that the ‘scrapper’ will drive along on garbage pick-up day, and if I can help him make a couple of extra pennies, I do. 

“Every town also has a recycling drop-off center for scrap materials such as copper and aluminum,” he said. “I accumulate these metals and make the trip, even if just for gas money, but I know these products too will be melted down and be reborn.”

Green knows this isn’t an exhaustive list of solutions, but it’s a start for contractors who want to be earth-conscious. “That is my GREEN perspective,” he said. “I guess I’ve always been Green without realizing it.”

Sustainability and green issues related to products and practices

Editor’s Letter – August 2018 – The Green Issue

It’s not easy being green…or is it? This issue of TileLetter focuses on sustainability and green issues related to products and practices that are kind to the planet and to the health of those beings living on it. 

For our “Green Tip” (aka Business Tip), Bill Griese gives us an update on the partnership between TCNA and Ecomedes, creator of an online database of product information relating to environmental attributes and certifications. The intent is to establish ways for designers, purchasers, and users of tile and related installation materials to more easily obtain product information needed to help fulfill their environmental goals. Right off the bat, this partnership will make searching for Green Squared Certified® product more searchable. See how in this article. 

Daniel Dorfman, Chair, Construction Law Group, Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP talks to us about managing legal issues on sustainable projects .

In our News Briefs section, learn about Litokol’s recent participation in a Project Zero Environmental Risk initiative, developed by the EU government in partnership with major universities in Italy’s tile manufacturing region. By virtue of the low irritant and corrosive nature of its epoxy products, it was invited to help develop products for various markets. Read the intro in News Briefs and link to the whole story at TileLetter.com.

In Hot Topics, NTCA contractor members Phil Green and Nadine Edelstein discuss environmentally-, community-conscious and creative ways they manage waste products from tile installs. This inspiring article offers some ideas that can be easily adapted industry wide. 

Though not a sustainability story, our Stone section showcases CID Award winner Columbia Tile & Stone’s beautiful black and white marble bath project. And in Tech Talk, Dale Kempster details the launch in July of the Tile Installer Technical Handbook, a publication of Canada’s Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association that took its inspiration and some content from the NTCA Reference Manual.

There’s lots of other great reading material for the dog days of summer this month, including a Member Spotlight on new member Ken Ballin and Skyro Floors in N.J., a thin tile training session hosted by the Belknap White Group, and a gorgeous cover story about an amazing mosaic project set with LATICRETE materials. 

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Hand holding a glass globe

Ryan Marino of TCNA honored for his contributions to the Transformative Water Absorption Test Method

ASTM International Committee C21 on Ceramic Whitewares and Related Products recognized TCNA Standards Development and Research Manager, Ryan Marino, with an Award of Appreciation for his outstanding contributions to the revision of ASTM standard C373, a transformative contribution to water absorption testing and ceramic tile classification.
The Committee expressed their appreciation for Marino’s research and technical vision at the recent TCNA board meeting in June. A previous method that had stood for decades as the standard for testing water absorption took approximately 30 hours for results. Marino has been working for the past five years to develop a vacuum method that produced results in one hour. This research involved Marino taking the method to labs across the country and applying the test to determine the precision of the method. Marino facilitated a consensus of the testing facilities, industry discussion, and the review of data with the ASTM committee to build consensus for the balloting process to consider adopting the new process.

Tony Thornton (L), Director of Technical Information for Micromeritics and long-time Committee 21 member, presented TCNA’s Ryan Marino with the award.

Tony Thornton, Director of Technical Information for Micromeritics and long-time Committee 21 member, presented Marino with the award. Mr. Thornton stated, “Thanks in large part to Ryan’s efforts, this updated standard introduces greater transparency and rigor and can be accomplished in a fraction of the time of the prior method. We also know in great detail its precision thanks to an inter-laboratory study, led by Ryan, which required him to travel to labs around the country.”
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to work on a testing method that can help move our industry forward and I am grateful for the collaboration of the testing facilities that participated in this research,” said Marino.
Bill Griese, TCNA Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, remarked, “Ryan’s leadership in researching a vacuum method for determining the water absorption of ceramic tile significantly and positively impacts global trade in ceramic tiles.  Not only did his work inspire consensus on other international standards which had previously been debated for decades, the methodology at its core is being implemented by customs labs around the world and referenced in HS codes for ceramic tile.”

 

About TCNA
 
TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products. Established in 1945 as the Tile Council of America (TCA), it became TCNA in 2003, reflecting its membership expansion to encompass all of North America.
Tile Council is recognized for its leadership role in facilitating the development of North American and international industry quality standards to benefit tile consumers. Additionally, TCNA regularly conducts independent research and product testing, works with regulatory, trade, and other government agencies, offers professional training, and publishes industry-consensus guidelines and standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.

 

About ASTM International

ASTM International is a not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of international voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services. Volunteer members represent producers, users, consumers, government, and academia from more than 140 countries who develop technical documents that are the basis of manufacturing, management, procurement, codes and regulations for dozens of industry sectors.
ASTM volunteer members belong to one or more standards-writing committees, each of which covers a subject area such as steel, petroleum, medical devices, consumer products, nanotechnology, additive manufacturing and many more. These committees develop the more than 12,000 ASTM standards found in the 80-volume Annual Book of ASTM Standards.
1 2 3 57