OSHA Considering Changes to Silica Rule

OSHA may soon make it easier for employers to comply with the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The standard, which OSHA announced in 2016 and began to fully enforce last fall, seeks to protect workers who may inhale silica dust.  A variety of construction operations may expose workers to silica dust including, for example, abrasive sandblasting and cutting bricks, stone, or concrete.

The silica standard is extremely detailed and complex. It contains requirements for assessing workers’ silica exposure, for using exposure control methods and respiratory protection, for offering medical surveillance, and for keeping silica-related records.  Fortunately, “Table 1” of the standard makes compliance with standard easier, at least in some situations.  The Table describes engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection requirements that may be implemented by an employer when performing certain construction-related tasks, thereby exempting the tasks from the standard’s exposure assessment provisions and permissible exposure limits.

Last week, during the mid-winter meeting of the American Bar Association’s Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee, a Department of Labor official announced that OSHA is considering changes to the silica standard for construction. According to Ann Rosenthal, the Department’s Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health, OSHA is currently working with members of the construction community to add more tasks to Table 1.

News that OSHA is considering an expansion of Table 1 comes after a recent federal court ruling that rejected several challenges to the standard by employer groups. The U.S. Court of the Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in an order issued last December, rejected arguments from employer groups challenging the standard’s lower permissible exposure limit and, among other things, the feasibility of compliance with standard

Written by authors Alyssa Levy, Patrick Miller, Matthew Morrison, and Dana Svendsen at Sherman & Howard, L.L.C.

Neolith Expands Global Production and Accessibility of its Revolutionary Sintered Stone for 2018

Following year-over-year sales growth and product demand, the surfacing brand will begin operations of fourth production line in Spain; open showrooms and logistics warehouse to service key markets 


Castellón, SPAIN (2018) – The largest sintered stone surfacing brand, Neolith, manufactured by Spain-based company TheSize, will continue its global expansion with several key initiatives in 2018—including an added production line, showroom openings, and a new logistics warehouse—aimed to enhance support of the brand’s vast network of distributors, architects, designers and fabricators.

Neolith has changed the residential and commercial architectural design industry in North America and worldwide. Neolith pioneered luxury surfacing with extraordinary characteristics unmatched by natural stone, for countertops, flooring, interior wall cladding, exterior facades and more. Developing a strong position in the marketplace, Neolith is now available in more than 80 countries and has achieved a sales increase of at least 40 percent year-over-year since 2011.

“Neolith’s success can be attributed to the superior resiliency, quality and characteristics of the material itself, but more importantly, to our partners around the globe who share a passion for persistent innovation, service and design,” said Mar Esteve, director of marketing, TheSize. “As we expand in 2018, customer satisfaction and accessibility is more important than ever. We are always looking for new ways to make the Neolith experience an excellent one, for our distributors, designers and their clients, and look forward to building on that this year and beyond.”

New Production Line

Neolith’s steady increase in sales and visibility in high-profile commercial and residential projects has prompted expansion of its production capacity. At its headquarters and manufacturing factory in Castellón, Spain, Neolith will start operating a fourth production line during the first quarter of 2018. This additional line, which will manufacture slabs in 3mm and 6mm thicknesses for furniture, flooring, interior cladding and exterior facades, makes Neolith the only brand to have five kilns exclusively devoted to sintered stone.

Global Showroom Openings

With strategic distribution locations in more than 80 countries and hundreds of major metro showroom sites, Neolith is dedicated to customer accessibility and first-class shopping experiences. In 2018, the brand will celebrate openings of additional showrooms in key cities around the world, including: Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Ramallah, Palestine, with more locations planned throughout Europe, Latin American and Asia in the coming year. The showrooms will demonstrate unique design applications and will allow architects, designers, homeowners and building owners to better experience the versatility and performance characteristics of Neolith over natural stone alternatives.

London Warehouse Opening

In addition to new showrooms, the 2018 opening of a Neolith logistics warehouse in London, England will improve product accessibility and shipping lead times for crucial European markets.  The warehouse’s proximity to shipping ports and to the high concentration of distributors throughout Western Europe provides a logistics advantage over the competition. Carrying a centralized stock of Neolith’s most in-demand SKUs, the London warehouse opening is a strategic expansion designed to open up storage space for distributors and result in faster delivery times for projects.

In 2017, Neolith also opened a warehouse in Norfolk, Virginia to provide the same logistics benefits to the U.S. market and increased project demand, particularly on the East Coast.

With a growing network of distributors across the U.S. and Canada, the product is readily available across North America. For a location near you or to learn more, visit Neolith at www.neolith.com.

About TheSize Surfaces SL
TheSize was founded in 2009 with the objective of expanding and improving the thriving ceramic sector prevalent in the company’s headquarters, Castellón, Spain. The company launched all-natural sintered stone Neolith in 2010, a durable material created through a high-temperature, high-pressure process called sinterization.  For more information on TheSize and its products, please visit www.neolith.com.

Crossville, Inc. releases update to its Installation Manual for gauged porcelain tile panels.

Crossville, Tenn. – Crossville, Inc. has released an update to its Installation Manual for gauged porcelain tile panels. The revised technical manual, offered in English and Spanish versions, highlights Crossville’s compliance with ANSI A137.3 standards and reinforces proper interior installation per the ANSI A108.19 standard.

In 2017, Crossville led training for more than 400 professionals in the installation of gauged porcelain tile panels. Cumulatively, the company has trained 1,500 porcelain tile panel installers through sessions on site at Crossville headquarters and at workshops co-hosted with industry partners and associations.

Crossville‘s Derrick Patterson of the technical services team was instrumental in the revision of the Installation Manual, ensuring it conveyed Crossville’s compliance with ANSI A137.3 and supported the ANSI A108.19 installation standard, as well. Notably, technical services director Noah Chitty was among the industry experts at large who collaborated to develop the installation standard for this burgeoning product category.

“It’s our goal to support installers with the education and practical know-how they need, and our technical guide is just one of many ways we’re here to help,” Chitty explains. “Their work is the cornerstone of the growing success of the gauged porcelain tile panel category.”

Both the English and Spanish versions of the manual are available at crossvilleinc.com.

TCNA statement on House passage of BRICK ACT: Legislation would delay implementation of EPA rule that yields no environmental benefits


(Anderson, SC) —  Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the trade association of America’s ceramic tile producers, issued the following statement today in response to House passage of the BRICK Act (H.R. 1917):

“America’s tile manufacturers support the BRICK Act. The EPA has admitted that its recent rule would yield no air quality environmental benefits, while imposing costs on tile manufacturers,” said Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America. “It’s simply common-sense to delay implementation of the rule while the courts weigh challenges to it and EPA has a chance to reconsider this rulemaking. The last thing tile manufacturers need is a completely unnecessary government regulation.”
“America’s tile producers are grateful to Representative Bill Johnson (OH) for his leadership on this issue. For a few years now, Congressman Johnson has fought hard to help America’s ceramic tile producers remain competitive in the face of stiff global competition,” added Mr. Astrachan, in support of Congressman Johnson’s significant efforts.
The House of Representatives today passed the “Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017” (BRICK Act) (H.R. 1917). The legislation would stay implementation of the EPA’s “NESHAP for Clay Ceramics Manufacturing,” a regulation governing emissions at ceramic tile manufacturing facilities, until federal court challenges to the regulation are complete. The EPA, in its regulation, estimated that the new rule would yield no environmental benefits with respect to ceramic tile producers, while imposing certain costs on the industry.
About Tile Council of North America (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 the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in 2003, reflecting its membership expansion to all of North America.
The 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, and publishes installation guidelines, tile standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.


Oberlin, OH, February 22, 2018—David Castellucci, Director of Business Development at Kenneth Castellucci & Associates in Lincoln, RI, has been named 2017 Person of the Year by the Natural Stone Institute.

Castellucci served as MIA president in 2016 during the first year of the association’s joint venture. In the past two years, he has also served as Chair of the Board Nomination Committee, Chair of the Branding Committee, speaker at Coverings and TISE, and advisor to the New England chapter. He has served on delegations to the Xiamen Stone Fair, Middle East Stone Show, Marmomac, Vitoria Stone Fair, and Carrara Marmotec. He also acted as chair of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards jury and as a legislative delegate to Washington DC to assist with industry promotional efforts.

David Castellucci (center) with 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood and 2017 MIA President Jon Lancto.

2017 BSI President Daniel Wood (Lurvey Supply) worked alongside Castellucci and commented: “David was there at every turn, leading and contributing. He was tireless in his encouragement of what we could become by joining forces.” 2017 MIA President Jon Lancto (Big Fish Consulting) agreed, adding that “every time we needed help on a key initiative, David volunteered to assist and lead.” 2015 MIA President Dan Rea (Coldspring) referred to Castellucci as a “road warrior,” referencing his willingness to represent the association at key industry events and trade shows. He commented: “David loves the member engagement and has been instrumental in advancing several industry initiatives during his travels.” Natural Stone Institute Executive Vice President Jane Bennet added: “David is a dedicated leader for the association and the industry. No one has devoted more hours to key committees and initiatives. David made a difference and is a role model for how a key volunteer can support the association and its staff.”

In fitting form, Castellucci is still contributing. In March he will join several industry volunteers on a delegation to the IZMIR Fair (Marble 24) in Turkey. This will be the association’s first visit to the fair in several years.



David Unger Named 2017 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year

Oberlin, OH, February 27, 2018David Unger, plant manager at Dee Brown, Inc. in Garland, TX has been named 2017 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year by the Natural Stone Institute.

David Unger (center) with 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood and 2018 MIA President Jon Lancto

Unger’s first experience with stone occurred over fifty years ago, when he helped his father face a fireplace. A successful apprenticeship as a bricklayer led to restoration work and fireplaces made from fieldstones. In 1999, Unger joined Dee Brown, Inc. as a foreman. He was quickly recruited for the fabrication plant, where he was at times the only person in the plant. As the company grew, he became the person who trained new hires. Unger and his team have produced stone for some of the finest residences in Dallas and provided backup support for such notable projects as Cowboy Stadium and the American Airlines Arena. Unger attributes his own success to the good crew in the plant.

 Robert V. Barnes III, President of Dee Brown, Inc. commented: “Unger is one of the most underappreciated employees we have. He’s always working in the background, unseen. To have him have the ability to be recognized in this way is very special. He exudes and exhibits qualities that would make my grandfather very proud.” W. Tracy Webster, Director of Corporate Safety for Dee Brown, agrees: “He and his team make project managers and foremen look like champions by completing the fabrication in a timely manner and with the high quality that we have grown to expect.”

 Unger reflected on receiving this award, saying: “I hope to pass on as much as possible what I have learned through my career. It’s the responsibility of a tradesman/craftsman to train successors. They say you’re not a journeyman if you don’t share what you know. You’ll find that you’re never done learning, because you’ll learn from others, always. I enjoy and take pride in my work and feel blessed with the direction my life and career have taken. This isn’t my whole story—I’m not finished yet.”


About the Natural Stone Institute

The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 countries. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org. 


Dallas, TX – February 23, 2018 – Daltile showrooms nationwide hosted “Sweet Celebrations” in honor of National Tile Day.  These open-house events featured a trifecta of fun:  in-house sweet shops filled with delectable candies, educational strolls through the showrooms that highlight the “4 Ts of Tile”, and presentation of Daltile’s newly-launched products.

Team members serving up sweet treats and product samples at Daltile’s Design Studio in Dallas, TX for National Tile Day, Feb. 23.

“National Tile Day was created to recognize tile as a timeless element of architecture and design,” said Corinthia Runge, manager of gallery and showroom operations for Dal-Tile Corporation.  “This year we are hosting events nationwide to celebrate this day.  Amidst the festive decorations, we are also prominently highlighting the ‘4 Ts of Tile’ which we have created to help customers clearly remember why tile is such a fabulous choice.  The attributes of tile as presented by our Why Tile campaign are:  Tough, Timeless, Trouble-Free, and Trustworthy.”

“We are excited to be hosting our first annual National Tile Day event, celebrating all that is great about tile!” said Ginga Guidroz, manager of the Daltile Design Studio in Dallas, Texas.  “We have been generating excitement among our customers building up to today’s celebration.  Our store is located in the heart of the Dallas Design District.  Because of our location, we do business with the entire gamut of trade customers:  interior designers, architects, builders, and contractors as well as consumers who are selecting tile through their professional.  Everyone has been invited to share in the fun, so as a hub of our design community, we are expecting a nice turn-out for the celebration at our showroom.”



Dallas, TX – February 23, 2017 – Dal-Tile (parent company of Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean brands) is officially launching its own “Why Tile” campaign on National Tile Day 2018.  The campaign is designed to complement the Tile Council of North America’s ongoing Why Tile campaign that promotes the use of tile.  The foundational messaging of the Dal-Tile campaign is presented via a “four Ts” message.

“Communicating the reasons why tile is an excellent flooring choice and how tile stacks up against other flooring categories is an important 2018 goal for our brands,” said April Wilson, director of brand marketing for Dal-Tile.  “Along the lines of ‘the four Cs to look for when purchasing a diamond’, we have created ‘the four Ts’ of tile to help in-store sales reps and consumers clearly understand why tile is such a smart choice for flooring.”

“We will feature this messaging in our brands’ POP merchandising, digital endeavors, sales training, and advertising,” said Wilson.  “We want our distributors and retailers to feel equipped to engage in conversations with their customers about the benefits of tile.  During the life of our new campaign, we will educate on why tile ‘Sets the Standard’ for flooring.”

The attributes of tile as presented by Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean’s campaign are:

Tough — Tile is Tough.  Tile is innately durable and resists decades of heavy traffic.  It is stainproof, scratchproof, waterproof, and fire resistant.


Timeless — Tile is Timeless.  Tile offers unlimited color and design selections that transcend styles, as styles come and go.  It also provides a way to seamlessly connect spaces including both indoor and outdoor.


Trouble-Free — Tile is Trouble-Free.  Tile is low maintenance and easily cleaned with zero restrictions, and won’t damage from cleaning services.


Trustworthy — Tile is Trustworthy.  It’s made from natural materials and returns to natural materials.  It is green certified and completely free of any VOCs, PVCs, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other harmful chemicals.


About Dal-Tile

Dal-Tile is the largest manufacturer and marketer of ceramic tile, natural stone, and countertop products used in residential and commercial spaces across North America. Under its four powerhouse brands — Daltile, American Olean, Marazzi, and Ragno — Dal-Tile leads the industry in both design and product innovation, and is committed to incorporating environmentally-friendly materials, processes, and products throughout its organization.


Dal-Tile has more than 9,000 employees in North America and sells its products through a network of more than 300 company-owned sales service centers, stone slabyards, design galleries, and design studios, as well as through independent distributors and leading home center retailers nationwide.


Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Dallas, Dal-Tile is a division of Mohawk Industries, the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world.  For more information on Dal-Tile and Mohawk Industries, please visit mohawkind.com.


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Dallas, TX – February 20, 2017 – Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean are offering buying group dealers the ultimate in timely product availability through innovative “locally-stocked” programs nationwide.

“Traditionally, flooring retailers are used to tile orders being fulfilled within the industry-standard lead-time of 7 to 10 days.  Our brands are innovating and drastically shortening that turn-time for our dealers,” said Jeremy Sax, general manager of dealer sales, Dal-Tile Corporation.  “Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean brands are removing this availability barrier and essentially putting stock at our dealers’ fingertips to help them increase their sales.”

“Although an end-consumer can still select from any of our 32,000 SKUS, we are strategically helping our dealers find success by providing them with a targeted sales approach,” said Sax.  “We specifically identity those products that are the hottest sellers in various regions around the country and we locally stock those for immediate availability.  We are very nimble and through programs such as our locally-stocked strategy, we quickly meet the needs of our customers.”

“This program came into being, because we listened to our customers,” added Sax.  “We listened to our customers and then acted quickly to put together a program that will benefit their business based on their needs.  Our Daltile, Marazzi, and American Olean brands are keeping more stock locally at over 300 company sales service centers nationwide, specifically the 12” x 24” products that are the number one sellers predominately across the country, so products can now be sold as same-day pickup/delivery, or next-day pickup/delivery.”

“This is just one of the latest examples of how we listen to our customers’ feedback, acknowledge that feedback, and then make something impactful happen for their business,” concluded Sax.

For more information, contact Jeremy Sax at [email protected]


About Daltile

Daltile is the industry-leading brand of ceramic, porcelain, glass and metal tile as well as natural stone, large-format slab and countertop products. Daltile products are distributed through over 250 company-owned sales service centers, stone slab yards and gallery design centers that service a robust network of trade customers. Dedicated to innovative product development and distinguished style, Daltile provides a rich palette of quality products created to inspire residential and commercial designs. For more information, visit daltile.com and follow Daltile on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


About Marazzi

With a bold vision for the future, Marazzi built the first Italian-owned ceramic manufacturing plant in the U.S. in 1982, assuring domestic access to world-renowned technology and style.  Manufacturing a vast array of quality tile products, including porcelains, glazed ceramics, glass mosaics, natural stones and metallics, the brand continues to evolve for the savvy homeowner and designer.  Bold, daring and occasionally over the top, Marazzi provides captivating designs that integrate Italian style into exciting and imaginative environments. For more information, visit marazzitile.com and follow Marazzi on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.


About American Olean

Since 1923, American Olean has been offering an extensive array of quality tile products. Through an appealing selection and a trusted network of industry professionals, American Olean empowers the creative visions of residential and commercial design and construction. For more information, visit americanolean.com and follow American Olean on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Houzz and Pinterest.


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Kathy Spanier Receives 2018 Women in Stone Pioneer Award

Oberlin, OH, February 20, 2018—Kathy Spanier, Director of Marketing for Coldspring in Cold Spring, MN, is the recipient of the 2018 Women in Stone Pioneer Award.

 For more than a decade, Spanier has made a powerful impact on the natural stone industry with her tireless efforts to position natural stone as a sustainable product within the building industry. She has been active in the Women in Stone initiative since its inception, and her vision and leadership were instrumental in creating the Women in Stone Mentorship Program. Getting involved is not a new concept to Spanier. Over the course of her 35 year marketing career she has continually assumed leadership roles in a number of industry associations.

 Brenda Edwards (TexaStone Quarries), recipient of the 2017 Women in Stone Pioneer Award, shares this about Spanier’s most recent accomplishments: “She has chaired the Sustainability Committee for the NSC 373 standard and gone far beyond the call of duty for that. She has also chaired the mentorship program for Women in Stone—she’s absolutely wonderful.” 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood (Lurvey Supply) commented: “Kathy has been a champion with sustainability efforts with stone and getting it positioned within all the green rating programs. We truly could not be where we are with our NSC 3737 standard without Kathy and her efforts.” Jane Bennett, Natural Stone Institute Executive Vice President, agrees: “She just took charge. That in itself is being a pioneer for the industry. Her leadership efforts were critical in advancing the NSC 373 standard.”

 Reflecting on this award, Spanier said: “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to receive this award! It’s an even greater honor to be placed in such a distinguished rank as last year’s honoree, Brenda Edwards, who has made a significant impact on the stone industry and Women in Stone. I would like to acknowledge the contributions and support given to me by my loving family, my remarkable friends in the stone industry, and my employer, Coldspring, that allowed me the opportunity to lead the efforts for the industry that led to this recognition.” 


About the Natural Stone Institute

The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 countries. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org.

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