Renewal Date for Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification Course Extended to Two Years with Union Agreement

The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS)  has extended the renewal date of the Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification certificate, to two years from one. This means that every two years the tile installer must retake the updated course in order to stay current with new industry standards. In the past, installers were required to retake the course annually to stay current.

The renewal date extension  was part of an agreement between UofCTS and the Tile Marble Terrazzo Union Local 18, which placed a large order of tuitions for the ITS Verification course as part of its continuing education programs for its Journeyman Tile Layers one. In addition to the ITS Verification online course, Local 18 is offering the Advanced Certification for Tile Installer program, which is a new set of certifications developed and administered by a consortium of tile industry organizations (  Local 18 president Chad Boggio stated that the Union leadership has recognized the need to educate tile layers on the new materials, standards and methods through ongoing training and testing of journeyman tile setters.

Greg Games president of Premier Tile & Marble Co., who was the first union tile installation company to send his installers through the ITS online training course, stated,  “I saw a big improvement in my employees’ knowledge of the industry standards and their heightened interest in making sure they are following the industry standards as they are installing tile.  Educating our team of setters and finishers brought a new positive dimension to the culture of our company.”  Games encouraged the Union to adopt the ITS course.

Non-union contractors are also committed to training their employees.  Martin L Howard, vice president of David Allen Company, Inc., who has put a large number of his employees through the UofCTS online training courses, stated,  “I am seeing a big improvement in my employees’ knowledge of the tile and stone industry, and industry standards.  We are in the process of sending a large number of our employees through all three of the UofCTS Online courses on Ceramic Tile, Natural Stone, and on Tile Installer Standards.  The David Allen Company is committed to providing quality tile installations, and our investment in training our employees is one of the ways we achieve that goal.”

The Tile Terrazzo Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) collaborated with UofCTS to create a Canadian version of the ITS course, which was released earlier this year.  Since then they have had a large number of TTMAC members take the course with great success.

INTACO, a manufacturer of installation products in Costa Rica, recently purchased tuitions of the Spanish version of the ITS course for training their employees.  TCNA Mexico had their trainers take the Spanish version of the ITS course and they now refer the installers that take the certification evaluation in Mexico to take the UofCTS ITS course as a value-added course.  TCNA also suggests the course for Mexican architects to help ensure quality tile installations on their projects.

The ITS Verification course instructs installers, setters and finishers, on industry standards and practices, manufacturers’ requirements, and proper installation methods for tile thin-set applications that apply to ceramic tile, porcelain tile, stone tile, glass tile and other types of adhered tile materials.  The course also teaches how to inspect and prepare substrates and tiles, how to achieve full thin-set coverage, and points out quality workmanship requirements and practices.  This course is also meaningful to architects, general contractors, distributors, manufacturers, consultants, inspectors, and owners that recognize the value of understanding industry installation standards, practices, and methods.

Tile installers who complete the ITS Verification course receive a certificate of completion and must renew it every two years to remain current with industry standards.  The ITS certificate demonstrates to architects, homeowners, and other customers that their tile installers have been trained to install tile per industry standards.   It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to quality installations, and ultimately helps companies earn more jobs, earn more money and avoid costly delays and failures.

The ITS Verification course is different than the  CTEF and ACT Certification Programs for trained tile installers to demonstrate their skills and obtain certifications validating required skills.  The ITS Verification is intended for  training new tile installers and finishers (helpers), and to provide continued education for experienced installers to ensure they know and stay current with industry standards and practices.  The ITS course is also very useful for distributors, architects and designers, and for general contractors so they are aware of how tile should be properly installed.

UofCTS’s also offers online  courses: Understanding the Basics of Natural Stone and Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile courses which offer an up-to-date comprehensive look at the stone and ceramic tile industry. For more information, visit

Once registered, UofCTS students have 14 days to complete a course, which is accessible online, 24/7.  Students can come and go at their convenience.

For details on the courses, videos that preview UofCTS courses, and information on purchasing UofCTS online courses visit  Local 18 union members can visit; CTDA members can visit; and TTMAC members can visit Interested parties can also call 866.669.1550.


Traditional Home’s Napa Valley Showhouse – Peter Mondavi, Jr.’s Home -Features Crossville Tile Collections

CROSSVILLE, Tenn, Oct. 18, 2013 – Crossville Inc. is a sponsor and product supplier for the second annual Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse. This year’s home, located at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, Calif., is a century-old structure that has undergone a dramatic transformation. Designed by select designers from the local area, the showhouse represents a fresh take on Napa style and is open for public tours through November 17.

Crossville products are featured in the master and guest bathrooms of the home.

Master Bath Renovation by Ann Lowengart Interiors
Annie Lowengart designed the showhouse’s master bath featuring Crossville’s Wood Impressions and Virtue collections. Wood Impressions is used on both walls and the main floor of the space. The shower floor takes on the look of marble with Crossville’s Virtue collection.


Hall Bathroom Renovation by NV Design
Christine A. Teicheira and Lauren Tapper incorporated Crossville’s Virtue Collection on the floors and Retro Active on the walls. The look of the space is bright and transitional, incorporating fresh colors and a furniture-inspired sink console.


“Most people know Crossville as a commercial brand. Our participation in the Napa Valley showhouse demonstrates that we’re great for residential use, as well,” explains Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Napa Valley Film Festival. For more information, visit

 About Crossville Inc.
Founded in 1986, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications. For more information on Crossville, visit

Radiant Heat Sales Warming Up: WarmlyYours Radiant Reports Record Sales

October 16, 2013–WarmlyYours Radiant expects a strong fourth quarter after posting a record 25% increase in overall sales for the quarter ending September 30, 2013, as compared to the third quarter of 2012. Sales for the month of September were up 39% over the previous year. These results are especially significant considering that the summer months are typically the slowest for the radiant heat industry. With such dramatic growth so early in the season, WarmlyYours predicts extremely strong sales going into 2014.

Julia Billen, president and owner of WarmlyYours Radiant, attributes the increase to changes made by the company to withstand the recession, as well as the ongoing recovery in housing industry. “Not only is the market rebuilding, but we are able to capitalize on that because of the measures we took to strengthen the company during the recession,” said Billen. “Coming out of the recession, our internal machinery is much more focused on sales and marketing.”

WarmlyYours Radiant has remained profitable throughout the recession, despite the slowdown in the construction industry. As the market recovers, the company is well positioned to take advantage of the growth in new construction and home renovations. The 39% increase in September sales corresponds to continued strength in the remodeling market, particularly in the number of kitchen and bathroom projects, throughout 2013 and into 2014, as predicted by the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) published by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Strong consumer demand for tile and stone surfaces is driving interest in radiant heat solutions.

WarmlyYours Radiant showed substantial sales gains in the U.S. across its major product lines: floor heating, snow melting systems and towel warmers. The company reported an 18% increase in overall sales in Canada for the third quarter of 2013, as compared to third quarter sales for 2012, with floor heating and towel warmers fueling the growth in that market.


About WarmlyYours Radiant
Since 1999, WarmlyYours Radiant has offered the industry’s most innovative solutions in radiant heating technology, from our flagship floor heating systems and radiant wall panels to snow melting products, mirror defoggers and towel warmers. With locations in the U.S. and Canada, WarmlyYours provides unrivaled personalized customer support from start to finish, featuring measuring and design services, 24/7 technical support, and our NoNonsense™ Warranty. For more information, visit:

Nuheat Launches International Floor Heating Day

Nuheat recently announced the launch of the industry’s first International Floor Heating Day. The inaugural celebration of the annual event will take place on October 17, 2013. In the spirit of celebrating Nuheat’s loyal customers and all things floor heating, Nuheat will be hitting the streets all over North America surprising and delighting customers and random strangers with gifts of appreciation.

As part of International Floor Heating Day, Nuheat will be auctioning off two Custom Nuheat Mats shaped in both the Vancouver Canucks and a Chicago Blackhawks logos. Each mat is signed by the hockey team and proceeds support their respective charitable trusts; Canuck Place and Chicago Blackhawks Charities. In addition, Nuheat will give a lucky winner a Nuheat Floor Heating System for a bathroom remodel through various social media avenues.

“At Nuheat we are extremely fortunate to have had such a loyal customer base over our 24 years in business,” said Suzie Cho, vice president of marketing. “We really pride ourselves as being industry leaders, and therefore wanted to find a way to thank our customers as well as celebrate our industry. We are dedicating International Floor Heating Day to our amazing customers as well as everyone whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with in our industry.”

For more information visit  Regular updates will be posted on the Facebook and Twitter.

About Nuheat

Based in Vancouver, Nuheat is the leading manufacturer and distributor of electric floor heating systems and freeze protection products for pipes, roof & gutters and slab. Nuheat products have been included in such celebrated projects as the Shangri-La Tower in Vancouver, the Hyatt Grand in Aspen, the Plaza Hotel in New York, Montreal’s City Hall and will soon be included in the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice facility being built near Vancouver, British Columbia.


During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Crossville Shines a Light on Year-Round Programs & Support for the Common Thread for the Cure

CROSSVILLE, Tenn.,  – Crossville Inc. is hosting/sponsoring events during the month of October to draw attention to breast cancer awareness and the company’s year-round support of the Common Thread for the Cure. Throughout the year, Crossville contributes a portion of proceeds from the sales of its Glass Blox and Origins glass tile collections to the Common Thread for a Cure.

The Common Thread is a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to families of the interior design and furnishings industries who are suffering the effects of breast cancer. Through Helping Hands Grants, the organization helps families with transportation, household expenses, child care, tuition, home repairs and other practical needs to improve quality of life as they face the challenges of the disease. The foundation also supports research and educational programs.


“For Crossville, awareness and support happen every month of the year through our product partnership with the Common Thread for the Cure, but October gives us the chance to turn the spotlight even brighter on this organization whose sole purpose is to help those in the design community affected by breast cancer,” explains Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing for Crossville and Common Thread for the Cure board member.

Waldrep emphasizes that the ongoing support of Common Thread through monetary donation is the core of Crossville’s commitment to the prominent issue that touches “far too many lives in the design industry and beyond.”

“It’s not enough to ‘think pink’ one month of the year. Breast cancer doesn’t take a month off, and neither do we,” she summarizes.

For more information about The Common Thread for the Cure, please visit

About Crossville Inc.
Founded in 1986, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications.

An industry innovator, Crossville is the first U.S. tile manufacturer to achieve the following:
* produce large format tile on site,
* manufacture tile with certified recycled content,
* develop the Tile Take-Back™ Program for recycling fired porcelain tile
* achieve certification of its waste recycling programs
* achieve TCNA’s Green Squared certification for all of its U.S.-produced tile lines,
* distribute a complete line of large format, 3mm-thin porcelain panels (Laminam by Crossville) and
* become a net consumer of waste.

For more information on Crossville, visit

First Installers Pass ACT Certification at Coverings

Five of the largest organizations representing tile contractors, installers and manufacturers are pleased to announce that eight industry professionals are the first to successfully pass the ACT certification program.

Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers— ACT—addresses four technically-challenging installation areas of current importance:  Large Format Tile Installation and Substrate Preparation, Mudwork, Shower Pans and Membranes.  A specific certification demonstrates the installer’s skill and knowledge in each of these four segments.

The eight professional installers not only passed all four certifications, they did so under the watchful eye of thousands of attendees at Coverings, the leading tile and stone show in the United States.  Because the program was in the developmental phase when the show was held in Atlanta in April, they just recently completed the on-line written test that comprises twenty-five percent of the certification score.

The eight installers with this special honor are:

Brent Monroe – Artcraft Granite Marble &Tile Company: Mesa, Arizona

Tyler Nequist – Welch Marble &Tile: Kent City, Michigan

Keith Tavshanjian – KT Marble & Tile: Oceanside, California

Dan Welch – Welch Marble &Tile: Kent City, Michigan

Gavin Collier – Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co.: Palos Heights, Illinois

Bill Dumas – Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Trainer: Livermore, California

Eric Manzaroli – Artisan Tile, Inc.: Sterling Heights, Michigan

Terrance Trame – Trendell Consulting, LLC: Clayton, Michigan

Keith Tavshanjian - KT Marble & Tile: Oceanside, California, one of the first eight ACT Certified Installers

Keith Tavshanjian – KT Marble & Tile: Oceanside, California, one of the first eight ACT Certified Installers



Partners in the development initiative are:  Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF); Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), representing IUBAC signatory tile contractors; International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC); International Masonry Institute (IMI), which provides professional and technical training for union masonry contractors, and National Tile Contractors Association, with membership open to all tile contracting companies.   Tile Council of North America (TCNA) manufacturer members companies are contributing to development of the modules and tests.

For more information on this developing program visit our new website at

Silver City Clay Festival celebrates tile and clay arts


gruberSilver City, N.M. – The Clay Festival, held in early August here,  is the brainchild of Lee Gruber, president and co-owner of local Syzygy Tileworks (, which makes beautiful handmade tile for interiors and exteriors. Since it’s in my home state, I decided to make the drive from Albuquerque to take part in the celebration of handmade tile and clay arts.

And what a celebration it was! Originally, Gruber conceived the festival – now in its second year – as a signature event for the Silver City Arts & Cultural District, and to support the work of the Handmade Tile Association’s Minneapolis Tile Festival – the 12th annual occurrence taking place this fall.

Gruber’s vision for the Clay Festival – for which the Silver City Arts & Cultural District will assume oversight of in 2015 – is to expand statewide annually in mid-August. This timing will coincide with Indian Market in Santa Fe which brings in many art-minded travelers, and partner with clay-centric activities in sister city and art mecca Taos, N.M., to the north.

Gruber said clay arts are natural for New Mexico, aligning with the state’s “New Mexico True” tourism campaign, and engaging the interest of native potters who are intrigued by the idea of creating a line of tile that draws upon their cultural roots.

princedarwinThis year’s festival brought in a vast number of clay artists, potters and tile makers. Included in the event were juried art exhibits that included A Tile and a Vessel exhibit which challenged international artists to create a tile and a related vessel.

The Public PrōJECT Outdoor Digital Juried Exhibition recognized artists and their large-scale clay and mosaic public installations, celebrating public art that surrounds us.

cajaconThe Tile Heritage Foundation was an integral part of the festival, and responsible for both an award and a highly-informative presentation by Sheila Menzies and Joseph Taylor, which traced the history of decorative tile in America.

Mimbres culture was celebrated by a Vessels exhibit, demonstrations, and contests and there was a clay poker tournament, kid’s activities, a labyrinth build and a wide range of workshops. I got a chance to participate in the Meditation in Clay workshop facilitated by tile maker Stephani Stephenson, which allowed me to get my hands dirty in the most delicious and creative way, alongside seasoned clay artists and newbies alike.jo_and_sheila

Clay and tile is intertwined with nearly every aspect of the town, evident in the many vibrant tile murals on sides of buildings, at the visitor center, adorning steps, at the library, at public plazas, in a children’s playground and a skate park and elsewhere, which wildlife_mosaicrichly illustrate local culture – 33 murals in all that involve area youth. One of the most striking murals – or collection of murals – are the Many Hands murals at Penny Park, a children’s playground. In addition to tile adornment on walls and the neighboring skatepark, a series of sixteen diamond-shaped mosaic vignettes are planned to pay tribute to the community and the original Penny Park that was destroyed by fire and rebuilt.

noblearchitectThe Mimbres Region Arts Council (MRAC) Mural Program coordinator Diana Ingalls Leyba developed a mural project that would involve every student in Grant County. She visited elementary schools and collected hundreds of clay hand prints that students personalized with their artwork, which were then glazed and fired into tiles and installed on the playground walls with help of local professional artists.

stephanieDuring the festival itself, two new murals were unveiled at the 12th Street Bridge. The mural “Agua es la Vida” (Water is Life) tells the history of Western New Mexico University (WNMU) from what WNMU president Dr. Joseph Shepard called a “gateway to the community.”

stephsonson_workSilver City itself can be considered a hub of beautiful handmade tile in the Southwest and a gateway to growing interest in handmade, decorative and art tile and the celebration of clay art. Plan to visit next July 26-August 3, 2014. For more information, visit or — Lesley Goddin



Women in Tile – 2013


According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012 saw a 1% drop in construction workers overall from 9,039,000 to 8,964,000. The percentage of women also took a slight dive to 9% of the total – 806,760 women in total – compared to 9.2% in 2011.

However, of the 150,000 carpet, floor and tile installers and finishers in 2012, 2.2% were women – that’s up from .5% in 2011 – a significant increase in distaff installers. Female helpers in construction dropped from 8% in 2011 to 4.5% in 2012, perhaps reflecting more women taking on primary roles as installers and construction workers.

This issue of TileLetter looks at four women and their paths through the tile industry. Nancy Epstein, based in Secaucus, N.J., is CEO of Artistic Tile (, an importer, distributor and manufacturer of luxury tile and stone products, with a 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility,  nine U.S. showrooms and 150 dealers worldwide. Michelle Griffoul, from Buellton, Calif. (, has been creating stunning handmade tile for 35 years. Our two tile installers are Michele Kalec, president of Picasso Tile & Stonework in Tempe, Ariz. (, and Carole Loquet a.k.a. La Caroleuse ( who is a tile installer, trained in France, who now practices the trade in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

epstein_picsEpstein: making tile artistic

Nancy Epstein knew within three months of opening a tile showroom in 1993 that “developing quick-ship, in-stock luxury products would be instrumental to the success of the business,” she said. “The unfolding trends of the new shelter magazines popping up, extended European travel among Americans, and consumers working without the help of an interior designer all led to the increase of requests for rapid deliveries.” This knowledge led to the legendary rise of the luxury supply house that Artistic Tile is today.

Epstein was armed with a B.S. degree in business from Syracuse University, design classes at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and retail experience in furniture from her work with a luxury furniture importer, and exposure to retail from her father’s floor covering and furniture retail stores. “I took the retail knowledge I had absorbed and a personal love for luxury and combined them into one business,” she said.

Griffoul_picsGriffoul: from sculpture to tile

Award-winning handmade tile manufacturer and artist, Michelle Griffoul, started making her first site-specific tile projects about 1980. In 1989 she started selling to Ann Sacks and was included in her first catalog when Sacks, impressed by Griffoul’s ceramic sculpture and furniture, asked Griffoul to design a line. Griffoul snapped up the opportunity as steady income to support her two children in her work as a ceramic artist. “I could still be a very creative artist and make functional art as floors, walls, pools, kitchens, bathrooms,” she said.

Griffoul‘s art perspective allowed her to think outside the square – shape of tile – that is. “I was used to being different. When I started making tiles in the shape of squiggles, leaves, fish, etc. many people told me that I cannot make tiles the way I made them as far as design. Those comments gave me more energy to prove them wrong and be really successful at it.”

Griffoul brought her Masters of Fine Arts into her craft, but learned about the tile industry by “listening and participating in it,” she said. “By being a member of the Tile Council of North America I learned about specifications and expectations from customers. Michael Byrne taught me about installation,” she added.

kalec_picsKalec: choreographing beautiful tile and stone work

Michele Kalec – whose Picasso Tile & Stonework won the 2012 Contractor of the Year Recipient & Fabricator of the Year award from the Ceramic Tile & Stone Association of Arizona, and is a 2013 MIA Residential Interior/Exterior Pinnacle Award of Excellence winner – has been making art and building things since she was a child, learning how to handle tools from her woodworker dad. “With tile and stone, I combined my love of creating something with my hands into an art form. I’ve been hooked ever since,” she said.

Kalec joined the tile industry in 1988, incorporating as Picasso Tile & Design, Inc. in 1994. The company added a fabrication division in 1996 and has since been doing business as Picasso Tile & Stonework.

“With a bachelor’s degree in both sociology and choreography, I used what I had: the ability to listen, learn and make all the parts of the industry move in a beautiful dance,” she added. “Once I got my feet wet, I researched everything I could find online, in books and spoke with distributors and manufacturers about available seminars and training venues. My best asset was the fact that I am a perfectionist when it comes to tile and stone. I tried to leave no stone unturned in the learning process.”

la_caroleuse_picsLa Caroleuse: dedicated and passionate

French-born Carole Loquet has been a tile setter since 2002, originally studying to become a social worker. While she was demolishing the outdated bathroom in an old house she was renovating  with her boyfriend, she realized she wanted to become a tile setter. She chose training with Les Compagnons du Tour de France, even though she faced a lot of opposition from women in the organization’s administration who felt tile setting was a man’s job. She prevailed through the year of intensive training with work placements throughout France, getting work immediately after graduation with various companies.

In 2005 she created La Caroleuse in France to “do my work in accordance with the rules of art and my values,” she explained. “I wanted to offer customers quality and personalization of their work.” After five years, she and her boyfriend immigrated to Canada, where she worked on mosaic murals for a year. After becoming licensed in Quebec and working on a large hotel job, she again felt the passion to start La Caroleuse in Montreal.

“La Caroleuse” is a play on words: The word for tile setter in French is carreleur for men and carreleuse for women, so she made a pun using her name “Carole.” Suprisingly, the word “caroleuse” is now known in France and other countries as the name for her craft!

Building credibility

Almost universally, at one time in their careers, the women in our story were not taken seriously, but over time, their business or technical prowess woke business associates up to their competency. “It wasn’t until I placed container orders that they would take me seriously,” Epstein said.

“There is a learning curve of acceptance in this business as in most construction industries,” Griffoul said. She enjoyed greater acceptance once she won the Spectrum Design Awards Grand Prize.

“On many job sites I have been treated as if I didn’t know anything and should not even be there,” Griffoul said. “That was before they knew that I designed and manufactured the project they were installing. I never let anyone on the job site intimidate me, but that’s easier now than when I started 35 years ago.”

Kalec, who said she hopes “the undertone of ‘the boys club’” is obsolete by the time her daughter takes over the business, has seen a lot of acceptance and improvement on the jobsite, where “women are filling lots of different construction positions and have added a value and perspective that didn’t exist before. I think that competition in the field has provided an opportunity for new creative ideas and improvements in efficiency,” she said.

Peers and bastions of the tile industry have generated a lot of support, as have family members. Epstein’s husband constantly encouraged her – and then Epstein herself went on to be an inspiration and support for Michelle Griffoul, as were Michael Byrne, Bob Daniels, and NTCA’s own Bart Bettiga.

A local licensed contractor taught Kalec how to do her first Roman tub, just for the asking. “I will never forget that kindness,” she said. Fellow women in advertising, the A&D community and in related construction fields bolstered her confidence and knowledge as well.

Loquet gained knowledge and support from a visit to the Porcelanosa factory and continues to get feedback from professional tile setters around the world through her website and professional Facebook page. She’s also received a lot of support from U.S. tile setters.

“I never imagined such support from my peers,” she said. “I am honored.” In fact, it was a group of tile setters on a Facebook group that first introduced me to Loquet and praised her professionalism and setting skills.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that our group of professional women endorses tile setting for those who love the building industry, are competitive, strong and not easily intimidated, and have passion and fresh ideas.  “Never strive to keep up with the competition, strive to outpace them,” Epstein said.

Education is a common thread from all our luminaries in this story. Said Griffoul, “Educate yourself so you are the smartest person in the room or job site. Know design and the technology of manufacturing and installation. They are all integrated in a good job application. Learn from others around you and be open.”

“Do what you love and the money will follow,” said Kalec. “Know your passion and know your trade…It can be very rewarding to see projects come to fruition.”

Loquet summed it up, saying “This is an industry with numerous possibilities, changing where you learn every day. The tiles are endless, and manufactured throughout the world. It’s just exciting!”

Editor’s Letter – October 2013

LesleyI am just putting the finishing touches on our October issue as I am getting ready to wing my way over the Atlantic to the CERSAIE expo in Bologna, Italy. It’s been a while since I’ve attended this stunning international showcase of tile trends and products, located near Sassuolo, the heart of the Italian tile manufacturing district. Look for a wrap up of the CERSAIE show in our December issue!

It was my pleasure to write our annual Women In Tile story for this October issue. Each year, the number of female movers and shakers in our industry seems to grow, so it gets more and more difficult to narrow down the selection for our print issue. But that’s a good problem to have. Please take a moment to meet these talented mavericks in our industry.

Many thanks to Tom Meehan, who wrote our Tech Talk feature this month about working with and installing electric floor warming systems. This is a product that brings value and comfort to a range of settings – and not just in cold climates. Here in New Mexico – typically considered the warm and sunny Southwest – we get cold winters and most of our homes are build on concrete slabs. Radiant floor warming systems are perfect additions to home comfort, not to mention the luxury it brings to spas and other settings. Consider if adding this product to your installation repertoire wouldn’t offer your clients value and equate to more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

This issue also includes a story about the coming deadline for converting testing to the new dynamic coefficient of friction DCOF AcuTestsm, which will be upon our industry in early 2014. This test protocol will be the standard, so our story is a gentle nudge to be sure your test methods are up to date, and for those specifying to be sure you are receiving DCOF test values with your specs, not the old static coefficient of friction values.

Finally, enjoy the review of the recent Silver City Clay Festival, held in August in Silver City, N.M. There were murals to marvel over, amazing clay and tile projects and stunning exhibits. Established last year by Lee Gruber of Silver City-based Syzygy Tileworks, the eventual goal for this festival  is to involve different cities and regions of clay-centric New Mexico – and stand in support of the work The Handmade Tile Association is doing to bring exposure to beautiful handmade and decorative tile.

There are a lot of wonderful things going on in our industry – not the least of which is Total Solutions Plus, scheduled for the end of October in Bonita Springs, Fla. There’s still time to plan your trip there – visit for details. I hope to see you in Florida!


Editor’s Letter – September 2013

Lesley beach picIn early August, I attended the Clay Festival in Silver City, N.M. – which you will be hearing more about in coming months. This event wound up setting the stage for an amazing cascade of serendipity catalyzed through social media.

Social media – love it or hate it. It can be a huge time waster, a fabulous way to stay in touch with friends and colleagues and an efficient way to get your message out to your audiences. Because we at NTCA/CTEF believe it to be the latter, we recently conscripted the services of Social Structure Marketing to manage our TileLetter/TADA, NTCA and CTEF online presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the like, so you’ll be seeing more from us there.

But here’s the kicker – the day I was back in the office after the Clay Festival, I noticed I had a friend request on my work Facebook account, from a Jeffrey Castillo. I checked his page and he appeared to be connected with others in the industry. And, it just so happened that he was from Silver City. I friended him and private messaged him, to find out that he is not only the NTCA State Director for New Mexico, but a tile contractor who performed much of the installation on the historic circa-1938 Murray Hotel in Silver City, which I toured, since the proprietor is using both original tile and
recreations to renovate the facility. The missing piece of the story was details about installation, but social media had brought it right to my laptop! Holy cow! Amazing!

But it doesn’t end there. Newly enthused about handmade/decorative/art tile from my immersion in it at the Clay Festival, I friended the Handmade Tile Association on that same Facebook account. The VERY FIRST post from that association that day turned out to be work from Cirrelda Snyder-Bryan, a New Mexico clay artist who I knew from a church we attended together years ago, but had lost touch with over the years. I re-established contact with her online. A few days later, I happened to be in a coffee shop in town when I quite literally ran into her – a person I hadn’t seen in about a decade, and yet had only hours before re-established contact with via Facebook. You can’t make this stuff up!

Social media also brings me news of fabulous work contractors around the country are doing. It may seem like frivolity to have a Facebook account. Be advised: it is not. In our evolving world, social media is a key way to connect – a way that is only going to get more prevalent as technology advances. Do yourself a favor and establish a presence for yourself and your business, website (you DO have a website, don’t you?) and stay connected to those who want to do business with you. See you online!

Lesley Goddin

TileLetter/TADA Editor

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