Editor’s Letter – May 2012

May is the issue that hangs in the balance between the actual Coverings show in Orlando and the full coverage of the event in our June issue. I don’t want to give everything away, but I do have to say that this Coverings was a fantastic show, with a sense of optimism, good turnout, and great reception to contractor programs sponsored by NTCA. There were demonstrations by Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler, tag-teaming their way through their educational and lively presentations; and a strong NTCA presence in the conference sessions as well. New this year were the Contractor VIP tours – I got to tag along on one and it was informative and populated with a huge crowd of contractors.

Also this year was the evolution of the TileLetter Awards to the Coverings Installation Design Awards, sponsored by TileLetter and TADA. A healthy crowd turned out to recognize the contractor/designer teams that won accolades for their excellence. Next month we’ll start rolling out the winners.

Speaking of TADA – Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates, NTCA’s newest quarterly publication for the architect/design community – it received a rousing response, so much so that by end of day Thursday, there was nary an issue to be found in the magazine bins! It seems that the industry has been hungry for a publication of this type for quite some time. Issue two debuts at NEOCON in June.

The Installation Design Showcase was also a huge hit, with three dynamic contractor/designer teams that planned their vignettes and installed them during the course of the show. Stay tuned for coverage of that as well.

There are a few items from the show in this issue, such as TCNA’s new Dynamic Coefficient of Friction standard and test method you can read about in our News section, and assistant executive director Jim Olson’s letter of thanks in our NTCA News section that celebrates the success of the show and strikes a note of gratitude for the many NTCA member volunteers that helped make the show run smoothly.

Enjoy MAPEI’s fascinating cover story featuring Mike Mandel’s gorgeous murals, and a California labyrinth installation in our case study. David Allen Company’s Chris Walker gives us a tour through new ANSI developments, and C.C. Owen is our contractor spotlight for this issue.

Got some thoughts about what you’d like to see in TileLetter? I’m always happy to hear from you at [email protected]

Best,

Lesley

Ceramica Sant’Agostino suffers tragic losses in recent earthquake

Amidst the destruction in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, where a 6.0 magnitude earthquake on May 20 destroyed ancient buildings and left thousands homeless, were tragic losses suffered by Ceramica Sant’Agostino, a Confindustria Ceramica tile manufacturer.

Two of Sant’Agostino workers, Nicholas Cavicchi and Leonardo Ansaloni, died in the Sant’Agostino factory when the building collapsed early Sunday morning. In addition, the company’s automated warehouse and monocottura production facility were left damaged.

A statement posted by the company on its website reads, “First and foremost, Ceramica Sant’Agostino would like to express deepest sympathy for the victims of this terrible tragedy, the destructive consequences of which could undoubtedly have in no way been predicted or imagined. The disturbing events of last night leave all of us speechless, powerless to express our immense grief. Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a family business, not only because it is now in the hands of the third generation, but because it has always had a close, sincere bond with the area it operates in and with the people who work there. The loss of Leonardo Ansaloni and Nicola Cavicchi leaves a gap it is impossible to fill, and the Company extends its deepest sympathy to their families.”

Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a third-generation business, which was set up in 1964 in the Province of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region (about 35 km north of Bologna). It’s been 800 years since an earthquake of this magnitude has affected the region. The company website noted that buildings were constructed with “the maximum safety criteria” and it has cooperated with examination of company structures by officials in the wake of the quake.

On May 22, Sant’Agostino received a visit from the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who has promised to help small-scale businesses, especially factories and farms, in the region. The government has approved temporary tax relief to owners of property damaged from the earthquake and $64 million in emergency funds have been made available for use by the national Civil Protection Agency providing quake assistance.

Sant’Agostino is still accessing the damages on the whole plant but hopes that many of their problems can be resolved in the next few weeks and remains optimistic about the future of the company.

“Despite the tremendous blow suffered, Ceramica Sant’Agostino is determined to get back on our feet and resume production, above all in order to honour the memory of those we have lost,” the statement continues. “The Company intends to continue to be an important resource for the local area and for the numerous families that depend on it.

“Because this is what it means to believe in one’s work,” the statement concludes. ” Ceramica Sant’Agostino strongly believes in the quality of its products and of the human resources that have made it the business we all know today, and will continue to be the serious, qualified point of reference it has been for many years for the large number of customers who choose our products and appreciate the service we offer.”

Carson launches new PR/ marketing company

Eric Carson, well-known marketer and publicist for the tile industry, recently launched Blueprint Global Media, a new public relations and marketing company. The full-service agency is dedicated to supporting manufacturers of architecturally-specified building products and related services for residential and commercial projects. With years of professional experience working to build brand awareness and sales on behalf of a wide-range of U.S. and global clients, Blueprint Global Media has in-depth knowledge across several key categories including hospitality, healthcare, retail and stadium construction, as well as more complex integrated mixed-use destination projects.
The agency has gained worldly exposure representing many different manufacturers of porcelain, ceramic, glass and glass mosaic floor and wall tiles for LEED building projects. It maintains extensive relationships with editors and publishers of thousands of magazines and online vehicles, including those particularly focused on manufacturing, designing, and installing tile, stone, hardwood, resilient and other flooring types.
Based in Lima, Peru, with a satellite office in Portland, Maine, Blueprint Global Media also speaks and writes in Spanish, offering the unique ability of connecting South American manufacturers with U.S. architects, designers, distributors and dealers – and vice versa.
Blueprint Global Media bolsters its proven writing skills with professional, high-resolution digital photography and 1080p HD streaming video capabilities, perfect for trade show support and social media platforms. The company manages social media, provides SEO consultation, brand development, print ad production, website copy, project spotlights, sales literature, eblasts and targeted media buying programs.
Contact Eric Carson: [email protected] and/or visit www.blueprintglobalmedia.com. In Peru call: +51 226.1354, in the U.S. call toll free, 612.524.7888.

CTEF streamlines Certified Tile Installer testing process

Pendleton, S.C.–The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has recently modified its Certified Tile Installer (CTI) testing program to reduce the time away from the jobsite for participating tile and stone installers and contractors.

The CTI program provides a means for good, knowledgeable installers to verify their skills and promote themselves to potential clients and employers. Certification enables professional installers to provide industry-recognized proof of their abilities and secure more work. In addition, language was recently approved for inclusion in the upcoming TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation that recommends including the use of qualified labor in specifications.

CTEF now administers the written portion of the exam online at the installer’s home for the ease and convenience of participants and to better fit their schedules. The hands-on test, which previously took two days to complete, has now been compressed into a one-day exam.

“The combination of these new test developments places the installer back on the job more quickly, and means fewer missed money-making opportunities,” said Scott Carothers, CTEF executive director.

Those attending Coverings will have an opportunity to complete the hands-on test during the show. CTEF will again conduct the CTI hands-on test on the Coverings show floor Tuesday April 17th in booth # 963 which is adjacent to the Installation Designer Showcase in the rear of the hall. This is the fifth consecutive CTI test administered at the Coverings show. The CTEF booth #970 is located next to the CTI test space to provide attendees with the features of the program and benefits of becoming a CTI.

New CTIs are listed in the CTEF Directory of Certified Tile Installers which is included on the CTEF website and upcoming TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation.

For more information about CTEF and the CTI program, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/tile-certification-overview-ctef, or contact Scott Carothers at (864) 222-2131, [email protected]

2012 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition has been extended to February 27

Sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission and Confindustria Ceramica (the Association of Italian Ceramics), the 2012 Tile Competition is open to all North American architects and designers who have used Italian ceramic tiles in their institutional, residential or commercial/hospitality projects completed between January 2007 and January 2012. The competition is completely digital and FREE to enter! Winners in each category will receive a $4,000 cash prize + a five-day trip to Italy to attend Cersaie in the fall.
For competition guidelines, an archive of past winners and the online submission form visit www.tilecompetition.com

FIVE-STAR Contractor spotlight: Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc.


Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc.
Since: 1973
Specialty: Ceramic, stone and glass tile installation for medium-high end residential properties.
Employees: Currently six full time
Website: www.kerbertile.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kerbertile

Joe and Wendi Kerber, KTMS


Joe and Wendi Kerber started Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc. (KTMS) during the recession of 1973 in Shakopee, Minn. Since then, it has grown into a diverse company with an office, showroom, shop and warehouse. The company’s work has ranged from simple grout repair jobs to large, upscale residential projects.KTMS partners closely with designers,
architects, remodelers, builders and homeowners on multiple aspects of their projects – from tile and stone design and layout work, to product recommendations, and final installations – striving to meet their clients’ tile and stone needs while exceeding the highest level of industry quality standards. KTMS consults and work with clients primarily in the Twin Cities metro area, but have completed projects across the United States.
The company’s efforts to ensure their clients receive a superior-quality installation have been recognized by the tile industry. All of KTMS’ installers have been certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Joe served as the past-president and chairman of the local tile association for 15 years and recently completed a term on the National Tile Contractors Association’s (NTCA) board of directors. Currently, he is a member of both the NTCA’s Technical, and Methods and Standards committees.

Featured Project: Residential
Steam Shower Bathroom

This typical steam shower room starts with 18”x18” porcelain as the main floor tile. All of the smaller tiles used are cut from these 18” tiles. The walls have 9”x18” tiles set in a brickjoint pattern. The sloped shower ceiling is made of 9”x9” tiles set on diagonal; the shower floor features 3”x3” tiles. The bullnose pieces are made in-house; pieces were cut for the deco insets and niches to make the specific layout. Glass mosaics and stone trim pieces are also incorporated into the deco design. The floors and shower bench feature electric in-floor heat with a thermal break in the tile at the glass door. The bathroom also has a carved stone sink with the faucet extending from the mirror. Refrigerator in the vanity is optional.

The bathroom has a carved stone sink with the faucet extending from the mirror.

The walls have 9”x 18” tiles set in a brick-joint pattern; glass mosaics and stone trim pieces are also incorporated into the deco design.

The floors and shower bench feature electric in-floor heat and there is a thermal break in the tile at the glass door.

FIVE-STAR contractor spotlight: McCammack Tile, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.

This January installment kicks off our monthly spotlight of NTCA Five-Star Contractors, a highly qualified and prestigious group of tile and stone contractor NTCA members who meet stringent qualifications and continue to invest in excellence for their businesses and their clients.

McCammack Tile, Inc.,
Indianapolis, Ind.
Since: 1991
Specialty: Ceramic, stone and porcelain tile installation; light, medium and heavy-duty commercial projects.
Employees: 40

McCammack Tile is a merit shop with more than 40 in-house employees. They are highly committed to continuing education for their employees, which provide them with several levels of qualified tile installers within their organization. All of their lead installers are Certified Tile Installers by the CTEF. As a result, they have a very skilled work force that has flexibility to do small projects, as well as million-dollar high design projects. In 2011 McCammack
won the ABC Honor Award for CSO Architects Headquarters and the TileLetter Commercial Tile award for Community Hospital South. They have a remarkable safety record, with an EMR of .81 for 2010. They experienced zero OSHA recordables over the last eight years, and are confident that their commitments put forth in safety efforts will continue this trend.

Featured project: CSO Architects,
Keystone at the Crossing,
Indianapolis, Ind
.
Established in 1961 CSO Architects completed the renovation of their new facility in February 2011 after six to eight
months of construction. The size of the existing building, the re-purposed Bally Total Fitness center, is 24,000 square feet and the project is valued at $1.8 million. McCammack Tile installed ceramic/porcelain throughout the facility, aiming for a “wow factor” in the two-story lobby with a tile wall that met CSO’s criteria for subtlety, depth and richness.
Natural-looking materials for the main wall and lobby floor exuded a sense of warmth and welcome, and showed sensitivity to the environment. Floor Gres Walk tile contains 10-12% pre-consumer recycled content and is low-emitting, with the random veining and appealing texture of quartzite. McCammack created a 8´x8´ easily-installed module that was rotated 90 degrees along the wall for a random appearance. The large wall provides a “monolithic grounding” for the stairwell and vertical space in the center of the building.

McCammack created a 8´x8´ module that was rotated 90 degrees along the wall for a random appearance, and was easily installed.


McCammack was challenged with tight grout joints, uneven surfaces and articulated modularity. A matching “stick” mosaic was also installed in the reception area to tie the concept throughout the space.

A matching “stick” mosaic was also installed in the reception area to tie the concept throughout the space.


Color Blox EC by Crossville graced the restroom floors, stall walls and showers, bringing durability, easy maintenance, beauty and a minimum of 20% pre-consumer recycled content to the mix. It also allowed a contrast in texture on the wet wall between the 12˝x24˝ Color Blox EC suede-like texture and very, clean, neutral tile elsewhere; the product provided 6˝x24˝ formats for safety in the shower area.

Color Blox EC by Crossville graced the restroom floors, stall walls and showers.


The flooring installation value was $44,000 labor-only, and took approximately 40 days to complete. Installation materials included those from Summitville, Custom Building Products,MAPEI and Schlüter.

Editor’s Letter

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Happy New Year! The start of every year is a time for hope, resolutions and new beginnings, and this year is no exception, especially at TileLetter.

We begin 2012 with a newly-designed, clean, crisp format for our monthly publication that includes many of your favorite features and some new ones. You’ll find content that focuses on a project theme each month – such as bath and spa for January. In addition to our cover story, we’ll feature a themed project from one of our contractor members that illustrates challenges experienced and creative, skilled solutions employed.

Our Ask the Experts section has evolved to become Tile Tip, which coordinates with our monthly theme for Tile-TV online (www.iwantmytiletv.com). “New Products” have morphed into Product Links, which are concise announcements of new products with a link to the company website for more information. Our Distributor Bulletin Board provides a place for distributor partners to announce news. We’ll track our NTCA Tile & Stone Symposiums on a monthly basis now, with a short summary of recent workshops and some photos too! Be sure to visit the NTCA home page at www.tile-assn.com and click on the NTCA Tile Symposium link at bottom scrollbar to view the schedule and see when a free Symposium event is coming to your area.

This month we add a regular spotlight on our Five-Star Contractors, which will include a brief overview of the company and of a recent project. And of course, we are continuing our NTCA Family Album as a forum to showcase your families, hobbies, talents, skills and life outside of the tile industry. Please send images to me at [email protected]!

If you haven’t visited www.tileletter.com lately, you’ll find changes there too! While stories, products and news are still posted every month, the WordPress format now allows us to post information daily to keep current with what’s happening in the industry.

Starting at Coverings, we will launch TADA, (Tile for Architects, Designers & Affiliates), a large-format, quarterly publication which is targeted to bring information about tile specification to the A&D community. NTCA publications and media are quickly becoming THE place to go for information about any aspect of our industry, from specification, to design, to installation to new products to news. We’re happy to have you aboard as we venture out into this fresh, exciting New Year!

Lesley

NTCA Tile Person of the Year: James Woelfel

Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co.’s James Woelfel Named NTCA Tile Person of the Year

James Woelfel, vice president of Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co., of Mesa, Ariz., was recently named the National Tile Contractors Association “Tile Person of the Year” for 2011. The award — bestowed annually since 1958 — honors a tile professional who is dedicated to supporting the mission of the NTCA. Woelfel, whose father Butch was the 1993 recipient, becomes the first son of a former Tile Person of the Year winner, to receive this prestigious recognition.

In addition to running the daily operations and estimating at Artcraft, Woelfel is a tireless advocate for strengthening industry standards and methods. He is chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee and serves as 2nd vice president of the association. Until recently, he also served as the chairman of the NTCA Standards and Methods Committee.

Additionally, Woelfel represents the NTCA on the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook Committee, and serves on the ANSI ASC 108 Committee, making Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co., one of two contractors worldwide to sit on all three committees.

Woelfel was recognized for this prestigious honor in front of family, friends and peers at Total Solutions Plus on November 10th, at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, here. Presenting Woelfel with the honor was his friend and NTCA President, Nyle Wadford of Neuse Tile Service in Youngsville, N.C.

Marazzi Featured on “I Hate My Bath”

Marazzi’s SOHO porcelain was requested by DIY Network’s I Hate My Bath and is being featured in upcoming episodes. Host Jeff Devlin will lead the transformation of a couple’s bathroom using SOHO’s large-format, rectified beauty to its fullest advantage. The show delivers hands-on design and installation tips that are easily translated to viewers’ own homes.

The first opportunity to view the From Sterile to Stunning episode is November 15, 2011. Additional time slots are listed in the complete schedule below:

  • November 15, 2011; 10:30 PM e/p
  • November 15, 2011; 1:30 AM e/p
  • November 19, 2011; 6:30 PM e/p
  • November 20, 2011;10:30 AM e/p
  • November 22, 2011; 8:00 PM e/p
  • November 22, 2011; 3:00 AM e/p

Marazzi has a strong presence in the tradition of tile manufacturing. The Marazzi Group, headquartered in Sas- suolo, Italy, has been producing high-quality porcelain and glazed ceramic floor, wall and decorative tile for over 75 years. Marazzi USA has been domestically producing tile at the Sunnyvale, Texas facility for nearly 30 years. In addition, a manufacturing plant in Florence, Alabama as well as a second plant in Sunnyvale produce highly durable and aesthetically-pleasing porcelain tile.

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