125 TRI MAX​™​ by LATICRETE Recognized as One of the Industry’s Best Products

125 TRI MAX​™​ by LATICRETE Recognized as One of the Industry’s Best Products Annual Building Design + Construction ‘101 Top Products’ award program spotlights the best new or upgraded products for the building design and construction industry.

​Building Design + Construction has named LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, a ‘101 Top Products’ award winner for 125 TRI MAX​™​, the flooring industry’s first-ever three-in-one adhesive, sound control and crack isolation product that eliminates the need for sound and anti-fracture mats and membranes. Now in its third year, the annual program recognizes the best new or upgraded products for the building design and construction industry. 125 TRI MAX was named a winner in the ‘Flooring’ category and allows for faster, more effective tile and stone installations.
“​Building Design + Construction’s ‘101 Top Products’ awards focus on innovation and what the leading building products can do for its users. Not only does 125 TRI MAX act as the solution contractors need to carry fewer products on the jobsite for a single installation, but according to our research, it is also 33% faster to install than traditional sound, anti-fracture mat or membranes, and contractors can save 15 to 20% on product costs,” said LATICRETE Senior Product Manager Jay Conrod.

High-performance benefits of 125 TRI MAX include fiber reinforcement to produce a stronger adhesive bond and a “Heavy Service” rating per TCNA performance levels (RE: ASTM C627 Robinson Floor Test) to support traffic in high volume areas. 125 TRI MAX has also been independently tested to meet ANSI A118.12.5.4 “High Performance” specifications for superior crack isolation protection, with the ability to prevent the transmission of cracks up to 1/8 inch (3 millimeters), and ASTM E2179 and ASTM E492 for sound reduction. 125 TRI MAX contains 36% post-consumer recycled materials to contribute to LEED points and is GREENGUARD certified for sustainable building.

Island Stone Tile Collections Bring Outdoor Living Spaces to Life

Dimensional split-face stone, trendy pebble tiles, and sleek glass mosaics among the options to elevate the look of walls, walkways, patios, and pools

(Watsonville, CA, December 18, 2019) As demand for outdoor living spaces continues to grow among both homeowners and homebuyers, designers are challenged to ensure those spaces are just as style-forward as the inside of the home while offering durability and livability amid the elements. Island Stone’s innovative tile collections offer the perfect opportunity to create eye-catching exterior walls, walkways, pool decks, pools, showers, and water features, with looks ranging from classic, natural split-face stone to dimensional or sleek glass mosaics that shimmer in the sun.

It’s no coincidence that Island Stone’s collections are well-suited to outdoor living—the company and its artisans draw inspiration from cool exterior living spaces around the world, from top designers in the US to world-famous Balinese tropical pools and gardens.

“Wanting to spend time outdoors ourselves, we appreciate the different styles and ambience created by different materials and designs,” said Nigel Eaton, CEO of Island Stone. “We have something for every outdoor living aesthetic, from great natural stone options for outdoor walkways and pool surrounds to beautiful contemporary looks for pool spas and unique water features that really stand out from the everyday. Our comprehensive selection of colors ensures a look to suit every mood.”

Among the stone claddings and mosaics ideal for eye-catching natural exteriors:

Spindrift Marble: Mosaic pebble-shaped tiles with honed, organic forms, creating a very clean, high-end pebble look.

Spindrift Marble contemporary bathroom interior with tile wall surround in grey tones.

Level Pebble: The on-trend aesthetic of natural pebble tile with a more even surface.

Paragon Hex: Perfect for unique walls, these tiles blend precision cutting and surface sculpting to create rhomboids with a tapering angled relief.

Dunes: Composed of elegantly drawn out subway tiles sculpted with an offset angled surface, these tiles create a modern, tapered trapezoid relief across the wall surface.

Rustic II: Narrow tiles with a honed surface can be combined in various horizontal and vertical stacking arrangements for unique, stunning patterns.

Among the glass mosaics and tile that dazzle outdoors:

Spindrift: The look of classic pebble tile, but with the brightness and additional color options provided by glass.

Waveline: Subtle angles create a wave pattern that evokes the rhythm of ocean swells.

Palms: This bold, large-format chevron glass tile combines fluid wedge shapes to evoke the look of a tropical palm frond.

Ripple: Combining effortless beauty and precise uniformity, these tapered, curved strips emulate an approaching ocean swell.

Glass Essentials: Go-to, every-day use shapes in stunning colors that blend effortlessly with designer offerings for timeless-yet-modern mosaics.

Glass Essentials, Midnight Gloss

“Not only are the designs fresh and new, and leading the way in dimensional looks, the quality is also superior,” said Eaton. “We have fine-tuned production processes through to installation techniques to provide a product that is reliable and efficient to use while offering a wide range of designs.”

Antolini Introduces Dedalus

Introducing Antolini’s marble, Dedalus, from their Exclusive Collection. Antolini has been a leader in stone processing, capturing the divine and captivating designs from Mother Nature for over 6 decades.

Dedalus conveys depth and imagery in immeasurable ways that challenge the human focal point. Through the turbulent ivory shades and unpredictable dark veining that only Antolini can perfect, we can find a certain serenity. The interlaced tones that melt together throughout the surface is poetically tumultuous. Be enthralled and study the meticulous fury brought on by this stone.

The impact of this marble is the presence of riotous elegance with harmonious tones. Allow the inclusive warm and sultry hues wash over any setting and sink into the undoubtable charm of Dedalus. The duality can suit a variety of unique platforms to ensure tranquility and peace of mind. The uncontrollable nature of design is melodious as it is chaotic. Reimagine and construct a new kinetic living space with Antolini.

Virginia Tile Company announces new Director – Products & Suppliers

Sean Cilona

January 7, 2019 – Virginia Tile announced the addition of Sean Cilona as Director – Products & Suppliers. Sean has fifteen years of experience in the tile industry and has held positions at Laufen & U.S. Ceramic Tile Company, ROCA USA, Florida Tile and most recently at Anatolia Tile.  Jack Mulder, current Director – Products & Suppliers, will retire during 2020 after a 6-12 month transition period. Bruce Zwicker, Board Director of Virginia Tile Company, said, “We are very excited that someone with Sean’s tile industry and product experience has joined Virginia Tile as the company manages its product portfolio for the future while maintaining our relationships with suppliers.”

Jack Mulder said, “the Company will benefit from a new set of eyes on our strategic initiatives and goals moving into 2020. Meanwhile, Sean will continue in our VTC tradition of highly valuing our relationships with customers and suppliers.”   Sean Cilona, incoming Director – Products & Suppliers, said, “I am honored to join the Virginia Tile family. I look forward to working with Jack and the team to build on that history and position ourselves for tremendous growth in the future.” 

Natural Stone Institute Completes 25th Home with Gary Sinise Foundation

Oberlin, OH, December 17, 2019—The Natural Stone Institute has provided natural stone and fabrication services for two homes with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). The R.I.S.E. program builds specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders. To date, Natural Stone Institute members have been involved in twenty-five completed homes.

Natural stone and fabrication services for US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Jesse Cottle and his family in Idaho were provided by Arizona Tile, Daltile, Salado, and Valley View Granite.

Cottle Family
Cottle Family

Jesse Cottle joined the US Marine Corps in 2003. On July 19, 2009, during his fourth deployment, Jesse and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were on foot patrol clearing improvised explosive devises in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. An IED detonated under Jesse, blasting him into the air. After being sent to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Jesse underwent seven surgeries on both legs. He was then sent to Naval Medical Center San Diego for outpatient care, where he met Kelly, the woman who would soon be his wife. The couple has two young daughters: Grace and Isla. 

Natural stone and fabrication services for US Army Sergeant Stefan LeRoy and his family in Florida were provided by Real Stone & Granite Corporation. 

Stefan LeRoy enlisted in the Army in 2010. On June 7, 2012, while deployed in Afghanistan, two IEDs detonated and Stefan rushed to aid those injured by the blasts. While carrying an injured soldier to a Medevac helicopter, Stefan was struck by a third explosion. He lost both of his legs immediately. Stefan was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent over a month in the hospital. He spent two years learning to adapt to his prosthetics, drawing strength from his friends and other amputees at the hospital. Sixteen months after his last surgery in September 2014, he ran the Boston Marathon. 

LeRoy Family
LeRoy Family

59 Natural Stone Institute members have donated their time, products, and services to this cause since 2016. A list of all donors can be found at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/RISE. Stone companies interested in getting involved with future projects are encouraged to contact Pam Hammond at [email protected].

2020 Industry Calendar

JANUARY 2020

16-17  IDS Contract/Interior Design Show – Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building
www.interiordesignshow.com

21-23  2020 Commercial Construction and Renovation Summit – Lexington Hotel, Jacksonville, Fla.
 www.ccr-summit.com

21-23  NAHB International Builders’ Show® – Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), Las Vegas, Nev.
www.buildersshow.com

21-23  KBIS: Kitchen/Bath Industry Show – Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Las Vegas, Nev.
www.kbis.com

27-30  The International Surface Event/Surfaces/StoneExpo|Marmomacc/Tile ExpoMandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
www.intlsurfaceevent.com

FEBRUARY 2020

3-7  Cevisama – Feria Valencia, Valencia, Spain 
cevisama.feriavalencia.com/

3-7  World of Concrete® 2020 – Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldofconcrete.com

11-14  Vitoria Stone Fair, Carapina Events Center,
Espirito Santo, Brazil 
www.vitoriastonefair.com.br

MARCH 2020

10-13  Expo Revestir – Transamerica Expo Center,  Sao Paulo, Brazil www.exporevestir.com

12-13 CEFGA Worlds of Construction/Skills USA State Championships/Career Expo 2020 – Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.  www.careerexpo.com

16-19 The 20th China Xiamen International Stone Fair -Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Place, Xiamen Island, China. www.stonefair.org.cn

APRIL 2020

20-23 COVERINGS ’20 The Global Tile & Stone Experience – Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La. 
www.coverings.com 

MAY 2020

12-17  2020 American Mosaic Summit – Loews Ventana Resort, Tucson, Ariz. www.americanmosaics.org

14-16  AIA Conference on Architecture 2020 – Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, Calif.   
convention.aia.org

JUNE 2020

8-10  NEOCON –  The Merchandise Mart,  Chicago, lll. 
www.neocon.com

JULY 2020

13-19  Clay Festival 2020 “Building Bridges with Clay” – Silver City, N.M. www.clayfestival.com

30-31 Southeast Building Conference – Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, Fla. 
www.sebcshow.com

SEPTEMBER 2020 

28-October 2  CERSAIE International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings – Bologna Exhibition Center, Bologna, Italy www.cersaie.it/en

30-October 2 CONSTRUCT! AEC Education & Expo – Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Grapevine, Tex. 
www.constructshow.com

30-October 3  Marmomacc Verona – Veronafiere Fairground, Verona, Italy www.marmomacc.com/en

OCTOBER 2020

13-15  2020 Remodeling Show and DeckExpo –Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.  
www.remodelingdeck.com

24-27 Total Solutions Plus, joint conference of NTCA, CTDA, TCAA and TCNA – Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, Indian Wells, Calif.
www.tile-assn.com

MAPEI makes a splash

The Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark – Monticello, NY, U.S.A.

MAPEI’s tile and stone installation and waterproofing products are used throughout the indoor waterpark and adjoining hotel at one of the Catskills’ newest resorts – thanks to intuition and persistence.


In an area known for resorts, New York’s Catskill Mountains, the Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark is unique. In fact, the Kartrite is unique in the world of resorts in general. Not only is it the largest indoor waterpark in the state of New York, it is one of the largest in the world. According to the resort’s website, the waterpark is comprised of 80,000 square feet, featuring 11 water attractions – which run 318,000 gallons of water through them. And, even in the dead of winter it is always a balmy 84º F inside thanks to the structure’s transparent Texlon roof, which ensures that sunlight is filtered in and that the comfortable heat stays in as well.

The fun at this state-of-the-art waterpark is included for guests of the Kartrite Resort, the luxury hotel/spa that is attached to the indoor waterpark. The all-suites hotel features 324 rooms with all of the expected high-tech conveniences. The hotel also features a spa, restaurants, and shopping and fitness activities designed to fill a weekend or an entire vacation with adventure. And, the resort and the waterpark both feature MAPEI products. But, the story behind how MAPEI came to be included on the specification is as wild as any tale from an adventure novel – and highlights the importance of perseverance and trusting your instincts.

MAPEI on the job

As MAPEI sales representative Darin Shocker related, prior to coming to MAPEI, he used to install tile. He said, “One day I received a call about a large job asking if I was interested in installing some tile on a 100,000 sq. ft. project. I explained that I wasn’t installing anymore. And that was that. But the project still was on my mind. I thought that I should go and see if maybe it could be an opportunity for MAPEI. When I arrived at the jobsite trailer, it turned out that MAPEI wasn’t even on the specification. Since I was new to the company, I contacted my supervisor, Matt Hess, Sales Director – Northeast Area. We were able to get equal representation on the spec. From that point, BK Tile, the project’s installing contractor, began using MAPEI products on the project.”

He continued, “They began by using MAPEI products in the hotel bathrooms and foyers. At this point, BK primarily used another manufacturer’s products in their installations. But, when they began to use our products on this job, we began to gain their trust. They proceeded to use MAPEI products in all areas of the hotel until eventually this job was 100% MAPEI systems throughout both the hotel and the waterpark.”


What were those “or equal” products that Shocker’s persistence got included on the spec?

The specification called for large quantities of products to be used between the hotel and the waterpark: 430,000 sq. ft. of waterproofing to be installed in the interior floors and shower walls of the hotel and the waterpark (Novoplan 2 and ECO Prim Grip self-leveling as needed, Mapesil T and Mapelastic Aquadefense), as well as 100,000 sq. ft. of ceramic/porcelain/quarry installation products (Ultracolor Plus FA Grout, Mapelastic Aquadefense, Ultraflex 2, Ultralite, Ultraflex LFT, Kerapoxy CQ, ECO Prim Grip to prime for Novoplan 2 Plus). “The hotel has 324 suites with restrooms and kitchens all using MAPEI systems. It also has a large lobby and other foyer areas,” Shocker said.

Located in a rural area of Sullivan County, New York, the large-scale commercial construction project required a 15-man crew and a year’s work to complete.

Shocker explained that whether working on the hotel or the waterpark, to complete this massive project, the BK Tile & Stone, Inc. crew, “trowel-applied the thin-set materials and used rollers and/or spray equipment to apply the waterproofing depending upon the application.”

The project ran from July 2018 to January 2019, with the resort and waterpark officially opening on May 10, 2019. “This project uses a complete MAPEI system,” Shocker said. “It is also a great example of providing customer service and product deliveries to a remote location. Both the contractor and the owners are happy with the MAPEI experience – people and products.” 

But perhaps the main lesson of this project is to trust your instincts and to visit those jobsite trailers. Shocker concurred, “Boy, am I glad I took the ride to check up on the jobsite that day!” 

Tile and bath safety

With all the beautiful tile available today, it is sometimes difficult to make the perfect choice. However, when considering your selection of a floor tile in a stall shower, many decisions need to be made to ensure a safe environment.

Many times, the tile selection process for a shower floor is focused on the aesthetics of the installation being a beautiful blend of products that will further enhance the overall project. But the primary goal here is to obtain tile that will yield a safe surface on which to stand while using the shower. 

The TCNA Handbook does offer some helpful information that can guide the selection of the appropriate floor tile. Under the header, “Coefficient of Friction and the DCOF AcuTest®”, it states the following: The DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction) measures the dynamic friction, which is the frictional resistance one pushes against when already in motion. Under this test, a slip occurs when pushing off with more force than the surface can resist. Tile which is tested to this protocol yields a minimum wet DCOF AcuTest value of 0.42 for ceramic tiles for level interior spaces expected to be walked upon when wet. 

A clean crisp look featuring a single slope shower floor leading to a linear drain along the base of the shower seat. Image courtesy of Daltile.

While this test does not identically mimic the process of standing in the shower (not walking) and is not level due to the slope to the drain, it does provide some guidance as to which tile may function better in wet conditions.

The Handbook further makes this statement: “According to the standard, tiles with a wet DCOF AcuTest value of less than 0.42 are only suitable for floor areas that will be kept dry. Polished tiles generally fall into this category.” Caution should be exercised when considering high-fashion polished tiles that are pleasing to the eye, but offer little resistance to slipping, especially when combined with soap, shampoo, and water. 

For years the popular and functional selection of shower floor tiles resided with a 1” x 1” or
2” x 2” mosaic tile as shown in the attached photo. This small facial surface area tile provides a significant number of grout joints that can aid in providing a surface that offers good traction. 

However, today’s consumers are demanding the use of larger tiles that offer a sleek look that slope to a linear drain located either in the center of the floor or at the intersection of the wall. These large-format tiles look great on the shower floor and offer a look not available in the past. Imagine combining a realistic woodgrain plank floor with a gorgeous marble wall that both offer the benefits of a porcelain tile.  

After the tile has been selected and properly installed, the appropriate maintenance regimen must be instituted. Normally, a pH-neutral cleaner will work well for routine cleaning. However, if a residue of soap scum, body oil, shampoo, and/or cream rinse accumulate on the floor surface, the use of a high-alkaline cleaner may be needed remove the build-up. As always, carefully follow the directions on the container to ensure thorough cleaning and a trouble-free tile installation that will stand the test of time.

Midwest Mosaic: from possibilities to an American dream

A selfie with Malcom Campbell’s favorite tools: Sigma, Black Beauty and Suspenders.

Malcom Campbell said when opening his company, Midwest Mosaic, Inc., it represented possibilities. Now, 15 years later, the Toledo, Ohio-based company is still going strong with loyal clients, a customer-focused strategic business model, and a plan for the future.

Campbell began his tiling career in 1987 as a helper at a local commercial tiling firm. In 1999, he bought into a local tile firm, but became frustrated with the company after it went through years of jurisdictional disputes. Campbell then decided to start his own company. “[Midwest] Mosaic represented what could be possible if I just took what I knew and all the contacts I had and just did it my way.”

“Take Your Kid to Work Day” – Summer ‘18.

Midwest Mosaic, Inc. now has a long list of loyal clients. One of the reasons its clients are attracted to the company is that its installers are part of the selling package. “People hire us because they know what and who they are getting,” Campbell said. He makes sure the residential projects are assigned to the right installer for the job, while commercial clients know that Campbell will be their project lead.

Midwest Mosaic offers both residential and commercial installations and has two different teams that serve the different customer types. Campbell said the teams almost operate as separate divisions in the company, with the residential and commercial teams rarely crossing over. Installers on the commercial team may have the opportunity to work on residential projects if they the adopt certain habits crucial to working in occupied homes, such as cleaning up after themselves, protecting the homeowner’s belongings, and not smoking on property.

Testing the custom tile rack for Lourdes Cloister Walk in Campbell’s Toledo, Ohio backyard.

According to Campbell, operating the teams separately was a strategic decision that benefits the way the two customer types operate. “In commercial, time is of the essence,” he said. “In high-price residential, care is of the essence. The least caring thing you can tell a client while they suffer through disruption in their home is to tell them you are leaving because Kroger called and it’s your turn at the next store two states away.”

Midwest Mosaic has been a member of NTCA for the last 10 years, and became a NTCA Five-Star Contractor earlier this year. Campbell said the membership is worth more than its cost. He cited benefits such as regional training, webinars, professional services, and a pathway to Certified Tile Installer (CTI) certification as a few of the highlights of being an NTCA member. “If you are selling skilled tile installation and not a member at the NTCA, you are leaving money on the table,” he said.

Progress photo of Lourdes University Cloister Walk in Sylvania, Ohio

Campbell is hoping to use his recent NTCA Five-Star Contractor distinction to target more premium work. He said before becoming one, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the distinction, but now it is presenting interesting opportunities. He feels the NTCA Five-Star “grapevine” also provides good fellowship, and noted the targeted e-newsletter the group receives from Amber Fox as an additional benefit of being an NTCA Five-Star Contractor.

Campbell himself is a CTI and encourages his team to also become certified, crediting the test with providing necessary preparation for everyday occurrences in the field. He contends that it not only teaches you to work within ANSI standards, it forces you to perform at a high level even with time constraints. “The written test forces you to get educated about how to avoid a whole host of common failures,” he said. “By the time you finish that, you should have a new understanding about bonding, mixing cement, grouting, backer board, duty rating, ANSI, TCNA, the Robinson test and more. And the practical test you must finish. This presents a psychic challenge for all us. Anybody working at a high level will only do high-level work but [within] the time-management constraint.”

Getting dirty with the crew at a Burger King in Flint, Mich.

Campbell’s drive and hard work are factors of his company’s success, but he was quick to also note his estimator, Adrian Grec, as another factor. Campbell said Grec began working for him in 2013. After working with Grec, an engineering graduate, for a while, Campbell decided to train him in estimating. Campbell said Grec has become a champion of their commercial estimating. “He has taken it over and he does a really good job at it,” he explained

Campbell’s greatest joy about being a tile contractor is that it allowed him the freedom to spend time with his children. He has pictures and memories of them coming to work with him. Because of this, he feels is he is “living the American dream.”

Seven stars at the 2019 NTCA Awards during Coverings: two Rock Stars and one NTCA Five-Star.

MARSHALLTOWN Acquires Bullet Tools, Strengthening Flooring and Tiling Line

MARSHALLTOWN, IA (September 23, 2019): MARSHALLTOWN, an industry-leading manufacturer of construction tools and equipment, today announced it has acquired Bullet Tools, a company specializing in state-of-the-art flooring shears and other tools. The purchase further solidifies MARSHALLTOWN’s position as a leader in the flooring and tiling trades with the additional benefit of offering quality products to the siding and insulation industries.

The acquisition fits into MARSHALLTOWN’s strategy of providing professionals with the best, most innovative products. By purchasing Bullet Tools, MARSHALLTOWN expands its product offerings and reinforces its already strong position in the industry.

“Our purchase of Bullet Tools complements everything we’ve built here at MARSHALLTOWN,” said Joe Carter, President and CEO. “Their brand recognition, customer loyalty, innovation, and above all, quality products, made them a natural fit. We plan to grow that reputation and provide our dealers, distributors, and customers with an even stronger line of flooring and tiling products.”

MARSHALLTOWN plans to keep the Bullet Tools name and brand but add its products to the company’s catalog. The company will continue to maintain Bullet Tools’ quality and innovative spirit.

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