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By Alena Capra, CKD, CBD
This year, Coverings makes its return to Orlando…and April is the perfect time of year to be visiting the Sunshine State.
This Coverings, I’m excited to see all that’s in store – I’m looking forward to checking out the exhibitors’ newest products, and sharing the tile trends with my fellow design and tile industry friends. Where else can you tour miles of tile on a show floor but Coverings?! I’ve packed my comfortable shoes, and I’m excited to take on the show floor.
In addition to all of the beautiful tile and products to see, this year there are a few more fun things in store to explore while you’re at the Orange County Convention Center. The Installation and Design Showcase is back, but with a fun new twist! This year, it will be the “Tiny House Edition.” Keeping in line with the tiny house trend, this year, three top designers, and three NTCA Five Star Contractors will partner to design and build these tiny houses live at the show! Each will have a different theme, with unique and beautiful tile, donated from several different manufacturers.
Among the notable things to discover while at the show is the NASCAR experience, also new this year! See what it’s like to drive on a NASCAR track with this simulator. There’s also an opportunity to win some pretty exciting prizes!
In between all the fun events, live demonstrations, and products to see, don’t forget to sign up for some of the free CEU sessions; there are many great topics on deck this year.
Looking forward to seeing you all again this year, for another exciting Coverings show!
Keeping up with standards
We are fortunate to be part of a dynamic and innovative industry, where change is normal with new products, methods and trends in design and installation. Here at David Allen Company, we have just completed several projects with 40 to 60 different tile types and numerous different color combinations. I don’t know of another finish trade that is so diverse and complex: gauged porcelain tile/panels in sizes up to 5’ x 10’ have been around long enough that most of us have some experience working with them. There has been a resurgence of handmade and extruded tiles with concave, convex and three-dimensional faces, just to name a few.
If you were at TISE West in January, you had the opportunity to see many new tile designs. While these tiles create beautiful projects and sometimes works of art when they are complete, they demand the highest levels of installation skills and management ability. Continuous training to keep crews updated on the specific installation requirements of 60 different products on a single project is challenging. It’s times like this that a good working knowledge of industry standards and recommendations is essential. On more than one occasion recently after installing handmade tiles, the project architect rejected portions of our installation quoting the TCNA Handbook tolerances. Knowing that the TCNA Handbook standards only apply to tiles manufactured and tested to comply with ANSI A137.1 was the key to helping educate the architect that not all tiles can be judged by the same standard and installation tolerances. Following are excerpts from the TCNA Handbook that specify where standards can be applied.
Ceramic Tile Types
“Ceramic tile suitable for TCNA Handbook installation methods are those that meet the specifications outlined in ANSI A137.1 American National Standard Specifications for Ceramic Tile. ANSI A137.1 contains performance and aesthetic criteria for the five major types of ceramic tiles: porcelain, pressed floor, mosaic, quarry and glazed wall tiles.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.2
“Specialty tiles are designed to meet special physical requirements or to have special appearances characteristics. They are not required to meet all requirements of ANSI A137.1. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications. They are sometimes manufactured to create an architectural effect toward the casual [sic].These tiles vary in size, one tile from the other. Variations in plane may be expected. Larger tiles will usually require greater variation in joint width. For each specialty tile being chosen, review installation guidelines supplied by manufacturer/distributor of specialty tiles and/or adhesive manufacturer. Specialty tiles include, but are not limited to, tiles made from nonceramic materials.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.5
Keeping up with industry standards can keep you from replacing acceptable workmanship unnecessarily. If you are unsure if the tile you have been contracted to install meets ANSI A137.1 contact the manufacturer and request a Master Grade Certificate. If they can’t provide one or state that their product is not manufactured to meet this standard, you have the answer needed. This will allow you to educate your client and establish reasonable expectations for the installation.
Education is key to working more professionally and profitably. Keep on tiling!
Martin Howard, President NTCA
Committee Member, ANSI A108
Here we are, in the midst of a long-anticipated spring. Weather is warming, blades of grass are poking out of barren ground and COLOR is everywhere.
That’s fitting since in this issue, we are having a veritable spring explosion of color – and style. Take a look at Shelley Halbert’s story for a bloom of fresh new colors that will be influential, inspiring and blossoming forth from everything from fashion to home decor. And in fact, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is GREENERY – a life-affirming color of hope, and fresh new starts.
There’s a burst of new color and design from around the globe as well – see the stories from Tile of Spain, Ceramics of Italy and Turkish Ceramics to sample the international menu of important trends that will inform our industry. And just how are tiles incorporated into residential and commercial design? Explore the A&D Q&A to see how interior designers Lisa Mende and Patricia Gaylor create magical settings through the use of tile.
Kent Klaser speaks with us about budding stone trends and directions, and suppliers of stone and tile share with us what’s selling in their necks of the woods and identify up-and-coming trends.
Peruse our product section for an overview of color, aesthetics and formats in tile and stone this year. We also include a setting materials section because a sound foundation, complemented by the proper accessories, treatments and tools, helps ensure the beautiful finishing materials look and perform splendidly for decades.
And I would be remiss to not mention a big event for NTCA – this year marks this association’s 70th Anniversary. A festive celebration is planned Thursday night, April 6, at Coverings to commemorate NTCA’s perennial influence in supporting the trade, advancing the use of tile, and partnering with other sectors of our industry in creative ways to raise tile’s visibility as a beautiful and enduring surfacing material – and to ensure that installations perform beautifully for years to come.
There is so much beauty, drama and style coming into flower this year in tile and stone – and TRENDS is just the beginning. Enjoy the issue and see these trends come to life on the Coverings show floor in Orlando April 4-7, 2017.
“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.”
– Alice Waters
I just returned home from Surfaces a.k.a The International Surface Event (TISE) West in Las Vegas. You’ll read more about the show in our March issue, since in the wonderful world of magazine publishing, the February issue is already designed and ready to be produced except for this letter. But here’s a little taste of what took place at the show.
What I noticed is a LOT of people – crowds seemed fuller from day one through the end this year. People were excited – about the products, about the conferences, about what they could find to enhance their businesses and take them to a higher level. For instance, there were standing-room-only crowds at presentations by NTCA presenters Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick conducted at the installation stage.
This crush of people was echoed at the NTCA booth, where State Ambassadors, members and curious showgoers clustered to talk about tile, education, business and membership, and where member volunteers like Chris Dalene of Five Star Contractor Dalene Flooring, and staffers like Amber Fox, newly hired Five Star Contractor Program Director, signed up seven new members.
Also percolating at the show was Certified Tile Installer testing, with nine installers taking a timed test to lay tile on the CTI modules.
The effort was supported by several of the new Regional Evaluators, which will allow more frequent CTI tests to take place with smaller class sizes across the country. Twelve new Regional Evaluators are on the job, led by Kevin Insalato of California Flooring. In the testing area were also workshops and testing conducted by other industry sectors like carpet and vinyl.
For NTCA, the whole show kicked off with an executive committee meeting, followed by a well-attended Training & Education Committee gathering, led by Training & Education Committee chair Dave Rogers of Welch Tile and Marble.
That first evening, NTCA held a reception and dinner in appreciation of its members and State Ambassadors with an address by NTCA president Martin Howard, presentation by Eric Astrachan of TCNA and a video on the history of NTCA and its accomplishments in the last 15 years.
Wish you had been there? Stay tuned to our March issue for more details on the show. For now, enjoy all the information in this issue, from the Bostik’s cover story on the stunning mosaic installation in a Utah lodge to LATICRETE’s Sean Boyle’s economic update, to an exploration of the confounding problem of discoloration of natural stone used in shower installations, to the list of installation track seminars at the Coverings show, coming to Orlando in April. We also have a bonus story on measuring wet film thickness from MAPEI, and voices from the field in our new Hot Topics section, focused this month on grout.
The new year is building momentum. Let’s make it a good one!
Be well, and God bless,
To many, Snowbird, Utah is known as a multi-facility resort community. 150 years ago, it was known for its adjacent silver mines, but the shining draw today is top-shelf winter powder skiing and snowboarding.
One major magnet, The Cliff Lodge and Spa, not only enjoys an outstanding Snowbird location near loads of Utah’s finest ski resorts, golf clubs, and other attractions, it also boasts some of the most unique and progressive architectural and design treatments one could imagine. Featuring wall-to-wall windows with awe-inspiring mountain or canyon views, Cliff Lodge vistas are modern, spacious, and sumptuously well equipped. Cliff Lodge owners wanted some new indoor visuals, which resulted in two very large mosaic murals installed, designed by Edge ID.
Kari Bennett is principal/interior designer at Edge ID, a full-service hospitality design company, located in Salt Lake City. Bennett prides her firm on “researching, planning, designing, involving and orchestrating all projects to the last detail.” Such was the case for this highly innovative mosaic mural installation at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.
Creating an aspen tree “wow factor” for the interior
“We wanted in some way to bring the outdoors indoors,” declared Bennett. “There are so many beautiful vistas surrounding The Cliff Lodge. In particular, there are exquisite aspen trees indigenous to this part of the country, which look good year-round. So we made the collective decision to create an amazing aspen tree ‘wow factor’ motif on two large walls, one being in the ballroom lobby, and the other in the ballroom mezzanine. These were to be very large murals, each thirty feet wide by four feet high… 120 sq. ft.… each consisting of over 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces.
“We knew a bit about Artaic, and how the firm offered a unique, space-age service of creating mosaic murals using computer-driven robots,” she added. “Artaic provided us with its mosaic depiction of an aspen tree motif. We immediately liked it, but wanted to change the color of the trees from black-grey to more of a sepia tone, which was more relevant to the Snowbird landscape’s colors. Artaic had no trouble whatsoever accommodating our request. The people there were without question, very professional and a joy to work with.”
Inventor and scientist, Artaic’s Dr. Ted Acworth, added, “When Artaic was asked to design a beautiful custom mosaic for the Cliff Lodge renovation, we learned the designer was looking for a custom mosaic that really reflected the beautiful natural environment of the Utah landscape. We were provided with a photograph of a stand of aspen trees… loaded that image into our proprietary design software, and subsequently designed a beautiful custom mural out of glass tile from that image. This was not hard to do, especially when working with clients who knew what they wanted and understood our process.”
NTCA member Katwyk Tile handles the installation
Bennett went on to say that the tile installation contractor, NTCA member Rod Katwyk, owner of Katwyk Tile, was quite stoked about using Bostik materials for this massive mural project. “We believe we were hired because of the ‘touch and finesse’ we offer,” he said. “The people at Artaic highly recommended, Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Grout, which we had used previously and were confident would be ideal for this project. To begin with, we used exterior grade plywood, perfectly fitting it on the walls. Once it was glued and screwed in, we used Bostik’s GoldPlus™ crack isolation product, (ready-to-use, roller-applied latex waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane for use beneath thinset ceramic tile installations) which also served as a good primer and bonding agent to the plywood. After applying two coats, we started installing the Artaic mosaic sheets from the center of each mural. To do so, the thinset we chose was Bostik’s Glass-Mate™, using it one bag at a time. We were very happy how the material ‘stayed active’ in the bucket, which gave us time to adjust each sheet if need be. By far, this is my favorite glass tile thinset!”
Bostik Glass-Mate is a premium, polymer-modified, thin-set mortar that exhibits superior bond strength, durability, non-sag properties and workability. Its bright white color and high polymer content make it ideal for installations such as that at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.
Katwyk added that grouting was accomplished with Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout, which his company knew well. “We reached out to Bostik for advice, and Bostik came through,” he said. “All their products are easy to use, their customer service is great!”
Bostik grout offers “another light source” to the project
Acworth added, “Our relationship with Bostik began when we started using Dimension RapidCure Grout – their unique formulation that contains 60% recycled glass content – in our productions. The product is easy to apply, highly durable and most of all, actually adds more luminosity to mosaic productions. For example, if a project contains glass mosaics, imagine another light source being incorporated: that’s what Dimension RapidCure offers.”
Designer Bennett remarked, “We believe great design should be simple, so our process is one of honesty and communication throughout. Not only do we think it’s the right way to do business, but it does wonders for keeping efficiency up and costs down. Working with great suppliers such as Bostik, Artaic and Katwyk Tile, we were able to once again implement our philosophy for the mosaic murals at The Cliff Lodge.”
Scott Banda, Bostik’s director of Marketing and Business Development, summed it all up. “Along with our strategic partner, Artaic, Bostik is on a mission to resurrect the ancient art of mosaic design,” he said. “We’re bringing it back worldwide. The two murals at The Cliff Lodge and Spa are perfect examples of how mosaic masterpieces can once again be specified by the architectural and design community. We are proud and pleased to be an active participant in this ongoing, successful global quest.”
A video has been produced of this world-class project by Bostik. You may view it by clicking on
Avoiding ambiguity should be a primary goal when drafting and negotiating construction contracts. This helps ensure that you get what you want, including the bargained-for benefits of the contract, smooth contract administration and fulfillment, and avoidance of lengthy and expensive legal disputes. Follow these five tips to minimize ambiguities:
1. Keep it simple.
Keep your writing simple, clear and concise. Construction contracts are read and interpreted by a wide variety of people, including judges with no knowledge of the construction industry. Using plain English and shorter sentences while avoiding legalese and redundancy will make your contracts easier to read and understand.
2. If it’s part of the agreement, include it in the contract.
If a contract appears complete and comprehensive on its face, courts will prohibit the use of other documents to give meaning to the parties’ intentions. Statements made during pre-bid meetings or negotiations will not be effective in contradicting express terms in the contract. Include all terms of the deal in the contract, or incorporate key documents by reference.
3. Define key terms.
Courts give ordinary terms their ordinary meanings and technical terms their technical meanings. But the meanings of words cannot be divorced from the context in which they are interpreted, and parties often disagree on what terms mean in certain contexts. To avoid disputes, capitalize and define terms to attribute specific meaning. Then use the capitalized term as needed throughout the contract.
4. Include an order-of-precedence clause.
Because numerous documents make up construction contracts, conflicts may arise between requirements contained within the documents, such as the drawings and specifications. One way to address these conflicts is to include a clause providing that in the event of a conflict, the specifications take precedence over the drawings, or that contract documents take precedence according to a prescribed order of hierarchy. You may also wish to include a provision stating that what is required of any contract document shall be binding as if required by all.
5. Make proper use of standard forms.
Standard-form agreements such as AIA and ConsensusDocs are commonly used throughout the construction industry. However…there are risks with using such forms because they are written broadly, they may contain terms that are inapplicable to the transaction at issue, and parties often use such forms without fully reviewing them. Even if both parties orally agree to terms that differ from what is written, oral understandings will yield to written agreements, so it is important to read all the terms before using standard-form agreements. Add terms you think should be included in the contract and delete terms that are inapplicable.
Yasir Billoo is an experienced attorney in the areas of business/commercial contracts and litigation, real estate transactions (and title services) and litigation, intellectual property litigation, employment and labor, and civil appeals. Yasir’s experience ranges from representing large Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation and appeals in state and federal court, to helping small business owners with simple agreements and legal consulting.
Yasir earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and was admitted to both the Florida Bar and the California Bar in 2004. He is admitted to practice in all courts in each of these states.
Yasir earned dual Bachelors Degrees in International Relations and Communications from Florida International University. While earning his Juris Doctor, he was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court team and on the Board of the Journal of International and Comparative Law. A native of Karachi, Pakistan, Yasir, speaks English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and Memoni.
Prior to practicing law, Yasir managed the finances of a group of Central American companies, handling complex international financial transactions.
Yasir currently serves as a Hearing Officer for Miami-Dade County’s Commission on Human Rights, where he presides over appeals of initial determinations in cases where discrimination is alleged.
Yasir is a member of the prestigious invitation-only International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). IADC has been serving a distinguished membership of corporate and insurance defense attorneys and insurance executives since 1920. The IADC membership is comprised of the world’s leading corporate and insurance lawyers and insurance executives. They are partners in large and small law firms, senior counsel in corporate law departments, and corporate and insurance executives. Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including the majority of companies listed in the FORTUNE 500. Reach him at intlawpartners.com
I’m a homeowner in Berkeley, Calif. On my recently completed bath renovation, we’ve found that the shower curb collects water and it takes a long time to dry even with ventilation. I’m trying to determine if this condition meets industry standards or if it would legitimately be considered a defect. Someone online recommended NTCA may be able to provide help.
Thank you for contacting The National Tile Contractors Association. The TCNA Handbook’s wet area guidelines state that horizontal surfaces must be sloped to direct water to the drain. The slope recommended is no less than 1/4” per foot.
I couldn’t tell a whole lot from the picture you sent, but it appears there is metal endstop trimming out your curb. If that endstop edge is above the edge of the tile, it can sometimes act as a dam on curbs that are sloped. Many shower systems incorporate surface waterproofing that lays right under the tile and can be easily damaged by removing tile. I would suggest tiling over the existing curb tile using a chair rail or some type of specialty trim to maintain the integrity of the waterproofing below the surface. Guidelines for tiling over the existing tile are found in the renovation section of the TCNA Handbook in section TR711. Scarification or primers are sometimes needed. And always make sure to use the correct adhesive for tiling over tile in a wet area.
– Robb Roderick, NTCA trainer/presenter
QUESTION, part 2
You are right – there is a stainless steel edge on the curb; it seems to be proud and acting as a dam.
Regarding the tile-over repair – a question. The manufacturer says the 24” x 24” tile we are using is slightly bowed for water runoff. I suspect the current ponding is related to this. Can this type of tile be cut for successful use on a curb like this, and if so are there standards for how to do this correctly so the repair is successful?
ANSWER, part 2
The tile you have selected appears to be pretty typical as far as inherent warpage. A byproduct of the firing process in tile manufacturing is that tiles become bowed or warped. This normally manifests itself with the center of tile being the high point and the edges being the low points. There are ANSI standards for what is and is not allowable for warpage. Considering you purchased the material from a reputable manufacturer, I’m sure it would follow in the acceptable guidelines for warpage, since this company has a great track record of offering quality tile.
As far as doing the repair within standards, the requirements are for the existing installation to be sound, well bonded, and without cracks. All soap scum, wax, or coatings must be removed from the surface prior to installation. You may want to scarify or prime the surface of the tile prior to the installation to increase bond strength. Always select a mortar that is approved for tile-over-tile installations. Incorporate your 1/4” per foot minimum slope in the new assembly. Most curbs are 6” so this would equate to a minimum of 1/8” drop.
– Robb Roderick, NTCA trainer/presenter