First Installers Pass ACT Certification at Coverings

by Bart Bettiga

CTI_cvgs13ACT Certification has been given to the first eight professional installers. 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 passed all four certifications 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 online written test that comprises 25% 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

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

wedi Building Panels

wedipanel-1013wedi Building Panels, manufactured with Extruded Polystyrene Foam (XPS) cores offer internal waterproofing, zero capillary action, ease of use, light weight and cement-based resin surface backerboards. They also are excellent for use with radiant heating systems since the R Value for 1” wedi panels is 4.3, and they offer low conductivity so heat is forced up into the tile, more efficiently warming the floor than with other substrates like wood or concrete slab. Electrical underfloor heating systems are easy to mount on wedi Building Panels, which eliminates loss of downward heat. For warm-water systems, ducts can be cut into panels quickly and easily using a router to receive water tubes. Warmup, a radiant heating manufacturer, has been using 1/4” wedi panels as insulation boards for their systems. In addition to the stated benefits, the panels allow a 78% faster heating time than over concrete alone, reaching 84 degrees Fahrenheit  from a 59 degree concrete slab in 64 minutes with the wedi-made Warmup Insulation Boards; traditional systems took five hours to reach 77 degrees. In practical use, wedi claims rooms will warm to desired temperatures in 10-15 minutes using wedi Building Panels vs. other traditional methods.

Emac introduces Joint Covers

emac-1013Emac introduces Joint Covers that are clipped into expansion joints to bring beauty to walls, facades, ceilings and light-traffic floors. The Emac Joint Cover Solutions come in matte silver anodized aluminum or white, gray and beige pvc. They easily clip in without tools, screws or adhesives and work for a range of joint sizes indoors or outdoors, in commercial or residential settings.

RedGard Waterproofing Fabric Membrane system

CBP-redgard-1013Custom Building Products extends its RedGard® waterproofing brand product line with the introduction of the RedGard Waterproofing Fabric Membrane system, a waterproof membrane for walls and floors. The easy-to-cut, hang and adjust fabric membrane installs over cement backerboards or gypsum wall boards using either modified or non-modified thin-set mortar to create a continuous impervious barrier for walls and shower floors in preparation for tiling. The advantage of being able to use a wider variety of thin-set mortars gives the product greater versatility. RedGard Waterproofing Fabric Membrane is available in 1M (3’ 3”) wide rolls in either 54 sq. ft. or 323 sq. ft. in total coverage, pre-printed with grid lines to simplify cutting. Accessories include RedGard Waterproofing Strip for edges and changes of plane, pre-formed RedGard Inside and Outside Corners, and RedGard Mixer and Pipe Seal. All components are part of the CUSTOM Shower Installation Systems offering that includes sealant, shower bases, curbs, benches and niches and are eligible for up to a lifetime warranty.

Suhner hand grinders/polishers offered by MK Diamond Products

suhner-mkdiamondMK Diamond Products now offers these Suhner hand grinders/polishers for the stone and tile industry.

The two electric grinders polish, shape and grind. The UXJ 2 Right Angle Grinder is a 2 horsepower, 2,300 RPM, weighing 5.4 pounds; the UXF 4-R Right Angle Grinder is a 1-1/4 horsepower, 1,600-3,500 RPM grinder. They use 4” flexible diamond pads with backer pad for polishing materials and have carbon brushes with automatic cut-out to protect the armature, inline GFCI, adjustable water valve, soft-start technology for smooth starts, and a lock-button for fast wheel changes.

The three pneumatic grinders are quiet with low vibration. The LXB-10, a powerful angled grinder with 10,000 RPM, weighs only .9 pounds. The LXC 2, which offers lower RPM, at 2,000, is designed for engineered stone. Both are compact and have a 2” maximum pad diameter for use in small spaces. The LXE 3 grinder has 3,000 RPM, and a 4” pad diameter. This grinder/polisher is perfect for use on stone, marble, limestone and granite.

Imagine Tile – Manhattan Collection

imagine-tile-103Imagine Tile is introducing its first ever New York City-inspired product line. The Manhattan Collection features six striking geometric patterns, ranging from Old World Moroccan to Sixties Mod, which are named after – and reflect the personality of – a distinct neighborhood: SoHo, Chelsea, Gramercy, Flatiron, NoMad, and Nolita. For example, the Gramercy pattern was influenced by the flooring found at Gramercy Park Hotel, known for its geometric flooring and contrasting, colorful decor. The Manhattan Collection was also inspired by the graphic prints traditionally used in cement tile, and renders these trending geometric flooring patterns in tile that is low-maintenance and easier to ship and install. For commercial, hospitality, or residential floor and wall use, the Manhattan Collection is available in 8” x 8” formats as well as customized in any color combination in 12” x 12”, 16” x 16” and 24” x 24“ sizes.

Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Cox Tile, Inc.

custom-sponsorCox Tile, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas
Since: 1981
Specialty: High-end residential installations, large, difficult, and demanding jobs. Mudwork is Cox Tile’s forte.
cox_logoEmployees: 13
Social media: Cox Tile Inc. on Facebook and YouTube

As a college student in 1975, pursuing a major with little opportunity, John Cox soon learned how the economy can change one’s goals and dreams. Who would have known that a part-time job would inspire a career filled with creativity, hard work, and perseverance – and would lead to the opportunity to become a business owner and completely fall in love with a trade? The challenges that go along with owning your own business cannot be ignored, but the satisfaction of creating and completing a superior installation that inspires the mind, soothes the soul, or breaks all barriers of beauty can be exhilarating.

cox_installsThe foundation of John’s business from the outset has always been to provide an undeniably quality product and customer service second to none. Cox Tile focuses on high-end residential installations and its employees never shy away from the impossible. The team approach and Cox Tile culture has trademarked the company as an outstanding resource for a quality execution of the most challenging and difficult installations. No amount of advertising can compete with the praises of a truly satisfied customer. John strives to be fundamentally involved with each project from design to completion, always working with his team to exceed customers’ expectations, every time.

As any business owner can tell you, to stay at the top of your game you must continue to hone your expertise and be knowledgeable regarding all materials and tools related to your field, especially as they progress and evolve. You must strive to retain the very best employees and never settle for anything but excellence. Providing superior customer service that instills confidence in your product and your company is paramount. And lastly, it is imperative to seek all avenues to increase your knowledge, skill and expertise so you can rise to the top of your field. These cornerstones have seen John’s company through good times and bad and allowed him the opportunity to work with very best builders, designers, architects, suppliers and other contractors in the business.

In his pursuit of knowledge, an obvious resource was the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) – an organization devoted completely to the professional tile contractor and the tile industry. As a first-generation tile contractor, he had no support system and only the knowledge gleaned from working for several contracting companies early in his career. Each year, as his company grew, it was evident that joining the NTCA was crucial. It has been instrumental in the growth and success of Cox Tile. To this day, John cites it as the best investment he has ever made in his business.

John has been on the NTCA Board of Directors serving as regional director, 2nd vice president, 1st vice president, president, chairman and currently as advisor to the Board. He has been a member of the NTCA Technical Committee since 2004 and co-authored the NTCA Business Reference Manual. Cox Tile is a three-time Grand Prize Installation Winner in the TileLetter Awards competition, and also received an Award of Merit in this competition. In 2013, Cox Tile received the Residential Stone Installation prize in the Coverings Installation and Design Awards. For four years running, Cox Tile has been an active participant in the Installation Design Showcase at Coverings.

John was the 13th member contractor to receive the NTCA Five Star Contractor designation and holds a Certified Tile Installer skills validation from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. He is committed to educating his tile setters so they are all Certified Tile Installers. John was honored by the NTCA as Tile Person of the Year in 2009.

Cox Tile is committed to excellence in every endeavor, always taking to heart the principle that “fulfilling a request or performing a task is commonplace – crafting an ambiance, stimulating awe – that’s creativity.”

Visit  the company at or give John a call if you are ever in the San Antonio area at 210-340-1122 – he would love to meet you.

DCOF Testing Mandated in 2014

eric_DCOFThe requirements for coefficient of friction – a measurement of a tile’s frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness – for ceramic tile have changed. The measurement is now DYNAMIC coefficient of friction (DCOF), which measures COF when in motion, vs. the old testing standard that measured a static COF. Any individual or firm involved in the manufacture, specification, sales, installation, or maintenance of ceramic tile floors must understand the new requirements for tile.

Many manufacturers continue to report COF numbers from the older method (specifically, SCOF values from the ASTM Intl. C1028 test method) along with newly-required COF numbers prescribed by the new ANSI A137.1-2012 standard for ceramic tile, which mandated this change in test methods.

The new test protocol is found in Section 9.6 of the A137.1 standard and is commonly known as the DCOF AcuTestsm.

Starting early in 2014, the old ASTM C1028 method is headed for obsolescence, so many ceramic tile manufacturers will only report their tile’s COF per the DCOF AcuTest.

In addition to the change in test methods, A137.1 now specifies a required DCOF AcuTest value for level interior tiles that will be walked on when wet; the required value is ≥0.42. Previously, there was no required COF value in A137.1 for wet floors, although a minimum SCOF value of 0.6, measured by the ASTM C1028 test method, was commonly specified for ceramic tiles in commercial project specifications. DCOF AcuTest values cannot be compared to old SCOF values due to the use of different wetting agents. For an accurate measure and assurance that the tile meets the minimum 0.42 AcuTest criterion, tile manufacturers MUST use the DCOF AcuTest method.

The technology on which the DCOF AcuTest is based was not available in the United States until recently. The DCOF AcuTest in particular offers several benefits over other methods of measuring COF: it is highly repeatable, it more accurately measures the COF of very smooth surfaces, it correlates well with European measures of COF, and it is portable.

If you haven’t switched yet to specifying/reporting/using/requiring DCOF Acutest values, make the switch today and don’t get left behind when the January 2014 deadline strikes. For more information, visit:

Tools of the Trade – October 2013


This month we look at systems that safeguard the air quality of the jobsite for you and your crew, and also keep things a little cleaner for your client.


I never believed that “dust containment” was a viable option for the health and safety for myself or my employees. I spent plenty of money on different dry systems, before deciding that any grinding or polishing would be done wet. Even though the dust systems had large CFM capacities and good filtration systems, it always seemed that lots of dust escaped into the work area. We kept dry grinding to an absolute minimum.

I do believe that new innovations are better than the old systems available 10-15 years ago, though. OSHA interest in air quality forced these changes, I believe (since no job can afford to be red tagged). Alpha’s retrofit dust systems seem great, and most manufacturers now seem to have pretty effective dust collection systems. When used in conjunction with a good HEPA-filtered vacuum, I can see my “wet only” philosophy changing if purchasing tools with such better technology.

Michael K. Whistler, NTCA presenter/technical consultant 

We are adamant about keeping our clients’ homes as free of dust as possible. We turn off all HVAC during demo, then cover areas in plastic, including cover vents and intakes. We run vacuums next to grinders, and keep windows open. My favorite piece of equipment is a JET air cleaner meant for wood working shops. It measures 12” x 24” x 30” and uses a disposable per filter and a 1 micron internal filter.

I also find it useful to manage expectations as well. We do our best to contain all the dust, but, we are remodeling. We can’t get it all.

Joe Lenner, Infinite Ceramic & Stone Installations, LLC

While I do not claim to be dust free, I do try to minimize the spreading of dust while working on a project. Since 95% of my work comes from residential remodel, my clients seem to appreciate our OCD cleaning procedures. We follow all Lead RRP requirements for dust containment, regardless of the age of the home. This includes zipper doors, zip walls in large open spaces, and tacky pads as we exit the area of work. I have also been switching as many of my tools over to the vacuum shrouds as possible. I recently purchased a negative-air machine to set up during demo to move as many airborne particles out of the house and through a filtering system as possible. Wet grinding and cutting is hard to do in a residential application. So we try to control the dust as much as possible.

Greg Hiens, Hiens Tile & Stone

There seemed to be many dust vacuums on the market. Initially I thought I’d try an inexpensive attempt by attaching my $100 shop vacuum to my concrete grinder. This provided decent results – for a little over a minute – and after only two minutes the brand new shop vacuum filter was absolutely saturated with concrete dust. There was zero air-flow and consequently plumes of dust pouring from my floor grinders.

I then began to look for a true commercial-grade solution. After a few hours of searching I learned of an award-winning dust vacuum that automatically cleaned its filters every ten seconds while the vacuum was still running. The Pulse-Bac 1250 by CDC Larue automatically reverses the internal airflow for just a fraction of a second, which blasts the filters clean. This machine has paid for itself many, many times over. For instance:

We no longer have to stop production to clean filters.

Due to the high CFM of the vacuum, no dust escapes from the grinders. As a result, we no longer have a need to hang up plastic-sheeting barriers. When the cost of the plastic sheeting and the wages to hang the plastic are combined it is rather costly.

We can now avoid frequently purchasing new filters for the cheap shop vacuums. Filter life has transitioned from hours or days for the cheap ones and is now up to months or years for the Pulse-Bac filters.

I believe the single biggest advantage to having this equipment is the improved air quality for the health of my crews, my customers, and myself.

I believe this new system has helped to set my company apart from my competitors. I have been awarded jobs solely on my company’s ability to control dust at the point of origin. While these machines were no small investment, they do pay for themselves over time. I couldn’t imagine not having our Pulse-Bacs; as far as I’m concerned they are necessary equipment.

Jay Zurn, Precision Surfaces LLC


MK_cubeMK Diamond offers the Ermator A600 Air Scrubber, with a 99.99 at .3 micron HEPA filtration, to constantly recycle the air removing these harmful particles. With a sturdy, lightweight, compact cabinet, the Ermator A600 is quiet, with two airflow speeds of 300 and 600 CFM that only draw 3.2 amps. Three-year warranty.

edco_totEDCO vacuum systems control airborne dust particles and shorten clean-ups while reducing worker’s exposure to dust and debris. These systems work with grinders, scarifiers, scabblers and saws, with optional HEPA filters. Among their many features, EDCO vacuum systems feature state-of-the-art filtration that removes 99% of air-borne dust particles at 0.5 microns.

dewalt_totDeWalt offers the DWV012, a 10-gallon HEPA dust extractor with automatic filter clean, that allows continuous operation without stopping to clean filter. The powerful 15-amp motor delivers 140 CFM of airflow for wet or dry applications, weighs only 33.5 lbs. Packed with a range of features, it also offers variable suction and power tool actuation, which controls on/off operations of the vacuum with a power tool.

casellcel_totCasella Cel introduces the Cel-712 Microdust Pro Monitor, a small, rugged, hand-held instrument that measures concentrations of inhalable powders in real-time for graphical display on its high-contrast color LCD. With a wide detection range (0.001 to 25,000 mg/m3) and full data logging, it can be used independently to measure material processes, to capture release events or to be paired with a cyclone, filter cassette, and sample pump for size-selective or gravimetric monitoring.

cclarue_totCDC Larue offers the Pulse-Bac® 1250, a HEPA vacuum with a filter fractional efficiency rating of 98.0% at .3 micron at a CFM flow rate up to 311. The 1250 model comes standard with Pulse-Bac® technology, cyclonic debris management system, a 20-gallon steel tank, HEPA H-13 filters, and a five-caster steel dolly with non-marking casters. An optional tank capacity sensor and three options for collecting debris are also available. The revolutionary design automatically flushes the filters clear while you work, using only ambient air and vacuum.

waltale_totBeaton Innovations’ states that Waletale is the first tool engineered for the tile setter to address the negative effects of the inhalation of free crystalline silica in the work environment. Waletale clips onto the rim of a five-gallon bucket and connects to a vac to significantly reduce the dust generated by the mixing of mortar and grout powders. Winner of Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New 2010.”

gundlach_totBosch offers the Bosch 3931A-PB Airsweep™ Wet/Dry Vacuum, a 13-gallon wet/dry vacuum cleaner that features enhanced filtration and containment options with four operational modes and an electromagnetic filter cleaning system. The Bosch Hammer Dust collection system reduces airborne dust when chiseling, drilling or during demolition, designed especially for use with Bosch SDS Max® Spline hammers. Bosch also offers a range of dust extraction attachments for work with a range of angle grinders.

bosch_totBeno J. Gundlach features FEIN Turbo Vacuums. All FEIN Turbo Vacuums have extremely powerful two-stage bypass soft-start motors with sealed fans for dust and debris suction, and a second fan to blow cooling air across the motor. They have a 5-micron cloth filter that fits the full circumference of the tank and can be converted to a HEPA vacuum. Three-year warranty.

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