LATICRETE Launches SPECTRALOCKⓇ PRO Premium Translucent Grout for Vibrant Finishes

The high-performance epoxy grout produces a unique opaque color that diffuses light for standout installations

LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has introduced SPECTRALOCKⓇ PRO Premium Translucent Grout, a patented high-performance epoxy grout that offers customers a unique opaque color that diffuses light for a vibrant finish. SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Translucent Grout is designed for residential and commercial use on interior or exterior ceramic tile, glass tile and stone applications, and is ideal for regrouting swimming pools, fountains and other wet areas.

“For nearly 16 years, the LATICRETE line of SPECTRALOCK products have been some of the most preferred epoxy grouts in the world. With the launch of the new SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Translucent Grout, we hope to continue the lines’ legacy of success,” said Ryan Blair, LATICRETE Senior Product Manager – Grouts & Sealants. “Our product development team is always working hard to offer our customers more ways to make their tile and stone installations standout, and the light diffusion technology SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Translucent Grout offers does just that.”

SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Translucent Grout is an enhancement of SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Grout, both offering superior non-sag performance, unmatched stain resistance and color uniformity for an even finish without any blotchiness or shading. Other product features include an 80 minute working time at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), a high UV and chemical resistance, no sealing required and crack resistance properties.

For a high fashion look, SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Translucent Grout can be paired with SPECTRALOCK DAZZLE™, which comes in twelve colors including Gold, Silver, Copper and Mother-of-Pearl, in addition to a Glow-in-the-Dark option.

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LATICRETE is a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry. LATICRETE offers a broad range of products and systems covering tile & stone installation and care, masonry installation and care, resinous and decorative floor finishes, concrete construction chemicals, and concrete restoration and care including the SUPERCAP® System. For over 60 years, LATICRETE has been committed to research and development of innovative installation products, building a reputation for superior quality, performance and customer service. LATICRETE methods, materials, and technology have been field and laboratory proven by Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners. Offering an array of low VOC and sustainable products, LATICRETE® products contribute to LEED certification, exceed commercial/residential VOC building requirements, and are backed by the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. For more information, visit


LATICRETE Launches the Flooring Industry’s First-Ever Three-In-One Adhesive, 125 TRI MAX™

LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has introduced 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, allowing for faster, more effective tile and stone installations. Thanks to its three-in-one versatility and lightweight nature, 125 TRI MAX saves construction professionals money on labor, storage, freight and logistics.

“125 TRI MAX is the solution needed to allow contractors to carry fewer products on the jobsite for a single installation. Now, rather than needing an adhesive, sound control and crack isolation product, contractors only need 125 TRI MAX,” said LATICRETE Senior Product Manager Jay Conrod. “According to our research, using 125 TRI MAX is 33 percent faster than traditional sound, anti-fracture mat or membrane installations, and contractors can save 15 to 20 percent on product costs.”

High-performance benefits of 125 TRI MAX include reinforcement with KevlarⓇ 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 malls, stores, commercial kitchens, laboratories, auto showrooms or service centers, shipping and receiving 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 percent post-consumer recycled materials to contribute to LEED points and is GREENGUARD certified for sustainable building.

A 25-pound (11.3 kilogram) bag provides the same coverage as a 50-pound (22.7 kilogram) bag.

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LATICRETE is a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry. LATICRETE offers a broad range of products and systems covering tile & stone installation and care, masonry installation and care, resinous and decorative floor finishes, concrete construction chemicals, and concrete restoration and care including the SUPERCAP® System. For over 60 years, LATICRETE has been committed to research and development of innovative installation products, building a reputation for superior quality, performance and customer service. LATICRETE methods, materials, and technology have been field and laboratory proven by Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners. Offering an array of low VOC and sustainable products, LATICRETE® products contribute to LEED certification, exceed commercial/residential VOC building requirements, and are backed by the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. For more information, visit

Schluter®-APP Makes Project Planning Easier

Planning a successful tile project can be time consuming and challenging. The new Schluter®-APP puts all the necessary Schluter resources in one place – on any iPhone or Android mobile device.  Information on all Schluter’s systems and solutions can be found on the app.  It can be used for every facet of project planning, from measuring the space, all the way through to pricing and connecting with an authorized dealer.

Working from the app, a smartphone can be used to scan and measure a room during the planning phase of the project.  The data collected can be used to configure and customize the layout and build a personalized project plan.  The results can then be shared electronically with a client or coworker. This layout information can improve client communications by providing a clear visual guide from the beginning to the end of any project.

Products can be configured right down to the size, color, format and quantity and can also be priced immediately.  Product selections will also prompt video recommendations so installers can get installation guidance wherever and whenever they need it.

For floor warming projects the built-in DITRA-HEAT Estimator will help with product selection, and then provide an estimate for the materials required.

The app also provides easy access to the network of Authorized Schluter Dealers across North America.  Users can search by location and generate a list of nearby dealers.  After selecting a dealer, the app will provide directions to the location making it even easier to get materials to the job site.

To download the new Schluter app go to:

App Store:

Google Play:

About Schluter®-Systems
Schluter®-Systems products are specifically designed for the tile industry to ensure that installations maintain integrity and durability. The company’s product line includes over 8,000 items, including tile trims, uncoupling membranes, waterproof building panels, shower systems, and most recently thin-set mortar.  Schluter-Systems is renowned for its state-of-the-art technology with attention to detail for highly functional and visually appealing results.  For more information, visit

Contact: Terry Baskin, Footprint Associates Inc. • Tel.: 647-965-3752 • email: [email protected]


Sika has completed the acquisition of Parex on May 23, 2019. The deal was announced on January 8, 2019. With annual sales of CHF 1.2 billion, Parex is a leading mortar manufacturer with an impressive track record of profitable growth and attractive margins. Sika and Parex are two strong companies that are highly complementary in product offering and channel penetration. With this acquisition, Sika will expand its product portfolio for the building finishing market, further strengthening its world leader position in construction chemicals, and reaching sales in excess of CHF 8 billion for 2019.

Parex’s product offering includes facade mortars, tile adhesives, and waterproofing mortars. With its expertise in mortar solutions for renovation and new builds, Parex participates in all phases of the construction life cycle. Parex has a particularly strong presence in distribution channels, especially in China, where Parex has built up a network of over 90,000 points of sale. With its strong, recognized brands, Parex is known for its comprehensive R&D expertise and technical excellence. The company is locally present in 23 countries, with key positions in 8 core markets, and operates 74 plants around the world.

The acquisition of Parex will strengthen Sika’s growth platform. Its mortar business, which is a key growth technology for the group and one of its important earning contributors, will more than double in size to CHF 2.3 billion. Parex’s strong position in distribution channels will open up new business opportunities for Sika’s product range. Parex will gain access to Sika’s well established direct sales channels, and Parex’s expertise in the facade and tile setting business will allow Sika to participate in these growing and attractive market fields.

Paul Schuler, CEO of Sika: “With the acquisition we are bringing two strong companies together. Parex’s and Sika’s joint business activities present an excellent growth platform for both organizations. In addition to the highly complementary fit with regard to product offerings and channels, we also see that Parex and Sika have very similar cultures, values and management styles – with the focus on customer orientation, empowerment, high-quality products and services. The integration planning is well on track, and on-site visits have confirmed the attractiveness of the combination of the two businesses. We are excited to start working together to build our joint successful future. We warmly welcome all employees of Parex to the Sika Family.”

Eric Bergé, CEO of Parex: “I am very proud of our entire Parex team and what we have achieved. Sika represents a great platform to continue to deliver on our ambitious growth plan. The combination of the two companies creates new, exciting opportunities in terms of offering new solutions to our customers and continuing our geographic expansion. I am delighted we have found the perfect home for Parex within Sika, a strong company with similar values to our own.”


Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing, and protecting in the building sector and motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 101 countries around the world and manufactures in over 200 factories. Its more than 20,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 7.09 billion in 2018.

Three New Courses Available in Natural Stone University

Three new courses are available online in the Natural Stone University.

The Geology of Natural Stone 1: Introduction to Natural Stone (6 hours)

This course provides a geological overview of natural stone. Participants will learn the history of natural stone, geological attributes to consider when specifying stone, and how to verify stone classifications. Course materials include four webinars with geologist Karin Kirk, as well as articles about the geological makeup of ten different types of stone and the originals of natural stone colors and patterns.

Facility Safety Plan: Creating an Environment of Safety for Your Employees (5 hours)

Create an environment that promotes safety for all who enter your facility. This course covers OSHA compliance, safety training, recordkeeping, and the importance of creating a culture that promotes safe actions. Course materials include webinars on OSHA compliance, creating a safety program, silica exposure, and the ROI of safety. Additional reading materials include a company safety audit, a silica control plan, and an employee safety training syllabus.

Stone Sales 1: Basic Sales and Marketing Measures (4 hours)

Topics discussed in this course include demographic analysis, creating measurements, and using data to increase sales. Learn how to identify and record stone sales measurements, find and mobilize customers into your sales funnel, and understand current and future industry trends. Course materials include webinars on targeting customers, tracking trends, and the evolving countertop customer. Readings include several design and trend articles from the Use Natural Stone website.

Since 2016, the Natural Stone University has provided online education tools for stone industry professionals. Courses are available free of charge to current Natural Stone Institute member companies. Learn more at


About the Natural Stone Institute

The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 nations. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at

Arley Wholesale Brings its Show on the Road!

For the last 16 years, Arley Wholesale, Inc., the family-owned, third-generation wholesale supplier of ceramic, porcelain, stone, glass mosaic tiles and sundry materials, has hosted its Annual Arley Golf Classic and Tile & Stone Exposition in Scranton, Pennsylvania. This coming summer, the firm will be making a change.

Scott Levy

According to President Scott Levy, “For 2019, we’ll be staging four regional expos in different cities outside our home base. Our Golf Classic / Tile Expo has always been successful, and we will continue it next year. Because our business has grown exponentially, expanding to 26 states, we want to make sure to personally reach as many of our customers and prospects as possible. So this summer, we’ll be taking our shows on the road!”

Four regional events are slated to take place. The schedule is as follows:

  • June 11th at Hilton Christiana/Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington, DE
  • July 10th at Saratoga Hilton/Saratoga Springs Casino in Sarasota Springs, NY
  • July 23rd at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT
  • August 6th at Hollywood Casino in Columbus, OH

“In particular,” Levy continued, “we want to fully cover how our various programs help retailers better compete against their big box and Internet competitors… and in doing so, receive higher margins. Our private label Qualis program cannot be sold online, so our retailers are fully protected against losing orders to the internet.

Key sundry suppliers such as Mapei, USG, Ardex, iQ Power Tools, Tile Ez, Primo Tools, Suntouch, Wedi and Profilitec will be offering educational demonstrations at each show. Attendees will be eligible to receive exclusive at-show pricing promotions for these companies’ products and tile products through Arley.

“Of course, we intend to have a lot of fun, too,” concluded Levy. “For example, for our casino nights, customers will receive $50 in “free play” for every pallet of tile or two pallets of sundry items purchased at each of our events. Many of them have already stated how excited they are about that!”

For more information and registration forms, please contact Arley’s Terry Ford: Phone: 800.233.4107.
Email: [email protected]

Family-owned for three generations, Arley Wholesale remains the tile and stone supplier of choice by providing exceptional customer service, selection and stability to its customers. Arley Wholesale, Inc. 700 North South Road, Scranton, PA 18504.


Ceramic Tile Alliance Announcement – Importers lobby industry for support against Chinese antidumping tariffs

On April 10, 2019, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of ceramic tile products from the People’s Republic of China. The Coalition consists of U.S. ceramic tile producers American Wonder Porcelain, Florida Tile, Inc., Crossville, Inc., Florim USA, Dal-Tile Corporation, Landmark Ceramics, Del Conca USA, Inc. and StonePeak Ceramics (all members of the Tile Council of North America).

In response to that filing, a broad representation of North American based importers, distributors, retailers, and design professionals have formed the Ceramic Tile Alliance.  The group (CTA) is strongly opposed to the tariffs and believe they jeopardize the long-term health and growth of the entire ceramic tile industry against other competing floor and wall products. The group (CTA) is united in a single effort to save American businesses and the thousands of American jobs which will be at risk if these tariffs are imposed.

The focus of the Ceramic Tile Alliance is to both inform the industry through an awareness campaign and present a united front in the legal proceedings regarding the petition. The (CTA) believes it is important highlight the fact that these tariffs will only benefit domestic ceramic tile manufacturers at the expense of ceramic tile distributors, retailers, installers and design professionals. This campaign is supported by counterclaims against the antidumping and countervailing petition; which shows that Chinese imports have not negatively affected the growth of domestic manufacturing and Chinese imports are not the lowest-cost products imported into the market.

The Ceramic Tile Alliance has started a petition at in hopes of giving a voice to the tens of thousands of ceramic tile industry professionals that will be negatively impacted by these tariffs.

For more information visit
The Ceramic Tile Alliance; lead by Anatolia Tile + Stone, Bedrosians Tile & Stone, MS International, Emser Tile, GBI Tile & Stone, Jeffrey Court, Bella Vita, Voguebay, Merola Tile and others, are united to oppose tariffs on Chinese imports and combat measures that will jeopardize the long-term health of the ceramic tile industry.

Crossville Launches Alaska Porcelain Tile Collection

New Product Mimics Look of Real Terrazzo with Dual Matte & Shimmer Finish

Officials with Crossville, Inc. have announced the launch of Alaska, a terrazzo-look porcelain tile collection. Manufactured with Crossville’s Digital Plus technology, Alaska replicates the timeless appearance of terrazzo tile enhanced with a dual finish that blends matte and shimmer for a convincing effect. The distinct surface visual interpreted in a durable porcelain tile provides designers and specifiers an advantageous, high performance, and cost-effective alternative to real terrazzo that’s suitable for commercial and residential installations.

“We named this collection Alaska because it is our largest state, and this product includes our largest tile produced here in Crossville,” explains Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing.

Additionally, Waldrep shares that the collection was developed to help designers explore new frontiers with the look of terrazzo. Because Alaska guarantees superior performance and other advantages unheard of with traditional terrazzo material, she says it “can be used in places and in ways the real thing just couldn’t.”

The line’s tone-on-tone visuals, enhanced by the hint of glint revealed as light passes across the dual finish surface, come in five colors: Ice, Bone, Mink, Glacier, and Tundra. These versatile neutrals are foundational hues ideal for undergirding any design scheme and were formulated to coordinate with other popular Crossville collections.

The colors reach maximum potential in the collection’s generous range of sizes. Field tiles are offered in 24×48, 24×24, and 12×24, as well as a classic 2×2 square mosaic and an adventurous new polygon mosaic, mesh-mounted on 13×15 sheet. These mosaics are excellent solutions for wet area floor installations, in addition to providing customizable accents for wall and floor applications. Alaska’s terrazzo-look installations can be finished fully with the line’s cove base and bullnose trims.

As a certified porcelain tile product, the collection answers demanding technical requirements for a wide range of applications. The line is responsibly manufactured in the U.S., contains recycled content, and is Green Squared certified. It’s an ideal surfacing solution for projects for which sustainability and environmental standards are priorities.

With a subtle yet stunning terrazzo look, an abundance of sizes, colors, and styles, Alaska porcelain tile collection by Crossville invites designers to explore new possibilities.

Learn more at

About Crossville Inc.
Founded in 1986, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications. Its headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Crossville, Tennessee. Crossville, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Curran Group, a privately held holding company renowned for its core values of family, respect, partnership, integrity, and improvement.

An industry innovator, Crossville is the first U.S. tile manufacturer to achieve the following:
– production of large format tile on site,
– manufacturing of tile with certified recycled content,
– development the Tile Take-Back® Program for recycling fired porcelain tile,
– attaining of certification for waste recycling programs,
– earning of TCNA’s Green Squared certification for all of its U.S.-produced tile lines,
– distribution of a complete line of large format porcelain tile panels, and
– designation as a net consumer of waste in the domestic tile industry.

For more information on Crossville, visit

$1 Million in Prizes for High School Skilled Trades Teachers: Apply Now

Apply now for the 2019 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which will award cash prizes totaling $1 million to 18 of America’s best public high school skilled trades teachers or teacher teams and their programs.

Teachers and teacher teams can apply at through June 17.

The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt. The prize recognizes outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools and the valuable work of teachers who inspire students to learn a trade that prepares them for life after graduation.

“I have a special place in my heart for skilled trades teachers, especially those who teach in high school,” Smidt said. “It is an honor to be able to recognize these unsung heroes each year and support them and their skilled trades programs that are so important to our country’s future.”

The 2019 prize will award more than $1 million to 18 public high school skilled trades teachers or teacher teams and their programs. Three first-place winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to their high school skilled trades program and $30,000 directly to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team. Fifteen second-place winners will each win $50,000, with $35,000 going to the high school program and $15,000 to the teacher/team. Teachers whose school, district or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings are eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program.

More than 1,200 teachers from 49 states applied in the first two years of the prize, and more than 100 teachers have been recognized as winners or semi-finalists. Their winnings have supported programs that serve more than 11,000 students. Previous applicants have taught a variety of skilled trades including automotive technology, welding, carpentry, agriculture mechanics, advanced manufacturing, plumbing and HVAC repair. Previous winners have helped their students build mobility scooters for the elderly, operate a full-service, licensed auto repair facility that serves customers, and design, construct and sell a home.

“These teachers excel not only at teaching trades, but also at building confidence, nurturing soft skills and laying the foundation for their students to pursue their passions,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “We want to shine a spotlight on their essential contribution to students and to our country.”

The application process and the prize are designed to give teachers access to ideas and practices through a network of likeminded exceptional educators and leaders. Applicants are asked to review and respond to a series of online expert-led video learning modules.

“The impact on our program is life-changing since we only get $500 to $1,000 a year for our budget,” said Gerald “Dave” Huffman, a construction technology teacher at Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Mississippi, who was a winner of the 2017 prize. “This is an opportunity to invest for our future.”

There will be three rounds of judging, each scored by independent panels of reviewers. Applicants ranking in the top 50 will be announced on July 17. They will advance to a semi-finalist round and will be asked to complete a second set of learning modules. The semifinalists will then be narrowed to the top 18. Three first-place and 15 second-place winners will be announced on Oct. 24. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools does not determine the semifinalists or winners.

For updates on the prize, follow Harbor Freight Tools for Schools on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Harbor Freight Tools for Schools
Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt, to support the advancement of skilled trades education in America. With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, this program was created to foster and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education in public high schools. Believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to stimulate greater understanding, support and investment by public entities and others in skilled trades education. Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program. For more information, visit

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