Member Spotlight – Stuart Tile Company

New Five Star Contractor Phil Kozey and Stuart Tile Company in Macomb, Mich.

Family pride sets foundation for excellence and passion

The Kozey family has a long history in the tile industry – over 45 years, according to Phil Kozey, project manager at Stuart Tile Company (www.StuartTileCo.com), in Macomb, Mich. The company now installs mostly commercial projects, specializing in assisted living facilities, car dealerships, and large commercial, as well as some residential projects.

Phil Kozey, project manager, Stuart Tile Company

The company prides itself on its ability to complete projects with very difficult time schedules, but not compromising quality by cutting corners.

“The greatest feeling is when we have worked for weeks — sometimes months — on a job, and finish before the deadline,” Phil said. “I love seeing the happy faces of the owner/GC. It makes me feel accomplished when I see the finished project.”

Stuart Tile Company is composed of mostly family members. “This makes it unique and very personal to me,” he said. In addition to Phil himself, it includes his parents, Janet and John Kozey, as well as two uncles, and some cousins and other highly valued employees.

Kozey noted that Stuart Tile Co. is in fact owned by his mother, Janet Kozey, making the outfit a minority/women owned business.  “She is mostly in charge of the administration end of the business,” he said. “My father and I manage onsite day-to-day production.”

Phil started out watching his father in the industry since Phil was a toddler in the early 80’s. He even remembers his dad mixing up thin-set mortar with Portland cement, silica sand, and liquid latex.  “My father always took great pride in the quality of his work, and watching him over the past three decades has made me a perfectionist when it comes to the detail of our work,” Phil said.

Stuart Tile Company rejoined NTCA three years ago after a hiatus, and since then has been going strong in the association.

“Joining the NTCA and becoming a Five Star Contractor has relit a fire in my passion for the industry,” Phil said. “Tile has been a huge part of my life since I was a small child. I am a second-generation tile installer, but to be honest, I was starting to get burned out on the tile business entirely. Approximately three years ago I started researching NTCA, and it kind of helped me look at the whole industry in a new light. It taught me how and why the products work, and how they are made.  It offered great opportunities to talk with people with similar passion and interest. The NTCA has definitely opened a doorway to keeping me in the loop with ever-changing technology, products, and methods and standards. Since Joining the NTCA I have gained knowledge — and even confidence — in my methods, via the TCNA Handbook and NTCA Reference Manual. I have discovered a community of like-minded professionals that actually care about the installation, and this is something I plan on being a part of for as long as I am in the tile industry,” he said.

Stuart Tile has recently been awarded and now recognized as a NTCA Five Star Contractor. “It is a great honor to recognized by an organization that has such high standards,” he added.

The company has two Certified Tile Installers, but aims to have all its setters be certified. “I can see that our Certified Tile Installers are proud of their certification, and they should be — it’s an accomplishment,” he said.

Not immune to occupational hazards of working in the industry, late in 2015, Phil started having respiratory issues and was diagnosed with a form of COPD. “I believe this is from all the silica/cement dust I was breathing through all the years of mixing, grinding without proper dust mask protection,” he said. “This is why I feel so strongly about proper dust containment/equipment. I will not even prep a floor without a mask now.”

Phil considers it an honor to represent NTCA as a Michigan State Ambassador since 2015. “It has been because of the NTCA I have formed lifelong relationships and friendships with individuals at some of our top suppliers,” he said. “I am very grateful to the NTCA for the different educational and social events I have been able to attend all over the nation.”

Stuart Tile Company installed colorful tile in the brand new Madison Elementary school, the first new school in the district in nearly 40 years. The bright colors on walls and floors of this technology-centered school keeps kids alert and engaged. Stuart Tile Company installed two radius mosaic walls, 15 bathrooms and hallway tile. For more information, visit www.fox2detroit.com/news/184579-story

 

 

Phil Kozey, speaking at his first NTCA Workshop with Mark Heinlein at Daltile in Farmington Hills, Mich. 

Phil Kozey uses the Mechanical Lippage Tuning System (MLTS) to reduce lippage on this gauged porcelain Laminam wall tile installation. 

 

At the NTCA Workshop at the Farmington Hills Daltile, Phil Kozey (front right) poses with Mark Heinlein (front left), and other Daltile associates in front of the NTCA van. 

 

Phil Kozey preps the floor at the Palace of Auburn Hills

 

Work done at Elevation Burger restaurant. 

Large Format Tile

Addressing challenges with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles, through the NTCA Reference Manual

The NTCA Reference Manual is an important industry document that approaches challenges in the field from a problem/cause/cure format. It is free with NTCA membership or can be purchased at the NTCA store at www.tile-assn.com. The comprehensive culmination of knowledge, research, development and publication of the efforts of the NTCA Technical Committee addresses many problems that arise in the field, how to prevent them or address them when they occur.

Today we look at the chapter on Large Porcelain and Glass Bondied Tiles, appearing in Chapter 6, page 124 in the 2016-2017 version.

Problem

Loss of bond between bond coat and large porcelain tiles or tiles containing high percentage of glass in the body. Tiles may come off mortar bond coat clean,even with full coverage on backs of tiles.

Cause

Any of the following may prevent problems with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles.

  • Inadequate contact between mortar bond coat and backs of tiles which may be caused by improper beat-in and using inadequate amounts of mortar, or worn or improper trowels.
  • Use of pure cement bond coat over plastic mortar beds.
  • Use of dry-set mortar without latex additives.
  • Presence of excessive white powder (manufacturer’srelease agent) on back of tile.
  • Bending or deflection of substrates.
  • Differential expansion between tile and setting material.
  • Working on or too early traffic on newly laid tile floors.
  • Shrinkage or setting of substrates due to changes of moisture in structure or movements in the structure after construction is complete.
  • Improperly engineered structure for the installation put into place.

Cure

Any of the following may be a cure to problems with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles.

  • To secure good contact between tiles and ribs of latex-Portland cement mortar, tiles must be pushed and slid into the mortar using NTCA recommendations for bedding tiles. Backbuttering tiles with a thin, flat coat of latex-Portland cement mortar helps develop a better bond to the tile.
  • On large format tile, a box screed has proven to be an excellent means of controlling the amount of mortar applied to the back side of large tiles. Latex-Portland cement mortar applied to the substrate should be troweled out evenly in one direction – not swirled – with notched trowels. Ribbed mortar on only one surface helps reduce voids and air pockets. This method also produces a smoother, more even surface than conventional backbuttering, which often leaves tiles with excessive lippage.
  • Successful installations of large porcelain and glass bodied tiles require the use of a manufacturer’s recommended latex-Portland cement mortar which meets or exceeds ANSI specifications. Use latex-Portland cement mortars that are more flexible, in addition to having superior bonding capability. Latex-Portland cement mortars bond large porcelain tiles and tiles containing glass in the body, better than more conventional mortars. Mortar fl exibility helps bridge stresses created between substrates and large, unforgiving tiles, reducing possibility of tiles shearing off. Check with manufacturer for exact products recommended.
  • Press or slide tiles into position using NTCA recommendations for bedding tiles. Check to see that uniform contact is being achieved at corners, edges, and the back of the tiles by pulling tile up for examination. Beating-in only of larger tiles generally is not effective. Average contact area shall not be less than 80% except on exterior or wet area installations (see TCNA Handbook for wet area definition) where contact area shall be 95% when not less than three tiles or tile assemblies are removed for inspection.
  • Check tiles for presence of excessive white powder (manufacturer’s release agent) on back of tile. If necessary, brush or remove white powder before attempting to bond tile.
  • Porcelain tiles have extremely low water absorption rates. As a result, the setting time of many latex-Portland cement mortars may be extended. Therefore, working on or exposing the installation to traffic prior to a good bond forming may result in poor performance of the completed job.
  • Proceed with caution when installing large porcelain tiles over substrates subject to bending or deflection. When installing materials with special or unique properties, the code minimum may not be sufficient to provide satisfactory performance. Each project presents its own conditions; consult with owner or builder to determine if any modifications to the structure can be done prior to the installation when you suspect problems or have concerns.
  • Web floor trusses and engineered I-joists are used in ways which weren’t possible with traditionally sawn lumber. Be aware of the conditions you face prior to installation so adjustments can be made if necessary. See NTCA’s document on Installations over Engineered Wood Products for additional information.
  • Require architect or construction manager to locate movement joints in tile work as recommended in the TCNA Handbook. Design, locations, spacing, and actual installation must conform with requirements in the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards. Movement joint recommendations apply to residential construction as well as commercial and industrial construction.
  • When faced with installation of large porcelain tiles or tiles with glass in the body, insist on using latex-modified Portland cement mortars when they are not specified. Also, require mortar manufacturers to furnish test results showing bonding and flexural capabilities of mortars and bondability of tiles from tile manufacturers.

 

Images:

 

FEELWOOD, from Ege Seramic is a satin-finished, glazed porcelain with a look of naturally aged and weathered wood. Vintage wood-look 8” x 48” plank tiles are available in three colors (white, grey and brown) floors and/or walls in residential and commercial settings. www.egeseramik.com 

 

Fiandre recently introduced the U.S.-made West Loop, named for the emerging Chicago neighborhood and resembling textured industrial concrete. It features high color variance including 35 shading patterns, with metal undertones. In four colors in 24” x 48”, 24” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 8” x 48”, 12” x 12” mosaic and 4” x 12” diamond.www.granitifiandre.com

 

PreciousHDP from Florida Tile authentically captures the essence and beauty of Calacatta marble, including the stone’s intense and random grey and brown veins that stand out from a crystalline white background, endowing it with a depth and movement that enlivens spaces. Rectified, porcelain floor tiles in a natural finish are available in 12” x 24”, 24” x 24” and 18” x 36”, with rectified ceramic wall tiles in a polished finish, two mosaic offerings, a ceramic wall deco and full package of trims. PreciousHDP is made in the USA of 40% pre-consumer recycled content, is GREENGUARD® and Porcelain Tile certified. www.floridatile.com

Crossville has created a sophisticated, clean concrete look in the porcelain stone Notorious, in the same six colors as the wood-grained plank Nest. Modular sizes include 3” x 15”, 12” x 12”, 12” x 12” mosaic parquet, 12” x 24”, in unpolished and 24” x 24” and 24” x 36” in unpolished/honed. The package includes cove base and bullnose, perfect for healthcare and restaurant applications. Notorious is made in the USA with recycled content and is Green Squared Certified®. www.crossvilleinc.com

Cevisama Review and Trends

Tile of Spain showcases spring tile trends and CEVISAMA 2017 introductions

Tile of Spain (www.tileofspain.com), the association of Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers, recently debuted new product collections at CEVISAMA 2017, the International Ceramic Tile Fair, in Valencia, Spain. From graphic patterns and scalloped shapes, to oxidized metal and distressed wood look effects, the new tile collections bring design to a whole other level.

Highlights of the spring tile trends and new Tile of Spain products showcased at CEVISAMA 2017 include:

Bestile’s Elegance in Cala Dark  is inspired by marble from ancient Greek and Roman times. This classical pattern in 60 x 120 porcelain tile offers the purity and refinement of a white marble in a durable tile.

CAS Ceramica presents a new collection styled by American graphic designer David Carson. Inspired by Carson’s home in the Caribbean – the sun, surf, ocean, moon and stars –the collection of 20 x 20 cm tiles combines graphic illustrations with glossy, intense blues and whites.

Equipe’s Coralstone incorporates irregularities evident in natural stone, right down to the matte and non-slip finishes. Coralstone porcelain stoneware imitates natural stone with great graphic variation and inserts of corals and fossils.  Available in 8”x 8”square and 11 1/2”x 10” hexagon formats in gray and black.

Gayafores introduced the Olson series in soft neutral tones of white, grey and honey. This Nordic style wood-look tile offers the appearance of untreated wood with water damage, but in a beautiful, natural way. The 15 x 90 cm board format can be installed in a variety of ways, including in herringbone patterns.

Grespania rolled out Coverlam products with rich metallic texture in the new Industrial series. The Corten and Iron colors closely recall the look of metal sheets that have been exposed to the elements. Available in 3.5 mm and 5.6 mm thicknesses, and 100 x 300 cm and 120 x 260 cm formats.

Metropol’s Track line was also inspired by metal, this time by the fusion of metals. Track large format tiles are in synch with the latest urban trends, for interiors and exteriors. The line brings all of the unique characteristics of metal into ceramic tile.

Natucer’s unique extruded tiles shine in scallop shapes in the Art Escama collection. The series evokes the movement of waves in drop-shaped ceramics with different surfaces with tridimensional effect. Also from Natucer is the hexagon-shaped Dual collection featuring two different finishes — a flat hexagon tile and a 3D double hexagon tile with an interior crackle effect.

       

Peronda presents Foresta Sawncut, original wood-effect porcelain tile collection, inspired directly by the work of British artist Tom Raffield, a trendsetter in the use of wood for lighting and furniture collections.

Tau Ceramica welcomes more formats, shapes and trendsetting ideas in three collections: Concept, Ascale and Atelier, which allow for creativity and push the boundaries in any design.

VIVES was inspired by fifteenth century artisan Venetian techniques to produce its Portofino porcelain tile collection, which mimics a stracciato effect. Available in a variety of colors, sizes and finishes the Portfino collection is perfect for both floors and walls.

First Spanish tile-setting Standard announced

During the CEVISAMA fair on February 23, 2017, the first Spanish ceramic tile-setting standard was announced. “UNE 138002 General rules for laying bonded ceramic tiles” was officially published earlier in the month, February 2, and is a nationwide standard.

The standard was developed by CTN 128, the Spanish ceramic tile standardization committee, whose secretaryship is held by ASCER, the association of Spanish tile manufacturers.

The standard defines the quality of tiled surfaces and its aim is to establish a set of general rules and associated procedures relating to the design, materials specification, preparation, installation, handover, and care of such surfaces in order to guarantee their quality, durability, technical performance and appearance.

This standard applies generally to all surfaces covered in ceramic tiles of all kinds when bonded onto any type of appropriate substrate.

This is the first nationwide ceramic tile-laying standard and it will act as a very beneficial tool for all the sector’s different stakeholders. The standard addresses the tile-laying process from all viewpoints, outlining the requirements needed to guarantee the quality and durability of these ceramic surfaces.

The Spanish ceramic tile sector has undergone major advances in recent years, leading to its increased complexity and to a growth in types of tile products, installation materials and related construction systems.

In all the sector’s strategic plans, one of the main threats that has been described is the impact of possible claims due to flaws and failures in tiled surfaces. These flaws and failures can have numerous different causes which, in most cases, could be avoided.

Ongoing improvements to the quality of tile-laying processes has been hindered by the lack of a reference standard, drawn up by consensus, that can help to reduce the pathologies that handicap the sector and improve the performance of tiled surfaces.

The standard’s technical guidelines are based on the UNE-CEN/TR 13548 IN report, drafted in accordance with a European consensus, and on other well-proven standards and legislation in the field. It is founded on solid technical knowhow regarding tile-laying procedures, drawn up in a coordinated way by different members of the sector to complement current legislation on tile-laying products.

The standard offers an efficient response to the new reality and complexity of the tile sector, so that its specifications become a mandatory reference in the planning of building projects.

The standard is addressed to all stakeholders involved in the ceramic tile-laying process: tile manufacturers and distributors, tile layers, suppliers of tile-laying equipment and materials, materials specifiers, architects, building developers, contractors, and end consumers.

It was drafted in participatory style,based on a general consensus by the sector’s main stakeholders through AEN/CTN 138, the Spanish ceramic tile standardization committee. Its experts included tile and adhesive manufacturers, tile layers, distributors, suppliers of tile-laying equipment and materials, laboratories, representatives of architects’ associations, and Spain’ s leading associations: ASCER, PROALSO, ANFAPA and ANDIMAC.

Award Winners announced

Tile of Spain Award winners include:

  • Architecture category winner is Two Homes in Oropesa (Toledo) by Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos. A special mention goes to to MM House, Palma de Mallorca by Ohlab, a home designed in accordance with the Passivhaus standard in order to guarantee optimum energy efficiency.

Architecture winner: Two Homes in Oropesa by Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos

  • First prize in the Interior Design category went to  TABA Espazioa by Ibon Salaberria, a space that includes a coffee shop, pizza restaurant and wine bar situated on the ground floor of  Tabakalera, San Sebastian’s new International Centre for Contemporary Culture. A special mention goes to Casa#77 by Raúl Montero Martínez and Emilio Pardo Rivacoba, a project to renovate an apartment measuring just 51 m2  situated in the loft of a housing block in Pamplona’s historic quarter.

Interior Design Winner: TABA Espaziosa by Ibon Salaberria

  • The Final Degree Project Category (FDP)  was awarded to In-Situ: Tools and Technology in Traditional Architecture by M Wesam Al Asali, a student at the University of Cambridge.  This category honors projects undertaken by students at Schools of Architecture in which the ceramic tiles play a central role. A special mention was given to the ‘Como agua de mayo’ project by Belén Collado González, a student at the San Pablo CEU University in Madrid.

Final Degree Project Winner: In-Situ: Tools and Technology in Traditional Architecture by M Wesam Al Asali.

TCNA: By the Book – May 2017

Changes to the 2017 TCNA Handbook address a wide spectrum of issues

Now in its 54th year of continuous publication and slated for release this month, the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation, a compilation of guidelines widely-used in specifying, selling, and installing tile and related installation materials, will include this year many noteworthy changes to existing language as well as wholly new sections. All are aimed at providing more guidance, and improving understanding and problem solving with regard to tile installations.

Referring to the revisions: “They run the gamut,” said Stephanie Samulski, the Handbook technical content manager and secretary of the Handbook Committee for Tile Council of North America (TCNA), which publishes the Handbook. “Anyone specifying, selling, designing, installing, superintending, or otherwise involved with tile should update their technical library with the new edition,” she said. “With the range of new content ratified by the Handbook Committee, there’s something relevant to essentially anyone and everyone working with tile.”

TCNA executive director and Handbook Committee chairman Eric Astrachan gives as examples the new sections “Tile Layout Considerations” and “System Modularity,” which are geared more toward those involved in tile selection and design. As an example of the various revisions to Handbook existing language, he noted the further explanation this year of substrate flatness requirements, which Astrachan calls “essential but too-often ignored.”

Astrachan explained that the Handbook is a vehicle for providing industry consensus, but it’s not a standard and therefore not set up like one, enabling the committee to provide information in non-mandatory language when needed. It’s a particularly useful means of addressing conflicting recommendations or specifications, as can easily occur when a producer or another trade makes a major shift in product or practice in a way that impacts tile installations.

A prime example is the new Handbook section to address the newer type of steel studs commonly referred to as “equivalent gauge” or “EQ” studs. The new Handbook language helps people understand the most important considerations for avoiding tile problems when these thinner studs are used. Samulski noted that “the specific design criteria that are ultimately needed will likely get hashed out in ANSI.”

Other noteworthy changes that 2017 Handbook users will see include significantly more information on how to avoid the undesirable effects of wall-wash lighting on tile installations, new “Visual Inspection of Tilework” and “Design Considerations When Specifying Tile” sections, significant changes to the EJ171 movement joint guidelines, and a new method for tiling an exterior deck or balcony over unoccupied space (tile and stone versions).

To purchase the 2017 TCNA Handbook, visit www.TCNAtile.com.

Ask the Experts – May 2017

Several questions have been directed lately to our technical team concerning installing tile in elevators. Here are several responses:

QUESTION

I’m interested in installing tile on an elevator floor. Are there industry guidelines or standards for doing so? I have 3/4” of available depth to work with between the bottom of the elevator door and the floor.

ANSWER

There is no method for installation of tile on an elevator floor in our industry guidelines.

The elevator cabs chosen for some construction projects are not designed for tile or stone floor finishes. The manufacturer of these elevator cabs will list acceptable floor finishes, which usually only include soft goods such as vinyl, carpet, and wood products.

In order to be considered for tile or stone, the substructure should be constructed in such a way as to not to deflect or “bend” more than a small amount under a concentrated heavy load. There are elevator cabs that are designed to meet these minimum requirements but they are usually much more expensive so they are not chosen in most construction budgets.

As for installing tile in the most common elevator cabs that are not designed for it, it is risky and not recommended.

There are products available that may reduce the risk of cracking tile and grout joints such as epoxies, but the warranties come strictly from the manufacturers.  – Robb Roderick, NTCA technical trainer/presenter 

We are not aware of any documents or standards but can offer you some cautionary advice. 

The majority of elevator floors are designed to carry a specific number of passengers or maximum weight load.  This design criterion focuses solely on how many people the car will carry rather than the stiffness or rigidity of the steel floor.  A flexing floor is not a good environment for a tile installation.  The fact that the architect is specifying a plywood underlayment may help, but unless the architect is willing to guarantee that this floor structure design will meet a MINIMUM of l/360, the risk for success will rest with you.

Some contractors have had success in getting approval from manufacturers to use their epoxies to install tile in elevators. Make sure you get their warranty and recommendation in writing.

You mentioned you had 3/4” of available depth.  When completed, the elevator floor must meet ADA guidelines.  This means that the finished floor must be flush with the adjacent sill or not exceed the maximum rise allowed within ADA regulations.  Most times the addition of the plywood would exceed  that allowance and be non-compliant.– NTCA technical trainers Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick, with CTEF’s Scott Carothers

May 2017 Editor’s Letter – State of the Industry Report

“Prosperity belongs to those who learn new things the fastest.” – Paul Zane Pilzer

Although June is the issue we have slated to more closely examine all the news, information, awards and products coming out of Coverings, we ARE managing to squeeze in a few tidbits from the show that really bear early exposure. For instance, check out the Tech Talk section which discusses the long-awaited  ANSI product and installation standards for gauged porcelain tile; the NTCA News section has information on awards and accolades presented during NTCA Awards Night at the show, which also happened to be our association’s 70th Anniversary celebration, and the news item on the Why Tile campaign launched at the show. Here, in this letter, we present the TCNA’s 2016 Ceramic Tile Industry Update, in terms of consumption, outlook, exports and imports.

So, without further ado, here it is:

U.S. tile consumption overview:

Strengthened by steady growth in the housing and construction markets, the U.S. economy

continued to expand in 2016, helping lift the U.S. ceramic tile market to a seventh straight year

of growth.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Tile Council of North America, U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2016 was 2.90 billion sq. ft., up 5.8% vs. 2015 (2.74 billion sq. ft.). For perspective 2016 is the fourth highest level ever reached by the U.S. ceramic tile market, topped only by the pre-recession boom of 2004-2006, when consumption was more than three billion sq. ft. annually.

The following table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption in thousands of sq. ft.

 

The chart below shows total U.S. consumption of ceramic tile (in sq. ft.) over the last decade.

 

Imports:

In 2016, 1.99 billion sq. ft. of ceramic tile arrived in the U.S., up 5.7% from 2015 (1.88 billion sq.

ft.).

Imports in 2016 made up 68.6% of U.S. tile consumption (in sq. ft.), down slightly from 68.7% the previous year.

According to the Department of Commerce, in 2016 China remained the largest exporter to the U.S. (in sq. ft.) with a 29.4% share of U.S. imports (in sq. ft.), followed by Mexico (23.4%) and Italy (19.4%). Spain and Turkey rounded out the top five with a 9.3% and 5.1% share of imports, respectively.

The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 2016 based on sq. ft. were:

Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. on a dollar basis (including duty, freight, and insurance) in 2016, comprising 35.8% of U.S. imports. China was second with a 24.7% share, and Mexico was third with a 12.6% share.

The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 2016 based on total U.S. $ value (including duty, freight, and insurance) were:

 

Total ValTotal Val2016/20152015/2014

Country2016 (in $)2015 (in $)% Change% Change

Italy751,114,262695,055,4358.1%9.5%

China518,147,970521,010,646-0.5%11.0%

Mexico265,221,959287,867,792-7.9%-4.3%

Spain245,640,675194,031,27326.6%20.1%

Turkey107,800.576  93,315,61113.1%19.5%

All Countries 2,099,383,040 2,006,173,353 4.6% 10.1%

 

The average values of tile1 from the five countries (based on sq. ft.) from which the most tiles were imported in 2016 were:

 

U.S. Shipments:

U.S. ceramic tile shipments in 2016 increased for the seventh consecutive year and were at an all-time high of 909.0 million sq. ft., up 6.0% from 2015.

In dollar value, domestic shipments (less exports) in 2016 were $1.35 billion, up 7.3% vs. 2015 ($1.26 billion). 2

 

Exports:

U.S. ceramic tile exports in 2016 were 36.2 million sq. ft., down 11.1% vs. 2015. The vast majority of these exports (in sq. ft.) were to our North American neighbors, Canada (62.8%) and Mexico (8.1%).3

 

Economic Highlights:

New Home Starts: New home starts rose for the seventh consecutive year and were at their highest point since 2007. The 1.17 million units started in 2016 represented a 4.9% increase from the previous year. Even so there is still a long way to go to reach the prerecession peak level of 2.07 million units set in 2005.4

New Single Family Home Sales: New single family home sales increased for the fifth consecutive year and were at a total of 563,000 units in 2016, up 12.2% vs. 2015.5

While this recent growth is encouraging as the U.S. continues to put the recent recession behind, new home sales were still down 56.1% from the all-time high level of 1.28 million unitsreached in 2005.

Foreclosures: Foreclosure filings, which are a key indicator of the U.S. housing market’s health, declined by 13.9% in 2016 to 933,000 units. This was the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline and the lowest annual foreclosure total since 2006.6

 

1 The average value is significantly affected by the mix of tiles imported, with different types of tiles impacting the average value, in addition to differences in pricing for the same types of tile.

2 Tile Council of North America

3 U.S. Dept. of Commerce

4 U.S. Census Bureau

5U.S. Census Bureau

6 RealtyTrac

1 2