October 2017: PRESIDENT’S LETTER Martin Howard

NTCA participates in international outreach during Cersaie in Bologna, Italy

Leaders of the National Tile Contractors Association were recently honored guests at the Cersaie Ceramic Tile Trade Fair, held annually in Bologna, Italy. Cersaie took place September 25th-29th, and is the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and installation
materials. NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga, chairman of the board James Woelfel and

I attended the exhibition and collaborated with leaders of several international associations dedicated to the professional installation of ceramic tile. In addition to attending the fair and technical seminars, with an emphasis on large-format and gauged porcelain tile panels, NTCA leaders participated in an exclusive meeting with representatives of Assopossa, the Italian association dedicated to ceramic tile installation.
The emphasis on the meeting was on training and education, and promoting best business practices of tiling contractors. In addition to the board of Assopossa, leaders of the EUF, the European Federation of National Tilers Associations, also participated in the summit discussions. Topics on the agenda included different systems of certifi cations, for both installers and contracting companies’ education and training initiatives, including apprenticeship programs, keeping pace with changing and innovative technology, and safety in the workplace, especially as it relates to the creation of dust during work place operations.

An official tour of four technical partners of Assopossa was also part of the program, with official visits at Cersaie scheduled with Fila Care and Maintenance Systems, MAPEI Coporation, Raimondi Tools, and Schluter Systems.
The NTCA Board of Directors has identified international outreach as one of its main strategic objectives. The goal of this outreach is to establish dialogue and collaboration with other associations with shared interest in promoting and advancing the proper professional installation of tile and stone in the market place. We seek opportunities to learn and collaborate with these associations to continue to build consensus within the industry where advantageous. The desire is to engage the manufacturers with a broad base of support for training and education that enhances the use of tile and stone with technically sound and beautiful installations around the world. NTCA has previously developed programs and relationships with tile and installation associations in Australia, Canada and Spain. Discussions with other associations are ongoing.

Keep on tiling!
Martin Howard, president NTCA
Committee member, ANSI A108
[email protected]

OCTOBER 2017: EDITOR’S LETTER: Lesley A. Goddin

It is currently September 8, 2017 and I am wrapping up this issue and our November issue. Why so early you say? Many of you contributors and sponsors are REALLY asking this question, since I’ve been giving you fits and pressing you on deadlines.

Because on September 15, I am flying to Barcelona, and then taking a train to Leon, Spain, where I will walk 200 miles of the Camino of Santiago de Compostela, a 500-mile pilgrimage route in northwestern Spain traveled by thousands and thousands
of pilgrims for over 1,000 years – all making our way to the Cathedral of Santiago, where the remains of St. James the Great are enshrined (Never heard of it? Watch “The Way” with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. It’s on Amazon Prime). Carrying all
I need in a 15-lb. backpack, the next month promises to be a life-changing
experience. I’ll be back in Albuquerque October 16, just about the time you’ll be receiving this magazine – and just in time to jump into compiling our

December issue. The crunch is to be sure all the issues are ready to be designed, produced and printed before I leave. With only one week to go, honestly, it’s hard to think of anything else. I hope to see beautiful examples of tile and stone along the way and will share those with you on my return.

But I DO have to think of other things (for the next week at least), so let me draw your attention to some of the features in this issue. We have our annual Women in Tile installment in October, in which we talk with mosaicist Angie Halford, and designer/ installer Chanel Carrizosa about their journeys through the tile
industry.

We also have a couple of social media-derived stories:
Decorative Tile and Hot Topics. The Facebook tile groups are great founts of opinion and encouragement and catalogs of beautiful jobs as well as failures. I love the support and encouragement I see being offered from contractor to contractor, supplier or association to contractor, regardless of gender, race, color, creed, country of origin, or political persuasion in these groups. If you can do the job – or you are striving to do better or refine your skills – NTCA Members Only, Tile Geeks, Tile Love 2.0, Global Tile Posse, (and
possibly others I have not yet discovered) are there for encouragement, inspiration, commiseration, and sometimes some ribbing (it comes with the territory).

We also have a story about NTCA’s new Career Center, which is a fantastic resource for both those looking to fill positions and those looking for work alike. So there’s plenty of inspiring, encouraging, useful and heartfelt information for you as you journey through your days the next month. I wish you well with the pilgrim greeting I will be giving and receiving countless times before mid-October: Buen Camino! Because all of life is a journey.

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Jerome L. Greene Neuroscience Center: building for scientific progress

MAPEI products used in award-winning project

The Jerome L. Green Neuroscience Center at the Manhattanville campus of Columbia University in New York City was built to take us into new frontiers of medicine. According to the University, “At the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, hundreds of the world’s leading researchers will tackle the most exciting scientific challenge of our time: understanding how the brain works and gives rise to mind and behavior.”

Housed within the Greene Science Center, the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute brings together nearly 1,000 scientists from across many departments at Columbia University who will collaborate on research, teaching and public programming. Their goal is a deeper understanding of the brain that promises to transform human health and society.

Floors covered with Mapeguard 2.

From effective treatments for disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to depression and autism, the potential impact for humanity is enormous. “Just as science was transformed in the 20th century by the decoding of DNA, science in the 21st century will be transformed by decoding the human brain,” said Eric Kandel, MD, co-director of the Zuckerman Institute.

The Greene Science Center is the first of several buildings to be completed on the Manhattanville campus. The University press office reported, “The nine-story, 450,000-sq.-ft. [41,806 m2]

Unique tile-to-metal stair installation.

structure is the largest that Columbia has ever built and the biggest academic science building in New York City.” Designed by the world-renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in association with Davis Brody, LLP, and Body Lawson Associates of New York, the science center has led us to expect great things of its construction. In fact, the center won the Ceramics of Italy 2017 Tile Design Competition in the Institutional category.

MAPEI at work on the jobsite

Jantile, Inc., of Armonk, N.Y., won the bid to install the ceramic tile throughout the project. As always, coordination with other trades played a role in the installation, but thanks to general contractor Lend-Lease, with whom Jantile frequently works, all went smoothly.

Tiles set with Ultraflex LFT and grouted with Ultracolor Plus.

The main challenge dealt with accurate transitions from space to space. Because the Jantile crew was working with such large tiles over vast expanses of open space, and because the glass facades shed so much light on the space, the installers had to be exceptionally careful lining up tiles with each other and other surfaces on each of the eight levels.

Lots of light meant exacting transitions.

The first and largest component of the project for Jantile was the preparation of the space prior to setting tile. The core structure of the building is steel with a glass facade for the shell. Because the subsurface was steel, each of the eight upper floors had to be prepared with a mud bed measuring 2.5” (6,3 cm) in thickness. First, the crews put down a slip sheet and covered it with mud and wire reinforcement. The installation crews then combined MAPEI’s Planicrete® AC, a liquid latex admixture, with the mud bed mix to enhance its performance.

Once the mud bed cured, it was covered with MAPEI SM Primer™ and Mapeguard™ 2, a thin, lightweight crack-isolation and sound-reduction sheet membrane. Mapelastic™ 400 was also used for waterproofing in the restrooms.

Wide open expanses of tile.

Casalgrande Padana tile was installed over 78,000 sq. ft. (7,246 m2) of space on the upper eight levels of the nine-story building. In the corridors and open expanses, MAPEI’s Ultraflex™ LFT™ mortar and Ultracolor® Plus grout were used to install 40,000 sq. ft. (3,716 m2) of Pietre etrusche capalbio tiles from Casalgrande Padana’s Pietra Native Series measuring 24” x 48” (61 x 122 cm) and 18” x 36” (46 x 91 cm). An additional 38,000 sq. ft. (3,530 m2) of 12” x 24” (30 x 61 cm) floor tiles and 12” x 12” (30 x 30 cm) wall tiles from the Pietra Native series were set in public restrooms in the building. Once again, the setting materials were Ultraflex LFT and Ultracolor Plus. A custom mix of mosaic tiles from Vitra were used as a decorative feature in the restrooms, also set with the MAPEI products. All tiles and installation products were provided by MAPEI distributor ProSpec, LLC.

The installers worked from shop drawings that had been approved by the architects. The work in the restrooms took one to two months, and was done intermittently as each floor became ready. The large, open expanses were completed over a continuous six-month period. When restrooms and floor expanses were ready at the same time, eight to 12 Jantile installers worked the site.

One particularly interesting and unique challenge was met with a series of MAPEI products. The metal stairways connecting each floor were designed to be covered with the large-format Casalgrande Padana tiles. To get the ultimate bond between the ceramic tiles and metal stairs, the installers began by coating the metal surface with Primer E 100%-solids epoxy primer to enhance the bond with Mapecem Premix cement-based mortar for subfloor preparation work, which was layered on top of it. The tiles were then set into the Mapecem® Premix using Ultraflex LFT.

Project manager Don Durnell summed up this fascinating but challenging installation: “Coordination by experienced people throughout the entire process is what allowed us to accomplish this feat. We depended on the experience and expertise of our long-time employees to get the job done right.”

MAPEI is proud to have been a part of the job.

Member Spotlight: Dave Rogers, Welch Tile & Marble

NTCA opens the door to a new career
for Dave Rogers

Have you ever wondered – when you got involved with something – where it would take you in life? Today, I am the Training and Development manager for Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., the chairperson for the NTCA Training and Education Committee, and I serve on the NTCA Technical Committee. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would have this much responsibility, I would have told you that you were crazy.

 

Dave Rogers

My journey in the tile trade started about 27 years ago at a flooring store in Port Clinton, Ohio. There I learned about diverse types of floor coverings, including carpet, sheet vinyl, and of course ceramic tile. Tile wasn’t the focus of the business, but it was enough to spark my passion for the trade. As years went on, I started my own business after marrying my wife Jenny and moving away from my home town. In my company, I provided carpet, vinyl – and of course ceramic tile – but again it was not the focus of my business. I took every tile project I could and learned along the way. I soon realized I needed more training. This is where my journey with the NTCA starts.

I attended Coverings in Orlando, Fla., in 2007. I must have gotten on the NTCA’s mailing list because I started to receive the TileLetter magazine and began reading about the NTCA and what it had to offer. Being a small company, I initially didn’t think it would work for me, but I was wrong. I joined in 2009 and started using the benefits of the association by requesting technical advice and attending workshops whenever I could. When I wanted to get more involved, I was offered the opportunity in 2011 to serve on the Board of Directors, and attended my first Total Solutions Plus in Naples, Fla.

Brad Denny (left) with Dave Rogers during the Regional Evaluator training at TISE West this year

This is when I realized the true value of the NTCA. I can still remember sitting in on my first Technical Committee meeting and hearing James Woelfel ask if any of the contractors in the room had any comments. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I then realized that I had found what I was looking for and why I was a member of the NTCA. The association made it easy to make friends and get involved. I took every opportunity I could to lend a hand, from helping design the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) shower test, to assisting CTEF’s Scott Carothers set up demonstration modules, to becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) evaluator. My wife always teased me that I went on these trips to relax and sit by the pool, but that was never the case.

As I got more involved with the association, I got to know more and more people – especially a contractor from Grand Rapids, Mich. named Dan Welch. I remember calling him a few times looking for technical advice, then working with him to develop the ACT shower test. After a while – and a few trips to NTCA functions – we started to talk more and more about technical issues as well as what happened that day and life in general. Dan was generous with his help, so I made trips up to Grand Rapids to learn what I could do to grow my business. And I traveled with the Welch team in 2013 to install the temporary flooring at Coverings in Atlanta. Along the way, I’ve had some unexpected adventures, from changing an alternator in Dan’s truck along the side of the road, to tiling the inside of a shipping container at coverings in Chicago. When Dan says “So, I’ve been thinking…” you know it’s about to get interesting.

Dave Rogers (left) with Jim Olson at a Training and Education Committee meetings during TISE West in Las Vegas in January 2017.

As Dan’s and my friendship grew, I realized that my calling was not to be a business owner – but I felt I would make a great employee. So, I shifted gears and started looking at different opportunities in the industry for employment, including working for Welch Tile, but the distance always seemed to be a hurdle, or maybe I just wasn’t ready. In the fall of 2015, I helped Welch Tile as temporary labor on a project in Kalamazoo, Mich., and became convinced that I wanted to abandon business ownership and be part of a larger company that offered camaraderie and support. Dan and I talked about it in December 2015, and I revealed I was ready to make the leap away from self-employment the following year. A week later, while driving home from work, Dan called with his signature, “So, I’ve been thinking…” greeting – then offered me the opportunity to run the training program at Welch Tile.

The week after Christmas 2015, my family and I made the trip to Grand Rapids for an interview. It was a tough decision for my family to make, but we focused on the quality of life we had as a family, going back to the adage that “You don’t know until you try!” January 25, 2016, marked a new start to my career and a new way of life for my family in Grand Rapids, with Welch Tile.

Remember the question I asked at the beginning of this letter? I would have never dreamed by becoming an NTCA member I would be where I am today. If I never made that first trip to Coverings in 2007 and hadn’t joined the NTCA, where would I be today?

Building a better tile setter training process with Dan Welch

By Dan Welch, president, Welch Tile & Marble

Improving tile setter training

In June 2017, Welch Tile & Marble hosted the NTCA Five Star Contractor summit, updated the group on its training journey, and revealed future for hands-on tile training. Welch Training & Development manager Dave Rogers and I – through trial and error – jointly brainstormed about building a better tile setter training process using a shipping container. The plan escalated when we started developing the Five Star Contractor meeting agenda, which forced us to think through our process successes and failures over the past 12 years. We started with our related instruction outline for Apprenticeship and the milestones to build the NTCA online Apprenticeship modules.

Our first challenge with training was engaging the apprentices after working a full day in the field. Much of the classroom training required extensive pre-planning and preparation in the warehouse with tools and products in unused spaces. This situation led us to make small mockups that only one or two individuals could work hands-on at a time, leading to disengagement with class members who weren’t participating in hands-on module work – you knew you lost them when they pulled out their cell phones and their eyes glazed over.

Dan Welch and Dave Rogers worked together to develop a training container concept for house hands-on training modules for apprentices that would not tie up warehouse space.

Training factors to consider

We identified these different factors and aspects of training that needed to be addressed in order to craft an engaging, effective training process.

  • Safety tool box talks at the beginning of each class
  • Short classroom pre-hands-on explanation and theory
  • Encompassing real job challenges into our process by building scale mockups of upcoming projects’ conditions
  • Eliminating time-consuming setup and clean up
  • Addressing lack of usable space in a warehouse
  • Cost of training
  • Damage to training modules from week to week
  • Waste

    The excitement and buy-in was inspirational when all the apprentices had a mock up to work with.

  • Apprentice schedule flexibility and accommodating out of town commitments with make-up classes

Building a better training process

With these challenges in mind, we looked back at the 2016 Coverings Installation Design Showcase (IDS) container that we built our IDS vignette in, and contemplated how we could pair our hands-on training concept with a self-contained, movable area that would not plug up our warehouse every week. The concept was further validated by a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) pre-test activity, where our apprentice setters came in for many weeks and took the test two hours at a time and at their own pace. The excitement and buy-in was inspirational when they all had a mock up to work with.

Dave Rogers went a step further by adding proper lighting, and mock construction defects in the build out such as missing studs, multiple curb details, or out-of-level conditions

Our answer was right under our noses! We removed one wall of the 20-ft. shipping container and built various site conditions inside the container, starting with underlayment installation. We continued hands-on training each week, building on the previous week’s activity until it was complete.

Dave Rogers went a step further by adding proper lighting, and mock construction defects in the build out such as missing studs, multiple curb details, or out-of-level conditions.

We are currently working on an awning system that will enable us to leave the containers outside, which would let us move the classroom location and venue. These containers cost very little to purchase and fit out, allowing us to replicate anything we can dream up.

Welch Tile is currently working on an awning system that will enable it to leave the containers outside, which would make the classroom location and venue mobile.

Welch Tile has invested in people, training and education and safe work practices for a long time and this concept will allow us to be more efficient, better prepared, highly productive, and create a strong culture for the future of our business. I can only pray that many of you can invest in your team.

Dan Welch,
president Welch Tile & Marble,
“People Creating Change”

ON THE COVER: LATICRETE International – August 2017 GREEN Feature

Waiea Tower represents a new level of architectural sophistication

 

HYDRO BAN was used to support the heaviest materials, including Jade Green Onyx, seen here in the 36th floor penthouse shower. Photo credit – BMK Construction.

From the top of the mountains, all the way out into the ocean, every aspect of life in the Kingdom of Hawaii aims to be synergistic and sustainable, including its residential communities. With the goal of becoming the largest LEED for Neighborhood Development Platinum (LEED-NP) certified community in the country, building owner Howard Hughes Corporation hired James K.M. Cheng in collaboration with Rob Iopa and WCIT Architecture to design Waiea Tower, the flagship building of what is to be Honolulu’s most distinguished neighborhood, Ward Village.

The 60-acre coastal master planned community allows for up to 9.3 million square feet (approximately 863,998 m2) of mixed-use development and offers numerous outdoor gathering spaces that embrace Hawaiian culture, the perfect mix of urban and eco-friendly living. At completion, the community will include more than 4,000 residences and over one million square feet (92,903 m2) of retail shopping. To complete the construction of the 36-story tower, BMK Construction was enlisted to handle the tile and flooring installations for all of Waiea’s units and public spaces including the pool deck, level one lobby, porte cochere and four levels of penthouses.

“The Waiea Tower represents a level of architectural sophistication never before available in Hawaii, so it was exciting to be a part of history,” said BMK Construction project manager Kent Amshoff. “With the design team utilizing only the highest luxury elements, BMK Construction chose to use a range of LATICRETE® products to ensure long-lasting, quality installations that were also good for the environment.”

For centuries, water has been one of the most treasured resources of the Hawaiian people. As is typical of the entire community’s tie to Hawaiian culture and history, Waiea’s design pays homage to the Hawaiian term for “water of life” that links the structure to the importance of water in Hawaii’s coastal landscape.

BMK Construction used 255 MULTIMAX as a large-and-heavy-tile adhesive mortar to install the Kenyan Black Onyx backsplash. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Challenges: 

For waterproofing bathrooms, HYDRO BAN  was used as a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack-isolation membrane. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Logistical Procurement: High-end design materials from around the world were brought in from countries such as Italy, Portugal, China, Kenya, Turkey and the U.S. mainland. This proved challenging to assure proper quantities and specifications of each product would be delivered in time for installation.

Quality Control: Maintaining stringent levels of quality was a major concern during construction as multiple delays occurred due to massive rain storms in the summer of 2016. This mostly affected the installation of the pool deck, as contractors were not able to perform duties outside. Additionally, due to the high-end design elements, such as custom marble walls in the penthouse bathrooms, all plumbing work and leveling work needed to be performed with precision, as there would not be a second chance to get the installation right.

A LATICRETE solution: 

PERMACOLOR Grout was used for its high-performance properties, which provide a grout joint that is dense, hard and will resist cracking. Photo credit – BMK Construction

To meet the goal of acquiring LEED certification, all LATICRETE products chosen for the construction of Waiea Tower were those that have received multiple certifications and declarations including Health Product Declarations (HPD), Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions.

“LATICRETE is currently the only company with a full product-specific EPD for its cement self-leveling underlayments, cement grouts and cement mortars that includes both 255 MULTIMAX and PERMACOLOR® Grout,” said Amshoff. “These certifications gave Howard Hughes Corporation the peace of mind that LATICRETE is on the leading edge of sustainable innovation by providing transparency about the life-cycle impacts of their products.”

3701 Fortified Mortar thick-bed mortar was used to slope the pool deck to the area drains. Photo credit – BMK Construction

LATICRETE HYDRO BAN was carefully applied to make sure the shower updates are long-lasting. Photo credit – BMK Construction

To set all tile, BMK Construction used 255 MULTIMAX as a large-and-heavy-tile adhesive mortar. The patented, versatile polymer-modified thin-set was chosen due to its exceptional non-sag performance on walls, build up of 3/4” (18 mm) without shrinkage for floors, and maximum coverage due to its lightweight, creamy and smooth consistency. In addition, 255 MULTIMAX is reinforced with Kevlar® to provide maximum strength and durability, and now contains less than 10% post-consumer recycled content.

For waterproofing bathrooms throughout the entire building, including the 500 square feet (46 m2) of penthouse master bathrooms’ showers and toiletry areas, BMK Construction used HYDRO BAN® as a thin, load-bearing waterproofing/crack-isolation membrane. Thanks to its “Extra Heavy Service” rating per TCNA performance levels (RE: ASTM C627 Robinson Floor Test), HYDRO BAN was able to support even the heaviest materials, including Jade Green Onyx, which is seen in the 36th floor penthouse shower.

3701 Fortified Mortar thick-bed mortar was used to slope the showers, baths and pool deck to the area drains. Additionally, 3701 Fortified Mortar was used on the drive line where granite paver stones were present and applied on top of HYDRO BAN for the installation of structural concrete slabs. Chosen for its ease of use, 3701 Fortified Mortar is a polymer-fortified blend of carefully selected polymers, Portland cement and graded aggregates that does not require the use of latex admix. Water is the only element needed to produce thick-bed mortar with exceptional strength.

To grout, PERMACOLOR Grout was used for its high-performance properties, which provide a grout joint that is dense, hard and will resist cracking. Additional benefits include consistent color, fast setting and improved stain resistance for a cement-based grout.

255 MULTIMAX, the patented, versatile polymer-modified thinset, was chosen due to its exceptional non-sag performance. Photo credit – BMK Construction

Outcome

“With the help of LATICRETE, Ward Village is now the largest LEED-ND Platinum certified development in the country,” said Amshoff. “This building is at the forefront of sustainable development and solidifies the LATICRETE commitment to environmental responsibility.”  Waiea, the first completed residential tower, welcomed its first residents and anchor tenant Nobu in late 2016. Three high-rise residential buildings are currently under construction – Anaha, Ae‘o and Ke Kilhoana – and will be home to internationally acclaimed brands such as Merriman’s Restaurant and a flagship Whole Foods Market®.

Ask the Experts – August 2017

QUESTION

An architect has requested my input relative to developing a labor and material specification for installing new porcelain floor tile over existing granite floor tiles in a high-traffic lobby in a commercial office building. Can you direct me to any relevant literature or information that addresses such applications? Thanks.

ANSWER

I suggest referring your architect to the 2016 TCNA Handbook methods TR611, TR711 and particularly TR712. Please note that if the installation is not, or cannot be made acceptable for tiling over with a thin bed system, Method F111, or another method, may be required.

As described in TR712, it is critical that the existing installation be sound, well bonded and without structural cracks. It must be determined if the existing installation will properly support the new installation. The existing tile and its bond to the substrate and the condition of the substrate will all reflect on the performance of the new installation. If there are existing structural cracks, their cause will have to be explored before using the existing surface as a substrate. It is advisable to consider the need for a partial or full crack isolation membrane. Those methods are F125-Partial and F125-Full in the TCNA Handbook.

Any existing expansion in the substrate beneath the existing installation must be honored in the new installation. TCNA Handbook Method EJ171 will be the reference to all expansion and other types of joints that must be honored and designed and installed into the new system. Note that EJ171 states the architect shall specify the location of any expansion joints and other soft joints throughout the field and other locations such as the perimeter and any change in plane. Have the architect specify in writing (via drawings) where these are to go and which materials and EJ171 details should be used to construct them.

Checking for the ability to bond to the existing tile is imperative. If there are sealers or oils or waxes, etc., on the existing sur- face, they must be removed. If the tile is highly polished, it will likely require mechanical abrasion to allow the bond coat to adhere. I suggest doing a simple bond test by mixing and placing (including keying in) the mortar that will be used for the project onto the surface of the existing tile. Do this in several representative locations. Allow the mortar to cure for several days then remove it to determine how well it was able to bond to the substrate. You can select the trowel you will use for the job, comb the mortar and place a tile on top of the bond coat as a means of checking your coverage and inspecting the overall performance of the bond coat at the same time. Document everything about this test in writing and with photographs. Repeat the test with other materials and

tools if needed.
Depending on the results of the

bond test, it may be advisable to apply a primer that will facilitate bonding. Some setting-material manufacturers have specific primers designed for this purpose. They can recommend their best products (including mortar) for this application. I suggest using a system approach from one manufacturer that includes any primers, membranes, mortars, grouts, sealants, sealers, etc. I advise you to contact the technical representative of your preferred manufacturer about this job. They will be happy to assist you in writing a system warranty specific to this job.

Please also refer to ANSI A108.01 2.6.2.2 as an important reference for this installation.

It is necessary to ensure the substrate meets industry standard flatness requirements found in the ANSI Standards and TCNA Handbook. Please refer specifically to ANSI A108.01 2.6.2.2.

Generally speaking the standard is:

  • 1/4” in 10’ for tile with any side 
less than 15”
  • 1/8” in 10’ for tile with any side 
15’ or longer
  • Flatness can be checked with a 
10’ straight edge.

Financial allowances must be included in the specification, and proposal for labor and materials to flatten and otherwise prepare the substrate must be included in the specification and proposal. 
Tiling over sound existing tile as a substrate is an excellent way to proceed. As with any tile installation, careful research, proper planning, using the recommendations of industry standards, following manufacturer instructions, using a system approach, good communication and documentation before you proceed will mean a great and long-lasting installation and will make all parties happy with the end result. You are already on the right path. I hope this helps!

Mark Heinlein, NTCA Trainer/Presenter

NTCA University

Knowledge is power, the saying goes. And NTCA is doing its best to be sure you are knowledgeable about your industry and your trade, and a powerful force among customers, clients and competitors.

One of the ways NTCA is doing this is through NTCA University. If you haven’t heard about this veritable online college, visit www.tile-assn.com for details.

To recap, the first six months of the Finisher Apprentice Program in NTCA University are complete, packed with course content from contractors and manufacturers. There are over 40 courses in the 0 – 6 month Finisher Apprentice Orientation section of the program. Each course ranges from 10-20 minutes in length and has a quiz following to test the learner’s knowledge. These courses are, obviously, useful for apprentices, but also for those in the industry for many years since they contain safety and product information that benefits anyone in the trade. For example, if you haven’t worked with epoxy grout for a while, you can take a course on it as a refresher.

One of the benefits of NTCA membership is that NTCA contractor members receive special pricing.

  • NTCA Contractor Members: $99 per company
  • Associate/Affiliate Members: $199 per company
  • Non-NTCA Members: $499 per company

If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the online learning content, including anything new that is created, through December 31, 2017. As long as you have internet access, you can view courses from a computer, tablet, or phone.

Visit the NTCA Store at www.tile-assn.com to purchase your NTCA University subscription. And get started pumping up your knowledge or welcoming new apprentices, armed with know-how and information to make your company a leader in the field.

Want to know more? Visit NTCA University Update on page 98 of this issue.

Editor’s Letter – July 2017

“Without labor, nothing prospers.” – Sophocles
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance, and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday, June 8, I happened to see a clip of Ivanka Trump on Fox & Friends in which she discussed the upcoming trip she, her father and labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will make today to Wisconsin to address the skills gap and workforce training. The plan is to tour Waukesha County Technical College with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to discuss these issues, and the value of apprenticeship programs.

Although the White House has proposed cuts in overall job training programs, and no actual proposals for work-force training have been announced at this writing, clearly shining a light on the importance of skills training to bridge the gap between available jobs and people qualified to fill them – and to provide a viable career path alternative other than a four-year college – is a good thing.

Reserving the right to not be political in this column but to simply draw attention to efforts being made that may benefit our trade, let me just say that I hope this attention will stimulate a groundswell of enthusiasm towards establishing apprenticeship and skills training programs again in this country. I’m proud of the apprenticeship program NTCA is offering through the hard work of Becky Serbin, Dan Welch, Dave Rogers and others and others, and promise of additional training opportunities that will roll out later this year.

By the time you receive this issue of TileLetter, this may be old news on the national front or proposals may have already been made. But in our industry it’s front and center news every day.

On May 28, on the Tile Geeks Facebook page, Phil Green posed a question about people who are concerned that trades are not attracting new blood. He said a friend recently asked, “Why don’t you look into being a partner with [this] organization and mentor a couple of kids that MIGHT have an interest in the trades?”

Green got varying responses to his post. There were the true but predictable responses that shop and trade training has been eliminated from high schools over the years. Some posters indicated upcoming high school programs being formed that earn students credits for working in the field with local contractors, or programs that have attempted this with either high-school students, veterans and ex-convicts that have been tabled due to budget cuts. Some posters shared that they have spoken at classes at their vo-tech schools or churches. David Rothberg of LATICRETE noted that the company holds a masonry/tile trade day at its Connecticut facility for local state trade school students with hands-on demos and information on available opportunities, and offered its help to support such an effort.

And Ken Ballin, of Skyro Floors in Tuckerton, N.J., got fired up and suggested, “I’ve already sent a message to a teacher friend of mine about putting a ‘tradesman (and women) night’ together and it will go to administration this week. I encourage all to do the same. Let’s brainstorm and get some ideas together. Let’s stop complaining about what’s happened in the schools and do something. There’s no time like the present and there’s no better reason to do something for our kids.”

Let’s think about it. And do something about it. Is there an opportunity at a technical school, high school, community center, church, synagogue, mosque or spiritual center to organize or participate in a career night for trades people and technical workers to come together to expose kids making decisions about their future to the possibility that a trade might be the ticket to a lucrative, fulfilling future for them; something that would never be in danger of being outsourced or automated?

Everyone is busy; everyone is tired at the end of the day. But hopefully, you have some enjoyment and pride in the work you do, and would like to see our trade continue. I’d love to hear the ideas you come up with and actions you are taking to promote our trade and ensure there is a new generation of skilled craftspeople to carry it forward into the future. Write to me at the email below!

God bless,

Lesley

[email protected]

President’s Letter – July 2017

Developing an attractive career path in the tile trade

This month, we follow up on last month’s President Letter discussing how we become “Best in Class” contractors, and how one of the centerpieces is being skilled and trained craftspeople. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; there is a serious shortage of young, talented workers entering the construction field as a career choice.

In last month’s Editor’s Letter, we learned that in the 2016 U.S. market, the public consumed approximately 2.8 billion sq. ft. of ceramic tile. Based on some quick number crunching and lots of assumptions, between 70,000 and 80,000 full-time tile mechanics would be required to install that volume of tile. This does not include installing any stone finishes. Even though the NTCA has approximately 1,400 members and CTEF has certified approximately 1,300 Certified Tile Installers nationwide, added together, it’s all a proverbial “drop in the bucket!”

This doesn’t mean that most – or many – installers not belonging to one of these groups are unqualified; it does mean that we need to work hard to draw them in to a program of continuing education and training along with potential certification. Based on the number and scope of failures that exist in our trade, it’s safe to say that a sizable number of those installing tile have neither been properly trained nor are seeking further professional development.

I was talking with a general contractor recently about this issue, and we began to think about all the impediments that keep non-college aspiring young people from taking a serious look at the construction field as a career choice. We came up with several that might be worth our attention. On average, there are few organized training programs regionally or nationally on the high school/vocational school level that allow students to learn and earn a diploma or work at the same time. The only exceptions we could identify quickly were the electrical and mechanical trades, which also require certifications – and in some cases, licensing – to climb the career ladder. Add to that, the often-poor working conditions on project sites such as limited elevators or buck hoists, non-air-conditioned work areas, and disorganized work spaces with numerous other trades often working in the same rooms. I’m sure there are many more you can think of, but probably one of the most important is the low earning potential of many workers during the training process and potentially even beyond.

We need to start the dialog about how we as an industry can develop an attractive career path, including training that will show entrants what they must achieve to earn their desired income. At the same time, we need to attempt to minimize some of the other negatives of the modern construction environment. As a finish trade with highly artistic components, I believe we have an advantage over some other trades because our work is always on display.

Dan Welch and Becky Serbin – along with the Education and Training Committee – are working hard to put together the complete apprenticeship program, which will include a career path and earning scale. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I invite you to do so. This is only one piece of a comprehensive plan we must develop or eventually we will all suffer the consequences.

I welcome your comments and ideas about how to move forward and I ask for your involvement and participation in the solution.

Keep on tiling!

Martin Howard, NTCA president

Committee member, ANSI A108

[email protected]

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