Five Star Contractor Spotlight – March 2018

Premier Tile & Marble, Gardena, Calif.


High-profile projects get a professional Five Star Contractor touch

Greg Games, the owner and president of Premier Tile, began his career in the tile industry in the late 70s working for his father, Ray Games. The senior Games owned Orange County Tile, which focused on residential tile installation.

Greg Games joined the union and became a journeyman in 1982 while working for Venetian Tile. Soon, he began estimating and eventually became vice president until its owner retired.

In 1993, Premier Tile & Marble ( was established in Gardena, Calif., with many field and office employees who had worked together for many years. This family-run business prides itself on employing second and third generations of highly-trained craftsmen, who have helped build Premier Tile into one of Southern California’s leading commercial tile installers.

2018 marks Premier Tile’s 25th year providing the highest-quality commercial tile and stone installation that clients have come to expect. The company’s reputation in the industry comes from its dedication to professionalism and strict adherence to the highest standards. The company is proud to have played integral roles in the building of many high-profile projects such as: the award-winning Oaks Mall; The Brickhouse at Playa Vista; Disneyland; Los Angeles Football Club; USC; UCLA; Entrada at Santa Barbara; Glendale Galleria; Santa Monica Mall; Westfield Century City Mall; PetCo Park; Kodak Theater; Del Amo Mall; Kaiser Hospitals; Torrance Memorial Hospital; Great Wolf Lodge; Los Angeles International Airport; LA Federal Courthouse; Waldorf Astoria; Rady’s Children Hospital and many more.

Premier Tile joined NTCA initially in 2010, re-upped in 2017, and recently became a Five Star Contractor. “Collaborating with the NTCA gives us the avenue we need to keep our finger on the pulse of our industry,” said Greg Games. “We believe the Five Star program is very reputable, and a good tool for contractors to use in hiring subs. We are proud to have qualified for the program. We believe that being a member of the Five Star program will set us apart from other companies, and general contractors will choose a company that merits this certification.”

All Premier Tile employees are either enrolled or have graduated from the Local 4 (previously Local 18) apprenticeship program, which helped qualify the contractor for Five Star status. “We encourage all our apprentices to compete in the annual contest, and we are pleased to say that Premier Tile employees have won that contest many times,” Games said. “We require our key personnel to take and pass the UofCT program offered by The University of Ceramic Tile & Stone. Other construction-related areas of education include: OSHA Training, Forklift Certifications, Scaffolding Certifications, ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Certifications and First Responder Certifications. Employees are always encouraged to continue their education and share their experiences with their fellow employees.”

As California continues to build and grow, Premier Tile forecasts continued growth and expansion.  Currently it is in negotiations with many general contractors for a variety of large and exciting projects. The evolution of products in the tile industry has opened many new avenues and Premier Tile is at the forefront of new and innovative installations, looking forward to another successful 25 years!

“After being in business for 25 years, we proudly look back at many successful projects,” Games added. “We have helped build a city where our families live and given employment opportunities to many long- time employees.”

Memphis Tile and Marble Co., celebrates its 50th anniversary

Today, February 7, 2018, Memphis Tile and Marble Co., celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“We are excited about the milestone and look forward to many more years serving Memphis,” said Ricky Cox, president.  “We have some of the most loyal customers and are blessed to be able to help build our city.  The NTCA has been a part of the majority of my life in some form or another.”

Ricky Cox

Memphis Tile and Marble Co. Inc.,  specializes in high-end, high-quality residential and light commercial work, offering expert craftsmanship in a range of tile installation, including Mexican, porcelain and brick pavers, as well as bathroom vanities, cultured marble tops and natural stone products. It provides skilled installation of whirlpool tubs and radiant floor systems for the Memphis and Midsouth areas, as well as full-scale kitchen and bathroom remodels.

Founded in 1968 by Thomas Cox, the company now employees 12 full-time employees and in addition to installing tile, fabricates counter tops. Several years ago, Thomas’s son Richard (Ricky) Cox took the CTI certification at BPI in Memphis in order to separate himself from the competition, and put the company on the road for its status as a NTCA Five Star Contractor, a credential of installation excellence in the tile industry.

“Memphis Tile and Marble  has been a strong member of NTCA for many years,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “Tommy Cox was our association Tile Person of the Year in 2008, and they were approved as a Five Star Contractor early on in this program. Tommy’s son Ricky has actively supported our training programs in his region and served two terms on our Board of Directors. We congratulate them on this milestone!”

Amber Fox, Five Star Program Director for NTCA added, “With Memphis Tile & Marble’s high quality installations and dedication to our craft it is no surprise that they are one of our longstanding contractors who have been part of our Five Star Group since 2009.  Congratulations on your prosperous 50 years and we look forward to being a part of your future successes!”

Cox said, “The contacts and friendships that I have made through the NTCA have helped Memphis Tile and Marble succeed in the tile contracting world. Here’s to another 50 years!”

50th Five Star Contractor Member – Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co.

Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc., was founded in 1929 by Earl J. Trostrud Sr., originally concentrating primarily on residential construction as it worked hard to create a solid reputation.

At the end of 1939, with the outbreak of war in Europe, the company temporarily closed, and Earl Trostrud Sr. went to work making aircraft engine parts, and in the construction department of Kraft Foods. In postwar 1946, Earl Trostrud Sr. reopened Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc., still focusing on the residential market and building its reputation for quality and craftsmanship.

In 1957, Earl Trostrud Sr. started pursuing commercial contracts and was awarded several gas station projects. These successful projects whetted the appetite for more commercial work.

In the spring of 1958, after graduating St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Earl Trostrud Jr. joined his father in the tile business and they both pursued commercial contracts, with the same ethics of quality workmanship, integrity and honesty that the company was founded on. They committed to treating everyone – no matter your role in the company or as a business partner – the way they would want to be treated.

In the summer of 1975, Earl Trostrud Sr. retired from the tile business. Ten years later – after graduating from University of Wisconsin Stout with a major in industrial design/product design and a minor in graphic design, and working in these fields – his grandson Brad Trostrud decided to give estimating a six-month try, working alongside his father Earl Trostrud, Jr.

Brad relished the opportunity to work with his father and to strengthen the bond. By now the company, based in Wood Dale, Ill., had grown to be 15% high-end residential and 85% commercial. It turned out to be a rewarding decision for both of them. Earl, now in his early ’80s, is still working every day, and holds the title of president. Brad is the vice president.

Earl and Brad have always been very active in the Ceramic Tile Contractors Association of Chicago (CTCAC) and Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), both serving in every position. Earl helped found the Chicago Tile Institute promotion fund to uphold the value of union-installed tile and stone. Earl is also the chairman for the Pension and Welfare fund since 1990, and served as a Zone Director for the TCAA in the ‘70s. In 2013, Earl was awarded the Carl V. Cesery Award that recognizes distinguished service to the tile industry.

Brad serves on The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Technical committee and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook committee. Brad was also involved in the creation of Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT), a certification program to provide a level of consumer confidence for installation procedures that exceed ANSI Standards and TCNA guidelines. Brad has also served as director, treasurer and now is president elect for TCAA.

Joining NTCA

Brad came to NTCA through a Trowel of Excellence/Five Star Contractor meeting at the Crossville plant a few years ago, where he met Artcraft’s James Woelfel and David Allen Company’s Chris Walker.

“James and Chris are two of the sharpest minds in the tile industry I have ever known,” he said. “By the time I left Tennessee, I felt like we were all old friends. “

Brad also met Welch Tile & Marble’s Dan Welch, David Allen Company’s Martin Howard, Cox Tile’s John Cox and CTEF’s Scott Carothers in 2013, at the first Total Solutions Plus to include TCAA in Scottsdale, Ariz. “What a group of wonderful gentlemen, not afraid to share the great knowledge they have acquired during the years in our industry,” he said. “Getting to know them over the years has been a great blessing. So after a time, I felt compelled to join their NTCA.”

Since union setters and finishers go through an extensive apprenticeship program, CTI certification wasn’t a requirement for Trostrud’s Five Star Contractor status – NTCA’s 50th Five Star – but the company has five ACT-certified setters nonetheless, one of whom was tapped by the union to be the Chicago-Midwest head instructor for the BAC IMI.

Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc., has been honored with various awards over the years, most notably the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Craft Award for Best Mosaic in 2015 and best Tile Project in 2008. It also received TCAA’s 1st Place Commercial Project award and achieved Trowel of Excellence certification in 2012. It contends that it employs the best union trade installers in the business. The company – which has grown to 90% commercial – holds as its top priority providing the best tile installations

“We are not interested in being the largest or the least expensive tile contractor – we will not compromise on quality – we just want to be known as the best,” Brad Trostrud said.

The building blocks of a NTCA Five Star Contractor

Amber Fox, NTCA Five Star Program Director

As I wrap up my first year on the job as the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program Director I have been reflecting on some of the items that we are implementing for 2018. One of the first items that comes to mind is the update to our application. This has great significance because it is essentially a roadmap on how to become a Five Star Contractor.

Our new application incorporates the building blocks to a Five Star Contractor: Integrity, Professionalism, and Craftsmanship. In order to build a firm foundation, your company culture must value continual investment in itself. So how do we find companies that have this culture imbedded on all levels, and how do we evaluate them for acceptance into our group?  These are the questions we asked ourselves when we updated our application.

I will touch upon some of the key elements of the application process in the hopes that you can recognize greatness in your own company, and if not that it can inspire you to rise to the challenge.

Integrity – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, and the state of being whole and undivided.

All applicants must show proof that they are contracting under the local laws of their state, which means that they carry all licenses and insurance needed.  Stability is important, which is why they must attest that for the last five years:

  1. They have operated under the same company name
  2. The company has not filed for bankruptcy
  3. There have been no federal or state tax liens filed against the company
  4. The company pays all federal, state and local payroll taxes, worker’s compensation, unemployment, FICA, etc. for all employees.

As a Five Star Contractor, you are part of something bigger, which is why you are also required to have been an active NTCA member for at least three years. Active membership does not just mean that you have paid your dues; we are seeking out leaders who get involved and want to help shape our Industry. That’s why you will always see our Five Star Contractors out in force at events like TISE West, Coverings, and Total Solutions Plus.

ProfessionalismExhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.

This sums up how you do business as a whole. We request resumes for your designated company representative as well as a project manager to help us understand the background of your company. The backbone of all companies is their employees and we want to know that you value them and invest in them. That’s why we require that you have an active Safety Program as well as an Employee Manual/Handbook.

Each day contractors need to interact with many partners such as material manufacturers and distributors.  Successfully navigating these relationships is imperative, so we require that you gather three reference letters from your vendors/suppliers attesting to your professionalism in the tile industry.  How your client sees you is the best judge of all, so we also require three letters of recommendation from your client base such as architects, designers, general contractors, or owners.

CraftsmanshipOne who creates or performs with skill and dexterity especially in the manual arts.

Now we address the heart of our contractors – the artisans. It is our belief that it takes one to know one, so two letters of recommendations from peers or competitors are required.

Since our group encompasses national membership, we needed to find a way to evaluate skill level. To that end, it was decided that at least 10% of your field installers must be Certified Tile Installers through the CTEF or have completed a three-year apprenticeship program approved by the Department of Labor. Although it is required that 10% be certified, many of our Five Star Contractors have fully embraced this program and are far above the minimum needed.

The Five Star Contractor Group is comprised of contractors of all sizes and specialties but what they all have in common is an unwavering drive to exceed expectations, upholding the highest technical standards, and providing impeccable quality and service. Because of this commitment to excellence on every level, I see our group as industry leaders who are creating the change we want to see in our industry. It is my

hope that others see our efforts and are inspired to join us.

If you would like additional information about the NTCA Five Star Program, please reach out to me at [email protected].

INSTALLATION DESIGN SHOWCASE – NTCA Five Star Members complete Tiny House Projects at IDS

The Installation Design Showcase at Coverings in April got a new spin this year. Usually, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractors collaborate with leading designers to install ceramic tile in vignettes on the show oor. Sadly, they are then demolished at the close of the show.

Not this year! Contractors and designers collaborated on designing and installing tile in functional tiny houses on the showroom floor, which are being reused after the show. Creative designs utilizing many types of tile were installed in the three tiny homes throughout the show, allowing attendees to see their progress.

The design was inspired by Dan Welch (whose company participated in this year’s IDS: Tiny House edition), who hauled a shipping container to Coverings ’16 in which to build his vignette. Then he drove his vignette home and has employed it for multiple uses back in Michigan.

All three installation companies have successfully completed the NTCA Five Star Contractor recognition program and employ installrs who have passed the Certified Tile Installer exam administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. “I love the opportunity to showcase the technical as well as artistic capabilities of our Five Star Contractors,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox.

In addition to the suppliers for the individual houses, iQ Power Tools, ETM, Lackmond, Schluter, and USG contributed tools, equip- ment and materials to the Tiny House effort.

Retro Bungalow Visalia Ceramic Tile, Kim Lewis

Visalia Ceramic Tile, from Visalia, Calif., – the nation’s 38th Five Star Contractor, worked with Kim Lewis, founder of Kim Lewis Designs (www.kimlewisdesigns. com), lead designer for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Lewis’ design evokes the nostalgia of a Palm Springs desert setting, with tile provided by various Ceramics of Italy manufacturers, including nostalgic pink tile and surfacing from Atlas Concorde and grey tile from The Ricchetti Group that evokes concrete, Lewis said. MAPEI contributed installation materials to the project.

Designer Kim Lewis (l.) speaks with Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra (c.) and Sam Bruce, project manager for Visalia Ceramic Tile

Lewis’ design evokes the nostalgia of a Palm Springs desert setting.










Ceramics of Italy manufacturers supplied tile and MAPEI supplied the setting materials.

This tiny home was built in Austin, Texas and driven to Orlando for the show.







Vitruvian Home J&R Tile, Inc., Nikki Vega

The Vitruvian tiny house, designed by Nikki Vega of bluetreehome, and installed by J & R Tile Inc., of San Antonio, was inspired by nature’s geometric forms, spe- cifically the spiral of the nautilus shell. The space, featuring tile by Crossville, Inc., was very detailed and required a lot of fabrication, made easier by Joel Guth and the equipment from iQ Power Tools, said J&R’s Erin Albrecht. ARDEX supplied setting materials.

“I’ve designed a few tiny homes and it’s really fun because you have to be really thoughtful with your design – every inch matters,” Vega said.

Crossville supplied the tile for the Vitruvian home – here Groove Glass was used to form the wall mosaic.

Erin Albrecht (l.) of J&R Tile, Inc., with Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra (c.), and designer Nikki Vega, discussing the inspiration for the Vitruvian Home

Multiple seating areas characterize the Vitruvian home. The countertop
is made of Laminam by Crossville gauged porcelain tile.











The oor is formed of Nest planked porcelain with arresting inset designs of Crossville marble-look tile from the Virtue line.

The Vitruvian bath, with Yin + Yang natural stone mosaic on the backsplash wall and Natural Inspirations in Bianco Statuario Polished, from the Kauri line of Laminam thin gauged porcelain tile.


















West Michigan House Welch Tile & Marble, Lauren Figueroa

The West Michigan House was designed by Lauren Figueroa of The Georgia Pear Interiors (, and installed by Welch Tile & Marble, both from the Grand Rapids area, which made it easier to collaborate. Figueroa – who is new to tile – used a large-format commercial Florim line throughout to make the space seem taller and bigger. LATICRETE supplied setting materials.

Florim large format commercial tile was used throughout the space. Figueroa spent a lot of time on the Florim website to familiarize herself with the products, noticing that their tile is often used in commercial settings and decided to use that in
the residential space. “I noticed they also used really giant tile for the whole entire space, and thought that might help it feel taller and longer…it made it ow really well,” she said.

Designer Lauren Figueroa(l.) describes her design for the West Michigan House as Alena Capra and Dan Welch look on.

Since they were both located in the Grand Rapids area, Figueroa and Welch collaborated on the house from the very beginning.

Commercial tile from Florim gave an expansive feel to the space.


The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is proud to announce the acceptance of two of its members, The Stuart Company and D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting, as Five Star Contractors.

To obtain Five Star certification, contractors must be a member of NTCA, and complete an application process that includes submitting examples of work, reviews and recommendations from peers and customers and proven commitment to service, quality, safety and superior job performance. Five Star Contractors are also required to certify a minimum of 10 percent of their installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program or ACT certification for installers.

The Stuart Company is a professional tile and flooring installation company based out of Macomb, Mich., installing mostly commercial projects, specializing in assisted living facilities, car dealerships, and large commercial, as well as some residential projects. “Joining the NTCA and becoming a Five Star Contractor has relit a fire in my passion for the industry,” said Phil Kozey, project manager at 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.

D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone, of Marietta, Ga., has been in business since 1994 and works by the motto, “Craftsmanship by the standards.” The company specializes in large residential stone and tile projects in both new and remodeling sectors, and specialty cladding projects. “We believe that by being a Five Star Contractor member, we have set a high standard for the company and the employees. For our employees to learn and work alongside other Five Star Contractors, will only make us a stronger and more profitable contractor,” said Woody Sanders, founder of D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone.

The tile industry believes strongly in the quality of workmanship offered by NTCA Five Star Contractors.  Many manufacturers recommend Five Star contractors to their customers on challenging projects, and in 2012, language recommending qualified labor and in particular NTCA Five Star Contractors, was approved and inserted into the Tile Council of North America Handbook for tile and stone specification and installation.

If you are an NTCA member and interested in gaining Five Star certification, contact Five Star Program Director Amber Fox at [email protected].


Welch Tile and Marble and Noble Company Team Up To Host Quality Five Star Event in Michigan

NTCA Five Star Contractors who attended the summer meeting in Grand Haven, Michigan June 7th-9th were welcomed with open arms by management and employees of Welch Tile and Marble and the Noble Company.  The two-day event offered a variety of educational programs, including a plant tour and live demonstrations by the Noble Company, and a complete company interactive session between Five Star Contractors and Welch Tile employees.  By doing this, the Five Star members were exposed to some new ideas for managing a contracting business.  Equally important, Welch Tile was exposed to some different and exciting ways of operating that the Five Star Members were able to share.  Everyone came out of the session energized and supporting this concept. NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox presented new strategic objectives and received feedback from the group.  Capping off the program were presentations on developing a culture in your company that embraces change and outstanding performance by a local general contractor and a lively contractor and distributor roundtable discussion.
The NTCA Five Star summer meeting for 2018 will be hosted by Daltile in Nashville, Tennessee and is currently being planned.

The Noble Company hosted the members with a plant tour and dinners on the shores of Lake Michigan

Small Groups of Contractors met with Welch Tile Employees for a unique sharing experience.

Member Spotlight – D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting


Woody Sanders

Woody Sanders, founder of Marietta, Ga.’s D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting, grew up in the tile industry. In the early 90’s, Sanders, had a seven-year tenure in technical services operations at Custom Building Products, getting a first-hand look at the difference between a well-executed, detailed tile job and a failed one. Valuing this technical perspective, and wanting to get back to the creative side of tile and stone installations, D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting was born in 1994 on a part time basis, then moving to full time in 1996. Today, the company specializes in large residential stone and tile projects in both new and remodeling sectors, plus specialty cladding projects.

The strong technical underpinning of the company shows up in its motto, “Craftsmanship by the standards.” Sanders said, “It is not just about making the work look good; it is the whole installation system that makes it last. What sets us apart in the market is that we strive to be a forward-thinking company. We strive to always grow and be better than we were the day before, from recruitment to the training of our employees, to how we proactively communicate with our customers, architects, and designers and cover every detail on the job site.”  To that end, Sanders said that the company in planning a mobile app this year for all of its job documents, deduction logs, and safety documents.

Sanders has a long history with the NTCA, starting with his grandfather, A.W. Cook, who was an early member of STTMCA, as NTCA was known years ago. A few years after establishing his company, Sanders joined NTCA in 1997, and rejoined in 2013, to be “a part of something bigger than us,” Sanders said. “We are, for the most part, local and regional. NTCA makes you a part of a national tile organization, looking out for the installation contractor.

“Bobby White, a contractor I worked with, said to me many years ago, ‘Show a tile contractor how make his job easier and he will be your partner for life.’ That is what the NTCA does through training and addressing issues we face as an industry and as individuals,” Sanders added.

One of these issues will be labor force in the future, which Sanders is tackling along with fellow NTCA Five Star Contractor, Rod Owen of C.C. Owen Tile Company, Inc., in Jonesboro, Ga.  Sanders and Owen met up at Total Solutions Plus in 2016, and Owen introduced Sanders to involvement with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) this past March.

“As a sponsor in the recruitment of young people into the tile industry, we think this is a stepping stone in the right direction to ensure the future of the industry,” Sanders said.

Five Star status

The conversations of like-minded people at Total Solutions Plus last year lit a spark in Sanders to pursue this elite company of contractors.

“We believe that by being a Five Star Contractor member, we have set a high standard for the company and the employees,” Sanders said. “For our employees to learn and work alongside other Five Star Contractors, will only make us a stronger and more profitable contractor. While we do not bid commercial work, we see the ability for Five Stars to present CEU’S (Continuing Education Credits) to architect and designer continuing education in our area will keep our name in the forefront as the ‘go- to’ company.”

Sanders also was excited about the Five Star Contractor requirement of having Certified Tile Installers (CTIs) on board. “Two of my tile setters and I took the test this year,” he said. “It was the hardest and most satisfying 25 sq. ft. you will ever set. We are awaiting the ACT schedule this summer and Scott [Carothers, from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation] has promised to hold spots for myself and my men to take. We plan to have all of our setters become CTIs, as well as our apprentice setters in the future. Certification for us opened up great discussion, and put the office and field on the same page.

“In the residential side of tile, we rarely receive specs or TCNA Handbook details, so we are forced to create our own series of specs based upon construction practices in our region,” he added. “While we estimate calling out TCNA methods, the CTEF certification process further solidified what and how we should be looking at our projects.”

Sanders takes the work he and his company does to heart, filled with pride for the work done, and the people working together to accomplish the task.

“Our places of work are in the most immaculate homes in America, some historic and some over the top,” he said. “We are trusted to construct lasting beauty with our own flair. People get to see what we do and what we represent, and I get to accomplish this with people who are much more than employees, they are friends.”


DW Sanders employees  Janice Hill (l.) and Woody Sanders (r.) showing off CEFGA art piece that was given to CEFGA during CEFGA Career Expo and SkillsUSA, both held at the Georgia International Convention Center March 23 and 24, 2017.


This guest bath features a 4”x 8” crackled wall tile over installed over cement board with a waterjet stone floor. The remodel over old structure floor had to be leveled with self-leveling and crack isolation on top of the self-leveling.


This curbless marble shower was new construction, with waterproofing to integrate with the outer floor. Shower floor has Orbit heated floor, with slab components at curb, bench, and window seal.

New construction foyer with waterjet marble over wire reinforced mud bed with crack isolation over pretension precast concrete panel floors.

Ceramic tile shower walls in soldier course over cement board with waterproofing membrane. Bench was built from cinderblock with limestone accents in niche and curb.

D.W. Sanders conducted a complete remodel of the master bath. All walls throughout bath were set with large-format tile with the floor and feature wall set in 24” x 24” matte black porcelain tile. The contractor made its own bullnose of the through-bodied porcelain.



The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recognized industry leaders at its fifth annual awards ceremony during Coverings 2017 in Orlando. Among the awards presented were the Five Star Contractor Grand Prize awards for both commercial and residential tile installation projects.

Submissions were judged based on project size, challenges involved, resolution of challenges, design and overall presentation. “When we are reviewing all the amazing submissions I feel immense pride in the proficiency in which our Five Star Contractors achieve. These projects are not only technically complex but artistically beautiful as well,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox.

“The Ratner Residence”

Heritage Marble and Tile of Mill Valley, California received the Five-Star Grand Prize for residential tile installation. The firm was tasked with the Ratner Residence, a project consisting of handmade glass made by Fireclay Tile of San Jose. The project was challenging in the fact that the install involved a curved wall, soaking tub and an integrated shower stall with a curbless application. With oversight from the homeowner, a qualified crew of CTI and ACT certified installers exceeded expectations.


US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings

The Five-Star Grand Prize for commercial tile installation was presented to Grazzini Brothers & Company of Eagan, Minnesota for the completion of their project, the 1.75 million square foot U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The installation incorporated 56 different types and sizes of tile, from the marble stairs, to the glass walls and porcelain plank flooring. Having multiple architects on a project this size gave crews the opportunity to showcase their skills from layout to install of different ideas and design under one roof.

Both Five Star winners were awarded $2,500 in prize money, sponsored by Daltile Corporation.

Northern Virginia NTCA Five Star Contractors partner on high-visibility Dekton project

Collins Tile and Stone, David Allen Company collaborate on commercial fabrication showroom install 

The crew (l. to r.): DAC’s Hugo Gonzalez, Chris Walker, and Edgar Martinez; and Collins’ Oscar Cardenas, Arpad Bereczki, and Buck Collins.


When Marble & Granite Express, a Cosentino Loyalty fabricator in Chantilly, Va., decided to completely redesign and remodel its DC-area customer showroom and design center, only a beautiful floor that would perform under the most extreme foot-traffic conditions would do. Because this customer is a Cosentino Dekton Certified fabricator – working daily with Dekton for countertops, fireplaces, exterior kitchens, showers, facades and other interior and exterior applications – it knew that Dekton, of course would be the perfect solution for the 2,000 sq. ft. showroom floor.


Crews had to diamond-grind the floor to prepare it for primer and self-leveling underlayment.

Dekton is a breed of surfacing material unto itself. The website ( explains that Dekton “employs exclusive Sinterized Particle Technology, a high-tech process which represents an accelerated version of the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years.” The material has zero porosity and is super strong, lacking micro-defects in other materials that can cause tension or weak spots and it resists heat, frost and thawing. It’s also super flat, with 1/4000th of an inch tolerance.


Primer was applied after diamond-grinding and prior to self-leveler application.


To best show the value of Dekton, Cosentino has chosen to partner with highly-skilled NTCA Five Star Contractors. These contractors have a proven ability to expertly handle Dekton’s hardness and its size with specialized techniques and equipment necessary to work with the material. That’s why Larry Mazzola, who runs Cosentino DC, turned to Collins Tile and Stone in Ashburn, Va., and David Allen Company (DAC) in Raleigh, N.C.

Stellar collaboration from Five Star Contractors

Crews get ready to level the floor.


Both NTCA Five Star Contractors – an industry-recognized measure of excellence and accomplishment — Collins and DAC have had a long professional and personal friendship, born of mutual membership in the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). Buck Collins, president of Collins Tile and Stone is dedicated to employing installers with Certified Tile Installer (CTI) credentials, an industry-recognized measure of validating tile setting skills.  Buck, along with wife Dana, has a superior reputation for performing high-end

LATICRETE NXT Level created a smooth, flat surface for the Dekton panels.

residential installations with unrivaled customer-satisfaction.  In addition, the company is involved in serving the industry and always learning more. Buck was the NTCA Region #2 director until last year, and was the first Northern Virginia NTCA Five Star Contractor.  He also is a member of the NTCA Technical Committee. 


Chris Walker is vice president of the David Allen Company, NTCA vice president , and chairman of ANSI A-108 and the new A-108.19 gauged thin tile panel installation standard.  And it turns out that both Collins Tile and Stone, and the David Allen Company are inaugural members of the Cosentino-Dekton family.

The Dekton panels were 56” x 56” x 8 mm thick.

The project got started when Collins Tile and Stone was contacted by Mazzola because of Collins’ regional reputation for high quality installations and commitment to customer service.  After evaluating the needs of the project, Buck decided to call on Chris and DAC for collaborating on the job.  David Allen Company – one of the nation’s largest contractors — brought experience with installing several gauged thin porcelain tile and large panel projects to the table. Since these sintered ultra-compact Dekton Zenith materials on floors were 56” x 56” x 8 mm thick, DAC’s experience was invaluable in ensuring a smooth installation process.

ETM Grip from European Tile Masters was used to move and handle the ultra-large format Dekton panels.

Good thing too – “The biggest challenges…were the size of the tile,” Collins said.  “While the tools we used made that easier, we were still setting 21.77 square foot per tile!” 

Another key member of the team was LATICRETE’s Kurt Webber, who worked with Collins’ Concrete Coatings crew to facilitate self-leveling necessary for the project.

“Since a perfectly flat floor is instrumental to successful tile installations — particularly large panel installations — significant floor preparation was required,” Walker said.


The prep work took three days and the tile installation itself was eight days,” Collins said. Collins Concrete Coatings personnel used diamond-

LATICRETE 4-XLT mortar was used on the job.

wheel concrete grinding equipment in concert with a survey by DAC to identify areas that needed grinding or filling, Walker added. After grinding, crews installed LATICRETE NXT Primer and leveled the floor using LATICRETE NXT Level.  In addition, two coats of LATICRETE Hydro Ban were installed for its crack isolation properties.

To facilitate moving and handling of the Dekton, European Tile Masters’ Brian Runkle reviewed the latest installation techniques and equipment with the installation crews.


The installation crews featured three Certified Tile Installers: Collins Tile and Stone’s Oscar CardenasCTI # 1007, along with two from David Allen Company: superintendent Marcos Castillo, CTI #552, and Edgar Martinez, CTI #1257.

Dekton panels were back buttered with a large-format tile mortar.



Crews used LATICRETE 4-XLT large-format mortar to bond the Dekton and LATICRETE SPECTRALock Pro Premium to grout it.


In addition, Collins Tiles and Stone’s experienced finisher Arpad Bereczki (who is on track to take his CTI exam soon) and DAC’s Hugo Gonzalez also assisted with the installation (Hugo is enrolledin the NTCA University’s Apprentice training program). Buck Collins noted that the Marble & Granite Express was “absolutely thrilled” with the installation.


Mortar also was applied to the floor to lock in the bond.


And the added benefit for Collins Tile and Stone and nearby David Allen Company is that there is now a “2,000 sq. ft. showroom in our backyard.” A true win-win for everyone involved.






Crews installed 2,000 sq. ft. of Dekton panels on the fabricator showroom floor.

Dekton expertly installed by crews from Collins Tile and Stone and David Allen Company.


1 2 3 5