A Year of Possibilities

By John Trent, John Trent Construction

With more than several hundred opportunities around the U.S. this year to attend industry events, access to continuing education within the industry has never been so abundant. Never before has it been so easy to participate with the industry, and never before has it been as necessary as it is today.

These days, many people enter this industry with their only exposure to installation training being what they learned from a big-box, one-hour presentation on Saturday morning or through trial and error as taught by the school of hard knocks. Scores more have only experienced managing a business from the shoebox of receipts stuffed under the seat of the work truck. Others have never heard of any industry associations.

Like many others in the trade today, I did not have the good fortune of being born into a tile family or knowledge of any apprenticeship. I installed for several years before working with an installer who possessed the desire to share with me the correct ways. I still had no knowledge of any industry associations, training programs or symposiums. It never crossed my mind that there could be these types of organizations out there willing to train me in the correct methods.

A rising tide lifts all boats

What’s your point, you ask? The point is that there is so much available knowledge out there to be shared – a lot of it free of charge – yet so few take advantage of it. Not only do we do ourselves a disservice by failing to utilize this information, we also keep our industry headed in the wrong direction by not taking advantage of the opportunities to learn and share the most up-to-date practices. From promoting industry standards through social media, encouraging less-engaged installers/companies to attend available opportunities, or taking the time to share our passions with those outside the industry, we should all take an ownership role in the industry, not just in our own businesses.  It is up to everyone involved in this or any other trade to make it the best it can be by becoming a good steward for the industry. By sharing practices, skills, knowledge and techniques we will help raise this trade back to the higher standard it enjoyed in years past. Everyone should take the initiative to help themselves by helping the industry. A rising tide lifts all boats. As president Theodore Roosevelt said, “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”

A knowledge-driven industry

It has been said that our industry used to be skills-driven but now is more knowledge-driven. Staying abreast of this ever-changing knowledge is paramount to success in today’s market. No longer are we installing only a half-dozen different types of tiles. Today you can have a half-dozen different materials in a single project! We are bombarded with hundreds of options and variations of tiles, mortars, grouts, waterproofing, sealers, floor prep, crack suppression materials, uncoupling membranes, drains….and the list goes on.

While most all of these materials are good products when used according to their given specifications, none of them are free from limitations and all will fail when used incorrectly. It isn’t unusual to have completely contradicting specifications for the very same materials. Learning their individual compatibilities is necessary for any successful installation. This is where the shift from skills to knowledge has taken us.

Many opportunities, many free!

With the industry supporting the relationship among the manufacturer, distributor and installer like never before, no one expecting long-term success can ignore the opportunities to stay abreast of this ever-changing information. With more than 80 NTCA Tile & Stone Symposiums, 35 Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer testing opportunities, Coverings, Total Solutions Plus, and more than a dozen industry-specific events, it has never been easier to find a way to grow within the industry. Whether you desire to learn more about the changes within the TCNA Handbook of Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation, how to set up and run your office, make the best use of social media, deal with problematic installation issues, or network with industry movers and shakers, the choices are abundant. And the choices listed don’t include the dozens of manufacturer-specific events available, all aimed at keeping installers up-to-date with each manufacturer’s specific requirements.

Return our trade to revered status

This is a year of possibilities: a year to embrace the opportunities and change the direction of our industry. We can take advantage of the wind at our backs and go with the current instead of continuing to paddle upstream against the tide.  This year, those with passion for the industry can step up and state “Enough is enough – I will no longer sit idly by and watch the industry and my livelihood stagger along into ruin. I will commit my time, skill and knowledge toward bettering my industry so that it can return to a position more deserving of the glorious place in which the artistry and skill are given the just notice as they were in years past.”

America was once revered as producing the best of the best. There was a pride in doing a job not only well but best. The tile industry enjoyed the rewards of this mentality for many years. It will be vital to return to this pride in our way of life, in producing the best of the best to lift our industry out of the hole into which it has slid. I am challenging everyone who reads this to embrace giving back to the industry as if you owned a piece of it. Commit to providing that helping hand both to ourselves and our competitors as a way of lifting us all.

Want to contact John? Reach him at [email protected]

NTCA Five Star Contractors reap additional benefits from manufacturers NTCA and TCAA recognition programs raise the bar for the industry

NTCA’s group of premier installers, the Five Star Contractors, has grown to 33 as of March 31, 2012.

The tile industry’s manufacturers are supporting this group in numerous ways. Crossville, in addition to sponsoring a three-day seminar for the elite group at their Tennessee facility this upcoming June, is providing a 1% rebate on purchases by Five Star Contractors. Other manufacturers who are championing the Five Star group are Daltile, which offers a $600 voucher for product; MAPEI offering a $300 voucher and a 2% rebate paid quarterly; LATICRETE, Custom Building Products and H.B. Fuller/TEC will each offer a $250 voucher.
Collectively these programs provide a total of $1,650 in product vouchers for Five Star Contractors. Rebates from Crossville and MAPEI will also be significant for volume purchasing by Five Star Contractors.

Demonstrated industry support is broad for the growing Five Star Contractor program, and is expected to increase as new language in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation that recommends specifying qualified labor becomes widely accepted.

Five Star Contractors are required to complete a rigorous peer-approval process, demonstrating their commitment to training, service, quality, safety, fiscal responsibility and superior job performance. Stricter qualifications for applicants in 2012 include certifying a minimum of 10% of installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program.

In January 2012 the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) announced a major initiative in agreeing to mutually promote and market their company recognition programs, the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program and the TCAA’s Trowel of Excellence Program. This unprecedented partnership is expected to raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade, and to provide architects, builders, and project owners the opportunity to demand installation excellence.
NTCA president Nyle Wadford said, “I’m looking forward to where this leads in both our associations’ efforts to acquire work for our memberships. The synergy produced from the alliance of labor and manufacturing for the benefit of both demonstrates the power of unifying for similar goals within the industry.”

Carole Damon, TCAA executive director, added, “By working together to increase the professionalism and expertise of tile installation companies, we ensure quality craftsmanship and increase consumer confidence in the durability, beauty and value of tile.”

Currently, about 55 companies in both associations have been approved in the recognition process; this number will increase as awareness of the partnership and benefits are more widely known. The leaders of both groups continue to collaborate in developing jointly-promoted educational efforts for the architectural and design community.

Both NTCA Five Star Contractors and TCAA Trowel of Excellence certified installers are listed in recently approved TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications. The revised Handbook stresses, “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials,” emphasizing the inclusion of qualified labor on tile and stone installation projects.

Visit www.tcaainc.org/trowel-of-excellence.php to learn more about the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program
Visit www.tile-assn.com/Member/FiveStar for more information on the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program.

TCAA, NTCA historic partnership accomplishes first goal to elevate the tile trade.

The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), as previously reported in TileLetter, submitted a proposal for language to be included in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation stressing the importance of considering qualified tile contractors and installers when specifying tile and stone.

Stephanie Samulski, TCNA, announced February 8, 2012 that committee members approved the ballot with a significant affirmative vote. Carole Damon, executive director of TCAA, noted, “We are very pleased and gratified by the ballot outcome. The Handbook has long been an authoritative guide to materials usage and installation techniques. Expanding that guidance to the equally important consideration of contractor qualifications is a watershed moment in our industry.”

Nyle Wadford, NTCA president, added, “It was said concerning this new language that „everyone involved has worked to lay a bedrock foundation in which trust and partnerships can develop and thrive for the good of our industry.‟ I could not agree more and would like to thank everyone involved. It is really exciting to see the important industry relationships that are developing as a result of this venture.”

The approved TCNA Handbook language recommends including installer and contractor specifications, stating, “How good the finished installation looks, how well it performs, and how long it lasts are in [the hands of] installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and take the time to remain current with the latest materials and methods.” The Handbook further stresses, “Requiring a portfolio and references reflecting the installer‟s/contractor‟s experience, along with a bid or estimate, is a good way to ensure work of similar size, scope, and complexity has been completed. [Varied installations] require different skills. Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certifications/credentials.”

Programs administered by non-profits, associations, and unions serve the tile industry by providing education, hands-on training, and evaluation of the skills and competency of installers and contractors. The Handbook recognizes the following well-established non-profit programs:

Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program: TCAA is a contractors association for BAC signatory contractors. Its Trowel of Excellence Program recognizes TCAA members who have demonstrated a record of successful installations. To earn the Trowel of Excellence designation, a member must submit letters of reference, submission of a detailed project description and photos, employee participation in educational programs and proof of financial responsibility. See www.tcaainc.org to learn more.

National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractor Program: The Five Star Program is peer review program recognizing NTCA members who demonstrate a record of successful installations. To earn this coveted designation, a contractor must complete a rigorous evaluation including customers‟ recommendations, supplier references, and participation in continuing education, training, and safety programs. For more information, see www.tile-assn.com.

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer Program: CTEF tests hands-on installation skills and knowledge. Installers must achieve the minimum required score on both tests to earn the “CTEF Certified Installer” designation. See www.tilecareer.com for more information.

International Masonry Institute (IMI) Contractor College Program: IMI conducts professional and technical courses for union masonry and tile contractors. For more information, see www.imiweb.org.

Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Programs are recognized by the U. S. Department of Labor and require several years of documented training as apprentices. Qualified Journeyman Tile Setters may be located through union locals, primarily the Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers (www.bacweb.org) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC, www.carpenters.org).

Crossville Tile Hosts NTCA Five Star Contractor Conference

NTCA Five Star Contractors will gather in Nashville, TN. May 31 – June 3, 2012 for two days of workshops, educational programs, and networking sponsored by Crossville Tile.

At Crossville’s Hovmand Center, experts from industry associations NTCA, CTEF, TCAA, and TCNA and manufacturers MAPEI and Crossville will discuss installation issues, new ANSI standards, and installer certification. Tim Curran, Curran Group, Inc., owners of Crossville Tile, will talk about Crossville’s values and principles, as well as business succession planning and contract language issues. Nyle Wadford, NTCA president, and John Trendell, TCAA, will spotlight their associations’ recognition programs for installation excellence, the Five Star Contractor Program and the Trowel of Excellence Program, respectively. In addition, industry experts Sandy Smith and Christine Whittemore will lead discussions of generational issues and effective promotion of tile installations in today’s turbulent market.

Five Star Contractors are required to complete a rigorous peer-approval process, demonstrating their commitment to training, service, quality, safety, fiscal responsibility and superior job performance. More strict qualifications for applicants in 2012 include certifying a minimum of 10% of installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program.

NTCA Five Star Contractors, CTEF Certified Tile Installers, and the Trowel of Excellence designation are listed in recently approved TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications. The revised Handbook stresses, “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials.”

NTCA and TCAA joined forces earlier this year in a historic partnership to promote both associations’ excellence programs together; the alliance offers the top companies in each association unique opportunities for marketing and business development, including this conference and its networking.

For more information on the NTCA Five Star Program, visit www.tile-assn.com and click the Five Star link on the scroll bar, or contact Jim Olson, assistant executive director, at 601-939-2071.

NTCA Five Star Contractors reap additional benefits from manufacturers NTCA and TCAA recognition programs raise the bar for the industry

NTCA’s group of premier installers, the Five Star Contractors, has grown to 33 as of March 31, 2012.
The tile industry’s manufacturers are supporting this group in numerous ways. Crossville, in addition to sponsoring a three-day seminar for the elite group at their Tennessee facility this upcoming June, is providing a 1% rebate on purchases by Five Star Contractors. Other manufacturers who are championing the Five Star group are Daltile, which offers a $600 voucher for product; MAPEI offering a $300 voucher and a 2% rebate paid quarterly; LATICRETE, Custom Building Products and H.B. Fuller/TEC will each offer a $250 voucher. Collectively these programs provide a total of $1,650 in product vouchers for Five Star Contractors. Rebates from Crossville and MAPEI will also be significant for volume purchasing by Five Star Contractors.
Demonstrated industry support is broad for the growing Five Star Contractor program, and is expected to increase as new language in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation that recommends specifying qualified labor becomes widely accepted.
Five Star Contractors are required to complete a rigorous peer-approval process, demonstrating their commitment to training, service, quality, safety, fiscal responsibility and superior job performance. Stricter qualifications for applicants in 2012 include certifying a minimum of 10% of installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program.
In January 2012 the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) announced a major initiative in agreeing to mutually promote and market their company recognition programs, the NTCA Five Star Contractor program and the TCAA’s Trowel of Excellence program. This unprecedented partnership is expected to raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade, and to provide architects, builders, and project owners the opportunity to demand installation excellence.
NTCA president Nyle Wadford said, “I’m looking forward to where this leads in both our associations’ efforts to acquire work for our membership. The synergy produced from the alliance of labor and manufacturing for the benefit of both demonstrates the power of unifying for similar goals within the industry.”
Carole Damon, TCAA executive director, added, “By working together to increase the professionalism and expertise of tile installation companies, we ensure quality craftsmanship and increase consumer confidence in the durability, beauty and value of tile.”

Currently, about 55 companies in both associations have been approved in the recognition process; this number will increase as awareness of the partnership and benefits are more widely known. The leaders of both groups continue to collaborate in developing jointly-promoted educational efforts for the architectural and design community.
Both NTCA Five Star Contractors and TCAA Trowel of Excellence certified installers are listed in recently approved TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications. The revised Handbook stresses, “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials,” emphasizing the inclusion of qualified labor on tile and stone installation projects.
Visit www.tcaainc.org/trowel-of-excellence.php to learn more about the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program
Visit www.tile-assn.com/Member/FiveStar for more information on the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program.

Rheinschmidt Tile & Marble Named Five-Star Contractor by NTCA

Rheinschmidt Tile & Marble (RTM), family-owned, national commercial flooring contractor specializing in shopping centers, airports, casinos and retail stores, was recently named a Five-Star Contractor by the National Tile Contractors Association.
The Five Star Contractor status was created by the NTCA as a way to recognize and reward companies with a proven history of excellence in the trade.

Larry Rheinschmidt, President

“This is a great honor for us,” said Larry Rheinschmidt Jr., President of RTM. “To be recognized for all of our hard work is clearly a great feeling.”
To be considered, and ultimately awarded such status by the NTCA, a company must receive excellent recommendations from customers, suppliers and peers. Additionally, RTM has continually demonstrated its commitment to continuing education, training and safety programs, all of which are essential in the eyes of the board of directors for any contractor to be considered Five-Star. Firms who take part in educational seminars and are active members in the NTCA, such as RTM, prove their commitment to adhere by the highest standards, and this is reflected in their work.
“We are delighted that RTM is now listed as one of our Five-Star Contractors,” exclaimed Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association. “The firm does professional, first-class work and is comprised of professional, first-class people… most of whom I’ve known for years.”

Rheinschmidt Tile & Marble is a third-generation, family-owned national commercial flooring contractor with a focus on unmatched quality and customer service. For more information, please contact Rheinschmidt Tile & Marble, 1100 Agency St. Burlington, IA 52601. Call: (319) 754-7567. www.rtmiowa.com.

NTCA recognizes three newly-approved Five Star Contractors

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has awarded the prestigious Five Star Contractor designation to three members: Heritage Marble and Tile, Inc., Mill Valley, Calif.; Maloney Tile and Marble, Inc., Livonia, Mich.; and Rimrock Design, Inc., Lake City, Fla. NTCA now recognizes a total of 29 Five Star Contractors.
Five Star Contractors are required to complete a rigorous peer-approval process, demonstrating their commitment to training, service, quality, safety, fiscal responsibility and superior job performance. Stricter qualifications for 2012 applicants include certifying a minimum of 10% of installers through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer program.
Both NTCA Five Star Contractors and CTEF Certified Installers are listed in recently-approved TCNA Handbook language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications, which states: “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials.”
Martin Brookes, president of Heritage Marble and Tile, Inc., said, “Heritage Marble and Tile is proud to be the first NTCA Five Star Contractor in northern California. As a high-end custom tile and marble installation company, we take great pride in our work. We have over thirty years of knowledge in the industry, and attend many seminars and training programs to keep up with current technology and market trends. We’re in our fifth year as an NTCA member, and are scheduled to certify installers through CTEF in September 2012. Five Star Contractor status will be a great benefit to us in achieving sales goals for 2012 and beyond.”
“The Five Star Contractor designation provides accreditation and respect in the industry, and gives our company a strong basis to hang its hat on,” said Ryan Smith, sales and marketing director for Rimrock Design, Inc. Smith added, “It is a valuable tool to assist in our continued growth for 2012 and well into the future. This recognition is another building block in Rimrock Design’s foundation to pursue larger projects and a more diversified client base. Micah Linton, our company’s founder, obtained his first job from an ad in TileLetter, learning the trade as an installer; we feel a responsibility, with this designation, to become more involved and give back to our great industry.”
Stephen Maloney, Maloney Tile and Marble, Inc., Michigan State director for NTCA, pointed to NTCA membership and participation for boosting the company’s sales through the last few years, regardless of the economic slowdown. Maloney noted, “We are extremely proud to be accepted as a Five Star Contractor. Before applying for the program, I talked with several fellow NTCA members for advice on the application. Everyone welcomed my calls and gave time from a busy day to discuss the process. Membership in NTCA is like being part of a large tile family; a solution to a problem is only a phone call away. We believe that gaining Five Star Contractor status will only further our growth and reputation in the tile industry.”
Five Star Contractors may display the “Five Star” logo on all marketing materials. In addition, each company is prominently displayed in a special section on the NTCA website, with a direct link established from this website to each firm. Product rebates and insurance discounts are available, and AIA-accredited PowerPoint programs give Five Star Contractors the opportunity to be THE tile and stone source for their local architects and designers.
For more information on the NTCA Five Star Program, visit www.tile-assn.com and click the Five Star link on the scroll bar, or contact Jim Olson, assistant executive director, at 601-939-2071.

FIVE-STAR Contractor spotlight: Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc.


Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc.
Since: 1973
Specialty: Ceramic, stone and glass tile installation for medium-high end residential properties.
Employees: Currently six full time
Website: www.kerbertile.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kerbertile

Joe and Wendi Kerber, KTMS


Joe and Wendi Kerber started Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, Inc. (KTMS) during the recession of 1973 in Shakopee, Minn. Since then, it has grown into a diverse company with an office, showroom, shop and warehouse. The company’s work has ranged from simple grout repair jobs to large, upscale residential projects.KTMS partners closely with designers,
architects, remodelers, builders and homeowners on multiple aspects of their projects – from tile and stone design and layout work, to product recommendations, and final installations – striving to meet their clients’ tile and stone needs while exceeding the highest level of industry quality standards. KTMS consults and work with clients primarily in the Twin Cities metro area, but have completed projects across the United States.
The company’s efforts to ensure their clients receive a superior-quality installation have been recognized by the tile industry. All of KTMS’ installers have been certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Joe served as the past-president and chairman of the local tile association for 15 years and recently completed a term on the National Tile Contractors Association’s (NTCA) board of directors. Currently, he is a member of both the NTCA’s Technical, and Methods and Standards committees.

Featured Project: Residential
Steam Shower Bathroom

This typical steam shower room starts with 18”x18” porcelain as the main floor tile. All of the smaller tiles used are cut from these 18” tiles. The walls have 9”x18” tiles set in a brickjoint pattern. The sloped shower ceiling is made of 9”x9” tiles set on diagonal; the shower floor features 3”x3” tiles. The bullnose pieces are made in-house; pieces were cut for the deco insets and niches to make the specific layout. Glass mosaics and stone trim pieces are also incorporated into the deco design. The floors and shower bench feature electric in-floor heat with a thermal break in the tile at the glass door. The bathroom also has a carved stone sink with the faucet extending from the mirror. Refrigerator in the vanity is optional.

The bathroom has a carved stone sink with the faucet extending from the mirror.

The walls have 9”x 18” tiles set in a brick-joint pattern; glass mosaics and stone trim pieces are also incorporated into the deco design.

The floors and shower bench feature electric in-floor heat and there is a thermal break in the tile at the glass door.

FIVE-STAR contractor spotlight: McCammack Tile, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.

This January installment kicks off our monthly spotlight of NTCA Five-Star Contractors, a highly qualified and prestigious group of tile and stone contractor NTCA members who meet stringent qualifications and continue to invest in excellence for their businesses and their clients.

McCammack Tile, Inc.,
Indianapolis, Ind.
Since: 1991
Specialty: Ceramic, stone and porcelain tile installation; light, medium and heavy-duty commercial projects.
Employees: 40

McCammack Tile is a merit shop with more than 40 in-house employees. They are highly committed to continuing education for their employees, which provide them with several levels of qualified tile installers within their organization. All of their lead installers are Certified Tile Installers by the CTEF. As a result, they have a very skilled work force that has flexibility to do small projects, as well as million-dollar high design projects. In 2011 McCammack
won the ABC Honor Award for CSO Architects Headquarters and the TileLetter Commercial Tile award for Community Hospital South. They have a remarkable safety record, with an EMR of .81 for 2010. They experienced zero OSHA recordables over the last eight years, and are confident that their commitments put forth in safety efforts will continue this trend.

Featured project: CSO Architects,
Keystone at the Crossing,
Indianapolis, Ind
.
Established in 1961 CSO Architects completed the renovation of their new facility in February 2011 after six to eight
months of construction. The size of the existing building, the re-purposed Bally Total Fitness center, is 24,000 square feet and the project is valued at $1.8 million. McCammack Tile installed ceramic/porcelain throughout the facility, aiming for a “wow factor” in the two-story lobby with a tile wall that met CSO’s criteria for subtlety, depth and richness.
Natural-looking materials for the main wall and lobby floor exuded a sense of warmth and welcome, and showed sensitivity to the environment. Floor Gres Walk tile contains 10-12% pre-consumer recycled content and is low-emitting, with the random veining and appealing texture of quartzite. McCammack created a 8´x8´ easily-installed module that was rotated 90 degrees along the wall for a random appearance. The large wall provides a “monolithic grounding” for the stairwell and vertical space in the center of the building.

McCammack created a 8´x8´ module that was rotated 90 degrees along the wall for a random appearance, and was easily installed.


McCammack was challenged with tight grout joints, uneven surfaces and articulated modularity. A matching “stick” mosaic was also installed in the reception area to tie the concept throughout the space.

A matching “stick” mosaic was also installed in the reception area to tie the concept throughout the space.


Color Blox EC by Crossville graced the restroom floors, stall walls and showers, bringing durability, easy maintenance, beauty and a minimum of 20% pre-consumer recycled content to the mix. It also allowed a contrast in texture on the wet wall between the 12˝x24˝ Color Blox EC suede-like texture and very, clean, neutral tile elsewhere; the product provided 6˝x24˝ formats for safety in the shower area.

Color Blox EC by Crossville graced the restroom floors, stall walls and showers.


The flooring installation value was $44,000 labor-only, and took approximately 40 days to complete. Installation materials included those from Summitville, Custom Building Products,MAPEI and Schlüter.

NTCA Celebrates 65 Years

Celebrating its 65th year as a leading trade association, the National Tile Contractors Association now has added this beautiful Mercedes Benz customized van to its traveling road show program. Michael Whistler, NTCA trainer who resides in Montana, will be spotted in the van as he travels throughout the United States this year, performing educational programs at over 35 NTCA symposium programs for the trade and the architectural and design community. The logos on the van are proudly displayed as support from our associate members for the NTCA symposium program. NTCA trainer Gerald Sloan, who resides in Birmingham, Alabama, utilizes a Ford F250 pickup truck with an attached trailer with associate member logos displayed as well. Sloan will also be traveling in the U.S. this year, hosting a similar number of programs as Whistler.

The NTCA symposium program is being hosted and sponsored exclusively by Dal-Tile Corporation for 2012. The NTCA Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of the van at its Board of Directors meeting in November. A better gas mileage performance will help offset the costs of the investment over time. Whistler says the van “drives like a dream”. Check out the upcoming schedule of NTCA Symposium programs at www.tile-assn.com/workshops and pencil in your time to attend an event in 2012.

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