ARTCRAFT GRANITE, MARBLE & TILE CO. (Mesa, AZ) AWARDED GRAND PRIZE FOR TECHNICAL EXPERTISE

artcraftMay 2014 (Las Vegas) Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Company was named the best among the best, winning the NTCA Five-Star Grand Prize for Commercial Tile Installation at the 25th annual international trade show “Coverings” in Las Vegas. Artcraft’s installation of glass and porcelain tile at GateWay Community College’s Integrated Education Building (IEB) served as an example of the company’s technical expertise.

Designed by Smith Group, the installation features 5,000 square feet of Oceanside (black iridescent) 2” hexagon glass tile and 9,000 square feet of Mutina (ecru) 24” X 24” Dechirer. The technical considerations involved the substrate, the quantity, quality and placement of tile cuts, the finished edges and overall craftsmanship as it relates to industry standards set by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

“Artcraft is an example of how a small business that believes in educating its employees provides quality installations that are technically sound and the most cost-effective,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “Their work is done right the first time – and it’s always beautiful.”

“The multiple tile products specified on this project required us to carefully consider how we would approach the job,” explained James Woelfel, Artcraft’s vice president. “Our general contractor, CORE Construction, expects high quality installations and that means we better have the knowledge and the ability to make the right decisions and execute them effectively.” Artcraft used advanced setting and grouting materials from H.B. Fuller’s TEC line of products for the glass mosaics and large format porcelain which can pose installation challenges even when installed separately.

Artcraft is among an elite group of NTCA Five-Star Contractors representing the best installers in the industry who must meet a number of criteria involving certifications and continuing education; active safety programs; client, supplier and peer recommendations; and active involvement in the industry through the NTCA.

CERAMICS OF ITALY READY TO VIVA LAS VEGAS AT COVERINGS 2014

italy image(Las Vegas, NV – April 2014) In celebration of its Silver Anniversary, Coverings—the tile and stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America—is headed to the entertainment capital of the world for four days of tile, stone, and glittering lights. From April 29 – May 2, 2014, the Las Vegas Convention Center will be the ultimate meeting ground for industry experts, architects and designers, and Ceramics of Italy is pleased to once again be the go-to source for design inspiration and hospitality on the trade show floor. Located in the heart of the Italian
Pavilion, Ceramics of Italy’s Piazza Ceramica (Ground Level, Booth L9057)—designed by e+i studio and organized by Confindustria Ceramica, the Italian Association of Ceramics, with support from the Italian Trade Promotion Agency—will feature a large open gathering space, piazza-like steps, and a dedicated Italian culinary team in the popular café and coffee bar. It will also include an information booth where representatives from the Italian tile industry will distribute the latest promotional materials and information on over 60 Italian exhibitors in attendance.

Piazza Ceramica and the Italian Pavilion
Designed by e+i studio, an innovative architecture and design firm based in New York, the award-winning Piazza Ceramica will return to Coverings as an exemplar of contemporary Italian design with a touch of Sin City flair. Transforming 3,000 square feet of space into a colorful, inviting and dynamic piazza, the exhibit will showcase a range of products from leading Italian manufacturers including: Atlas Concorde,
Ceramiche Caesar, Emilceramica, Fioranese, Floor Gres, Lea Ceramiche and Marazzi. The floor tiles, set on a raised flooring system, are water jet-cut by Stratos to create a curvy, topographic contour design. And of course, the installation and maintenance of the space is made possible with grout, nosing and cleaning products donated by Mapei, Profilpas, and Fila Chemicals.
The piazza is a perfect spot to take a break from the bustling trade show corridors. Two edges of the exhibit essentially lift at the corners to create cantilevered, tile-clad banks that reveal the ever-popular café, coffee bar and information booth; tiered seating above offers a place to enjoy coffee and pastries in the morning, authentic Italian cuisine for lunch, and an open aperitivo in the afternoon, all prepared by the
pavilion’s long-running Italian culinary team: Carlo Donadoni and Graziano Sbroggio of Spuntino Catering from Miami. Additionally, two columns flanking the piazza will feature beautiful photography of the winning projects of the 2014 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition in the commercial/hospitality, institutional, and residential categories—a dose of design inspiration available any time of the day!
For those in search of innovative, eco-conscious and design-forward building materials, over 60 exhibits of Ceramics of Italy member manufacturers will showcase the latest design concepts and technical innovations in tile and adhesives in the Italian Pavilion. In terms of decorative trends, bold graphics, patchwork patterns, three-dimensional surfaces and tiles inspired by ancient stones, rustic wood and
industrial materials will be prevalent throughout the pavilion. Moving beyond interior ceramic surfacing, tiles designed for exterior cladding and easy laying systems for renovations and landscape architecture will also make a big impression. Location and contact information about all of the exhibitors can easily be found using the new Ceramics of Italy App, available for download in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores for mobile devices and tablets.
Show attendees exploring the hallways of the Italian Pavilion will also come across the first manifestation of Ceramics of Italy’s new “We Care” initiative, which begins with an avant-garde, geometric wall presenting the Italian tile industry’s declaration of purpose. The interactive manifesto wall will feature a beautiful, typographic arrangement of the Ceramics of Italy mission statement, designed by Brooklyn-based graphic design firm, Maiarelli Studio—a great spot for a photo-op!
Announcements and Awards
The annual Ceramics of Italy Press Conference will take place on Wednesday, April 30 at 4:00PM in Room S219 where representatives from the association will discuss the state of the industry and cover the latest ceramic tile trends in the North American market. They will also announce the winners of the 2014 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition, where winning architects and designers in each category will present their projects, and the lead tile contractors and distributors will also be recognized. Afterwards, Ceramics of Italy will host its annual Aperitivo Italiano and
reveal the recipient of the coveted 2014 Confindustria Ceramica North American Distributor Award, celebrating the close connection between Italian tile manufacturers and their valued North American partners.

Installation Design Showcase

Demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between beautiful products, imaginative design and expert installation, Ceramics of Italy will participate in the show’s annual live attraction: the Installation Design Showcase. Over the course of four days, a team of Five Star Contractors from Artcraft Granite, Marble, and Tile will build a sustainable, accessible bath from the ground up in Booth 16097B. Designed by
Daniel Huard of the US Green Building Council Nevada Chapter, the vignette will showcase a number of Italian tiles from companies like Ceramiche Caesar, Fioranese, Imola Ceramica, Lea Ceramiche and SICIS that are not only sustainable but also suitable for a universally designed space that is ADA-compliant.
Some of the innovations visitors can expect to see include: installing large (3m x 1m) and slim (3.5mm) format porcelain tiles, which will also be cut to clad a custom-fabricated wash basin; cutting tiles to create a series of “waves” in a gradient pattern on the floor; and installing mosaics on a curved surface.

A&D VIP Tour
Building on a successful initiative that launched last year, Ceramics of Italy is hosting a special A&D VIP Tour during Coverings where architects and designers will be treated to an authentic Italian lunch, an A&D Goodie Bag, and a guided tour of the Italian Pavilion. Interested individuals can register at bit.ly/coveringsvip.
Follow the distinguishable “Made in Italy” trademark throughout the show to find products of superior quality, durability and environmental responsibility. For live updates, follow Ceramics of Italy on Twitter and Instagram (@CeramicsOfItaly).
For more information about the Italian tile industry or to find a local distributor, visit
www.italytile.com.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS FOR INSTALLERS

CoCoverings 25verings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at tile + stone installers. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, installers often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to installers include best practices for the installation, maintenance and restoration of tile and stone; collaborative sessions on the challenges faced daily in the field; the critical importance of industry standards; and best methods for bringing one’s business to a new level of success, including thoughtful budgeting and strategizing, and the incorporation of modern technology in the field.

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Sealing Tile, Grout, and Natural Stone: True or False? Joe Salvo, of Miracle Sealants and Abrasives, will explore the myths about sealers and impregnators, and their use in the tile and stone industry. This session will educate attendees on how to separate fact from fiction, and how to use these products effectively. Monday, April 28, 1:00–2:00 p.m.

·       NTCA Presents Live Hands-On Demonstrations to Today’s Installation Challenges. NTCA presenters Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler bring the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop to Coverings. Large-format and thin tile installations are highlighted, along with helpful tips to prepare for and pass CTI and ACT Certification. Other topics covered include the TCNA Handbook, showers, membranes and more. Monday, April 28, 2:15–4:15 p.m.

·       Barrier Free Shower Installation. Art Mintie focuses on the design and installation of barrier free tiled shower systems. It provides an overview of the attributes of barrier free shower installations, including a review of applicable industry standards that govern tiled shower installation systems. It also discusses the various types of waterproofing membranes and drains that are used for these applications. Best practices, installation methodology and various installation tips and techniques are also discussed. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Budgeting for Tile Contractors 101: Forecasting and Budgeting for Success. Many tile contractors don’t budget or feel what they do is correct, and this seminar, presented by Bod Woodward, will focus on important components of a tile contractor’s budget and offer solid guidelines for all levels. Key factors in budgeting, such as billing, estimating, project management, warehouse and equipment needs, vehicle costs, fixed costs, safety, and more will be addressed. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Large Porcelain Panel Installations for Floors and Walls. Tom Plaskota advises large porcelain panels provide an innovative option for finished surfaces. At thicknesses and sizes not normally found in traditional tile formats, they are a lightweight alternative to traditional ceramic and natural stone tile and offer many distinctive design opportunities. However, the same size and thickness characteristics that make them aesthetically pleasing also present unique installation challenges. Learn about these unique challenges, review proper installation methods (floor and wall installations) and help solve the mystery of these panels to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

·       Rules of the Game: How Contractors Can use ANSI, TCNA Handbook and NTCA Reference Manual to Improve Their Business and Their Profit. Installation standards drive the tile and stone trade, and these standards can be a contractor’s best friend or worst enemy. Leaders of the NTCA – Chris Walker, James Woelfel and Nyle Radford – sit on the voting committees of these important standards and in this session will discuss the relevance and importance of standards, and how contractors can use the knowledge of critical standards to become better contractors and improve their business. Thursday, May 1, 8:00–9:00 a.m.

·       The New ACT Certification: Grouting Techniques – Cement, Epoxy and More. The Advanced Certifications for Tile (ACT) Installers Program is now in full swing. As the program continues to develop, more certifications will be offered. The new Grouting Techniques certification developed by the ACT Taskforce is explained. Thursday, May 1, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Understanding Thin Tile Installations. Neil McMurdie explores the special application challenges to producing sound, durable installations with tiles of reduced thickness and lighter weight. Learn the results of a two-year study to determine the best process and technology for installing large-format thin tile. Thursday, May 1, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

·       Utilizing Technology in the Field to Improve Performance for Contractors. The tile trade continues to evolve, and technology is taking an increasingly bigger role in its development. Martin Howard, of the David Allen Company, will investigate how popular devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and cameras, can help one’s business in the field. Thursday, May 1, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to installers by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS FOR RETAILERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at retailers and distributors. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, retailers and distributors often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to retailers and distributors address best practices for adapting one’s business methods to the digital age, ranging from how to access mobile shoppers to maintaining a business’ reputation online; guidance on managing the demands of the business, networking, and content marketing in the tile and stone industry; and practical knowledge about the latest standards and technology advancements in the industry. 

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Luxury Appointments Elevate Bath Projects Into Lucrative Profit Centers. Christopher Grubb advises that passion for a luxurious bath has gone mainstream, elevating the bathroom to one of the most intricately designed and unique rooms in any project. Today’s consumers demand top quality materials and products and, from a cost-per-square-foot vantage point, the bath has evolved into one of the most lucrative rooms in any project. The presentation shares how to inject the bath with those special and sophisticated details that resonate with consumers. Tuesday, April 29, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

·       Maintaining and Protecting Your Online Reputation. The reputation of a business is no longer solely in its owner’s hands. Internet sites, such as Angie’s List, and social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, can make or break a business’ reputation. Despite this, many businesses rarely monitor their online comments or try to influence what customers say about them, and seem unaware of the power of online referrals or negative comments. Business owners must know where customers are posting comments and how to influence the messages about their business. Presented by associate publisher and social media specialist for Fabulous Floors Magazine, Lisbeth Caladrino, this session will help business owners to gain an understanding about today’s customers and how those customers may influence new business for the company. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45– 2:45 p.m.

·       Preventing Burnout –Tools for Managing The Exploding Demands on Our Time, Energy and Attention. Fast Company recently featured an article entitled “The American Dream on Steroid,” which focused on a series of emerging trends impacting the modern workplace, including unpredictable workflow, fast-paced work with tight deadlines, work-related events outside regular hours, and availability to clients 24/7. As a result of these trends, the article concludes, “the 60-hour workweek is part time.” Corporate training specialist and organizational development consultant, Sandy Smith notes how these emerging trends are taking a toll on the health and well-being of employees at all levels of organizations, and how these trends may lead to employee burnout – which not only affects business productivity, but harms family life as well. This session will help attendees to understand how to reduce burnout by recognizing causes and how to achieve a better balance to avoid them. Tuesday, April 29, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

·       Distributors: Who Needs You? Finding and Attracting Strategically Aligned Partners. Survival for today’s flooring distributor means rethinking their role in the supply chain, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, identifying strategically aligned partners and executing a plan to improve business results with those partners. Presented by Jim Gould, President and Founder of the Floor Covering Institute, the session will explore the changing needs within the supply chain and the evolving role of distributors. Furthermore, it will help distributors learn the value of strategically aligned partners and how creating strategic partnerships can improve their business. Wednesday, April 30, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Are You Missing Mobile Shoppers?The number of global smartphone users is expected to reach over 2 billion by 2015, and retailers and distributors must interact with customers today, and in the future, or risk losing them forever. Presenter James Dion will show attendees how to make mobile marketing, mobile commerce, and mobile operations work, and provide examples of companies and brands that have already optimized their marketing, commerce and operations to integrate mobile with great success. In this session, learn how the customer of the future is going to shop and how the store of the future is going to look. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

·       Best Practices for a B2B Content Marketing Strategy. In this session, presented by Vincent Moiso, attendees will learn best practices in tile and stone for businesses selling to other businesses and how to incorporate a content marketing strategy into your current marketing plan. Additionally, discover what a content marketing strategy entails, as well as how to maximize ROI from such a strategy. This presentation shows the path to a current and successful strategy by using both general business best practices, and best practices specific to the tile and stone industry. Attendees will learn what other leading tile and stone industry professionals are using to promote their products and educate their customers. Thursday, May 1, 8:00–9:30 a.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to retailers and distributors by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS FOR FABRICATORS

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at fabricators. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, fabricators often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to fabricators include best practices for the installation, maintenance and restoration of tile and stone; collaborative sessions on the challenges faced daily in the field; the critical importance of industry standards; and best methods for bringing one’s business to a new level of success, including thoughtful budgeting and strategizing, and the incorporation of modern technology in the field.

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Metrics for the Automated & Unautomated Fabrication Shop. Understanding your metrics, and being able to price work for profitability is key for the automated shop to produce a profit at the end of the day. GK Naquin, Stone Interiors, and Paul Menninger, Capitol Granite, will present a comprehensive view of the fixed and variable costs, contribution margins, and per activity man-hours that are critical to extrapolating large bids.  Monday, April 28, 2:15–3:15 p.m.

·       To Tell The Truth: Will The Real Granite Please Stand Up?! Chuck Muehlbauer asks, “How many of the granites on the market are actually granite?” If a quartzite is etched by acid, does that mean it’s not really quartzite? How many names can you think of for Uba Tuba? If you’re confused about these issues, this session will unlock some of the mysteries surrounding stone definition and nomenclature for stone sales. Monday, April 28, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

·       How to Write a Care & Maintenance Plan for Stone Applications. Speaker Ted McFadden advises modern and traditional techniques used in caring for and maintaining natural stone from the author of Stone Care Guide. Develop a care and maintenance plan for your stone application by learning about how the chemical composition of a stone affects its performance, what sealers and cleaning products are on the market today, and what products are recommended for different applications. Tuesday, April 29, 8–9 a.m.

·       Fabricators Forum. This open forum for residential countertop fabricators is an excellent opportunity for fabricators to connect with colleagues to discuss the challenges involved in the residential countertop market. Led by a panel of leading residential countertop fabricators, including moderator Tony Malisani, Brandon Maldonado, Dave Syerson and Marco Duran, the forum will address a range of topics from fabrication methods, equipment needs and materials to customer expectations, personnel and sales strategies. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared to share ideas, discuss opportunities and challenges faced every day. Tuesday, April 29, 8:30–10:00 a.m.

·       David vs. Goliath – How Does the Little Guy Compete? Big contractors start out as small contractors, and this presentation by Josiah Lilly of Epic Ceramic and Stone will discuss the challenges in bidding, bonding, personnel, cash flow and the best ways to handle those challenges. Tuesday, April 29, 3:00–4:00 p.m.

·       The Restoration and Maintenance of Stone & Terrazzo Using No Chemicals. There are many perspectives about floor maintenance and this session with Fred Huestone presents the viewpoint that stone and terrazzo floors do not need a topical coating of any kind. His case will explore how waxes and sealers act as a sacrificial coating grinding the grit and dirt into the surface, meaning every time a force is applied to the floor, it is scratched and damaged. In addition, the session will discuss the hazardous nature of the chemicals necessary to strip and wax, and how naturally polished stone and/or terrazzo uses ZERO chemicals, using diamond abrasives and water to achieve high shine in a natural state. Wednesday, April 30, 8:00–9:00 a.m.

·       The Essentials of Stone Restoration. Join Rawi Tabbah, of International Stoneworks, along with stone and tile professionals to discuss the varying views on restoration. This informative session is designed for attendee participation, and all attendees are encourage to share ideas, challenges, and solutions, in addition to hearing experts share their own field experiences in tile and stone restoration. Thursday, May 1, 9:15–10:45 a.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to fabricators by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS FOR BUILDERS AND REMODELERS

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at builders and remodelers. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, builders and remodelers often cite the free CEU credits and conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Sessions previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to builders and remodelers include how to maximize one’s manufacturer relationship, budgeting for success; and how advancement in technology and production is resulting in never-before-available tile, stone and glass. 

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       NTCA Presents Live Hands-on Demonstrations to Today’s installation Challenges. National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) presenters Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler bring the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops to Coverings. Large-format and thin tile installations are highlighted, along with helpful tips to prepare for and pass CTI and ACT Certification. Other topics covered include the TCNA Handbook, showers, membranes and more. Monday, April 28, 2:15–4:15 p.m.

·       Budgeting for Tile Contractors 101: Forecasting and Budgeting for Success. Installation experts Dan Welch and Bob Woodward note that many tile contractors don’t budget or feel what they do is correct. This seminar focuses on important components of a tile contract’s budget, and offers solid guidelines for all levels. Billing, estimating, project management, warehouse and equipment needs, vehicle costs, fixed costs, safety and more are featured. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Shower Installations: Best Practices. Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler note that proper installation in showers and wet areas is the number one concern for consumer seeking qualified tile installers. It is also one of the ACT Certifications being offered in the industry. This seminar discusses common installation mistakes and how to prevent them, and covers the features of the ACT Certification that will help prepare the installer for success. Tuesday, April 29, 4:15–5:15 p.m.

·       Rules of the Game: How Contractors Can Use ANSI, TCNA Handbook and NTCA Reference Manual to improve their Business and Their Profit. Installations standards drive our trade—they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Leaders of the NTCA who sit on the voting committees of these important standards, including Chris Walker, James Woelfel and Nyle Wadford, discuss their relevance and importance, and how they use this knowledge to make them better contractors. Thursday, May 1, 8–9 a.m.

·       Understanding Thin Tile Installations. Neil McMurdie, MAPEI Corporation, will explore the special application challenges to producing sound, durable installations with tiles of reduced thickness and lighter weight. Learn the results of a two-year study to determine the best process and technology for installing large-format thin tile. Thursday, May 1, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

·       How to Maximize the Manufacturer Relationship. Elton Mayfield, ER Marketing, advises that professional contractors are the final people who can decide, or strongly influence, what products a homeowner uses. Many times, the homeowner knows what they want done, but not how or with what product. This is a powerful position for the contractor and one that all manufacturers understand. Discover what several leading brands are doing to empower you “at the kitchen table” to recommend their products. Thursday, May 1, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

·       Restorative Cleaning and Maintenance of Natural Stone, Tile and Grout. Bryan Thomson, Sapphire Scientific, explores the best practices to increase the longevity of natural stone, tile and grout flooring through proper restorative cleaning and facility maintenance programs. The presentation offers a fuller understanding of “green cleaning” techniques and capabilities of a “self contained” cleaning system. Thomson will advise why certain types of natural stone are recommended for high-traffic areas and the cleaning challenges that arise from installing these specific material types. Friday, May 2, 8–9 a.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to builders and remodelers by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS FOR INSTALLERS

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at tile + stone installers. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, installers often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to installers include best practices for the installation, maintenance and restoration of tile and stone; collaborative sessions on the challenges faced daily in the field; the critical importance of industry standards; and best methods for bringing one’s business to a new level of success, including thoughtful budgeting and strategizing, and the incorporation of modern technology in the field.

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Sealing Tile, Grout, and Natural Stone: True or False? Joe Salvo, of Miracle Sealants and Abrasives, will explore the myths about sealers and impregnators, and their use in the tile and stone industry. This session will educate attendees on how to separate fact from fiction, and how to use these products effectively. Monday, April 28, 1:00–2:00 p.m.

·       NTCA Presents Live Hands-On Demonstrations to Today’s Installation Challenges. NTCA presenters Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler bring the NTCA Tile & Stone Workshop to Coverings. Large-format and thin tile installations are highlighted, along with helpful tips to prepare for and pass CTI and ACT Certification. Other topics covered include the TCNA Handbook, showers, membranes and more. Monday, April 28, 2:15–4:15 p.m.

·       Barrier Free Shower Installation. Art Mintie focuses on the design and installation of barrier free tiled shower systems. It provides an overview of the attributes of barrier free shower installations, including a review of applicable industry standards that govern tiled shower installation systems. It also discusses the various types of waterproofing membranes and drains that are used for these applications. Best practices, installation methodology and various installation tips and techniques are also discussed. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Budgeting for Tile Contractors 101: Forecasting and Budgeting for Success. Many tile contractors don’t budget or feel what they do is correct, and this seminar, presented by Bod Woodward, will focus on important components of a tile contractor’s budget and offer solid guidelines for all levels. Key factors in budgeting, such as billing, estimating, project management, warehouse and equipment needs, vehicle costs, fixed costs, safety, and more will be addressed. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Large Porcelain Panel Installations for Floors and Walls. Tom Plaskota advises large porcelain panels provide an innovative option for finished surfaces. At thicknesses and sizes not normally found in traditional tile formats, they are a lightweight alternative to traditional ceramic and natural stone tile and offer many distinctive design opportunities. However, the same size and thickness characteristics that make them aesthetically pleasing also present unique installation challenges. Learn about these unique challenges, review proper installation methods (floor and wall installations) and help solve the mystery of these panels to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

·       Rules of the Game: How Contractors Can use ANSI, TCNA Handbook and NTCA Reference Manual to Improve Their Business and Their Profit. Installation standards drive the tile and stone trade, and these standards can be a contractor’s best friend or worst enemy. Leaders of the NTCA – Chris Walker, James Woelfel and Nyle Radford – sit on the voting committees of these important standards and in this session will discuss the relevance and importance of standards, and how contractors can use the knowledge of critical standards to become better contractors and improve their business. Thursday, May 1, 8:00–9:00 a.m.

·       The New ACT Certification: Grouting Techniques – Cement, Epoxy and More. The Advanced Certifications for Tile (ACT) Installers Program is now in full swing. As the program continues to develop, more certifications will be offered. The new Grouting Techniques certification developed by the ACT Taskforce is explained. Thursday, May 1, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Understanding Thin Tile Installations. Neil McMurdie explores the special application challenges to producing sound, durable installations with tiles of reduced thickness and lighter weight. Learn the results of a two-year study to determine the best process and technology for installing large-format thin tile. Thursday, May 1, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

·       Utilizing Technology in the Field to Improve Performance for Contractors. The tile trade continues to evolve, and technology is taking an increasingly bigger role in its development. Martin Howard, of the David Allen Company, will investigate how popular devices, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and cameras, can help one’s business in the field. Thursday, May 1, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to installers by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS ROBUST CONFERENCE SERIES, WITH MANY SESSIONS TO ADVISE GREEN PRACTICES IN THE TILE + STONE INDUSTRY

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many of which advise on sustainable practices. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, attendees often cite the free CEU credits and conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Sessions previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest in the green category include today’s certification programs; recycling and reusing water in stone manufacturing; and how advancement in technology and production is resulting in green tile, stone and glass. 

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Addressing Water Scarcity Through Recycling and Reuse in Stone Manufacturing. Jim Callaghan and Joe Meyer, both of GranQuartz; Steve Debarardino, Old Castle Surfaces; and Jon Lancto, Surface Products; will advise all the acceptable methods of recycling used water in a fabrication setting. Review the current acceptable methods to both reuse and recycle the water, the current regulatory issues affecting the stone industry, and general compliances the local municipalities are requiring. Monday, April 28, 1–2 p.m.

·       Breaking News: Announcing an Environmental Product Declaration for Tile. Bill Griese of the Tile Council of North America, notes that demands for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are on the rise, and requirements are beginning to show up in nearly every green building standard and rating system. The session provides an in-depth review of a just-released EPD for generic ceramic tile, explaining how it can be applied to green building initiatives today. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

·       Turn Your Trash Into Cash. Stone Cycler’s Josh Tesh explains how one can recycle scrap into new granite—and actually make money by doing so. Granite pavers and floor tiles made from the recycling process have been used in residential, commercial, state and federal LEED projects. Tuesday, April 29, 3–4 p.m.

·       LEED v4 and its Relevance to Tile. Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, and Dan Marvin, MAPEI, present on LEED v4, which was released late last year and is among the hottest topics being discussed today by green building architects and designers. LEED v4 is substantially revised from v3 and takes on a whole new approach to green product specification. From LCAs, EPDs, to HPDs, LEED v4 presents a lot of industry changes, and its important to understand new requirements for products to contribute toward points. Wednesday, April 30, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Health Product Declarations: How to Address the Demand for Radical Transparency with Respect to Tile and Tile Installation Products. Rob Shimp, SCS Global Services, notes one of the latest trends in product transparency in the green building sector is the Health Product Declaration (HPD). Government agencies, customers and NGOs are pressing for safer, more sustainable products, and substitutes for chemicals of concern. This product content and health hazard disclosure is intended to create greater transparency about potential health hazards associated with products and materials, and drive more informed decisions. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

·       Sustainable Natural Stone – An Introduction to NSC 373. Artistic Tile’s Josh Levinson and Coldspring’s Dan Rae offer insight to the objectives and principles of the NSC 373 standard for the Sustainable use of Natural Dimension Stone, which was finalized in 2013, and is the process of being introduced to the marketplace. Wednesday, April 30, 4–5 p.m.

·       Fifty Shades of Green. Patricia Gaylor, of Eco Interiors by Patricia Gaylor, presents ways to capture the attention of buyers, which has been an increasingly complicated exercise with the driving force focused on value. Educated consumers are now making increased demands on the building and remodeling trade. This presentation surveys several questions—including how healthy, sustainable design will keep you ahead of the curve and grab the attention of your prospective buyers and keep it.  Thursday, May 1, 8–9 a.m.

·       Certifying a Tile and Stone Installation Product with Green Squared® Program. Don Miller shares what exactly goes into green tile and stone installation systems for TCNA’s Green Squared® certification. The presentation provides education on how the development of these types of certifications for installation products can benefit manufacturers, distributors, contractors, architects and end users moving forward. Thursday, May 1, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Designing for the Post-Carbon Economy: It’s Zero or Nothing. Eric Corey Freed shares a better way to sell your clients on greening their buildings by examining the emotional, psychological and financial reasons why we design the way we do. Uncover specific, bold ideas for how to retrofit new and existing buildings. Freed, architect and author of Green Building for Dummies, uses rich graphics and video to expand your imagination and provides attendees a list of actions to take into their own community. Thursday, May 1, 4–5 p.m.

Learn about all of the green-focused conference sessions by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

COVERINGS 2014 OFFERS MULTIPLE CONFERENCE SESSIONS FOR ARCHITECTS AND INTERIOR DESIGNERS, MANY WITH CEUS

Coverings 25Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at architects and designers with the added benefit of CEU credit. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming. 

In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, architects and designers often cite the free CEU credits and conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.

In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced—including Lauren Rottet, president of Rottet Studio; Randy Fiser, chief executive officer of ASID; and Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute—other conference topics of particular interest to the architecture and design community include best sustainability practices for tile and stone; guidance to getting your projects published in the new digital age; and how advancement in technology and production is resulting in never-before available tile, stone and glass. For the first time ever, Interior Design magazine will offer an Editorial Portfolio Review, giving architects and designers the coveted opportunity for a one-on-one meeting to showcase their latest projects.

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

·       Luxury Appointments Elevate Bath Projects into Lucrative Profit Centers. Internationally acclaimed interior designer Christopher Grubb advises that passion for a luxurious bath experience has gone mainstream, elevating the bathroom to one of the most intricately designed and unique rooms in any project. Recognizing that it literally pays to take notice of this trend, Grubb shares how to inject the bath with those special and sophisticated details that resonate with consumers. Leave armed with the applicable knowledge you’ll need to implement an unforgettable bath experience in virtually any setting. Tuesday, April 29, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

·       Interior Design Magazine Editorial Portfolio Review. Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design magazine, will be accepting one-on-one appointments with architects and designers to provide feedback from the magazine’s point of view. Participants are encouraged to bring digital portfolios of projects that are no more than a year old and have not yet been published to reference during the 10-minute session. Printed photography also accepted. Participants must reserve their spot in advance by registering at coverings.com. Tuesday, April 29, 2–4 p.m.

·       Case Study of Development of National Food Chain Specification for Material Selection, Design Methodologies and Construction Techniques. Writing a quality specification for a project is a challenge. Writing one for a national restaurant chain is even more daunting. It takes a complete collaborative effort. Scott Conwell of the International Masonry Institute shares his case study with attendees, including product selection, writing the specification, consulting with experts, mockups, and implementation of the spec. Wednesday, April 30, 8:30–10 a.m.

·       Specification 2.0 – Harnessing the Full Potential of Tile in Modern Specs. Tile expert Ryan Fasan notes that the modern age of ceramic tile began around 1970—and since then, the innovations in aesthetics and quality have jumped by leaps and bounds. The presentation will explore the four types of tile, production techniques, an easy rule of thumb for providing simple language to explain choices to clients easily, and select the optimal tile for every job. Wednesday, April 30, 9:15–10:15 a.m.

·       Man Made Natural: Insights Into the Authenticity of Materials. In the world of materials, “real” is good and “fake” is bad, right? In the age of tree plantations, engineered lumber and bio board, what exactly does “natural” mean now? And are natural materials always a better choice than manufactured ones? Grace Jeffers, editor of the forthcoming The New Materials Handbook, will explore these and other issues that influence our decisions to choose natural or synthetic materials. Learn surprising truths about materials and confront their preconceptions and, ultimately, become more educated in specifying materials. Wednesday, April 30, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

·       Get me on TV! Television producer Nicola Lees will present the ins and outs of getting on TV, from auditioning as a host or guest designer to an existing show to pitching your own show to a network. Lees has over 15 years of experience in pitching and developing reality shows, including home design/makeover shows, for a variety of networks. Wednesday, April 30, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

·       What’s Hot in Hospitality Design? Deputy Editor of Interior Design magazine Edie Cohen presents the next dimension in hospitality public and private spaces. A panel of experts will help you stay ahead of the game with information on what’s new, what’s hot, and what will be the next big thing in hospitality. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45­–3:45 p.m.

·       Social Media for Architects and Designers. A full lineup of experts including Steven Thomson, content director for Architizer; Tabitha Sukhai, digital engagement and social media for This Old House; and Kerrie Kelly, designer and blogger of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab; joined by moderator Arpi Nalbandian, editor of PRO Installer magazine, will present best practices for using social media to make a difference for your business. Thursday, May 1, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

·       Get Published. How do you go about getting your projects published in a digital age? Our panel of influential editors—Architectural Record’s Sheila Kim, Dwell’s Diana Budds, and Design Milk’s Jaime Derringer—will share how to best present your work to them and the publishing (print and online) industries. The panel will be moderated by Metropolis editorial director Paul Makovsky. Thursday, May 1, 1:30–2:30 p.m.  

·       Universal Design. When applied to housing, “Universal Design” is the practice of designing for both marketability and usability to the greatest extent possible for everyone, regardless of their age or status in life. A universal result has to look good and work well. This session, presented by speakers Daniel Huard, USGBC Nevada; Jason McNeeley, Hansgrohe; Gary Jewell, G.W. Jewell Construction, and moderator Richard Duncan, Mace Universal Design Institute, will showcase products and designs that appeal to households of all ages an add value when compared to otherwise equivalent approaches. Thursday, May 1, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

·       Trends in Tile. Presented by Chris Abbate, Novità Communications, and Ryan Fasan, Professional Attention to Tile Installations, this session will examine advancements in cutting-edge digital technology and the revival of artisanal processes that have collided to transform both the look and application of tile, creating limitless opportunities for designers—and opening up new channels for customization. Super thin, super thick, super small, super sized—the very format that tile comes in has been pushed to extremes, expanding how and where tile can be installed. Thursday, May 1, 2:45­­­–3:45 p.m.

Learn about all of the conference sessions tailored to architects and designers by clicking here. Register to attend Coverings for free at coverings.com/register.

Coverings: a look back

coverings_lookbackBy Joe Tarver, NTCA executive director emeritus, and Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director

 

tile_expoThe first International Tile Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., in 1990 marked the beginning of the coming together of the players in the domestic and foreign tile industries. Over the years it has successfully weathered a shaky and contentious start to set new records of tile and stone usage in the United States, far beyond anyone’s expectations.

In the early years there existed an environment of tense and strained negotiations and meetings among the players – National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Italian and Spanish tile manufacturer associations – compounded by language and cultural differences that made it difficult at times to fully and clearly understand exactly what each of the joint venture partners needed or expected. The challenge was how to slice the pie so that each partner could exist and financially continue its programs and activities to grow the industry. Ultimately people got to know each other, friends were made, trust was gained and the mere logic that everyone had to work together to reach goals was realized. Technology improved communications and language barriers lessened.

Coverings history-the early years

Cvgs_lookback-1From the rain-flooded tents of the first International Tile Exposition (ITE) to the present time, the evolution of the show has been quite an accomplishment. Early on, NTCA provided tile setting contests on the show floor to appeal to contractor attendance. It had a good foundation to do so – its annual Convention and Exposition was the largest available to the tile, stone and allied products industries, including an international audience – for 39 years prior to the mergers that heralded the existence of Coverings.

Negotiations with CTDA, beginning in 1986, resulted in a merger known as “Tile Expo.” The Association of Tile, Terrazzo, Marble Contractors and Affiliates (ATTMCA) – as NTCA was then known – insisted on the inclusion of Tile Council of America (TCA) in the negotiations and they became an owner of Tile Expo when the new entity was formed.

The first Tile Expo was held in November 1987 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. ATTMCA already had planned, confirmed and scheduled a show at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando in April 1987 – attendance at both shows was exceptional. Two additional Tile Expos were held, one in 1988 in San Francisco and one in 1989 in Dallas.

Discussions with the Europeans for a possible merger of Tile Expo with World Exposition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings began in November 1987 in Orlando. The first full meeting was held at Assopiastrelle (the Italian tile manufacturers’ association) in Italy, on July 1, 1988.

cvgs-2“I attended that meeting with David Knox, president of CTDA,” said Joe Tarver, executive director emeritus of NTCA, who was secretariat to the joint venture for five years as well as chairman in 1992 and 2000. “After a contentious beginning, enough progress was made for a second meeting at Tile Expo in July 1988. A third meeting in New York, September 26-27, 1988 resulted in a signed contract.”

The fourth and final meeting of the principals of the industry’s five major trade associations, Assopiastrelle, ASCER (Association of Tile Manufacturers of Spain), NTCA, CTDA and TCA, was held in Atlanta on August 1, 1989, and the agreement signed in New York was ratified.

The first International Tile Exposition was held June 7-9,1990 in Anaheim, but because the convention center was not completed on time, show management had to erect huge tents to accommodate the overwhelming numbers of exhibitors. Unseasonable rain flooded the tents and made conditions generally miserable for exhibitors and attendees, yet the show was considered a huge success.

The annual meetings continued under the name of International Tile Exposition until 1993. Subsequent meetings were called International Tile And Stone Expositions (ITSE) until 1997 when the current name of Coverings was adopted.

Because of cultural differences and tile and stone installation differences in Europe (there were virtually no contractors there) and the United States, our contractor association was hardly recognized as an entity and held in low esteem during the early negotiations.

“Through the ATTMCA’s negotiating skills and persistent interjection of the importance of tile contractors to the U.S tile industry, we persevered and convinced our European partners that we belonged at the table and would play a major role in the success of our joint venture,” Tarver said. “The importance of our association and its contributions to the success of Coverings is readily recognized and acknowledged among all of the partners today. I’m proud to count a great number of people from Italy, Spain and other European countries among my good friends.”

Coverings today

cvgs-4Now celebrating its 25th year, Coverings continues to be the driving force for tile and stone sales in North America. Perhaps equally as important have been the free educational programs offered at the show since its inception. This remains a core strategy for the Coverings Board of Directors, and has positively impacted the industry in many ways.

Bart Bettiga has been the executive director of the NTCA since 2002, and has served as show chairman in 2005 and 2010. He cites increased activity on the show floor as one of the most positive developments in recent years to the show.

cvgs-3“We followed up the early tile-setting contests with an installation stage, with TCNA (formerly TCA) members and NTCA trainers educating attendees on the latest products and installation techniques. Following on that line, we developed new programs like the Installation Design Showcase and Contractor Days to offer more show-floor excitement. I truly believe these programs have been instrumental in creating a more valuable experience, resulting in repeat attendance to the show.”

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