The 13th QUALICER event will take place in February 2014

The XIIIth World Congress on Ceramic Tile Quality will be held at the Chamber of Commerce in Castellón, Spain

The Organising Committee is launching the new edition of the congress and is currently preparing the call for presentations

The Castellón Chamber of Commerce and the College of Industrial Engineers, who have organised QUALICER from the outset in 1990, are already preparing a new call for the conference devoted to the ceramic sector, which brought together over 600 of the industry’s professionals from 24 countries at the foregoing event in Castellón.

QUALICER 2014 will take place in the course of two days of work at the Chamber of Commerce. At present, the organisation work is focused on promoting the forum on an international level, in order to attract the greatest number of delegates as well as to seek out eminent specialists and professionals to deliver invited lectures.

QUALICER, the World Congress on Ceramic Tile Quality, always features an outstanding programme of invited speakers and oral and poster presentations of great technical expertise. The Congress Technical Committee, made up of leading experts, ensures that the communications presented at the conference meet the required standards of quality. In addition, the conference is backed by the technical support of the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC).

The QUALICER Management Committee, consisting of representatives of both organisations, including Salvador Martí Huguet and Carlos Fabra, President and Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce, respectively, and Javier Rodríguez Zunzarren, President of the College of Industrial Engineers, is working out the details of the 2014 event, and has also launched the new website and Call For Papers. A time frame will open at the end of the year till May 2013 for authors to submit the summaries of the works that they wish to present at QUALICER 2014.

The new technical secretary of the Congress, Javier Rodríguez Ejerique, noted in this regard: ‘As at the foregoing QUALICER meetings, the subjects dealt with will be divided into three blocks: BLOCK A: CERAMIC COMPANY AND MARKETS; BLOCK B: CERAMIC TILE AND CONSTRUCTION; and BLOCK C: CERAMIC TILE MANUFACTURE. We are convinced that the excellent technical level of blocks B and C will be maintained, attracting technicians from all over the world. We also aim to further develop block A, addressing issues of regional industrial growth by innovation and competitiveness and the interrelationship between developed and emerging areas. In addition, we shall again be showcasing the QUALICER ZOOM feature, devoting one of these spaces to digital printing, which was highly valued by the meeting attendees in February 2012’.

QUALICER is sponsored by official bodies and organisations, town councils, Cevisama, the County Council, and private companies from the sector, whose collaboration enables this forum to continue to grow and, every two years, makes Castellón the global capital of ceramic tile quality.

USG Announces Winner of Facebook Photo Contest

USG Corporation (NYSE: USG), a leading building products company, is pleased to announce the winner of its Facebook Strength Beneath the Surface Photo Contest which required contestants to submit an “on-the-job” picture of themselves and USG Tile and Flooring products.

Chad Nickless, of Signature Tile in Renton, WA, is the Grand Prize winner of a $500 gift card with his entry titled, “Not Afraid of the Big Tiles.” The four runner-ups will each receive a $100 gift card, and all the entrants received a free t-shirt.

“Our first ever Facebook Photo Contest was a big hit both internally and externally,” said Steve Bjorklund, Director, Tile and Flooring Installation Solutions.“It was especially inspiring to see a wide range of USG Tile and Flooring products being used on the job. At USG, we like nothing better than seeing our products put to work.”

The contest was open to professional contractors, subcontractors, do-it-yourselfers and others who are engaged in the construction or remodeling industry. The five finalists were selected from more than 25 entries based on craftsmanship, creativity and use of USG Tile and Flooring Installation Products.

For more information about the Strength Beneath the Surface Contest, please visit


At the end of September, thousands of visitors – including a record number of international attendees – descended upon Bologna to see the latest designs and technical innovations from ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings manufacturers from around the world. The 30th edition of Cersaie served up a visual feast of pattern and color with geometric graphics, intentionally random patterns, and encaustic-inspired tiles filling the aisles. In terms of shapes, hexagons, squares and planks were popular while super slim (3-4mm) and thick (20mm) were also in. LEED-compliant and Ecolabel certified tiles were on the rise in addition to new sustainable initiatives such as antibacterial, anti-pollution and self-cleaning ceramics.

Mix & Match

Giving designers an opportunity for increased self-expression and creative freedom, many companies introduced patchwork tiles and compositions of varying color, size and material in one collection.

“Minoo” is Marcel Wander’s third decorative tile collection for Bardelli that was intentionally designed for patchwork. The ornate 8”x8” porcelain floor tiles are available in five silkscreen patterns reminiscent of Persian rugs and a range of four neutral and rich colors.The company also launched two new lines by Davide Pizzigoni designed to be mixed and matched. “Orchestra” is a set of 15 4”x4” glossy white wall tiles, each with a different musical instrument, while “Ventagli” features a colorful array of fans on 16”x16” glossy white wall tiles.

For Mosaico+, renowned mosaic artist (and former creative director of Bisazza), Carlo Dal Bianco, used mosaics from the company’s various lines to create a series of new decorations. For “Lacquer” and Inlay”, he used iridescent mosaics from the Perle collection and square glass chips from Concerto to invoke ancient Chinese dynasties. Also of note is “Cloud” designed by Aki Motoyama for Brix, consisting of square tiles in five different sizes that appear to float on the surface.

Casamood offers a rich palette of mixable colors and surfaces with “Materia Project.” Inspired by everything from rough cement walls to irregular panes of glass, the collection features eight colors and six surfaces with matching grout that can be coordinated or mixed and matched. Provenza “Inessence” looks like a collection of different recycled materials from recycled oak to a stone-cement mix while Fioranese “Blend” melds the look of concrete, colored wood and even cardboard. Viva “Statale 9” also offers a full package of urban looks – from square tiles that look like stone-cement to ceramic planks inspired by water stained and stripped wood. In addition, Ariana “Convivium” is freely inspired by different natural surfaces from the timeworn artisanal appeal of terracotta to the modern character of concrete.

In terms of stone looks, Cerdisa “Archistone”, Ceramiche Campogalliano “Rox” and Floor Gres “Floortech 1.0” offer a wide range of stones to choose from. LaFaenzaCeramica “Pretiosa” is a glazed porcelain tile collection featuring a mix of natural stone looks tied together by a single chromatic range while the design of Marca Corona’s “Planet” tiles are inspired by a mixture of stones. With “Stonebox”, Emilceramica gives designers two options to choose from: 36 different types of marbles and natural stones (“Stonebox Concept”) or 40 different graphic variations of the grey tau stone (“Stonebox Basic”). Ergon goes a step further by presenting both sides of the cut stone in one collection. “Back2Back” features both the rich and elegant front side and the rough and minimal backside, available in three colors and three formats.

For a mixed color palette, Ceramica Sant’Agostino’s“Abita” collection of 8”x24” white body wall tiles are available in a diamond effect version in three chromatic mixes of beige, lilla and menta. Ceramica Vogue alsolaunched two innovative collections focused on color: “Transparenze Mix” with a glossy surface and 17 color options; and “Interni Mix”, available in a range of 21 colors, each containing a random patchwork of three shades of color.

To create a mixed wood effect, Impronta’s “Listone D” collection comes in an 18”x36” Patchwork module. Meanwhile, Emilceramica uses HD technology to transform photographs of 50 fossilized wood blocks into the “Petrified Tree” collection. “Bark” reproduces the bark of fossilized wood with a rough-hewn, anti-slip finish while “Core” (in a natural or polished finish) reinterprets the petrified core of wood.

Industry First: Philippe Starck plays with the idea of joints for his first-ever ceramic tile collection for the Italian manufacturer Ceramica Sant’Agostino. The joint, which is typically minimalized or hidden entirely, becomes a central feature and decorative modular element for “Flexible Architecture.” It can be specified on one to four sides of the tile or on no sides at all to create an endless array of architectural compositions. A variety of thicknesses (7mm and 12mm), surfaces (matte and glossy) and colors (white, yellow, grey and greige) also add to the product’s flexibility.

Antibacterial & Self-Cleaning

Ceramic tile is naturally hygienic and contains no VOCs that release gas prior to, during, or after installation. On top of that, Italian manufacturers continue to innovate and partner with biotech companies to offer products that actively contribute to a person’s health. Demonstrating this trend was the presence of many antibacterial, antipollution and self-cleaning ceramics at the show.

Fincibec announced the launch of “Antibact” – a proprietary antibacterial technology that significantly enhances the sanitizing effects during cleaning and does not require sunlight to be activated. “Technica” by Century is the first tile collection from the Fincibec Group that features this technology. The LEED-compliant porcelain tiles are available in six colors, three modular rectified formats and four different finishes.

As part of the company’s “CaesarTech” division focused on innovative solutions for the building industry, Ceramiche Caesar introduced a new triple-action antibacterial treatment for its ceramic tiles called “Care24”. It can be used on outdoor walls and floors and for various indoor uses. Meanwhile, Refin announced that its “Cromie” collection is now available with a special Ecosan24 treatment. Using titanium dioxide charged with active metallic elements, the tiles are anti-polluting, self-cleaning on ventilated wall facades, and sanitizing even without light.

Mirage launched a new tile collection especially useful for the residential sector that provides “zero maintenance decking.” Treated with a special Hy-Pro24 process, the 24”x24”x¾” porcelain “Sundeck” tiles have antibacterial and antipollution properties equal to a medium-sized tree for every square meter of tile. Panaria, Lea Ceramiche and Cotto d’Este, all part of the Panaria Group, also offer antibacterial floor and wall tiles for residential and commercial applications.

Industry First: Casalgrande Padana unveiled “Bios Self Cleaning Ceramics” that uses HYDROTECT technology from the Japanese brand, TOTO, to create self-cleaning, anti-bacterial and pollution-reducing tiles. The HYDROTECT coating contains two active agents: titanium dioxide, which is photo-catalytic; and a well-balanced formulation of metals that offer antibacterial and antivirus properties. The technology is especially useful for exterior cladding and can be applied to all Casalgrande Padana products.

Encaustic & Majolica Looks

Square ceramic tiles with bold, solid colors and mesmerizing patterns could be seen in every corner of the show. Some companies introduced traditional majolica motifs in new blown-out sizes and patchwork effects while others were inspired by vintage encaustic tiles with a timeworn appearance. In either case, Italian companies are using high-tech printing to put a contemporary spin on a handcrafted process, invoking the character and old world charm of these historic tiles.

One of the collections that embody this trend is “Azulej” – the latest porcelain tiles designed by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina. Inspired by ancient handcrafted majolica made of hydraulic cement, the 8”x8” glazed porcelain tiles are available in three neutral base colors (white, light grey and dark grey) in a choice of nine patterns or as a combination of 27 different designs. The result is a deliberately random patchwork of tiles for floors and walls, both indoors and out. Another avant-garde example is the Majolica pattern of Refin’s “Frame” collection. Designed by graphic design firm Studio FM, the large 30”x30” square tiles feature traditional decors from majolica tiles of the 19th and 20th centuries but presented in a more graphic light.

Fap Ceramiche also offers a colorful Maiolica décor as part of its “Base” collection while Ceramiche Supergres completes its “Smart Town” line of porcelain tiles with a Marmette décor. Viva’s“Statale 9” Pittura tiles and a few of ImolaCeramica’s “Habitat” decors look like decorative cement tiles while “Docks Combi” by ABK features a patchwork composition of 16 8”x8” tiles with an encaustic look. Similarly, “Amarcord” by Ceramica Faetano is a collection of 8”x8” ceramic tiles that reinterprets antique encaustic floors with an invigorating mix of 12 patterns in various shades of white, brown and blue. “Vintage” by Cerim, “Cotto Vogue” by Cir and “Concept” by Ragno are a few other collections featuring this unique look.


As the market moves towards longer slabs, tile companies are responding with a range of plank-sized tiles – some as long as six feet! Though wood is still a popular design choice, manufacturers are also offering these new plank sizes with their stone and concrete inspired collections as well.

“Sunrock” by Atlas Concorde, a doppelganger for Travertine, is available in a range of formats including 6”x36” and 9”x36” while Coem’s “Pietra del Friuli”, inspired by stones found in the northeast of Italy, also comes in a 6”x36” plank size. ImolaCeramica’s“Vein” collection, that looks like vein-cut or cross-cut marble, is also offered in a trendy 6”x36” plank size.

ABK “Soleras” is a collection of porcelain tiles inspired by the wooden staves from barrels used for “Criaderas y Soleras” – a technique for aging prestigious wines and spirits such as sherry, madeira and brandy. With a beautiful patina, the tiles are available in two plank sizes with a hand-planed appearance. Other porcelain planks with a hand-planed effect include: “Root” by Ceramiche Caesar; “Planks” by Ascot; “Silvis” by Cotto d’Este; and “AllWays” by Mirage.

For Roberto Cavalli’s newest collection for Ricchetti, he reinterpreted the wood planks from his Florentine home into a series of 39” long porcelain tiles in six different wood looks. “Nuances” from Fap Ceramiche is also offered in a range of six wood designs and is the first time the company is producing a porcelain tile collection intended for floors and walls.

Lea Ceramiche uses sophisticated digital printing techniques to reproduce the knots and grain of various woods for its new “Bio Plank”collection. Available as 48” long (and 6” or 8” wide) planks, the tiles are available with antibacterial protection for indoor environments and a special anti-slip deck finish for outdoors. “Atelier” by Marca Corona, “Newood” by Casalgrande Padana and “Plank” by LeonardoCeramica are a few other plank sized tiles that come in a special grip finish for outdoor installations.

Lighter-colored wood such as oak was another popular trend at Cersaie and served as the basis of many ceramic plank collections. Ceramiche Caesar “Wabi” is inspired by oak and offered in three 48” long plank sizes with a matte, textured, or saw-cut finish. Refin “Trail” also recalls the look of oak in eight shades and comes in plank sizes as long as five feet. “Tree” by Ceramica Sant’Agostino and “Signum” by Coem are other collections featuring an elegant oak option.

Additional tile collections offered in plank sizes include: “Vintage” by Settecento; “Seasons” by Serenissima; “Mywood” by Cisa Ceramiche; “Cottage Wood” by Fioranese; “Listone D” by Impronta; “Woodstyle” by Ragno; “Treverkatelier” by Marazzi; “Echo” by Monocibec; and “La Premiere” by Ceramiche Supergres.

Industry First: Floor Gres and Rex introduced impressive six-foot long ceramic planks with the formwork cement-inspired “Reverse” and oak-inspired “Selection Oak” collections, respectively.

Ceramic Fabric

The influence of fashion on the world of interiors could be seen in this year’s influx of tactile collections. From the femininity of lace to the luxurious sheen of silk, many ceramic tile manufacturers launched new collections inspired by the texture or appearance of a variety of fabrics.

Raw Edge’s second collection for Mutina called “Tex” is a rich, three-dimensional and multi-colored collection of 4.5”x8” rhombus-shaped glazed porcelain tiles. Each of the eight available colors is made up of three shades and a range of textures taken from textiles that are randomly mixed. “I Tessuti” is another designer collection, created by Elena Strafella for Cottoveneto, which features an interesting fabric-inspired composition of micromosaics. The range of decors includes: Scottish; Tweed; Shantung; Tartan; and Twill.

From the pizzo décor of Cerdisa’s “Archistone” tiles to the new “Décor Lace Flowers” composition from Mosaico+, lace is still a fashionable muse for designers. Novabell also pays homage to the material with its “Rainbow” and “Ravello” white body ceramic wall tiles while the Canapa décor of its new “Energy” collection is an interesting rendition of a 1970s textile print.

Other fabric-inspired products getting rave reviews include Marazzi’s “Silkstone” line whose decorative ceramic wall tiles are inspired by Indian saris, Japanese kimonos, tulle and silk and the knit pattern of “Studies in Gouache” by Lea Ceramiche whose repetitive weave is intoxicating. In addition, Fap Ceramiche’s “Supernatural” Charme décor recalls the look of quilted fabrics, creating elegant and luxurious surfaces.

Installation Made Easy

From 2cm thick porcelain tiles to clip systems and quick laying floors, Italian companies offer a variety of products that make the installation process easier than ever. Monolithic porcelain slabs were especially popular at this year’s show with a large number of tile producers adding a 20mm option to their collections. Twice as thick as most tiles, they have the same benefits as regular porcelain tiles but with an incredibly high breakage load (up to 2,000 pounds) and can be dry laid on grass, gravel, dirt, and cement without grout or adhesives.

One of the first companies to introduce ¾” thick porcelain tiles with its Compact 20 range, Tagina now offers five tile collections in this monolithic size. Novabell’s “Avant” collection is also available in a heavy-duty 20mm paving version in a 24”x24” format and special R12 anti-slip finish while Ceramiche Keope’s “Pecorsi SMART” tiles are available in five stone looks and a 24”x24”x¾” size. Available in large modular formats, Pastorelli’s new “Quartz Design” series is 2cm thick and features the same sparkling reflections as quartz flecks. “Sunrock” from Atlas Concorde, based on the look of Travertine stone, is the newest addition to the company’s “Lastra 20mm” line while Marca Corona “Stone Line” and Cerdisa “T20 Project” are both available in a 2cm thickness and grip finish for outdoors.

In addition to monolithic porcelain slabs that look like stone, Mirage offers two wood-look collections – “AllWays” and “Sundeck” – that come in a 2cm outdoor version while Floor Gres’ new cement-inspired “Industrial” line is available in three thicknesses including a 20mm bush hammered edition.

Offering another veritable revolution for the building and construction industry, “Del Conca Fast” is a new, patented system for quick laying ceramic floors. Suitable for residential and light commercial projects, the system creates a new floor in a matter of hours without joints, adhesives or grout. It is currently available with Del Conca’s “Monte Napoleone” collection that mimics wood in two planks sizes (6”x48” and 8”x48”) and four colors.

For tiles that do require grout, MAPEI introduced a revolutionary new epoxy grout that makes installation cleanup trouble-free. Available in eight colors, “Kerapoxy CQ” contains quartz that makes it easier for installers to remove grout from the surface of tile during application. Another timesaving product from the company is “Mapesonic 2.” The patent-pending design for the sound-reduction and crack-isolation sheet membrane is lighter and thinner and allows installers to just prime, peel and stick before installing the tile.

Industry First: Searching for new ways to solve installation problems, Trend introduced a prototype of a new quick laying system called “Clip To Go.” Part of the company’s “Advanced Rapid System”, it features glass tiles preinstalled onto a dense foam support, which provides insulation, sound proofing and water proofing. “Smart To Go” is a similar product from the company specifically made for mosaics.

Size Matters

Super thin tiles and giant slabs are two innovations pioneered by Italian manufacturers whose popularity continues to grow. While thin tile provides a versatile covering solution for nearly every surface, large format tiles are typically easier to maintain and allow designers to concentrate on the lines and flow of a space.

The newest addition to Cotto d’Este’s super thin (3mm) and large (1mx3m) Kerlite series, “Exedra” offers six types of marble looks and three finishes (natural, soft and lux). Because Kerlite is durable, light, and easy to cut, the thin tiles can also be used for kitchen counter tops, basins, doors and other furnishings. Similarly, “Lightquarz” is the fourth collection of large and super thin laminated porcelain stoneware tiles from Panaria that are extremely versatile. Part of the company’s ZER0.3 line, the 3mm tiles can be used for an infinite number of custom solutions for the bathroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

“Micron 2.0” by ImolaCeramica is a new series of full body porcelain tiles up to 4’x4’ in a palette of eight colors and three finishes (natural, polished and bush-hammered). “Gli Alabastri di Rex” by Rex is inspired by alabaster, with its natural luxury and symmetrical geometries, and is available in large 31.5”x71” slabs. Also from the Florim Group, “Industrial” by Floor Gres reinterprets cement in porcelain slabs as large as 1.2m x 3m.

Industry First: “Studies in Gouache” – the latest innovative product designed by Diego Grandi for Lea Ceramiche – is the first slim tile with a contemporary bas-relief design. The four decors (grid, scratch, weave and moire b) feature geometric and abstract patterns engraved and sanded into the 3mm tiles. They are offered in the same chromatic range as the company’s “Gouache.10” collection.


Five manufacturers and contractors in the tile industry banded together to tile the kitchen, bathrooms and basement in Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s RE*Generation House, which will provide transitional housing for at-risk youth in Washington, DC who might otherwise be homeless.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork welcomed donations of tile from Dal-Tile, setting and floor preparation materials from MAPEI, and Ditra underlayment and floor edging strips from Schluter Systems. NTCA Five-Star Contractors Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company completed the installation in the kitchen and three bathrooms. Sasha Bruce Youthwork is a well-recognized nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that provides shelter and needed support for vulnerable youth. (

MAPEI invited Tile Partners for Humanity, the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor, to coordinate the project.

The RE*Generation House was also part of an outreach program by ProjectAEC Cares, a group of architects, engineers and contractors working in partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual meeting as well as Reed Construction Data and Hanley Wood. Project AEC Cares coordinated a one-day service project in May to bring donors, volunteers, and media representatives together to work on the home renovation. Representatives of Collins Tile & Stone, David Allen Company, MAPEI, Schluter Systems, and TPFH were on hand to participate. Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company finished the installation in October once the house renovation was complete.

Larry Fullerton, Board Member of the Sasha Bruce Youthwork, thanked the industry donors for the beautiful finished product.

“We’re so grateful for the installation expertise and material donations from the tile industry. Not only is the finished product stunning, but in a house filled with kids it’s crucial to have floors that will stand up to heavy foot traffic. We also appreciate the time that everyone spent on site completing the project. It was great to meet the donors who made it possible!”

This marked the second year that MAPEI has contributed to the ProjectAEC Cares program and Michael Granatowski, MAPEI’s National Manager of Architectural and Commercial Projects, recently joined the program’s Advisory Board as a representative of the manufacturing community. Granatowski and Steven Day, Marketing Manager for MAPEI, participated in the service event in May.

“MAPEI finds that the Project AEC Cares program is an exciting and uplifting way to become a part of the communities where the AIA convention takes place each year. Our Sales, Technical and Marketing people who get a chance to participate in the renovations look forward to the next city and the next opportunity to help improve buildings for groups like Sasha Bruce Youthwork.”

Joey Miles, Territory Manager for Schluter Systems, also spent time volunteering at the service day event in May along with representatives of Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company.

“It was such an enormous pleasure to be part of the housing project at Sasha Bruce,” said Miles. “This was an opportunity for us to get involved in something we feel passionately about. Through this project we were able to take a hands-on approach in helping to create reliable housing for youth who may otherwise be homeless, and use our products and experience towards creating a home that we know will last, and will make a continuing impact on this community.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, Senior Marketing Director for Dal-Tile Corporation, said that Dal-Tile was proud to participate in the project.

“At Dal-Tile, we strive to enrich the lives of others and positively impact our communities when we can. We’re pleased to be able to extend our support to the Sasha Bruce RE*Generation House and the well-deserving children they serve.”

Herb Miller, Executive Director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center, echoed Fullerton’s gratitude. “It’s only through generous partners like Dal-Tile, MAPEI, Schluter Systems, Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company that we’re able to support important projects like the RE*Generation House. We had the best of the best – great materials and installation by two NTCA Five-Star Contractors. We truly appreciate their partnership and support!”

About Mountain Re-Source Center

MRC welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. To donate or for more information on MRC or Tile Partners for Humanity, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ [email protected] or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ [email protected]. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit or

LATICRETE Spins and Delivers at Total Solutions PLUS 2012

LATICRETE, a manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, participated in Total Solutions Plus 2012, held October 27 – 30 in Rancho Mirage, California, where the LATICRETE®Hydro BanPreformed Shower System and Drains were showcased along with a spinning wheel promotion.

During the conference, one of the most highly entertaining and closely followed events was the LATICRETE “Spin to Win” Prize Wheel. Any attendee could spin

Lesley Goddin, Editor of Tile Letter receives Apple® iPad from Ron Nash, LATICRETE Director of Sales, USA & Canada APD

for a chance to win one of several prizes instantly.  For the 10 attendees who landed on a new Apple® iPad, their name was individually mounted on the Prize Wheel for a final round spin where one lucky winner was chosen. Lesley Goddin, Editor of Tile Letter magazine, the official publication of the National Tile Contractors Association, graciously accepted winning her new Apple iPad.

“Total Solutions Plus 2012 was a great success, the personification of an integrated industry event,” beamed Goddin. “Not only because I won an iPad, but every possible facet of it seemed to work at optimal levels! There was clearly more attendance than in past years, sessions (i.e. the one on today’s thin tile material) were packed, and many of our industry veterans stated this seemed to be ‘a more intimate event’ than what they’ve become accustomed to within the tile and stone sectors. Everyone seemed to be on the same page relative to bringing our industry to the next level.”

Maria Oliveira, LATICRETE Corporate Marketing Manager added, “One of our main motives at Total Solutions was to showcase and explain the many attributes of our Hydro Ban Preformed Shower System. We wanted to educate all those who attended on just how easy the system is to install… and, how it works in conjunction with our other products for a complete warranted installation from the substrate up.”

LATICRETE International, Inc. provides globally proven construction solutions for the building industry.  LATICRETE® products are manufactured and distributed worldwide in the commercial and consumer channels. The company’s philosophy of innovation and technical expertise has led to an unparalleled reputation and commitment to superior quality, performance and customer service. Engineered and produced in state-of-the-art ISO 9001:2008 certified facilities, LATICRETE offers a broad product portfolio including an extensive line of independently certified low VOC sustainable products. LATICRETE®, LATAPOXY®, SpectraLOCK®, Hydro Ban® and DRYTEK® are registered brands of LATICRETE International, Inc. Corporate Website:

NABE: Superstorm Sandy generates $30-$50 billion loss

Storm rebuilding may encounter delays, but will fuel construction for next 12-18 months

The “Impact of SuperStorm Sandy on the Regional and Macro Economy,” a webinar hosted by the National Association for Business Economics today, estimated a total storm-related loss of $30-$50 billion, centering on casino revenue, damage and destruction of rental properties along the New Jersey shoreline, and travel disruptions resulting from the tropical storm.

The effect on construction is mixed, with some estimates of robust construction activity in the next 12-18 months to rebuild properties, and other projections citing delays in insurance funds to spur construction and folding of business operating on the brink of solvency.

Gregory Daco, senior principal US economist, IHS Global Insight, estimated insured infrastructure losses at $10-$20 billion, noting that total losses are usually equal to twice the insured totals. Total infrastructure losses and disruptions to business activity may climb beyond the estimated $30-$50 billion, but the impact may not be discernible in final GDP figures for the year. About 70 percent of oil refining capacity in the Northeast was idled, but measures such as gasoline rationing in New Jersey and tankers bringing additional oil to the region is speeding recovery.

Charlie Steindel, chief economist, New Jersey Department of the Treasury, reported that as of November 6, less than 20 percent of New Jersey utility customers are without power down from nearly three-quarters of customers without power in the early days of the storm. He noted a flare in auto sales to replace vehicles destroyed in the storm. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has temporarily repealed Blue Laws in mall-centric Bergen County, which will allow extra shopping time for residents affected by the storm and recouping of income for stores which had to close due to the storm.

Ken McGill, managing director for Rockport Analytics noted that travel was significantly affected with about 20,000 canceled flights and 2 million total air-and-ground trips lost during a four-day period. This represents $1-$2 billion lost in leisure and business travel mainly to suppliers of food, lodging and air travel. However, he predicted only about 25 percent will be permanent losses, with the majority of trips expected to be rescheduled. Steindel added that workaround measures allowed business to be conducted remotely, online or from home or public libraries with power.

The major impact of the storm is on New Jersey tourism in the areas north of Atlantic City, such as hard-hit Long Beach Island, communities of Brigantine and Beach Haven and the Tuckerton retirement community, Steindel said. The goal is to rebuild in time for the summer tourist season, which begins Memorial Day 2013. The challenge is that many of the accommodations are individual rental homes, not hotels which are simpler to rebuild. A quarter of the $12 billion accommodations spending in New Jersey is rental homes across the state, said McGill. On Long Beach Island alone, $300 million is hotel revenue, and $900 million is rental homes.

According to Kemm Farney, manager, economics and forecasting, PEPCO Holdings, Inc., most of the state’s largest commercial customers and flooded casinos never lost power and have reopened. However, the cancellation of the Hard Rock Casino project and the lackluster performance of the new Revel casino, which opened in April and brought 5500 new jobs to the area, “leave casinos in a continuing-to-struggle environment,” Farney said. He added that small businesses in the area that are dependent on credit cards and second mortgages for credit are struggling, and slightly larger small businesses need sales to fuel reconstruction. He struck a optimistic tone that once insurance monies start flowing, “it will keep South Jersey tradesmen very busy for the next 12-18 months, which is a very good thing.”

Ken Simonson, NABE president and chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America, was more reserved about construction opportunities, citing delays in the infusion of insurance funds and support from the federal government for repairs on highways and roads and a lengthened time frame for procurements of equipment and materials.

“Some businesses will not reopen,” Simonson said, “Some who were ready to expand will cancel those plans.”  As for homeowners, Simonson said new homes won’t “translate into one for one replacement. The net impact on construction industry will be small and a negative over a period of time. We will see a slowing down of economic activity and with it construction activity.”

Simonson predicted that longer hours for existing workers will ensue and despite an ample number of construction workers, “additional employment will be modest and gradual aside from immediate crews for cleanup stabilization and emergency repairs.” Capacity is plentiful — 12,000 construction payroll jobs were lost in New York and New Jersey last year, so labor shortages are not expected. However, since the beginning of 2011, he said, construction spending has risen 13% but employment only represents a fraction of a percent.

Similarly, capacity is plentiful for materials and equipment – it’s only currently at 30 percent of the peak levels of six years ago, Simonson continued. Wallboard and lumber prices rose pre-storm, but production is expected to be ramped up quickly to meet new demand. Some work may be hampered due to flooded equipment or sites where workers don’t yet have access.

Simonson also does not expect much investment in storm protection construction. “We don’t have a history of the U.S. engaging in protective investment. I’m not optimistic for a big uptick in this kind of construction spending.”


Coverings 2013 Call for Entries

Coverings 2013, The Ultimate Tile + Stone Experience,  has announced a call for entries for two of its most acclaimed programs,    PROJECT: Green and the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards.

“With these two programs, Coverings is proud to recognize excellence in the entire tile and stone community by saluting professionals for their design creativity, craftsmanship and environmental stewardship,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Recognition of the projects selected for PROJECT: Green and winners for CID Awards has become a much-anticipated highlight of the show.”

PROJECT: Green  recognizes sustainable new and remodeled commercial, institutional and residential projects featuring tile and stone.  The program, now in its fourth year, is

open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and installers. Projects must have been completed within the past two years and may be located within the United States or internationally.

The independent panel of judges will evaluate projects based on such criteria as positive environmental impact, environmental innovation, aesthetic design, and use of tile/stone products with environmental benefits such as recycled or low VOC materials.  Deadline for entries is Jan. 18, 2013.  Selected projects will be showcased at Coverings in Atlanta, April 29-May 2, 2013.

The CID Awards honor achievements in outstanding design and installation of tile and stone in residential and commercial projects.  Architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other professionals are invited to enter projects located within, or outside of, North America.  New for 2013 a category has been established for international firms submitting projects.

Projects are judged on design and installation excellence, giving special recognition to unusual, creative and innovative uses of stone and tile.

The deadline for entries is February 8, 2013. Winners will be announced at the CID Awards Reception & Ceremony on Monday, April 29 at Coverings at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. If winners are unable to attend, the project will be disqualified and a new winner will be awarded.  International category entrants are encouraged to attend but attendance is not mandatory.

To enter PROJECT: Green  and the  CID Awards   go to

There is no fee to visit Coverings or to enter either of these awards.  And unlike many other shows, there is no charge to attend almost 70 informative educational sessions either.  Professionals can register online at .

About Coverings

Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States.  It features exhibitors from more than 50 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.

The exposition also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with almost 70 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge

Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.

Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) , Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica , National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  The show is managed by National Trade Productions.

Coverings 2013 will be held April 29-May 2, at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-683-8500.

Garden State Tile to Hold Laminam By Crossville Launch Event on Thurs., Oct. 11th

Unveiling of Innovative Large Format Porcelain Panels for A&D Community
— Open House & Presentation Part of DESIGNPHILADELPHIA Festival —

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Regional tile distributor Garden State Tile (GST) will host the Laminam by Crossville Launch Event at its new, state-of-the-art Architectural & Design Center in Philadelphia in conjunction with the DesignPhiladelphia festival. The event will take place on Thursday, October 11th, with an open house from 5 – 8 p.m. and a presentation at 6 p.m. GST’s Architectural & Design Center is located at 2401 Walnut Street. The event is free and open to the public.
Billed as “large format porcelain panels,” Laminam by Crossville products are just 3mm thick with outer dimensions of 1m x 3m. The lean profile combined with generously sized panels creates a versatile surface skin ideal for giving walls, doors, counters and cabinetry a nearly seamless appearance. Lightweight yet very durable, these porcelain panels expand the possibilities for tile applications for both commercial and residential use. Garden State Tile is the exclusive source for Laminam by Crossville in the metro Philadelphia area.
The Laminam by Crossville event is being held as part of the annual DesignPhiladelphia, a four-day festival celebrating the region’s design industries at work and the city’s contemporary significance as a center for creative innovation and advancement.
For more details on Garden State Tile’s Laminam by Crossville Launch Event or any DesignPhiladelphia festival activities, visit
Members of the media are invited to attend and may request interviews and showroom tours by contacting Irene Williams at [email protected].
About Garden State Tile
Garden State Tile (GST) is a tile distributor with 10 design centers located throughout the eastern U.S. The company is built on the idea that people make all the difference, and its service and design expertise has defined its reputation since GST first opened for business more than 50 years ago. Grounded in a long tradition of supplying the highest quality tile products and service, Garden State Tile offers guidance, education and consultation to its customers, including interior designers, architects, retailers and product specifiers for national accounts.
In 2011, GST opened its 5,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Architectural & Design Center located at 2401 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA, giving a spatial showcasing of premium porcelain, stone, ceramic, glass tile and much more.
For more details, visit
About Crossville Inc.
Founded in 1986, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications. The company is the first U.S. tile manufacturer to achieve the following: – production of large format tile on site, – manufacturing tile with certified recycled content, – development of the Tile Take-Back® Program for recycling fired porcelain tile – certification of its waste recycling programs – TCNA’s Green Squared certification for all of its U.S.-produced tile lines, – become a net consumer of waste.
For more information on Crossville, visit
About Laminam by Crossville
Laminam by Crossville is Crossville, Inc.‘s exclusive U.S. distributorship of select thin panel porcelain products manufactured by Laminam S.p.A., the world leader in the production of large format, lean profile ceramic surfacing products. A consolidated division of Systems Group, Laminam S.p.A. utilizes an advanced, fully automated production process to create large and lean profile ceramic and porcelain slab products available worldwide.
For more details, visit

Tile Of Spain Launches “Passport To Creativity” Contest Show Us Your Creativity, And We’ll Show You Spain

Four design professionals will be selected to attend an all expense paid, CEU architectural tour and trip to Cevisama 2013 in Valencia, Spain – entries accepted through December 3, 2012

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), is proud to announce the launch of “Passport to Creativity” contest.

The contest offers architects and interior designers a chance to win a free trip to Spain to participate in an architectural excursion where they will earn 4 CEU credits and visit Cevisama 2013, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishing Show in Valencia, Spain.

To enter, architects and designers must show their creativity!
Tile of Spain is asking architects and interior designers to submit a picture of themselves with Spanish Tile. It can be a picture of them holding a catalog, a picture (printed or on a phone), a drawing of a room or even sample of Spanish Tile. They can also stand next to a project where they specified Spanish Tile.

Entries will be accepted through December 3, 2012 and winners will be notified in the week of December 10, 2012.

Part of the Tile of Spain 2013 Architects & Designers Tour running February 2 to February 9, 2013, the “Passport to Creativity” trip includes time to explore Spain to be immersed in the culture, sample Spain’s world-famous culinary arts, observe sites and attractions with architectural and design significance and to gain a general understanding and appreciation for Spain. The trip also includes a guided visit to Cevisama 2013, factory and booth tours and a press conference. All participants will earn 4 CEU credits.

For complete rules, and details on how to enter the “Passport to Creativity” contest, please visit


Lori Dolnick: [email protected]com
Katie Sikorski: [email protected]com

About Tile of Spain
In Spain, tile makers labor as they have for centuries – pushing their passion for design and innovation to new levels of artisanship. With one of the purest and strongest domestic clays available, Spanish manufacturers have an unparalleled ability to make the end product more diverse. From rustic handmade forms; to technical facades that cool buildings and clean the air; to the impossibly slim, sustainable recycled and ink jet masterpieces that fire the imagination. The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) is the private organization whose primary objective is to support Spain’s ceramic tile manufacturers and the industry as a whole by stewarding and promoting the Tile of Spain brand worldwide. A strong global leader, the ceramic tile industry of Spain comprises 125 manufacturers concentrated primarily in the province of Castellón. For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain, 2655 Le Jeune Road, Suite 1114, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Call 305-446-4387 or visit

For photography, interviews or questions, please call Lori Dolnick at 609-490-0999 x22 or [email protected]com


Donato Pompo Honored with Construction Specifier Magazine Article of the Year Award

Donato V. Pompo, CTC, CMR, CSI, CDT, MBA of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, Inc. (CTaSC) was honored with The Construction Specifier Magazine Article of the Year Award by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). CSI is a prominent architectural association for architects that prepare construction specifications. The award was presented to Mr. Pompo at CSI’s Annual Meeting held in conjunction with CONSTRUCT 2012 in Phoenix on September 14, 2012.

The article that earned Mr. Pompo the distinguished recognition from CSI is entitled “Good Specs Mean Good Tile and Stone Installations” and appeared in the magazine’s December 2011 issue. click here for complete article. CSI’s Editorial Advisory Board stated that they selected Pompo’s article based on its relevance to the industry as a whole, readability, impact, and alignment with CSI’s mission and technical standards and formats.

“Like Pompo’s previous pieces for the magazine, it exemplifies what makes an article successful—the writing is in-depth but accessible, and thought-provoking but based on objective fact,” said Erik Missio, editor of The Construction Specifier. “Pompo draws on his own experiences in the tile industry to present clear, concise, and correct information for architects, specifiers, and engineers within a CSI context. His article is the very spirit of the tagline that appears on The Construction Specifier covers—a solution for the construction industry.” Pompo has a new article just released in The Construction Specifier’s October 2012 issue titled “Avoiding the Fall: Specifying Ceramic, Glass Tile, Stone, and Terrazzo for Slip Resistance.” click here for complete article.

Mr. Pompo is a frequent contributing author to many of the construction, tile and stone trade publications. He has been a Certified Construction Documents Technologist (CDT) through CSI since 2000 and has produced hundreds of tile and stone installation specifications. His more than 30 years experience in the tile and stone industries, combined with his dedication, commitment, and a desire to improve the industry as a whole through training and the sharing of information is key in motivating Pompo to publish many articles and offering training services. It is also what led him to establish the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS) in 2002.

“I realized the importance of training early on in my various roles in the ceramic tile and stone industry. I realized that there weren’t enough opportunities for those who specify, sell or install tile and stone to learn the critical requirements and standards needed to ensure successful installations. When e-learning technology became available it made it possible to educate installers, salespeople and architects in the most cost-efficient and convenient way, so that’s why I established the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (,” Pompo said. “Most people have access to a computer and an internet connection today. So now industry standards, product knowledge and uses, and installation application information is conveniently available online,” he continued. “And the beauty of online learning is that you can do it without having to miss work or incur any travel expenses, and you can go at your own pace and convenience.”

The core business, CTaSC, is what supplies Pompo with ideas for stories that turn into magazine articles. CTaSC specializes in forensic investigations, quality control, tile and stone installation specifications, testing, and expert witness testimony. Pompo is frequently called on to conduct forensic investigations throughout North America and this enables him to see first-hand the kinds of problems that are occurring on many different types of jobs. Installations run the gamut from exterior veneers, to swimming pools, hotel lobbies, showers, malls, airports, and the list goes on. CTaSC also provides various quality control services such as writing installation specifications and quality control plans, and having CTaSC inspectors, who are seasoned tile installers, perform on-site quality control inspections.

By keeping a record of the issues he comes across in the field, and translating them into informative articles and online courses, Pompo hopes to get the word out to the construction industry members about how such problems can be avoided through education.

For further information about the UofCTS training services please visit or call 886.669.1550.

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