FCLC’S INSTALLATION RESEARCH PROJECT IS PRODUCING VALUABLE INSIGHTS

Members of the Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) united on April 13, 2018, in Tampa, Florida, to hear preliminary results of the FCLC installation labor force research initiative currently being conducted by The Blackstone Group Inc., a Chicago-based research firm.  The initiative will provide an in-depth look at the current and future state of the flooring covering installation labor force. 

The FCLC initiative has three primary objectives:

  1. Estimating the size of the gaps between the supply of and the demand for floor covering installers, now and in five and ten years.
  2. Quantifying the financial impact of the installer shortage up the supply chain.
  3. Identifying the key drivers of the installer shortage as well as potential solutions.

Work is complete on the initiative’s first three tasks: resource identification, preliminary analysis of labor force issues, and in-depth telephone interviews with industry stakeholders.

The preliminary analysis of installer labor issues delivered a profile of the floor covering installation labor force; an examination of the gaps between supply and demand; estimates of the size of the gaps now and in five and ten years; and approaches to analyzing the financial impacts of installer shortages on the supply chain.

In-depth telephone interviews targeted qualified stakeholders from key segments of the industry, including floor covering installers, builders, unions, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. These interviews gathered insights on the drivers of shortages, the importance of training and certification, barriers to recruiting installers, the upstream financial impacts of installer shortages, and potential solutions to the shortages. Participants were asked to comment on the impacts that immigration, globalization, automation, regulatory changes, labor unions, product mix changes, and competition have had on flooring installation in the past five to ten years. 

The fourth phase of the research is an online assessment being sent to a pool of industry stakeholders compiled by the members of the FCLC. The assessment has launched and will conclude by June. All who receive invitations to the assessment are strongly encouraged to respond.

The next meeting of the FCLC Communications Committee is scheduled for July 20, 2018, in Chicago.  Final results of the floor covering installation labor force research are scheduled to be delivered to the FCLC membership on August 15, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.

THE BELKNAP WHITE GROUP’S SPRING SHOWCASE A SUCCESS

The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors, recently hosted its Annual Spring Showcase Convention in Uncasville, Connecticut​ at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort. More than 50 key BWG suppliers were there to showcase their latest products and sales offerings to over 250 of BWG’s customers. 

BWG’s President, Paul Castagliuolo had this to say about the Spring Showcase, “This was one of our best events we’ve ever staged. We have not hosted this in a few years​,​ and we were thrilled with the result of bringing it back. We tweaked the format to allow more time for the reps, dealers and guests to spend together​… ​​and,​ it really paid off. The enthusiasm was incredible,​ and​ throughout its entirety,​ the show had a really positive vibe to it.”

“We were excited to re-introduce our annual Spring Showcase,” said BWG’s Executive Vice President of ​Sales​,​ Bill Prescott.  “The event was well received by all of our customers and we want to thank our vendor partners for their support. Frankly speaking, without them, this event would not have been a success. Plans are already in the works for 2019 to make it​ even​ bigger and better.”

NTCA Awards Night Special Guest: U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter and wife Kenna, Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. Program smart home recipients

NTCA, Crossville, Inc., and MAPEI are all supporters of the program

One of the most moving moments of the NTCA Awards Night was the talk given by Sgt. Eric Hunter and his wife Kenna, who gave personal insight in to the transforming power of Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. specially-adapted smart homes.

U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter and wife Kenna spoke about the importance of the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E Program and its specially-adapted smart homes to restore independence and dignity to veterans injured in the line of duty.

Sgt. Hunter and Kenna spoke about the circumstances that surrounded the family’s need for a specially-adapted smart home, provided by the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. Program. NTCA, along with ceramic tile donor Crossville, Inc., and setting materials supplier MAPEI, have been supporters of this program.

Sgt. Hunter explained how after suffering injuries in the service of his country, he was denied assistance from other organizations because he wasn’t injured “enough” to qualify for assistance. A cut to his Social Security benefits increased the hardship the family was facing in a home that was inadequate for his special needs. He explained how the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E Program gave hope to him and his family, and how the specially-adapted smart home will allow him to regain independence and dignity.

While introducing Eric and Kenna Hunter, NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson said, “These life-changing homes not only provide our injured veterans the opportunity to reclaim independence but also the families that have sacrificed alongside them.The recipients of the Foundation homes are deeply grateful for the support of the many sponsors and volunteers. Every one of them have hand signed a photo of their completed home and have sent them to us.”

He continued with the introduction, saying “ United States Army Sergeant Eric Hunter was first deployed to Iraq in 2010. While there, he connected on the internet with a girl from his hometown named Kenna, and they remained in contact throughout his deployment. On June 1st, 2011, Eric and Kenna married and she and her two children came to live with him in Kentucky.

“Eric’s second deployment in 2012 took him to Afghanistan,” he continued. “On May 31st, 2012, the day before Eric and Kenna’s one year anniversary, while patrolling his unit, Eric stepped on an improvised explosive device. Along with many other injuries, the bomb took his right leg and shattered his left. Eric was flown to three different hospitals before arriving at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where Kenna came to be at his side.

“Eric spent four years at Walter Reed where he has undergone 61 surgeries with the possibility of more to come as he still feels pain in his salvaged leg,” Olson added. “In December 2016, Eric and Kenna welcomed a new baby girl, making them a family of five. They currently reside in a non-handicap accessible rental in Marietta, GA. Since Eric cannot use his wheelchair in his home, he has to cope with being in pain while walking or scooting from room to room. The Gary Sinise Foundation is honored to provide the Hunters a specially adapted smart home to further enable this soldier and his family to move forward with their new life together. The NTCA is proud to be a part of this program and we are particularly honored that they are willing to say a few words to us tonight about the difference the Foundations supporters are making in their family’s life.”

View a video of Eric and Kenna’s remarks on the National Tile Contractors Association Facebook page here: Sgt. Eric Hunter and wife Kenna remarks at NTCA Awards Night

 

NTCA’s Bart Bettiga (l) and Jim Olson (r) with U.S. Army Sgt. Eric Hunter and wife Kenna. NTCA, along with MAPEI and Crossville, Inc., are all supporters of the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. Program.

Jim Olson coordinates sponsors and assists in finding NTCA contractors to provide labor to install donated ceramic tile. For information on being involved in the program, contact Jim Olson at jim @tile-assn.com.

Clean the World volunteers at Coverings assemble hygiene kits for homeless veterans

NTCA, MAPEI and Florida Tile sponsor initiative

An industry outreach to the local community at Coverings 18 in Atlanta this year took the form of four teams of volunteers meeting Monday afternoon, May 7 in a friendly competition to assemble 800 kits of hygiene and toiletry products to be delivered to area homeless veterans.

Four volunteer teams of 8-10 people each compiled 200 hygiene kits to be delivered to area homeless veterans by Clean the World.

Friendly competition between teams resulted all 800 kits being assembled in less than 20 minutes! Much laughter ensued! Photo credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 10-person team from NTCA, MAPEI, Florida Tile and industry press each enjoyed camaraderie and fun for a worthy cause as they put soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste combs, razors, socks, and a card with a personal message into a plastic bag that Clean the World Atlanta (https://cleantheworld.org) distributed to area homeless veterans.

The MAPEI Team. Gerald Sloan and Martin Brookes jumped ship to fill in some spots on the NTCA team once things were underway. Photo credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video

 

The Florida Tile Team.
Photo credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Press Team (missing: Terri Sparks).

The winning NTCA Team!
Photo credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Tile’s Ashley Donaldson and MAPEI’s Dan Marvin coordinated the overall effort, with Becky Serbin and Jim Olson overseeing the NTCA team, and TileLetter editor Lesley Goddin organizing the press team.

“Other trade shows have done a good job with community outreach programs,” said MAPEI’s Marvin. “This year will be the starting point for larger efforts in the years to come.”

Each team assembled 200 kits in about 20 minutes, with the NTCA Team coming in first. All members of this winning team received a gift certificate from show management company Taffy Event Strategies.

“It was a lot of fun to work with peers and colleagues to kick the show off with friendly competition for a good cause,” TileLetter’s Goddin said. “Thanks to everyone who took part!”

 

The jubilant volunteers.
Photo credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video

 

Contractors visit a dozen installation products exhibitors in 65 minutes with NTCA tour

Contractors visiting Coverings ‘18 May 8-11 in Atlanta had the opportunity to partake in a full schedule of educational conference sessions, special features on the show floor like the Installation Experience, Installation Design Showcase, demos on the Installation Demonstration Stage, Quickfire sessions on a variety of topics and of course the amazing array of tile and stone products and setting materials, tools and associated products.

One great way to get a crash course of what’s available for contractors was to take part in a NTCA Tour, given Wednesday and Thursday of the show. This tour, led by NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson with assistance from member volunteers and Ally Jenkins from show management company Taffy Event Strategies, originated from the Contractor Lounge and led participants on a journey through 12 exhibitors in a little over an hour.

Here are the highlights:

Raimondi/Donnelly Distribution : Lindsey Madrid introduced tour participants to the Italian-made RLS leveling system, Buzon pedestals and a range of cutters and blades. A new product is the Roboslab, a hydraulic-operated mobile lifter for gauged porcelain tile panels.

European Tile Masters: Ben Szell showed a range of products and tables for handling, moving and working with gauged porcelain tile panels.

Roboslab hydraulic-powered GTPT panel lifter at Raimondi/Donnelly Distribution

European Tile Master’s (ETM) Ben Szell talked to the group about the company’s line of tables and handling devices for GTPT panels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USG: USG’s Leo Pena displayed USG’s Shower System featuring Durock with EdgeGuard. This improved edge protects again blowouts. USG also offers the ability to custom configure a shower project, with materials easily sent to the site or contractor via UPS.

RUBI: Albert Mendez demonstrated the company’s TZ Cutter, as well as a vacuum attachment that eliminates dust from cutting tile and stone products.

 

USG’s Leo Pena talks about USG’s custom shower program, standing in front of a display of Durock with EdgeGuard.

At RUBI, Albert Mendez shows a vacuum tool that eliminates dust when cutting holes in tile or stone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schluter: Bobby Linam talked about DITRA-HEAT, which combines an uncoupling mat with a thermal break with customizable heating cables for electric heat installs. He also talked about the range of Schluter’s edge protection profiles, in metallic or textured powder coat styles, as well as movement joint products.

MAPEI: Brian Pistulka talked about the company’s Planitop 330 Fast quick-setting, polymer-modified, fiber-reinforced, cementitious rendering, patching and leveling mortar for interior and exterior walls, floors and submerged areas as well as Mapeguard UM uncoupling membrane, Flexcolor 3D translucent, iridescent ready-to-use grout, and mortars that conform to ANSI 118.5 for gauged porcelain tile installations.

Bobby Linam discussing DITRA-HEAT at Schluter.

At MAPEI, Brian Pistulka tells the group about Planitop 330 Fast Patching and Rendering Mortar, Flexcolor 3D translucent and iridescent grout and other MAPEI products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tile Eze: Niels Mierendorff discussed the company’s Keil concealed anchoring system for ventilated facades which is proven in extreme weather conditions and offers a simple three-step process that allows for panels to be hung as easily as a picture. In addition, Tile Eze demonstrated its automatic grout cleanup machine, which cleans 1,000 sq.ft./hour residentially and 1,500 sq.ft./hour commercially.

Lackmond: Justin Thomas demonstrated the Beast 10” saw and the Beast B-BTEC Rail Saw.

Neils Mierendorff at Tile Eze presented information about the KEIL concealed anchoring system for ventilated facades.

At Lackmond, Justin Thomas talked about the BEAST line of saws and cutters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CUSTOM: Russell Brown discussed the benefits of SpeedSlope Rapid Setting Sloping Mortar and RedGard SpeedCoat for speeding waterproofing and tile setting in shower installations.

LATICRETE: Spencer Maheu conveyed the benefits of STRATA_HEAT Thermal Pack, which is the first heat diffusion additive designed exclusively for the STRATA_HEAT electric floor heating system. The STRATA_HEAT Thermal Pack eliminates cold spots between wires, reduces energy cost by 15%, and ensures heat from the STRATA_HEAT wire is distributed evenly throughout the adhesive.

LATICRETE’s Spencer Maheu explaining the STRATA_HEAT Thermal Pack technology and the STRATA_HEAT radiant heating system.

CUSTOM’s Russell Brown told contractors about the SpeedSlope Rapid Setting Mortar and RedGard SpeedCoat waterproofing for fast shower installations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEC: Loren Doppelt told the group that with TEC’s Ultimate 6 Plus Mortar (TEC 487), projects can be grouted in as little as six hours. The product has a two-to-three hour pot life and 60 minute working time.

Loren Doppelt at TEC talked about Ultimate 6 Plus Mortar, for set to grout in six hours.

 

Exhibitors handed out information, cards and giveaways, with contractors returning after the tour to discuss products individually with suppliers.

The Lightweight Variable Speed Polisher

Sanding and polishing applications are time consuming tough work. In order to reduce the fatigue of the polishing professional, we ergonomically designed the VDP-700. This lightweight polisher is comfortable to hold and easy to control during the entire operation. This is done with one of two handle designs that come with the unit (C-Handle & Side Handle). The VDP-700 offers the variable speed range from 700 to 3,500 rpm.

The Unit was built with a 1250w (Rated) and 1900w (Maximum) motor along with heavy-duty precision gear system for the most demanding polishing tasks, to ensure reliability and high performance. With a 25ft, 14 AWG electrical power cord, you can cover large work areas without connecting to an extension cord. This feature assures maximum power from the electrical circuit and avoids overheating of the motor.

We also offer variety of accessories for this polisher such as a rotary back pads, diamond face foam pads, wool pads, microfiber pads, and other abrasive products.

For more information, visit our website at www.alpha-tools.comor contact us at 800-648-7229.

Introducing the ESC-125 Wet/Dry Stone Cutter

Alpha Professional Tools® has re-designed the popular AWS-125 Wet Stone Cutter, which had changed the way we cut out sink holes using a manual cutting application. The ESC-125 was created based upon the feedback from fabricators in preparation for the new silica rule change by OSHA in 2017. To reduce the silica particles, we added a dust cover on the side of the blade guard to redirect the dust from the cutting edge into an attached HEPA vacuum for dry dust removal. The ESC-125 is equipped with a newly designed Water Jet System that delivers sufficient water to cool the cutting edge as well as removes slurry from the cutting line ahead of the stone cutter.

Equipped with the Water Jet is a Hybrid Kink/Memory-Free Water Hose that comes with a quick disconnect garden hose adapter.

The new Clamping System, located on the side of the blade, ensures cutting stability, whether doing a step cut 3cm sink hold cut-out or making a groove for the reinforcement rod with much smaller diameter blades.

For more information, visit our website at www.alpha-tools.com or contact us at 800-648-7229

FLAVIKER TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT AT COVERINGS 2018

Reinterpretation and hyper-realism are the key characteristics of the new products showcased in Atlanta

HYPER Patch Silver

At Coverings 2018, the most important North American exhibition for the ceramic sector, Flaviker has showcased its new HYPER and RIVER tile collections combining innovation, HD digital decoration and Italian design. The Solignano-based company’s exhibit in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, has offered a fascinating exploration of materials developed through its research efforts, a long-term stylistic and aesthetic project that has constantly expanded the potential for use of ceramic tiles and made them an increasingly popular material in the world of interior design.

Hyper-realism is the style concept behind the new offerings from Flaviker, particularly the HYPER collection inspired by the aesthetics of concrete. Along with the sheer variety of its versatile and contemporary surfaces, the 3D graphic design has meticulously preserved all the marks of the natural industrial concrete ageing process. HYPER also includes the precious capsule collection developed in collaboration with Tattoo & Visual artist Tiziano Colella, consisting of a series of decorated panels inspired by the visual language of street art.

RIVER Lead Ecru

The RIVER collection offers an original interpretation of terrazzo floors, skilfully combining surface homogeneity with the beauty of individual fragments while preserving the signs of wear and tear experienced over the centuries. Based on an outstanding interpretation of the popular recomposed material trend, one of the most interesting decorative solutions to have emerged in recent years, RIVER reproduces elegant micro-pebbles with extraordinary three-dimensional effects. Skilfully designed long, thin cracks are used to create a sense of movement in surfaces available in sizes ranging from 160×320 cm down to the smallest and most decorative submultiples 10×60 cm and 30×30 cm.

Lunada Bay Tile Introduces Contourz Concrete Tiles

A contemporary concrete tile collection that combines breakthrough engineering and art

You’ve seen concrete tiles on the floor, used as exterior cladding, and on the occasional feature wall. Now, Lunada Bay Tile is breaking design boundaries with Contourz, a tactile collection of concrete tiles that elevates the beauty of vertical and horizontal planes.

Modern shapes and colors, together with unparalleled artistry and engineering, construct dynamic surfaces for a variety of spaces. Contourz three-dimensional tiles transform walls into sculpture, while flat field tiles create an atmosphere that ranges from quiet elegance to industrial.

“Concrete is a beautiful, sustainable medium,” says Feras Irikat, Director of Design and Marketing at Lunada Bay Tile. “The Contourz collection’s architectural nature, soft color palette and satin matte tactile surface allows it to play well with many other materials.”

Irikat worked on the collection’s design in collaboration with Lunada Bay Tile President and CEO Carl Steadly and Mike Taylor, an engineer with 11 years of experience in the concrete tile industry. Together, theydesigned and engineered the collection to the highest specifications for residential and commercial installations. The tiles measure just 8 millimeters thick—a similar thickness to standard ceramic and glass tiles—extending design opportunities with the ability to combine easily with other tile collections within the Lunada Bay Tile portfolio.

“Imagine that you can now use concrete on a kitchen backsplash or a shower wall without taking up any more thickness or design real estate than standard tile choices,” Irikat proposes. “It makes it easy to incorporate these tiles into residential or commercial applications, indoors or outdoors, and blend them with other elements to create the look you desire. The collection creates the ultimate toolbox of creativity for designers and architects.”

Designed and manufactured in Lunada Bay Tile’s new facility in Southern California, the collection consists of nine shapes:

  • 3 x 9-inch — rectangular flat field tile
  • 6 x 9-inch — rectangular flat field tile
  • 4-inch Hex — hexagonal flat field tile
  • Fanfare Hex — three-dimensional 4-inch hexagonal tile with raised linear peaks
  • Trifecta — three-dimensional triangular tile with intertwining patterns of slopes and curved lines
  • Zen Break A and Zen Break B — three-dimensional 3 x 9-inch rectangular tiles with angled inclines that can be coordinated to create striped, diamond and chevron patterns
  • Retro Curve — liner featuring soft bullnose edges
  • In & Out — liner featuring a bullnose edge on one side and a cove edge on the other

Contourz is available in 18 modern hues, including warm and cool grays and shades of taupe and brown. The collection can be specified for interior and exterior walls, including wet/dry walls, light traffic floors, and has similar characteristics and care requirements as natural stone.

 

TILE PERSON OF THE YEAR AND JOE A. TARVER AWARD BESTOWED BY NTCA AT COVERINGS 2018

 

 The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the world’s largest tile contractor association, recognized industry leaders at its Annual Awards Ceremony, during Coverings 2018 on May 10, 2018. Over 200 guests were present to see the NTCA honor two exceptional individuals for their unsurpassed dedication and leadership with​in the tile industry.

David Allen Company’s Chris Walker (l), NTCA’s Tile Person of the Year, with NTCA President Martin Howard

The NTCA’S 2017 Tile Person of the Year​ ​award was presented to Christopher Walker, Vice President of the David Allen Company (DAC). ​To date, Chris has logged more than 32 years as ​both a manager and installer within the tile industry. ​In addition to his time spent at DAC, he concurrently serves as 1st Vice President of the National Tile Contractors Association, Chairman of the American National Standards Institute A-108 Committee, Chairman of the US Technical Advisory Group for ISO T-189​ and is on the Board of Directors – Associated Builders &​ ​Contractor (ABC) of Virginia​. ​Chris has also been a voting member of the NTCA Methods and Standards and Technical Committee and TCNA Handbook Committee for many years.

“Chris is a recognized industry leader and expert; serving our industry and the NTCA for his entire career,” stated NTCA’s President, Martin Howard.  “A true professional, he is most definitely deserving of this distinguish​ed recognition.”

Daltile’s John Cousins (center with plaque) winner of the Joe A. Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award, with (l to r) NTCA’s Jim Olson, Bart Bettiga, Joe Tarver and NTCA President Martin Howard.

John Cousins, Vice President of  Daltile, received the Joe A. Tarver Lifetime Achievement Award, offered to a leader in the tile and stone industry who dedicates his/her career to advancing ​the trade. John joined Dal-Tile in 1979 after a brief time as an accountant with Ernst & Ernst. ​He spent several years managing the Chicago area Daltile Sales Service Centers. When Daltile merged with American Olean, he assumed the role of Regional Manager of the​ firm’s​ Home Center business. In 1997, John was named Daltile’s Midwest Region General Manager and in 2004, John accepted the additional responsibility of​becoming General Manager for Canada. ​He assumed his current role, Vice President of Sales, in September 2008. ​John Cousins believes strongly in listening to customers and building a company team to exceed customer expectations.

​”Throughout his distinguished career, John has dedicated himself to moving our industry forward,”  ​declared Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA. “He is known for his tireless efforts and contributions to the tile industry and our association.”

 

1 2 3 4 102