Dodge: New Construction Starts in 2019 to Hold Steady with 2018 Amount

Dodge Outlook Report Predicts Deceleration in Total Construction Growth

Will Continue, Reflecting a Mixed Pattern by Project Type

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – October 25, 2018 – Dodge Data & Analytics (https://www.construction.com) today released its 2019 Dodge Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning. The report predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2019 will be $808 billion, staying essentially even with the $807 billion estimated for 2018.

“Over the past three years, the expansion for the U.S. construction industry has shown deceleration in its rate of growth, a pattern that typically takes place as an expansion matures,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “After advancing 11% to 14% each year from 2012 through 2015, total construction starts climbed 7% in both 2016 and 2017, and a 3% increase is estimated for 2018. There are, of course, mounting headwinds affecting construction, namely rising interest rates and higher material costs, but for now these have been balanced by the stronger growth for the U.S. economy, some easing of bank lending standards, still healthy market fundamentals for commercial real estate, and greater state financing for school construction and enhanced federal funding for public works.”

“An important question going into 2019 is whether deceleration is followed by a period of high-level stability or a period of decline. For 2019, it’s expected that growth for the U.S. economy won’t be quite as strong as what’s taking place in 2018, as the benefits of tax cuts begin to wane. Short term interest rates will rise, as the Federal Reserve continues to move monetary policy towards a more neutral stance. Long-term interest rates will also rise, reflecting higher inflationary expectations by the financial markets. At the same time, any erosion in market fundamentals for commercial real estate will stay modest. In addition, the greater funding from state and local bond measures passed in recent years will still be present, and it’s likely that federal spending for construction programs will increase once all the federal appropriations bills for fiscal 2019 are finalized. In this environment, it’s forecast that growth for construction starts will decelerate further, but not yet make the transition to the point where the overall volume of activity declines. For 2019, total construction starts are forecast to hold basically steady at $808 billion. By major sector in dollar terms, residential building will be down 2%, nonresidential building will match its 2018 amount, and nonbuilding construction will increase 3%.”

The pattern of construction starts by more specific segments is the following:

  • Single family housing will be unchanged in dollar terms, alongside a modest 3% drop in housing starts to 815,000 (Dodge basis). There will be a slight decline in homebuyer demand as the result of higher mortgage rates, diminished affordability, and reduced tax advantages for home ownership as the result of tax reform.
  • Multifamily housing will slide 6% in dollars and 8% in units to 465,000 (Dodge basis). Market fundamentals such as occupancies and rent growth had shown modest erosion prior to 2018, which then paused this year due to the stronger U.S. economy. However, that erosion in market fundamentals is expected to resume in 2019.
  • Commercial building will retreat 3%, following 2% gains in 2017 and 2018, as well as the substantial percentage increases that took place earlier. While 2018 market fundamentals for offices and warehouses are healthy, next year vacancy rates are expected to rise as the economy slows, slightly dampening construction. Hotel construction will ease back from recent strength, and store construction will experience further weakness.
  • Institutional building will advance 3%, picking up the pace slightly from its 1% gain in 2018 which itself followed an 18% hike in 2017. Educational facilities should see continued growth in 2019, supported by funding coming from numerous school construction bond measures. Healthcare projects will make a partial rebound after pulling back in 2018. Airport terminal and amusement-related projects are expected to stay close to the elevated levels of construction starts reported in 2017 and 2018.
  • Manufacturing plant construction will rise 2% following the 18% jump that’s estimated for 2018. The recent pickup in petrochemical plant projects should continue, and cuts in the corporate tax rate from tax reform should encourage firms to invest more in new plant capacity.
  • Public works construction will increase 4%, reflecting growth by most of the project types. The omnibus federal appropriations bill passed in March provided greater funding for transportation projects that will carry over into 2019, and environmental-related projects are getting a lift from recently passed legislation.
  • Electric utilities/gas plants will drop 3%, continuing to retreat after the exceptional amount reported back in 2015. New generating capacity continues to come on line, dampening capacity utilization rates for power generation.

The 2019 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at the 80th annual Outlook Executive Conference held by Dodge Data & Analytics at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Copies of the report with additional details by building sector can be ordered here or by calling (800) 591-4462.

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About Dodge Data & Analytics:  Dodge Data & Analytics is North America’s leading provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry. Building product manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors, and service providers leverage Dodge to identify and pursue unseen growth opportunities and execute on those opportunities for enhanced business performance. Whether it’s on a local, regional or national level, Dodge makes the hidden obvious, empowering its clients to better understand their markets, uncover key relationships, size growth opportunities, and pursue those opportunities with success. The company’s construction project information is the most comprehensive and verified in the industry. Dodge is leveraging its 100-year-old legacy of continuous innovation to help the industry meet the building challenges of the future.  To learn more, visit www.construction.com.

Tile of Spain Manufacturers Preview Cutting-Edge Trends for 2019 at CERSAIE

Tile of Spain manufacturers returned once again to Italy for CERSAIE, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. The annual 5-day event invited industry professionals to explore international manufacturers at The Europa Auditorium in Bologna.

As one of the major world powers in ceramic tile production and export, Spain is a regular participant in the show. Over 90 Spanish ceramic manufacturers showcased their latest collections as a preview of what is to come for the 2019 year.

 

A Return to Geometry 

Aparici, Tango

A growing trend is to look beyond structure and function when it comes to floors and walls and think decorative.

In 2019, ceramic tiles with geometric designs will play a major role in visual design of virtually every room. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 20s and 30s, these geometric shapes create attractive spaces and sophisticated environments while being sensitive to the nostalgia of the past eras.

Up-ing the Color 

Gayafores, Kaleido

 

Doses of color that shy away from the traditional monochromatic hues convert floors and walls into the absolute protagonist of the room.

These new tonalities are capable of completely transforming design by giving the allusion of a larger space while also playing on the reflections of natural light. For 2019 there are no favorite colors, but a commitment to a combination of all colors in the pursuit for more daring designs and stylistic experimentation.

Playing with textures 

Ceramica Gomez, Zante

So long are the days of matte finishes. In 2019, we will see different textures and reliefs introduced in order to enhance the aesthetics of floors and walls. Weathered, high-gloss, volumetric, rugged and embossed finishes break the strict functionality of the material and turn ceramic tile into works of art.

A Classic Bet 

Baldocer, Hannover


Collections that are based on elements from the past will still remain popular in 2019. Marble inspired ceramics that are seen year after year lend a sense of purity and infinitude. This year though, manufacturers have also lost their fear of dark tones and are releasing collections in black, green and gray hues for a more dramatic and sophisticated feel. 

The classically traditional Terrazzo inspired ceramics will also remain strong in 2019, but reinvents itself by experimenting with different colors, shapes and sizes to suit every project. 

Bettiga to Receive NTCA Ring of Honor Award

NTCA logo

Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), has been chosen to be the 2018 recipient of the NTCA Ring of Honor Award.

The NTCA Ring of Honor Award is a lifetime achievement award that recognizes NTCA contractors and associate members whose efforts have helped grow the association and assisted in achieving its objectives. Recipients are chosen by NTCA executive officers.

Martin Brookes, president of Heritage Marble & Tile Inc. and second vice president of the NTCA Board of Directors, said Bettiga was chosen because of his dedication to the tile industry and the tile installation trade. “Bart has demonstrated both leadership and friendship that has advanced the NTCA into a world-class trade association. His relentless energy and passion for the tile and stone trade is remarkable and he is a true asset to the industry.”

Bettiga has been NTCA’s Executive Director since 2002 and also serves as publisher of its publication, TileLetter. Having over 30 years of experience in the tile and stone industry, he is also a well-known speaker and author on the distribution and installation of ceramic tile and natural stone. During his tenure at the NTCA, the association has gained over 1,000 members.

Bart Bettiga

He [Bettiga] has grown the NTCA to an incredible size, most importantly in value to the membership,” said John Cox, president of Cox Tile, Inc. and NTCA Board Advisor. “Joe Tarver took the NTCA to one level and Bart has certainly taken it to heights well beyond anyone’s expectations.”

Jim Olson, assistant executive director of the NTCA emphasized how Bettiga’s leadership style and forward-thinking have been integral to the growth of the association over the last 16 years. “Bart has led the NTCA with ideas that bring value to our members and grow the association. He is constantly thinking of ideas and ways to give back to the contractors who make this industry so great.”

Bettiga will be the first active NTCA executive director to receive the honor in the award’s 14-year history. In 2007, the award was bestowed upon past NTCA executive director emeritus Joe Tarver. Tarver was executive director from 1972-2002 and the creator of NTCA Reference Manual and the NTCA workshops. Other past recipients include John Cox of Cox Tile, Scott Carothers of CTEF, Don Scott and Robert “Bob” Robertson of David Allen Company, and Harold Turk of Dal-Tile.

“His inclusion in the Ring of Honor is an award showing that his peers have recognized how hard he has worked and there is nothing more honorable and prideful than what this award represents,” said Cox.

Bettiga will receive the award on October 30, 2018 during the Industry Awards Gala at Total Solution Plus in Grapevine, Texas.

Renovating Bhojwani Tower

Crossville’s porcelain tile panels and an innovative cladding system satisfy Miami Beach’s building codes and historic preservation standards

Built in the late 1950s, Bhojwani Tower was designed by Albert Anis, known for his Art Deco architecture throughout Miami. Originally a bank, the Bhojwani, located on the corner of one of Miami Beach’s busiest pedestrian intersections, operates as a mixed-use building with residential and retail areas. When beginning the renovation process, Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design not only had to consider updating the building’s exterior to stringent building codes but also meeting the requirements of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

Dan Slain of HyCOMB with HyCOMB’s unique stone and porcelain cladding solution.

Due to hurricanes, South Florida’s coastal areas fall into the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. Miami-Dade identified that it isn’t wind and rain that causes the most damage in strong storms; its exterior building pieces that come loose and turn into projectiles during extreme conditions. The International Building Code doesn’t allow anything larger than 3 square feet to be attached to the outside of a building because the adhesives used would cure before the cladding pieces are properly placed – especially in the area’s warm climate. This would make cladding more prone to fly off during storms.

 

Prior to installation, precut panels are laid out in the warehouse to ensure a match with adjoining pieces for a more continuous flow.

To meet all code and preservation requirements, the Kobi Karp design team specified Crossville’s I Naturali collection of gauged porcelain tile panels to cover the exterior walls of the Bhojwani Tower. The team also advised Miami-Dade County officials that the Crossville material would meet stringent building codes and come in on budget if mounted with HyCOMB USA’s innovative cladding system.

Robert Sutnick, Crossville, Inc. A&D representative, and Dan Slain of HyCOMB at HyCOMB offices in Hallandale Beach.

The HyCOMB USA team worked with D&B Tile Distributors – a frequent host of CTEF’s Tile and Stone Workshops – to deliver the solution for installation of Crossville’s gauged porcelain tile panels for this project. Daniel Slain of HyCOMB USA explained that the company’s system works with Crossville’s surfacing solution because of the unique backing configuration and proven performance during testing for extreme conditions. 

During testing, a standard piece of  2” x 4” lumber is shot out of an air cannon at a rate of 50 feet per second (fps). That’s over 34 miles per hour. This exercise shows simulated impact from airborne objects in hurricane situations.

“We have a honeycomb backer that is .75” thick,” Slain said. “We bond the gauged porcelain tile panels to our core.” After testing, the HyCOMB panels sustained minimal damage from the projectile 2” x 4”s, and remained intact, he said. 

The combination of Crossville’s gauged porcelain tile panels and the HyCOMB system achieved the aesthetic and technical performance requirements of this high-profile project

Crossville’s panels are 1M x 3M and relatively simple to work with for experienced installers who have received training with the material. The bonding of the tile panels to the HyCOMB USA core offers distinct efficiencies unparalleled by other surfacing options.

Slain said, “To direct bond, it would require more time because each row would have to set for a day. Our panels are independent of each other and held in place by mechanical fasteners. They do not rest on the layer below. On normal-size stone panels we would need a five-man crew. With the Crossville porcelain tile panels, we use three people and produce twice the square footage each day.”

Lightweight, heavy duty

Another major advantage of using the Crossville tile panels is the weight compared to other cladding options. These panels are lightweight enough to be handled by fewer workers. This is important to note for the Bhojwani project because of its location on a busy street corner in the heart of the tourist district. If the architects had specified natural stone, the project team would have faced more time-consuming challenges and safety issues. With the porcelain panels, the three-man crew was able to lift the tiles through the scaffolding and put them in place using HyCOMB’s fastening system – reducing both time and risk factors for the project during installation.

Beyond the benefits of installation efficiencies, the tile panels’ classic, timeless look answers aesthetic demands and is actually more consistent in appearance than other materials such as natural stone.

The panels not only offer a beautiful appearance for the building, but they will also be able to withstand the harsh South Florida elements. They’re innately resistant to UV rays and are highly scratch-proof and resistant to deep abrasion. Also, the panels are eco-friendly, as the body of the tiles is comprised of natural raw materials, and the tile does not release toxins into the environment.

Right style, right performance, right for the environment – Crossville’s porcelain tile panels are ideal for Miami Beach’s preservation standards and the seasonless appeal of this iconic destination.

Bhojwani Tower, with its new Crossville gauged porcelain tile panel exterior, stands out on the skyline of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

Renovating Bhojwani Tower

Crossville’s porcelain tile panels and an innovative cladding system satisfy Miami Beach’s building codes and historic preservation standards


Built in the late 1950s, Bhojwani Tower was designed by Albert Anis, known for his Art Deco architecture throughout Miami. Originally a bank, the Bhojwani, located on the corner of one of Miami Beach’s busiest pedestrian intersections, operates as a mixed-use building with residential and retail areas. When beginning the renovation process, Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design not only had to consider updating the building’s exterior to stringent building codes but also meeting the requirements of the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board.

Due to hurricanes, South Florida’s coastal areas fall into the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. Miami-Dade identified that it isn’t wind and rain that causes the most damage in strong storms; its exterior building pieces that come loose and turn into projectiles during extreme conditions. The International Building Code doesn’t allow anything larger than 3 square feet to be attached to the outside of a building because the adhesives used would cure before the cladding pieces are properly placed – especially in the area’s warm climate. This would make cladding more prone to fly off during storms.

Dan Slain of HyCOMB with HyCOMB’s unique stone and porcelain cladding solution.

To meet all code and preservation requirements, the Kobi Karp design team specified Crossville’s I Naturali collection of gauged porcelain tile panels to cover the exterior walls of the Bhojwani Tower. The team also advised Miami-Dade County officials that the Crossville material would meet stringent building codes and come in on budget if mounted with HyCOMB USA’s innovative cladding system.

The HyCOMB USA team worked with D&B Tile Distributors – a frequent host of CTEF’s Tile and Stone Workshops – to deliver the solution for installation of Crossville’s gauged porcelain tile panels for this project. Daniel Slain of HyCOMB USA explained that the company’s system works with Crossville’s surfacing solution because of the unique backing configuration and proven performance during testing for extreme conditions. 

Bhojwani Tower, with its new Crossville gauged porcelain tile panel exterior, stands out on the skyline of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

During testing, a standard piece of  2” x 4” lumber is shot out of an air cannon at a rate of 50 feet per second (fps). That’s over 34 miles per hour. This exercise shows simulated impact from airborne objects in hurricane situations.

“We have a honeycomb backer that is .75” thick,” Slain said. “We bond the gauged porcelain tile panels to our core.” After testing, the HyCOMB panels sustained minimal damage from the projectile 2” x 4”s, and remained intact, he said. 

Crossville’s panels are 1M x 3M and relatively simple to work with for experienced installers who have received training with the material. The bonding of the tile panels to the HyCOMB USA core offers distinct efficiencies unparalleled by other surfacing options.

Slain said, “To direct bond, it would require more time because each row would have to set for a day. Our panels are independent of each other and held in place by mechanical fasteners. They do not rest on the layer below. On normal-size stone panels we would need a five-man crew. With the Crossville porcelain tile panels, we use three people and produce twice the square footage each day.”

Lightweight, heavy duty

The combination of Crossville’s gauged porcelain tile panels and the HyCOMB system achieved the aesthetic and technical performance requirements of this high-profile project

Another major advantage of using the Crossville tile panels is the weight compared to other cladding options. These panels are lightweight enough to be handled by fewer workers. This is important to note for the Bhojwani project because of its location on a busy street corner in the heart of the tourist district. If the architects had specified natural stone, the project team would have faced more time-consuming challenges and safety issues. With the porcelain panels, the three-man crew was able to lift the tiles through the scaffolding and put them in place using HyCOMB’s fastening system – reducing both time and risk factors for the project during installation.

Beyond the benefits of installation efficiencies, the tile panels’ classic, timeless look answers aesthetic demands and is actually more consistent in appearance than other materials such as natural stone.

Robert Sutnick, Crossville, Inc. A&D representative, and Dan Slain of HyCOMB at HyCOMB offices in Hallandale Beach.

The panels not only offer a beautiful appearance for the building, but they will also be able to withstand the harsh South Florida elements. They’re innately resistant to UV rays and are highly scratch-proof and resistant to deep abrasion. Also, the panels are eco-friendly, as the body of the tiles is comprised of natural raw materials, and the tile does not release toxins into the environment.

Right style, right performance, right for the environment – Crossville’s porcelain tile panels are ideal for Miami Beach’s preservation standards and the seasonless appeal of this iconic destination.

 

 

 

Architect: Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design

Tile Installer: Carolina Correa with Stoneworks, USA

Tile Distributor: D&B Tile Distributors

Mechanical Fastening System: HyCOMB USA

Photography: Dick Booth, Boca Publishing

Gauged porcelain tiles from Crossville, Inc.

Prior to installation, precut panels are laid out in the warehouse to ensure a match with adjoining pieces for a more continuous flow.

Women in Tile 2018

Excellence, dedication, creativity and a passion for learning are the hallmarks of these female tilers

To quote a line from the theme song to the much-loved television show Cheers, “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.” You bet! It’s a challenge to develop a craft, establish a business, and infuse projects with creativity and excellence. 

These women have risen to the challenge and made their mark on the tile industry at home and across the pond. Each and every one is a credit to the trade, raising the bar with her own particular brand of brilliance and distinction. Let’s meet this year’s Women In Tile:


Sharon Taylor, Viva Tiling
London, UK

It’s never too late to enter the tiling trade as stellar mosaicist Sharon Taylor of Viva Tiling (vivatiling.com) in the UK has proven. After her packaging design job of 20 years was made redundant, she discovered tiling courses through a four-week course at

Specialist Trade Courses (STC) in Harlow, Essex UK. That was 11 years ago, when she was in her 40s with bills to pay. Taylor said she “… didn’t have the luxury of time to do an apprenticeship or start laboring for another tiler. After the course, I went straight out on my own doing small jobs.” 

Learning the building trade proved to be a massive learning curve and she kept learning. When STC offered a beginner’s Bisazza mosaic course, she took it and found out she had a knack for it. That was followed by an advanced course at Bisazza headquarters in Vincenza, Italy, in 2008. Today, she has a reputation for stunning mosaic installs in the UK and on social media where her creations draw praise and admiration. 

In 2017, Sharon Taylor was the first woman to be nominated and win The Tile Association’s Tile Fixer of the Year Award. Dave Rowley, training manager of Building Adhesives Ltd, and TTA board member presents the award.

Because there is no licensing requirement for residential installation in the UK, after getting her Blue Skilled Worker CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) Card for Tiling, she did some commercial wall and floor installs. “I wasn’t enjoying general tiling, especially as tiles were getting bigger and heavier,” Taylor said. “After doing a few steam rooms I decided to drop the larger stuff and just push the mosaic work. It was a bit of a risk but it paid off. I’m self employed so why do something I don’t enjoy?” She visited a number of Bisazza suppliers showing her work and did her first steam room for a wellness center contractor. “I did my first steam room for them in 2012, and still do work for them.”

Although female tilers are relatively rare in the UK, she finds that some customers actually prefer tradeswomen, since “we’re seen as being more reliable, tidy and conscientious etc.,” It’s also a benefit when dealing with the woman of the house in residential jobs, she discovered. 

Amazing mosaic work in this steamroom by Sharon Taylor.

A member of The Tiling Association (TTA), Taylor both celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Viva Tiling and won the TTA Tile Fixer of the Year Award in 2017 – the first woman ever nominated and the first female winner. “I was gobsmacked,” she said. “This year I was honored to be asked to present the award to this year’s winner.”

Taylor loves the “fiddly details” when working with mosaics, and aspires to get into teaching. “There aren’t any mosaic courses here anymore as far as I’m aware,” she said. “I often get messages from tilers for advice on installing mosaics and I’m always happy to help. Social media is always good for showing how you do certain things. I never understand it when some get protective over their knowledge.”

Bethany Sheridan,
Nova Tileworx, LLC
Sterling, Va. 

A self-proclaimed rebellious, confident spirit, Bethany Sheridan of Nova Tileworx, LLC (novatileworx.com) in Silver Spring, Md., seemed to have been born with a love for building. “The men in my family would have building wars on the weekends, and I desperately wanted to participate,” she said. “I’ve always been a bit of a rebel and if you say I can’t, I will show you I can,” she added. 

She developed a fascination with concrete 20 years ago, intrigued by the “endless possibilities of colors, aggregates, size, shape and functionality that could last a lifetime.” But the heavy, unforgiving nature of the material gave way to a love for tile, which she calls “more manageable,” but still allows her to “play in the mud.” She entered the tile business 13 years ago. 

Self-taught, Sheridan continues the process daily. “It’s a never-ending process with tools, technique, and most of all materials,” she said, where she is “always looking for the best product for each application.”

Sheridan continues to learn daily, always looking for the best product for every application.

She credits the tile groups on social media with providing “tons of advice and suggestions. I’m grateful to have met so many wonderful people in the industry, who have given me guidance and treated me with the utmost respect. 

“It’s not always been easy; it’s a tough job,” she added. “I’ve been run into the ground with menial pay subcontracting for multiple companies. I’ve since learned the value of my skill and my worth. Being a female, I’m very detailed and meticulous with my work, as I feel I have something to prove.” 

Sheridan participated in the Madison Fields Project with the Tile Geeks group last fall, working with 14 other tile setters on this inclusive farm and equestrian center in Dickerson, Md., that fosters a nurturing, healing setting for children and adults with autism, developmental disabilities, wounded veterans, and the local community. 

She said, “I enjoyed working with a team that accomplished so much in a short period of time, all for a good cause. It was also great getting to know my online friends from Tile Geeks. I would certainly do it again.”

Kelly Knipper, Floorology
Rothchilds, Wis.

The recession had devastating effects on many people across the country, and the consulting firm where Kelly Knipper was employed was no exception. However, when her job was eliminated, it opened the door to partnering with her flooring-and-tile-installer husband Tim to start a flooring business. After attending an entrepreneurial training course, she had completed a business plan by May 2011 and Floorology (floorology.net) was officially formed. It opened in a 375-sq.-ft. office space at the Wausau Business Incubator, now known as the Entrepreneurial & Education Center.

Kelly Knipper of Floorology (l) with Bonnie Fernandez of Wirtz Quality Installations at the 2018 Five Star Contractor Summer meeting in Nashville.

She put her talents to work as a design consultant to help clients – “women like me,” Knipper said – visualize their projects. And she had a vision of creating something different in the way of showrooms. After researching showrooms in New York City and Chicago, Floorology developed a showroom that inspires clients, and helps them visualize products in different settings through the use of vignettes. 

“Every time someone walks in and says, ‘wow’ I feel we have accomplished our goal,” she said. 

She helped up the comfort factor by creating a homey feel and instituting more of a designer-oriented model that assists clients transforming their dreams into reality. “We don’t just want people’s money; we want to give people a space that they will love and build relationships,” she said. “We have no obligation or incentive to push certain products; our goal is to treat customers as we would want to be treated if in their shoes.” The result is offering products and services that aren’t usually available in her small-town locale. 

“We want to give people a space that they will love and build relationships,” Knipper said.

Floorology received great support from the Entrepreneurial & Education Center advisors, experienced friends in the tile industry who were willing to work for little to no pay to help this start-up, interns who worked for gas money and family who provided a small loan to fund equipment. Knipper also credits ancient teachings and wisdom in the Bible. “For example, there is a very useful Bible principle: Put everything in writing!” she said. “When the prophet Jeremiah bought land, he wrote two copies of the agreement, had one copy signed by witnesses, and stored both documents for future reference (Jeremiah 32:9-12).” She found this practice helped the budding business avoid “misunderstandings, disappointments and disagreements.” 

Though she admits that to many onlookers it seemed crazy to start a business in the midst of the recession, “we could see the vision so clearly, that failure was never a realistic thought,” she said. “For every five people that thought we couldn’t do it, there was one who thought we could and these people were instrumental in our growth and success.”

In the intervening years,
Floorology moved out of the incubator into a new 2,500-sq.-ft. showroom. Tim became a Certified Tile Installer in 2016 and Floorology became a Five Star Contractor in 2017. This year, Floorology received the NTCA Five Star Contractor Residential Project of the Year Achievement of Excellence Award. 

“Against all odds and in spite of many obstacles, we have experienced growth every single year we have been in business and are in the process of expanding,” she said. 

Paige Pomerene,
P2 Customs
Herndon, Va. 

Paige Pomerene, owner of P2 Customs (www.facebook.com/P2customs/) is relatively new to tile and to NTCA, becoming a member at a workshop given in Springfield, Va., given by NTCA Technical Trainer Mark Heinlein. But she brings a lot of passion, creativity and determination to the trade since she first touched tile in 2013.

“Tile is an art to me and I’ve always loved being creative,” she said. “Tile can be a way to express myself. I love to be challenged and create a beautiful tiled area.” She calls her greatest accomplishment, “My clients’ happiness when they see their tiled area.”

She asked, “Is passion considered a skill? Because all I want to do is keep improving. I’ve participated in wedi’s PRO Certification to gain a 20 year warranty on my wedi installs. I’ve also been to NTCA and Schluter educational courses.”

Pomerene enjoys being recognized for her work, but that has more to do with her pride in her craft, and little to do with her gender. “I want to be recognized for quality installs first and my sex second,” she said. “Whether you’re male or female or whatever you identify as, your skills are measured by your passion and the pride you take in your work. I hope I’ve been received as a person who cares about their work. That’s all I want to prove. I like to share my work on social media platforms. But I’ve never felt the need for additional credibility. I am my biggest critic.”

“I hope I’ve been received as a person who cares about their work. That’s all I want to prove,” Pomerene said.

Social media has opened up a new world of support for her, from apps like Instagram, and the Facebook Global Tile Posse, and Tile Geeks pages.

The NTCA has also provided a lot of assistance. “I learned everything wrong on how to tile, and with them and their standards I was able to learn how to do things right,” she said. 

Joining the industry

Our women in tile welcome other sisters to join their ranks. “If they love to work with their hands and be creative, I think this is the industry for you,” Pomerene said, advising patience. “Know that nine times out of 10, a job will never go the way you want it to. Tiles are never perfect and part of being a tiler is being a part-time magician. Never work tired because you may make a silly mistake. Know your worth and never settle for less! Don’t be afraid to ask any questions!”

And Floorology’s Knipper called the tile industry “an excellent career for women. It’s a challenging and very fulfilling field filled with so many amazing, hard-working people.”

“Swimmin’ with the Fishes” at Hacienda Mosaico

LATICRETE products bring student mosaic projects to life at Mexican resort

Every artist was first an amateur,” said American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. 

While Emerson’s craft was words, deep in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, an artist-owned and operated resort called Hacienda Mosaico celebrates creativity through its hands. Designed to offer accessible art and inspirational workshops to students in a non-competitive setting, the resort boasts an exotic and tropical backdrop to fuel ideas in a fun, group atmosphere. 

Virginia-based artist, author and educator Bonnie Fitzgerald has been an in-house instructor at Hacienda Mosaico for six years, where she annually leads five-day workshops. As the founder and owner of Maverick Mosaics, she has gained notoriety in North America as an expert in mosaic artwork. Each year, Fitzgerald’s workshop at the resort allows students to create and install pieces to be displayed throughout the expansive property, including mosaic tables and fused glass tableware.

Along with 12 students, Fitzgerald recently designed and completed an art installation in the lush garden area surrounding the resort pool called “Swimmin’ with the Fishes.” Using LATICRETE® products, Fitzgerald’s pupils learned installation techniques, how to best choose appropriate substrates and tips to avoid substandard products that can lead to weak, crumbling outdoor mosaics. 

“LATICRETE is known for delivering the highest-quality products and value, which allowed me to focus on my art and not the integrity of my installation materials,” Fitzgerald said. “With the support of LATICRETE co-owner and Senior Vice President of Training Henry Rothberg, I received all materials needed to completely transform the pool area of Hacienda Mosaico with my students. The research and development of the products, as well as the customer and technical service, are all top shelf. From the beginning, LATICRETE was just a call away if help was ever needed.”

The challenges: keeping it simple and lightweight

Simplicity: Maverick Mosaics’ workshops at Hacienda Mosaico are open to all levels of artists, including those who have zero experience with mosaics. To ensure a successful installation, the materials needed to be easy to handle for a professional or a complete beginner. 

Weight: Fitzgerald would be tasked with flying materials from Virginia to the resort in Mexico. It was important all products selected be light, as heavyweight products would cause an additional undertaking when traveling. 

A LATICRETE Solution 

While at her home studio, Fitzgerald and her team of professionals cut the 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) HYDRO BAN® Board with a jigsaw into the desired shapes, including turtles, seaweed and an octopus. Students attending the workshop would install the board along with mosaic tiles at Hacienda Resort. Due to the light weight of the products, Fitzgerald was able to travel to the Mexican resort with the pre-engineered pieces in checked suitcases. 

Thanks to its waterproof high-density extruded polystyrene core and waterproof membrane on both sides, HYDRO BAN Board offers triple protection from water and vapor intrusion. The product benefits are ideal for outdoor installations, such as what Fitzgerald was creating at the resort pool. 

“In the past, I have used locally sourced thinset and found it was more difficult to work with, given the ratio of sand to Portland cement affects the consistency of the product,” added Fitzgerald. “I know I can count on easy-to-use LATICRETE products for a lasting installation.”

To adhere the mosaic designs to the exterior wall overlooking the resort pool, 254 Platinum was chosen thanks to its superior strength and bond. Designed for a simple install, the high-performance, polymer-fortified mortar only requires mixing with water. This makes it easier for the students to work with, compared to a product with a more complicated mixing process. 254 Platinum also has a long open time for enhanced workability that allowed students to work at their own pace without having to rush. 

All raw edges were covered with alkali-resistant fiberglass mesh tape and a skim coat of 254 Platinum that the students colored black with concrete colorants. A few of the pieces, including the octopus’s tentacles, were installed with mosaic tiles around the edges to enhance their aesthetic appeal. 

The 12 students who attended the workshop was hands-on throughout the entire creative and fabrication process, which Fitzgerald made as simple as possible with the installation materials chosen and her techniques. Each of the elements was built on the substrate, grouted in the studio onsite and then screwed and glued to the plaster lathe wall. 254 Platinum was used on the backs of the elements as well for added security to ensure a lifelong mosaic tile installation. 

A resounding result

“We are thrilled with the final result of ‘Swimmin’ with the Fishes’ and intend to keep the project as a permanent installation at Hacienda Mosaico,” said resort owner Sam Leonard. “The work Bonnie has done to enhance Hacienda Mosaico through her workshops and use of LATICRETE products is immeasurable and makes this place live up to its name.” 

Fitzgerald’s seventh trip to Hacienda Mosaico is scheduled for January 2019. 

Gauging Savings: USI Porcelain Panel Project Saves Time & Money

More than three decades ago, global tile manufacturers introduced through-body porcelain tile, and it quickly and seemingly became the industry’s cure-all. Being more molecularly compact than typical glazed ceramic tile, it offered the same durability and resistance to moisture, as did solid granite… and, at a lesser price-point. 

Over the years, porcelain formats morphed into gargantuan tile sizes as large as 36” x 48.” And these tiles were no longer just “through-body” versions. Advanced inkjet printing processes were developed that actually gave the tiles both “looks” and textures resulting in it being almost impossible to discern whether or not they were true natural materials. And, this printing procedure was no flimsy topcoat. Airports around the globe, for example, which have tens of thousands of people racing across their terminal floors pulling wheeled luggage on a daily basis, have been successful with their specification of HD printed, porcelain flooring. 

So what was next in the world of porcellanato? In the last few years, a new phenomenon has appeared, now termed “gauged porcelain panels.” These are extremely large tile slabs, produced with fine porcelain clay, manufactured to minimal tile thickness without compromising the performance levels inherent to porcelain tile. Visionary architects are specifying this material for a myriad of applications, including to be installed directly over existing tile (which means the arduous, messy, time-consuming and disruptive process of removing ceramic tile can be eliminated), as monolithic-appearing wall applications… and, even to perform as exterior cladding. Relative to vertical installations, one of the few disadvantages of “regular” porcelain tile is weight. Gauged porcelain panels have become the ideal alternative, because when installed correctly, due to having much lighter weight, various structural components can be reduced… saving a great deal of installation time and out-of-pocket money. A good example of this took place recently at the University of Southern Indiana’s Health & Professions Building. 

Crossville’s Laminam gauged porcelain panels were specified for this interior project, which consisted of 2,500 square feet of wall space for a commercial kitchen classroom. “Originally, we bid the job to be tiled using a traditional mortar system. Adam Abell, our Bostik representative, came in and asked if we would consider an alternative installation system that offered a host of benefits,” stated Danny Fulton, Vice President of Evansville, IN-based Fulton Tile & Stone. “We were ready to begin the project, but because of our strong rapport with Adam, we granted him some presentation time that included having our Crossville representative, Tony Davis attending along with our team. I had no idea of what Bosti-Set™ was… or, what it could do. But in retrospect, granting Adam time to showcase his new product proved be one of the best decisions we’ve made in a long time!” 

Abell demonstrated how projects calling for gauged porcelain panels could be installed in roughly half the time, even with a smaller crew. He showed how Bosti-Set™ immediately grabbed porcelain tile panels in a single coat, did not allow any sag, yet made it possible for these panels to be “reposition-able” for at least 30 minutes. “As a business owner, I’m always looking for efficiencies that are timesaving and ultimately, cost saving,” added Fulton. “So ultimately, we decided to work with this newer product. 

“We had a lot to learn,” Fulton continued, “as the panels basically had to be ‘picked up’ using suction cups with aluminum spines, not unlike the way glass panels are installed. A single layer of adhesive is troweled only onto the back of the panel, cutting the square footage necessary to trowel in half. This also cuts down on weight… and, deadline stress on our installers.”

Fulton went on to state that he was so captivated by this project… he actually put on his accountant’s hat and followed every single step to measure the overall savings. “There is no mixing needed with this system,” he mentioned. “It’s just ‘open and go.’ Other systems require a 50 lb. bag of thin-set per panel. This project had 70 panels to install, and I estimated that without mixing, we could roughly save 30 minutes per panel on the installation alone, not to mention the mixing time and chasing water that was completely eliminated. Ultimately, for this 2,500 square foot project, even though Bosti-Set™ is a bit more costly than other products, we may have saved close to $5,000 just by using it. “And, that number is very conservative!” Fulton beamed.

He added that the project worked out so well, “Fulton Tile & Stone has begun to use Bosti-Set™ on a regular basis for other projects we have in the queue, including ‘phase two’ at the USI facility.”

Gauged porcelain panels have certainly become the rage. According to Martin Howard, Executive Vice President of David Allen Company and current President of the National Tile Contractors Association, “This newer product offering has been accepted in the marketplace because, in particular, architects and designers see the advantages offered by a large panel format that is much lighter in weight than other high-performance surfacing options. And due to their expansive size, there are less grout joints visible. That means a wall application, for example, can give the appearance of stone veneer at a lower price point, because single slab appearance is now possible.” 

“You can’t learn how to use the system overnight,” declared Fulton. “So, we decided to have all of our installers take as much time to learn this system as they needed. Both Bostik and Crossville helped us with educating our team at optimal levels. Generally in our business, some of the more seasoned installers want to stick with methods they’ve used in the past. I thoroughly understand that. But when we were able to prove to all our installers that not only was Bosti-Set™ easier to use… it allowed them to finish projects earlier and the move on to the next one…  I think they were all very much sold!”

Fulton Tile & Stone depends upon its major distributor, Louisville Tile for the great percentage of tile and sundry materials used in the many installations for which the firm is engaged. Don Kincaid, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Louisville Tile, believes gauged porcelain tile panels have a very, very bright future. “In particular for the commercial sector, these materials are gaining more and more acceptance. Designs calling for gauged porcelain, at this early stage of its existence, most likely are coming from savvy architectural designers who understand it doesn’t just add a monolithic look due to having minimal grout lines. It offers many more solutions, one being because it is so much lighter in weight than natural stone… it can be directly installed on vertical surfaces as a viable alternative. And, because of the realism generated by today’s amazing high-definition inkjet printing processes, very few people will not know the product isn’t an actual stone slab. 

“We also believe,” continued Kincaid, “that gauged panels will soon be specified on a regular basis for residential applications, one example being shower walls. Forward-minded installation professionals such as those at Fulton Tile & Stone, understand how glass panels are adhered to walls, and will continue to embrace the best ways in which to install these products.  Now that there is a product such as Bosti-Set™, which offers so many installation performance benefits, we at Louisville Tile are even more positive about this product category.”

Kincaid was also extremely positive about the University of Southern Indiana gauged porcelain panel project. “And why not?” he declared. “That’s my alma mater!”

 

 

 

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