Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Lippert Tile Company, Inc.

5starlogoLippert Tile Company, Inc.custom-sponsor
Menomonee Falls/Milwaukee Area, Wis.
Specialty: Commercial flooring contractor; supplies and installs ceramic tile, stone tile, coatings, carpet, resilient and hardwood flooring, with attention to detail, craftsmanship, industry standards and best practices, while maintaining community and industry involvement.

Founded in 1949, Lippert Tile Company, Inc., is a full-service commercial flooring contractor near Milwaukee, serving all of southeastern Wisconsin. Known for attention to detail, craftsman- ship, industry standards, best practices and community and industry involvement, Lippert is regarded as a value-adding solutions provider and problem solver.

Lippert furnishes and installs ceramic tile, stone tile, coatings, carpet, resilient and hardwood flooring, and reclaims 100% of its carpet waste for recycling for the commercial construction market of southeastern Wisconsin.

The company is now in the third generation of leadership. Les Lippert is the president, and
Jeff Lippert is the executive vice president. Both have been with the company for more than 30 years, and represent a continuation of the founder’s commitment to the best attainable quality at a fair price; Lippert stands behind its work.

An area of industry involvement includes Tile Contractors Association of America, to which the company has contributed two past presidents (Les and father, Alan), and two Carl V. Cesery Award winners (Alan in 1996, Les in 2012). Other industry involvement includes NTCA, Starnet Worldwide, various local con- tractors’ associations, and a large ongoing local industry educational initiative for the local architecture and design communities.

Community involvement is also important to Lippert Tile, with an annual golf outing benefiting Homes For Our Troops, monthly shipments overseas through Adopt-A-Platoon, Relay For Life, and other community-service and charity-fundraising events throughout the year. Giving back of its time, treasures, and talents is a core value of the company.

Lippert’s service and craftsman- ship are well regarded, but what sets it apart is its commitment to technical knowledge and skill, industry standards and best practices, its own high standards, and its willingness to proactively solve problems. Whether the issue of the day is a schedule compressed and made challenging by delays earlier in the project, or  technically-challenging site conditions or materials, new applications, or unanticipated changes, Lippert can and will adapt to the circumstances and meet the client’s expectations. This is an area of particular pride; the company is known for its ability to deliver in the most difficult situations.

The company provides access to many continuing education opportunities for its employees, enabling them to serve clients as consultants and solutions providers.

Les and Jeff Lippert take seriously the responsibility they have to build an organization that remains faithful to the needs of the current and future employees, and their families, through individual and collective excellence and achievement. Being great together provides the basis for employees to achieve the success they hope for on behalf of their families.

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Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Lambert Tile & Stone

custom-sponsor5starlogoLambert Tile & Stone, Inc.
Eagle, Colo.
Since: 2001
Specialty: High-end residential tile and stone, installation
Employees: 5


As Colorado’s only Five Star Contractor, Lambert Tile & Stone has been installing high-end residential tile and stone in the Vail Valley for more 13 years. Dan and Elizabeth Lambert, owners of Lambert Tile & Stone, joined the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) more four years ago and now currently sit on the Board of Directors representing Region 10. Dan also currently sits on the Standards and Methods Committee and the Technical Committee.

Elizabeth and Dan Lambert“Joining the NTCA was one of the best decisions we have ever made for our business,” Elizabeth explained. “The education and support we have received from this organization has allowed to us to become experts in our field. The tile industry is always evolving and requires us to stay current with new technology so constant education is key to being a success.

“Since joining the NTCA we have also been fortunate to win two prizes, 2010 TileLetter Residential Award of Merit and 2013 Five Star Project of the Year Residential Installation Grand Prize,” Elizabeth continued. “It is such an honor to be recognized for our passion and expertise in the tile industry.”

The Lamberts credit their employees with their success, all of whom have been trained and certified through the CTEF testing in the current methods and standards of the industry.

“The old adage that you are only as good as your team is the theme at Lambert Tile and Stone,” Dan said.

Lambert Tile & Stone also likes to give back to their community,  such as volunteering to help the local Habitat for Humanity chapter with anything tile related, from educating the volunteers, providing labor, and asking local distributors for donations of tile and installation materials for the projects.

“We would like to thank the manufacturers and distributors in the tile industry who support the Five Star Program,” Elizabeth said. “Those who go out of their way to have us test out tools and equipment and listen to our feedback, offer rebates when we purchase their products, use our company in their marketing campaigns, and even offer to help pay for our employee tee shirts.

“The relationships that we have built through the Total Solution Plus conferences are invaluable,” Dan added. “By becoming a Five Star Contractor we have further set ourselves apart as one of the nation’s highest-quality tile contractors. It represents our commitment to professionalism, experience and service to the tile industry. Come meet the Lambert Tile & Stone team at Coverings in Las Vegas at the Installation Showcase in April 2014.”

Featured Project:
Wolcott, Colorado

This project was just another day at the office, installed by the team of Lambert Tile & Stone.

“The master bathroom and wet bar backsplash are an example of what we install on a daily basis,” Elizabeth said.

The soothing color palette of Crema Marfil marble in various sizes and the flowing leaves mosaic listello was selected and installed in the master shower. A floating corner bench was recommended to the owners as a way to maximize the space in the shower. The wet bar backsplash received black marble with gold aspen leaves popping up from the tile in relief, perfect for this mountain home.

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Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Cox Tile, Inc.

custom-sponsorCox Tile, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas
Since: 1981
Specialty: High-end residential installations, large, difficult, and demanding jobs. Mudwork is Cox Tile’s forte.
cox_logoEmployees: 13
Social media: Cox Tile Inc. on Facebook and YouTube

As a college student in 1975, pursuing a major with little opportunity, John Cox soon learned how the economy can change one’s goals and dreams. Who would have known that a part-time job would inspire a career filled with creativity, hard work, and perseverance – and would lead to the opportunity to become a business owner and completely fall in love with a trade? The challenges that go along with owning your own business cannot be ignored, but the satisfaction of creating and completing a superior installation that inspires the mind, soothes the soul, or breaks all barriers of beauty can be exhilarating.

cox_installsThe foundation of John’s business from the outset has always been to provide an undeniably quality product and customer service second to none. Cox Tile focuses on high-end residential installations and its employees never shy away from the impossible. The team approach and Cox Tile culture has trademarked the company as an outstanding resource for a quality execution of the most challenging and difficult installations. No amount of advertising can compete with the praises of a truly satisfied customer. John strives to be fundamentally involved with each project from design to completion, always working with his team to exceed customers’ expectations, every time.

As any business owner can tell you, to stay at the top of your game you must continue to hone your expertise and be knowledgeable regarding all materials and tools related to your field, especially as they progress and evolve. You must strive to retain the very best employees and never settle for anything but excellence. Providing superior customer service that instills confidence in your product and your company is paramount. And lastly, it is imperative to seek all avenues to increase your knowledge, skill and expertise so you can rise to the top of your field. These cornerstones have seen John’s company through good times and bad and allowed him the opportunity to work with very best builders, designers, architects, suppliers and other contractors in the business.

In his pursuit of knowledge, an obvious resource was the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) – an organization devoted completely to the professional tile contractor and the tile industry. As a first-generation tile contractor, he had no support system and only the knowledge gleaned from working for several contracting companies early in his career. Each year, as his company grew, it was evident that joining the NTCA was crucial. It has been instrumental in the growth and success of Cox Tile. To this day, John cites it as the best investment he has ever made in his business.

John has been on the NTCA Board of Directors serving as regional director, 2nd vice president, 1st vice president, president, chairman and currently as advisor to the Board. He has been a member of the NTCA Technical Committee since 2004 and co-authored the NTCA Business Reference Manual. Cox Tile is a three-time Grand Prize Installation Winner in the TileLetter Awards competition, and also received an Award of Merit in this competition. In 2013, Cox Tile received the Residential Stone Installation prize in the Coverings Installation and Design Awards. For four years running, Cox Tile has been an active participant in the Installation Design Showcase at Coverings.

John was the 13th member contractor to receive the NTCA Five Star Contractor designation and holds a Certified Tile Installer skills validation from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. He is committed to educating his tile setters so they are all Certified Tile Installers. John was honored by the NTCA as Tile Person of the Year in 2009.

Cox Tile is committed to excellence in every endeavor, always taking to heart the principle that “fulfilling a request or performing a task is commonplace – crafting an ambiance, stimulating awe – that’s creativity.”

Visit  the company at or give John a call if you are ever in the San Antonio area at 210-340-1122 – he would love to meet you.

Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Klaser Tile

Klaser Tile Company, Inc.

Chula Vista, Calif.

Since: 1974

Specialty: Commercial tile and stone,
adhered veneer, and industrial flooring installations

Employees: 40


klaserlogoKlaser Tile has been family owned and operated for 39 years. Bill and Merrily Klaser started the company in 1974 and still actively manage the business along with their son Kent. Having installed millions of square feet of adhered-veneer stone, tile and brick, Klaser Tile is considered an expert at commercial flooring, exterior veneers, and industrial flooring.

klaserfamilyLearning from the masters

Founder Bill Klaser started the company in 1974 with his wife Merrily after attending the University of Southern California (USC). Bill, being a very quality-minded person, was persistent in learning every aspect of the trade. He became a Ceramic Tile Consultant (CTC), certified by the Ceramic Tile Institute in 1979. Bill did a short apprenticeship with Herman Schock, a CTI Perpetual Trophy-winning industry installer, and learned how to install Venetian glass mosaics in Roman bathtubs. He later traveled to Germany to briefly work with German master installers to learn some European methods of ceramic tile installation. Bill is currently a Technical Committee member of Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA) and chairs the Exterior Veneer Technical Committee.

Certified Women’s Business Enterprise

Merrily started working right away with the company, even early on as Bill’s helper. As the company grew over the years, Merrily performed all of the administrative and accounting operations. To this day, she still loves her work and actively manages the business full time. Since Merrily retains 51% of the ownership, Klaser Tile is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).

The next generation

Bill’s son Kent has followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a CTC, serving on the NTCA Board of Directors, and now sitting on the NTCA Technical Committee. Kent, vice-president of operations, has a business management degree and actively oversees all operations, project management, and estimating.

History and specialties

klaser-petcoKlaser Tile began by specializing in custom residential installations (1974-1983) which included Roman bathtubs and other complex projects requiring tile expertise. In 1983 the company’s focus shifted to commercial work, which included shopping malls, restaurants, and some thin-brick and ceramic tile exterior veneers. These were the years in which Klaser Tile became known as an expert installer of epoxy thin-set and epoxy grouting systems. In 1993, Klaser Tile started specializing in exterior veneers, including dome-tiled roofs largely done in Venetian glass mosaics. Since the mid-1990s, Klaser Tile has installed over 3 million square feet of exterior veneers, including San Diego’s PETCO Ballpark, where 160,000 square feet of Indian Sandstone was installed.

klaser-holycrossInstalling exterior veneers – and particularly tiled domes – is a very complex job, and it is critical that they are done correctly. There are only a few installers capable of doing this type of work, which is another indication of Klaser Tile’s capabilities and commitment to quality. Klaser Tile has installed many fully-tiled swimming pools – another expertise Klaser Tile possesses.

klaser-biogenKlaser Tile now has an Industrial Division which focuses on Industrial Flooring Installations where corrosion-resistant flooring is critical, such as in the food, dairy, pharmaceutical, and chemical process industries. Klaser Tile recently completed a two-phase project in Colorado where it installed over 250,000 square feet of acid-resistant tile.

Today there are few installation companies that can claim expertise in so many types of stone, tile and brick applications. And, likewise, there are few that stand behind their work with the integrity and commitment of Klaser Tile. It is the mission of Klaser Tile Company to maintain the highest quality standards for the installation of ceramic tile and stone. Maintaining industry standards of the ceramic tile, stone and brick trade is also a top priority of Klaser Tile.

Five Star Contractor Spotlight – October 2012 – Hohn & Hohn, Inc.


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Hohn & Hohn, Inc.

St. Paul, Minn.

Since 1990

Specialty: Residential remodeling and historic restoration

Employees: 3


Jan Hohn

Jan Hohn

One of the more frequently asked questions of Jan Hohn, president and owner of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., is who is the other Hohn?  For many years, Jan’s answer was “Hohn & Hohn is me & me.”

Hohn & Hohn, Inc. spawned from humble beginnings over two decades ago, when Jan and her husband bought an old house and began the lifelong task of remodeling. As a DIYer, the journey into the tile world instantly began for Jan. Her first project was the kitchen backsplash, and her work brought kudos from the general contractor working for her at the time: “You do that better than most of the guys out there!” That sealed it. Bitten by the remodeling bug and looking for a new career path at the time, Hohn & Hohn , Inc. was born.

But why Hohn & Hohn? Besides her interest in tile, Jan was also interested in design . So one “Hohn” represented a tile contractor and the other “Hohn” a home remodeling consultant. Each “Hohn” just happened to be Jan Hohn.

Looking back, Jan admits that while her first backsplash looked good, she really didn’t understand the necessary prep needed for a quality installation. Therefore, she decided to seek out a tile installation education. Jan frequently attended seminars at distributors, inquired about their products and installation methods and built relationships with vendors. Attending IT&SE (now Coverings) really opened her eyes to the magnitude of the tile industry.

Jan became active in the local tile association and served on the association board and as president. In 2009, she became the first woman NTCA member to be certified through CTEF’s Certified Tile Installer program. Jan now serves as Region 7 Director on the NTCA Board of Directors and is Chair of the Training & Education Committee. Jan is also a member of the NTCA Technical Committee and is active on the Methods & Standards Committee.

Hohn & Hohn, Inc. is known for quality installations, attention to detail and servicing clients — whether they are general contractors, designers, architects or homeowners. Working in the remodeling and historic restoration arena has given Hohn & Hohn, Inc. latitude with clients in design and tile selection. Recently, two Hohn & Hohn, Inc, installations have won Tileletter Awards.

After 20 years of being solo, Jan Hohn finally hired two full time employees in May of 2011. Her husband (and silent partner) recently retired from his career in computer software and helps (when he can) by picking up and delivering materials. Making it a true family affair, Jan hired her son in April 2012. The only downside?  Now when asked the question “who is the other Hohn?,” she no longer can respond, “Hohn & Hohn is me & me.”

Feature Project: Residential Stone Renaissance

This residential stone project consisted of over 1200 sq. ft. of White Bulgarian and Irish Blue limestone throughout the front entry, hallways, powder room, kitchen, back entry, and pool bathroom; along with a three-color stone mosaic kitchen backsplash.

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One of the challenges on this project was the layout. Trying to keep all areas centered with the inset cabochons and borders as the drawings demanded resulted in reframing some of the walls instead of compromising the pattern.

Another difficulty was keeping the stone floor flush with all the adjoining hardwood floors even though

the hardwood floors were not level. Also the limestone came in three different thicknesses which made the installation of a flat, tight jointed floor a bit more work, but ended with great results.


NTCA recognizes Superior Tile & Stone as Five Star Contractor

National Tile Contractors Association has awarded the prestigious Five Star Contractor designation to member company Superior Tile & Stone, Oakland, CA.   NTCA now recognizes a total of 35 Five Star Contractors.

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

Both NTCA Five Star Contractors and CTEF Certified Installers are listed in recently approved TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation language recommending the inclusion of installer and contractor specifications.  The revised Handbook stresses, “Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certification/credentials.”  Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence certified installers are also listed in TCNA Handbook recommendations for contractors who have demonstrated a record of successful installations; Superior Tile & Stone additionally holds membership in TCAA.

Tommy Conner, president of Superior Tile & Stone, Inc., said, “NTCA’s Five Star Certification and TCAA’s Trowel of Excellence demonstrate to the world of general contractors, developers and designers that Superior Tile & Stone is qualified to perform complex tile and stone installations, and may be relied upon to provide the highest level of professional service.  Superior is proud to hold both certifications, and to work in concert with NTCA’s other Five Star Certified tile and stone contractors to improve our industry.”  Superior is currently scheduling testing and certification of its field crews by CTEF.

Superior Tile & Stone, founded in 1929 and headquartered in Oakland, CA, provides installation, fabrication and preconstruction services for ceramic tile, natural stone and terrazzo for commercial services throughout California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest.  Superior recently completed Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, NV and is in progress on the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland, CA.

Five Star Contractors may display the “Five Star” logo on all marketing materials.  In addition, each company is prominently displayed in a special section on the NTCA website, with a direct link established from this website to each firm.  Product rebates and insurance discounts are available, and AIA-accredited PowerPoint programs give Five Star Contractors the opportunity to be THE tile and stone source for their local architects and designers.

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

To contact Superior Tile & Stone, visit the website at or call 510-351-1700.

Five Star Contractor Spotlight – August 2012

F.D. Berardino Tile Inc.
Eastpointe, Mich.
Since: 1927
Specialty: Ceramic and stone tile contractor
Employees: 10

Felice, Crescenzo (Chris) and Francesco (Frank) are the three men who played a key role in turning a small tile business into one of the most well-known and respected tile contractors in southeastern Michigan. In bustling Detroit in 1927, an Italian immigrant, striving for a better life for his family, set out on his own to service the quality ceramic tile work needs of the growing metropolitan area.  With hard work, perseverance and complete dedication to meeting and exceeding the needs of his customers, Felice DiBerardino laid the foundation for the success of one of the oldest tile contracting firms in southeastern Michigan.

Building upon his old-world work ethic and craftsmanship, the business thrived. His son-in-law, Chris Fazi, began working for him in the early ‘50s, eventually succeeding him in 1960. Chris instilled an even greater intensity for taking care of the customer through his hard work and passion. Continuing this tradition and legacy, Frank Fazi took over for his father in the early ‘80s.

Business practices have changed a lot over the years, but Frank has followed his grandfather’s philosophy in his business: “Take care of the customer, and the customer will take care of you.” With these watchwords, Frank has transformed the business from primarily residential contracting to full-service tile contracting, performing both residential and commercial work as well as new and renovation projects of all sizes.

As an 85-year-old, three-generation, family-owned company, these pillars have remained vital and prominent in the way Berardino Tile conducts business. “Our focus remains on the customer, as we aim to provide them with quality craftsmanship, innovative design, and timely execution of every project in a professional, conscientious, and collaborative manner,” said Frank Fazi. This work ethic builds lasting trusted relationships, enabling Berardino Tile to work with customers (general contractors, builders, architects, designers and owners) throughout the construction process, assisting them in determining proper tile installation methods, product selection, problem solving, and value engineering of their project.

F.D. Berardino Tile is committed to the advancement of the tile industry as members of the Construction Association of Michigan, the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan, the Great Lakes Ceramic Tile Council (trustee), the Detroit Ceramic Tile Contractor’s Association (board member), the local Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (trustee), and is one of the first Five-Star Contractor members of National Tile Contractors Association.

Featured Project: Greenleaf Trust Building, Birmingham, Mich.
Construction Manager: CSM Group, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Owner: Catalyst Development, L.L.C.
Architect: Eckert Wordell, LLC, Kalamazoo, Mich., and Mark Johnson & Associates, Pleasant Ridge, Mich.

From February to June 2010, F.D. Berardino Tile furnished and installed 9,000 square feet of 24”x24”, 12”x24”, and 5/8”x5/8” Atlas Concorde porcelain floor tile and wall tile, stair tread and riser tile, and Hirsch Glass Mosaic tile for three lobbies, elevator cabs, the main stairway from the basement to fifth floor, and four toilet rooms.

The job posed many obstacles.  Located on a tight urban site with no onsite parking and no room for onsite material staging, planning for production became a priority. The large-format floor tile required extensive floor prep with many of the floors requiring a full mud-bed installation. All the stair-riser heights had to be adjusted before tile, thereby requiring that the treads and landings be mudded, feathered or ground down to meet the required elevation. The three-color pattern of the 5/8” mosaics was not available factory-mounted, and the pattern had to be installed individually onsite.

Since completion of the base building, Berardino Tile has been contracted for all of the office space build-outs, incorporating the installation of 12”x24” marble floor tile, 12”x24” porcelain floor tile and glass mosaic tile.

Since February, Berardino Tile has been tiling the floors and walls for the five luxury apartment units in the building, as well as the lobby and public corridors for the residential units. The design is based on timeless luxury involving custom installation of 9,000 sq. ft. of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles and ceramic and glass mosaic tiles. This has required close collaboration with the construction manager, owner, architect, and design architect.

Five Star Contractor – JP Phillips Inc.

JP Phillips, Inc. is a commercial tile contractor located in Pittsburgh, Pa. With over 37 years of experience, JP Phillips has established a strong foundation and reputation for integrity, commitment and teamwork. In 2008, the NTCA inducted JP Phillips, Inc. as one of the first members of its Five Star Program.

The company specializes in the installation of ceramic tile, porcelain tile, quarry tile, paver tile, marble, slate, granite and polished concrete.  To date, JP Phillips has installed millions of square feet of hard surface materials in a variety of sectors including hospitality, casinos/gaming, healthcare, foodservice, industrial, academia, and government.

Predicated on the values of honesty, hard work, and trust, JP Phillips has established itself as a leader in the commercial market based on quality craftsmanship and timely completion. This approach has facilitated market growth throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and Alabama.

Featured Projects:

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

In 2010, JP Phillips, Inc. was proud to partner with the Pittsburgh Penguins on the construction of the new Consol Energy Center.  The new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the first LEED Gold Certified NHL arena in the world.  JP Phillips provided glass mosaic tile and porcelain tile in all luxury boxes, porcelain tile in public restrooms and concourses, and polished concrete on upper level concourses. JP Phillips also installed tile in the locker rooms, training rooms, and therapy rooms. In total, JP Phillips installed over 80,000 square feet of tile and stained and polished over 30,000 square feet of concrete.

Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

The Hilton Baltimore Hotel & Convention center is located near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md.  JP Phillips supplied and installed ceramic, marble, and granite tile in areas including 754 guestrooms, two full service restaurants, three bars/lounges, and a fitness area including a swimming pool and sauna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit to learn more about the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program
Visit for more information on the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program.

Crossville Tile Hosts NTCA Five Star Contractor Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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