MAPEI revamps its training institute’s logo and program

Deerfield Beach, Florida – MAPEI North America’s training program, known as MAPEI Technical Institute (MTI), has introduced a redesigned logo in conjunction with a global rebranding of the company’s international training initiatives. MTI provides high-quality courses with demonstrations and hands-on training to architects, contractors, installers and distributors.

The rebrand features the classic MAPEI beaker topped with a graduation cap and left-sided tassel, an ode to the commencement ceremony where graduates flip their tassels after earning a diploma. Minimal and modern, the new logo comes in two variations – one with the phrase “MAPEI Technical Institute” to describe trainings and workshops, and one with the phrase “MAPEI Technical Institute TV” for use with the MTI-TV videos hosted by Dan Marvin, MAPEI’s Director of Technical Services, and Sam Biondo, MAPEI’s National Technical Presenter. With this redesign, the new MTI logo visually focuses on high-quality installation education.

Along with the updated logo, MTI has seen an expansion in the number of its training sessions in the United States and Canada. New trainers have also been added for the United States, which has set up new training areas at the MAPEI plants in San Bernardino, CA; Dalton, GA; and Logan Township, NJ. The MAPEI facility in Calgary, AB, is also home to a new training area. For an agenda of training sessions, see the listings at

MTI currently comes in three variations: First, to offer industry insights and a better understanding into industry standards, MTI facilities host official product education events, hands-on workshops that provide specialized training on new products and techniques for specific installations. Technical experts also offer on-site trainings at distributor locations across the United States upon special request. Second, short MTI-TV videos inform about cutting-edge products, problem-solving solutions and step-by-step installations. Third is the tradeshow favorite MTI-Live, where Sam Biondo and a team of MAPEI sales representatives perform live demos of our latest products at national tradeshows such as The International Surface Event (TISE) and World of Concrete (WOC).

MTI is also an active supporter of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI).

For registration information on U.S. seminars, contact Sophia D’Amico-Campbell at (954) 246-8555. For registration information on Canadian seminars, contact Marie-Christine Mercier at (450) 662-1212.



Large-Format Tile – July 2018

University of Missouri student dining facility uses tile to define unique dining venues

More than 42,000 sq. ft. of tile – including large-format – were used at The Restaurants at Southwest

The Restaurants at Southwest, University of Missouri’s (Mizzou or MU) newest dining facility, features a collection of distinct dining venues, each with its own character, arranged to create a variety of dining experiences. From the soaring, two-story space of the Legacy Grille to the old-world charm of the pasta venue Olive & Oil, the new 600-seat dining center serves as the social hub of the Southwest Neighborhood and can accommodate 2,500-3,000 students living in the nearby residence halls and fraternity and sorority houses.

The finish materials selected by the designers on the project – KWK Architects and associate architect Lawrence Group – reinforce the concept menu and character for each venue, and tile was the first choice for the flooring and walls surfaces. 

“Tile provided a wide range of design possibilities, durability and ease of maintenance unmatched by other materials. Tile also contributed to the sustainable goals of the project, which is anticipated to achieve a LEED Silver certification,” said Sara Koester, AIA, Principal at KWK Architects. 

More than 42,000 sq. ft. of tile costing an estimated $200,000 were installed at The Restaurants at Southwest, said Project Manager Derek Kutz of tile contractor Richardet Floor Covering, Perryville, Mo. A team of up to 12 installers had just 10 weeks to complete the intricate tile project, which included 20,000 sq. ft. of floor tile; 22,000 sq. ft. of wall tile; 20 different styles of Schluter metal edging; 48 different tile styles; 620 50-lb. bags of mortar; 268 units of epoxy grout and 100 units of grout. The main tile manufacturers used on the project included: Crossville, American Olean, Marazzi USA and Daltile. Floor tile formats included 6” x 6”, 12” x 12”, 12” x 24”, 6” x 24”, 24” x 24” and 6” x 36”.

“This was by far one of the most tedious tile jobs, with the most tile patterns and selections, that we have ever worked on,” said Kutz. “We were able to stay on top of the tile design details by having one worker behind the blueprint and one on the wall at all times.”

Legacy Grille

The main venue of the dining facility is the Legacy Grille, which is designed to celebrate the rich heritage of MU sports and is filled with historic photographs in large wall murals, accented with the patterns and colors of the school’s mascot, the tiger. Unglazed ceramic mosaic tile in a multicolored, custom tiger-striped pattern is used on the venue fronts and soffit. 

Small-size tile (1” x 1”) worked well for creating the curved shapes of the tiger stripes, one of the more challenging tile jobs on the project. Tile installers spent 10-12 hours cutting the 1’ x 2’ tile sheets into the desired pattern. The complex pattern was laid out on the floor and approved by the architect prior to being pieced together on the wall during installation. 


Tiger Avenue Deli

The Tiger Avenue Deli has an urban feel and features hot deli sandwiches fresh off the grill. Bright orange tiles pop across the back wall to animate the venue and add to the “sizzle” feel. 


The soup-and-salad venue, 1+5+3, features dark brown subway tile on the back wall as a contrast to the bamboo wood venue front, and a shocking lime green glass tile accent band across the front signals that this is the “fresh and healthy venue.”

1839 Kitchen

The home-cooking station, 1839 Kitchen, has a traditional look with raised wood cabinets, copper accents and “marble” counters. A two-colored, two-sized tile pattern was used to animate the back wall and add to the residential character. 


Olive & Oil

Olive & Oil, a Mediterranean and pasta concept, features hand-painted, decorative tiles and painted plaster walls for an “old-world” feel. 


The dessert venue, Truffles, has a rich palette of glass tiles in golds and purples and chocolate- and caramel-colored walls and ceilings. 

Tile was used for the flooring
material throughout the dining areas in multi-colored, multi-sized patterns, with each seating area having its own, well-defined pattern and circulation area. Tile offered the durability needed for this type of facility, as well as the ease of maintenance. 

Porcelain tile with the appeal of concrete and cut stone was used in all seating areas except Olive & Oil, where wood-look tile was used to add warmth to the space. Quarry tile was used for the rest of the venues’ flooring and food production kitchens.

Tile contributed to several of the sustainability goals on the project as well, as many of the tiles were made from recycled materials and green-squared certified.

Kutz said one of the greatest challenges on the project was meeting the tight deadline and coordinating the tile installation around the subcontractors working in the same spaces. Open communications and scheduling among all subcontractors were the key to keeping the project on track, said Kutz. The tile installers worked a minimum of 12 hours a day, and a couple of Saturdays, to complete the project on schedule. 

Tech Talk – July 2018

Ideal underlayment and tile setting strategies

Tom Plaskota,
TEC® Technical Support Manager

Every month, NTCA offers free online webinars on a range of topics. Industry experts share their wisdom during these one-hour events that can be watched on a computer, phone, tablet or in a conference room with staff and crew. If you miss a webinar, NTCA archives them for watching at your convenience. Visit and click the Education & Certification tab for news on upcoming talks and archived presentations. 

This month, we revisit the March 20, 2018 webinar entitled “Ideal Underlayments and Tile Setting Strategies,” presented by Tom Plaskota, technical support manager for TEC/H.B. Fuller Construction Products – and provide an overview. For the complete webinar, follow the directions above. 

Plaskota addressed several main topics in his talk. For this article, we will focus on the first two topics: 

  • What are self-leveling underlayments and how do they work?
  • Benefits of self leveling underlayments.

What are self-leveling underlayments and how do they work?

ASTM F2873 provides a definition of self-leveling underlayments (SLUs) that hinges on four key concepts:

  • They are poured and flowable mortars
  • They are composed primarily of hydraulic cements such as Portland cement materials and calcium aluminate. These compounds continue to harden under water.
  • They may require a primer to enhance bond strength and reduce development of pin holes.
  • They are designed and intended to provide a flat, smooth surface for the finished floor covering – ceramic tile or natural stone. 

Self-leveling underlayments achieve their high-flow properties through the use of flow agents that produce a pancake-batter-like consistency. They are also formulated to be non-shrinking and non-cracking. Unlike a thin-set mortar, SLUs are commonly set in thicknesses of up to 1/2” to 2”and are formulated to not shrink or crack at that thickness. Components like calcium aluminate allow the SLU to cure quickly, so that in many cases, the underlayment will support foot traffic and allow for tile setting in a matter of hours. 

Benefits of self-leveling underlayments

Plaskota approached the subject of SLU benefits by addressing common questions and objections about self-levelers – and the reality of the benefits they bring.

Self levelers aren’t necessary for tile installations

Reality: You need self-levelers for successful tile installations to ensure that the substrate is flat. They help expedite tile installations and save installers from having to make subfloor adjustments, while improving subfloor quality that reduces lippage and cracked or damaged tile. In addition, SLUs help you more easily and quickly achieve the tighter flatness requirements for today’s popular large-format tile, with in-demand tight grout joints: 1/4” in 10’ and 1/16” in 12” for tiles with all edges shorter than 15” and 1/8” in 10’ and 1/16” in 24’ for tiles with at least one edge measuring 15”. Gauged porcelain tile panels that measure as large as 3’ x 10’ or even 5’ x 10’ are not forgiving when it comes to subfloor flatness and so require the use of SLUs. 

I only need SLU for resilient/sheet vinyl – imperfections in substrate aren’t as ‘visible’ with tile.

Reality: The use of bonding mortar to level, flatten or fill substrates does not conform to tile industry standards. Some tile setters mistakenly believe they can “fill” substrates with thin-set or “medium-bed” (now known as large-and-heavy-tile-mortar) mortar. But these products were not made for leveling substrate. Instead, they are designed to accommodate the features of the tile, such as preventing a large, heavy tile from slumping into the mortar. They also address allowable warpage, which is greater in a larger tile, so there’s a need for a bit thicker mortar under the tile to accommodate the irregularity in the tile. Even setting small tiles on an uneven substrate can result in hazardous and unsightly lippage and callbacks. 

Self-leveling runs up extra charges. 

Reality: NOT installing a self leveling underlayment may result in costly call backs. You are going to have to smooth or level your floors. SLU is a great, efficient way of doing that to reduce callbacks. 

Self-levelers are time-consuming to apply; slows down the whole project schedule 

Reality: Efficiencies in installation methods and fast-setting underlayments allow for same-day tile installations. These are not your grandfather’s SLUs – they’ve come a long way and feature enhancements, and advanced technology primers that may eliminate the need for shot blasting over clean concrete, regardless of porosity. They may even go over some types of coatings such as curing compounds, high-performance topical coating like epoxies or cutback residue. In this case, the primer/SLU combo is a great time and money saver. Be sure to consult the SLU manufacturer and confirm the application. In addition, tools and equipment such as rakes, buckets or bucket carts that can be managed by one person can help expedite SLU application. 

Again for details of this talk, click the webinar link under the Education & Certification tab on This link also announces upcoming webinars and houses the archives of talks from the last few years.

Is your life out of balance?

By Steve Rausch, industry consultant

Sometimes you just feel whacked out, or more likely, whack! It could be the lack of proper balance in your life. Just as a pilot must ensure the airplane is balanced properly before flying, we must do the same thing with our lives. If your life is out of balance you’re most likely headed for trouble. Here are several suggestions for your consideration.

  • When was the last time you exercised? Jumping to conclusions doesn’t count. Good physical health is the center of our existence; nothing else happens unless you’re physically healthy. 
  • Medicating yourself? I’m not talking about prescription medicines a doctor has prescribed, I’m talking about all that other stuff you’re shoving into your pie hole. Stuffing yourself with unhealthy foods, drinks, smokes, drugs – or just going shopping spending money you don’t have, on junk you don’t need – are all a signal of lack of balance in your life. Plan to improve your habits starting today. 
  • Do you have squirrel brain? Can’t seem to focus on what’s happening in front of you because you’re checking your cell phone again (for the 50th time this morning), or checking emails constantly? Do you obsessively tap your finger or foot? Is your leg bouncing up and down right now? Do your friends or spouse accuse you of not paying attention when they talk? These are all signs of excessive and unhealthy stress in your life. 
  • Dude, are you alive? Do you leave folks hanging without replying to messages or phone calls? Is your inbox or voice mail so full they aren’t accepting new messages? Are you returning your phone calls within a reasonable time? It’s just plain rude and disrespectful to not respond to messages and/or do what you promise, so that’s another wacky action. Continue this and you’ll quickly discover just how un-needed you really are. 
  • When was your last vacation or time off? Burn-out is one of the worst indications of a life out of balance, and worst of all, it is TOTALLY preventable. Just take a weekend off, that will help. You may find this hard to believe, but the world functions without you. Take some time off and relax. See new things and discover new adventures out there. 
  • Do you have a “short fuse?” A sure sign of lack of balance is when you respond instantly to any unwanted remark or happening. When there are only milliseconds between actions and reactions, you are way too stressed. People will start to avoid you like a landmine. 
  • Have you been called “SNARKY?” Hint: This isn’t a good thing! Are you always resentful or sarcastic? Both are signs of being way overstressed to the point of heart attack time. 

Do you recognize any of these signs in your life? Admit it! If you believe you’re not this way then ask your spouse, children, or close friends. They’ll certainly recognize these actions. Then take positive steps to change your actions, TODAY! Your life and your sanity – and likely the sanity of those around you – are at stake.


Steve Rausch has been involved in the tile and flooring business for over 30 years and is currently an industry consultant specializing in sales, marketing, and interpreting technical issues in understandable terms. You can contact Steve at [email protected] or 404-281-2218

Dan Hecox presents to A&D students at University of Nebraska – Lincoln

NTCA Nebraska State Ambassador schools interior design students on tile failures

By Lesley Goddin

In March, NTCA State Ambassador Dan Hecox of Hecox Construction, Inc. of York, Neb., gave a class on how to avoid tile failures to 28 second-year interior design students at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Interior Design Professor Stacy Spale, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC, NCIDQ Certificate No. 28851, asked Hecox to present to the IDES 200 Programs, Standards, and Codes class “so our students could better identify standards of installation,” she said. “These students will enter various professions within the design industry, and they should be able to feel comfortable on a job site, or managing a project, and at least having a base knowledge of trade vocabulary.”

Spale believes that it’s a vital skill for interior designers to learn to collaborate with trade contractors. “Early in my career, I drew casework sections the way I’d been taught and never really thought much about it,” she explained. “Then I spent some time learning about custom casework and realized that had I called a fabricator before I drew my custom projects, I could have saved time, money, materials, etc. 

“The jobs where I could collaborate and communicate my design intent – and work alongside the people doing the work always turned out better,” she added. “This seems like generic advice, so I like to show students with real stories so the learning is more applicable.” 

Adapting professional material to college classwork

Hecox adapted the “Tile Failures – Could it Be Me?” presentation normally given by the NTCA and CTEF workshop presenters to the needs of the design students, which was a challenge in itself. 

“It’s one thing to talk to people in the trade and quite another thing to talk with up-and-coming designers,” Hecox said. To not lose students with highly technical details that would have more meaning to professional tile setters, he covered some areas briefly and “brought along a lot of visuals for them to see and touch,” he explained. “I also had some demonstrations for them…I tried to think about where they are in their education and what kinds of things would be important to them in their careers as designers.” 

Dan gave them real-world useful information to use once they graduate. “I really tried to explain to them as designers, that they can spec certain things – like qualified labor, Certified Installers, and material that falls within ANSI specs,” he said. “They should know the work schedules and when things like floor prep will take place and when tile setting will start – and they should be there on the job site to inspect the floor prep and tile install.” Hecox emphasized that they should also ask questions of those involved about what they are doing.

Presentation gets thumbs up from students

Based on the responses from the students, the class was a smashing success.

“I found the tile talk extremely interesting,” said student Sydney Carl. “I feel like it’s extremely important to learn at least a little bit about how to install materials that we would be picking. I think as interior designers we should be educated on the installation of products and not just the application. I learned a lot about mortar and the correct way to lay tile (which from watching HGTV, I was very misled). I definitely feel more knowledgeable now and I have confidence that I could have an educated tile talk with a contractor.”

Keleigh Ketelhut admired Hecox’s passion about his trade – and professionalism. “What came as the largest shock to me was that people have people pay them big money for jobs they do completely wrong but still call themselves a professional,” she said. Excited to hear “Omaha is the first city in the nation to require a tile licensure before one can call themselves a professional,” she added, “This has shown me the importance of being a part of the project even after you’ve handed over the specs, construction documents and the overall design. Not only to check up on the lazy people but I think it is also cool to see things in progress and this thing you once had envisioned come to life.”

Lindsay Meyer enjoyed learning from Hecox’s experience and considers it “easiest for us to understand what not to do (and why) by seeing bad examples. Dan did a great job sharing with us, and I learned a lot from him.” These insights include learning about different types of underlayment and backer board, being able to touch the samples to better illustrate the lessons, and ensuring that both GC and tile contractor are reliable, often by working with certified tile setters. 

“Another thing I learned is that it is important for me, as the designer, to show up on the job often to double check the installation process, and if something is awry, to speak with the general contractor about my concerns. I also learned that if there is lippage in a wall application of tile, not having light fixtures wash the wall directly can help hide that. Especially with larger format tiles, the cupping of tiles is inevitable to some degree, so it is up to the designer to make sure it shows as little as possible.”

Truthfully, Becky Virgl wasn’t too jazzed about listening to “some guy talk about tiles all class, but I really enjoyed everything he had to say. It was really nice to learn what good tile installation actually looks like, and see what a dramatic effect it can have on the look of the tiles overall.”

Since the class, Virgl has been noticing bad tile installations in bathrooms and other public places. “I can really appreciate the value of good installation now that I know the difference,” she said, adding that when recently watching videos on Facebook, she came across a tile video in her queue. “I felt so frustrated because they were seemingly knowledgeable, but they were instructing people incorrectly – we learned, you cannot just slap mortar on all willy-nilly without giving the air a place to escape to and you cannot spot-bond tiles. I really appreciated this class because it gave me actual concrete knowledge on a subject that will be incredibly useful to me as a designer and a homeowner in the future.”

It seems from the comments of the students that Spale’s goal that the presentation “allow the students to develop a critical eye and insist that all installations are up to the standards specified,” was achieved.

The student feedback was a big help to Hecox, too. “I’d obviously never given a presentation like this to college students, so I really was unsure of how and what to present to them,” he said. “But hearing how they really enjoyed the presentation, and that now when they are out and about they are inspecting tile work that they see, shows me that what I presented them was spot on.”

Might there be an opportunity to share your knowledge with a university or high school class in your area? 

Business Tip – July 2018

OSHA issues RFI to consider expansion of construction tasks and silica control measures

In a recent article concerning the lack of leadership for OSHA as nominee Scott Mugno awaits Senate confirmation, authors Leah Kaiser and Avi Meyerstein of Husch Blackwell LLP reported that OSHA has moved ahead with its Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, outlining the current status of both pending and anticipated rulemaking efforts. OSHA looks as though it will have its hands full with twenty agenda items, up from fourteen on the Spring 2017 list.

In a new request for information (RFI), OSHA wants to determine if it should expand its list of construction tasks and associated control measures that construction workers can use to comply with its 2016 silica rule for construction. Table 1 of the rule listed dust control methods that employers could use for common construction tasks.

The purpose of the table is to provide a clear path for compliance. It spares construction employers from verifying exposure levels (with data and monitoring) if they employ accepted methods for controlling silica dust. Per OSHA: “Employers who fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified for a task on Table 1 are not required to measure respirable crystalline silica exposures to verify that levels are at or below the PEL for workers engaged in the Table 1 task.”

OSHA intends to use the additional information it gains in response to the RFI to revise Table 1 if deemed appropriate. OSHA currently classifies this rulemaking agenda item as “substantive, nonsignificant,” so it is unclear whether we should expect substantial movement in the near future.

Ask the Experts – July 2018

Ask the Experts Q&As are culled from member inquiries to NTCA’s Technical Support staff. To become a member and make use of personal, targeted answers from Technical Support staff to your installation questions, contact Jim Olson at [email protected]



I have these photos from a customer who is adamant that the chipped tiles are defective. The tiles are butted up and were installed without grout. Would the inability to allow deflection be the cause of breakage?


You are correct. These tiles have very likely chipped along the edges where they touch each other because an appropriate grout joint was not installed in the system. 

Appropriately-sized grout joints are required by tile industry standards and are an integral component to successful tile installations. One of the purposes of a grout joint and grout is to protect the edges of the tiles from damage such as this. 

Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, Trainer/Presenter


Have you seen a rise in issues with tile crazing? I’ve had several issues with a few different factories with different dye lots. From both Italy and Spain, all glossy. ALL of these jobs used one form of waterproofing; all used premium thinset and premium grouts. All of the factories pass the crazing test and also ANSI. Without seeing into the walls, the jobs looked solid, very good craftsmanship. I have had a total of seven jobs with this issue (three of one color – two dye lots. Four others in all different colors and lots). I figured job complaints would go up with the amount of ceramic tiles that are sold but this seems like an issue that maybe needs an installation adjustment? Looking forward to your thoughts.


I have done some checking and discovered one similar job that was having a crazing problem. On that job, actual tiles from the lot that had been installed were tested and found to not actually meet the ANSI requirement for crazing resistance. I suggest having tiles from the actual, installed lots tested to determine whether they actually pass the ANSI and/or ISO tests for crazing as indicated by the factory. The tests will be able to determine if there is proper fitment of the glaze to the tile body.

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) operates an independent laboratory that can do this testing for you. Katelyn Simpson is the laboratory manager and can provide information on cost and the testing procedure. Katelyn can be reached at (864) 646-8453 or [email protected]

Depending on test results, you will be able to contact the factory with detailed information to discuss resolution. 

Mark Heinlein, NTCA Training Director, Trainer/Presenter

Two Scholarships Available for Emerging Professionals in the Natural Stone Industry

Oberlin, OH, June 26 2018—The Natural Stone Institute is pleased to announce that two scholarships are available for individuals pursuing careers in the natural stone industry. The deadline to submit applications for the Natural Stone Scholarship and the Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship is Friday, July 20.

The Natural Stone Scholarship provides a trip to TISE 2019, where the winner will gain valuable technical and practical knowledge regarding the natural stone industry and will meet and network with leading stone professionals. The ideal candidate will be a fabricator, installer, or administrative apprentice with fewer than five years’ experience in the natural stone industry and at least six months experience working with a Natural Stone Institute member company.

Lucja Lawniczak, recipient of the 2017 Natural Stone Scholarship, commented: “I came to TISE with a list of questions, and although not all of them got answered, I found people who can point me in the right direction. This industry keeps me in awe of the generosity and accessibility of the field’s veterans. I felt welcomed, and although there was a factor of intimidation, my fears were short lived.”

The Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship will provide a trip to one of three 2019 industry events: TISE, Coverings, or the Natural Stone Institute Study tour. The winner will shadow industry professionals within different sectors of the stone industry and have the opportunity to deepen her commitment to a career in the stone industry and explore her potential for leadership. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of two years of experience, be currently employed by a Natural Stone Institute member company, and must be a first-time attendee of the chosen event.

Amy Petersen, recipient of the 2017 Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship, commented: “I believe education is the key to empowerment and I want to give that gift of knowledge back to other women and aspiring professionals.”

Submissions for both scholarships, as well as all other Natural Stone Institute Industry Recognition Awards, is Friday, July 20. To learn more, visit



About the Natural Stone Institute

The Natural Stone Institute is a trade association representing every aspect of the natural stone industry. The current membership exceeds 2,000 members in over 50 nations. The association offers a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development opportunities, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness within the natural stone industry and in the design community for best practices and uses of natural stone. Learn more at



CUSTOM is making it easy for tile installation professionals to stay on top of best practices by hosting Facebook Live events–the first is outlined below.


WHO:              Will White, Director of Technical Comms and Training for Custom®

WHAT:           Will White along with several special guest contractors will demonstrate the value and proper use of Fusion Pro® Single-Component Grout for interior and exterior commercial and residential tile installations. The only grout with a stain-proof and color- perfect guarantee, patented Fusion Pro® is ready-to-use right out of the bucket and requires no sealing. The recently-enhanced formula is easier to spread and clean, and provides improved performance in wet areas like showers.

Tips and best practices that will be shared in the Facebook Live include:

  • Avoiding grout haze or residue
  • Vertical tile installations
  • Shower installations
  • Large tile installations

WHEN:           Thursday, June 28 at 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. PST

WHERE:         Custom® Building Products Facebook Page



  • Fusion® Pro comes in 40 colors and eight Designer Series options
  • Fusion® Pro cures hard so it never needs to be sealed
  • Fusion® Pro includes Microban® antimicrobial protection
  • Fusion® Pro is appropriate to fill joint widths 1/16″ to 1/2″
  • Fusion® Pro can be exposed to light foot traffic after 24 hours and heavier foot traffic in 72 hours
  • Fusion® ProWhen is eligible for up to a Lifetime System Warranty when installed with a full system of CUSTOM® products

OSHA Silica Rule Takes Effect June 23, 2018 With 30-Day Grace Period


By Avi Meyerstein, Husch Blackwell, LLP

OSHA’s new final silica rule that dramatically reduces allowable exposures to respirable crystalline silica takes effect this week for most employers. In particular, the rule kicks in on June 23, 2018 for employers in general industry, maritime companies, and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the oil and gas industry (for fracking, engineering controls still do not take effect until June 2021).

OSHA says it will still give these employers some time to adjust to the new rule, however. In a June 7, 2018 memorandum, OSHA announced a 30-day enforcement grace period. During this first month, OSHA says that it will assist employers that make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements under the new standard. However, if OSHA finds that an employer fails to make any effort to comply, the employer will be subject to air monitoring procedures and citations for non-compliance.

In their efforts to comply, employers should take advantage of available compliance assistance materials. As an introduction, OSHA published an overview of the new silica standard in a Small Entity Compliance Guide to help small businesses comply.

What does the rule require?

Generally, the new standard requires employers to:

  • Determine whether workers are or may reasonably be exposed to silica at or above an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8-hour day.
  • Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposure above a PEL of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8-hour day.
  • Follow the hierarchy of controls by first employing engineering controls (such as reducing airborne dust using water or removing dust with ventilation) to reduce exposure as much as possible. Only then can employers rely on respirators to protect workers.
  • Limit employee access to areas with exposure levels above the PEL and offer medical exams to highly exposed workers.
  • Develop a written exposure control plan.
  • Train workers on the health risks related to silica exposure and methods to reduce the risks.
  • Maintain records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

OSHA says that it has developed interim inspection and citation guidance to ensure compliance and uniform enforcement of the new standard. The agency says it intends to release these materials in the near future.

Although employers must now comply with the rule’s exposure limits, only some employers must comply this year with the rule’s requirements to offer medical surveillance exams to employees. Where employees will be exposed at or above the PEL for 30 or more days per year, medical surveillance must begin when the rule takes effect this week. However, where employees will only be exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year, employers have two more years to comply. In those cases, they must offer medical surveillance exams beginning on June 23, 2020.

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