TILE TRENDS TAKE CENTER STAGE AT COVERINGS 2017

At this year’s Coverings, the largest international tile & stone exhibition in North America, more than 1,100 exhibitors showcased the latest tile products—revealing a variety of aspects of tile that reinforce its position as a truly versatile building material. Tile is durable, sustainable, resistant, low maintenance, energy efficient, and healthy. What’s more, tile is beautiful, with many designs for today’s commercial and residential spaces.

 

“When it came to presenting remarkable solutions, the exhibitors at Coverings 2017 left no stone, or tile, unturned,” said Alena Capra, Coverings’ Industry Ambassador. “Today’s tile offers incredible range of design opportunities for architects, designers, and homeowners. From every aisle of the show floor, there were exciting products that we can look forward to seeing in the market later this year.”

 

Among the thousands of new tile introductions, here’s a look at the top trends that emerged from the show floor:

 

The Skinny on Thin Tile

Among those in the tile industry, the new name for thin tile is gauged porcelain tile—a term that helps describe materials produced to a precise thickness, similar to how “gauged” is used to describe wire or sheet metal. With its slim size, one of the main benefits of gauged tile is that it can be installed on top of existing wall or floor tiles. This year, Abitare La Ceramica showcased gauged tile in a cement style with the Icon collection. Iris U.S. Calacatta collection reflected a natural marble look while Cedir Ceramiche’s Iron Mix series presented a stone look.

 

Pretty in Pink

Iris Calacatta U.S. – Mirage Granito Ceramico SpA – PopJob

This year, the show floor saw pops of pink in every corner with an emphasis on blush tones. Cooperative Ceramica D’Imola introduced Play, a line with double-fired tiles that yield a satin finish. Mirage Granito Ceramico SpA unveiled its new collaboration with Studio Job, a Dutch design firm. The collection sports a smooth surface with a thick glass layer on top of porcelain that mimics a wood look in unusual colors—its pink iteration was a standout.  Vives Cerámica brought color to life with the Dolce Vita collection, which merges periods and styles to create tile with a huge amount of personality. The Cíes wall tile, part of the collection, offers a blush tone in a matte finish, providing a truly attractive look.

 

Bringing The Outside In

Ceramica Fondovalle SpA – DREAM

Creating design inspired by nature gives a serene look to any space. With tile that mimics some of nature’s most coveted looks, homeowners and designers can easily achieve this design trend. Ceramica Fondovalle SpA debuted the DREAM collection with patterns that resemble the sky, earth and greenery, bringing a natural feel indoors.  IBERO Porcelanico showcased the Habita collection, a porcelain tile that sports a real wood look. With four different shades inclusive of cool and warm tones, the collection is extremely versatile and allows spaces to have a rustic, natural wood look and feel with the durability and sustainability of tile. Natucer introduced the DYNAMIC series, which offers 3D wall tiles. The collection’s neutral colors and fish scale patterns evokes a sense of underwater and marine life to the space. Lunada Bay Tile showcased the Watercolor collection of glass tiles with subtle color variation in blues, channeling sea and sky.  Cercan Tile Inc. introduced their line of Semi-Precious Stones set in resin. The tiles are available in any desired size and are custom made allowing for a truly unique installation with real, semi-precious stone for a natural feel.

 

Beyond Beige

While bold colors are important to design, so, too, are neutrals, which provide visual balance to a space.  At Coverings, exhibitors showcased a variety of looks that prove that neutrals can go in a variety of attractive hues along the muted color spectrum. Dune Ceramics shared the SHAPES series with the Luna shape in bronze and white, featuring a metallic accent, which plays with light and creates reflections and shadows. Marazzi presented MATERIKA, a collection of matte neutrals that are fashioned into over-sized wall tiles. With options ranging from flat to 3D wavy or combed surfaces, the ceramic wall tiles create a feeling of depth while maintaining a neutral color palette. Realonda Ceramica brought the PATTERN series, a collection of square tiles that are distinctive due to their 3D look and bronze color. Clay Decor’s line Imaginatio highlighted the return of brass and copper as neutrals to interior design. The warm hues bring subtle glamour to any space with their metallic finishes.

Dune Ceramics – SHAPES

 

Get in the Groove

While tile is the star of the installation, several grout manufacturers have introduced products that had show attendees taking a closer look at the installation material. Not just functional, grout can enhance the design quotient of the application. Bostik showcased the new Hydroment Vivid Cement-Based Grout. The grout is available in different colors and dries in just 4 hours, allowing for immediate foot traffic on the newly tiled space. MAPEI unveiled its new collection, Flexcolor 3D, which sports an iridescent quality, taking on the color of the tile it is surrounded by, and is available in blues, greens, metallic gold, or silver hues.

MAPEI – Flexcolor 3D

 

Dare to be Bold

 

From prints to metallic hues to bright colors, today’s tile manufacturers are not shy in terms of making a bold statement. Appomattox Tile Art’s Devereaux collection brought bold to a new level with its palm leaf print. Sure to wow, this mosaic adds a pop of color and pattern to any space. Mainzu shared Diamond, a collection of 3D wall tiles that bring together volume, texture, and color. Diamond’s lines, sharp design and plethora of colors bring dynamism to any décor.  Lea Ceramiche presented Waterfall, which represents the natural stone aspects of slate. The tiles are available in various gray scale shades with shapes that span from traditional large formats to decorative mosaics and geometric shapes allowing for patterns resembling real stone looks.

 

Touchy Feely

As a hard surface, it’s difficult to imagine tile in a range of textures, but with innovative manufacturing, several tiles presented looks that provide a tactile experience.

Sicis debuted Vetrite, which incorporates fabrics underneath glass slabs to give a soft, textured look to any space’s design. American Wonder Porcelain’s Fabric Folio Collection and Landmark Ceramic’s Soul collection both play with textile style as a contemporary interpretation of fabrics creates highlights and natural movement. For those preferring harder surface looks, Keraben Grupo introduced Elven, a collection inspired by metal sheets with an almost metallic finish. Along similar lines, Firenze (Porcelanite Lamosa) brought Oxide, which also encompasses an industrial aesthetic.  Although a porcelain tile, the digital printing technique and textures bring a rusted metal look to life.

Frienze (Porcelanite Lamosa) – Oxide

 

Retro Revival

Aparici – BONDI

This year, the tile industry saw the return of two specific retro-inspired trends: patchwork and terrazzo. Taking the popular 1970s trend and adding a spin, Ceramica Fioranese introduced the Marmorea series, which gives a visual effect of marble surfaces and pieces of terrazzo. With a more traditional approach to the terrazzo style, Inalco exhibited the Fluorite collection. With a range of sizes and colors, industry professionals can specify the trend in various ways, honing in on their own design style or the needs of their clients. Vintage patterns are also making a comeback, as Patchwork was prevalent among tile manufacturers this year. Aparici showcased BONDI, porcelain tiles that take this trend and add vintage flair to a modern space. In addition to patchwork and terrazzo, parquet inspired floors are making a return.  Crossville shared Nest, a durable tile take on traditional wooden parquet floors. The collection is available in seven different colors, allowing designers and homeowners to achieve any desired look.

Business Tip – May 2017

NC changes tax requirements on installation labor

 

Labor may now be subject to state sales tax

By Paige W. Smith, Neuse Tile Service, NTCA Region 3 Director

This is an important development in tax laws that affect contractors that is taking place in North Carolina. Important in its own right, it holds even broader importance when one considers that once a single state passes this sort of law, other states will likely consider it or follow suit. Tile contractors should check with their tax accountants about any changes or revisions to laws in their own state related to sales and use tax. Forewarned is forearmed. – Ed.

Tile installation contractors who work in North Carolina should be aware that some of their labor may now be subject to state sales tax. Previous legislative changes had only applied to installers who were also retailers, but, on Jan. 1 of this year a new state law was enacted which requires the application of sales and use tax to all “real property contracts.”

The N.C. legislature has come up with its own statutory definitions of “real property,” “real property contract,” and “capital improvement” as well as a new tax form, E-595E. Tile contractors will most likely fall under the classification of “specialty contractor.” There have been several attempts to clarify which types of work are considered repair/ replacement/ reconstruction/ vs. remodeling, but the distinctions remain open to some interpretation.

The N.C. Department of Revenue Directive issued 11/15/2016 included 15 pages of definitions and “clarifications,” and on 3/17/2017 another 12-page Notice of “Additional Information” was issued. Accountants in the state have issued differing opinions on which aspects of tile work will be taxable, and contractors will definitely want to get in touch with their own tax advisor.

The new law is very confusing as evidenced by the continued “clarifications.” I’ve been to quite a few seminars on how we should interpret the new statute, and each time the answers seem to be slightly different.

Sales tax on repair work

Generally, for any repair work or replacement of existing tile, contractors should now be charging  — and paying to the state — sales tax on the total invoice amount (both material and labor). The sales tax is based on the rate for the county where the work is done. Most installers will want to become “tax exempt” for their purchases so that some material tax will be paid in as “use tax” and some as “sales tax.” It has been explained that those who work exclusively for general contractors will usually be exempt from the new tax on labor IF the tile installer gets the general contractor to complete the “blanket use” portion of the new tax form.

Repairs or replacements in which the tile contractor is including the work of other trade specialists (i.e. a plumber & glass door company) are not so clearly delineated as to whether they are “repairs” or “capital improvements” under the legislation’s definitions. I went to a forum in which even the head of the N.C. Sales and Use Tax Division said he was still trying to figure out how to answer many of the construction industry’s questions.

For now, contractors should be sure to speak with their local tax advisor, set up a system for tracking county tax rates, and charge sales tax on their work when required. The link to the N.C. Department of Revenue’s March notice can be found at www.DORNC.com/taxes/sales/realpropertycontractors

 

Tech Talk – May 2017

New ANSI Gauged Porcelain/“Thin Tile” Standards debut at Coverings

More than four years of cross-disciplinary industry collaboration and 4,000-plus hours of research from the TCNA Laboratory Services team have culminated in the announcement at Coverings of two new standards: ANSI A137.3, the American National Standard Specifications for Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs, and its companion, ANSI A108.19, Interior Installation of Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs by the Thin-Bed Method bonded with Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar or Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar.

Currently known in industry parlance as the “thin tile” standards, the standards use the term“gauged” to cover a range of precise thicknesses that can carry different loads and be used in different ways, taking a similar approach to standardized wire gauges and gauged sheet metal. Two classes of gauged tile products are defined—those for wall applications from 3.5 to 4.9 mm and for floor and wall applications from 5.0 to 6.5 mm.

ANSI A137.3 standardizes the minimum required properties for the products themselves and ANSI A108.19 standardizes the methodologies for installing the products in interior installations by the thin-bed method with specific mortars.

These standards, developed for the benefit of all tile consumers, are the result of a multi-year consensus process of the ANSI Accredited A108 Standards Committee, which maintains a broad and diverse group of participants reflecting stakeholder interests in all aspects of the tile industry.

“Interest in gauged tiles has been growing exponentially the last few years,” says Eric Astrachan, executive director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA), which serves as secretariat of the committee. “Such growth encourages more products to enter the marketplace, but without standards tile consumers would have no way to know what to expect in terms of performance.

Installers especially were asking for standards to allow for installation practices to be developed based on consistent tile properties. Without such, it was feared that problems resulting from an undefined range of products could have hindered growth of this exciting market segment. We are very pleased to announce these standards today and congratulate and thank the many across our industry that worked for years on their development. We hope these standards, the first of their kind in the world, will help lead the way forward to international gauged tile standards.”

A free download of a preview copy is available from TCNA at www.tileusa.com, and a professional publication of both standards will be available for purchase from TCNA in July.

Qualified Labor – May 2017

The Tile Shop, Rubi Tools team up for CTI tests in Lombard, Ill.

Both companies provide perks, benefits to CTI candidates

By Terryn Rutford, Social Structure Marketing

In seven years, the number of Certified Tile Installers has grown from zero to over 1,308. With the establishment of Kevin Insalato as the Regional Evaluator coordinator and a team of 16 Regional Evaluators, the potential to certify many quality installers and elevate the quality of tilework around the country is growing.

Industry sponsors have kept the program going, providing locations for testing, materials, and catered meals and  snacks for CTI candidates. Back in March, The Tile Shop and Rubi Tools teamed up for one of many Certified Tile Installation (CTI) tests at The Tile Shop in Lombard, Ill.

Both companies are providing some great benefits to all CTI candidates. When you register with the Ceramic  Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) to take the CTI test and request to take the test at a Tile Shop location, registration will only cost $200. Once the CTI candidate passes the written test, the hands-on test will be scheduled at a Tile Shop location; if that is successfully passed,  The Tile Shop will pay the balance of the CTI test registration. The program is available nationwide.

Rubi Tools is also providing a bonus to all CTI candidates. Along with a trowel and spacers, Rubi will provide its new Rubi rubber bucket, which is designed to allow installers to hammer out dried mortar or grout without damaging the bucket. The bucket should not only save time, but money as well. In addition to the tool kit, Rubi will also be offering a $50.00 coupon as part of the CTI vouchers provided to every CTI candidate who successfully passes the test.

The CTI test in March was a success thanks to the Tile Shop regional sales manager, Dacy Corlee, and Rafael Rodriguez of Rubi Tools. The CTI candidates at this event were Nicholas Roth from All about Tile in Adrian, Mich., John Martin from John Martin Tile in Decatur, Ill., Greg Twarog from Surfaces 15 in Downers Grove, Ill., Omar Delacruz from Omar’s Custom Flooring in Chicago, Ill., Jamiel Sabir from California Flooring in Manteno, Ill., and Joe Voss from Voss Home in Frankfort, Ill.

For more information about taking the Certified Tile Installer exam, visit www.ceramictilefoundation.org/tile-certification-overview-ctef.

 

 

(l to r) Nicholas Roth, The Tile Shop regional salesmanager; Dacy Corlee, John Martin, Greg Twarog, Omar Delacruz, Jamiel Sabir, Joe Voss, and Regional Evaluator Rafael Lopez.

 

Rubi Tools provides a bonus to all CTI candidates. Along with a trowel and spacers, Rubi provides its new Rubi rubber bucket, which is designed to allow installers to hammer out dried mortar or grout without damaging the bucket, and a $50 coupon as part of the CTI vouchers for those who successfully pass the CTI exam

When CTI candidates request to take a CTI test at a Tile Shop location, registration will be only $200.Once the candidate successfully passes the exam, The Tile Shop will pay the balance of the CTI test registration.  The program is available nationwide

 

Large Format Tile

Addressing challenges with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles, through the NTCA Reference Manual

The NTCA Reference Manual is an important industry document that approaches challenges in the field from a problem/cause/cure format. It is free with NTCA membership or can be purchased at the NTCA store at www.tile-assn.com. The comprehensive culmination of knowledge, research, development and publication of the efforts of the NTCA Technical Committee addresses many problems that arise in the field, how to prevent them or address them when they occur.

Today we look at the chapter on Large Porcelain and Glass Bondied Tiles, appearing in Chapter 6, page 124 in the 2016-2017 version.

Problem

Loss of bond between bond coat and large porcelain tiles or tiles containing high percentage of glass in the body. Tiles may come off mortar bond coat clean,even with full coverage on backs of tiles.

Cause

Any of the following may prevent problems with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles.

  • Inadequate contact between mortar bond coat and backs of tiles which may be caused by improper beat-in and using inadequate amounts of mortar, or worn or improper trowels.
  • Use of pure cement bond coat over plastic mortar beds.
  • Use of dry-set mortar without latex additives.
  • Presence of excessive white powder (manufacturer’srelease agent) on back of tile.
  • Bending or deflection of substrates.
  • Differential expansion between tile and setting material.
  • Working on or too early traffic on newly laid tile floors.
  • Shrinkage or setting of substrates due to changes of moisture in structure or movements in the structure after construction is complete.
  • Improperly engineered structure for the installation put into place.

Cure

Any of the following may be a cure to problems with large porcelain and glass-bodied tiles.

  • To secure good contact between tiles and ribs of latex-Portland cement mortar, tiles must be pushed and slid into the mortar using NTCA recommendations for bedding tiles. Backbuttering tiles with a thin, flat coat of latex-Portland cement mortar helps develop a better bond to the tile.
  • On large format tile, a box screed has proven to be an excellent means of controlling the amount of mortar applied to the back side of large tiles. Latex-Portland cement mortar applied to the substrate should be troweled out evenly in one direction – not swirled – with notched trowels. Ribbed mortar on only one surface helps reduce voids and air pockets. This method also produces a smoother, more even surface than conventional backbuttering, which often leaves tiles with excessive lippage.
  • Successful installations of large porcelain and glass bodied tiles require the use of a manufacturer’s recommended latex-Portland cement mortar which meets or exceeds ANSI specifications. Use latex-Portland cement mortars that are more flexible, in addition to having superior bonding capability. Latex-Portland cement mortars bond large porcelain tiles and tiles containing glass in the body, better than more conventional mortars. Mortar fl exibility helps bridge stresses created between substrates and large, unforgiving tiles, reducing possibility of tiles shearing off. Check with manufacturer for exact products recommended.
  • Press or slide tiles into position using NTCA recommendations for bedding tiles. Check to see that uniform contact is being achieved at corners, edges, and the back of the tiles by pulling tile up for examination. Beating-in only of larger tiles generally is not effective. Average contact area shall not be less than 80% except on exterior or wet area installations (see TCNA Handbook for wet area definition) where contact area shall be 95% when not less than three tiles or tile assemblies are removed for inspection.
  • Check tiles for presence of excessive white powder (manufacturer’s release agent) on back of tile. If necessary, brush or remove white powder before attempting to bond tile.
  • Porcelain tiles have extremely low water absorption rates. As a result, the setting time of many latex-Portland cement mortars may be extended. Therefore, working on or exposing the installation to traffic prior to a good bond forming may result in poor performance of the completed job.
  • Proceed with caution when installing large porcelain tiles over substrates subject to bending or deflection. When installing materials with special or unique properties, the code minimum may not be sufficient to provide satisfactory performance. Each project presents its own conditions; consult with owner or builder to determine if any modifications to the structure can be done prior to the installation when you suspect problems or have concerns.
  • Web floor trusses and engineered I-joists are used in ways which weren’t possible with traditionally sawn lumber. Be aware of the conditions you face prior to installation so adjustments can be made if necessary. See NTCA’s document on Installations over Engineered Wood Products for additional information.
  • Require architect or construction manager to locate movement joints in tile work as recommended in the TCNA Handbook. Design, locations, spacing, and actual installation must conform with requirements in the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards. Movement joint recommendations apply to residential construction as well as commercial and industrial construction.
  • When faced with installation of large porcelain tiles or tiles with glass in the body, insist on using latex-modified Portland cement mortars when they are not specified. Also, require mortar manufacturers to furnish test results showing bonding and flexural capabilities of mortars and bondability of tiles from tile manufacturers.

 

Images:

 

FEELWOOD, from Ege Seramic is a satin-finished, glazed porcelain with a look of naturally aged and weathered wood. Vintage wood-look 8” x 48” plank tiles are available in three colors (white, grey and brown) floors and/or walls in residential and commercial settings. www.egeseramik.com 

 

Fiandre recently introduced the U.S.-made West Loop, named for the emerging Chicago neighborhood and resembling textured industrial concrete. It features high color variance including 35 shading patterns, with metal undertones. In four colors in 24” x 48”, 24” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 8” x 48”, 12” x 12” mosaic and 4” x 12” diamond.www.granitifiandre.com

 

PreciousHDP from Florida Tile authentically captures the essence and beauty of Calacatta marble, including the stone’s intense and random grey and brown veins that stand out from a crystalline white background, endowing it with a depth and movement that enlivens spaces. Rectified, porcelain floor tiles in a natural finish are available in 12” x 24”, 24” x 24” and 18” x 36”, with rectified ceramic wall tiles in a polished finish, two mosaic offerings, a ceramic wall deco and full package of trims. PreciousHDP is made in the USA of 40% pre-consumer recycled content, is GREENGUARD® and Porcelain Tile certified. www.floridatile.com

Crossville has created a sophisticated, clean concrete look in the porcelain stone Notorious, in the same six colors as the wood-grained plank Nest. Modular sizes include 3” x 15”, 12” x 12”, 12” x 12” mosaic parquet, 12” x 24”, in unpolished and 24” x 24” and 24” x 36” in unpolished/honed. The package includes cove base and bullnose, perfect for healthcare and restaurant applications. Notorious is made in the USA with recycled content and is Green Squared Certified®. www.crossvilleinc.com

Ask the Experts – May 2017

Several questions have been directed lately to our technical team concerning installing tile in elevators. Here are several responses:

QUESTION

I’m interested in installing tile on an elevator floor. Are there industry guidelines or standards for doing so? I have 3/4” of available depth to work with between the bottom of the elevator door and the floor.

ANSWER

There is no method for installation of tile on an elevator floor in our industry guidelines.

The elevator cabs chosen for some construction projects are not designed for tile or stone floor finishes. The manufacturer of these elevator cabs will list acceptable floor finishes, which usually only include soft goods such as vinyl, carpet, and wood products.

In order to be considered for tile or stone, the substructure should be constructed in such a way as to not to deflect or “bend” more than a small amount under a concentrated heavy load. There are elevator cabs that are designed to meet these minimum requirements but they are usually much more expensive so they are not chosen in most construction budgets.

As for installing tile in the most common elevator cabs that are not designed for it, it is risky and not recommended.

There are products available that may reduce the risk of cracking tile and grout joints such as epoxies, but the warranties come strictly from the manufacturers.  – Robb Roderick, NTCA technical trainer/presenter 

We are not aware of any documents or standards but can offer you some cautionary advice. 

The majority of elevator floors are designed to carry a specific number of passengers or maximum weight load.  This design criterion focuses solely on how many people the car will carry rather than the stiffness or rigidity of the steel floor.  A flexing floor is not a good environment for a tile installation.  The fact that the architect is specifying a plywood underlayment may help, but unless the architect is willing to guarantee that this floor structure design will meet a MINIMUM of l/360, the risk for success will rest with you.

Some contractors have had success in getting approval from manufacturers to use their epoxies to install tile in elevators. Make sure you get their warranty and recommendation in writing.

You mentioned you had 3/4” of available depth.  When completed, the elevator floor must meet ADA guidelines.  This means that the finished floor must be flush with the adjacent sill or not exceed the maximum rise allowed within ADA regulations.  Most times the addition of the plywood would exceed  that allowance and be non-compliant.– NTCA technical trainers Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick, with CTEF’s Scott Carothers

Qualified Labor: The Benefits of Certification

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program run by the Certified Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) encourages installers to test their skills against industry standards. It offers industry members the chance to establish their place among the best and brightest installers. During Total Solutions Plus in Palm Desert last October, Becky Serbin interviewed several NTCA members about the benefits of certification.

Sullivan

“It really is a way for me to categorize my installers as well as let them know where they stand,” said Dirk Sullivan, NTCA state ambassador for Oregon and owner of Hawthorne Tile, and State Ambassador. “It helps them want to move forward in the industry and to know what they have to do to get there.” The CTI program leads to bet- ter installations and increased wages across the industry.

Brookes

Martin Brookes, with Heritage Marble and Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., and NTCA 2nd vice president, said, “We’ve had great Brookes success using the program to elevate workmanship, to elevate the confidence of our guys to do higher-end installations, and higher commitment to the standard of quality of work. It’s been really advantageous to Heritage Marble and Tile.”

Denny

As the industry rises in reputation and reliability, its members benefit. “The CTI program allows me to offer something to my customers that not Denny everyone else can,” said Brad Denny, NTCA regional director and State Ambassador, and project manager at Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc., Joelton, Tenn.

 

Albrecht

In addition to being a benefit to the installer, the CTI program is a boon to the installation company. “We’ve been located by people across the country using the database through the CTEF and NTCA websites,” said Erin Albrecht, chief operations officer of J&R Tile in San Antonio, Texas. And every year the construction industry is recognizing certi cation as more important.

Woelfel

Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. saw a huge financial benefit after
receiving a request for certified installers. “Five years ago
we had an owner call us and say, we’re looking for CTEF-certified installers and we can’t find anyone who knows what they’re doing,” said James Woelfel, Artcraft vice president and NTCA chairman of the board. “It generated at least a billion dollars worth of work over the last six years,” he said.

Overall, certification raises the industry standard and encourages
quality installation.

Fox

“I think what we have seen is a different culture of professionalism in the trade,” said Kevin Fox, president and owner of Fox Ceramic Tile, Inc., in St. Marys, Kan., and chairman of the NTCA Methods and Standards Committee. “It took us a while to get a buy-in on it. We have a lot of installers that have been doing [installation] for 20 to 30 years, so it took me a while to convince them to validate their skills. We need those skills validated as a company as we’re talk- ing to general contractors, especially those who aren’t familiar with us. And we also need it validated for even repeat custom- ers that are looking for clients that will provide a consistent product.”

Howard

The tile industry toward certification as a standard. Martin Howard of David Allen Company in Raleigh, N.C., and current NTCA president, observed, “It really does set you apart from your competitors and it also validates your skill and it validates the knowledge that you have and the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are.” The more installers who are certified the better off the industry is as a whole.

Hohn

Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., in St. Paul, Minn., said, “It was a selling point I could talk to general contractors about, to architects, and designers to let Hohn them know we had passed a national test and it said we were qualified to install tile.” As more contractors, architects, and designers recognize certification as evidence of quality installers, certification will become ever more important to the industry and its members.

For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/certified-tile-installer-cti-program.

NTCA RECOGNIZES FIVE STAR CONTRACTOR PROJECTS OF THE YEAR AT COVERINGS

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recognized industry leaders at its fifth annual awards ceremony during Coverings 2017 in Orlando. Among the awards presented were the Five Star Contractor Grand Prize awards for both commercial and residential tile installation projects.

Submissions were judged based on project size, challenges involved, resolution of challenges, design and overall presentation. “When we are reviewing all the amazing submissions I feel immense pride in the proficiency in which our Five Star Contractors achieve. These projects are not only technically complex but artistically beautiful as well,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox.

“The Ratner Residence”

Heritage Marble and Tile of Mill Valley, California received the Five-Star Grand Prize for residential tile installation. The firm was tasked with the Ratner Residence, a project consisting of handmade glass made by Fireclay Tile of San Jose. The project was challenging in the fact that the install involved a curved wall, soaking tub and an integrated shower stall with a curbless application. With oversight from the homeowner, a qualified crew of CTI and ACT certified installers exceeded expectations.

 

US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings

The Five-Star Grand Prize for commercial tile installation was presented to Grazzini Brothers & Company of Eagan, Minnesota for the completion of their project, the 1.75 million square foot U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The installation incorporated 56 different types and sizes of tile, from the marble stairs, to the glass walls and porcelain plank flooring. Having multiple architects on a project this size gave crews the opportunity to showcase their skills from layout to install of different ideas and design under one roof.

Both Five Star winners were awarded $2,500 in prize money, sponsored by Daltile Corporation.

Tips for Successful Floor & Wall Tile Installation With No Lippage

Many contractors contact NTCA technical advisers regarding acceptable tolerances for floor tile installations, but our trainers also tell us that with the increased use of large format tile being specified for walls, it is becoming increasingly challenging for tile contractors to successfully install these products without lippage. Contractors should be aware that the tolerances for both floors and walls are the same, and that this issue should be addressed before installing the tile.  Many applications in dry areas are to be installed directly over gypsum board or drywall, and there is little opportunity with the adhesive to make up for imperfections in the surface. Lighting can also wreak havoc on a tile installation on a wall, making the edges appear to be even more uneven and imperfect. Industry tolerances for both floor and wall tile applications state that the substrate should have a maximum variation of /14” in 10’ from the required plane, nor more than 1/16” in 12” when measured from the high points in the surface.  If a builder wants a tile installation to be flush with no or minimal lippage, they need to make sure the framing and drywall contractors are delivering a surface that meets tile industry tolerances.  If the tile contractor doesn’t check for this, and accepts the substrate as is, they run the risk of having a serious issue take place that can cost everyone money and time.  

For more information on this subject, you can order the TCNA Handbook or ANSI A108 Book for tile installation on the NTCA website at www.tile-assn.com

Tech Tip: Ask NTCA Technical Trainer Robb Roderick

Q: Are there any standards or situations where it is acceptable to install ceramic tile over gypsum wall board and not a tile backerboard?   

A: There are two methods in the Tile Council of North America handbook for installation of tile over gypsum board. Method  W242 which employs organic adhesive for a setting material. And Method W243 which employs the use of thinset mortars that meet ANSI 118.1 or 118.4 or better.

In W242 (organic adhesive method) in the section preparation by other trades it states ” The maximum allowable variation in the tile substrate is 1/16 of an inch in 3′ with no abrupt irregularities greater than 1/32″. Both methods specify the gypsum board is to be installed according to GA216.  ” Treated with tape and joint compound with bedding tape only( no finish coat) Nail heads, receive only one coat.

In Method W243 (thinset method) it states ” Maximum allowable variation in tile substrate for tile with edges shorter than 15″ the maximum allowable variations is 1/4″ in 10′ from required plane with no more than 1/16″ variations in 12″ when measured from the high point of the surface. For tiles with at least one edge 15″ in length, maximum allowable variation is 1/8″ in 10′ from the required plane, with no more than 1/16″ variation in 24″.

So there are many standards depending on the type of tile and adhesive you are using.

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