Dave and Buster’s – Indianapolis

McCammack serves up tasty tile installation to new eatery/arcade

Fun, food, games…and porcelain tile, expertly installed: that’s the winning combination at Dave and Buster’s (D&B) in Indianapolis.

This popular restaurant/adult entertainment establishment, which in 2012 was reported to have 59 locations in the U.S. and one in Canada, combines a bar, restaurant and adult arcade for fun, parties, meetings and more. The $2,500,000 project completed in 2009 near the freeway on Castleton Corner in Indianapolis extends the company mission of offering “an unparalleled guest experience through the best combination of food, drinks and games in an ideal environment for celebrating all out fun.”

McCammack Tile (www.mccammacktile.com), also of Indianapolis, made it their mission to offer an unparalleled installation of porcelain tile and glass to enhance the adult entertainment theme and provide top durability, ease of maintenance and unique appearance. The $220,000 tile project took three weeks of running double-shift crews, six days a week to complete.

Early on, the project ran into a snafu when the specified products proved to be unavailable due to stepped-back tile production resulting from the recession. McCammack Tile collaborated with the design team, contractor and owner to manage substitutions while not compromising the original design. After four design changes, the tile installation was ready to begin with Crossville Color Blox porcelain tile in 9”x12”, 12”x12” and 18”x18” formats and Daltile Era Color BodyTM porcelain tile in 18”x18” formats.

McCammack Tile, a NTCA Five Star Contractor, characteristically makes it their business to not only create a space that looks great, but to also maintain quality control throughout the project for smooth execution, and D&B (www.daveandbusters.com) was no exception. McCammack tackled installation of porcelain in large work areas, creating sweeping curves and interesting patterns, while providing a neat and clean installation around dividing walls and building structure. Because the design changes put a crunch on the time for actual installation, the large curves and arcs within the floor pattern were cut and executed onsite by the installers. The original design – which included water jet cutting – was replaced with over 1,000 linear feet cut onsite.

McCammack installed Schlüter Ditra on the women’s and men’s restroom floors and walls, with matching Rondec PVC finishing and edge-protecting profiles at the outside corners.

McCammack combined porcelain tile with beautiful 2”x2” Glass Reflection Blends from Daltile in certain areas, adding a level of sophistication to the adult enjoyment environment.

LATICRETE Blue 92 crack isolation membrane and Hydro Ban waterproofing/crack isolation membrane, SpectraLOCK PRO grout and LATICRETE caulking were also used in the installation. Products were supplied from LATICRETE, Louisville Tile, Daltile, and Architectural Brick & Tile.

The installation resulted in a tasty tile treatment that is fun and games to maintain – truly a snap. McCammack Tile helped Dave and Buster’s provide a dynamic new restaurant/entertainment concept for fun-loving adults in the Indianapolis area. 


Green Tip – July 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria of Green SquaredSM/
ANSI A138.1

Section V: Innovation

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

The ANSI A138.1 standard for sustainable tiles and tile installation materials establishes criteria for products throughout their full life cycle. Over the past several months, we’ve reviewed the first four sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the fifth and final section, Innovation.

Key in the development of sustainable products and operations are progressive thinking, technological advancement, and outstanding achievement beyond that which is required. ANSI A138.1 allows the opportunity for products to achieve conformance, in part, through their innovative achievements. This may involve exceptional performance above the requirements set forth in other sections of the standard and/or innovative performance in categories not specifically addressed by the standard.

A product may earn up to two elective credits through exceptional conformance if quantitative criteria already addressed by the standard are greatly exceeded. Usually, the magnitude to which these criteria must be exceeded is defined as one and a half times the most stringent threshold already established. Otherwise, specific requirements for exceptional conformance are defined in the standard’s appendix.

Another elective credit may be earned if a product possesses an ecological attribute not addressed by the standard, is manufactured in a facility with ecological processes not addressed by the standard, or belongs to an organization with an innovative corporate governance strategy not addressed by the standard. An ever-evolving list of approved innovations is managed by the ANSI A108 Committee which has jurisdiction over ANSI A138.1. Innovations not included in this list can be added if they are submitted to and approved by the Committee.

A fourth and final innovation elective credit may be earned upon the calculation of carbon footprint and the development of a greenhouse gas reduction strategy for a product or its manufacturing organization.

This concludes our overview of the technical criteria in ANSI A138.1. In future months, we will dive deeper into the standard’s product conformance scheme and Green Squared® certification requirements.

Business Tip – July 2012

Go ahead, Tweet it: seven ways to capitalize on the social power of your satisfied (and not-so-satisfied) customers

Ron Kaufman, author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet (Evolve Publishing, 2012, ISBN: 978-09847625-5-2, www.UpliftingService.com) offers seven tips to take advantage of the rich network of fans, friends and followers on social media to spread your message and gather information to make you better at what you do. Read the highlights here and visit www.tileletter.com for the whole story. — Lesley Goddin 

We love telling people about our latest experiences, and we love hearing about what others have experienced. But author Ron Kaufman says many companies are missing out on tapping the social power of their satisfied customers.

“Companies should be saying to their customers, ‘If you did not enjoy our service, please tell us. If you did enjoy our service, please tell someone else,’” Kaufman said. “Tell happy customers to be social about their great experiences and encourage unhappy customers to come to you via social media so that you can make it right and improve your overall service.”

Kaufman notes that a lot of customer service is already being done online, customer to customer, through comments on articles, user forums and message boards.  Companies that embrace this behavior can improve their service and save on costs.

Kaufman said customers will “go out of their way to help a fellow customer find a solution, but for companies to do that back-end customer service there would be a cost. By engaging your customers to help each other, you can defray your costs, improve your customer satisfaction, and stimulate a loyal community by encouraging people in your online social space.”

How do you keep your customers spreading great things about your company while bringing their complaints only to you? Read on for Kaufman’s advice.

Make it easy for them to go social. Provide links in post-service surveys where people can share experiences and encourage them to do so. Kaufman’s website, www.UpYourService.com, offers a Spread the Word section that makes it easy for people to share their experiences.

Say thank you. Show a little love for the love your customers show you. Try a message of gratitude that says, “Thank you so much for spreading the word. As one of our happy customers, when you tell other people about us, it helps us grow and serve you better.” Don’t incentivize this behavior; it tarnishes the genuineness of the comment.

Invite them to reach out. Create a ‘Thanks for Being Social’ promotional piece that includes the company’s Twitter handles, Facebook pages, Yelp and TripAdvisor pages, helpful Twitter hashtags, etc., with a line that reads, ‘If you enjoy our service, please let the world know.’ Leave it with the customer after a job, or post it beside the cash register.

Ask how you can improve. Welcome good and bad instant feedback via social media. “Hear them out, provide them with great service, and then THANK them for sharing their experience with others via Twitter, Facebook…” Kaufman said.

Encourage them to recognize great one-on-one service. United Airlines’ “Outperform Recognition Program” encourages MileagePlus members to enter an exemplary employee’s name via a mobile app; both member and employee can win prizes in a random drawing. “Social programs like these boost employee morale, get customers focused on what employees are doing right, give employees another ‘measurable’ feedback for giving great service, and create a lot more ‘social input’ from customers to the company,” said Kaufman. Compliments received during this process can also be used in publicity campaigns.

Funnel customer questions through social media – then share the best answers. Ask customers to post questions on your Facebook wall, and answer them there for everyone to see. This shares useful information with other customers and enables your company to gather information.

Make talking about your brand irresistible. Provide service so great that customers simply can’t resist telling people about it. In a blog post on The Huffington Post, Chris Hurn, CEO of Mercantile Capital Corporation, shared how the Ritz-Carlton staff went above and beyond after his family accidentally left his young son’s favorite stuffed animal behind after a recent stay. The staff found and safely returned the stuffed animal and took pictures of its extended stay to show Mr. Hurn’s son what a great time his stuffed-animal friend had while staying a bit longer at the hotel.

“That blog post was seen by a portion of The Huffington Post’s 26 million monthly readers and was then tweeted, retweeted, and posted by many on Facebook,” Kaufman said. “Taking photos of a stuffed animal in funny situations didn’t cost Ritz-Carlton a penny, but it delivered social value in a huge way!”

“Your customers’ voices are vital to your organization,” Kaufman concluded. “Social media provides an incredible opportunity to engage those voices, to turn one customer’s great experience into an advertisement that attracts new customers and gets current customers thinking positively about you. It’s an incredibly advantageous way to address customer concerns and improve your company’s service culture in real time.”

Ron Kaufman is a premiere thought leader, educator, and motivator for uplifting customer service and building service cultures in many of the world’s largest and most respected organizations. Find out more about Ron at www.UpliftingService.com. 

Ask the Experts – July 2012


I’m looking for a technical answer to my question as soon as possible. Please tell me the standard procedure for installing tile in an elevator. Are technical advisories available?


This is a commonly-asked question due to potential risk involved when installing tile in elevator floors.

The most important step prior to the tile installation is to determine if the elevator cab was designed to accommodate tile as a finish floor material – most often they are not designed for floor finishes that include tile or stone but are designed for other finishes such as carpet or vinyl. This is due to the extra expense required to stiffen up the substructure to make it strong enough not to deflect or bend excessively under maximum load capacity. This added expense can be between $5,000 to over $10,000 and is usually why the design professional is often forced to choose the less-expensive alternative.

The tile contractor should consult the general contractor, architect, or the design professional responsible for the elevator cab to find out whether or not tile is listed as an accepted floor finish product. Many tile contractors have installed tile or stone in elevators that were not designed for such and found themselves trying to repair broken tiles and cracked grout joints, only to have an ongoing issue due to excessive substrate deflection.

If the elevator cab floor has been properly designed and has tile or natural stone listed as an acceptable finish, there are several commonly used methods available such as: direct bond the tile to the elevator cab floor using epoxies; using a scrim-faced, crack-isolation membrane bonded to the substructure with a primer material or a highly modified tile-setting thin-set material; or 2.5 galvanized wire lath with stainless steel mechanical fasteners/screws then skim-coated with highly-modified thinset and direct-bonded to the wire lath.

None of the methods are found in the ANSI or in the TCNA Handbook. As always, follow the product manufacturer’s directions for the products chosen. Complete warranted systems are available from several setting-material and crack-isolation membrane manufacturers.

– Gerald Sloan, NTCA presenter and trainer 

Epoxy grout + enzymatic no-rinse cleaners = grout disaster

By Kevin Fox, Fox Ceramic Tile Inc., a NTCA Five Star Contractor

Several years ago my MAPEI sales representative, Dennis Sandell, made me aware of a grout-failure phenomenon that was studied for a restaurant chain in Texas. At the time it seemed interesting but I really never thought much about it until I got a call from a restaurant manager. It seems that his kitchen grout was significantly degraded, and there were many areas in which the grout was virtually gone. This concerned me, since my company installed this floor just a few years ago, and it was grouted with a 100% solids epoxy grout. Luckily I did remember the conversation with Dennis.

The study involved the extreme rapid degeneration of epoxy grout. The results of the study concluded a new type of cleaning chemical using enzymatic cleaners (also known as “no-rinse” cleaners) was used. These cleaners have become very popular in commercial kitchens.

Since this initial call I have been consulted on several other kitchen grout failures. Now, the first thing I do is find out what they have been cleaning with, and without any exceptions, they have all used no-rinse cleaners. Yet often before I can tell the operators the source of the problem, they strongly assert their belief that the original tile-installation company must have performed their work incorrectly. Many times the operators required them to come back and regrout, only to have the same failure occur.

Unfortunately for these tile-setting companies, their name is dragged down due to a failure not under their control. I remembered a friendly conversation I had with a competitor. He told me his company recently regrouted a very large kitchen where grout had failed under his one-year contractual warranty. The original grout was a 100% solids epoxy, and the regrout was again with the same 100% solids epoxy grout. He was very troubled to learn the regrout was also failing. After I informed him about the destructive nature of no-rinse cleaners, he was relieved that the failure was not a result of improper workmanship or faulty grout. It was clear that he wished knew about this information many thousands of dollars ago.

The problem with enzymatic cleaners

The problem with these cleaners and 100% solids epoxy grouts is this: although harmless to the epoxy grout alone, these enzymatic cleaners accelerate the breakdown of products such as sugars, fats and proteins, which commonly appear on commercial kitchen floors.

To break down these products, the cleaner is left on the floor overnight (thus the name “no rinse”). The byproduct of the breakdown of the fats (grease) is acidic, and cumulative. After days, weeks and months of cleaner use, a highly acidic solution develops that rapidly deteriorates grouts.

Since the above-mentioned study, several manufacturers have developed an epoxy grout that can be subjected to these cleaners. We have had great success at regrouting failed original installations using these epoxies. These 100%  solids epoxies are listed to comply with ANSI 118.5.

A word of caution: use of these 100% solids epoxies is still limited. When used with newly-developed accelerated enzymatic cleaners, to my knowledge, no grout manufacturer will offer a warranty on their 100% solids epoxy products – even the new ones that meet the ANSI 118.5 standards.

With new installations, my company has taken the approach to educate the end user. If these no-rinse cleaners are used, the only grout which can be used is the above 100% solids epoxy grout meeting ANSI 118.5. We educate the end user about the lack of manufacturer warranty on these ANSI 118.5 grouts if they are using an accelerated enzymatic no-rinse cleaner. These ANSI 118.5 grouts are more expensive than other epoxy grouts and typically are more difficult to use. Yet if traditional cleaners are used, many other grouts can be used successfully. We always give the advice under consultation of a trusted grout manufacturer representative.

For more information, contact Kevin Fox at [email protected]

Green Tip – June 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria of Green SquaredSM/
ANSI A138.1

Section IV: Progressive Corporate Governance

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

Establishing sustainability criteria for products throughout their full life cycle, ANSI A138.1 is divided into five sections. Throughout the past several months, we’ve reviewed several different sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the fourth section, Progressive Corporate Governance.

Mandatory for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer shall have a written and implemented social responsibility strategy which addresses at least the following:  labor law compliance, forced labor prohibitions, child labor prohibitions, environmental regulation compliance, health and safety regulation compliance, and community involvement.

To obtain an elective credit, the manufacturer may choose to participate in a voluntary safety program such as OSHA Safety Consultation, Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), or OHSAS 18001.

It is mandatory that all green marketing claims made by manufacturers be in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fair packaging and labeling act Green Guides (publicly available) which indicate how the FTC applies Section 5 of the FTC Act, prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in environmental claims.

As an elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may choose to regularly engage in its community, building upon the community involvement plan established in its mandatory social responsibility strategy.

Also elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may publicly disclose on an annual basis one of the following: utility consumption, registered Environmental Management System (EMS) data, or Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data.

Another elective credit is available if a manufacturer provides a detailed sustainability report each year, conforms to the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), or is selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

If a manufacturer has at least one facility with LEED® or Green Globes certification an elective credit is also available.

Finally, manufacturers are required to have an assurance program for current and continued conformance to ANSI A138.1/Green Squared for all pertinent products.

Next month, we will review the criteria of the fifth and final section of ANSI A138.1, Innovation.

Business Tip – June 2012

Are you a “vendor” or a “craftsman?”

By Steve Rausch, USG Corporation

How do you run your business, as a vendor providing tile and stone work, or as a craftsman creating beauty? There is a HUGE difference in compensation and the methods of doing business with your customers.

A vendor is someone who exists just to sell stuff. Nothing else matters except delivering the goods (may include installation) and getting paid. You can expect (negotiate) the low price, sign a contract, and get what you ordered. You can also spend many hours discussing the details of the terms and conditions, etc.

What happens with a craftsman is far different in many aspects. One element of doing business with a craftsman is that the price issue (or low bid) loses its luster. People seek out craftsmen for their skills and talents to create a beautiful statement with their efforts on the customer’s behalf. Price absolutely becomes a secondary by-product of most of those discussions. Time also changes; you don’t rush art by deadlines of time but rather by finishing the look or feel desired.

As we watch our industry still losing businesses to the poor economy, it becomes even more apparent that craftsmen will survive while vendors have a large chance of being pushed from the scene. Just look back over the past two or three years and recall how many businesses have already left the scene. Those companies that ran large crews to do anything and everything quickly and cheaply are mostly gone today; they were the worst offenders in this downward spiral of moving toward the bottom price. Without profit you just cannot stay in business and the very success that drove them to the top of the vendor pile was what did them in.

I ask you to stop today, take time out from “doing” your business, and study your business to see where you are on this scale of vendor versus craftsman. If most of your work is still “low bid”-driven, then you are on the vendor side. If, however, you have chosen to position yourself and your company as a craftsman firm, then you will, I’m confident, be around a long time in this business.

Steve Rausch represents the Substrates and Specialty Products Division of USG Corporation out of Alpharetta, Ga. He’s also the author of the Rausch Ravings blog about business and non-business related topics. Contact him at [email protected] or visit the blog at http://rauschravings.blogspot.com/

Ask the Experts – June 2012


I am a new member of the NTCA and I have an upcoming small project that I need help with.

I do mostly interior residential remodeling. Tile is probably 60% of my projects. I have a client with a concrete porch he would like tiled. The problem is the broom finish has been sealed with an “oil-based” sealer he purchased and applied himself from Lowe’s. As the broom finish is quite deep I don’t think it could be ground down. I can’t find anything in my TCNA Handbook that addresses this.


This is a good question. Many contractors fail to determine that a substrate has been sealed and end up with problems down the road. Both TCNA Handbook methods and ANSI require that a substrate be free of contaminants, curing compounds and sealers. Exterior tilework, which requires the highest performance level of any type of tile installation, requires the best bond, as well as 95% mortar coverage and appropriate movement accommodation. Any sealer on a substrate will act as a de-bonding agent, and give less-than-optimum bonding ability.

You may want to call the technical department of the mortar manufacturer that you want to use and ask them, but I believe they will give you the same answer that is in the TCNA Handbook and ANSI, that you must mechanically scarify the concrete (grind or shotblast) until the contaminant is removed and you have a clean surface to install tile over. Any other method is risking a potential failure.

On your concern that the broom finish is too deep to grind, there are some very aggressive grinders with vacuum attachments available that can cut quickly and in a dust-free fashion.

– Michael Whistler, NTCA Tile & Stone Symposium presenter and trainer

CASE STUDY – Tile Labyrinth

Tile labyrinth provides interaction and learning at historic L.A. school

Black basalt stone, installed with custom-designed French encaustic tiles, provide canvas for schoolchildren’s expression

In 2006, the Ambassador Hotel – site of both the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub and the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy – was razed to make room for a new set of six pilot schools to be known as the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.  The namesake schools now feature a marble memorial depicting the late Senator Kennedy, a manicured public park, and a state-of-the-art swimming pool, and include the Ambassador School of Global Education, Ambassador School of Global Leadership, NOW Academy, UCLA-CS, School for the Visual Arts and Humanities and Los Angeles High School of the Arts.

The schools, which occupy 24 acres, are intended to serve the Pico-Union and Koreatown neighborhoods, with a robust and personalized program that embodies the social justice legacy of the late Senator Kennedy. Four thousand students in grades kindergarten through 12 will be served in this 2011-2012 school year.

Artist Lynn Goodpasture (www.LynnGoodpasture.com) was commissioned by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)  to develop an original public artwork for the new schools. She designed the 690 square-foot hexagonal labyrinth as a remembrance of the landmark hotel. The labyrinth, is titled Keeley’s Garden, Labyrinth 1, after Goodpasture’s daughter, who grew up in and around her mom’s studio. The labyrinth is paved with custom-designed French encaustic tiles, derived from the classic decorative motifs found throughout the Ambassador.

The labyrinth is a symbolic archetype that has fascinated people for thousands of years. Petroglyphs and artifacts inscribed with labyrinths that were discovered in Egypt, Greece, and Europe are thought to date from the late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.

Keeley’s Garden, Labyrinth 1 was conceived to provide children with opportunities to express creativity, be contemplative, and have fun.  It also provides educators with a unique instructional tool that integrates art with education. Eleven large slabs of black basalt stone along the labyrinth’s path offer students surfaces on which to create their own chalk artwork, write poetry, or illustrate a sequential lesson in history, literature, and science, using bright washable chalk. The labyrinth’s hexagonal shape provides teachers with a large tactile example of geometry, which may be used to illustrate certain math concepts. Students can walk the labyrinth to absorb and learn from one another’s work.

Installing the labyrinth

Goodpasture worked with Gardena, Calif.-based Classic Tile & Mosaic (CTM), run by Vincent and Bonnie Cullinan, to supply the tiles, which were made by Original Mission Tile, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, according to Goodpasture’s direction from the original designs in the Ambassador.

“It was exciting for CTM to collaborate with an artist and through months of preparation to be able to see Lynn’s vision translated through our tile,” said Vincent Cullinan, CTM owner.

CTM fabricated the labyrinth, with Gardena-based Stone Etc. carrying out the complex installation which was completed in November 2009. The challenging

project was based on precise geometry without any allowances for cut-tile


adjustments, fitted into an irregular recess. Meticulous planning and execution was required to install the 12”x12”, 12”x6”, 6”x6”, and 2”x6” tiles and basalt slabs. The unsheltered exterior installation of approximately 1,500 tiles and 11 heavy slabs of basalt (134 square feet) took place in 100-degree heat, but resulted in a truly unique application of tile and stone, with Goodpasture working with Stone Etc., on the installation every step of the way.

Setting materials provided by Stone Etc., of Gardena, Calif., included 2”x2” 16/16 welded galvanized wire reinforcement, Noble Deck Exterior Thin-Bed Waterproofing & Crack Isolation Membrane, LATICRETE 254 Platinum, followed by Portland Cement Float by Riverside Cement Co., Custom Building Products’ Polyblend Sanded Grout, and Aqua Mix Enrich N Seal.

“The labyrinth is a functional piece of art that not only adorns our beautiful RFK campus, but provides an opportunity for kinesthetic learners to explore math and art simultaneously,” said Danny Lo, assistant principal of the UCLA Community School, one of three elementary schools on the RFK campus.

Located at the base of the amphitheater and just in front of the indoor/outdoor stage at the elementary school, the labyrinth is a focal point from the upper elevations of the middle and upper school areas, as well as the lower elevations of the expansive playground shared by three elementary schools. The pure geometry of the hexagonal labyrinth was designed to relate to the clean lines and generous volumes of the architectural environment by Gonzalez Goodale Architects.

“Working with Bonnie and Vincent at CTM was a true pleasure,” Goodpasture said. “From the start they understood the intention and helped me find a way to translate my concept into 690 sq. ft. of precisely laid tile and stone, resulting in a labyrinth unlike any other.”

This $99,143.00 original tile installation was designed to inspire students to learn through art that is seamlessly integrated into the built environment. It provides a place for young students to express their own creativity in a public space. The contemplative aspect of the labyrinth also makes it a fitting art form here, given the historical significance of the Ambassador site. Keeley’s Garden, Labyrinth 1 offers endless creative interaction.

2012 developments in ANSI Standards

DCOF, glass tile, highly-modified mortars, saw tooth soft joint/caulk joints join the standards

By Chris Walker, vice president, Northeast region, David Allen Company

Our industry is changing at a rapid pace. Installation professionals and project designers have access to practically unlimited choices of tile, stone and glass tile materials. Many of these materials require specialized installation products, methods or preparation.

For answers to unique product installation requirements, your first resource should always be the product manufacturers’ recommendations. But for the installation and design professional, the industry’s best resources are the ANSI A-108 Material and Installation Standards and the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation.

Both documents are under constant review. Fifty-eight industry professionals, representing the manufacturing, allied-products and installation community, volunteer countless hours revising and updating the manuals. The documents evolve with the industry to provide usable information and specifications for real-world installation applications. They are guides to assist the industry, providing useful information to ensure successful and beautiful installations with longevity and tangible life cycle advantages.

A few important changes are included this year in the ANSI A108 Standards and are outlined below. For the precise language and definitions, please refer to the ANSI A-108, A-137.1 and A-137.2 documents.

Static vs. dynamic co-efficient of friction

An eminent change in the testing/reporting requirements are about to be incorporated into A137.1 Section Co-efficient of Friction.

“Tiles suitable for interior wet application shall have a WET DCOF of 0.42 or greater”. This standard is for “Interior Commercial Tile Installations, frequently walked on while wet”.

For years the static co-efficient of friction was measured by pulling a weight across various surfaces with a particular type of shoe leather (which is no longer used) by someone who could not possibly perform the test in exactly the same way every time. Test results varied widely, in part due to the irregularities of the method and person.

Now an automated testing device (BOT 3000) more accurately mimics how people actually walk on a floor and when they begin to slip. This should provide consistent results with a regulated test for tile materials produced for our market. Instead of being a recommendation, this measure will now be a requirement.

The wet/dry values, area of use, and intended contaminants all play a role in determining the suitability of a particular material for an intended application. The decision for the appropriate specification of any material is the project designer or architects.

Currently, specifications reference an advised standard (not required) of: 0.6 Level/Wet; 0.6 Tread/Wet; 0.8 Ramp/Wet as measured by ASTM C-1028.

Now that standard will change to a mandatory Dynamic Co-efficient of Friction (DCOF) value of 0.42 vs. the current advised Static Co-efficient of Friction (SCOF) indicated above.

The testing and reporting requirements will be outlined in a revised proposed standard for ANSI A-108, in the A-137.1 manufacturing standard. This method has been balloted and approved by the ANSI A-108 committee, but is not official until it has been acknowledged by the ANSI Review Board. That process will likely be completed by June.

ANSI A-137.2 Specification for Glass Tile

The popularity of these materials is evident and continues to grow as manufacturing technologies evolve and creative influences drive these products into all types of residential and commercial applications. Successfully undertaking and passing this manufacturing standard was a huge undertaking and should be recognized as a major accomplishment for the industry.

Defining and categorizing glass tile materials was a monumental task on its own. What resulted after years of collaboration by the manufacturers and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is the introduction of the A137.2 Glass Tile standard.

The Glass Tile standard is similar to the A137.1 Ceramic Tile Standard and provides multiple classifications by type, size and manufacturer requirements. It is a manufacturing standard and as such, is mostly technical information. For the installation community there is useful information to help you determine how to evaluate the material you are installing and may assist in your decision on how to prepare, cut and work the material for a particular installation application. Manufacturer’s recommendations are extremely important for glass tile installations. Decisions on design, expansion/control joints, preparation and installation can be quite different than traditional ceramic tile installations.

Revised mortar definitions: 

Highly Modified Mortars

ANSI A-118.4 & A-118.15: This year a new classification of Highly Modified Mortars; A-118.15, identifies modified mortars with improved performance characteristics. As you are probably aware, there is a tremendous difference in price and performance between the least expensive and most expensive A-118.4 modified mortar.

Providing another level of classification for improved performance allows the specifier and installer to assure specific performance criteria are met. It also assures that similar materials are being included in determining the value of the installation in a competitive bid situation.

Saw tooth soft joint/caulk joints

The ANSI standard this year will allow saw tooth soft/caulk joints for use as expansion breaks for vertical and horizontal applications.  This should not be confused with soft joints at control, movement or shrinkage cracks. The recommendation of installing the soft joint to respect or be placed “directly over” a crack/movement joint still applies. This allows “a generic movement joint in a saw tooth configuration in a broken joint tile pattern, continuously following the grout joint for the designed span.”

TCNA, ANSI and NTCA committees: developing new standards

The development of new standards can be a lengthy and arduous process. Witness the recent Green Squared initiative by TCNA – the first sustainable standard for tile and setting materials, known at ANSI 138.1. TCNA put an  incredible amount of work and effort into developing the ANSI and TCNA documents (which you can read about in the Green Tip feature by TCNA spokesperson Bill Griese in each issue of TileLetter) – and it is a major accomplishment.

In addition, it’s difficult to keep pace with rapid advancements in materials and construction techniques.

In an effort to accomplish this, the NTCA Methods & Standards Committee works with its membership to address clarifications, revisions or additions to both the ANSI document and the TCNA Handbook. ANSI also appoints Ad-Hoc Committees to develop preliminary language for submission to the full committee, in between the regularly scheduled meetings. There are also TCNA Sub-Committees which are very active in the review and testing of materials for the industry. These committees are intended to utilize the expertise of interested parties, collaborating in the development, refinement and introduction of industry standards.

Some of the items currently being considered by these committees are:

  • Large Format Glass Tile
  • Installation Specifications
  • Definition Review: Required Plane – its relevance to floor flatness requirements and large module tiles
  • Thin Tile – installation, substrate and methods requirement for “Thin Tile.” The current consensus definition for thin tile is a tile module thinner than 4.5 millimeters
  • Barrier Free Shower/Handicap-ped Shower-Installation Detail
  • Steam Showers; Perm Ratings/Vapor transmission; Classifications/Definitions of Membrane Requirements-Definition/Clarification
  • Minimum Coverage; Coverage percentages on large and thin tile
  • Medium Bed Mortars;  Classification/Definition


Christopher Walker, vice president, Northeast region, David Allen Company, Inc., also serves the industry as chairman of the ANSI A-108 committee chairman of the US Technical Advisory Group; ISO T-189 committee; chairman of the NTCA Methods & Standards committee; voting member of the Tile Council Installation Handbook committee; voting member of the NTCA Technical committee.

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