TCNA: 2019 U.S. Ceramic Tile Market Update

US Ceramic Tile Consumption chart

Though the economic conditions taking place in 2020 in response to COVID-19 will paint a brand new picture of the ceramic tile market this year, TCNA presents a market overview for year 2019.

U.S. Tile Consumption Overview
Many key economic indicators were positive in 2019, as the U.S. economy experienced its tenth consecutive year of expansion on the heels of the Great Recession.
However, the American ceramic tile market did not follow suit and declined for the first time in a decade.
U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2019 was 2.9 billion sq. ft. (273.2 million m2), down 5.4% from the previous year.1
The following table shows U.S. ceramic tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption in thousands of sq. ft.

*Note: U.S. Shipments + Imports – Exports
1 U.S. Dept. of Commerce & Tile Council of North America

The chart below shows total U.S. consumption of ceramic tile (in sq. ft.) over the last several years.

The U.S. imported 2.08 billion sq. ft. (193.0 million m2) of ceramic tile in 2019, down 5.5% from the previous year (2.20 billion sq. ft. or 204.1 million m2).2
Imports comprised 70.6% of 2019 U.S. tile consumption by volume, down from 70.7% in 2018.
2 U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Although China remained the largest exporter of ceramic tile to the U.S. by volume, its exports to the U.S. fell dramatically last year. This was due primarily to the effects of a trade remedy case filed by a coalition of several U.S. manufacturers, which petitioned the federal government to remedy unfairly dumped and subidized ceramic tile imports from China.
The effects of the preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) and anti-dumping determinations, which were announced in Sept. 2019 and Nov. 2019, respectively, are shown in the chart below.

Chinese imports made up 21.2% of total U.S. tile imports by volume in 2019. This was down from 31.5% in 2018 and represented China’s lowest share of U.S. imports since 2008.
Imports from Mexico comprised 17.3% of total U.S. imports in 2019, unchanged from 2018.
Spain surpassed Italy as the third largest exporter of tile to the U.S., making up 16.9% of U.S. imports by volume, up from 14.1% in 2018. The next largest exporters to the U.S. were Italy (15.9% import share) and Brazil (9.8%).3
The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 2019 based on volume were:

3 U.S. Dept. of Commerce

On a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in 2019, comprising 29.6% of U.S. imports. China was second with a 20.3% share, and Spain was third with a 20.1% share.
The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 2019 based on total U.S. $ value (CIF + duty) were:

The average values of tile4 (CIF + duty) from the five countries from which the most tiles were imported (based on volume) in 2019 were:

U.S. Shipments:
In 2019 U.S. shipments (less exports) were 863.6 million sq. ft. (80.3 million m2), down 5.2% from 2018. This represented the lowest level of domestic shipments since 2015.
Domestically-produced tile made up 29.4% of total U.S. tile consumption (by volume) in 2019, up slightly from its share the previous year (29.3%).
4 The average value is significantly affected by the mix of tiles imported, with different types of tiles impacting the average value, in addition to differences in pricing for the same types of tile.

In dollar value 2019 U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $1.33 billion, down 4.0% compared to 2018. Domestically-manufactured tile made up 37.6% of 2019 total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value.
The per unit value of domestic shipments increased from $1.53/sq. ft. in 2018 to $1.55/sq. ft. in 2019.5

U.S. ceramic tile exports were 31.8 million sq. ft. (3.0 million m2) in 2019, up 6.8% from 2018. The two largest recipients of these exports were Canada (70.7%) and Mexico (11.0%).6

Economic Highlights:
New Home Starts
Total new home starts, which have risen each of the last ten years, were at their highest annual level since 2007 (1.29 million units) and were up 3.2% from the previous year.
Though still down considerably from the record high of 2.1 million starts in 2005, housing starts in 2019 were more than double their level at the beginning of the decade.7

5 Tile Council of North America
6 U.S. Dept. of Commerce
7 U.S. Census Bureau

New Single-Family Home Sales
An additional measure of the residential market’s strength, new single-family home sales were at their highest level in twelve years.
The 682,000 units sold in 2019 represented a robust 10.5% increase from the previous year.8

8 U.S. Census Bureau

Another good sign for the U.S. housing market was that foreclosure filings, a key inverse
indicator of the residential market’s health, fell for the ninth straight year and were at their
lowest level since tracking began in 2005.
The 493,000 filings (0.36% of all U.S. housing units) recorded in 2019 reflected a 21.1% decline
from 2018.9

Industry-Wide EPD Demonstrates North American Ceramic Tile has a Significantly Lower Global Warming Potential Compared to LVT

TCNA logo

ANDERSON, SC-Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announces the 2020 North American industry-wide Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for ceramic tile has been certified by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) and published to UL’s publicly accessible database.  

This EPD, valid for the next five years, updates the previous North American industry-wide EPD for ceramic tile, which expired at the end of 2019. Effective immediately, products covered by the EPD can be used to satisfy architectural and green building specification criteria, including those established by LEED v4.1.  

Over 85% of North American ceramic tiles are covered by the EPD and specifically those from the following companies: American Wonder Porcelain, Arto Brick, Crossville, Inc., Dal-Tile Corporation, Del Conca USA Inc., Florida Tile, Interceramic USA, Ironrock, Porcelanite-Lamosa, Portobello America, Quarry Tile Co., StonePeak Ceramics Inc., and Vitromex USA, Inc.  

Simply stated, this industry-wide EPD is a report of the environmental footprint of the North American ceramic tile industry. The environmental impacts reported by the EPD are significantly lower than those reported by EPDs for flooring comprised of plastic based materials, such as luxury vinyl tiles and planks. In particular, a direct comparison to publicly available UL-Certified industry-wide EPDs for vinyl tile and rigid core board reveals the following:

  • Vinyl tile’s 75-year global warming potential and fossil fuel resource depletion are two and three times higher, respectively, than ceramic tile’s.
  • Rigid core board’s 75-year global warming potential and fossil fuel resource depletion are three and five times higher, respectively, than ceramic tile’s.

  “Global warming potential and fossil fuel depletion throughout the full life cycle of a product are key metrics in characterizing carbon footprint. Not only does the North American industry-wide EPD for ceramic tile evidence a generally low carbon footprint, it also shows ceramic tile to have the lowest overall impacts in photochemical oxidant creation (smog), ozone depletion, acidification, and eutrophication potential when compared to publicly available EPDs for competitive flooring materials,” said Bill Griese, TCNA’s Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives. “Ceramic tile is the proven green choice for the good of the environment.”  

For more information, please refer to the EPD Guide for North American Ceramic Tile  or the Guide to EPDs in the 2020 Tile the Natural Choice publication.

TCNA Laboratory Expands Testing and Research in Response to Global Health Concerns

TCNA logo

(Anderson, SC)– Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) Product Performance Testing Laboratory has a long history of microbiological testing and research on ceramic tiles and other floor and wall coverings, including ground-breaking research on photocatalytic antimicrobial surfaces and the antimicrobial effects of various metal oxides in glazes.

Due to increased testing inquiries during the COVID-19 pandemic, the TCNA lab is expanding its microbiology-based services to meet the industry’s growing and ever-changing needs for relevant, up-to-date product testing and analysis.   New services include antiviral testing to determine the survival rates/duration of viruses on different surface materials and the efficacy of common household cleaners to disinfect these surfaces. TCNA will also be joining the ASTM task force for developing surrogates for the SARS-CoV-2 virus for testing purposes.  

“The broad expertise of our lab, combined with our joint-use collaboration with Clemson University, means we can address a wide range of testing needs, including the design of custom testing,” said Katelyn Simpson, TCNA’s Director of Laboratory Services.  

The TCNA Product Performance Testing Laboratory is the only laboratory in the U.S. specializing in microbiological testing of floor, wall, and countertop surfaces, whether ceramic, stone, plastic-based, or other hard material. The state-of-the-art lab is uniquely positioned to provide this research on materials used in public and residential spaces in the hope that such research may be helpful to protect individuals against contracting and/or spreading viruses from contaminated interior surfaces.  

“We embrace this opportunity to evaluate innovative solutions and proprietary technologies in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Jyothi Rangineni, TCNA Senior Research Scientist and microbiology expert. “Long after a vaccine for COVID-19 is created, we anticipate heightened health concerns will continue to be the new normal, and TCNA is poised to continue supporting better practices for healthy and safe living.”

Building Code Update Gives Designers Flexibility to Use Larger Exterior Adhered Porcelain Tile

April 20, 2020 (Anderson, SC) – An update to the International Building Code (IBC) will allow designers to use adhered porcelain tiles as large as 48×48 inches or 36×72 inches on building facades.  The proposed change, driven by the International Masonry Institute (IMI) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), was certified by the International Code Council Board of Directors this month and will go into effect in the 2021 IBC.   
Prior to the update, the IBC limited adhered porcelain tile to a maximum of 24 inches on one side and a maximum of 3 square feet per tile. In common tile sizes, that means the largest permissible tiles were 20 inches x 20 inches and 12 inches x 24 inches. Advances in porcelain tile manufacturing have resulted in extremely large and extremely thin tiles, as thin as 1/8 inch, now being widely available. Moreover, tile setting mortar is now more resistant to tensile and shear forces, thanks to advances in polymer- modified Portland cement mortar technology. The combination of these factors – thinner, lighter tiles and stronger mortars – already allow larger tiles to be successfully adhered to exterior facades. The 2021 IBC will make it possible for designers and builders to specify such without requiring the code variance process.  

 With this update, designers, building owners, and construction professionals will have more flexibility to select tile as an alternative to precast concrete, metal panels, and other materials for building exteriors, expanding the tile market and work opportunities for qualified tile contractors and installers.

The TCNA North American Pavilion

Experience cutting-edge tile design and installation innovations at work

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is an international trade association representing North American manufacturers of ceramic tile, installation materials, tools, and related products. This year, over 115 TCNA members are excited to showcase their latest offerings at Coverings in Atlanta. In addition to inventive tile designs, you can discover what’s new in the world of tools and machinery, as well as installation materials, all in the TCNA North American Pavilion.

Booth #7832

The TCNA booth (#7832) is in the center of it all as your information and hospitality hub throughout the week. Complimentary lunch will be served Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (no wristband required) and afternoon happy hour bars will open at 3:30 pm (cash, credit and drink tickets accepted). So stop by, refuel, and network with the leading industry associations co-exhibiting with TCNA: the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), and the Tile Heritage Foundation (THF). TCNA’s Lab Services team will be on hand as well to discuss the research and testing offered at its state-of-the-art Product Performance Testing Laboratory – North America’s largest tile-and-stone-specific facility for independent testing and research. Discounts on TCNA literature will be available for those of you looking to round out your technical library. 

“Why Tile” quickfire sessions

Catch these info-packed 20-minute mini-sessions (running Tuesday through Thursday) on the inherent benefits tile has to offer: Do You Know What’s in Your Floor Covering?

  • Tile: The Greenest Option
  • Tile vs. Competitive Products 
  • Health, Wellness & Tile 
  • Durability: How Do Other Floor Coverings Measure Up? 
  • The Value of Tile (from a Top Realtor’s Perspective). 

Check the Coverings app or Show Directory for times and locations.

Building green

TCNA and TCNA members are synonymous with leadership in building green with tile. The industry-wide, UL-certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for tile, tile mortars and tile grouts made in North America provide unprecedented transparency on the environmental impact of a full tile installation, making it easier for green builders, designers and specifiers to make informed decisions that satisfy the requirements in top green building rating systems including LEED, Green Globes, IgCC, ASHRAE 189.1 and ICC 700. Those seeking LEED building certification can also look to Green Squared Certified® products, which contribute toward the LEED Pilot Credit, for “Certified Multi-attribute Products and Materials.” For the latest on tile sustainability, be sure to catch Bill Griese, TCNA’s Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, in the panel session “Health, Safety, Environment, Design: Specifying Tile in Today’s Sustainability Landscape” (Wednesday at 8:00 am). 

Installation Demonstration Stage and the Installation Experience

Looking for the newest installation materials, technologies and tools on the market? The North American pavilion is where you’ll find them. Throughout the show, TCNA exhibitors and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will provide live product demos at the Coverings Installation Demonstration Stage (#7201). Get an up-close look at the latest products in action, and tips from the pros on how to navigate common challenges. While you’re there, enter to win one of the free drawings between demonstrations. New in 2018 – Don’t miss the Installation Experience (#8401) where master installers and technical experts from top industry associations – CTEF, IMI, International Union of Bricklayers (IUBAC), NTCA, TCAA and TCNA – will show shining examples of proper installations for various applications throughout the home (see page 46, for details). CTEF will be onsite with information for contractors and installers looking to advance their careers through the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) and Certified Tile Installer (CTI) programs. 

Installer/Contractor tours, luncheons, and exclusive happy hours 

Guided tours of the Installation Materials District leave from the Contractor and Dealer Lounge (#8201) at 11:00 am on Wednesday and Thursday with roundtable luncheons to follow. Badged contractors and installers can visit the lounge to reserve a spot while they’re still available. Exclusive Happy Hours begin Wednesday and Thursday at 3:00 pm. 

Canine creations featured in Art Tile Village

Explore beautiful and unique offerings from boutique tile makers across the continent in the Art Tile Village – the largest assembly of decorative tile artisans under one roof! Displayed in the courtyard (#7249) you’ll see one-of-a-kind tiled dog houses created by TCNA members. The artful abodes will be donated to an Atlanta-area pet charity, which will be onsite during the show with some furry, four-legged companions. Be sure to stop by – you may just make a new friend!

Whether your main objective at Coverings is to network with colleagues, find design inspiration from the newest trends, or learn about the latest advancements in tile technology, exciting discoveries await you in the TCNA North American Pavilion. 

TCNA Lab Services Provides Technical Support for Gauged Porcelain Standards Development; Work Is the Latest Contribution to Worldwide Tile Standards

(Anderson, SC) —  When ANSI A137.3-2017 and A-108.19-2017 were approved recently, their 32 cumulative pages represented many hours of work on behalf of “thin tile” advocates across the globe. The science behind the standards, meanwhile, was provided by a tightly knit group based out of Anderson, South Carolina, who logged approximately 4,000 hours over six months to make the standard a reality.

“While a number of folks in the industry were absolutely critical in spearheading the thin tile project, and in keeping it moving forward at an incredibly rapid pace, there’s no question our lab played a decisive role in its eventual composition,” says Eric Astrachan, Executive Director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA). “In fact, our lab plays an integral role in the development of many of this industry’s standards —  thin tile is just the latest example. We couldn’t develop consensus as we do today without the lab leading the way through their R&D efforts. We’re very proud of the work they do.”

“Standards development is a challenging and interesting cross-disciplinary project for our staff,” says Director of Laboratory Services Claudio Bizzaglia. “We have a standards team that attacks each particular standards project we work on, and then, depending on the nature of the project, we pull in specific additional staff members, depending on their specialties. The standards we’ve worked on recently or we’re working on now include a new surface abrasion method for ceramic tiles, multiple water absorption methods, various aspects of the glass tile standard, ongoing coefficient of friction studies, and the Robinson floor test method.”

“Having a diverse talent base to pull from here at TCNA is a tremendous asset in standards development and other industry-facing projects, just as it is for customer assignments,” Astrachan says. “With standards, the team has the additional benefit of knowing that they’re contributing something to an industry that we care very much about —  and then, of course, it’s nice to have that expertise when it comes to helping our customers should a standard be ratified.”

About ANSI
As the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.

The Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector: from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more. ANSI is also actively engaged in accreditation – assessing the competence of organizations determining conformance to standards.

About TCNA
TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products. Established in 1945 as the Tile Council of America (TCA), it became TCNA in 2003, reflecting its membership expansion to encompass all of North America.

Tile Council is recognized for its leadership role in facilitating the development of North American and international industry quality standards to benefit tile consumers. Additionally, TCNA regularly conducts independent research and product testing, works with regulatory, trade, and other government agencies, offers professional training, and publishes industry consensus guidelines and standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.

Tile Industry Launches Inspiration and Education Initiative; Why Tile Debuts Here at Coverings




The tile industry has united in a marketing and education initiative designed to inspire consumers and provide information on all of tile’s benefits. The campaign, called Why TileSM, is being introduced to the industry here at Coverings.

Why Tile is an industry effort with input sought from various industry organizations including the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), the Tile Contractors Association of America, and the Tile Heritage Foundation (THF), in addition to manufacturers worldwide. Why Tile is coordinated by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

“We’re so pleased to give Why Tile a ‘friends and family’ introduction here at Coverings,” says Eric Astrachan, Executive Director, TCNA. “In developing Why Tile, we’ve had the pleasure of reaffirming everything that’s so wonderful about tile. With Why Tile, we’ll be delivering this messaging to consumers and to the A&D community as never before and in new and impactful ways – most notably, through the website, WhyTile.Com.” provides extensive messaging on the benefits of tile, centering on four main tenets: Design, Easy Care, Healthy Spaces, and Heritage. The site features an Inspiration Gallery; downloadable Project Guide, schematics, and maintenance tips; and a Test Your Tile IQ feature where users can take a simple 10-question quiz for a chance to win a prize.

“As with any website, WhyTile.Com will constantly evolve and provide a means for our audiences to derive inspiration and access planning resources – we want this to be both engaging and a helpful tool,” says Kathy Meyer, Marketing Director, TCNA. “We’re excited to get out there with Why Tile, and this is just the beginning of what I know will be a long and colorful story.”

“Developing Why Tile even to this nascent stage has been very rewarding, in that it is the culmination of the vision of such a diverse group coming together – including competitors, and folks who would normally never be around a table together – in a cooperative manner I’ve never seen in nearly 30 years in marketing and advertising,” says Julie Peck, Creative Director, TCNA. “We’re proud of the work we’ve done to date, and look forward to refining and

expanding upon it with the further input of our partners and the industry as it is introduced here at Coverings.”

Florida Tile CEO named TCNA president

franceschelli-_-nov-2016Mike Franceschelli, CEO of Florida Tile, Inc., since 2010, was recently named president of Tile Council of North America, for a two-year term. He’s led the company to steady growth in sales and profits while also expanding their manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

Franceschelli has taken an active role in TCNA, serving four years as 2nd vice president before accepting his current post. His commitment to raising the bar in the tile industry is reflected in the goals that he has set for himself and TCNA for the coming year.

“Developing a TCNA ‘Why Tile’ program to educate consumers and the industry on the many benefits of tile is high on my list of priorities,” says Franceschelli. “It’s important to lead this charge of informing the public and training our industry professionals in order to make a positive impact in the flooring market.”

His list of objectives for the coming year highlight the ambition and dedication he and TCNA have for the tile industry.

Develop the TCNA “Why Tile” program to inform consumers and the industry regarding the health, safety, environmental, cost, and design benefits of tile

Work with labor organizations to support career training and certification programs

Continue to facilitate the development of standards to better define technical product performance and to inform consumers about the safe use of tile surfaces

Maintain the collaboration of the TCNA Handbook Committee and the publication of installation details relevant to today’s products and practices

Promote further collaboration with other major trade organizations including CTDA, NTCA and TCAA

Develop an even stronger bond between members in the US and Canada and their TCNA colleagues in Mexico

Promote cooperation within the global tile manufacturing communities in Italy, Spain, Brazil and around the world

Contribute on an international basis to ISO standards

TCNA Handbook: new methods for curbless showers


joe_kerber“They just don’t build them like they used to.”

You’ve all heard that before, and most of the time that’s a good thing.

With our never-ending desire to have the “latest and greatest,” or the “biggest and best,” we continue to develop new ideas and challenge ourselves to help meet our customer’s wants and needs. Some of these ideas are thinner floor systems, and larger, curbless showers. Our manufacturing partners in the tile industry have been developing new products over the years to help us make this all happen.

There are three products that stand out in my mind as great inventions that have really advanced the tile industry: cement backer units, thin-set mortars, and today’s subject, topical waterproofing.

I was first introduced to topical waterproofing in the 1970s. I remember the old guys at the time saying, “What the hell is that crap?” Being the forward thinker that I am, I would say, “I’m going to try this stuff.” So I did. My wife Wendi and I were just starting to build our first new house. The building inspector at the time was an acquaintance of mine and when I approached him with the idea of a tiled tub in my house he said, “It’s your house, go ahead.” So we did. The many tiled tubs from that era are still in service today. I have been using topical waterproofing ever since. It is the one product that has really changed our design criteria.

Next challenge: if we can slope enough floor space on a bath floor so that the water from a shower runs toward a drain, do we need a curb? The answer is no. The issue that we had is that according to the IPC (International Plumbing Code) there had to be a “dam” outside the shower area in order to contain the water. However, in an ADA-compliant shower there is no dam or curb so the actual code does not apply. When talking with plumbing inspectors they agreed that a curb was not necessary as long as the water ran to the drain and did not affect any of the other surfaces. That is just “common sense.”

Let’s say you are ready to start a tile project that you were awarded. It has several ADA showers. You know the floors have to have a specific slope to the drain in the shower compartment area. You get there and find that the plumber has the drain too high or the concrete company has not placed the concrete correctly, or both. Now you have an issue with the pitch of the floor to the drain. What do you do?

You look at the tool that GCs, architects, lawyers and judges consult for answers to tile issues: the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. It has many methods for showers that give you all the criteria and information for proven installation methods.

But wait – as of 2014 there was no method for a curbless shower! So we needed to develop one.

This should be easy, right? Let’s just take an existing proven method from the Handbook and expand on it. We’ll remove the curb and waterproof the bath floor area. We will then get a consensus from the Methods and Standards Committee so that we can move this method forward.


The plumbing inspectors will not approve this method for our members without a curb because of the code about the dam. But wait: tile installers have been building curbless showers successfully for quite a while, and inspectors are approving these installations, so let’s push forward. After some changes, the Methods and Standards Committee gives its blessing on this method, so now it has to go to the TCNA Handbook Committee. Here the Handbook Committee – made up of tile installers, manufacturers, consultants, expert witnesses, and people in the know – have the task of making changes and either approving or disapproving the method.

B421CFinally, in the 2015 Handbook, after about three years of work, there are approved methods for curbless showers, and you have information to show your GC how those showers need to be constructed before it’s too late.

It is a long, tedious and sometimes frustrating process to develop a new method in the Handbook. But it is well worth it because of the information it gives the tile installer.

I hope that everyone has a new TCNA Handbook and uses it. It has been developed for you, the tile installer.


kerber_showerJoe Kerber is president/CEO and co-owner with wife Wendi of Kerber Tile, Marble & Stone, Inc., in Shakopee, Mn. Kerber has been in the tile industry since 1969, and began his business in 1973. He has served as president and chairman of the board for the Independent Ceramic Tile Contractors Association (ICTCA), renamed CASTA (Ceramic and Stone Trade Association), and he is a member of the NTCA board, serving on the NTCA Technical Committee and Methods and Standards Committee. Kerber also is regional director for NTCA, which encompasses seven states. Kerber Tile, Marble & Stone, Inc. is a NTCA Five-Star Contractor, and employs CTEF Certified Tile Installers. Kerber was awarded a NTCA Best Practices award at Coverings in April 2015 for his Barrier-Free Shower Installation method, which is included in the 2015 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation.

Handbook Highlights – September 2014

2014 TCNA Handbook: Tile Initiative insert offers wealth of information

In addition to 2014 Handbook technical changes, already covered in previous articles, there are also a variety of new and updated informational pieces, which are provided as full-color, graphically-enhanced technical bulletins, articles and guides. These have been developed by TCNA for use by industry professionals in selecting, installing, selling, and maintaining tile and to aid in increasing general understanding of Handbook and ANSI standards for tile.

The bulletins and guides – and much more – are included in the Tile Initiative, a full-color insert bound into the 2014 TCNA Handbook.

1-tcna-hh-0914Qualified contractors

Among the various topics in the insert is a section on installer certifications and important factors to consider when choosing a tile contractor. These are covered in two separate pieces: a bulletin on “Choosing Your Tile Contractor” and a guide to the ACT installer certification program – both of which emphasize the importance of using qualified contractors and installers by providing an overview of the most important business practices, traits, and skills needed. For example, the bulletin on choosing a tile contractor lists considerations such as contractor investment in training and continued education; licensing and insurance; and a traceable business location. The guide to ACT installer certifications provides an overview of the thoroughness and credibility of the individual tests administered through ACT (Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers), which are: shower base installation; waterproof/crack isolation membrane installation; wall mud; floor mud; and large format tile installation including substrate preparation. The information is provided in “fast-reference” format, to help A&D professionals and homeowners know which skills are covered under each ACT certification.

These informational pieces encourage construction and building design professionals to not only specify but to require proof of qualifications in the “Submittals” section of job specifications. Together, these pieces from TCNA will no doubt be especially useful for quality contractors, whether bidding work for general contractors, or directly for home and building owners.

Distributors and manufacturers are also encouraged to use quality, qualified contractors to make sure their products are properly installed. The bulletin information emphasizes how very important it is to look at more than just price when selecting a contractor. “The difference between trained, experienced installers and inexperienced installers is noticeably reflected in their work,” it says. “And the difference between a quality contractor and a deficient one is reflected in their service and business operations.”

2-tcna-hh-0914True porcelain

Another useful piece in the 2014 Handbook is a one-page bulletin titled “What Is True Porcelain?” which focuses on the problem of suppliers defrauding consumers by selling tile falsely labeled as porcelain. The bulletin explains that unique and specific raw materials and manufacturing methods are needed to produce genuine porcelain, and it provides an overview of the test method for determining whether a tile is genuine porcelain. This bulletin should be a helpful aid for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of true porcelain in educating clients about their products.

3-tcna-hh-0914Looking at LEED v4

There is also a 10-page guide to LEED v4 and tile in the 2014 Handbook. The guide is organized by “credit category” in the same way that LEED v4 is organized – it explains and offers examples of how ceramic tile can be incorporated into projects in order to meet LEED criteria in each of the LEED v4 credit categories: Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Sustainable Sites, Integrative Process, Energy and Atmosphere, and Innovation. For building design professionals designing to LEED v4, this information-packed, fast-reference guide is a must-have.

The Tile Initiative is also available as a free download on the TCNA website (

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