ACT Certification – TECH 2015

scott-conwellThin Porcelain Tile Installation: the newest Advanced Certification for Tile Installers

By Scott Conwell, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C,
director of Industry Development &
Technical Service, International Masonry Institute;
and Lupe Ortiz, NCTI Apprenticeship coordinator

This is an exploration of the new Thin Porcelain Tile Certification in the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers program that was introduced at Coverings in April. In addition to the efforts of TCAA, BAC and IMI mentioned by the author, open shop tile contractor association NTCA – in conjunction with Scott Carothers, training director of CTEF – has been spearheading development of this certification, kicking off talks and discussion to provide a realistic, accurate and complete testing program for TPT, even in the absence of published standards. Information about ACT certification can be obtained by visiting www.tilecertifications.com, emailing NTCA’s Bart Bettiga at [email protected] or CTEF’s Scott Carothers at [email protected]

– Lesley Goddin

The certification for Thin Porcelain Tile (TPT) installation made its debut at the Coverings international trade show held in Orlando, Florida, in April 2015. Thin porcelain tiles presently range in sizes generally 1 M x 3 M (39-3/8” x 118-1/8”) and 1.5 M x 3 M (59” x 118-1/4”). Custom sizes: 1M x 1M, 1.5 M x 1.5 M are spectacular and impressive to architects and designers, but practical considerations in installing this material continue to challenge tile contractors. Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), and International Masonry Institute (IMI) are at the forefront of solving these challenges through their involvement in the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program.

1-act-techANSI A137.3

One major factor limiting the use of TPT until now is the absence of an ANSI standard for this material and the resulting reluctance of some designers to specify a material that had no standard. The accredited standards committee, with representation from TCAA, BAC and IMI, has been working since 2013 to develop a standard and, at the April 2015 meeting, the committee circulated a first draft of the new ANSI A137.3 American National Standard Specifications for Thin Porcelain Tile and Thin Porcelain Tile Panels. The standard defines “thin porcelain tiles” as units up to 1 square meter, and “thin porcelain tile panels” as units greater than 1 square meter. The draft standard has a well-defined purpose and scope but much of the actual data such as methods of manufacture, test methods, and performance criteria remain to be debated, discussed, and agreed on. The committee acknowledges the importance of installation issues and is considering the input of the ACT work group in the development of this new standard.

2-act-techBest-practice certification

With respect to the TPT ACT certification, the ACT advisory group acknowledges that without the benefit of tile industry accepted ANSI standards and methods, the ACT program has developed the TPT curriculum to educate the installer with currently available best practices and to provide a mechanism to certify his or her skills and knowledge of the TPT products that is derived from manufacturers’ recommendations and adaptation of other ANSI standards for items like proper substrate prep, mortar coverage, grout joint variation and lippage. The decision to move forward with ACT certification came about with input from TCAA contractors, BAC leadership, and IMI tile instructors as a strategic tactic to claim this work for our trade.

Material handling

Even before installation, a tile contractor is faced with many challenges just handling a material of such great size. Transporting it from the shop to the jobsite to the area of work requires special equipment and plenty of room to maneuver. Consider the limited elevator ceiling heights and confined work areas of some projects, and physical constraints immediately become apparent. Having an adequate crew is critical. Fortunately for the ACT installers, the ACT certification not only focuses on the handling of these big tiles but on the installation main critical points such as proper substrate prep, layout, and installation process, which addresses the most critical points in the evaluation.

3act-teMortar coverage and cure time 

The proper application of mortar is critical to the success of a TPT installation. Thinset mortar with an extended open time is usually appropriate, as the process of applying the mortar to 10, 30 or 50 square feet of wall or floor and back buttering an equal area of tile can take some time. The mortar at the center of the tile, far from any grout joints, is likely to take a very long time to cure. For this reason the ACT advisory board has specified tiles no larger than 1m x 1m for the ACT certification, and is considering formalizing a statement cautioning designers on sizes greater than 1m x 1m. Such a position statement by labor would be similar in nature to the position statement issued two years ago cautioning designers not to use TPT thinner than 6mm in flooring applications due to the absence of standards on minimum breaking strength and resistance to impact loads.

Because TPT is not only large but also very thin (3+ mm – 6mm), the installers must apply mortar to full coverage to avoid potential breakage due to point loads after the installation is complete. “Full coverage” is defined in ANSI to mean 80% minimum coverage for interior non-wet areas, and 95% coverage for exterior and interior wet areas. What is expected out of the ACT Installers? Again, without the benefit of tile industry accepted standards, the installers are held to 60%-70% mortar coverage on walls and 95% or greater on floors with the goal of 100% coverage, especially on all outside edges walls and floors.

The quality of the substrate can greatly affect the mortar coverage. For example, a floated mud wall provides greater flatness and stiffness than cement backer board on studs. Also, the absorptive qualities of the mud bed will help speed up the setting or curing time of the thin-set mortar. The ACT advisory group has communicated these findings to the ANSI accredited standards committee currently developing the new ANSI A137.3, American National Standard Specifications for Thin Porcelain Tile and Thin Porcelain Tile Panels. Because of our unique insights as the installers in the industry, TCAA, BAC, and IMI are playing a vital role in the development of this important standard.

ACT certifications

It is the goal of the ACT advisory group to make ACT certifications as accessible as possible. The 2015 TCNA Handbook recognizes by name all the installers certified to date in each of the five initial ACT certifications. IMI and International Masonry Training and Education Foundation (IMTEF) are currently delivering certifications at training centers in all major markets, and they offer the certifications several times each year at the John J. Flynn International Training Center in Bowie, Maryland. For more information on scheduling ACT certifications for your key installers, call Terry Hays, Deputy Director, BAC/IMI International Training Center at 301-291-2120 or via email at [email protected].

 

TEC® Feature Story – TECH 2015

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One of the most awarded BMW dealerships in the United States, located in Southern California, recently underwent a makeover. Flooring and wall renovations at the 90,000-sq.-ft. facility, undertaken with TEC® products, had to live up to the dealership’s superior reputation aesthetically and provide the performance required for the demanding showroom environment.

tec-1The California dealership touts its commitment to customer service as a reason for its success, and the recent renovations aimed to even further enhance the customer experience. 123,832 sq. ft. of tile create a sleek, high-end aesthetic in all parts of the dealership – from the service area to the stand-alone iCar building, which houses a model of the five-door urban electric car.

Coast Floors, Inc., Irvine, Ca., undertook the tile installation in phases, beginning with the service area and drive. The dealership’s service department employs dozens of technicians and advisors who quickly diagnose and repair vehicles, so efficiency was of the utmost importance. Coast Floors, Inc. relied on TEC products to get the service area up-and-running quickly. Their first task was correcting imperfections in the substrate, using TEC® Fast-Set Deep Patch. The cement-based underlayment is designed specifically for deep fills, ramping, and leveling concrete and plywood subfloors. TEC Fast-Set Deep Patch was perfect for the job because it accepts tile in just 1 to 1-1/2 hours, allowing for efficient installation.

“TEC Fast-Set Deep Patch helped us create a consistent floor in the mechanics’ area,” says Shawn Kennedy of Coast Floors, Inc. “It allowed us to quickly bring the substrate up to industry standards for an efficient turnaround.”

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TEC products adopt hefty responsibilities

The service area and showroom host dozens of cars, each weighing thousands of pounds. The tile and the materials underneath it have to support not only these vehicles, but also automotive lifts and equipment. With those performance requirements in mind, BMW specified clinker tile – known for its resistance to shock – in the service area. The tile was installed with TEC® Ultimate Large Tile Mortar, which delivers non-sag/non-slump characteristics for wall and floor applications.

tec-3TEC Ultimate Large Tile Mortar passed rigorous ASTM C627 Robinson floor testing – a test that predicts a floor’s performance under several different conditions – which enabled it to be specified for heavy commercial environments, like an auto dealership. During testing, the tile assembly withstood 450 rotations of three steel wheels bearing a load of 250 pounds each, without any damage. Additionally, it exceeds the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A118.4 and A118.11 shear bond specifications. With those qualifications, installers knew TEC Ultimate Large Tile Mortar – and the other selected TEC products rated for heavy commercial use – would withstand the rigors of a car dealership.

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TEC Power Grout®, which is also rated for heavy commercial applications and exceeds ANSI A118.7 specifications, finished off the floor with strong grout joints. TEC Power Grout delivers unique aesthetic benefits as well. In the showroom, porcelain tile provides an elegant platform for the latest BMW models for sale. Gray tile in a running brick pattern is accented by TEC Power Grout in Charcoal Gray. The color-consistent joints and understated tile allow customers to see the cars shine on a refined and elegant stage.

“TEC Power Grout sets rapidly,” says Kennedy. “Because of Power Grout, the technicians could start working on cars quickly.”

tec-5Standing out in the crowd

While many of the tiled details of its showroom and service area align with other BMW dealerships, the building that houses BMW’s iCar sets the dealership apart. While other dealerships simply offer the iCar, this Southern California dealership features the model in a building of its own. The car stands out among wood-look and royal blue porcelain tile. The royal blue tile, airfreighted from Spain, surrounds the car on both the floor and walls, forming a 3-D frame for the car. TEC® AccuColor® Premium Unsanded Grout – Cornsilk matches the wood-look tile and contrasts with the blue tile, creating a sophisticated showcase for a sophisticated product.

Because most of the tile in the building was imported, replacing it would be both difficult and costly. To help the tile maintain its appearance, Coast Floors, Inc. used TEC® HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane throughout the dealership. Like TEC Ultimate Large Tile Mortar and TEC Power Grout, TEC HydraFlex is rated for heavy commercial applications. HydraFlex also exceeds ANSI A118.12 specifications for crack-isolation membranes. In demanding environments like this dealership, it stops in-plane cracks up to 1/4” wide at the subfloor from telegraphing to ceramic and stone tile. Its ready-to-use flexibility can be applied to substrates immediately, and because it dries within two to three hours, Coast Floors, Inc. could use it while keeping their installation on schedule.

Tile work at the dealership was completed in May 2014. The general contractor was AUTOBUILDERS General Contracting Services, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL.

For more information about TEC, visit tecspecialty.com.

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The TEC® brand is offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc. – a leading provider of technologically advanced construction materials and solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential construction industry. Headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, the company’s recognized and trusted brands – TEC®, CHAPCO®, Grout Boost®, Foster®, ProSpec® and others – are available through an extensive network of distributors and dealers, as well as home improvement retailers. For more information, visit www.hbfuller-cp.com.

TEC®, Power Grout®, HydraFlex™ and AccuColor® are trademarks of H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc.

Methods & Standards – TECH 2015

kevin_coxExploring the Methods and Standards Committee – a contractor’s forum for positive change

By Kevin Fox, Methods and Standards Committee chair

The Methods and Standards Committee is a contractor’s forum, designed to discuss issues and products that impact the professional tile installer on a day-to-day basis. It consists of approximately 12 members that are residential and commercial contractors. The committee also has a few industry-recognized tile consultants. I like to put the group’s mission in very simple language: “What installation issues are we having problems with, and how can we solve them?”

Some of the topics under discussion are referred to the NTCA Technical Committee (see James Woelfel’s article in this issue), as it may be something the committee feels would be better shared with the tile industry through the NTCA Reference Manual. But other items would be best addressed in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. Let me give you a few examples.

M-S-picA new method in the 2015 NTCA Handbook is for Curbless Shower Receptors (see B421C, pg. 246).  A member of the committee, Joe Kerber, of Kerber Tile Marble and Stone, introduced this method a few years ago at a meeting in 2011 (Ed. note: see TileLetter, July 2015, page 94 for a detailed discussion of this method’s evolution from Kerber himself). Joe is a residential contractor and was installing curbless showers for his clients. He saw a need for this method to be in the TCNA Handbook. Many other committee members were installing the same both residentially and commercially, especially in health care facilities. It took several years of the committee vetting the method and once everyone agreed on it, it was submitted to the TCNA Handbook Committee for their consideration. I would guess everyone reading this article will benefit by this new published method.

The committee also performs simple edits or clarifications that we feel need to be addressed. A good example would be one that hits home with my business. If you look at TCNA Method B421 in the 2011 edition, there is a note that says “Continuous bond waterproof membrane.” The committee felt the word “continuous” needed to be clarified.

In my business, when this method was specified, we would send a RFI (request for information) to the architect to clarify what their interpretation was on the membrane requirement. The replies would range widely from 6” above the floor line to all the way to the ceiling. This was also a problem some of the consultants were seeing in their investigative work, and the interpretation of 6” above floor was the culprit of failures. Thus the committee made a submission to the TCNA Handbook Committee, and the result was in 2013 this method was clarified to “Bonded waterproof membrane continuous to full height of tile assembly.” Just a few simple words added, but this misinterpretation could cost a tile contractor thousands of dollars.

The committee is very busy discussing topics that we feel will help the tile industry. I hope the work we do will positively affect your business.

President’s Letter – TECH 2015

JWoelfel_headshotKnowledge + experience forms the wisdom at the heart of the NTCA Reference Manual

By James Woelfel, NTCA president and Technical Committee chairperson

NTCA members are receiving this TECH issue of TileLetter packaged with the new 2015-2016 Reference Manual, a critical industry publication that supports the TCNA Handbook of Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation and ANSI standards with real-world experience to help muscle through or prevent problems encountered on the job. 

In this letter, NTCA president James Woelfel explains a bit about how the NTCA Reference Manual topics are developed and researched, resulting in a publication that benefits the entire industry.

Not yet a member and would like to benefit from using the NTCA Reference Manual? Visit the NTCA Store at www.tile-assn.com and purchase one there. Or, join NTCA and receive this publication – and many other benefits – with your membership. 

– Lesley Goddin

When you look through your NTCA Reference Manual, what is the first thing that goes through your mind? Standards? Knowledge? Wow, really?

To me, the first word I think of is wisdom. Wisdom? Where do I get that idea? Simple: wisdom is knowledge combined with experience. This wisdom comes from tile contractors. The NTCA Reference Manual is edited by the NTCA Technical Committee, a committee whose majority members are tile contractors. The contractors’ experience (which I would say is over a thousand years of combined experience in the history of this committee) is the basis for the creation of this manual and also provides ideas for new documents and perfecting the documents that are already in the manual.

Let me share a couple of examples of how this works. About seven to eight years ago a tile contractor brought to the Technical Committee’s attention a problem of how epoxy grout on a couple of his kitchen jobs was getting “eaten away” out of the grout joints. He thought it was because of the “no rinse” cleaners that had been introduced to clean the kitchen floor. What in fact was happening was these cleaners were combining with the residual oils used for cooking and creating a substance that had the capabilities of breaking down epoxy grout. Over the next couple of meetings the Technical Committee developed a letter that is on page 42 of the 2014-15 NTCA Reference Manual. This letter explains that the cleaners being used to clean the floor tile and the grout must be compatible with both, with the intention of circumventing this problem in future installations.

Let’s fast forward to today. A subcommittee is hard at work right now developing a checklist of what to be aware of when installing stone tiles with various backings like resin and fiberglass. These stones have exploded in today’s marketplace, but there have been failures with the adhesion to the backing materials of some of these stone tiles. NTCA vice-president Martin Howard and Josh Levinson of Artistic Tile(a distributor of stone tile) are spearheading this extremely important endeavor.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the hard work of the various manufacturers and suppliers on the committee, whose knowledge we depend on to help bring these issues to light. Without these members, our job in developing the NTCA Reference Manual would be infinitely more difficult.

So when you crack open your NTCA Reference Manual the next time, hopefully the first thing that comes to mind is the word wisdom.

– James Woelfel, NTCA president

 

Editor’s Letter – TECH 2015

Lesley psf head shot

“Change is the end of something you know, and the beginning of something else that you don’t know. Something new that holds opportunities.” – Kholoud Yasser

 

Welcome to our first ever issue of TECH, a special publication of TileLetter.

Like the TRENDS issue of TileLetter, published this past spring, TECH presents the emerging trends, but in technology that supports and enhances successful tile and stone installations. You’ll read about hot technological trends in subfloor prep – including leveling, crack isolation, waterproofing and backers – shower systems, radiant heat, mortars, grouts and tools and accessories.

Manufacturers have presented non-proprietary overviews of the specific category as they see it; these are supported by product entries to make the forecasts concrete and give you some ideas for great new products to incorporate in your future projects.

In addition, we have a collection of Contractor Perspectives – reports from the field from the people who are working with these trends and products, seeing them unfold, and sharing their experiences. Some of these comments are non-proprietary, but some of our contractors name products with which they have had good success.

We also have contributions that describe the workings of our Technical Committee and the Methods and Standards Committee, as well as the new ACT Certification for Thin Porcelain Tile, and an update on the new NTCA “Trowel & Error” video coming out this fall.

The TECH issue is a hybrid of our TRENDS issue and the concept of presenting short technical pieces that originated with our TileLetter Reference Manual Issue in 2014. TECH takes last year’s publication a step further, projecting and presenting budding trends to equip you with the information you need to go into the brave new world of thin porcelain tile, ready-to-use-grout, uncoupling/radiant heat combos and barrier-free showers, to mention a few.

Speaking of the NTCA Reference Manual, for those of you who are members, you are receiving THIS TECH issue packaged with the 2015-2016 issue of the manual. Those who are not yet members, the manual is available through the NTCA Store at www.tile-assn.com.

Many thanks to all the manufacturers and contractors who participated in this issue and who shared their wisdom and experience. It’s our hope at NTCA that this is a publication you’ll refer to again and again over the course of the next year.

Inspired reading!
God bless,
Lesley

NKBA awards “2015 Best Bath” to Allure Designs, LLC

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The National Kitchen and Bath Association has awarded its coveted “2015 Best Bath” to designer Luz Marina Selles, CKBI, founder/owner of Allure Designs, LLC (www.allureinteriordesigns.com) of Gilbert, Ariz., for a stunning master bath oasis in Phoenix, Ariz.

The inspiration for the award-winning project came from nature, Selles said. “Bringing all the possible elements of nature to my design was my goal. Blissful plants, beautiful river rocks, calming water, and open space were essential motifs in my aesthetic goals for the bathroom.”

The 286-square-foot project prominently features Perfect Pebble Tile in the Bird’s Egg Blend from Island Stone (www.islandstone.com.).

nkba-2“I was looking for a design that would make my clients feel as if they were bathing amongst a beautiful river pebble bed,” Selles said. “Thankfully, the pebble tile brought me all that I needed for my design. It is a natural stone and this gave the bathroom a nature-based appearance and a relaxing ambiance. “

Selles discovered the product in her local Daltile showroom. “The stone design caught the eye of my client, and when she pointed it out I knew it was the perfect choice,” she said.

The Pebble Series is Island Stone’s original and largest range of tiles, with stones gathered from worldwide locations, carefully hand-sorted for color, then laid into an exclusive interlocking format to create an easy-to-install tile. The soft appearance of Bird’s Egg Blend Perfect Pebble Tile featuring “idyllic colors of green, gray, and white helped me bind together the rest of the aspects of my design,” Selles said. “The unique sizes and flow of the pebbles complemented the nature-based design.”

nkba-3The Perfect Pebble Tile traces a path along the floor to a curbless, open-air shower, as well as on the vanity backsplash, walls and an outdoor bench. ELG’s Quartz series 12˝ x 24˝ porcelain tile, in Sand – sourced from Tanner Materials Co., Phoenix – was installed on walls and floors in combination with the Perfect Pebble Tile. Arizona Tile’s 7.75˝ x .75˝ Glass Dome Liners in Steel were used to frame the pebble stone. Glazed Astra-Glaze-SW+® masonry units in Snow White from Trenwyth Industries give a clean look to the exterior patio wall.

nkba-4Allure Designs is an award-winning residential interior design firm that offers customized design services that run the gamut from large projects to small rooms that need refreshing, including bathroom remodeling and kitchen remodeling.

“We strive to achieve perfect synchronization of all the elements of design to create a pleasing display of harmony and unity, where beauty and functionality are essential parts to the success of your remodeling or renovation project,” Selles said.

 

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Variety belongs here

Today’s tile trends offer style to tantalize every taste

By Lesley Goddin

1-variety As you visit the various tile exhibits at Coverings, you will find a vast range of new tile looks, colors, trends and themes – the lifeblood of any trade show. Following is a general overview of what you might find on the showroom floor – largely in the North American Pavilion and at select distributors in your area.

No trend report is all-inclusive, but this will give you a general idea of what manufacturers and suppliers are dishing up for Coverings 2015 and beyond.

I remember a couple of decades ago speaking to a designer about using ceramic tile (porcelain wasn’t a household name yet, except in dishware) in residential or commercial projects. She was not a proponent of tile – and not a participant in the show-that-became-Coverings – because she believed all tile had to offer were “salt and pepper looks.”

How times have changed! Today tile, enhanced by high-definition printing, a spectrum of sizes, thin technology and a range of materials from cotto to ceramic to porcelain to glass to metal and more, offer practically any look your creativity – and your client – desires.

2-varietyPatterns, materials and technology

Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing for Walker Zanger, shared a few of his thoughts about design influences on interiors, tile and stone.

“Patterns in stone and tile continue to expand in all directions, from modern to ‘new traditional,’ which takes historical patterns and strips them of their superfluous details, creating clean and graphic all-over decoration,” Becker explained.

It’s also clear that sophisticated floor or wall patterns using a range of materials, from stone to porcelain to glass and metal, are enhancing interior and exterior installations.

Ben Mednick, president of Best Tile, is observing the trends and developing products that layer in “digital ink-jet technology, multi-format sizes, and composite screen blends that allow for a wide range of aesthetic application in commercial and residential projects,” he said. “Working directly with Italian, Spanish and American factories, we have developed digital screen techniques that take standard wood, stone or cement backgrounds and recreate blended combinations of material. The result is an expanded range of precision screens that a designer or architect might consider.”

3-varietyMurals, medallions

“The phenomenon of being able to create amazing murals, medallions or images of almost anything that can be drawn using high-tech waterjet technology, gets better and more widespread every day,” said Jim Belilove, president/founder of Creative Edge Master Shop, a waterjet design and production company in Fairfield, Iowa. “With today’s tile installation systems, putting waterjet fabricated ‘artwork’ on either vertical or horizontal surfaces should no longer be questioned by professional contractors. It’s really no different than installing everyday tile and/or stone projects,” he said.

“The design possibilities when combining natural stone with porcelain tile and glass and metal are limitless,” Belilove continued. “And now that waterjet technology is so advanced and thus, grout joints are almost invisible, a top-flight waterjet installation – unless looked at from inches away – can appear almost monolithic.”

4-varietyCement/greys

The industrial/cement look still is a clean, contemporary trend that is winning favor in commercial settings, said Sean Cilona, director of marketing for Florida Tile. Freshly returned from a product development trip to Italy – and also influenced by some of the looks seen at the Cersaie show in Bologna, Italy, in the fall – Cilona noted that “Monochromatic designs that are slightly distressed, stained or polished in larger formats are still strong,” especially in metropolitan markets. And combining the minimalist aesthetic of cement with “rust, textures of raking, brushing, crackling and slight metallic sheens” adds depth and warmth, added Lori Kirk-Rolley, vice-president, brand marketing at Dal-Tile Corporation.

5-varietyAlong with the cement look are greys and neutral tones, Cilona added. And some of the patterns show greyed hues such as powdery blues, roses and greyed-out blacks and browns as well.

“Grey is the thing,” observed Kirk-Rolley. There is a grey influence in all products, to the warm side, paired with white.”

Added Walker Zanger’s Becker, “While white and grey remain the dominant

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colors of choice right now, the palette is starting to simmer, starting with warmer greys, and then moving to beige and tans supported by cream.” And yet moving along the spectrum from industrial concrete looks to encaustic-inspired cement tiles, vibrancy and artisanal influences of ancient tribal designs can evoke Old-World patterns and timeless ambience.

 

7-varietySize matters

Size trends run the gamut from tiny mosaics to sprawling panel-like large-format tiles, the latter of which are moving to thin porcelain tile technologies.

Best Tile revealed that it’s “distributing products cross an ever-expanding format range – starting with [the] 2015 backsplash collection (in sizes from 3˝ x 6˝ to 4˝ x 24˝) and extending all the way to the StonePeak Plane program that is 5´ x 10´ and suitable for both floor and wall applications,” Mednick said. “We have devoted significant time and resources to the importing, transporting and training requirements of large thin porcelain tiles and continue to see this as a strong trend.”

8-varietyBecker added, “As larger homes are being built again, larger-format stone tile in 16˝ x 32˝ and 24˝ x 36” formats are in demand.” Porcelain tile is allowing these larger sizes and long-wearing lines.

Lindsey-Ann Waldrep, vice president, marketing for Crossville, Inc., – which supplies the Laminam by Crossville large thin porcelain tiles – said she is seeing “really big and really small sizes – the tension in the space results from the relationship between them.”

At Florida Tile, the company’s Thinner tiles have just launched, with 3+ (3.5mm) recommended for residential and light commercial floors and all walls, and 5+ (5.5mm) recommended for heavy commercial, all with fiberglass mesh backing. Multiple sizes starting at 8˝ x 39˝ planks will be stocked, and aesthetics will coordinate with regular-thickness body porcelains to create packages that will expand use.

9-varietyRustic and reclaimed; wood porcelain prevails

Florida Tile’s Cilona predicted ‘resurgence’ at Coverings both in rustic stone looks and reclaimed effects.

Though we won’t be seeing chiseled edges in the U.S., for this new incarnation of stone looks, Cilona said, there will be more rustic stone effects in terms of graphics and in surface texture.

“In Europe right now, there is a resurgence of everything old, unrefined, and the reclaimed look,” Cilona said. There’s an emphasis on “clean and refined,” he said, but also “taking something old and reclaimed and rustic and mixing it together.”

This means a return to terra cotta, reclaimed stone, more textures – and combining distinctive properties of different types of stones and mixing them together to get a never-seen-in-nature hybrid look that focuses on movement and tone throughout the pattern. These designs can beautifully complement a contemporary setting.

10-variety“NOW is wood, and the stained concrete cement look,” Cilona said. “The next wave is stone, rustic reclaimed stone, terra cotta, more textures,” combined with a lot of patterns that are derived from classic styles and designs.

Reclaimed looks also include “vestiges of paint on wood-look tiles, authentic wood textures like knots and sawmarks ,” added Kirk-Rolley.

11-varietyPairing beautifully with this rustic, reclaimed trend is the Modern aesthetic, with Mid-Century modern influences,” Becker observed. “This shows in popularity of geometric patterns and organic patterns with a ’50s and ’60s feel to them. ‘Urban Modern,’ incorporating cement, raw or reclaimed wood and mixed cultural elements, is popular with younger designers and consumers.”

12-varietyShape up! Hexagons and planks rule

If there is ONE shape that is all the rage right now, it’s the hexagon. The finish can be earthy, with terra cotta treatments or busy as a bee with overlaid patterns that layer textile influences, geometric enhancements in bold hues or light, tracery patterns that can be tone-on-tone.

13-varietyArmen Alajian of Arto Brick observed the popularity of the “hexagon or just any polygon that interlocks. It is seen in nature with the honey bee and cooling of lava like Devils Post Pile,” and Giant’s Causeway, in Ireland.

14-vrietyWhile the square will always have a place in traditional formats, and mosaics, also trending are plank shapes, and anything rectangular –subway tile, rectangular wall tile, and long, lean slivers of metals and glass mosaics.

16-variety“It used to be ‘hip to be square,’ but now there’s mixing of rectangular and plank formats,” said Dal-Tile’s Kirk-Rolley. Cilona added, we are seeing “plank sizes in non-wood looks in anything from natural stone to very contemporary monochromatic planks.”

15-varietyJockeying for position with their more angular cohorts, circular shapes are also competing as decorative elements and making a resurgence with mosaics in penny round shapes with different material and finish treatments – glass, metal, ceramic, stone and porcelain.

Gloss, glass, glazes  and metallic glints

Gloss, glass and glitzy glazes appear in many forms, from the glamor of highly polished marble looks with high-gloss finishes to translucent glazes that give added depth to finishes, Dal-Tile’s Kirk-Rolley says. Glass can be paired with any material – porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, metal – to give a suggestion of shine and to captivate and convey color, dimension and luxury. Kirk-Rolley adds that in addition to traditional 1˝ x 1˝ and 2˝ x 2˝ shapes, glass is coming in more linear, rectangular shapes, or even printed with patterns.

17-variety 18-variety 19-varietyAnd glass is being combined with mirrors, porcelain or natural stone for opulent effects, as a shimmering bridge to the marvelous luster of metal in a range of forms. From PANTONE®’s Bijoux palette, to Alena Capra’s emphasis on gold, metallics continue to shine (see related stories in this issue).

 

 

20-varietyClothing cues, textured surfaces and dimensionality 

Textile influences are also growing, with the plasticity of ceramic and porcelain tile enabling authentic takes on the look of linen, tweed, herringbone and hound’s-tooth patterns and more, evidenced by textile-centric launches recently by Florida Tile, Crossville and Daltile.

21-varietyTextured surfaces also extend to those that have a handmade feel, with molded, clay textures or even highly-dimensional, sculpted, carved or formed shapes that allow peekaboo effects.

22-varietySustainability soars

Among the trends that Tile Council of North America sees emerging from their member companies are sustainable products, more than ever before, fueled by the EPD for Ceramic Tile. In addition to the EPD, Green Squared® Certification is being recognized by green building systems, so more products are joining the Green Squared Certified® ranks every day. A&D professional can gain greater access to these products by looking for the Green Squared logo and the EPD logo.

 

Color trends: tugging at the emotions

color_trends_headerYou can’t talk about trends without talking about color. Color is a way to both evoke and express emotion, to make feelings visible.

“After a recession, the first indicator of recovery is color,” said Lindsey-Ann Waldrep, vice president, marketing for Crossville, Inc. “Next comes designers taking more risk.”

1-colortrendsOver the last few years, color choices have been starting to brighten and deepen and form a bridge into more inventive uses of hues.

“2015/2016 appears to be a period of some transition, as warmer colors are starting to creep into what has been a pretty cool, white world,” said Jared Becker, vice president of design and marketing for Walker Zanger. “Specific to tile and stone, this means that white marble will still be the most popular color, but that greys and warmer beige and cream tones are beginning to trend,” added Becker. “One can see this in the fixture world as well, with brass starting to trend for bathroom fixtures. Navy blue is becoming popular in ceramic tiles, and can be combined with both white and or beige for classic looks.”

As color has grown more daring, from last year’s brilliant and vibrant Radiant Orchid PANTONE® Color of the Year (COTY), to 2015’s deep, earthy, grounded Color of the Year, Marsala, color is literally on everyone’s lips – from cosmetics to clothing, to – of course – home furnishings and finishes like tile and stone.

“Color is a huge trend,” said Cindy Haley, store manager for the Albuquerque, N.M., Tile Shop, which boasts over 50 vignettes that showcase a range of tile and stone in classic and contemporary materials, applications and colors. “We are seeing a return back to green-blues, sky blues and red reds. “

PANTONE VIEW: 9 palettes that sizzle

2-colortrendsThe fascination with color is why there’s excitement bubbling around The PANTONE® VIEW home + interiors 2016 – Innovation and Impact, a trend forecast highlighting color trends for the home and interiors marketplace in 2016, that was unveiled at the International Home & Housewares Show 2015 last month in Chicago. These nine palettes are predicted to impact color and style directions in all facets of interior design into 2016 and beyond.

“As media continue to move toward more evocative, imaginative and innovative uses of color to woo consumers, unexpected color stories are emerging,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “To capture attention and keep product lines relevant in the consumer’s eye, it’s important to understand the impact that this always-morphing innovation will have on color and design trends for 2016.”

3-colortrendsThe nine palettes for 2016 are: Natural Forms, Dichotomy, Ephemera, Lineage, Soft Focus, Bijoux, Merriment, Footloose and Mixed Bag.

Unambiguous colors, including shades that are plumbed from natural sources such as warm rosy clay and sheepskin beige, give us Natural Forms.

Dichotomy reinforces the concept that opposites do and can attract as silver metallic, sunny yellow and bright cobalt blue combine with calmer versions of the hues.

Pastel-focused Ephemera blends delicate shades of wan blue, pale peach and tender yellow.

Lineage is a palette where shades of navy, black, tan and regimental green co-mingle with touches of brighter colors.

Soft Focus reveals subtle and/or muted colors, sometimes being described as “smoky” and always versatile.

In the French language, Bijoux means “jewelry” – a fitting title for this palette that gleams with drama and intensity across many jewel tones.

Merriment is full of joyful shades including vibrant greens and yellows contrasted with pinks and oranges.

Capricious color combinations with vacation-destination blues and blue-greens create Footloose – a palette that supports the idea of throwing off the constricting scheduling of everyday life and simply enjoying the freedom of the outdoors.

Mixed Bag is an assortment of eclectic patterns and prints, with exciting and unique colors like pirate black and mandarin red as well as violet and florid orange.

4-colortrends

Color: enlivening the classics – inspiring choice

In an exclusive interview with TileLetter TRENDS, Eiseman told editor Lesley Goddin the forecast takes color influences and prevalent lifestyles and paints a macro picture that inspires, spurs emotion and generates fresh new ideas.

5-colortrends

Eisman

“What trends do is to help inspire you, and allow you to bring something in that might be a new touch – at retail level and display,” Eiseman said. “Maybe the customer will buy the grey slab again, but they might be able to use a pattern or new shade of yellow-green. It’s about how to engage your customer. “

Trends blossom from a myriad of sources – natural landscapes, flowers, cultural influences, said Eiseman, explaining that in addition to copious travel in the U.S. and Canada, she also travels to other countries where her group “gleans information from several levels of the marketplace and we try to relate that to lifestyle.”

6-colortrendsFor instance, in one of the 2016 palettes – Dichotomy, which juxtaposes opposites for stunning effect – there is the concept that “you can combine ancient artifacts with a pendant light on the interior that is very modern, but the colors are the same and tie the whole palette together,” she said. “Trends are inspired by nature, architecture, hot travel destinations – what colors are inspired by that location or even worldwide events celebrating sports, like the host country of the Olympics. People see the way colors are used in that area of the world.”

It all comes down to providing a range of choices that engage the emotion in a customer. “One direction will not suit everyone,” she said. “If everything in the showroom speaks to clean and modern and that person is traditional, there is nothing there to appeal to them. You must show a selection.”

7-colortrendsShowrooms that offer a range of vignettes – like the 50+ vignettes this writer recently experienced at a visit to the local Tile Shop – offer a fertile field of ideas, colors, shapes, sizes and combinations to tantalize the imagination and excite the customer into trying new blends of materials to enliven their surroundings.

“People won’t walk in and do a sweep with their eyes and decide this isn’t me,” Eiseman said. “If you have vignettes – there is something there that will give the emotions a tug.”

International Trends from Spain

spain-logoArtisanal know-how + high technology = stunning tile for  innovative uses

By Ryan Fasan, Technical Consultant  for Tile of Spain – USA

Design trends today shift as fast as prevailing hashtags on Twitter or Instagram. The global market has never been smaller or more connected and so, we are constantly bombarded with new ideas and innovations in staccato tempo. Macro design trends rule today – reaching for timeless interpretations that leave a lot of leeway for personal expression and creativity.

All of this is wonderful news for tile. With decades, if not centuries, of artisanal know-how alongside a highly innovative R&D sector, ceramics offer today’s consumer so many of the aesthetic answers we are looking for with the added value of unparalleled hygiene and durability. The ceramic industry today is like one of the giant cats, kings of the cladding domain, surveying the landscape with the supreme confidence that they have every answer to any challenge that may arise.

spain-aparici

Even though trends are becoming more nebulous, there are some over-arching themes and innovations that are evident across multiple leaders in the industry.

Harmonious anarchy

Speaking of leeway for personal expression, this macro trend is evident across multiple collections within a manufacturer’s offering. We are seeing a unified color palette of contrasting but complementary tones flow through multiple collections with widely varying inspirations. We might see a classic hydraulic cement tile paired with a modern wood and a weathered metal to create a setting that looks harmonious, like they were meant to be together despite widely varying influences from material to time period.

spain-fanalAnother interpretation of this trend is the creation of wholly new stone looks that are only possible due to the digital decoration of ceramics. We are seeing new stone look collections that are taking a huge variety of images of multiple stone varietals and toning them to a unified palette to create something even more varied than Mother Nature can achieve.

spain-roca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spain-vicesMetallurgy

Metallics are back with a vengeance! The advent of metallic inks utilized in HD inkjet printers is making metallic finishes much more cost effective, and allowing for precision accents in amazing new ways. Metallic additions wary widely in aspect but are frequent additions to add that little sheen to snag the eye and imagination for 2015. Metallic accents may be a mirrored finish across a heavily textured tile like a wave or sand dune, or it could be just a hint of oxidized metal fleck here and there in a stone or wood collection to create something surprising and new.

spain-grespaniaWith a vast array of revival metal finishes making their way back to faucets and lighting fixtures, there is almost no limit to the coordinating options in tile thanks to the new glaze and ink technologies.

 

 

 

spain-natucerGraphic Symmetry

Shapes, shapes, shapes! Hexagons, octagons and rhomboids are everywhere, on floors and walls and often paired with more traditional rectangular formats to coordinate and create even more dynamic spaces. Geometric shapes are so hot right now that they are seen in almost every collection of tile today from stone looks to traditional ceramics. Depending on the modernity of the collection, the shapes may be traditional or stretched and warped to create something new and edgy while retaining a calming comfort of something instantly recognizable.

spain-riftDecorative tiles are often found in these geometric collections, with an eclectic mix of patterns spanning florals, fabrics and organic patterns, often with a distinct feel of a graphic designer’s touch.

spain-peronda

 

 

 

 

 

 

spain-sun501s

There’s a reason why 501s are an American icon. When something durable is built and designed well it only gets better with age. Tile is the perfect medium to embrace the vintage and revival trends thanks to it’s inert and nearly indestructible nature. Ceramic collections today are taking the perfect amount of distressing in stone, wood, metal or concrete and freezing it in time to remain forever captured.

Inspiration for these collections varies from ancient fishing wharves to Persian rugs to COR-TEN steel or even city cobblestones.

 

spain-allegraTiffany Timeless

There is no replacing classic elegance. Many of today’s polished porcelains even surpass the capabilities of the natural materials they emulate. Often porcelain sizes are bigger than natural stone available today due to degradation of quarry sites and over-harvesting of stones. Softer and more delicate stones like Crema Marfil, Calacatta and Onyx are created in some of the most technical porcelains available. In commercial or residential spaces, there’s no substitute for the gravitas and elegance of an exquisitely executed polished stone look.

 

spain-luxorThrough Thick and Thin

Ceramicists are always looking for ways to grow specifications beyond the bounds of showers and backsplashes. These new thick or thin formats create nearly limitless possibilities for expanded adoption of ceramics.

Thin formats of 4-6mm make a fantastic cladding material for cabinetry, millwork, doors and even drop ceilings. The production method of this material can create slabs of up to 5’x11’ and thicknesses up to 11mm, creating a whole new option for worktops that offer unmatched performance at a very competitive cost.

spain-inalkerThick formats of 20mm expand our specifications and lower installation costs for exteriors, especially decking situations. With the capability to be sand, grass or pedestal-set, these workhorse tiles offer the ability for seamless interior/exterior transitions at a much more approachable price.

For more information visit www.tileofspainusa.com and @Tile_Trends on twitter.

Setting Materials

Following is an extensive list of products that represent the trends in setting materials, tools and sundries that we’ll see at Coverings and beyond. Coverings exhibitors include booth numbers.

Education and forensics

setting-ctascCTaSC

Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants (CTaSC) provides expert witness, forensic investigations and inspections, testing, specifications, quality control, training, market research and business planning. A professional consulting company, CTaSC is led by industry expert Donato Pompo and includes a team of accomplished installers, architects, engineers, general contractors, construction scientists and other industry specialists. Services are available throughout North America and internationally. CTaSC inspectors are located in or near most major U.S. cities. CTaSC operates the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (www.UofCTS.org). UofCTS provides online tile and stone training courses and provides hands-on training to tile installers. The UofCTS online courses teach all the basics for understanding ceramic tile and natural stone, including product and technical information, and sales techniques. There is a four-hour ITS tile installer course for teaching tile installation standards and practices for adhered tile applications. www.CTaSC.com

Floor Warming

setting-masterheatMasterHeat 

MasterHeat floor warming mats are designed to warm tile and stone floors in bathrooms, kitchens, entries, and sunrooms of any size and layout. MasterHeat floor warming mats are rolled onto the subfloor, then the white mesh is cut to fit room dimensions. The mat can be fastened with tape or staples, then tile or stone can be installed with thin-set mortar. The kits include one of five thermostats, an installation warning monitor and instruction manual. www.masterheat.com

Grout

Bostik
setting-bostik
Booth #3843

Bostik has launched HXD™ Technology, which Bostik claims offers the highest performance resin system of any pre-mixed grout available. HXD (High Cross-Linking Density) polymer chemistry contains a high concentration of cross-linking molecules that create a unified polymer structure that is durable and resistant to penetration and staining from fluids. The technology is further enhanced by proprietary additives that repel stains. Initiated when Bostik launched its RapidCure™ formulations, HXD has been further refined over the past 12 months and Bostik has engineered this exclusive resin system, available in its TruColor™ RapidCure™, QuartzLock2™, RapidCure™, Dimension™ Rapid-Cure™ and Neverseal™ products.
www.bostik-us.com

Custom Building Products
Booth #3057

setting-customCUSTOM® recently unveiled a strategically-developed palette of 40 colors available in all its grouts along with the launch of eight specialty options in the new Fusion Pro® Designer Series, that feature reflective color accents. The refreshed collection of grout colors includes nine hues that were inspired by nature elements like water, sand and fog. The enhanced palette matches today’s tile trends, with darker brown tones that “complement wood-look tile, grey tones that blend well with weathered or distressed tile themes, and subtle blues and greens that harmonize with glass tile,” said director of marketing services, Tony Pasquarelli.
www.custombuildingproducts.com

LATICRETE
Booth #3635

setting-laticretePERMACOLOR® Select is a paradigm shift in both grout performance and in the business/logistics aspect of grout, offering the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution, which is separated into a bag of neutral Base (either 25 lbs. or 12.5 lbs.) and separate dispersable Color Kit pigment packets, drastically reducing the space needed to warehouse a full array of 40 LATICRETE colors, plus top-selling competitive colors. Each Color Kit contains two Color Packets – simply mix two Color Packets for one 25-lb. bag or one Color Packet for one 12.5-lb. bag. PERMACOLOR Select comes available with a physical performance and a Lifetime System warranty.
www.laticrete.com

TEC
Booth #3042

setting-tecThe TEC® brand empowers people to create more functional and personal spaces, and continues to develop innovative new products for the tile and flooring industries. TEC serves its contractor customers by developing products that combine usability, convenience, performance and efficiency. The brand offers a full system, including surface preparation products, mortar, grout and caulks. www.tecspecialty.com

The Tile Doctor/STAINMASTER®
Booth #2859

etting-tiledrAlready sold in 90 countries worldwide, Tile Doctor is bringing a unique grout product to North America for the first time. Collaborating with a world leader in technology, the company is introducing the product to the market under the STAINMASTER® brand, aligning it with a true consumer brand – a rarity in the tile and stone industry. Designed to be easy to install, STAINMASTER grouts include more than 120 design elements including Classic Colors, High Chromatic Glamour Colors and Metallic Grouts. There is an option to add Shimmer Finishes to many colors. Crystal Glass Grout is available in translucent and now in five new colors. www.tiledoctor.com

Mortar

setting-ardex

Ardex
Booth #3233

Ideal for large-and-heavy porcelain tile installations in the most demanding environments, ARDEX X 77 is a smooth, creamy and easy-to-trowel polymer-modified mortar formulated with MicroTec Technology that offers outstanding strength, flexibility and sag resistance. Ardex X 77 is a fiber-reinforced solution for the most difficult installations in any environment, including large-format thin tile installations. Offering true 60-minute open time, unmatched sag resistance, unique creamy consistency and ease of application, it’s ideal for high-traffic areas and exterior facades. It has a pot life of three hours, and offers outstanding coverage. www.ardex.com

MAPEI
Booth #2835

setting-mapeiMAPEI’s new thin-set mortar for large thin-tile installations, MAPEI Ultralite™ S2, addresses the major issues involved in getting a perfect fit between large, thin tile and its substrate. MAPEI Ultralite S2 addresses main challenges of working with thin tile, as identified by contractors, including the need for: lighter setting materials to make the handling of large, thin tiles more controllable; mortars with more open time to accommodate needs of the installation environment associated with back-buttering tile and applying it to the substrate; and easier troweling and better wet-transfer properties to provide full coverage with improved bond. This highly deformable, polymer-modified mortar is formulated with Easy Glide Technology for ease of application. MAPEI Ultralite S2 features a long open time, extended coverage and superior transfer properties to enhance back-buttering. Ultralite Technology provides twice the coverage of a standard thin-set mortar per pound/kg and is manufactured with 20% recycled content. www.mapei.com

SGM
Booth #2627 

setting-sgmWhen installing large format tiles, 100% coverage to both the panel and substrate is essential. Full-contact SGM Multi-Lite mortar is a premium, lightweight (40% lighter than traditional mortars) latex-Portland cement mortar for floors and walls in interior and exterior settings for residential, light commercial and light industrial applications. SGM Multi-Lite re-dispersible powder additives and plasticizers are used to improve adhesion, provide greater bond strength and resistance to impact and shock allowing for latitude in time, working conditions and temperature. www.sgm.cc

Merkrete

setting-merkreteMerkrete’s 720 Rapid Set mortar is a solution for large-and-heavy porcelain tiles. This premium grade, rapid setting, polymer modified medium bed mortar is specifically formulated for the installation of large-format ceramic tiles, gauged porcelain and irregular-thickness stones that require faster setting times of 90 minutes or less. Merkrete 720 Rapid Set is designed to be used for interior or exterior walls and floors, on either residential or commercial projects, and exceeds ANSI A118.4 and ANSI A118.11 standards. www.merkrete.com

 

Profiles and transitions

Ceramic Tool Co. 

setting-ceramictoolIn response to the upsurge in stainless steel trims, Ceramic Tool Company is able to fabricate thresholds, corner guards and wall wraps to order. CTC offers multiple gauges/thickness of material and will work with customers to design exactly what’s needed. The company can supply product information sheets, CAD drawings, and photos. Samples are available upon request. www.ceramictool.com

Schluter Systems
Booth #3236

setting-schluterSCHIENE-Step is a finishing and edging profile for ceramic tile and natural stone installations on countertops, stairs, and tile-over-tile wall applications. The top of the profile features a vertical wall section that finishes and protects the tile from damage, while the vertical leg covers the edge of the sub-assembly, top of the riser, or existing wall tile edge. A stainless steel version is available in three vertical leg lengths to accommodate countertops, stairs and tile-over-tile installations. An anodized aluminum version is intended for light-traffic residential stair applications, available in two vertical leg lengths. The ribbed vertical leg covers the sub-assembly or top of the riser. An integrated joint spacer establishes a defined joint cavity between the tile and the profile. www.schluter.com

Sealers

Fila
Booth #4006

setting-filaThe company’s solvent-free, stain-proofing protector – FILAMP90 ECO PLUS – offers a high performance penetrating seal, with additional on-site benefits. Part of Fila’s Green Line, the sealant is designed for natural stone and polished porcelain surfaces, and contributes towards LEED credits. It can be applied in interior and exterior settings, and is suitable for use on food contact surfaces. The formula provides a safe, odor-free application and allows treatment of surfaces where residual moisture is present, cutting application time by up to 80%. FILAMP90 ECO PLUS is non-film forming and has a very low VOC content, providing lasting protection against water and oil-based stains, without altering a tile’s appearance, as well as protection against weather and outdoor graffiti. Available in 250ml, one liter and five liter containers; one liter provides approximately 322 square foot coverage on stone and 430 square foot coverage on porcelain. www.filasolutions.com

Shower systems

Fin-Pan
Booth #2842

setting-finpanThe ClearPath® Curbless Shower Pan System offers a way to construct a barrier-free entry shower that requires no structural modifications to the existing floor joist system. The product is designed to maintain independence in life while offering fashionable and innovative designs in level-entry showers for new construction or remodels. The ClearPath drain plate comes with integrated drain assembly, waterproofing mat and is pre-pitched for proper sloping. TI-ProBoard® is a composite structural underlayment that offers the ability to install ClearPath directly on top of the floor joists. TI-ProBoard was originally developed for tiling exterior decks and offers a commercial floor rating. www.finpan.net

NAC Products
Booth #3436

setting-nacThe Extreme Waterproofing System for bathroom applications combines an NAC sound control membrane with SubSeal® Liquid membrane for bathroom installations that require sound control and waterproofing protection. NAC has developed a series of drawings that show a variety of bathroom installation options and the specific products involved – just visit www.nacproducts.com, click the Technical tab and select Membrane System images. An added benefit of the Extreme Waterproofing System for bathrooms is that the NAC sheet membranes also provide up to 3/8” crack isolation protection. www.nacproducts.com

Noble Company
Booth #3049

setting-nobleValueSeal is a new thin-bed waterproofing sheet membrane that is thin, lightweight and flexible. ValueSeal can be applied with latex-modified thinset and is designed for commercial and residential applications. It is available in 3´ and 6´ foot widths.

Noble Company has also launched FreeStyle™ Linear Drains, featuring a clamping ring that creates watertight installation, is high capacity, low profile (36 GPM) and is designed to be ideal for barrier-free showers. The product also features an internal slope with flat bottom for easy installation. www.noblecompany.com

USG
Booth #3051

setting-usgThe USG Durock™ Brand Shower System is a fully bonded waterproofing system for tiled shower installations that controls moisture independently of the tile covering, while creating a solid base for the shower. It is built from high-performance components designed to work in harmony to stop moisture, thereby creating a shower that will last for years to come. The system features a proprietary drain assembly, interchangeable drain grates, a thin, durable membrane and a high-density pre-sloped shower tray. USG now offers a custom tray program that helps create various shower configurations by using optional benches and niches that deliver added flexibility, making it possible to create a more customized shower. www.durockshowersystem.com; www.usg.com

wedi Corporation
Booth 3839

setting-wediFundo Ligno is a sloped shower base 3/4˝ thin at its perimeter and available in various sizes. Ligno can be field modified as needed. The installation within a 3/4˝ plywood structure requires no cutting into joists. Load-bearing plywood is simply re-installed between floor joists and over 2˝ x 6˝ or 2˝ x 4˝ blocking, then attached to the joists. This guarantees full support and protection of the tiled surface.

The wedi typically-strong, cement-based, reinforced surface is directly tileable with large- or small-format tile. Ligno interlocks with wedi building panels used as waterproof backer board on walls, as well as on the surrounding floor. Optionally, wedi’s Subliner sheet membrane can be used. Both options offer a complete and professional system installation. www.wedicorp.com

Tools

setting-armaly

Armaly Brands

Since sponges are the last tool used on a job, why not use the best? That’s the mantra at Armaly Brands, century-old producer of an extensive line of sponges. The company’s products have stood the test of time for over 100 years. The line started with Armaly natural sponges and today includes Armaly ProPlus HDQ grouting sponges, formulated to provide longer-lasting strength, a fast wiping and rinsing of excess grout. Made in the U.S.A. www.ArmalyBrands.com

Bellota
Booth #3443

setting-bellotaThe company has introduced two series of manual tile cutters: PRO and POP. PRO is a versatile, heavy-duty use cutting tool for ceramic and porcelain up to 28˝ long. POP is for cutting common ceramic up to 25˝, as well as mosaic glass. PRO and POP are designed for maximum strength and stability with reinforced aluminum rail bar supports and solid base, including built-in cutting guides and easily- replaceable tungsten carbide cutting wheels with adaptors to accommodate most other tile cutters as well. They offer great precision with consistently clean, reliable cuts and smooth operation. www.bellota.com

Lackmond Products
Booth #3036

setting-lackmondThe Beast™ BP10 Porcelain Tile Blade incorporates the most advanced technology available for cutting porcelain tile as well as ceramics, marble and granite tiles. The Beast BP10 is manufactured using the highest quality diamonds, and performs well on critically hard porcelains ranging from 500 to 1,000-lbs. break strength. It is engineered with a thin-kerf cutting edge that ensures a clean, fast cut while minimizing chipping. The BEAST BP10 utilizes a reinforced, silent core hub which ensures straight cuts and reduces noise. Small slots spaced evenly across the diamond rim reduce vibration and aid in cooling. The Beast BP10 is available in 4˝ through 10˝ diameters. www.lackmond.com

Master Wholesale

setting-mwThe company’s professional grade, variable speed 4˝ RockMaster wet-polishing kit has everything the flooring professional needs to wet-polish marble and get world class results. The kit contains the long-lasting Makita PW5001C 4˝ wet polisher, the RockMaster eight-piece Diamond Resin wet E-Pad set, the 4” wet Velcro® pad holder, and a quick-connect hose kit. The E-Pads provide great results and the set includes a black buff pad for a premium shine. www.masterwholesale.com

Primo Tools
Booth #2730

setting-primoWith all the large-format tiles and stones available in marketplace, Primo Tool (a BOE company), recently added a massive 53˝ size to its line of Big Red professional cutters. Now diagonal cuts of up to 37˝ can be made with ease. Like the 24˝-, 30˝-, 35˝-, and 40˝-sizes, the new 53˝ offering does an excellent job of cutting highly-durable and dense double-loaded/double-fired porcelains as well as 3/4” granite. The spring-loaded table makes breaking tile and stone easy and clean. The two separate breaker bars facilitate multiple cutting widths.” All Big Red cutters come with a swiveling gauge that allows angle cuts between -45 and +45 degrees, and a protractor is included. www.Primo-Tools.com

RTC Products
Booth #3836

setting-rtcThe Great White portable saw is a new super-lightweight saw that allows the user to control the water spray and reduce noise that most typical wet saws in its class produce. Initially targeted for cutting backsplashes and smaller tiled areas, this saw can also cut larger materials, thanks to the optional water containment tub, which also acts as a perimeter support for cutting larger tiles. The new specialty blades are designed for cutting hard porcelain, granite and marble, and more. The new Glass Master blade is perfect for cutting the customized glass popular for today’s growing market. www.rtcproducts.com

 

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