Focusing on the Future: An in-depth look at the leading color and design trends

On Tuesday, May 8 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director for Color Information and Training and the Executive Director of the Pantone Institute, will talk about Focusing on the Future: An In-Depth Look at the Leading Color and Design Trends in room B312 at Coverings.

Eiseman, a color specialist who has been called “the international color guru,” will use The PANTONEVIEW home + interiors 2019 annual trend forecasting tool as a basis of her talk. This tool is developed specifically for the home furnishings and interiors market by the Pantone Color Institute. Containing visual inspiration, key color direction and suggested harmonies, the theme for its 2019 forecast is FOCUS and showcases 72 colors distilled into eight palettes that you’ll see in interiors a year ahead.

This year, Pantone is highlighting two palettes:

CRAVINGS tempts the eye as well as the taste buds with spicy reds, sweet flamingo orange and rich purples. Seductive allusions to “fetish foods” deepen the irresistible message of the palette. The neutrals of tasty Butterum and Cappuccino serve up a delectable warming presence, while grassy green promises a cooling respite from the heat of the surrounding shades. These exceptional flavors will draw upon memorable sensory experiences to inspire new ones that will be just as pleasing.

CLASSICO hues are fundamental, basic and everlasting, while at the same time, elegant and forever fashionable. This is the palette where a graceful swan white and camel-colors can co-exist effortlessly with deep teal, chic gray flannel, burgundy red and caviar black. Rich gold and apricot brandy provide finishing elements to a color language spoken worldwide, across product categories and throughout all levels of the marketplace.

For more information about the PANTONEVIEW home + interiors 2019 tool, visit 

Stone Products – TRENDS 2018

Ann Sacks

Ann Sacks by the Kohler Co. unveiled Terrazzo Renata, a new collection that brings the beauty of Old Italy terrazzo into the homes of today. Terrazzo Renata includes marbles from Tuscany’s Carrara quarries, which the Italian government recently approved for limited usage, with a 28% pre-consumer recycled content, making it an ecologically sound choice, which can contribute to LEED v4 certification.

Arizona Tile

Opal White Satin is quarried from a bedrock quarry about 135 miles from Hanoi, Vietnam. This white marble has a consistent structure and the slab sizes are large. Because this is a very pure calcite it can be back lit like onyx. Opal White has an elegant, clean look that lends itself to the modern contemporary kitchen.

Artistic Tile

With a design that alludes to the ancient citadel of Athens, Acropolis is a stepped 2”x12” decorative dimensional tile carved from one of Greece’s most elegant stones-peerless crystalline-white Thassos. Finished with a clean polish, Acropolis’ sparkling white tiered surface creates a geometric pattern in a field or when used as an accent.

Booth #1304

Offering the luxurious look of marble and the practical advantages of granite, quartzite (White Macaubas 3cm Quartzite shown) has gained increased popularity for homeowners and interior designers. Its stylish appearance combined with unsurpassed durability and resistance to wear-and-tear make it suitable for all kinds of surfaces – from outdoor paving and feature walls to kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities.


Cosentino’s latest collaboration with with architect/designer Daniel Germani draws inspiration from Dekton Trilium. Germani envisioned three new designs that capture the organic texture of weather-worn stone and aged metals. Relaxed and modern with a rough aesthetic, the Dekton Industrial Collection can be installed indoors and out. It also embraces Cosentino’s commitment to sustainability: 80% of the content used to make Trilium and Radium is post-production material from the Dekton manufacturing process. Orix mimics the industrial appearance of eroded cement with a multi-tonal color palette of greys, blues and greens. Nilium (shown) blends hues of silver and white, conveying the elegance and strength of metal. Radium resembles acid-washed steel, juxtaposing earth tones against cold blue/green hues. Trilium, the first of the collection, captures the visual texture and color variation of aged and oxidized stainless steel.


Stone A’ La Mod is a collection of unique stone mosaics that will set your design apart with the luxury of popular species like bluestone and marble in exotic shapes and patterns, both flat and three-dimensional. Let your wall tile set the standard for excellent design. 


Building on the popular Metro line, Metro Blue expands the marble and limestone series to include three-dimensional split face and chiseled textures, as well as a linear pattern. Available in various shapes and sizes, Metro Blue celebrates a neutral, rustic aesthetic ideal for walls and surfaces.


Caliza Capri white sandstone exhibits a variety of whites evoking the bright Mediterranean light. This white sandstone creates an elegant and striking look. White sandstone is perfect for creating a noble appearance, which is why so many façades display these radiant and immaculate stones. It is ideal for exteriors, pool surrounds and outdoor staircases thanks to their special texture. These natural stones stand out for their porosity, which gives them non-slip properties. Their chromatic variety also allows them to adapt to very different projects.


Influenced by early-Renaissance Venetian architecture, Neolith introduces its new sintered stone décor: Retrostone (Fusion collection). The bold composition is a mosaic of marble and granite chips set in concrete stone. Its earthy elegance produces a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic effect, based on terrazzo that is ideal for flooring, countertops, walls and more. Retrostone is 100% natural, composed of raw materials – clays, feldspar, silica and natural mineral oxides – and is recyclable, durable and low maintenance.

The Timelessness of Natural Stone

In a world where trends can come and go in the blink of an eye, natural stone withstands the test of time. Around the world, eager designers continue to turn to natural stone, making it a top-selling solution for countertops, floors and walls. As new offerings hit the market in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures, natural stone continues to offer a timeless look for spaces.

The popularity of natural stone can be attributed to its innate uniqueness, as each cut is unlike any other. With no two pieces alike, natural stone inherently brings individuality to spaces. Natural stone also offers customers the flexibility of customization because of its ability to be cut into different shapes and sizes. 

Warming palettes favor grey, white, black and “greige”

One of the most appealing qualities of natural stone is the variety of options, allowing stone to provide a solution regardless of the design vision. From a color perspective, the industry has shifted toward grey, white and black, colors often found in limestone and marble. Additionally, the color combination of grey and beige, fondly known as “greige,” is a trend we’re seeing come into play more and more. Greige is a fresh way to incorporate warmer shades into spaces, while still giving a contemporary feel. This color blend can range from sand tones, to deeper charcoal tones. A nice 

example of this color range is found in the American Olean Ascend™ marble and limestone collection, which offers beautiful shades of greige.

Marble, granite and quartzite reign supreme; colorful stone emerges

From a trend perspective, designers are shifting toward specific stone types in designs. Exuding luxury, marble has risen as a top option. New color variations boost its appeal as a solution for modern designs, while still maintaining its timeless style. Granite has remained a classic, sought-after option, bringing an upscale feel to any space. Its distinctive granular appearance is a more traditional choice for those looking for a natural stone countertop. The vast color offerings of granite, which include deeper hues with specks of intriguing color for a more striking look, make it an appealing option. The hot new trend product in stone is natural quartzite. Natural quartzites feature the look and feel of marble, with all of the benefits of granite’s durability and hardness.

Customers looking to stand out from the norm are seeking options that divert from the traditional characteristics of natural stone. As a result, there has been an increase in colorful natural stone offerings, a stark difference from the more muted hues often associated with natural stone. Distinctive veining paired with unexpected pigments such as Daltile’s Mercury is an example of this growing color trend. 

Large sizes sizzle; mosaics multiply

In addition to colors, specific sizes are growing in popularity within the natural stone segment. One of the hottest trends in the industry is extra-large pieces. This size category is appealing because it empowers customers to create continuous, seamless design. From floors and walls to countertops, large-format natural stone creates a luxurious statement in spaces.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we are seeing growth in stone mosaics. A space once dominated by glass mosaics, stone has stolen the spotlight, as it allows designers to show off their personal style. Available in polished, honed and split face finishes, these natural stone decorative pieces provide an unexpected break of texture in otherwise continuous, sleek spaces.

A growing trend in applications, more designers are utilizing natural stone on areas beyond countertops. After primarily using natural stone on floors and countertops, designers are now using stone to create a contemporary, continuous feeling on walls or as an eye-catching accent wall. This trend is being boosted by the new extra-large slab offerings, which help to create a statement in rooms. Additionally, natural stone is beginning to be used more frequently in outdoor spaces, particularly to create a cohesive look throughout the entire design. From large-format sizes being used as a countertop surface throughout a space to small mosaic details as backsplash in an outdoor kitchen, stone is beginning to appear in new, unexpected spaces, a trend that is positioned to grow over the next five years.

A far cry from the stone of yesteryear, the natural stone category has completely transformed. Boosted by the uniqueness of the products, the ability of stone to combine function and beauty has it positioned for continued growth. With what seems like infinite application possibilities and color options, these natural stone trends are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Tile Products – TRENDS 2018

American Olean
Booth #2817

Offering an authentic interpretation of time-worn and weathered concrete factory floors, Union by American Olean captures the uniqueness of the industrial concrete chic trend in a beautiful way. The modern mosaics and five tone-on-tone color options available in large-format sizes bring contemporary artistry to any space for the ultimate urban industrial look.

Booth #7654

The new Java Joint porcelain tile collection reflects the trend toward the warming of neutrals, as well as the popularity of bold, linear striations. The line’s five hues are an arsenal of on-point colors, punctuated with the movement of luxe striations. The line comes in a 12” x 24” field tile, 2” x 2” mosaics, and a full trim package, and is suited for walls and floors in commercial and residential applications. 


Reinvent the acclaimed look of mid-century modern design with RetroSpace™. A modern interpretation of a nostalgic aesthetic, this translucent-glazed wall tile beautifully reflects light in your space. A subtle undulated surface is the foundation of this wall tile, and is available in soft green and blue hues and neutral colors.

Emser Tile

Embodying the latest trends in tile including large-format dimensional wall tile and wood-look porcelain planks are Motif and Porch. With Motif, a delicate lace overlay defines this glazed ceramic subway tile collection. Featuring a selection of neutrals, the collection’s understated texture and glossy finish combine to create a unique aesthetic. Porch (shown, in Coffee) features subtle wood grain movement with caramel- and coffee-inspired tones and provides color variation on interior and exterior floors, walls, and fireplace façades. An understated satin finish completes the glazed porcelain tile for visual depth.

Florida Tile
Booth #7620

Responding to the on-trend demand for the cement look, Florida Tile NY2LA HDP features compelling characteristics of cement and plaster fused into a porcelain representation of urban sophistication.


Vintage meets modern in Interceramic’s Emma, a glazed ceramic wall tile echoing the handmade wall tile of years past. Emma offers an undulating texture with elegant gloss finish, for a sophisticated high-design look. This USA-made ceramic tile incorporates modern accent colors in blues and greens that can transition from Cosmopolitan to Country French.

Lunada Bay
Booth # 8062

Origami Field is a collection of glass field tiles that reflects the iconic Japanese art of geometric paper folding. Featuring nine opalescent colors and three-dimensional shapes, the distinctive glass tile designs play with light and shadow. Origami Field comes in six shapes – Moxie (shown), Verve, Trapeze, Lacuna, Elation and Ambit – each with a unique pattern that emerges both visually and dimensionally. Origami Field is an extension of Lunada Bay Tile’s Origami line, which also includes mosaic tiles in four patterns and eight colors.

Booth #2817

Marazzi’s D_Segni™ offers a vast assortment of encaustic-look tiles that bring energy to any room.
D_Segni’s decorative designs range from geometrical, vintage and metropolitan patterns that can be used individually or mixed-and-matched for personalized designs, providing a bohemian romance feel. Seven coordinating solid colors are also available to complete the look.

Modomo: The Art of Italian Tile
Booth #3671

Organza conveys a contemporary fabric/linen interpretation. Three surface options available – natural, semi-polished/lappato, and outdoor/anti-skid – with four complementary field sizes, from wall to large- format floors – 2” x 2”, 4” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 24” x 24”, and 24” x 48”– to accommodate any environment. All sizes are color-body and rectified. 

Tile Trends for 2018

By Joe Lundren, Joseph Lundgren Consulting

As we prepare for Coverings in Atlanta, be assured that we will see a large turnout of buyers since the economy is strong and the show will be full of factories from around the globe showing their newest products and innovations for 2018 and beyond. 

The big question is “What are the trends and how can I be at the forefront to capitalize on them?” Equally important is “How does one keep inventory of the right products on hand – and devote a portion of that inventory to ‘edgy or trending looks’ to be at the leading edge of the competition?” 

First, let’s look at what’s selling and how it may evolve into newer generations of that style. Remember, a trend is a pattern of gradual change that we see in the industry and not a “one-hit wonder” that fills a niche and is not a broad selling category. We have seen those come and go in our industry, but this article focuses on solid trends. 


Ink jet has changed the industry and has taken us to a level of design no one could have imagined, and it alone has allowed us to continue to grow with the development of other floor coverings. In addition, we see the large panels/slabs being promoted by manufacturers and distributors alike. Finally, we see the U.S. market being more accustomed to larger sizes from around the world, including 24″ x 24″ and 24″ x 48″. 

When we discuss technology, we cannot forgo the next step of some of these new products, which is how they are installed. We are fortunate to have industry associations and leaders such as Bart Bettiga (Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association), Eric Astrachan (Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America), and Scott Carothers (Training Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation) that ensure our industry is focused on quality installation with certification programs such as the Certified Tile Installer (CTI)and Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). The CTI credential certifies installers in basic installation knowledge and skills, and ACT certifies installers in seven specific areas: in setting large-format porcelain tile and subfloor preparation, mud walls and floors, showers and membranes, grouts and thin porcelain tile.


Rest assured, one of the categories in which we will see new introductions is wood. Wood has become a category on its own with some distributors saying wood looks account for 30%-40% of their tile sales. The question is, how many wood looks do you need to ensure you have the right mix and you limit the cannibalization? We have seen multiple new generations of wood looks that target both the residential and commercial market. Ink jet technology has allowed us to emulate the look of real wood and we have the ability to press or cut plank sizes that we see in real wood. In addition, users love the differentiating factor that comes with tile, which is durability and ease of maintenance.

Porcelain slabs/panels 

A trend that we see continuously evolving is the gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP) and slabs. These products are manufactured differently from traditional dust-pressed tile with technology like Lamina or Continua machinery. We have seen the thickness gauge of the products range from as thin as a 3mm to as thick as 30mm, the latter of which allows it to be used on countertops and compete with the traditional stone and quartz market. The beauty of the technology is that it allows you to get a wide variation in the graphic and retain the virtues of porcelain. I believe as we train installers and our specifiers become more acquainted with it, we will see this material replace a portion of the countertop market as well as traditional wall coverings as consumers and designers look to differentiate their projects.


Terrazzo is a product we traditionally view as a competing flooring product to the tile industry, however, with the emergence of ink jet, manufacturers can now produce porcelain tile with the majestic look of real poured terrazzo. Porcelain terrazzo tile brings the benefits of porcelain with the visual of the real mixed product modeling embedded marble, granite, quartz or glass chips.

Marble looks

Wow, this is one of my favorite products with the advances we see in ink jet technology! Again, the virtues of porcelain combine with the beauty of marble curated from around the world. In addition, porcelain provides the ability to perfect a finish from matte to honed and a perfect polish. Tile now rivals the beauty of real stones’ intricate veining and realistic color palettes.

Encaustic cement tiles

Manufacturers have reproduced traditional hand-made encaustic cement tiles, which evolved in the 13th century. The look allows you to romance a space with designs that vary from classic, geometric, and metropolitan patterns that can be used individually, or mixed.

Cement Looks

Cement looks aren’t new, but they continue to trend higher with each new generation of product, from the conventional concrete to refined visuals. Consumers and designers love the industrial look, and cement visuals lends themselves to the growing design trend of more modern or contemporary looks. Manufacturers have and will continue to evolve this style with new textures, formats and colors replicating the stained, stamped, and polished effects to create a much more classy and enduring floor. 


Glass is here to stay and continues to mature, utilizing the ever-popular ink jet technology. In addition, we will see new sizes and shapes (manufactured via casting, pressing and slumping) with colors that add translucency and a shimmer to an installation. We see glass as what makes a room pop and catches the eye of everyone who enters it.

Fabric Looks

Fabric in tile? Yes, we have seen some manufacturers take it to the extreme of emulating tartan patterns while others focus on simple woven patterns. This allows us to displace the growth of carpet tiles in lieu of a porcelain tile that will have the benefits of easy maintenance and endurance of porcelain. 


Wall Tiles

Specifically, you’ll see rectangular looks that have evolved from the traditional subway tiles into larger sizes including 3″ and 4″ x 12″ tiles and even larger, and patterned tiles (domed, beveled, arched, and sculptural) that allow the usual monochromatic look to move into the next generation with endless design possibilities. Furthermore, larger wall tiles including 12″ x 24″ sizes are becoming more commonplace.


The rustic stone look still is here to stay as consumers love the appeal of natural stone, but not the maintenance and cost that accompany it. Manufacturers endlessly pursue new designs as we see the capability to create a tile with wide-ranging graphics has flourished, and has allowed us to see visuals emulating the real stone graphics and colors.


Colors, what will we see?

Yes, white, beige and grey – our industry neutrals will continue to be the “go to colors,” with a palette of warming tones, moody dark tones and warm creams. Some refer to neutral colors as any hue that doesn’t compete with other colors, yet ceramic tile typically involves a large space, therefore giving the eye the ability to flow from one point to the next without the distraction of a singular color. Furthermore, regardless of your design style, there is a place for neutral colors in your décor. 

Additionally, when feature colors are used in the room it enhances the “pop” more when amidst neutrals. With the introduction of additional shapes and textures in the tile, industry neutral colors benefit these without becoming an eyesore. 

To reach Joe, phone 214-641-7773 or visit

Sales Trends for 2018 – What’s selling around the country

Arizona Tile

Anaheim, Calif. – Trending in Anaheim is large-format tile (24”x 48”, 24”x24”), in 8” wide minimum wood planks, and cement aesthetics. Matte finishes prevail, and more color, moving away from white and into warm neutrals like greige, taupe, cream and off-white. Textures are in demand, as are linear sizes for backplashes and mixing of elements – modern with traditional touches such as brick or wood-like tile together with chevron glass. Textile aesthetics have not yet taken off in this market, though some customers do seek them. 

In terms of stone, satin and honed slabs are very popular right now since they camouflage etching or imperfections.

Ontario, Calif. – Large-format is king in Ontario, with sizes such as 36” x 36”, 24” x 48”, 16” x 32” and 24” x 24” as well as large wall sizes like 8” x 24” and 12” x 24.” Stone and wood aesthetics are key. Colors are darkening, with dark tone-on-tone popular. Variety also is in demand, with more textured surfaces, colored penny rounds, geometric shapes and iridescent and shimmery glass tiles pairing with trending colors and shapes. The Digital Art series, a collection of Italian-made, fabric-inspired rectified glazed porcelain with rich textures, is very trendy here. 

Satin-finished natural stone slabs are the rage with Fantasy Brown Satin one of the top selling species.

Palm Desert, Calif. – This market continues the trend to large-format tile in cement, wood, and textile aesthetics as well as patterned tile. In stone, both satin and polished finishes reign. 

Dallas, Texas – In addition to the ubiquitous demand for large-format tiles in 24” x 48”, 16” x 32” and 24” x 24” in wood and concrete looks, porcelain tile with a realistic marble and limestone style are the rage. Minimalism with bold, neutral contrast is in demand here, with textile textures adding interest. But at the same time rustic brick aesthetics – like those in the Castle Brick series – add warmth and variety. 

Stone slabs in all finishes are equally in demand.

Tempe, Ariz. – Larger sizes in wood and concrete porcelain styles are joined by a passion for subway tile and solid backsplashes in this market. Matte, semi-polished surfaces are in demand, along with rustic wood and brick aesthetics and marble looks. Textile-textured tile is getting a slow start in this market, but in natural stone, honed and satin finishes are in fashion. 


According to Eddie Bedrosian, marketing director for the company – which has branches located throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Washington, North Carolina and Florida and delivers nationwide – 2018’s top design trends will take shape with some older aesthetics making a re-appearance; mixing old with new, and bold with soft.

Navy Blue – Dark navy blue tones add allure and mystique. Used as a neutral, it is the perfect substitute for black, making a rich base color that breathes elegance and class or an accent to make a statement. Reminiscent of the ocean, navy blue is a calming and soothing color, making it a design favorite.

Wallpaper look tile – This look is prized for offering the elaborate patterning of modern-day wallpapers while being durable enough to wipe down with mild soap and water. Pattern packs a heavy punch when it comes to design, so it may work better as an accent wall, rather than an entire room. Since it will be on the wall for decades to come, it’s best to choose a style and color scheme you know you enjoy vs. something novel you’ve recently discovered. 

Patterned floors and walls – Ornate or simple, patterned floors add drama to a room. Designers and trendsetters are showcasing their floors as eye-catching, modern décor. Options are endless. You can choose tile with distinct designs or find simple geometric shapes you can set in a pattern. 

Shapes – Whether shapes are used loudly in a room or in a subtle way, they greatly impact the mood and tone of the space. Simple shapes, like triangles, hexagons, diamonds and chevrons, are incredibly versatile and will liven up your space and even make it seem bigger than it actually is. 

Metallic accents – Customers are inviting copper, brass, rose, gold, silver and shiny mirrors into interiors. These metallic accents bring light in to a room seamlessly and add a luxe appeal.

Bold backsplashes – Bold colors, shapes and textures are being installed on kitchen backsplashes as a way to express individuality and personality.

Quartz – Quartz is highly resistant to staining and is one of the most hygienic countertop options for homeowners. Add to the fact that quartz is extremely strong; it is one of the most durable and desired kitchen surfaces. Bedrosians’ Sequel Quartz is offered in 44 of the most popular and enduring colors, polished and matte finishes, plus pre-fab options for smaller projects. 

Porcelain slabs – Porcelain slabs allow customers to achieve the look of timeless stone and contemporary design with durable, large porcelain panels. The thin profile options and large dimensions of Magnifica Porcelain by Bedrosians lends itself to creating seamless countertops, islands, floors, walls and ventilated building facades. Designers and architects are drawn to its sleek aesthetic that allows for minimal grout lines and the grandeur of a solid wall or floor.

Wood-look porcelain – While wood-look porcelain floors have been around for some time, recent improvements in ink-jet technologies make the wood effect more realistic than ever. It’s a beautiful, durable and easy to maintain flooring option.

Earth tones – Soft shades of grey and beige create a rejuvenating home spa, a place that’s a healing retreat.

Bright kitchen colors – White will always be a classic palette for kitchens, but people want to add a little oomph to the white and put their personality into the space. White kitchens continue as favorites, but expect a rise in bold color kitchen accents, richer and warmer color cabinets, rugs, accents and patterned tiles on walls and backsplashes.

Fish scale tiles – These tiles create an interesting pattern, bringing visual interest to spaces in a fun way, that’s a departure from traditional subway tile, offering an updated look. They work well in the kitchen, as well as the bathroom for floors and walls.

Black matte – Look out for matte black in all parts of the home. Designers and homeowners want that statement look that is everyday-comfortable, yet doesn’t dominate the room. This bold look is contemporary and complements a variety of materials and styles on countertops, floors, walls or backsplashes. Matte black is also appearing in kitchen and bathroom faucets and showerhead and also lighting fixtures. 

Black and white – Simple and traditional, classic black adds a focal point of color that grounds, anchors, and adds a sophisticated look to a room. White acts as a striking contrast that balances the bold, adding a spark of light. 

Emser Tile

According to Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing for Emser – which has showrooms located coast to coast throughout the U.S. – in addition to large-format tiles for floors and walls from 24” x 48” up to 63” x 126” and larger, gauged porcelain panels are heating up the market and will continue to do so throughout 2018. Gauged porcelain panels are creating never-before-seen aesthetics for wall, fireplace façade, shower and exterior cladding applications. In addition to panels, these other trends are prevalent for 2018:

  • Accent walls with color, dimensionality, texture and pattern are being achieved through large-format ceramic wall tile in 18” x 36” and larger sizes.
  • Metallic finishes are creating a captivating, shimmering effect across mosaic series and are intertwined with a mixture of materials and textures. We’re seeing alternating gloss and matte finishes in series, with both glass and metal, or marble and porcelain materials for subtle contrast.
  • Shades of blue, soft greens and even pastels are emerging as we enter the spring season, especially in the form of glass mosaics. 
  • From small-scale, fabric-look textures to large-scale graphic patterns, textile aesthetics are experiencing growth in the market.
  • Wood-look tile is evolving with refreshing approaches, including bold color variation, enabling customizable installations with striking detail.
  • Concrete looks continue to resonate in residential and commercial design with porcelain tile in a range of aesthetics, including formed concrete with a plaster effect or raised textile or diagonal texture. 

Feature – LATICRETE International, Inc. – TRENDS 2018


the fall of 2013, the Atlanta Braves officially announced that they were leaving Turner Field, their home of 20 years, and heading just north of the city to open a new baseball stadium – SunTrust Park. 

To kick off the $672 million construction project, the architectural firm, Populous, and general contractor American Builders – a joint venture between New South Construction, Brasfield & Gorrie, Mortenson Construction and Barton Malow Company – set out to design a Major League ballpark that captured baseball’s heritage and embraced the South’s traditional aesthetic. 

This would include nearly 150,000 sq. ft. (13,935 square meters) of tile, stone and glass installations throughout the ballpark in areas including the stadium kitchens, player locker rooms, the Delta Sky360° Club floor and the suite floors and backsplashes. 

“To be a part of a new era of professional sports venues is always exciting,” said Martin Howard, Executive Vice President of Operations for David Allen Company, the NTCA Five Star Contractor chosen for the project. “LATICRETE was our partner on this very challenging project from the start. Their products were instrumental in helping our team complete the project on time and within budget.” 

The Challenges: 

Tight timeframe: Due to the fact the ballpark had an extremely aggressive schedule, David Allen Company provided the resources necessary to complete all installations in a five-month window. In order to be successful, each area of the project had to be constantly stocked with the correct setting materials and tile to ensure the team stayed on track and reduced any chance of inefficiency. Once an installation crew completed an area of work, the next area had to be ready to start immediately so as to not interrupt the flow of manpower throughout the stadium.

Plethora of materials: 60 different types of tile, stone and glass from all around the world were utilized in SunTrust Park’s design. The full line of products LATICRETE offers was key to being able to handle the various substrates encountered with ease. 

A LATICRETE Solution: 

Before beginning any tile work, David Allen Company used NXT Level, a cement-based underlayment, to produce a flat, smooth and hard surface. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible and maintenance-free, making it the ideal product to be at the foundation of a busy ballpark. 

Because it was imperative that David Allen Company remain on a tight schedule to complete the entire stadium’s tile, stone and glass installations in five months, choosing LATICRETE products that saved time with rapid curing formulas and easy installation were of the utmost importance. 

For waterproofing bathrooms and showers throughout the player and staff locker rooms, David Allen Company trusted HYDRO BAN and HYDRO BARRIER™ waterproofing products. These products allowed for a faster time-to-tile and foot traffic in as little as four hours. 

For use under traditional thick-bed installations of tile, 209 Floor Mud, a factory-prepared blend of high- strength portland cement and carefully graded sand, was chosen due to its pre-mixed packaging. This saved the team valuable time not having to blend portland cement and sand on the jobsite. For interior and exterior floor and wall installations of ceramic tile, porcelain tile and stone applied on the stadium’s bar fronts and backsplashes, 253 Gold, a superior polymer-fortified bagged cementitious thin-set powder, was used. 

To install large-and-heavy porcelain tiles throughout the stadium, David Allen Company chose 4-XLT and 4-XLT Rapid for their incredible non-sag performance. The multi-use, polymer-fortified adhesive mortars not only exceed ANSI A118.4 and 118.11 Shear Bond Strength Requirements, but also meet the “Extra Heavy” rating per ASTM C627, making them the perfect large-and-heavy tile adhesive mortars to accommodate the project’s
specific needs. 

To grout, PERMACOLOR Select, 1500 Sanded Grout, 1600 Unsanded Grout and SPECTRALOCK 2000 IG were used in various installations depending on the substrate and floorcovering material desired. These offered benefits such as time savings, crack-and-stain resistance, chemical resistance and enhanced durability. 


“Fortunately for David Allen Company, our LATICRETE representative in Atlanta was an outstanding source of information,” said Howard. “At any given time, we were able to have him meet us onsite and direct us on how to best handle the situation.” 

On April 14, 2017, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred welcomed a sold-out crowd to “baseball’s newest gem.” 

SunTrust Park creates a fan experience unlike any other, thanks to its perfect marriage of classic ballpark feel and modern amenities. The new stadium seats 41,149 fans and maximizes sight lines so that every seat feels like the best in the house. 

CoolSprings Galleria: wide array of LATICRETE products and Tennessee-sourced tile make massive fast-track mall installation a success

CBL Properties, owners of the CoolSprings Galleria shopping mall, a massive complex located in Franklin, Tenn., were planning to renovate the 1.1 million . sq. (102,193 sq. m.) facility, which houses a total of 165 tenants. Areas to be remodeled included a 500-seat Oasis Court, path- ways and bathrooms encompassing more than 147,000 sq. . (13,656 sq. m.) of space.

The project was a two-level mall renovation highlighted by a full demolition of both upper and lower levels, all receiving new tile. The project used two different subcontractors – both NTCA Five Star Contractors – David Allen Company (DAC) for level two and Profast Commercial Flooring on level one.


So what was the project’s main dilemma? How to get the job done in a fast and comprehensive fashion without interfering with the mall’s huge amount of foot traffic, a.k.a., thousands of daily shoppers. The solution was a plan to do the bulk of work at night, using highly skilled teams of installers and craftspeople to bring the ambitious project to completion.

“The unique challenge for the CoolSprings Galleria project was how quickly the work that was taking place throughout the night had to be turned around for typical mall use,” noted Mark Brooks, technical services manager, LATICRETE INTERNATIONAL.

The CoolSprings Galleria project was a two-level mall renova on high- lighted by a full demolition of both upper and lower levels, all receiving new tile.

“CoolSprings Galleria has many dedicated mall walkers and, in order to accommodate them,” he explained, “the mall opens its doors at 6:30 a.m. This means an extremely short timeline to complete work during the night.”

Harold Waid, division manager, Mid-South region for DAC, agreed with Brooks, no ng that while there were many challenges during the project, the main one was “installing the project a er hours in a relatively short me frame with no disrup on to the mall tenants or shoppers, with all work areas being required to be open to mall traffic the next morning.”

The Profast Commercial Flooring crew installs Shades porcelain tile from Crossville over FRACTURE BAN crack isolation membrane from LATICRETE

To accomplish this, he recalled, all tile and setting materials were brought in from an outside storage area each night. “We would prep the floor area and install crack isolation membrane, perform the layout and install tile using a rapid-set thin-set, clean the installed tile and work area, prep the edge of the installed tile with transition strips, and remove any tile over material back to the storage area.”

Kevin Killian, president of Profast Commercial Flooring, said that on-site project manager Jimmy Roue and head superintendent Tyler Lekki were con dent that the company’s experience and expertise would allow them to “ finish the installation ahead of schedule.” Working with LATICRETE made the process run smoothly. “The LATICRETE materials were always delivered on me and were very easy to work with,” he said. “The LATICRETE support team checked in with our field team on a regular basis to see if everything was working properly. This was a very successful project for us and I believe all par es involved – including the owner – are pleased with the finished product.”

Crossville, Inc., supplied its Shades porcelain tile in honed Frost, unpolished Mist, Ash and Thunder, in 6” X 24” (150 mm x 600mm) and 12” X 24” (300 mm x 600 mm) formats, as well as its Laminam by Crossville porcelain tile wall panels.

The project had to be installed after hours in a relatively short time frame with no disruption to the mall tenants or shoppers.














In the mall and food court, LATICRETE® NXTTM Level or DRYTEK® LEVELEXTM self-leveling underlayments, NXTTM Skim skimcoat and patching compound, FRACTURE BANTM crack isola on membrane, 4-XLT Rapid or 4-XLT large-and-heavy-tile mortars, PERMACOLOR® Select high-performance, cement-based grout and LATASILTM silicone sealant were utilized. In the bathrooms, NXTTM Level or DRYTEK LEVELEX, NXT Skim, HYDRO BAN® waterproofing and crack isolation membrane, 4-XLT, SPECTRALOCK® PRO Premium Grout epoxy grout and LATASIL were used.

Crossville, Inc., another major player in the remodel, provided its Shades porcelain tile collection in honed Frost, unpolished Mist, Ash, and Thunder, in 6” X 24” (150 mm x 600 mm) and 12” X 24” (300 mm x 600 mm) formats, as well as its Laminam by Crossville porcelain tile wall panels.

To facilitate the successful installation of the Crossville porcelain tile, LATICRETE products were used across the installation. Said Brooks, “The LATICRETE products that were used on the project were all fast-setting in order to return the main mall areas back to service in a timely manner.”’


The project, which began in April 2016, would be completed on time almost six months later on the eve of the holiday shopping season. Project designer Suzy McHenry of Omniplan gave some insight into the CoolSprings vision, noting, “In our design, we sought to express Franklin’s unique regional influences with a contemporary aesthetic that stays true to the area.

“Our design resolves authenticity with modern materials that elevate the shopping experience,” she added. “These finishes include stainless steel handrails, porcelain tile pattern from material manufactured in Tennessee, and quality stone.

“We went with a much darker floor than our client has ever used on other properties,” McHenry noted. “Rather than using a beige tone, we opted for the cool palette of the grays with a pop of white.”

For the wet walls of the bathrooms, the design team utilized Laminam by Crossville for its clean look and durability, especially for the harsh and wet conditions of a public bathroom. The remaining bathroom walls feature Crossville’s Ready to Wear in unpolished Button Up with accents of Groove Glass in the grey Rumba tone.


David Allen Company was another installation crew, here installing the Crossville Shades porcelain over skim-coated FRACTURE BAN crack isolation membrane.

Like McHenry, Corbett Drew, senior property manager, CBL, noted the project featured all things Tennessee. “Some may find it interesting that CBL’s headquarters, Crossville’s plant and CoolSprings Galleria are all separated by a couple hours’ drive time, making this floor bought, produced and placed in the state of Tennessee.”

As a senior property manager for the owner, Drew endeavored to involve all of the flooring system suppliers well ahead of procurement. “From design input to drawing and specification review to mock ups to instal- lation to system warranty discussions, LATICRETE had a seat at the table at every step of the project.”

As Heidi Vassalo , strategic accounts, Crossville, noted, CBL takes a very collabora ve approach to their projects “by bringing all parties to the table to review/cross analyze information being brought forth. Crossville’s technical team has been very active in working beside LATICRETE on this project.”

“This new floor was very much a product of strong team collaboration,” Drew concluded, “and LATICRETE’s sales and technical representatives were right there in the mix throughout.”

Coverings Industry Ambassador – TRENDS 2017

Welcome to the show!

By Alena Capra, CKD, CBD

This year, Coverings makes its return to Orlando…and April is the perfect time of year to be visiting the Sunshine State.

This Coverings, I’m excited to see all that’s in store – I’m looking forward to checking out the exhibitors’ newest products, and sharing the tile trends with my fellow design and tile industry friends. Where else can you tour miles of tile on a show floor but Coverings?! I’ve packed my comfortable shoes, and I’m excited to take on the show floor.

In addition to all of the beautiful tile and products to see, this year there are a few more fun things in store to explore while you’re at the Orange County Convention Center. The Installation and Design Showcase is back, but with a fun new twist! This year, it will be the “Tiny House Edition.” Keeping in line with the tiny house trend, this year, three top designers, and three NTCA Five Star Contractors will partner to design and build these tiny houses live at the show! Each will have a different theme, with unique and beautiful tile, donated from several different manufacturers.

Among the notable things to discover while at the show is the NASCAR experience, also new this year! See what it’s like to drive on a NASCAR track with this simulator. There’s also an opportunity to win some pretty exciting prizes!

In between all the fun events, live demonstrations, and products to see, don’t forget to sign up for some of the free CEU sessions; there are many great topics on deck this year.

Looking forward to seeing you all again this year, for another exciting Coverings show!

– Alena

Developing Trends – TRENDS 2016

From inspiration to installation – tile design unwrapped

How the pros at Dal-Tile cull global trends to cultivate designs for the U.S. market

By Shelly Halbert, director of Product Design, Dal-Tile Corporation



Every great design starts with an inspiration. From art, to fashion, to engineering and interior design, an end product doesn’t simply appear, it comes with a story to tell.

Most people don’t think too much about what the surface underfoot or on the wall would say if it could talk, but the origins might surprise you, and become the center of conversation.

At Dal-Tile, our inspiration for new tile designs can come from cosmopolitan to couture to cutting boards, as we create new collections to adorn the floors and walls of commercial and residential spaces.

Roots in the motherland

We tend to start in the motherland of tile, Italy. Our Marazzi brand was born there, and we naturally gravitate back to our roots to learn the tricks of the trade. At least twice a year, our design team visits the city of Sassuolo, the tile design and manufacturing capital of the country.

We meet not only with the Marazzi Italy team, but also local design studios that source rare European materials. They reproduce the materials as graphics for tile manufacturers, providing textures and imagery not available on a global scale. When rollers were the sole form of printing, these design studios were essential to obtaining new designs, however, with the sophistication of digital printing technology, we can now produce our own images or customize those that are sourced, resulting in an even wider array of looks available.

The largest tile show in the world, Cersaie, takes place in Italy each fall, and we take the cutting edge trends from the show back to our design boards as inspiration. Traditionally, European style has set the stage for trends, and the rest of the world followed. However, we have recently seen more European manufacturers and designers flock to the Coverings show stateside, borrowing looks from the U.S.

Dal-Tile’s manufacturing facilities in China, Russia and Mexico also give us a feel for design trends in those regions, and serve as inspiration in our designs domestically.

There is a lot of inspiration that can be gleaned domestically as well. Associations, like the Color Marketing Group, set the tone for hues, and we participate both in creating the forecasts and following them through in our designs.

Back to the U.S.: local influences inspire design

Additionally, visiting model homes and showrooms across the country gives us a feel for trends in various regions. It is interesting to see varying tastes in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. California is quick to adopt new trends, while the Midwest harbors late adopters. Larger format tiles and lighter colorways help beat the heat in more arid climates.

We find inspiration in the everyday as well. A beautiful cutting board inspired a member of our design team to create Daltile’s Acacia Wood collection, and we recently scanned metal plates from an antique store to get a patina look for a new print.

Getting technical – digitizing design

Once we find an inspirational material or image and scan it in to a digital file for printing, we still have a lot of work to do. The structure – or the material base the graphic is printed on – can be designed to have ridges, bumps and other textures, giving the design not only a visual, but tactile enhancement. Once printing is complete, the finishes and glazes can also add another element of detail to the design. A single graphic can look very different depending on the surface, and glaze you apply.

With the design layers finalized, we decide where the tile gets produced based on a variety of factors. One interesting element that determines location is the type of clay needed to create the tile. Dal-Tile’s manufacturing facilities in Alabama source clay locally, and the material there is very different from what you find underfoot in Texas. Size is also a factor. We’re excited to open a new manufacturing facility in Dickson, Tenn., this year, that in the future will produce tiles as large as 72 inches.

Then comes branding and selling the product. With four strong brands in the Dal-Tile family (Daltile, American Olean, Marazzi and Ragno), it is hard to play favorites. Luckily we don’t have to. Each brand has a unique personality. For example, if the design is bold and very trend forward, Marazzi is a natural choice, whereas a more sophisticated, monochromatic design works well for American Olean’s commercial applications.

A great example of this is our new brick-look collections for Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean. They each reflect the trend, while showing a unique variation of it. American Olean’s Bricktown is monochromatic, Daltile’s Brickwork is versatile and classic, and Marazzi’s Urban District BRX is a striking variation of urban industrial.

Inspiration is limitless and the tile industry has a lot of new trends coming down the pipeline.

We’re seeing larger, and larger format tiles being manufactured domestically, while at the same time smaller formats and unique shapes are taking hold. Popular rectangle and subway tile will see competition from classic squares, hexagons and abstract shapes. As with fashion, a lot of bygone era looks are coming to the forefront.

One thing is for certain; tile will always have a tale to tell.

Shelly Halbert is director of Product Design for the Dal-Tile Corporation, the largest North American manufacturer of ceramic tile and natural stone products. Halbert, who earned her degree in Interior Design from University of Louisiana, began her career in the tile industry when she started with Marazzi 19 years ago. Before becoming a product designer, she worked in sales and managed showroom room design for the Italian inspired company. As product designer, Halbert believes in rolling up her sleeves and being hands-on with the products she develops. From the shape to color, she loves being involved in every aspect of her products.

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