Gauging Savings: USI Porcelain Panel Project Saves Time & Money

More than three decades ago, global tile manufacturers introduced through-body porcelain tile, and it quickly and seemingly became the industry’s cure-all. Being more molecularly compact than typical glazed ceramic tile, it offered the same durability and resistance to moisture, as did solid granite… and, at a lesser price-point. 

Over the years, porcelain formats morphed into gargantuan tile sizes as large as 36” x 48.” And these tiles were no longer just “through-body” versions. Advanced inkjet printing processes were developed that actually gave the tiles both “looks” and textures resulting in it being almost impossible to discern whether or not they were true natural materials. And, this printing procedure was no flimsy topcoat. Airports around the globe, for example, which have tens of thousands of people racing across their terminal floors pulling wheeled luggage on a daily basis, have been successful with their specification of HD printed, porcelain flooring. 

So what was next in the world of porcellanato? In the last few years, a new phenomenon has appeared, now termed “gauged porcelain panels.” These are extremely large tile slabs, produced with fine porcelain clay, manufactured to minimal tile thickness without compromising the performance levels inherent to porcelain tile. Visionary architects are specifying this material for a myriad of applications, including to be installed directly over existing tile (which means the arduous, messy, time-consuming and disruptive process of removing ceramic tile can be eliminated), as monolithic-appearing wall applications… and, even to perform as exterior cladding. Relative to vertical installations, one of the few disadvantages of “regular” porcelain tile is weight. Gauged porcelain panels have become the ideal alternative, because when installed correctly, due to having much lighter weight, various structural components can be reduced… saving a great deal of installation time and out-of-pocket money. A good example of this took place recently at the University of Southern Indiana’s Health & Professions Building. 

Crossville’s Laminam gauged porcelain panels were specified for this interior project, which consisted of 2,500 square feet of wall space for a commercial kitchen classroom. “Originally, we bid the job to be tiled using a traditional mortar system. Adam Abell, our Bostik representative, came in and asked if we would consider an alternative installation system that offered a host of benefits,” stated Danny Fulton, Vice President of Evansville, IN-based Fulton Tile & Stone. “We were ready to begin the project, but because of our strong rapport with Adam, we granted him some presentation time that included having our Crossville representative, Tony Davis attending along with our team. I had no idea of what Bosti-Set™ was… or, what it could do. But in retrospect, granting Adam time to showcase his new product proved be one of the best decisions we’ve made in a long time!” 

Abell demonstrated how projects calling for gauged porcelain panels could be installed in roughly half the time, even with a smaller crew. He showed how Bosti-Set™ immediately grabbed porcelain tile panels in a single coat, did not allow any sag, yet made it possible for these panels to be “reposition-able” for at least 30 minutes. “As a business owner, I’m always looking for efficiencies that are timesaving and ultimately, cost saving,” added Fulton. “So ultimately, we decided to work with this newer product. 

“We had a lot to learn,” Fulton continued, “as the panels basically had to be ‘picked up’ using suction cups with aluminum spines, not unlike the way glass panels are installed. A single layer of adhesive is troweled only onto the back of the panel, cutting the square footage necessary to trowel in half. This also cuts down on weight… and, deadline stress on our installers.”

Fulton went on to state that he was so captivated by this project… he actually put on his accountant’s hat and followed every single step to measure the overall savings. “There is no mixing needed with this system,” he mentioned. “It’s just ‘open and go.’ Other systems require a 50 lb. bag of thin-set per panel. This project had 70 panels to install, and I estimated that without mixing, we could roughly save 30 minutes per panel on the installation alone, not to mention the mixing time and chasing water that was completely eliminated. Ultimately, for this 2,500 square foot project, even though Bosti-Set™ is a bit more costly than other products, we may have saved close to $5,000 just by using it. “And, that number is very conservative!” Fulton beamed.

He added that the project worked out so well, “Fulton Tile & Stone has begun to use Bosti-Set™ on a regular basis for other projects we have in the queue, including ‘phase two’ at the USI facility.”

Gauged porcelain panels have certainly become the rage. According to Martin Howard, Executive Vice President of David Allen Company and current President of the National Tile Contractors Association, “This newer product offering has been accepted in the marketplace because, in particular, architects and designers see the advantages offered by a large panel format that is much lighter in weight than other high-performance surfacing options. And due to their expansive size, there are less grout joints visible. That means a wall application, for example, can give the appearance of stone veneer at a lower price point, because single slab appearance is now possible.” 

“You can’t learn how to use the system overnight,” declared Fulton. “So, we decided to have all of our installers take as much time to learn this system as they needed. Both Bostik and Crossville helped us with educating our team at optimal levels. Generally in our business, some of the more seasoned installers want to stick with methods they’ve used in the past. I thoroughly understand that. But when we were able to prove to all our installers that not only was Bosti-Set™ easier to use… it allowed them to finish projects earlier and the move on to the next one…  I think they were all very much sold!”

Fulton Tile & Stone depends upon its major distributor, Louisville Tile for the great percentage of tile and sundry materials used in the many installations for which the firm is engaged. Don Kincaid, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Louisville Tile, believes gauged porcelain tile panels have a very, very bright future. “In particular for the commercial sector, these materials are gaining more and more acceptance. Designs calling for gauged porcelain, at this early stage of its existence, most likely are coming from savvy architectural designers who understand it doesn’t just add a monolithic look due to having minimal grout lines. It offers many more solutions, one being because it is so much lighter in weight than natural stone… it can be directly installed on vertical surfaces as a viable alternative. And, because of the realism generated by today’s amazing high-definition inkjet printing processes, very few people will not know the product isn’t an actual stone slab. 

“We also believe,” continued Kincaid, “that gauged panels will soon be specified on a regular basis for residential applications, one example being shower walls. Forward-minded installation professionals such as those at Fulton Tile & Stone, understand how glass panels are adhered to walls, and will continue to embrace the best ways in which to install these products.  Now that there is a product such as Bosti-Set™, which offers so many installation performance benefits, we at Louisville Tile are even more positive about this product category.”

Kincaid was also extremely positive about the University of Southern Indiana gauged porcelain panel project. “And why not?” he declared. “That’s my alma mater!”

 

 

 

Crossville Named an Eco-Leader by Green Builder Media

Crossville, Tennessee – Crossville, Inc. has been recognized as a 2018 Eco-Leader by Green Builder Media. The domestic tile manufacturer is featured among fourteen other Eco-Leader honorees in the current issue of Green Builder Magazine.

2018 GBM Eco-Leaders

Each year, Green Builder Media’s editorial team recognizes pioneering companies that are confronting environmental challenges in innovative ways. These companies are often renowned for developing sustainable products and creating manufacturing processes that reduce the environmental footprint, improve people’s lives, and enhance profitability. As a 2018 Eco-Leader, Crossville joins an elite list of previous winners including such companies as Siemens, Toyota Motor Corporation, Panasonic, Owens Corning, and LG Electronics.

“In our practices, processes, and products, we’re committed to improving the built environment and everyday experiences for employees, customers, and partners,” said Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing.

From its progressive manufacturing practices and sustainable products to a core commitment to improving the environment through innovation and unique partnerships, Crossville continues to be the industry leader in sustainability for the domestic tile industry.

For more information about Crossville’s sustainability practices and partnerships, visit crossvilleinc.com.

BELKNAP WHITE NOW DISTRIBUTING CROSSVILLE’S CONVERGENCE GLASS TILE COLLECTION

Mansfield, Massachusetts. The Belknap White Group (BWG), one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors, has announced it will be now distributing Crossville Ceramics’ Convergence Glass Tile Collection throughout all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and parts of upstate New York.

This stunning glass tile range is characterized by its “convergence of design and style.” Edge-grain woods cast as polished glass mosaics offer the unique look of wood grain with a lustrous sheen. Four neutral tone and four bright tone colors are available. Each mosaic sheet consists of nine mesh-mounted, 4” x 4” glass tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This is a product line that beautifully coordinates within interior design projects where the look of wood is part of the overall design theme,” stated Jane Twombly, Belknap White’s Director of Specifications. “The Convergence Collection uniquely combines the increasingly popular end-grain wood visual with the sophisticated brilliance of glass. The result is an outstanding visual statement in glass mosaics. We are very excited about introducing this line to architects and designers, as it offers them many ways to take their creativity to the next level.”

For samples and pricing, please contact The Belknap White Group at www.BelknapWhite.com.

 

The Italian Connection

Cersaie generates new products; NTCA Five Star Contractors review the show

By Lesley Goddin

The 30th edition of the annual Cersaie show attracted a record number of international visitors to Bologna in late September. Some of those international attendees were four NTCA Five Star Contractors who traveled to Bologna to tour the Laminam plant and powwow with Crossville and Laminam personnel. These contractors gave jobsite perspectives on installation methods and approaches to the new Laminam by Crossville reduced-thickness/thin tile Crossville is importing exclusively into the U.S. (see related story in the January 2013 issue).

One couldn’t be in Bologna and miss the show, so our four contractors – Dan Welch, Welch Tile, James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co., and Martin Howard and Chris Walker, with David Allen Company (DAC) –toured Cersaie, as well.

Contractors were thrilled with the opportunity to experience the international show, and to visit factories that produce innovative tile technology.

“I love going to Cersaie because I love Italian food, wine, cheese, cars, the countryside and history!” said DAC’s Martin Howard. “Oh yes, and then there are the beautiful tile, colors and design options that can turn one’s mind loose with creativity.

“Cersaie is definitely a buyers show, but the networking and contacts one can make are very beneficial,” Howard added. “It is possible to get an advance look at the next big look that’s coming or research new technologies like thin tile or ventilated façade systems.”

Another benefit of the show was the ability to compare construction similarities and differences as they relate to tile installation. DAC’s Chris Walker appreciated “the opportunity to view the work in progress modules being performed by skilled tile setters, which reinforced the difference between the U.S. methods and the European methods, since almost all substrates in Europe are mudbed.”

Dan Welch, a first-time visitor to Cersaie, was intrigued with lighted pre-manufactured expansion joints, as was James Woelfel, another first-timer, who said, “This could help in the U.S., as they add an architectural ingredient to necessary movement joints.” Of the show itself, Woelfel remarked, “I was very excited to go to Cersaie for the first time. The tile booths were more lavish than Coverings, as the show is much bigger.”

 

Trends

Seen on the Cersiae showroom floor were these major design trends, coming soon to a showroom near you:

  • Mix and match: patchwork tiles and varying color, size and material in one collection.
  • Antibacterial/self-cleaning and eco-friendly
  • Encaustic and majolica looks: bold solid colors and large sizes, patchwork effects and vintage encaustic looks, now created by high-tech printing
  • Planks: wood and cement looks dominate in this trend
  • Ceramic fabric and textile-derived aesthetics: plaid, silk, lace, tweed, damask and more can all be evoked by today’s tiles.
  • Installation made easy: new installation systems included clip systems for 2 cm thick porcelain tiles, quick-laying floors and monolithic porcelain slabs,  thick 20mm tiles which offer an incredibly high breakage load (up to 2,000 pounds) and can be dry-laid on grass, gravel, dirt, and cement without grout or adhesives.
  • Size matters: reduced-thickness/thin tiles and giant slabs are proliferating at an accelerated rate as acceptance of this new technology grows.
  • Digital printing: ink-jet technology continues to expand the possibilities for surface decoration.
  • Celebrity designers: artists, graphic designers and material architects are working with tile’s graphic potential and synergy with fixtures and accessories.

The next Cersaie show in Bologna will be September 24-28, 2013. Visit www.cersaie.it/eng/ for more information about the show.

Crossville Launches “Limestone” Porcelain Tile Collection

Crossville, Inc. has announced the introduction of Limestone, a new porcelain tile collection that captures the appearance of the natural stone from which it borrows its name. The product takes inspiration from samplings of limestone mined from quarries across the globe—echoing the soft, Old World elegance that has made the stone’s look popular for generations.

According to Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s Vice President of Marketing, Limestone was developed with an array of design elements to offer targeted appeal to commercial and residential markets.

“Limestone is a hybrid product line. We were intentional in the development of colors and sizes so this line is well-suited for commercial and residential applications—for floors and walls,” she explains.

The line comes in a spectrum of five earthen hues ranging from light to dark—Sant Andrea, Lipika, Camel, Pierre Brune and Midnight. Gently punctuated with genuine stone detailing, the colors can serve as subdued, sophisticated backdrops of singular tone or may be mingled to create focal points and striking design elements on interior floors and walls, as well as vertical surfaces outside.

Field tiles are available in a broad range of sizes: 8″x8”, 8”x16”, 16”x16” and 16″x24″ with 4″x24″ bullnose trim. Coordinating accent pieces, available in all colorways, include 2”x4” tumbled mosaics, 3”x6” tumbled subway tiles and 2”x2” diamonds. As part of Crossville’s “Get Planked” program, Limestone may be cut into custom plank sizes with no minimum order requirements. With this thorough selection of sizes, Limestone is suited for floor-to-wall installations that provide a coordinated, seamless look.

Manufactured in the U.S. with Crossville’s EcoCycle Tile ProcessTM, Limestone contains a minimum of 20% pre-consumer recycled content and is Green Squared certified through the Tile Council of North America for its proven standards of sustainability.

“This collection is low maintenance without sacrificing aesthetics and stays true to our commitment to sustainability. We know these are key points for commercial and residential customers alike,” Waldrep says.

She also reports that Limestone is the first product to be launched under Crossville’s new strategy for in-field samples and marketing materials. All Limestone materials feature updated visual branding in keeping with new campaigns, and the sample book for Limestone is designed in a streamlined size format in response to feedback from the market.

“We trimmed the sample book in width and height so it takes less space in an A&D library yet doesn’t skimp on showing the product or sharing pertinent details. In its design and marketing, Limestone is a reflection of our knowledge and responsiveness to the marketplace.”

For more information on Limestone or to learn about Crossville’s product marketing solutions, visit crossvilleinc.com.

Garden State Tile to Hold Laminam By Crossville Launch Event on Thurs., Oct. 11th

Unveiling of Innovative Large Format Porcelain Panels for A&D Community
— Open House & Presentation Part of DESIGNPHILADELPHIA Festival —

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Regional tile distributor Garden State Tile (GST) will host the Laminam by Crossville Launch Event at its new, state-of-the-art Architectural & Design Center in Philadelphia in conjunction with the DesignPhiladelphia festival. The event will take place on Thursday, October 11th, with an open house from 5 – 8 p.m. and a presentation at 6 p.m. GST’s Architectural & Design Center is located at 2401 Walnut Street. The event is free and open to the public.
Billed as “large format porcelain panels,” Laminam by Crossville products are just 3mm thick with outer dimensions of 1m x 3m. The lean profile combined with generously sized panels creates a versatile surface skin ideal for giving walls, doors, counters and cabinetry a nearly seamless appearance. Lightweight yet very durable, these porcelain panels expand the possibilities for tile applications for both commercial and residential use. Garden State Tile is the exclusive source for Laminam by Crossville in the metro Philadelphia area.
The Laminam by Crossville event is being held as part of the annual DesignPhiladelphia, a four-day festival celebrating the region’s design industries at work and the city’s contemporary significance as a center for creative innovation and advancement.
For more details on Garden State Tile’s Laminam by Crossville Launch Event or any DesignPhiladelphia festival activities, visit events.designphiladelphia.org.
Members of the media are invited to attend and may request interviews and showroom tours by contacting Irene Williams at [email protected].
About Garden State Tile
Garden State Tile (GST) is a tile distributor with 10 design centers located throughout the eastern U.S. The company is built on the idea that people make all the difference, and its service and design expertise has defined its reputation since GST first opened for business more than 50 years ago. Grounded in a long tradition of supplying the highest quality tile products and service, Garden State Tile offers guidance, education and consultation to its customers, including interior designers, architects, retailers and product specifiers for national accounts.
In 2011, GST opened its 5,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Architectural & Design Center located at 2401 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA, giving a spatial showcasing of premium porcelain, stone, ceramic, glass tile and much more.
For more details, visit gstile.com.
About Crossville Inc.
Founded in 1986, Crossville Inc. is a U.S.-owned and operated manufacturer of award-winning tile collections for residential and contract applications. The company is the first U.S. tile manufacturer to achieve the following: – production of large format tile on site, – manufacturing tile with certified recycled content, – development of the Tile Take-Back® Program for recycling fired porcelain tile – certification of its waste recycling programs – TCNA’s Green Squared certification for all of its U.S.-produced tile lines, – become a net consumer of waste.
For more information on Crossville, visit crossvilleinc.com.
About Laminam by Crossville
Laminam by Crossville is Crossville, Inc.‘s exclusive U.S. distributorship of select thin panel porcelain products manufactured by Laminam S.p.A., the world leader in the production of large format, lean profile ceramic surfacing products. A consolidated division of Systems Group, Laminam S.p.A. utilizes an advanced, fully automated production process to create large and lean profile ceramic and porcelain slab products available worldwide.
For more details, visit LaminamByCrossville.com