Fiandre announces new Italian marble looks and stone effects collections

(Chicago, IL – November 2020) – Fiandre, part of the Iris Ceramica Group, introduces new colors and finishes in the Maximum Marmi premium Italian porcelain collection: Alpi Chiaro Venato, Verde Fantastico, Irish Green, Invisible, and Apuano Purissimo.  Ariostea’s NEXT collection and Porcelain Gres’ LOFT collection are new color ranges in the Stone Effects categories. Debuting for the first time in the U.S., these new high tech architectural surfaces include the latest in Fiandre’s advanced technology and manufacturing capabilities and years of continuous research. 

white marble look floor with prominent black veining
Fiandre’s Invisible

Invisible’s surface is dominated by a pure white background traversed by a web of gray veins, from thick to fine, mottled with golden accents. The polished and honed finishes enhance the beauty of Invisible’s surface even more, with its attention to detail and extraordinary realism. 

marble look floor with delicate veining
Fiandre’s Apuano Purissimo

Apuano Purissimo’s characteristic white background intersperses with very light gray veins that fade into shaded areas. Apuano Purissimo is a surface of unparalleled elegance, appreciated for its particular brightness and exclusivity that make it ideal for the most luxurious environments. 

Verde Fantastico’s new exotic texture is reminiscent of classic Iranian refinement. Verde Fantastico features a dark green background, covered with white, brown and ocher details that create a snake skin motif reminiscent of the rainforest.

dark green marble look tile panels
Fiandre’s Verde Fantastico
bright green marble look floors
Fiandre’s Irish Green

The colors of the Irish landscapes are imprinted in all their enigmatic beauty in Irish Green. The bright green grass, brown earth, golden sand and gray Irish castles seem to come to life in this fascinating surface, proposing a marble defined as “savage beauty” by Oscar Wilde. The bright, almost acid green background features shades of cream, sepia, brown and gray interrupted by veins reminiscent of crystalline calcite. The diverse background features various shades of green from light to dark, enhanced by the polished finish. Irish Green is inspired by a rare and ancient marble with countless shades of green.

dark green marble look tile with white veining
Fiandre’s Alpi Chiaro Venato

Alpi Chiaro Venato is characterized by an intense green background with light and dark areas illuminated by white veins. The bright finish adds depth to the color and enhances its texture. Alpi Chiaro Venato is a timeless surface of unquestionable elegance that can be used both as cladding or flooring. 

Ariostea’s NEXT cement-look tile collection offers minimalistic style, versatility and ultra easy maintenance. The simple material appearance of concrete along with its contemporary architectural element par excellence, reflects the soul of NEXT. The stylish simplicity of the subtle shading makes it a discreet, versatile option for bringing character to settings and offering designers maximum freedom.

cement look large format tiles and panels
Ariostea’s NEXT cement-look tile

The variety of sizes, thickness and moisture resistant properties make NEXT suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas, embracing all kinds of project requirements and offering a wide range of uses:  floors and walls, surfaces to be walked or driven on, and sophisticated furnishings and design accessories. Colors available in the NEXT collection include Grey, Crete, Dark, Chalk, Greige, and Brick.

Porcelaingres’ Nordic-inspired LOFT collection is the perfect union of stone and cement. The solid heft of cement and the natural elegance of stone combine in a simple and modern, yet rich product speckled with iridescent, glittering particles that give character to the material.

large format tiles that combine the look of stone and cement
LOFT by Porcelainges

Made for both residential and public settings, LOFT is a versatile collection suitable for both interiors and exteriors. The collection is available in 100×100, 120×60, 60×60, 60×30 in two thicknesses, 6 mm, 8mm and 20 mm, and in four natural colors that perfectly complement the latest architectural trends- Loft Snow, Loft Sand, Loft Smoke, and Loft Dark.

Maximum Marmi’s large format 300×150 cm tiles allow large areas to be covered with a uniform cladding that further enhances the beauty of rooms, while the sub-formats offer the designer flexibility of application. The thickness of just 6 mm allows bespoke architectural elements and refined furnishing accessories to be designed, including stairs, doors, consoles, seats, tables and lamps that embellish interiors, creating total look environments.

The large 300×150 cm tile format and sub-formats also allow the cladding of facades, walls and floors of buildings, guaranteeing levels of performance that only porcelain stoneware can provide, including durability, resistance to mechanical stress and chemical attack, high absorption resistance and easy cleaning.

The new collections are now available for the U.S. market through the Fiandre Group’s own distributor, Transceramica as well as through its nationwide network of distributors. The sleek styles and surface solutions are engineered for both commercial and contemporary residential projects. The porcelain products will also soon be on display in Fiandre’s Chicago and NY showrooms.  For more information, visit or

Produced in Italy, the Maximum Marmi 120×60 large format sophisticated slabs are inspired by the fine veins, color variations, and elegant details. Fiandre’s Maximum Marmi collection of large format porcelain wall and floor solutions encourages the most ambitious architectural ideas and enhances the most exclusive furnishing installations for hospitality, commercial and residential settings. Produced in Italy, the Maximum Marmi 120×60 large format sophisticated slabs are inspired by the fine veins, color variations, and elegant details found in very rare marble quarries. The collection is available in the following dimensions, in polished or semi-polished finishes: 120”x60”, 120”x40”, 60”x60”, 60”x40”, 40”x40”, 60”x30”, 30”x30”, and 30”x15”. 

Sustainability is a key principle of Fiandre’s philosophy

Fiandre’s commitment to environmental issues and its sustainability positioning distinguishes the brand in the global porcelain and ceramic marketplace. The pureness of the raw materials along with the most advanced technology and continuous study of aesthetic design trends ensures long-lasting products. Recognized globally for its environmental commitment and certifications: ISO 1400, EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) and over 250 Fiandre materials are LEED certified.

For more information about the group’s collections, visit 

For sample requests, email [email protected] 

ABC: Construction Unemployment Rates Down in 20 States, Showing Regional Improvements in Jobs Numbers

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. logo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3—Like most of the economy, construction, and therefore construction employment, was hit hard by the spread of COVID-19 and measures to limit the pandemic. However, construction performed better than many other occupational groups and has been relatively quick to rebound, though not back to its pre-COVID-19 levels, according to a state-by-state analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors.Since February, 20 states had lower estimated construction unemployment rates in September even as the national construction unemployment rate was up by 1.6%, due to local market variances.

See graphs of overall unemployment rates (Tab 1) and construction unemployment rates (Tab 2) showing the impact of the pandemic, including a new graphing tool that creates a chart for multiple states; alphabetical lists and rankings; and monthly and annual state unemployment rates.

“After many bumps and bruises, construction has proven to be one of the better performing sectors of the economy over a difficult period. Overall, as of September, about half of the states suffered from construction job losses, while work in several areas remained steady,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “Construction has generally done a good job of taking measures to protect its workers from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The impact on construction activity comes more from local increases in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain these outbreaks.”

2020 Decline in Construction Employment, Compared to 2019: In February, on a year-over-year basis, not seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rates fell nationally and in 37 states, rose in 12 states and were unchanged in one state (New Hampshire), and national NSA construction employment was 214,000 higher than in February 2019—signifying a robust job market.

In March, the early effects of the spread of the disease and local restrictions began to appear. Only eight states had a lower construction unemployment rate than in March 2019, 41 states were higher, and one state was unchanged (Indiana). At the same time, 16 states had a rate lower than in February. Meanwhile, national NSA construction employment was still up by 125,000 from March 2019.By April and May, a period when construction typically ramps up, the pain was being felt throughout the country. All 50 states had higher construction unemployment rates than in the same month in 2019. Over that same time frame, construction employment dropped 912,000 in April and 464,000 in May from the year before.

In June and July, construction unemployment rates were up from the same month the previous year in 49 states and were lower in just one state (Kentucky, both months). Construction employment was down 334,000 in June and 326,000 in July from the previous year.

In August and September, once more, all 50 states had higher estimated construction unemployment rates than the same month in 2019. Over the same period, construction employment fell 299,000 in August and 285,000 in September.

From February to September, the national NSA construction unemployment rate went from 5.5% in February to a peak of 16.6% in April to 7.1% in September, its lowest post-February rate, according to BLS numbers.

Recent Month-to-Month Fluctuations: Because these industry-specific rates are not seasonally adjusted, national and state-level unemployment rates are best evaluated on a year-over-year basis. However, in the current situation, with fast-changing events, month-to-month comparisons are useful, but extra care should be used in looking at those numbers.

The national NSA construction unemployment rate was down 0.5% from August to September. Since the data series began in 2000, the historical pattern of change in rates from August has been ambiguous, with nine increases, nine decreases and two unchanged prior to this year. Among the states, 35 had lower estimated construction unemployment rates than in August, while 13 were higher and two were unchanged (Connecticut and Indiana).

The Top Five States: The states with the lowest September estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  • South Dakota, 2.9%
  • Missouri, 3%
  • North Carolina, 3.3%
  • Nebraska and Utah, 3.4%

Three of these states—North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah—were in the top five in August. South Dakota had the lowest rate in September, up from third lowest in August.Missouri had the second lowest rate in September, up from tied with Wyoming for the 14th lowest rate the previous month.North Carolina had the third lowest rate in September, down from the second lowest rate in August. Nebraska and Utah tied for the fourth lowest rate in September. For Utah, this was down from lowest in August, while for Nebraska, it was up from seventh lowest.

Most Improved Since February: Top Five States: The top five states whose NSA construction unemployment rates were down the most since February in order from largest to smallest change were:

  • West Virginia, -5.3%
  • Alaska, -4.1%
  • Kentucky and Maine (tie), -3.9%
  • Montana, -2.5%

Note that three of these states—Alaska, Maine and Montana—are cold-weather states where February weather often means an elevated construction unemployment rate. However, Montana posted its second lowest February construction unemployment rate since the beginning of estimates in 2000. Warmer-than-normal weather likely played a part in the jobs growth, as well as the state’s strong energy and forestry sectors where unemployed construction workers can generally find work.

West Virginia has suffered from high construction unemployment rates during the past several years, but saw some overall improvement in this measure in the last year or so. Given the state’s mountainous geography, it often experiences a high construction unemployment rate in February due to weather conditions. From May through September, with the exception of August, the state increased construction employment every month. Although an improvement, September’s rate remains high for the state by historical standards.

All these states have relatively low overall unemployment rates. This suggests that for those who cannot find employment in construction, jobs may be available in other sectors of the economy. There is also the possibility that some unemployed construction workers have retired, gone on disability or stopped looking for work altogether, which would mean they are not counted as unemployed.

The Bottom Five States: The states with the highest September estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest were:

  • Ohio, 11.2%
  • Michigan, 11.3%
  • Massachusetts, 13.4%
  • Rhode Island, 21.2%
  • Hawaii, 24.6%

All five of these states were also in the bottom five in August. Hawaii had the highest estimated construction unemployment rate in September compared to second highest in August. (Note that the unemployment rate for Hawaii is for construction, mining and logging combined.)

Rhode Island had the second highest rate in September compared to the highest in August. Massachusetts had the third highest rate in September for the fourth consecutive month.

Michigan had the fourth highest rate in September compared to a tie with Ohio for fifth highest in August. For the second month in a row, Ohio had the fifth highest rate in August.

Least Improved Since February: Bottom Five States: The bottom five states whose NSA construction unemployment rates were up the most since February in order from smallest to largest increase were:

  • California, 3.4%
  • Nevada, 5.3%
  • Massachusetts, 5.4%
  • Rhode Island, 7.1%
  • Hawaii, 17.9%

Hawaii, again a state whose unemployment rate is for construction, mining and logging combined, has suffered the worst setback. It was doing reasonably well in February with a somewhat low construction unemployment rate for the state. The pandemic and reaction to it hit the state hard with travel, and consequently tourism (both domestic and foreign), suffering severe damage. As a result, construction felt the fallout. Both the overall and construction unemployment rates shot up and, although they have fallen somewhat, remain high. With little work available on the mainland (particularly the West Coast), the usual safety valve of traveling for employment when construction in Hawaii falters was not available this time.

February and March are normally difficult for Rhode Island due to the weather. Despite warmer-than-normal temperatures in early 2020, the coronavirus hit the state’s construction industry particularly hard, rocketing its construction unemployment rate in April. Since then, there has been continual but slow improvement, still leaving the rate 7.1% higher than in February.

Like Rhode Island, Massachusetts was doing well early in the year, posting its lowest January and February NSA construction unemployment rates on record. This even continued into March with its second lowest rate on record. Both states saw increased monthly construction employment from May through August. As with Rhode Island, Massachusetts’ construction industry was hit hard in April, sending its construction unemployment rate soaring. Since then, the state has experienced steady progress lowering that unemployment rate. Still, its September rate was 5.4% above February’s rate. With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, the progress the state has made may be reversed over the next few months.

California and Nevada have both suffered from widespread wildfires, adding to the slowdown in construction due to the pandemic. Both states had thriving construction activity at the beginning of the year, with each posting its lowest construction unemployment rate on record in January and February. Rates rose in March and peaked in April. Since then, rates have been on a downward trajectory but remain high by historical standards. Presumably, some unemployed construction workers found employment fighting the wildfires.To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.Visit for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, GDP and the Producer Price Index. 

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at   

Walls, floors and showers get upgrades in majority of bathroom refreshes, Houzz study finds

The Houzz 2020 Bathroom Trends Study reveals popular features, styles and colors

Wall finishes, floors and showers are near the top of the list of features targeted in bathroom renovations, according to a recent Houzz study. 
Rachel Loewen ©2019 Houzz

Wall finishes, floors and showers – all target areas for the use of tile in a bathroom – tie at 83% of upgrades in a home bathroom, coming in second only to faucets at 87%, according to the 2020 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. 79% of homeowners seek new countertops in bathroom renovations – another perfect application for porcelain slab or engineered stone. The study surveys nearly 1,600 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning, or recently completed a master bathroom renovation.

An old or outdated space is by far the leading pet peeve for homeowners prior to a master bathroom renovation (69%, up from 59% in 2019), according to the study. Nearly nine in 10 renovating homeowners change the style of their master bathrooms as one way to bring it up to date (89%), with modern leading the way (20%), followed by transitional and contemporary (18%, each). 

Insufficient storage, small showers, poor lighting and limited counter space are among homeowners’ other leading grievances (34%, 34%, 29% and 25, respectively). These coincide with the features most often upgraded during a master bathroom renovation including showers, light fixtures, countertops and vanity cabinets (83%, 80%, 79% and 74%, respectively). To address small showers, a majority of homeowners renovating their master bathrooms are increasing the size of their showers (54%), more than twice as many as those choosing to increase their bathroom’s overall size (20%). 

“We’re seeing that spending so much time at home is bringing a functional, beautiful bathroom to the top of the priority list for many homeowners,” said Liza Hausman, Houzz vice president of Industry Marketing. “They’re enlisting home professionals to bring bathrooms up to date with more current styles, and upgraded features like storage and lighting.”

More than four in five homeowners hired a professional to help with their master bathroom project (82%). General contractors were enlisted most often (43%), though renovating homeowners also hire specialists including bathroom remodelers and bathroom designers (20% and 12%, respectively). 

Bathroom renovations continue to command significant investment, with homeowners undergoing a major remodel, including a shower update, spending three times more than those doing minor remodels and leaving the shower as is (median spend of $14,000 versus $4,500). Bathroom size also impacts budget. Homeowners who remodel a master bathroom larger than 100 sq.ft. have a median spend of $7,000 more than those with a bathroom smaller than 100 sq.ft. ($17,000 versus $10,000, respectively). That said, the median national spend on master bathroom remodels is $8,000. 

Renovators are replacing vanity countertops in 79% of bathroom refreshes. 
Rachel Loewen ©2019 Houzz

Top trends

Additional bathroom trends from the study include:

Designing for R&R: Two in 5 renovating homeowners report using their bathroom to rest and relax (41%). The bathtub and shower are equally important features, with 55% of renovators saying soaking in the tub helps them to relax and 54% enjoying long showers. 

Bathtub soakingis down seven percentage points from last year, which might explain why only 10% of renovators are adding a bathtub (down two percentage points from 2019). In fact, renovators often opt to remove tubs in favor of enlarged showers. Those who do replace tubs most often (53%) choose flat-bottom, freestanding tubs, with deck-mounted tubs falling out of favor. Acrylic tops the material list for tubs (55%), with fiberglass falling five percentage points to 14%, while ceramic or porcelain increased six percentage points to 11% from 2019. 

Showers and bathtubs are nearly equally important in bathroom renovations, with many homeowners opting for larger showers over tubs, and those who choose tubs selecting freestanding flat-bottom models. 
Rachel Loewen ©2019 Houzz
Porcelain or ceramic is the favorite for shower walls among 70% of respondents; 59% choose these materials for bathroom floors outside the shower as well. 
Angela Flournoy ©2018 Houzz

Ceramic and porcelain rule for shower floors and walls: For those tackling shower walls, 70% favor ceramic or porcelain for wall finishes, up four percentage points from 2019. A majority of homeowners (56%) choose ceramic or porcelain for shower floors too. Marble comes in second for walls but only at 15%, and 13% for floors, the latter down five percentage points from 2019. Paint is the favorite for walls outside of showers (77%) but ceramic or porcelain bathroom walls come in next at 26%. Ceramic or porcelain is the runaway favorite for floors outside showers (59%), though it’s dipped four percentage points from 2019, with vinyl/resilient increasing four percentage points to 11%. 

Light and bright: White continues to be the top choice in master bathroom colors, with more than half of homeowners choosing white countertops (51%) and a significant portion opting for white walls both inside and outside of the shower (45% and 32%, respectively). 

Surface material distinguishes accent walls: More than a third of homeowners add or upgrade an accent wall during a master bathroom renovation (37%). Top colors include white (23%, up from 15% in 2019), followed by gray (21%) and blue (19%). Many use surface material to distinguish accent walls (51%, up seven percentage points from 2019), while standout color, pattern, and texture are also popular (45%, 41% and 28%, respectively). 

Customized, built-in and floating vanities abound: Of the three quarters of renovating homeowners who upgrade their vanity (74%), the majority choose to go with custom or semi-custom options (36% and 21%, respectively). Vanities are twice as likely to be built-in as opposed to freestanding (56% versus 28%, respectively), and floating vanities are growing in popularity (15% in 2020 versus 11%
in 2019).

Lighting features are key: Among the eight in 10 renovating homeowners who update light fixtures during their master bathroom renovation, wall lights and recessed lights remain the favorites (58% and 55%, respectively), followed by lighted mirrors and pendant lights (17% and 15%, respectively). Six percent install under-cabinet lights, likely tied to the popularity of floating vanities.

Installing many lit mirrors: Of the three in four homeowners who install new mirrors during a master bathroom renovation (77%), more than half install two or more mirrors (62%). The percentage of renovators installing three or more mirrors is growing (10%, compared with 7% in 2019). One in five renovators also install LED lighting in their mirrors, a significant increase from 2019 (20% versus 14%, respectively).

Touch-Free features on the rise: Nearly half of all new faucets and one-third of toilets (48% and 34%, respectively) include high-tech features. Water efficiency is the leading faucet technology (28%), but a growing percentage of faucets offers touch-only or touch-free activation (5%, up two percentage points from 2019). Nearly one in five homeowners who upgrade their toilet add a seat with a bidet (17%), up four percentage points from 2019. 

You can download the full 2020 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study here.

Please credit “Rachel Loewen © 2019 Houzz” for all photos, except for the Angela Flournoy photo. 

The “U.S. Bathroom Trends Study” is an online survey fielded to U.S. Houzz users between June and July 2020.

NAC yearly calendar: join the tradition

Do you have a fascination with classic cars and vehicle restoration? So did NAC’s founder, Tom Duve! In celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary in 2013, it started its “Classic Vehicles from the Flooring Industry” calendar as a way to recognize the hobby and share the cool and inspirational stories about classic vehicle restoration with people in the industry. This calendar is now an annual tradition that NAC is happy to share with you.

NAC creates this calendar as a thank you to those who make it proud to be NAC: dedicated customers, industry associates and new relationships. Request a calendar today, explore NAC’s past calendars or send in your classic car photos – you may just see it in next year’s calendar!

Contact Dave Hanna at [email protected][email protected] for details on submitting your car for consideration!

The 2021 edition is available for download here.

Use of digital tools: the new normal in construction

(PresseBox) ( MALMÖ/ Munich, 25.11.20) — A study carried out by BIMobject with surveys of more than 2,500professionals in the Architectural, Planning and Design (AECO)sector reveals how digitalization has accelerated in the sector due to the COVID-19 crisis. New digital tools are now a foundation with 61% saying this will be part of their basic workpost-pandemic with the concept of construction fair changed for good.

Since the advent of the pandemic, the world has seen a breakthrough in the adoption of digitization like never before. From one day to the next, companies all over the world have been forced to implement teleworking, videoconferencing or e-commerce in order to maintain their activities.

In this sense, the construction sector, one of the most traditional in terms of digitalization and the adoption of new tools, has been no exception. According to a study carried out by the BIM content platform for the construction sector, BIMobject , in which the responses of more than 2,500 professionals from the AECO sector were collected, more than half stated that their work had become “much more digital” since the beginning of the pandemic.

Not only that, but 61% expect to use even more digital tools after the COVID-19 crisis. This advance in the use of digital tools by professionals in the sector such as architects and engineers corresponds to the figures recorded by Autodesk, collected in the study published by BIMobject. According to the company’s own data, the number of subscribers in Europe has increased by 350% worldwide since the start of the pandemic.

The post-COVID construction fairs

One of the biggest blows the sector has experienced this year has been the cancellation of multiple construction fairs throughout the world. From Coverings in New Orleans to Salone del Mobile in Milan, BAU in Munich or BIMexpo in Madrid. The impossibility of holding large scale events, due to the strict measures implemented by the various health authorities, has cut short the plans of thousands of construction material manufacturers who were planning to present and promote their new products at these fairs.

The big question is – will the fairs return to normal? Recent news about the development of new vaccines seems to shed light on a scenario that was looking rather bleak. Many fairs, such as the next BAU in 2021, are already converting their exhibitions into hybrid events in order to accommodate all attendees, either in person or virtually, while respecting the corresponding security measures.

However, according to the survey carried out by BIMobject, only 7% of professionals in the AECO sector would be willing to attend an industry event today. According to the data collected, 45% of those surveyed attended these events mainly to attend conferences and receive training. Only 25% of industry professionals attended these events to discover new products, something they now do mainly through online search engines.

Digitization is making its way into the construction industry, not only because of COVID, but also because of the need to create more efficient and sustainable processes. With this data on the table, it is now up to the companies in the sector to decide how to redirect their marketing strategies towards a more digital and interactive environment.

LINK to download of the full report:

Clemson University Online offers Applied Drone Technology Course for General and Specialty Contractors

The Applied Drone Technology course, offered through Clemson Online, provides a comprehensive curriculum for contractors to start using this technology safely and profitably.  This course is  taught by one of the foremost drone educators in the country.  Dr. Joseph Burgett is a tenured professor at Clemson University and has extensive experience in the field.  He is a licensed General Contractor and specifically developed this course for general and specialty contractors. 

With 40 hours of material, you’ll learn everything you need to; 1) start saving time, 2) reduce risk, 3) improve logistics and 4) increase efficiency. 

This applied drone course, offered by Clemson University Online, has been developed for general and specialty contractors.

  Click Here for a Video Overview 

Enrollment Fee Includes:

  • Simulator software
  • Simulator controller 3D modeling software
  • FAA study guide
  • FAA test supplement booklet
  • 40 hours of material and activities

Those enrolled will:

  • Earn their Part 107 FAA Remote Pilots Certificate
  • Create 3D models, topographical surveys with incorporated ground control points and stich photos together. (software included) 
  • Quantity take offs such as earthwork volumes 
  • Use our drone simulator to practice flying (software and controller provided)
  • Know how to identify FAA airspace
  • Understand the FAA rules for drone use
  • Much more

Click the link below for more information    

Introducing new product sourcing and distribution opportunities from The International Surface Event

Now more than ever The International Surface Event (TISE): SURFACES | StonExpo/Marmomac | TileExpo is dedicated to being the premiere floor covering, stone, and tile product distribution network for the industry. In an effort to provide new opportunities for our communities to connect and grow, TISE has implemented a “lift and shift” planning program which has a host of opportunities available to ensure all manufacturers, as well as industry buyers, have the maximum opportunity for product distribution, sourcing, networking, and learning. TISE is excited to announce it has expanded its product distribution network with some of these opportunities incorporating the Las Vegas landmark event (TISE Las Vegas), a new virtual experience (TISE Live Virtual Event), and an online broadcasting network (TISE TV). 
TISE LAS VEGAS | JUNE 16-18, 2021
The landmark TISE event, TISE Las Vegas, which normally occurs in January each year, will occur in June for 2021 offering buyers the opportunity to be face-to-face with their business associates and their industry friends. See the newest products, have in-person conversations, and enjoy a special buying experience. Plus, for the first time ever in TISE’s history, the event will be occurring in summer so visitors can take advantage of all of the fun seasonal and outdoor opportunities Las Vegas has to offer while at the event. Exciting new features are being developed for the Las Vegas event, so watch for updates at

TISE LIVE VIRTUAL EVENT | January 26-28, 2021
Occurring this upcoming January over the original TISE event dates is the new TISE Live Virtual Event.This unique industry event will GO LIVE online with the future of floor covering, stone, and tile surfaces for 2021 offering attendees the opportunity to connect and preview products while enjoying creative, immersive online experiences. Join us for three packed days of product-focused live meetings, education, product pitch videos, and unique, fun content and activities, January 26-28, 2021. 
Presenting sponsor | Mannington Mills, Registration sponsor | Phenix Flooring.

TISE TV | Airing episodes all year long
TISE has partnered with the Live Broadcast Network (LBN) to bring the industry a whole new floor covering, stone, and tile shopping and product sourcing experience: the TISE TV Broadcasting Network, streaming all original product programming on Facebook. Episodes will also be available through Google Tv, Youtube, and LInkedIn. Plus, after ariring, episodes are available on demand and sharable with customers. The first episodes from Mannington Mills and Kardean Designflooring are in production now and will be launching as weekly webisodes starting in December. Watch for the TV Guide coming online to preview air dates and follow us on Facebook to ensure you get the live feed updates when the episodes air. TISE TV is an opportunity to watch product introductions and connect with the presenting manufacturers live from anywhere in the world. 

There is so much to look forward to as the TISE team rolls out these product sourcing opportunities and new programs for the upcoming year. Manufacturers interested in participating in any of the above programs should contact the TISE team. Industry professionals should watch for updates and news on all of these programs, and maybe even a few more, in the coming months! Make sure to sign up for the event newsletters and follow the event on social media to stay abreast of industry and event news.

BIANCO: Combining award-worthy design with the taste of Italy

In this space, the marble serves as artwork for the “wall art.”

Bianco is a gorgeous restaurant serving mouthwatering Italian cuisine in the heart of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Natural lighting shines in from floor-to-ceiling windows, industrial touches play off the concrete flooring, and stunning Daltile Carrara Gioia marble slabs create a seamless and uniquely elegant experience as the dressing for an exquisite dining experience.

A new addition to the downtown Edmonton scene, Bianco is nothing short than a labor of love. Every detail in the beautiful, Italian eatery is part of its thoughtful and intentional design. Every countertop, table top and wall serving area features beautiful Carrara Gioia marble slabs from Daltile.

Sid Assaf of OCI Architecture, part of the design and architecture team behind Bianco, custom designed every aspect of the space from the windows, to the lighting, as well as suggestions for space utilization. “Bianco is one of the two newest and nicest spaces in Edmonton,” Assaf said. “Literally everything from A to Z was customized. I didn’t want someone to get cheated from seeing the room, so every single seat in the restaurant has a unique view and a different experience. I didn’t want the eating experience to be repetitive and for a patron to experience everything in one visit.”

Assaf was also in charge of the renovation of the tower that Bianco is in and his firm has moved its office to the tower as well. “People are going to start accusing me of building this tower for myself, with all the beautiful features and delicious food nearby.”

The tabletops featured here were custom made with Daltile marble slabs.

Joe Viana, one of the co-owners of Bianco, knows a thing or two about good food and beautiful design. He has exclusively used Daltile products in his restaurants for the last 25 years. Bianco, sister restaurant to the acclaimed Rosso Pizzeria, has a special personality from his other establishments.

“When my brother first came to me, we initially talked about using a marbleized quartz, but when we talked application and where the product was going to be used, we decided to go with natural stone,” said Roy Viana, Joe’s brother and director of the slab division for Daltile. “I’ve been in the natural stone/countertop business for more than 25 years. I essentially live and breathe countertop products.”

“My brother is very particular and has owned a few restaurants,” Roy continued, “but I knew this restaurant was going to be different just due to the number of questions he asked me relating to stone and countertops. In this particular case, the white Carrara Gioia was not just the best choice, but also the better cost option – although cost didn’t play a role in the decision. My brother was looking for a certain look and feel. All I did was walk him through certain products and how they perform. When he told me that some of the application areas would be interior and exterior walls and feature areas, that’s when I suggested Carrara Gioia and he decided to use the marble from Italy.”

From wallcoverings to tabletops, Daltile’s natural stone slabs in Carrara Gioia fill the space in Bianco’s dining area.

“Obviously it’s an Italian restaurant and we wanted to make it feel very Italian, in addition to functional and clean. That’s why we used the Carrara Gioia,” Joe added. “The stone is really good for restaurants and we used it for every countertop – from the bar and pasta station to all the tables. In restaurants, three marble slabs count as a lot. We used 26 slabs in the restaurant. Filippo Maiorana, who did the installation and has been working in the industry for 35 years, told me that this is the most marble he’s ever used in one fitting.”

Maiorana Stone manages delivery and installation challenges for slabs

Every slab was consistent in hone and veining, which made the finished installation look like it was all cut from one block of marble.

Maiorana describes himself as a stone purist in the sense that he loves natural material – especially marble. “Marble is delicate and there is a different scope of parameters when working with such a beautiful, soft stone. In general, marble is tougher to install because it is more fragile and therefore likely to break.”

“This was one of the more detailed and difficult projects undertaken by Maiorana Stone Inc.,” Maiorana said. “It happened in the dead of winter in -31°C, and Joe and Dave (Manna, co-owner of Bianco) had requested some of the slabs to be cut with sharp mitered corners so the pieces would fit together seamlessly. You have to have a lot of patience to complete a delivery like that without damaging any of the materials. The hardest part was preparing the slabs for the main feature bar, which is U-shaped, and has this waterfall detail that wraps all the way around. It was an extensive process because there were so many pieces to line up and fit together,” Maiorana explained.

“However, once we got the marble onsite, the installation process was a lot easier,” Maiorana continued. “The quality was excellent and very consistent. Every slab was consistent in hone and veining. It made the finished installations seamless and look like it was all cut from one block of marble. It looks very natural and planned. This is not always the case with Carrara, as it can vary from slab to slab. This product was excellent.”

Twenty-six marble slabs were used throughout the restaurant.

Captivating Carrara

“Have you ever been to Italy and seen the Statue of David?” Joe Viana asked. “That’s Carrara. Carrara is something that is exclusive to Italy. You can’t get white marble with that same look from anywhere else. When you see it, you know it’s Italian.”

Natural stone slabs were the perfect choice for the wall and counter applications of the pasta-making station since they involve an easy clean-up process.

“I had two goals in mind when designing this space,” said Assaf, who was part of the design and architectural team working on Bianco’s renovation. “First, when I went into the space, I was struck by how stark and how prevalent concrete was. This space had belonged to another restaurant that had been demolished 10 years prior and had concrete ceilings, walls, and flooring. Nobody had used this space in 10 years. Now, I love concrete, but I wanted to make the concrete feel warm, while keeping the renovation cost-effective. My second goal was to create not just a warm space, but also make it inviting enough to make patrons want to stay a long time.”

Daltile has had a similar effect on Joe. “Twenty-five years ago, I started using Daltile products in my restaurants. Those products are still there today, even in the ones I no longer own. My first experience was very good, and the service from the people at the warehouse in Edmonton kept me coming back. Whenever I need help, I can just call the manager and say ‘Hey Tasha, I need 40 more square feet of the octagonal tile’ and she will quickly order it in from Calgary and it will be here in Edmonton just a few days later. It’s wonderful that Daltile has its very own stone division because I don’t have to deal with multiple suppliers, I can deal with just one person for the different areas and products I need in my restaurant.”

Feast your eyes on this gorgeous waterfall slab installation within the restaurant’s bar area and enjoy your Italian meal at the bar countertop, as it sits on pure elegance straight out of Italy.

Giving Tuesday: ALMA raffle and fundraiser

A raffle and fundraiser that begins today and extends through December 18 will support ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts)  Summer Institute in Albuquerque, N.M.

ALMA was initially established in 1999 as part of the Mayor’s Art Institute, under Mayor Jim Baca. It affords young people aged 16-25 from high schools, college and the community the opportunity to conceptualize, design, plan, hand make and glaze tiles, and install them in various sites around town as part of a paid summer apprenticeship.

ALMA (which means “soul” in Spanish) is operated by a handful of lead artists and three co-directors: Cassandra Reid (, Executive Director; Vanessa Alvarado (, Outreach Director; and Margarita Paz-Pedro(, Operations Director. It has evolved into a 501 (c)3 non-profit , with the majority of its funding coming from grants.

Due to COVID, funding is even more precarious.  ALMA is having an online Raffle and Fundraiser to help it to continue to provide programming for youth in the arts, and to raise $4,000.00 for its own kiln.

ALMA apprentices and Outreach Director Vanessa Alvarado (far left) working on the butterfly mosaic on the wall of the Albuquerque Convention Center in August 2020.

ALMA will announce the winner on Monday, Dec. 21st.  There are four amazingly creative items to raffle off.  Check it out and please share with everyone you know! Find out more here: ALMA Raffle 

Win this butterfly in the raffle. This beauty is about 2ft wide by 1.5ft in height.  If you are the winner, ALMA will come and install and grout it in the place of your choosing in NM or ship it to you with installation and grouting instructions out of state.

These native New Mexican flowers beautify any space they are located. This sunflower is about 2.25ft in height by 16 inches wide and in bloom all year long. The winner may choose a location and it will be installed and grouted in NM or it will be shipped to out-of-state winners with installation and grouting instructions.
Local metal sculpture artist Mike Mulvey created the form and apprentice Jacquelyn Yepa tiled a lovely color combination and fade using butterflies from this summer’s mural. It measures at 8.5”h x 6”w x 5”d — and the box opens!
This ALMA tote was screen printed in-house, using ALMA’s 20th-year logo design, “Mosaics for the Soul.” There is also an 8.5”x 11” high-quality art print of the spring 2011 project “Winds of Change” and a tile magnet with one of ALMA’s signature glazes.

Interested in simply making a donation? Follow this link to see ways you can support ALMA. Donations of $50 or more will receive a tax-deduction letter.

crowd of people at unveiling of a mosaic mural
One of the murals created by ALMA on the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Locating and interviewing a tile contractor


I’m a homeowner looking to have tile work done on my new home. I’ve had bad experiences with poor tile installations on my last house. We had a shower that leaked and caused an extensive amount of damage. How can I know if the contractor I hire this time is qualified and will do a good job?


Begin by locating a National Tile Contractors Association Member contractor. Through their professional association, these companies are connected to the highest levels of the tile industry and own the recognized tile industry standards, methods and best practices that guide their installations to success. Then require a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer (CTI) to perform the installation. These persons are known to the tile industry as Qualified Labor and have proven their ability to understand and apply tile industry methods, standards and best practices through an aggressive written and hands-on certification process. They can be located in your area by exploring these links:

When you interview any tile contractor:

  1. Ask them if they own and use the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards. Ask them which Handbook method they will use to construct your project. This will help you determine if the contractor you are interviewing owns and uses the recognized industry standards that will produce a great-looking and long-lasting installation for you.
  2. Ask them if they are a CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) or if they hold Advanced Certifications for tile installations (ACT). Tile installers have been critically examined by the only nationally-recognized, third-party training and certification foundation on their knowledge of the recognized methods and best practices, and their ability to use them to produce a great-looking and long-lasting installation. A CTI will have a unique number assigned by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.
  3. Ask them if they are a member of their professional association. For tile contractors, it is the National Tile Contractors Association. Detailed technical support based on tile industry standards is a hallmark benefit of contractor membership.
  4. Ask them if they are licensed to work as a tile contractor by their state’s licensing board. (Not all states require licensing.)
  5. Ask them for references and a portfolio of work. Call their references. Review their portfolio. Preparation is everything. Ask them what type of prep work they will do before installing the tile.

Following this process should help you locate and employ a contractor that will perform the best installation for you.

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