Online Auction to Benefit CTEF takes place October 21-26, 2020

CTEF, the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, has organized an online auction to take place in October to raise funds in support of its mission which the COVID-19 pandemic has severely threatened.

The CTEF aims to improve the tile industry through installer certification, education, training, and participation in the development of nationally recognized standards and methods. During normal times, CTEF generates income through in-person training and hands-on certification event fees. All events since March 2020 have been suspended, to be rescheduled once conditions are safer.

Scott Carothers, CTEF

“These are unprecedented times especially for a non-profit organization such as CTEF,” says Scott Carothers, CTEF director of certification and training. “The proceeds from this online auction will allow us to stay afloat through the pandemic so we can remain relevant and rapidly get back on track with ramping up the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program, expand tile installation training as well as the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program.”

The CTEF online auction takes place from October 21st at noon until October 26th at 10 am EDT and includes over 50 items of particular relevance to tile installation professionals. Donated by tile and stone industry supporters, suppliers and manufacturers, these items include among others:

  • Tools such as mixers, saws, trowels, floats, sponges and knee pads
  • Materials such as tile, GPTP, backer board, underlayment, mortar, and grout.
  • Flooring products
  • And more

Those interested in participating in the online auction can do so via their computer, via text, or by contacting Cathey McAlister at CTEF. The first step is to register at www.accelevents.com/e/cathey.

“Fall is a great time to stock up on the tile installation products and materials that tile installers and contractors know, love, and depend on,” added Carothers. “The really neat thing about the Auction is it is FREE. It costs you nothing to place your bids!”

CTEF gratefully acknowledges the participation of the following auction sponsors: Amarly, ARDEX, Blanke, Custom Building Products, Crossville, Dal Tile, Edge Strip Kits, ETM, ECore, Florida Tile, Gundlach, HB Fuller/TEC, Interceramic, James Hardie, Laticrete, Mapei, Noble Company, Pro Knees, Progress Profiles, QEP, Rubi Tools, Russo Trading, Schluter , Scodd Industries, University of CTS, and USG.

For more information, including how to bid using the different options for bidding, go to CTEF Online Auction: 10/21 through 10/26. Mark Your Calendar!

Metallismo mosaics gleam in steel and brass from Sicis

Under the cold surface, metal hides a seductive power, more than any other material. No longer considered only for its industrial and functional use, over the years it has become a must for trendy coverings.

bathtub with square metal metallic wall
The Metallismo collection by Sicis features steel and brass molded into an eclcetic mix of shapes.

SICIS, primarily known for innovative glass and marble mosaics, has long ago created and patented the steel and other metal mosaic and an entire collection dedicated to this: Metallismo collection. Steel and brass molded in an eclectic mix of shapes, sizes and finishes, with their own personality.

Metallismo presents a variety of stylish motifs, monochromatic and essential  combinations particularly suited to the canons of modern architecture. It was created precisely to meet the needs of architectural projects where the coating plays a decisive role to realize futuristic atmospheres, technologically innovative. For this reason, it has already been chosen by many architects with the need to interpret high-impact ambiances.

woman in high heels walking on metal mosaic floor with elongated hex metal wall mosaics
Metallismo is also corrosion resistant, and can be sanitized easily.

Also important is the hygiene guarantee of this material, a result of its high resistance to corrosion, the surface compactness that makes it free of porosity, and, last but not least, the ease of sanitizing the tile from bacterial contamination. These are certainly decisive arguments in the choice of covering materials, especially now.

The tesserae of Metallismo are available with different finishes in steel and brass, and in different shapes, which include square, rectangular, oval, rhomboidal and octagonal tesserae. The can be arranged in many combinations: basketweave, herringbone, etc. Metallismo comes in various sizes until square and rectangular slabs, and in several finishes: glossy, satin and three embossed solutions.

The mosaics are pre-assembled for quick and easy installation.

Nemo Tile + Stone Launches E-Commerce Business; Unveils Revamped Website

New Interface and Refreshed Site are Designed to Make Shopping for Tile Easier Than Ever

New York, New York — Last month, Nemo Tile + Stone, a New York City-based provider of top-performing surface materials, was excited to unveil its new e-commerce store and revamped website, nemotile.com. Advanced in capability and contemporary in aesthetic, Nemo Tile + Stone’s new online presence and interface provides consumers and the interior design and architecture community with a new way to shop for and specify products from the brand’s extensive library of tile and stone offerings. Providing an additional avenue to Nemo Tile + Stone’s five showrooms located throughout the Northeast, customers can now explore the latest styles in surfacing online for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. 

website screen shot of Nemo Tile
Nemo Tile + Stone launched a new e-commerce site and website last month.

The launch of the e-commerce platform emerged in tandem with the arrival of an entirely refreshed website for the family-owned, 99-year-old brand. In addition to the new online capabilities for buyers, the reimagined website is equipped with improved navigation, imagery, and visualization tools aimed at enhancing the overall user experience. The updated website boasts a plethora of user-centric features highlighted through interactive development tools now available at the click of a mouse. Amongst the new features, users will find personalized search tools that refine a search by size, shape, color, and material. This personalized approach is then expanded upon once a product page is selected. Each individual product page holds numerous images in silhouette and lifestyle frames to allow the user to easily visualize the potential of the product in the space they are designing. 

screen shot of Nemo Tile + Stone Visualizer
Nemo Tile + Stone’s Visualizer allows users to select a tile and instantly see it rendered in up to sixteen different residential and commercial spaces.

Nemo Tile + Stone’s commitment to the user’s experience is at the heart of another new feature, the Visualizer, which allows users to select a tile and instantly see it rendered in up to sixteen different spaces, inclusive of both residential and commercial options that range from kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers to retail and restaurant settings. Users are also able to upload an image of their very own space and render design possibilities in a truly bespoke fashion. Overall, the 3D visualization tool provides a virtual view of a product’s design potential and offers a digestible way for users to see the variety of applications possible with each product. 

“The idea behind the new interface and the launch of e-commerce for Nemo, was and is to provide our customers a premier experience beyond the walls of our showrooms,” said Matthew Coburger, Director of Product Merchandising, Nemo Tile + Stone. “Each new feature offered on the website is designed to provide users with a way to thoughtfully and productively specify the products they’re interested in for any number of project types.” 

The new platform is designed to evolve with Nemo Tile + Stone’s ever-growing product offerings and allow users to easily connect with the brand’s rich product portfolio, including new additions such as the Dash collection, a series of modern porcelain floor and wall tiles rooted in muted earth tones and pastels. Sleek, contemporary style and uniformity were also given immense attention in the refresh of the website and its dedicated design inspiration pages. Equipped with an active blog featuring Nemo Tile + Stone installations and set alongside a section designed to showcase the brand’s Instagram page, @nemotile, users will be able to further understand the vast array of design possibilities afforded by Nemo Tile + Stone’s product offerings and company know-how.  

To see the website first hand, please visit www.nemotile.com

Antolini unveils Quartzite Nera

Characterized by a vibrant black color from which shades of white emerge, both delicate and powerful at the same time, Quartzite Nera fits perfectly into the most daring and visionary designs as well as the most classic and essential ones. This splendid natural stone has the expressive power of a unique nuance, capable of enhancing any environment and giving the design a sense of all-embracing harmony.

dark black stone with subtle veining
Quartzite Nera from Antolini

Highly versatile, Quartzite Nera from Antolini expresses charm and personality whether standing alone with a central role in the design or in combination with other materials, to which it brings elegance and prestige. Physical, stylish, and inspiring – in the luxury design field – Quartzite Nera never fails to catch the attention of others and suggest to them the most striking emotions.

Florida Tile introduces Emotive wall tile

Introducing Emotive ceramic wall tile from Florida Tile!
This collection of ceramic wall tile beautifully links art, aesthetics, and the built environment. It challenges you to be brave and make magic. It invites you to build a space to create…or decompress. Offering a full range of both neutral and dramatic colors, shapes, and textures; it prepares you to incite an emotional response from all who enter. Emotive allows the moment to be seized…or escaped completely.

colorful wall tile; red haired woman with sunglasses and dark blue leather jacket
Emotive wall tile from Florida Tile has a color for every mood.

Available in 10 colors: Astonished White, Bashful Beige, Coy Grey, Triumphant Taupe, Gratitude Dark Grey, Envy Green, Pride Blue, Mischievous Red, Stoic Brown, and Bravado Black, all come in glossy or silk finishes. Pressed 3×6, 3×12, and a 4×9 trapezoid field tile, along with 3×6 and 3×12 bullnose options are available in all colors and finishes. Exquisite 3-dimensional, glossy listellos in all colors softly resonate to round out the line.
Emotive ceramic wall tile is appropriate for all interior, residential and commercial, wall and backsplash applications and is GREENGUARD® certified.
See the complete Emotive collection here.   View a short (1 min) video featuring this beautiful new product line!

Crossville Tile Featured in Southern Living Idea Home 2020, Feature on Newsstands Now

Southern Dream Team Brings Mountain-House Vision to Life in Asheville

Crossville, Tennessee – Domestic tile manufacturer Crossville, Inc. is a tile supplier and sponsor of this year’s Southern Living Idea Home located in Asheville, NC. The current issue of Southern Living Magazine features the story of this house, including images and information about the Crossville collections chosen for three of the home’s bathrooms.

Southern Living Home in  a woody setting in Asheville NC
Domestic tile manufacturer Crossville, Inc. is a tile supplier and sponsor of this year’s Southern Living Idea Home located in Asheville, NC.

Southern Living “called on Southern dream team” to undertake the project: interior designer Lauren Liess, architect Beau Clowney, and homebuilder Buchanan Construction. Located in The Ramble community in Biltmore Forest, the 3,500-square-foot home features the latest in innovative design and architecture and boasts expansive porches and outdoor living space. The residence is designed to appeal to modern sensibilities while aesthetically blending into the natural beauty of the western North Carolina mountains.

Southern Living has been building its Idea Houses for more than 30 years. According to Deirdre Finnegan, VP/Group Publisher of Southern Living, “Our Idea Houses always provide incredible inspiration for anyone who is looking for a new home or is making updates to an existing home. We’re thrilled to have so many great partners to bring this year’s house to life showcasing some of our favorite design trends in fresh and inviting ways.”

Crossville collections were specified for three of the bathrooms in the stunning residence.

white mosaic tiles installed in shower floor and walls
Crossvile supplied the tile for the bathrooms in the house.

In one of the two upstairs bathrooms, designer Lauren Liess chose Crossville’s new Cursive collection for the shower walls, utilizing the 3”x6” tiles in an intricate basketweave pattern in the Ghost hue. For the shower and bathroom floors, she selected Crossville’s Jazz Age collection in the Louis colorway. This wood-look porcelain has the appearance of distressed, aged hardwood with authentic patina. The durable porcelain tile body is suited for wet areas, since true wood would not be an alternative. Liess took the design in an inventive direction by choosing the 2”x2” mosaic in a herringbone pattern to create a visually interesting and slip-resistant solution for the shower and bathroom floors.

Basketweave white tiles on shower wall, white wood look tiles on floor
A range of beautiful porcelain and ceramic tiles from Crossville were selected for the three bathrooms in the home.

For the second upstairs bathroom, Liess again chose Crossville’s Jazz Age in the Louis colorway but mixed up the installation with the 2”x2” mosaic in a straight pattern for the shower walls and floors. Transitioning to the bathroom floor, she opted for Crossville’s Familiar Territory in Crème. This sophisticated collection features multidirectional striations that are inspired by the look of quartzite and shifting sands and offer a lovely complement to Jazz Age’s wood look.

In the main level guest bathroom, Crossville’s stunning State of Grace collection was installed on the shower floor. Liess selected the 2”x2” mosaic in a straight pattern to bring a nuanced, marble-inspired style to this mountain dream house.

The full story is covered in the October issue of Southern Living Magazine on newsstands now.


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California & Vermont Lost the Most Jobs for the Year, Utah & South Dakota Added the Most; Hawaii & Nevada Lost the Most Jobs Between July and August, New Mexico & California Added the Most

Thirty-nine states lost construction jobs between August 2019 and August 2020 while 31 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between July and August according to a new analysis of Labor Department data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The new annual figures detail how the coronavirus pandemic has undermined demand for construction projects after a strong start to the year.

“The ongoing pandemic is prompting ever more private owners, developers, and public agencies to delay and cancel projects,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, citing the association’s mid-June survey and a more recent survey it produced in August. “The share of contractors that reported postponed or canceled projects nearly doubled while the share who reported winning new or expanded work dropped nearly in half.”

California lost the most construction jobs (-52,000, -5.8 percent) between August 2019 and August 2020, followed by New York (-46,000, -11.3 percent); Texas (-39,300 jobs, -5.0 percent); Massachusetts (-20,200 jobs, -12.4 percent) and Illinois (-17,200 jobs, -7.5 percent). Vermont lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the year (-29.6 percent, -4,500 jobs), followed by Massachusetts; Iowa (-11.8 percent, -9,300 jobs); Louisiana (-11.4 percent, -15,700 jobs) and New York.

Ten states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between August 2019 and August 2020 while construction employment was unchanged in Montana. Utah added the most new construction jobs (8,800 jobs, 8.0 percent), followed by Virginia (4,400 jobs, 2.2 percent); Maryland (3,800 jobs, 2.3 percent); Indiana (3,100 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Missouri (2,700 jobs, 2.1 percent). South Dakota added the highest percent (10.9 percent, 2,600 jobs), followed by Utah; Idaho (2.4 percent, 1,300 jobs); Maryland and Virginia.

California added the most new construction jobs (6,700 jobs, 0.8 percent) between July and August, followed by New York (5,200 jobs, 1.5 percent); Pennsylvania (4,100 jobs, 1.7 percent); Texas (3,300 jobs, 0.4 percent) and Oregon (3,200 jobs, 3.1 percent). New Mexico added the highest percentage (6.7 percent, 3,100) of jobs for the month, followed by Mississippi (3.4 percent, 1,400 jobs); Oregon and Kentucky (2.0 percent, 1,600 jobs).

Nineteen states lost construction jobs for the month with Nevada losing the most (-2,600 jobs, -2.8 percent). Other states losing a high number of construction jobs for the month include Florida (-2,200 jobs, -0.4 percent); Nebraska (-1,800 jobs, -3.3 percent) and North Carolina (-1,800 jobs, -0.8 percent). Hawaii lost the highest percentage (-3.5 percent, -1,300 jobs) of construction jobs for the month, followed by West Virginia (-3.3 percent, -1,100 jobs); Nebraska and Nevada.

Association officials said the best thing Washington leaders can do to boost demand for construction and employment in the sector is to increase investments in infrastructure and provide liability protections for firms taking steps to protect workers from the coronavirus. They added that extending the current surface transportation bill for one-year – which appears likely to occur – will provide needed short-term certainty for the transportation construction market.

“The best way to create jobs and boost economic activity is to rebuild aging infrastructure, provide market certainty and protect firms from needless suits,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

View state employment data, 12-mo, 1-mo rankings, map and high and lows. View the workforce survey results.

DCOF on a pool deck


I’m designing a home and need to pick a tile for a residential pool deck. Are there standards for using slip-resistant tiles in areas like this, and if so, what are they?


Thank you for contacting the NTCA, The measurements for slip-resistance are referred to as COF (Coefficient of Friction) and DCOF (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction). COF is the measurement of a tiles static frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness. DCOF is a measurement of dynamic friction, which is the frictional resistance one pushes against when already in motion.

Regarding the question of whether there is a specification or guidance for DCOF on a pool deck.  There is no specification or standard for slip resistance/DCOF/COF on a pool deck.  The reason is that each has its own unique design and use.  As such, it is up to the good communications process between the architect/specifier, owner, distributor, and installer to discuss and determine the best tile (type, glaze, traction, size, number of grout joints, etc.) for the installation being considered.

In addition, the tile and setting materials, membranes, expansion and movement joints, and other factors must all be carefully considered and approved or engineered for the application.

The NTCA Technical Team


AGC logo

New York City, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. have worst job losses, while Walla Walla, Wash. and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. post largest year-over-year construction employment increases.

Steep monthly declines in public and private nonresidential construction spending offset a surge in homebuilding in July, while industry employment decreased compared to July 2019 levels in two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials said many commercial construction firms were likely to continue shedding jobs without needed federal coronavirus relief measures.

“The dichotomy between slumping nonresidential projects—both public and private—and robust homebuilding seems sure to widen as the pandemic continues to devastate state and local finances and much of the private sector,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Without new federal investments in infrastructure and other measures to boost demand for nonresidential construction, contractors will be forced to let more workers go.”

Construction spending in July totaled $1.36 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a gain of 0.1 percent from June. A 1.2 percent drop in nonresidential spending nearly canceled out a 2.1 percent jump in residential spending, which was boosted by growth in both single-family (3.1 percent) and multifamily construction (4.9 percent).

Public construction spending decreased by 1.3 percent, dragged down by a 3.1 percent drop in highway and street construction spending and a 3.0 percent decline in educational construction spending, the two largest public segments. The next-largest segment, transportation facilities, also contracted, by 1.6 percent.

Private nonresidential construction spending slid 1.0 percent from June to July. The largest segment, power construction, dipped 0.1 percent. Among other large private spending categories, commercial construction—comprising retail, warehouse and farm structures—slumped 3.2 percent, while manufacturing construction rose 0.2 percent and office construction fell 0.7 percent.

Construction employment declined from July 2019 to July 2020 in 238, or 66 percent, out of 358 metro areas, increased in 90 areas (25 percent) and held steady in 30. New York City lost the most construction jobs (-26,500, -16 percent), while the steepest percentage loss occurred in Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. (-36 percent, -2,100 jobs). Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. added the most construction jobs over the year (4,800, 6 percent), while Walla Walla, Wash. had the largest percentage gain (25 percent, 300 jobs).

Association officials said that in addition to the new spending and metro employment data, the association is releasing the results of its annual workforce survey tomorrow that will underscore the need for new federal recovery measures. The construction officials called on Congress and the Trump administration to enact new infrastructure investments, pass a one-year extension to the current surface transportation law with additional transportation construction funding and enact liability reforms to shied firms that are protecting workers from the coronavirus from needless lawsuits.

“Without new federal relief measures, the industry’s limited recovery will likely be short lived,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Congress and the President should be taking advantage of current market conditions to rebuild our infrastructure, restore lost jobs and reinvigorate the economy.”

View the metro employment data, rankings, highs and lows, and top 10.

Schluter Systems Opens Additional Distribution, Office, and Training Center in Dallas-Fort Worth

New building is over 500,000 square feet

Schluter-Systems opened a new distribution center, office and training facility in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas on September 1.  The 500,000 square foot center will carry the majority of Schluter’s 8,000 SKUs available in North America. This will significantly enhance service levels especially in the central and southern U.S. states. 

aerial shot of 500,000 sf Schluter warehouse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area
Schluter’s new DFW facility is more than 500,000 square feet

“The location of this warehouse, office and training center was chosen very strategically,” Schluter Systems NA President and CEO, Marco Ludwig announced. “We already have warehouses in Plattsburgh, NY and Reno, NV, so adding this third facility in the major hub of Dallas-Fort Worth will drastically improve our service levels and shipping times to our customers. We are proud and honored to be able to make this investment for our North American customers. In addition to further improving fast and reliable accessibility to Schluter products, this facility will act as another central, convenient, and attractive training location for our customers including both the architectural and installation communities.”

“We anticipate a very quick turnaround on all orders in this region, which will help Schluter products reach the end user much quicker,” stated Henry DeGooyer, Schluter Systems U.S. Senior Vice President of Sales.

“In fact, with this addition to our shipping hubs, we will be able to reach the majority of the country within 72 hours after receiving the purchase order,” Ludwig added.

exterior entrance shot of the new DFW site
This DFW facility is the global leader in implementing a completely new,
leading-edge warehouse management system

This DFW facility is the global leader in implementing a completely new, leading-edge warehouse management system. This new system will be used to optimize all warehouse and distribution processes, making the picking and packing procedures considerably more efficient.

Project Manager & Process Change Manager, Rebecca Packwood, worked closely with company leaders in North America and Germany to ensure the system can be integrated into all Schluter Systems operations. “While in the midst of this complex project we had to overcome many unusual challenges because of the rising pandemic,” Rebecca said. “We weren’t able to physically visit the site as much as we wanted, but despite the obstacles, our team adapted and successfully achieved all milestones. We started receiving inventory in May and expect to be at full capacity by October.”  

“We use our current and future Schluter Systems products as an integral part when it comes to innovative building installations,” Ludwig expressed.

As an example, Schluter Systems decided to install DITRA-HEAT-DUO membrane with a built-in thermal break over the concrete slab with over 15 miles of Schluter heating cables. This DITRA-HEAT system is over 25,000 square feet and managed by 140 thermostats and power modules and warms both the porcelain tile and LVT floors, making it presumably the largest project of electrical floor warming in the world.

“We want to make our warehouse staff, office employees and customers comfortable at this facility and enjoy the experience,” explained Ludwig.

“We can’t overstate the value of having another fixed training hub for our workshops. Installers appreciate the experience and increased level of knowledge they gain by attending our Schluter innovation workshops,” revealed Henry DeGooyer.

Schluter also invested in a cutting edge, energy efficient, lighting system that is highly adaptable to the ever changing business needs and floor space utilization.

“We are always focused on how we can make the tile installer’s job easier and that’s exactly what this project is all about,” Marco Ludwig said. “By improving our service levels and lead times to the market, we will make it even easier for the installer to access and use our Schluter products on a daily basis.”

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