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Tile Heritage Foundation’s annual Artisan Planter Auction runs on Ebay July 12- 21, 2020

Kathy Casper Artisan Planter

Each year the Tile Heritage Foundation (THF) has held an Artisan Planter Auction Fundraiser in Doylestown, Pa., during the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works (MPTW) Tile Festival, but this year the auction goes international as it moves to eBay. Local artists have embellished 9″ x 6″ x 6″ “fibre cement” boxes donated by Campania International in unique ways in the mosaic style. 100% of the proceeds from auctions support the THF’s ongoing Tile History Archiving Project, which is a comprehensive online index of ceramic tile in the United States from the 1870s to the present day.   Tile Heritage appreciates the artists’ voluntary participation as well as their creative contributions & support!

The Artisan Planter Auction starts at 8 p.m. EDT on July 12. You can visit eBay to access the auction here:

https://www.ebay.com/str/tileheritagefoundationauctions.

Participating Artists and Studios for 2020 include: 

  • Mandy Baker, Whispering Hill Studio
  • Alissa Blumenthal, Mosaic Artist
  • Chris Bonner, Ceramist;
  • Eric Boynton, Clay Rat Studio
  • Kathy Casper, Think Good Tiles
  • Gloria Kosco, Ceramist
  • Jessica Liddell, Bella Mosaic Art
  • Katia McGuirk, Katia Tiles;
  • Will Mead, Peace Valley Tile
  • Robyn Miller, Robyn Sue Miller Mosaics Studio
  • Laura Lyn Stern, Sculptural Designs.

2020 Artisan Planter Designs

Here’s a virtual tour of the Artisan Planters, that will be auctioned starting July 12, and the participating artisans who created them:

Mandy Baker of Whispering Hill Studio in Jamison, PA.

Chris Bonner

Eric Boynton, Clay Rat Studio, Souderton, Pa.

Alissa Blumenthal

Kathy Casper, Think Good Tiles.

Gloria Kosco

Jessica Liddell Bella Mosaic Art Studio, Philadelphia, Pa. .

Katia McGuirk, Katia Tiles, Philadelphia, Pa.

Will Mead Peace Valley Tile in Pipersville, Pa.

Robyn Miller, Robyn Sue Miller Mosaics, Philadelphia, Pa.

Laura Lyn Stern, Sculptural Designs, Philadelphia, Pa.

To participate in the online auction, visit the eBay auction site to bid. If you are new to bidding on eBay, you can sign up or bid as a guest and you may want to watch this instructional video. For additional questions, please email the Tile Heritage Foundation at [email protected].

BELKNAP WHITE GROUP OFFERS FREE, LIVE WEBINARS for customers

MANSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS –The Belknap White Group, one of America’s leading full-service flooring distributors, has announced the availability of free weekly educational ZOOM webinars for its customers.

“Right now is an ideal time for customers to benefit from these webinars,” stated Jillian Stworzydlak, BWG’s Marketing & Digital Media Director, “In particular, now is a great time to offer opportunities for them to develop and refine their individual skills. Our webinars range from new product introductions to hands-on installation demonstrations from our trusted vendor partners.”

“The Belknap White Group is dedicated to serving its customers with the tools and educational resources they need to help their business as they navigate today’s unprecedented business conditions”, continued Stworzydlak. “Our multi-faceted webinars are particularly useful to our audience; we want to show them we care enough to provide them this value for free.”

A comprehensive library of past webinars can be found HERE.

NAC introduces five jobsite paper protection products


Akron, OH – July 6, 2020 – NAC Products, Inc., the company that introduced the flooring industry to ECB® and crack isolation membrane technology, has added jobsite protection paper and tape products to its product offering.

NAC Board


Led by NAC Board, a breathable surface protector that allows floors to continue the curing process, NAC is introducing five paper protection products and three tape options to help provide protection during the construction process.
NAC Board is an easy-to-use painter board that lays flat when rolled out and features a liquid repellent technology to prevent paint, mud, or water penetration.

Red Rosin Paper


Red Rosin Paper is a regular weight paper that provides a superior moisture barrier and is great for all flooring projects.

50LB Flooring Paper

50LB Flooring Paper is a lighter alternative paper that is great for large scale paint and construction projects.

Builder’s Paper

Brown Builder’s Paper is an economical kraft construction paper, perfect for use as a runner or paint drop cloth.

White Top Construction Paper

White Top Construction Paper is the perfect protection over a variety of floor surfaces like carpet, tile, hardwood and more. Avoids tears and keeps moisture out.

NAC Board Tape

Three tape offerings complete the new product lineup with NAC Board Tape, Red Polyethylene Tape and Blue Painting Tape providing the right adhesion for the right paper for your job.

Red Polyethylene Tape
Blue Painter’s Tape

“We’re excited to bring on the jobsite protection products because they fit right in line with what NAC has done over the years and that is provide floor protection from the ground up,” said NAC President, Brian Petit. “Our membrane systems protect finished flooring from below, and now our jobsite protection products provide protection to the top of the finished flooring for the duration of the project.”
For more information and to check out the complete line of Jobsite Protection Products visit www.NACproducts.com, contact your local sales representative, email [email protected] or call the office at 800-633-4622.

ARDEX RECOGNIZED AT 2020 STARNET DESIGN AWARDS

ARDEX Americas was delighted to be recognized at the 2020 Starnet Commercial Flooring Design Awards across different categories. Starnet, the largest network of independent flooring contractors, is committed to raising the bar in the flooring industry. This year’s awards drew nearly 40 applications from flooring contractors who used ARDEX or HENRY products for their installation.

The Idea Garage – Studio B2SJ:
ReSource Colorado
Gold Winner: Corporate

“ARDEX is grateful to be included in a number of prize-winning installations from across the country,” said Robert Dalton, ARDEX Manager of Strategic Partnerships. “Starnet’s Design Awards provide a welcome opportunity to recognize outstanding flooring contractors, and we are pleased to be a part of it.”

The winning installations that named ARDEX, or HENRY, as a preferred vendor are:

NTCA names winners of Tom Ade Scholarship Awards

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recently announced its 2020 Tom Ade Scholarship Award winners for academic achievement.

This year’s program features one $5,000 Grand Prize scholarship winner, as well as several $1,000 winners. 

Kimberly Callahan with stepfather Woody Sanders, president of DW Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting in Marietta, Ga. Callahan is NTCA’s $5,000 Grand Prize Tom Ade Scholarship Award winner for 2020. 

The Grand Prize Winner is Kimberly Callahan, daughter of Wei Callahan and stepdaughter of Woody Sanders, president of DW Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting in Marietta, Ga. Kimberley has just completed her first year toward a Master’s degree in Social Work, with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology.

The $1,000 scholarship winners include the following: 

  • Sadee Perez, daughter of Sally Perez, Human Resources, of Visalia Ceramic Tile in Visalia, Calif. She also works at Visalia Ceramic Tile on a part-time basis.
  • Meghan Lowery, daughter of William and Emily Lowery. William Lowery is an NTCA member and owner of Lowery Tile in Alsip, Ill.
  • Hailey Peffer, daughter of Meredith Peffer, general manager of NTCA Associate Member, NAC Products, Akron, Ohio.
  • Alera Welch, who is the daughter of Dan and Doreen Welch of Welch Tile & Marble, Kent City, Michigan.
  • Emily Martinho, daughter of Edward Martinho, vice president of Visalia Ceramic Tile.

Congratulations from the industry

Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director said of the Grand Prize Winner, “I wish Kim the best of luck and good health as she endeavors to make a difference. This world needs her talent.”

Ron Nash, senior vice president of sales and marketing for LATICRETE, an NTCA member and supporter of the scholarship program, said, “This is fantastic. I couldn’t be happier to be part of an organization that supports our industry and, even more importantly, the people who make our industry great.”

Woody Sanders added, “Kim has such a very special heart for people who need help,” he added, “She has an ability to step into another’s shoes and see their perspective and is driven to help while holding onto her values. She is an inspiration that gives me hope for our future. She is so very special.”

COVID delays

The Tom Ade Scholarship Awards were delayed this year due to complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bettiga said, which led to having only one Grand Prize winner. “However,” he explained, “we have decided to choose several $1,000 scholarship award recipients, as the quality of the applicants and their deservedness for financial support was outstanding.

“We all need a little good news right now,” added Bettiga, “so celebrating these young people is coming at the right time.”

Funds for the Tom Ade Scholarship Awards are made possible through the generous donations of NTCA members: total donations determine the number of scholarship recipients each year. Scholarship applications are reviewed by a committee of NTCA’s Board of Directors, as well as members of the NTCA staff.

The Tom Ade ceramic tile scholarship was established by the NTCA to provide educational opportunities for children or grandchildren of NTCA Contractor Members. Tom Ade is a former NTCA regional director and a previous recipient of the organization’s Ring Of Honor and Tile Person of the Year Awards. The scholarship also encompasses a contribution to the educational institution of choice for the applicant.

Contractor Perspective: Lambert Tile and Stone, Eagle, Colo.

Dan and Elizabeth Lambert of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Lambert Tile and Stone in Eagle, Colo., share their experiences and struggles with work during the time of COVID-19.

Dan and Elizabeth Lambert of NTCA Five-Star Contractor
Lambert Tile and Stone in their Eagle, Colo. showroom

2020 has definitely been a different year than we had planned for. We operate our tile installation business in the mountains of Colorado. We were one of the first counties in Colorado to go into a Stay at Home order in early March because some of the first cases of COVID-19 were traced to our international guests that came for the ski season in the Vail area. With that came the unknown on how our jobs would be affected.

Construction turned out to be an essential job in Colorado, so we were able to follow our county guidelines and have up to 10 people working on a job site. Luckily, we were on a new construction residential project and each of our employees could work in a separate area and have their own tools. There was no pressure by any builder to require anyone who felt comfortable to stay on the job. Schedules were thrown out the window. We had a few of our employees out sick, which of course caused us to worry about how we would pay the bills. When they returned, we started them out slowly on projects they could be on by themselves, or we had them do creative work like cleaning and inventorying our warehouse. We started to have a few jobs cancel not just because of the virus, but because of the fluctuation in the stock market. We did qualify for the PPP program which took away some of the stress of the unknown.

Another issue we had was finding masks and sanitation products for our employees to feel safe on the job site. This required calling everyone we knew and searching the Internet in order to find a few things here and there.

As a business owner, we had to think differently about the way we have operated for the last 20 years. We participated in multiple Zoom Meetings and webinars in order to use our down time to either educate ourselves or stay in contact with our manufacturers and distributors. We also learned about all the new tile lines coming up through Zoom and webinars since Coverings was not able to take place this year.

We also encountered a disruption in the tile supply chain. Tile from Italy was taking way longer than the normal 12-week lead time, which forced us to reselect tile on multiple jobs.

Our phones have actually been ringing off the hook this past month with homeowners who have been home for months and would now like to upgrade their bathrooms. In fact, Lambert Tile and Stone is currently looking for a high-end residential tile installer/employee to join our team in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. So, if anyone is thinking of relocating please send us an email at [email protected]  Our employees were sometimes spoiled on the jobs for homeowners — one homeowner made them some kind of homemade treat each day (we think our employees wanted that job to last forever). We have been fortunate that a few of our jobs are exterior installations, which made our employees feel more comfortable by working outdoors.

One positive thing we observed through the months is that everyone treated each other with more kindness and compassion. We are all in this together. Our silver lining was all the time we spent with immediate family, which forced us to look at our work/life balance and truly look around and see the amazing place we live and work, and to help those in our mountain community. 

Crossville Launches Swatches Wall Tile Collection

herringbone multicolor tile

Bold New Line Offers 16 Colors Presented in Three Chromatic Groupings


Crossville, Tennessee – Crossville, Inc. ,has launched Swatches ceramic wall tile collection. This unique product is notable for its extensive options for creating custom wall designs.

The color range of Swatches is quite vast. According to Lindsey Waldrep, VP of marketing for Crossville, the product development team created the spectrum of hues to answer burgeoning color trends and the commercial design market’s needs and preferences.  

“Our goal for Swatches was to provide the ultimate palette for interior vertical surfaces,” shares Waldrep. “Looking at the amazing choices of this line, we certainly achieved that goal.”

The collection’s 16 colors are presented in three groupings of foundational, neutral, and vibrant hues.

  • Necessary Objects (available in gloss and satin finishes): Cotton, Eggshell, Stone, and Coal
  • Neutral Territory (available in gloss and satin finishes): Shadow, Warm Silver, Seashell, Old Lace, Smokestack, and Sea Ice
  • Brilliant Deduction (available in gloss finish only): Cobalt, Mulberry, Lipstick Red, Pineapple, Petrol, and Spruce

The colors can be mixed and mingled to create exciting patterns or installed monochromatically for uniform looks.

“We literally thought of and included everything current when it comes to wall tile colors,” Waldrep explains. “The options in Necessary Options are designers’ staples—the foundational must-haves for countless projects. Neutral Territory’s hues are fun, new interpretations on neutral colors, an indication how design trends are evolving. And Brilliant Deduction is a modern rainbow with lots of gloss and colorful surprises.”

The line’s broad color offerings are matched by the expansive selection of sizes, including five calibrated field tile options and a thorough trim package to finish every space professionally.

  • Field tiles: 2”x8”, 4”x8”, 3”x12”, 6”x6”, and 3”x6”
  • Bullnose options: single bullnose in 4”x8”, 3”x12”, and 3”x6”; double bullnose in 4”x4”
  • Cove base options: 3”x3” and 4”x8” cove base, right or left corner 4”x8” cove base

“Today, we’re seeing more designers and property owners embracing color in unique, new ways. With Swatches’ incredible options—104 SKUs—we can’t wait to see the custom variations designers will create,” Waldrep summarizes.

Swatches wall tile collection is suited for interior vertical applications in commercial and residential settings and requires only minimal cleaning and maintenance. It may be specified with Hydrotect, Crossville’s invisible coating that offers added defense against dirt.


For more information on this collection, visit crossvilleinc.com.

Stabila offers three limited-edition professional spirit levels in the 80 AS True Pro collection

Set of spirit levels

80 AS True Pro Edition – limited-edition spirit level sets

Attractive spirit level set in True Pro design / tried-and-tested high quality / True Pro campaign has been providing a community for tradespeople for many years

With the True Pro campaign, STABILA has been drawing attention to successful and creative craftsmanship for many years and uses its social media channels to provide a platform for the tradesperson community. To continue this sense of community, STABILA is now offering three professional spirit levels from the 80 AS series in an attractive and limited-edition True Pro design. Thanks to STABILA’s tried-and-tested quality, tradespeople will be perfectly equipped to take on the daily challenges of the construction site and can use the appealing True Pro special labels to really make a statement.

Tried-and-tested quality

The limited-edition spirit levels offer the same high standard of quality customers have come to expect from STABILA. The vials are made from highly transparent, hard-wearing acrylic glass with precision-ground inner contours and flush-fitting reference rings. The fluorescent vial fluid ensures optimum readability from (-4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to +50 degrees Celsius). In addition, STABILA’s one-of-a-kind installation technology involving special epoxy resin provides a secure and permanently unshakeable bond between the individual components. As a result, the spirit level continues to work just as accurately as it did on the first day, without the need for readjustment, even after years of use. Integrated anti-slip stoppers ensure the spirit level is seated firmly at all times during marking.

The display allows the 80 AS True Pro Edition spirit level sets to be
positioned attractively to boost sales.
Photographs: STABILA

Three Level Set

The limited-edition spirit level set is comprised of three spirit levels in True Pro design, in lengths of 12” (30 cm), 24” (60 cm) and 48” (120 cm). In addition, the set includes a spirit level bag, which also features the True Pro design, as well as a key fob incorporating a vial. The sets are presented in a sales-boosting, compact display to allow them to be positioned attractively in retail locations.

Supplier Perspective: Sean Cilona, Virginia Tile Company

Sean Cilona, Director of Products & Suppliers, Virginia Tile Company

“These are unprecedented times.” This my wife’s response when my four year old asks about why his swim lesson was canceled. While in this case, the situation being affected is quite minor, it is a pretty heavy statement, nonetheless. I often find myself repeating this in my head when I am faced with the daily challenge — due of course — to the latest “tile emergency.” It will call for at least some portion of the day to be dedicated to a new task that was completely unexpected. But when I really take the time to step back and think about the situation that we are in; I can’t help but to consider the following notion: Is this really so unprecedented?

We have all seen our personal and business lives change in these last few months. My deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost family members and friends, and to others whose livelihoods have been drastically affected. Of course, the health and societal circumstances are unique to this situation. But, when we look back in history, we see this cyclical pattern of peaks and valleys in the economy. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, economic production declined by almost 50% and a GDP loss of over 30%. We have seen double -digit unemployment rates in the early 1980’s, combined with 18% interest rates that drove housing to record lows. More recently, the housing crisis of 2007 rippled through the U.S .and Europe causing home values to drop 30% and the stock market to lose 50% of its value by 2009. 

At Virginia Tile I have a colleague, a 25-year veteran of the tile industry, who has been through these tough times. Not the Great Depression, but we like to joke that he may have been. He is a great wealth of knowledge, both on the company, but also on the industry at large. From the early indications of sales declines and state closures, to the re-opening of showrooms and new product launches, he was there to advise. The firsthand connection to a historical time when things were so similar, helped everyone on the team stay grounded. The fact that the people and the company were not going through something that had never been done before was reassuring. 

The amount of information that bombards us on a daily basis, and the often overwhelming effects that this pandemic has had on our lives, can give way to bleak thoughts and comments. However, my mind immediately goes back to “these unprecedented times” and I think not. I believe that this period is difficult, unexpected, uncertain, trying, even sometimes dangerous, but not unprecedented. I find comfort in knowing that we are not in uncharted territory. We are not in a black abyss, adrift with no point of reference. 

I let this drive my thoughts and my actions and my mood, both in my personal and professional life. I focus on facts and figures and try to maintain a sense of business as usual. I try look at this time period like any other. There is nothing that we can do to change the circumstances that we are in, so we need to simply look at the information that is available and make the best possible decisions moving forward. The world, the U.S. economy, the tile industry, have all had difficult times and have come back. We just need to stay positive and take it one day at a time.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING DECLINES 2.1 PERCENT IN MAY DUE TO DROP IN PRIVATE WORK

logo for AGC

Federal Infrastructure Measure Can Help Offset Private-Sector Demand that is Likely to Remain Below Pre-Coronavirus Levels amid Economic Uncertainty, While State and Local Budgets Also Appear Sure to Shrink

Construction spending declined for the third month in a row in May as a sharp slowdown in private projects more than offset a rise in public work, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials warned that the pickup in public projects is likely to reverse soon unless the federal government acts quickly to invest in needed infrastructure and shore up crumbling state and local budgets.

“Three short-lived factors may have boosted construction spending in May: emergency healthcare projects, acceleration of highway work to make use of the drop in road traffic, and the end to some state government shutdown orders,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, these stimuli have now worn off, and there is a high risk that construction spending will soon shrink as state and local governments start a new fiscal year today with large budget gaps that they must close. Too often, they turn to postponing and canceling construction.”

Construction spending in May totaled $1.36 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, a decline of 2.1 percent from April and the lowest total since June 2019. Since February, total spending has slumped by 5.9 percent, the steepest three-month contraction since 2009, the economist noted.

The decrease in May was widespread across private construction categories, which recorded a spending decline of 3.3 percent from April, following a 3.8 percent slide from March to April. Public construction spending rose by 1.2 percent in May, an increase that only partially reversed a drop of 2.7 percent the month before.

“It is likely that the pickup in highway construction and other public spending that occurred in May will fade as soon as current projects are completed,” Simonson said. “Our latest survey of contractors, conducted June 9-17, found only about one-fifth of respondents had won new or expanded work—unchanged from early May. In addition, nearly one-third of respondents reported that an owner had canceled an upcoming project.”

Association officials said that private-sector funding is likely to continue to remain below pre-coronavirus levels for some time as many owners opt to delay investments amid pandemic-induced uncertainty. Meanwhile, many state and local investments in infrastructure and construction are likely to decline amid falling tax revenues. What is needed is a federal infrastructure measure that can attract broad, bipartisan support in the House and Senate, the association officials noted.

“The best way to get people back to work and to make our economy more efficient and effective for the long run is by improving the nation’s vital infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Leaders in both parties need to understand that messaging measures may excite the base, but they do nothing to improve roads, fix bridges or modernize water systems.”

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