From inspiration to installation – tile design unwrapped
How the pros at Dal-Tile cull global trends to cultivate designs for the U.S. market
By Shelly Halbert, director of Product Design, Dal-Tile Corporation
Every great design starts with an inspiration. From art, to fashion, to engineering and interior design, an end product doesn’t simply appear, it comes with a story to tell.
Most people don’t think too much about what the surface underfoot or on the wall would say if it could talk, but the origins might surprise you, and become the center of conversation.
At Dal-Tile, our inspiration for new tile designs can come from cosmopolitan to couture to cutting boards, as we create new collections to adorn the floors and walls of commercial and residential spaces.
Roots in the motherland
We tend to start in the motherland of tile, Italy. Our Marazzi brand was born there, and we naturally gravitate back to our roots to learn the tricks of the trade. At least twice a year, our design team visits the city of Sassuolo, the tile design and manufacturing capital of the country.
We meet not only with the Marazzi Italy team, but also local design studios that source rare European materials. They reproduce the materials as graphics for tile manufacturers, providing textures and imagery not available on a global scale. When rollers were the sole form of printing, these design studios were essential to obtaining new designs, however, with the sophistication of digital printing technology, we can now produce our own images or customize those that are sourced, resulting in an even wider array of looks available.
The largest tile show in the world, Cersaie, takes place in Italy each fall, and we take the cutting edge trends from the show back to our design boards as inspiration. Traditionally, European style has set the stage for trends, and the rest of the world followed. However, we have recently seen more European manufacturers and designers flock to the Coverings show stateside, borrowing looks from the U.S.
Dal-Tile’s manufacturing facilities in China, Russia and Mexico also give us a feel for design trends in those regions, and serve as inspiration in our designs domestically.
There is a lot of inspiration that can be gleaned domestically as well. Associations, like the Color Marketing Group, set the tone for hues, and we participate both in creating the forecasts and following them through in our designs.
Back to the U.S.: local influences inspire design
Additionally, visiting model homes and showrooms across the country gives us a feel for trends in various regions. It is interesting to see varying tastes in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast. California is quick to adopt new trends, while the Midwest harbors late adopters. Larger format tiles and lighter colorways help beat the heat in more arid climates.
We find inspiration in the everyday as well. A beautiful cutting board inspired a member of our design team to create Daltile’s Acacia Wood collection, and we recently scanned metal plates from an antique store to get a patina look for a new print.
Getting technical – digitizing design
Once we find an inspirational material or image and scan it in to a digital file for printing, we still have a lot of work to do. The structure – or the material base the graphic is printed on – can be designed to have ridges, bumps and other textures, giving the design not only a visual, but tactile enhancement. Once printing is complete, the finishes and glazes can also add another element of detail to the design. A single graphic can look very different depending on the surface, and glaze you apply.
With the design layers finalized, we decide where the tile gets produced based on a variety of factors. One interesting element that determines location is the type of clay needed to create the tile. Dal-Tile’s manufacturing facilities in Alabama source clay locally, and the material there is very different from what you find underfoot in Texas. Size is also a factor. We’re excited to open a new manufacturing facility in Dickson, Tenn., this year, that in the future will produce tiles as large as 72 inches.
Then comes branding and selling the product. With four strong brands in the Dal-Tile family (Daltile, American Olean, Marazzi and Ragno), it is hard to play favorites. Luckily we don’t have to. Each brand has a unique personality. For example, if the design is bold and very trend forward, Marazzi is a natural choice, whereas a more sophisticated, monochromatic design works well for American Olean’s commercial applications.
A great example of this is our new brick-look collections for Daltile, Marazzi and American Olean. They each reflect the trend, while showing a unique variation of it. American Olean’s Bricktown is monochromatic, Daltile’s Brickwork is versatile and classic, and Marazzi’s Urban District BRX is a striking variation of urban industrial.
Inspiration is limitless and the tile industry has a lot of new trends coming down the pipeline.
We’re seeing larger, and larger format tiles being manufactured domestically, while at the same time smaller formats and unique shapes are taking hold. Popular rectangle and subway tile will see competition from classic squares, hexagons and abstract shapes. As with fashion, a lot of bygone era looks are coming to the forefront.
One thing is for certain; tile will always have a tale to tell.
Shelly Halbert is director of Product Design for the Dal-Tile Corporation, the largest North American manufacturer of ceramic tile and natural stone products. Halbert, who earned her degree in Interior Design from University of Louisiana, began her career in the tile industry when she started with Marazzi 19 years ago. Before becoming a product designer, she worked in sales and managed showroom room design for the Italian inspired company. As product designer, Halbert believes in rolling up her sleeves and being hands-on with the products she develops. From the shape to color, she loves being involved in every aspect of her products.
Laura Greenwood, with Scarlet Opus, a trend forecasting outfit in Beverley, UK (www.scarletopus.com) walked me through the firm’s Top Ten Colors for 2016 during the TISE West show in Las Vegas in January. Visitors to the Trends Hub at TISE West could vote for their favorite color with pompom felt balls, handmade in Nepal for Masmosa Crafts and view the Living Magazine in the booth, which contained trend pages for floor coverings.
The Top Ten Colors for interiors are taken from Scarlet Opus’ Spring/Summer 2016 and Fall/Winter 2016/17 palettes, expected to make the biggest impact throughout the year. In her blog on the website, Greenwood noted that colors “range from bold, earth shades to dusty mid-toned hues, each swatch is designed to be worked into your own palette (not together) and are placed in no specific order.”
The Top Ten Colors for interiors are taken from Scarlet Opus’ Spring/Summer 2016 and Fall/Winter 2016/17 palettes.
Here is the palette from the firm’s blog, interspersed with observations during the walkthrough at TISE West. What’s your favorite color? The winner is revealed at the end of the story!
1. Nude – This is a design essential to balance the brighter tones in the trends palette. It lends classic qualities and creates an elegant counterpoint imbued with warmth. This soft and gentle tone makes us feel good.
2. Muted Pink–This tone reigns in soft minimalism, where there is a focus on well-being, comfort, and warmth. Matte, with a chalky finish, this relaxing pastel can be paired with warm metallics for a luxurious feel.
3. Deep Purple –Rich. Opulent. Sophisticated. Luxurious. These are just a few descriptors for Deep Purple hues. This intense shade allows a play of light and dark in residential settings, hotels and bars, with a strong connection to nature and luxury with dark floral wallpaper and tile designs, blurring the lines between modern and traditional fashions. The jeweled opulence of Deep Purple combines with warm brass metallic shades to inspire a dramatic, luxurious vibe.
4. True Red – Sporty, optimistic, youthful and daring, True Red mixes with geometrics and graphics as subtle hints and highlights or primary color blocking. It portrays an artisanal, handcrafted aesthetic where craftsmanship is valued and the beauty of ‘basic’ is admired.
5. Indigo Blue – Indigo make its presence felt throughout 2016, trending across both fashion and interiors. It is deep, mysterious yet stylish and sophisticated. Indigo is at its most striking and sumptuous alongside rich shades of wine, teal, warm metals, grays, dark wood tones and off white. This color longs for unconventional pairings to emphasis the unexpectedness of how it can be used within an interior, with a trend towards kitchen use and presence in ombres and tie-dyed effects.
6. Hot Pink–Joyful and vibrant, hot pink evokes cultural, ethnic and tribal influences and carefree combinations. Use it as a highlighter on feature walls, where there is a desire to be bold and daring.
7. Cobalt Blue – This color works in both contrasting and complementary ways; it can be paired with a True Red for a bold, contemporary union, or combined with a crisp white for a more radiant effect. When paired with the Indigo Blue and Mint Green it suggests a more tonal, pleasing mixture. This color can be used both as an accent and a mono solid, where its unique, fresh vibrancy makes this a popular choice for 2016.
8. Pale Lilac–From the Woodland Walk Trend, Pale Lilac offers a discreet, restrained unisex feel with a slight grey tone. Soft, pastel and matte, it offers a muted, softer take on industrial concrete looks. This pastel can be combined with moody tinted grays and muted corals and pinks with a chalky, powder-coated finish.
9. Green – This organic color emanates from Scarlet Opus’ Woodland Walk trend, with mossy, grounded hues that reflect consciousness of the environment. It’s paired with brown, neutral, and deep purples as luscious rainforest greens in the firm’s Belo Rio trend.
10. Mars Brown – These terracotta tones will land in commercial settings in the coming 2016-2017 fashion season, especially in upholstery and soft goods. This grounded color is taken from Scarlet Opus’ Astro Trend, which is inspired by the grittiness and raw textures of planetary surfaces. This baked-earth tone brings a sophisticated essence into interiors and can be used alongside deep reds, terracotta and space-aged metallics.
Other trending colors from Scarlet Opus to keep an eye out for:
Muted Coral – Earthy, sun-baked and low-key, Muted Coral evolves from the 2015 fashions staple Coral Shrimp as solid and accent color. Muted Coral is more diffused, restrained and low-key. It sits within a palette that suggests honesty and long-lived values – it is warm, sophisticated, all-encompassing. It works well with textured textiles and raw, oxidized focus, greens and mauve/purple tones.
Lunar Gray – An extended palette of muted grays play a leading role as an important hue for this year. Taken from a trend that places focus on privacy, time and experience this color works alongside refined neutrals to portray elegance and timeless fashions. Seen in a matte finish with tone-on-tone neutrals that are beautiful in their simplicity, this color remains important as the endurance of the new industrial style continues to strengthen.
Mint Green – This color adds a fresh, contemporary sharpness when used as an accent within a palette. It almost glows when paired against deeper shades. Not only does it portray a pop of optimism and express a desire to be more adventurous, but it also encourages unconventional pairings, inspiring a confident use of color. Ombrés, color washes and gradations are the dominant effects when using this tone.
The winning color?TISE West visitors selected Cobalt Blue (fourth column of pompoms from right) as the favorite hue, with a slight margin over Indigo Blue.
I’m so excited to be working with Coverings as its Industry Ambassador again this year. Last year’s show in Orlando was a great one, and I’m looking forward to Coverings 2016 in Chicago this April.
I love Chicago – it’s such an amazing city, with great design resources, and beautiful architecture. As a designer, visiting there is always such a huge source of inspiration for me, and I often get a chance to source many of my materials at the Merchandise Mart, one of my favorite design centers in the country. Prior to the show, I will be traveling to speak to groups of designers and architects in the Chicago area, about all of the upcoming tile trends they will see at Coverings in April.
This year’s show is extra special for me, since I am also going to be participating in the Installation & Design Showcase (IDS). Years ago, I was part of the very first IDS, and it’s exciting to get a chance to be part of it once again. It’s an added bonus to be paired with the same amazing team of installers – Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. We’ll create a boutique store setting with Ceramics of Italy tiles and MAPEI materials! I can’t wait to see all of the participating designers’ and installers’ creations come to life at the show! Besides my vignette, other teams include: Susan El-Naggar from Healing Environments, partnering with Trostrud Mosaic & Tile Co., to create a spa lobby with Crossville tile and MAPEI setting materials; FGM’s Raegan Porter partnering with Welch Tile & Marble on a bar/lounge project using StonePeak tile and H.B. Fuller setting materials; and Sharon Exley from Architecture is Fun, working along with Grazzini Brothers using Florim tile and LATICRETE setting materials to design and craft a hotel lobby setting. Read more from these IDS designers in the Q&A in this issue.
I also can’t wait to see all of the new tile introductions, which always get me thinking ahead about how I can incorporate them into many of my future design projects. There are so many great tile trends to look forward to seeing this year at Coverings, as well as numerous educational seminars to get your CEUs, and a host of networking opportunities; I am hoping to see you all there! You don’t want to miss it!
New tile technology may resurrect old installation methods
Qualified installers are key to large thin porcelain tile and plank success
As many of you reading this know, it is clear that larger, linear tiles and thin porcelain tiles are here. Wood-looking plank tiles are everywhere and very popular. I have seen these plank tiles as large as 8” x 72” and they are beautiful and more realistic than ever. Thin porcelain panels are gaining steam; we are fielding at least one call per week asking about the installation of these panels.
More than ever, finding a quality, qualified contractor to install these tiles is paramount. Tile contractors need to stay up to date on the latest technologies when installing tiles this large. Knowing industry standards for substrates is the key for successful installation. The flatter the substrate the better, and knowing the latest technologies in leveling materials and mortars will help the tile installer with a successful installation.
Distributors need to direct their customers to good tile contractors. These tiles are, in my opinion, specialty installations. The issues with warpage in the plank tiles could lead to lippage issues and hollow tiles. We in the industry need to make sure these installations are successful so the market will continue to grow. I believe that distributors are key in educating their customers that the low price is not the best price.
Manufacturers of large thin porcelain tiles (LTPT) need to update their distributors and end users on the latest installation guidelines and the proper specifications of where these tiles can and cannot be used. LTPT is an exciting technology, and more square footage is being made and shipped at lower costs. These panels can be used in tile-over-tile applications that can update bathrooms, showers and other areas of homes, hotels and other residential and commercial settings.
This technology is also being used for thicker tile panels as well, meaning that slabs of 3/4” porcelain can and are being used for walls, floors and counter tops. Just think: these slabs of porcelain are stain and scratch resistant. This means that long-term maintenance costs can go down. It also means that “old” installation techniques like plastering walls and mud-set floors could be making a comeback; something old is new again.
It is a very exciting time for the ceramic tile industry with these and other new tile products. Designers have more products from which to choose. If manufacturers, distributors, designers and contractors work together, it means that installations can last longer, maintenance costs can go down and the customer wins in the end.
Welcome back to the TRENDS issue of TileLetter, your spring report on all things new in tile and stone.
This second annual edition of the latest and greatest our industry has to offer – including setting and ancillary materials – culls information from around the world, and around the block.
You’ll find a view into the new from Joe Lundgren of Joseph Lundgren Consulting, style directions from Italy, Spain, and a look into what Turkish producers are introducing into the U.S. marketplace. You’ll find a color forecast from Scarlet Opus (and a look into Pantone’s Color of the Year) and a take on stone stylings from Josh Levinson and Jill Cohen of Artistic Tile. Dal-Tile Corporation’s Shelly Halbert gives us a peek into what it takes to develop on-trend products for the U.S. marketplace. And the A&D professionals who are participating in the Coverings Installation Design Showcase this year – including Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra – weigh in on design directions, and how tile and stone are being used to support fresh new fashions for interiors and exteriors.
Accompanying these stories are new product sections for tile, stone and setting materials, to give you a leg up on what you’ll see this spring and at Coverings.
NTCA continues strong in its efforts to support and foster collaboration among the A&D, manufacturing, distributing and installation sectors for appropriately specified, properly installed installations that not only look stunning, but perform flawlessly. While you’re at Coverings, find NTCA at 8436, as well as with a presence in the North American Pavilion near TCNA at information central, booth 7325. Visit the Installation Design Showcase in booth 6245, sponsored this year by The Home Depot, to watch the four vignettes come to life in real time over the course of the show through the efforts of the A&D professionals, NTCA Five Star Contractors and material sponsors. For the backstory, come to the Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed Session followed by the Final Reveal and Reception on Wednesday, April 20 from 3:30 – 5:30 PM.
While you’re at the show, be sure to attend the Coverings Installation Design (CID) Awards and Opening Night Celebration, which honors outstanding projects and allows you to meet the winners in an interactive showcase of the winning projects. The “Taste of Chicago” themed reception takes place Monday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Of course the show itself will unveil even more than we can fit in the pages of this book. Be one of our roving reporters and let us know what you see at the show that knocked your socks off. Email me at [email protected], and your comments may appear in an upcoming issue of TileLetter.
Here’s to the timeless and the trendy in tile and stone!
LATICRETE systems support expansive natural stone tile Mall of San Juan project
By Art Mintie, CSI, CDT, LATICRETE
With Nordstrom® and Saks Fifth Avenue® serving as its retail anchors, the Mall of San Juan is the first upscale mall in Puerto Rico.
This two-level, enclosed mall features a 179,000 sq. ft. (16,630 m2) natural stone floor spanning the property’s common areas. The floor uses several different types of stone in varying colors to create a sweeping wave pattern.
LATICRETE was deeply involved in the project and helped its owner, the Taubman Company, and its architects, Hobbs + Black, design and construct a state-of-the-art facility.
The Mall of San Juan project faced three major challenges:
Location and scale — As with any island, Puerto Rico is limited in its ability to produce large quantities of materials. This is an especially difficult hurdle for such a large project. The Taubman Company needed a supplier that could deliver the right materials on time.
Exacting design specifications — The project required the highest level of quality and care. For example, to reduce the chance of cracking the Mall of San Juan’s design team insisted that all stone be installed upon a 2” (50 mm) wire-reinforced mortar bed rather than directly over concrete. The Taubman Company needed a partner that could assist with the design and testing of their approach.
“Concrete always cracks and Taubman needed a true high-performance solution to protect from cracks coming through the tile,” said Wayne Hoerning, LATICRETE International Regional manager for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. “Mall floors must be exceptionally flat, and on a floor this size, it would be complicated and needlessly expensive to line up all the mortar joints with the concrete expansion joints,” he said.
Varying tile orientation and type – The project called for differing types of stone in varying colors to be used on both vertical and horizontal surfaces. The Taubman Company benefited from a team that could supply expert testing, technical services and creative problem solving.
Fortunately, LATICRETE and the tile contractor GemStar Group were on hand to supply the best products in a timely manner, serve as true project partners and provide expert counsel when needed.
A LATICRETE solution
LATICRETE provided critical support to the architects and contractors well before any materials arrived onsite, determining the proper bed and adhesive required for each of the multiple different stone types. LATICRETE arranged for testing conducted by the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) prior to specifying the materials.
Once construction began, LATICRETE facilities were able to quickly deliver materials from its production facilities. This was especially important when 53 ocean shipping containers were required for the delivery of the mortar alone.
Initial application specifications called for LATICRETE® 4XLT polymer-fortified adhesive mortar, as it’s designed for large-module tile and stone. 4-XLT can be built up thicker than traditional thin-set mortars and provided a good solution for the heavy-and-large module tile and stone finishes. TCNA’s extensive testing provided assurance the 4-XLT would provide the proper adhesion.
4-XLT is a multi-use, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar. 4-XLT offers tremendous utility including non-sag wall installations, large and heavy tile mortar build up of up to 3/4” (19 mm) and thin-set applications of floors.
A full thick-bed installation system consisting of multiple LATICRETE materials was utilized on the project, starting with 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed.
3701 Fortified Mortar Bed is a polymer-fortified blend of carefully selected polymers, portland cement and graded aggregates. 3701 Fortified Mortar Bed does not require the use of latex admix; one only needs to add water to produce thick bed mortar with exceptional strength.
Since mall projects typically have aggressive timetables, the project specs called for rapid-setting and easy-to-use PERMACOLOR® Grout and LATASIL™ sealant.
PERMACOLOR is an ANSI A118.7-compliant rapid-setting, high-performance, color-consistent cement grout that provides a grout joint that is dense and hard.
LATASIL sealant is a high-performance, one-component, neutral-cure, 100% silicone sealant designed for ceramic tile and stone applications. Applicable wherever stone must abut another type of surface, LATASIL provides a flexible sealant joint that matches the color of PERMACOLOR Grout.
As the job unfolded, tile contractor GemStar noticed the stone on the walls called for mechanical anchors which, affected the space’s uniform appearance. GemStar recommended the Mall of San Juan instead use LATAPOXY 310 Stone Adhesive to adhere the large stone panels on all the interior walls.
“We know that one key to saving time and money is fast installation times,” said Dano Rossi, project engineer with GemStar Canada, Inc. “So we proposed using a non-mechanical method – LATAPOXY® 310 – to adhere large stone panels on all the interior walls. The Mall of San Juan’s owners agreed to this approach and the outcome speaks for itself,” Rossi said.
LATAPOXY 310 Stone Adhesive is a two-component, high-strength epoxy adhesive, formulated for spot- bonding of tile and stone installations on vertical surfaces. It maintains its non-sag consistency at high temperatures up to 95°F (35°C) and offers a fast, permanent bond with a rapid 45-minute to one-hour set time.
LATICRETE, GemStar and the Taubman Company are all happy with the project’s outcome.
In fact, the Mall of San Juan project is being done in conjunction with several other Taubman malls in the continental U.S., all of them very challenging projects. LATICRETE products are being used extensively throughout. The Taubman Company and Hobbs + Black know that LATICRETE products perform well from previous experience, recently at five malls including Sarasota, Fla., and Springfield, Va. LATICRETE is proud to now be included in Taubman’s specifications, and to have earned sufficient trust to be called upon to help resolve demanding problems when they arise.
Following is an extensive list of products that represent the trends in setting materials, tools and sundries that we’ll see at Coverings and beyond. Coverings exhibitors include booth numbers. For details on up and coming technical trends, stay tuned to the second annual TECH issue of TileLetter, planned for fall, 2016.
Mark E Industries Booth #7345
For new or retrofit installations, the company’s Goof Proof Shower Seat is a heavy duty, stay-in-place molded plastic form that is easily installed and can be tiled in the same day. The standard 30”-wide seat has guide marks on the top surface to make it easy to trim the seat to 24” wide. The front face has a 3/16”-wide tile support ledge for easier tile alignment and full tile support. Two leveling vials are integrated to maintain the proper built-in minimum water drainage slope of 1/4” per 12” run. Screws, anchors and shims and illustrated installation instructions are included. www.goofproofshowers.com
The Noble Company Booth #8236
The FreeStyle Linear Drain allows for the use of large format tile in showers. A clamping collar ensures a waterproof connection of waterproofing membrane to the drain, and the waste pipe is solvent-welded to the drain. The low-profile and high-drainage capacity make FreeStyle ideal for barrier-free showers and aging-in-place applications. Waterproof shower Niches and Benches from The Noble Company also install in minutes and are ready for tiling. www.noblecompany.com
LATICRETE Booth #8145
Hydro Ban Shower System products such as the Linear Pre-Sloped Shower Pan, Linear Drain, Bonding Flange Drain, Pre-Sloped Shower Pan and Pre-Sloped Ramp are products that can help solve barrier-free/zero-entry/aging-in-place challenges. Whether used on the surface or over recessed wood or concrete floors, these Hydro Ban Shower System products can be installed to create a safe and easily accessible barrier-free or zero-entry shower. www.laticrete.com
Schluter Systems Booth #7742
The Schluter-Kerdi-Line drain is now available in lengths up to 72”. Five new drain lengths mean the drain is now available in 4” increments from 20” to 72”. Kerdi-Line is a low-profile alternative to traditional shower drains. It suits many shower designs, including barrier-free showers. Two-inch thick Kerdi-Board (pictured here) can be used to quickly create flat, plumb, square and waterproof shower benches, an alternative to moisture-sensitive wood and gypsum board. A Kerdi-Board bench can be assembled using thin-set mortar or Kerdi-Fix sealing and bonding compound. Kerdi-Board gives tile setters more control over projects, allowing them to create perfect covering, whether using mosaics or large-format tiles. www.schluter.com
Tile Redi Booth #7139
Tile Redi’s new award-winning Redi MegaShower Pan is a one-piece, ready-to-tile shower pan designed for larger, luxury shower applications. The Redi MegaPan is available in a 42” x 96” size with single and multi curbs available. Tile Redi’s patented and UL-listed shower pans and other innovative tile ready products are manufactured as pre-formed, one-piece shower modules. Shower pans are complete with fully integrated drains, curbs and splash walls, each leak-proof and mold free unit is pre-pitched for easy drainage and immediately ready for tile. By solving water intrusion problems, Tile Redi® shower pans inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. www.tileredi.com
USG Booth #7148
Ideal for both new construction and repair or remodel projects, the USG Durock Brand Shower System is a fully-bonded waterproofing system for tiled shower installations. It controls moisture independently of the tile covering while creating a solid base for a long-lasting shower. Available is a proprietary tray program – exclusive to USG – that allows for a limitless number of shower configurations. Using optional benches and niches that deliver added flexibility, this system makes it possible to create a completely customized shower. www.usg.com
wedi Booth #8351
wedi has received a great response to its new “LEAN” curb design. Recently it launched the wedi Curb Foam LEAN in a 2”x 8’ x 3-1/2” design to use in conjunction with larger wedi shower bases. LEAN curbs offer a clean, modern design element to the shower with a lower step-over height and additional 3” of shower floor space compared to a standard curb. www.wedicorp.com
Blanke Corp. Booth #8037
The thinset method dominates today’s tile installation landscape with a variety of underlayments to choose from like backer boards and rolled plastic mats. Blanke•PerMat is a premiere choice of underlayment offering best in class properties: structural support, point-load, shear, and tensile strengths. www.blankecorp.com
Bostik Booth #7541
Bostik recently introduced 12 surface preparation products for 2016. This includes four new self-leveling underlayments, two new repair patches, a new deep-penetrating substrate primer and a new reinforcing fiber matrix. Cement-based self-levelers offer flooring contractors many benefits and advantages including a range of price points, robust formulations that are easy to mix and apply, and Bostik self-curing technology that enables the material to be walked on soon after it is poured as well as the ability to install tile, stone, resilient, wood and other floor coverings directly over them. These rapid curing products will result in less downtime in the installation process, which translates into greater profits. Products include a hybrid, gypsum/cement-based underlayment, Self-Leveling Tool kit and a Collomix Self-Leveler Mixer, engineered with the input of Bostik’s German affiliate. www.bostik-us.com
Keene Building Products/Dependable LLC Booth #7346
Noise and cracking represent two of the greatest challenges for tile setters. KeedeRoll MT from Dependable creates a system to control both these challenges in one roll. By using MT “Muffling Technology” fabric with Dependable’s KeedeRoll products, the company says it has created a revolutionary new way to install tile in noisy environments. The MT technology adds a 19-point delta in IIC ratings on construction products. This combination of uncoupling technology and MT allows installers to protect their tile and create a quiet living environment for the end user. www.floorprep.com
LATICRETE Booth #8145
Strata_Mat is a next generation uncoupling mat for use under ceramic tile and stone in residential/commercial applications. It’s designed to replace traditional underlayment materials such as cement backer board and plywood. The patented design of Strata_Mat provides for an enhanced mechanical bond and faster drying of the adhesive mortar, allowing for shorter time to grout. Also from LATICRETE is Fracture Ban, a lightweight peel-and-stick membrane designed for use under thin-bed adhesives for ceramic tile, stone and other hard-surface installations. This reinforced membrane performs as an anti-fracture and an acoustical underlayment system that eliminates the transmission of stresses from the substrate. The Fracture Ban Primer is a concentrated water-based primer designed for application prior to the installation of Fracture Ban membrane. This primer may be broom, roller, or spray applied and can be used on the same range of substrates as the Fracture Ban membrane. www.laticrete.com
NAC Products Booth #8042
For bathroom surfaces that require waterproofing with impact and audible sound reduction, the Extreme Bathroom System from NAC offers a variety of installation options. SubSeal Liquid Waterproofing membrane combined with an NAC sound control membrane provides an easy-to-install solution that provides a watertight seal with some of the best sound numbers in the industry. NAC sound membranes have the added benefit of providing up to 3/8” crack isolation protection, making the Extreme Bathroom System the most effective system on the market. www.nacproducts.com
Noble Co. Booth #8236
More specifiers and contractors are using TCNA standards to select waterproofing, crack-isolation and sound-reduction membranes best suited to their project requirements. For example, “System Crack Resistance” is the performance element of the Crack Isolation Standard. A crack isolation membrane must bridge movement of at least 1/16” (or 1/8” for a “High Performance” rating). Sound Isolation membranes must improve IIC by at least 10 in order to meet minimum requirements. To ensure your membrane meets your needs, use NobleSeal and ValueSeal membranes to satisfy these requirements. www.noblecompany.com
GenieMat™ RST is a flat, resilient underlayment that is used directly under a variety of floor finishes. A robust reduced sound transmission mat made from 94% recycled rubber content used when superior sound control is required in multifamily housing, high-rises, or commercial buildings. www.pliteq.com
Siena Dragon Skin is a liquid-applied, fast-drying, high-performance, easy-to-use water-proofing and crack-isolation membrane, formulated to produce a high-quality elastomeric barrier. It is easily applied using a trowel, roller, paintbrush or sprayer. It changes color from light purple when wet, to a dark purple when dry. Dragon Skin is IAPMO Certified and complies with the requirements of ANSI A118.10 and ANSI A118.12. www.siena.omega-products.com
USG Booth #7148
USG Durock Brand UltraLight Foam Tile Backerboard offers a strong, waterproof and vapor retardant tile base for tub, shower and steam room areas and an underlayment for tile on floors and countertops. The board is readily applied over wood or steel framing and does not require washers for installation. It is also idealfor use with the USG Durock Brand Shower System. www.usg.com
Equipment and Education
The Best of Everything Primo Tools/Sponga USA/Omni Sealers Booth # 8143
Our industry continues to show that large format tiles and plank tiles are still the choice of designers and installers alike. The Back Butter Buddy tool was designed to make back-buttering of large format tiles simple and safe. To assure a secure a good bond to substrates it is highly recommended that the tiles be “back buttered” with the setting material. With its 360 degree spinning capability, the Back Butter Buddy makes the back buttering process simple, safe, and effective. This tool increases production and reduces “wear and tear” on the installer. www.BOE-Companies.com
Bellota Booth #8139
Bellota POP series manual tile cutters cut ceramic and mosaic glass tiles efficiently with maximum precision. Durable, lightweight construction makes it easy to transport and use at the job site. A wide reinforced cast aluminum base provides added rigidity and stability, while solid steel, chrome-plated rail bars, deliver smooth scoring. Bellota’s patented, universal forged steel scoring wheels are made of high-quality tungsten carbide for maximum strength and durability. They last up to 25% longer than standard wheels and are designed to fit on other makes of tile cutters. The POP employs a heavy-duty breaking system on ceramic and glass tiles, which breaks tile easily with exceptionally clean cuts and keeps the mesh backing on glass tiles intact for quick installations. POP cutters feature a three-year warranty and are available in 21” and 25” cutting capacities. www.bellota.com
European Tile Masters Booth #8353
European Tile Masters saw the need to design a full line of tools for handling and installing mammoth large thin porcelain tiles (LTPT) so that installers could take on jobs involving LTPT with confidence. For example, the ETM-Table and other accessories illustrated in the photo are only one part of ETM’s complete installation system. www.europeantilemasters.com
Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants
Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) provides forensic failure investigations and inspections, expert witness services, architectural specifications and quality control services, quality assurance and product testing, market research and business planning consulting to the tile/stone industries. CTaSC educates tile installers and sales professionals, plus specifiers of tile and stone, architects and interior designers, through its online University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS). NTCA has endorsed UofCTS training courses and offers discount rates to its members. UofCTS offers courses on the basics of ceramic tile and natural stone. www.tile-assn.com
The company’s Pro Set Flex M300 is a premium modified, high-performance mortar with exceptional bond strength, high flexibility, open time and coverage, used to install porcelain and other types of high-density, non-porous tiles and stones. Used as a flexible mortar for interior and exterior applications, it can be used on floors and walls, in residential and commercial projects. The product will span cracks up to 1/16” (1.6 mm) in substrates with limited vibration/deflection. Available in white or grey, and complies with the requirements of ANSI A118.4, A118.11 and A118.15. www.siena.omega-products.com
TEC/H.B. Fuller Co. Booth #7739
TEC’s Super Flex Ultra-Premium Thin Set Mortar is polymer modified with a patented bonding formula for any kind of tile – including glass and porcelain. The flexible, one-part mortar absorbs in-plane movement over plywood, cementitious surfaces or other substrates. Super Flex can be used to install UL-approved TEC In-Floor Heat mats, the latest TEC innovation that supports the luxury residential flooring trend. Super Flex comes with a limited lifetime warranty when used to install TEC In-Floor Heat. www.tecspecialty.com
Texrite Booth # 8347
Texrite’s Totalcontact is a large-and-heavy-tile mortar. It can bond all tile types and offers non-sag vertical and non-slump horizontal applications. Use it for tile-over-tile projects, or tile over concrete or over EGP plywood substrates. Made for bonding larger tile, plank tile and large thin porcelain tile, Totalcontact is a multi-fit latex/polymer-modified portland cement bonding mortar. It is tough enough for interior or exterior, heavy-duty service installations, yet creamy trowel characteristics reduce physical effort while increasing work productivity. Totalcontact supports critical bond interface between tile and substrate when setting bed becomes 1/8” to 3/4” thick. www.texrite.com
MAPEI Booth #7733
MAPEI Ultralite S1 Quick is a single-component, thin-set mortar that can also be used as a large-and-heavy-tile mortar for non-sag, non-slump applications of large-and-heavy-format tile and stone on walls and floors. It is rapid-setting, lightweight and easy to apply. MAPEI Ultralite S1 Quick is a FastTrack Ready product, allowing grouting in three to four hours. Thanks to its Ultralite Technology, MAPEI Ultralite S1 Quick provides twice the coverage of a standard thin-set mortar per pound/kg; in addition, the product’s Easy Glide Technology makes application easy for installers. www.MAPEI.com
Ardex Booth #7539
A solvent-free, two-component epoxy grout and adhesive with a creamy consistency, Ardex WA Epoxy Grout and Adhesive (pictured) is designed for installations in swimming pools, showers, bathrooms, food processing facilities, industrial settings, restaurant kitchens, hospitals or any installation requiring high standards of hygiene and chemical resistance. Its key features include cleaning with water only, interior/exterior floor and wall applications, and waterproof and frost resistant characteristics. Another product, Ardex X 77, is a polymer-modified tile/stone mortar formulated for very large, thin tile applications. It offers unmatched sag resistance – double the ISO standard – true 60-minute open time, creamy consistency, use over in-floor heating systems, use in wet areas, and water/frost resistance. Intended for large-and-heavy tile (medium bed) applications and for interior/exterior installation of floors and walls. www.ardexamericas.com
Siena Epoxy Grout produces a high-strength, 100% solids material that is impermeable, stain and shock resistant. It has high chemical resistance to many acids, alkalis, solvents and stains, making it ideal for usage in areas such as commercial kitchens, hospitals, countertops, floors and walls, interior and exterior, residential and commercial applications, and any area where the use of strong chemicals cause erosion and damage to traditional cementitious grout joints. It can also be used as a mortar and conforms to the requirements for chemical resistance, water cleanability, tile setting and grouting with epoxy found in ANSI A118.3/ANSI A108.6. www.siena.omega-products.com
Texrite Booth #8347
Texrite Chromaflex eliminates the portland cement component in grout, and blends stabilized, color-fast quartz aggregate/sand with specialized co-polymer resin technology and other proprietary additives to create a pre-mixed, ready-to-use grout product that uses water for clean-up. It requires only air-cure drying and has no color shading. The advance Chromaflex formula has no efflorescence, has a built-in sealer and maintains flexible resin properties to resist minor movement or fine cracking. Installers can also store and save any unused Chromaflex grout material for another job and/or repairs. www.texrite.com
CMX Radiant Corp.
For the past 10 years, RPM Mats, “The Original” electric heat wire installation mat system, have been used as a backerboard replacing, anti-fracture membrane, designed specifically to protect the wire and ease the installation process for all brands of electric in-floor heat wire. A unique stud placement and design offers numerous benefits, such as a thinner installation, easy cement leveling over wire, fast wire layouts and adjustments, light weight and, cuts with no dust. The mats are made in the USA from 80-90% recycled materials and available in two thicknesses. www.rpmmats.com
Schluter-Systems Booth #7742
Schluter-Ditra-Heat-TB is the first electric floor warming system with an integrated thermal break. Located on the underside of the membrane, the break allows the system to warm tiled floors up to 70% faster over concrete substrates by directing heat to the tile, not the subfloor. The system means faster installation as the membrane, heating cables and break are combined in a single layer. To minimize construction height, the total assembly is only 5/16” thick. The company has also doubled the number of cable lengths available for its Ditra-Heat system—from 17 to 34 lengths. www.schluter.com
Suntouch Booth # 8517
The advanced SunStat Connect Wi-Fi thermostat typifies the home automation trend by allowing remote access to an electric floor heating system via a mobile app or web browser. By measuring floor and air temperatures, it provides both homeowners and businesses easy access to the comfort of in-floor radiant electric heating. Easily integrated into a home automation system, the Connect provides many energy-saving features, including Warm Weather Shut-Down and a patent-pending Weather Compensation mode. The thin-profile thermostat includes a floor sensor, built-in relay and GFCI to safely control 120 or 240 VAC electric floor heating systems. www.suntouch.com
Controlled from a smartphone, tablet or computer, the 4iE Smart WiFi thermostat learns how you use your heating and the unique way your house reacts. It automatically suggests ways for you to save energy, like what temperature you should set when you’re not home and times you can turn the heating off early. The 4iE finds smart ways to heat your home more efficiently thanks to the smart geo-fencing application that knows where the customer is located and what he or she is likely to do next. www.warmup.com
Profiles and transitions
Blanke Corp. Booth #8037
Blanke has been manufacturing tile trims for over 40 years. Tile trims protect the outside edge of tile from damage and offer a great alternative to traditional bullnose. With modern design moving in the direction of large-format tiles and increasingly-sleek designs, tile trims have become an integral part of this trend. With a broad range of shapes, sizes, and color finishes, Blanke offers a multitude of stylish and elegant tile trims that will protect tile and stone projects for years to come, such as the Cubeline trim pictured. www.blankecorp.com
Ceramic Tool Co.
Colored and anodized finishes are trending in the profile and trim world, and Ceramic Tool Company is offering several options. Whether installing an “L” angle, a carpet trim or a reducer, the finishes of floor transitions seem to be trending toward warmer tones. CTC offers on-fashion tones of Light Bronze, Medium Bronze and Dark Bronze as well as the standard Aluminum finish. These finishes blend in with floor coverings of a neutral palette. www.ceramictool.com
Emac Booth #836
Emac’s aluminum profile is installed as an edge protector to protect and decorate the edges of tiled walls. It is also useful as skirting to top off or to finish medium-height tiled walls. It is available in 10mm and 12mm, and trendy finishes such as matte silver, bright mirror, brushed mirror, chrome and white. The company also manufactures an industrial-style aluminum profile to complete corners and worktops, which is available in 8-10mm and 12-15mm. www.emac.es
Sealers, cleaners and maintenance products
Aqua Mix Booth #8339
Interior and exterior natural stone surfaces are exposed to food, beverages, weather, moisture, grease, oil, dirt and other harmful stain-causing elements on a regular basis. Sealing these surfaces with Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold will prevent stains and permanent damage. It is a premium, no-sheen, natural look, water-based, penetrating sealer designed to maximize protection against stains without hurting the tile. In fact, Sealer’s Choice Gold incorporates high-quality polymers that penetrate into the pores of tile, stone and grout so stains can be cleaned off the surface before causing permanent damage. www.aquamix.com
LATICRETE Booth #8145
As natural stone surfaces continue to be a popular choice amongst commercial and residential segments, so too is proper sealing and maintenance. Trending stones such as quartzite – also known as “the new marble” – are less resistant to etching and chemicals, and like most natural stones still require sealing. LATICRETE’s StoneTech BulletProof Sealer is the solution to stain-proofing natural stone surfaces including quartzite. Solvent-free and easy to use, StoneTech BulletProof Sealer offers maximum protection against water and oil-based stains all while maintaining the natural look of the stone. www.laticrete.com
MAPEI Booth #7733
The company has added three products to its UltraCare line of care/maintenance products for stone, tile and grout. UltraCare Penetrating SB Stone, Tile & Grout Sealer is a solvent-based sealer that provides protection against most water- and oil-based stains. It’s safe for use on all interior/exterior natural stone (marble, limestone, sandstone, slate, granite, travertine), unglazed porcelain and ceramic tiles, masonry, quarry tiles and cementitious grout. UltraCare Sulfamic Acid Crystals granular powder, when dissolved in water, produces a cleaner for nonporous, acid-resistant tile and natural stone. The solution removes cured cement grout haze, mortar residue, rust stains and mineral deposits. UltraCare Grout Release is a water-based, temporary pre-grout coating that enhances the cleanability of ceramic, porcelain and natural-stone tiles while providing protection to the surface from grout and mortar staining. The product is suitable for use with cementitious, acrylic, urethane and epoxy (reaction resin) grouts in interior/exterior applications. www.MAPEI.com
Miracle Sealants Co. Booth #7348
For as long as people can remember there has been a double-edged sword in the industry; acid is needed to remove portland cement grout haze, efflorescence and mineral deposits, but acid also strips natural stone of its factory-applied polish. Miracle Sealants believes it has come up with the solution.
Miracle Heavy-Duty Cleaner is a water-based industrial cleaner designed to remove grout haze, built-up grease, dirt and stains from all natural stone, marble, ceramic, porcelain, grout, masonry and concrete surfaces. It will not hurt or remove the finish or polish on acid-sensitive surfaces, including marble. This product is a ready-to-use, no VOC cleaner and is stable in both hot and cold climates. www.miraclesealants.com
Following is a sampling of trending stone products. Booth numbers for companies exhibiting at Coverings are included.
Ann Sacks introduces three gorgeous collections from the internationally known designer Kelly Wearstler. Her global luxury lifestyle brand is renowned for its distinctive designs and sophisticated soulful vibe pioneered by the celebrated interior designer. Wearstler has a signature style that juxtaposes raw with refined, melds color, sophistication and spirited spontaneity, and seamlessly blends diverse periods of furniture under one roof. Drawing upon Wearstler’s affinity for repetition and relaxed, painted geometric patterns, Liaison (shown) by Kelly Wearstler for ANN SACKS features the designer’s signature graphic striations and black and white motifs in embossed, textural designs that are at once spirited and sophisticated. Also in the collection are the ceramics Maven, and the textural Tableau. www.annsacks.com
The company has recently launched several new products. Using the centuries-old Aquaforte etching technique, Siam features an art deco motif in a golden metallic wall tile. Artisans created Orly hand-textured limestone while hammering white bronze metal onto the face. When complete, the four metal-clad corners fuse in a sunburst, contrasting the Noir limestone background. Lumina is also handmade, featuring silver metal wrapped around stone with hand-worked rays hammered into the surface. Lumina is part of Artistic Tile’s Grand Tour Collection, which also features Castello, a stone tile reminiscent of the studded trunks that accompanied European nobles on their adventures. www.artistictile.com
Classic, elegant, and comfortable, Modern Farmhouse style is all about keeping things simple and organic. Top a barn-inspired island with Bedrosians Calacatta Oro marble and matching kitchen backsplash to bring neutral tones and enhance the vibrancy of the home, or achieve a luxurious and timeless look with a Calacatta Oro marble bathroom countertop. www.bedrosians.com
Composed of 99% post-industrial recycled natural stone, Daltile’s Lithoverde marble and limestone slabs give designers a unique, linear design that can satisfy environmentally conscious customers without sacrificing style. Beyond the LEED and SCS certification perks, the modern, linear graphics created with classic stone provide a striking option for countertops, walls and tub surrounds. Stocked slabs come in White Carrara and Gris du Marais and two sizes. Special orders available in two additional colors:Crema d’ Orcia and Pietra d’Avola as well as a 1.4cm thickness. The collection will be available in Spring 2016. www.daltile.com
Island Stone Booth #8511
Melding the top selling appeal of the Strip claddings with a modern spin on the trendy Chevron and Herringbone designs, Cross Strips transform a surface into a mesmerizing stone façade. This original, 30 degree angle design comes as two-part meshed back tile that interlocks to zigzag across a wall. The inherent hue variations of natural stones accent the unique pattern creating a sophisticated appearance, subtle yet distinctively different from classic linear stone walls. Cross Strips are a natural choice for interior feature walls and fireplaces, but are also an exterior option both for commercial and residential applications. www.islandstone.com
Levantina Booth #1043
People who love tile large formats have new options when choosing Crema Marfil Coto natural marble. With new formats such as 36” x 24” x 1/2” and 36” x 18” x 1/2” to round off the current range, these sizes make it possible to design original settings with style, ideal for creating large settings with fewer joints and a matchlessly uniform look. Formats can also be mixed for a custom look, on-trend settings and unique interior spaces. www.levantina.com
The Tile Shop
The Strato Bianco Marble Collection is part of The Tile Shop’s stone collection, Rush River Stone. Only found on small island of the coast of Turkey, this unique marble features black and grey striations on a creamy white background. This “Zebra Stripe” look is available in several sizes with multiple trim options. www.tileshop.com
Walker Zanger Booth #4851
Decorative influences from Moorish Spain mingle with Venetian Gothic and Medieval Egyptian, echoing the mélange created by the eons of cultural overlap in the ancient Mediterranean world. Working from historical sources, each design was stripped down to its graphic essence and rebuilt in contemporary colorways and scales. Each pattern in Villa d’Oro, like Tangier, pictured here, is cut and assembled from stones sourced in a variety of Mediterranean countries, creating new decorative art to enliven your modern surroundings. www.walkerzanger.com
Following is a sampling of trending tile products. Booth numbers for companies exhibiting at Coverings are included.
A modern take on cement, American Olean’s Theoretical ColorBody porcelain tile features a light graphic variation created through the company’s patented Reveal Imaging technology that gives depth and visual richness to the minimalist- style tile. Ideal for commercial or residential installation, Theoretical can be used to achieve a modern urban environment, which is particularly on trend for 2016. Available in 10 colors, with an array of options to customize the space. Available in June 2016. www.americanolean.com
Ann Sacks introduces three gorgeous collections from the internationally known designer Kelly Wearstler. Her eponymous global luxury lifestyle brand is renowned for its distinctive designs and sophisticated soulful vibe pioneered by the celebrated interior designer. Wearstler has a signature style that juxtaposes raw with refined, melds color, sophistication and spirited spontaneity, and seamlessly blends diverse periods of furniture under one roof. Drawing upon Wearstler’s affinity for repetition and relaxed, painted geometric patterns, Maven (shown) by Kelly Wearstler for ANN SACKS features the designer’s signature graphic striations and black and white motifs in embossed, textural designs that are at once spirited and sophisticated. Also in the collection are the stone mosaic Liaison, and the textural Tableau. www.annsacks.com
Arizona Tile’s Just Design Program offers a collection of modern and traditional patterns and textures. It allows the company’s clients to customize one of its unique designs by choosing their own materials from Arizona Tile’s extensive selection of products. Designs can be created by combining porcelain, stone and glass or mirror. Shown is the Ribbons Feature Wall made using the Arizona Tile’s Calacatta Gold marble with Antique Mirror accents in silver. www.arizonatile.com
The arabesque shape continues to be a winner at Artobrick, and the classic subway tile rectangle in ceramic is a company mainstay. Arto takes a fresh approach to the brick shape with a grey hue and concrete aesthetic for interiors. Shown is the Artillo Series in Early Grey 2” x 8” tile. www.artobrick.com
Both a trend and a tradition, the herringbone pattern adds a dramatically wonderful aesthetic appeal that won’t go out of style. Inspired by Japanese ceramics, the 90 degree Collection is an elegant herringbone mosaic that portrays 90-degree angles collectively throughout the panel. Offered in six luscious colors, the collection is offered in 1/2”x 2” mosaic on a 11”x 12-1/4” sheet. www.bedrosians.com
Bon Ton Designs Booth # 8012
Arbor brings the natural look of wood with the versatility of tile in a unique cross-cut wood aesthetic to meet the Rustic Urban trend. Available in 40 glaze options, Arbor is perfect for fireplace surrounds, wood-burning stoves and commercial applications. www.bontondesigns.com
Crossville Booth #7306
The Oceanaire porcelain tile collection captures the appearance of sea- and sand-swept natural stone. Multidirectional striations are interpreted in five gradient color options and a range of versatile size options – including large formats and a mosaic option, for a true beachside look and feel. Oceanaire’s color options offer an earthen palette that ranges from lighter to darker tones, each in both unpolished and honed finishes, which can be mixed and matched within the installation. Sizes include 24” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 18” x 36”, and 6” x 36,”as well as a 4”x24” bullnose and 2” x 6” mesh-backed mosaics. Crossville’s Get Planked sizes may also be requested. Oceanaire is Green Squared Certified®, with a minimum of 4% recycled content. Oceanaire is suitable for commercial and residential interior floors, walls, countertops, and exterior walls in both residential and commercial applications. www.crossvilleinc.com
The warmth and timeless look of hardwood can flow through the entire home to the outdoors, with Saddle Brook XT glazed porcelain tile. An authentic hardwood visual created by Reveal Imaging™ technology is combined with four natural wood tones to give a realistic look on a durable, scratch-resistant surface. The popular plank size features coordinating trim. StepWise™ technology provides superior slip resistance while being exceptionally easy to clean. Saddle Brook XT provides a dynamic coefficient of friction (DCoF) that is among the highest in the market, allows for seamless installation of wood-look tile from the indoors to outdoors and is ideal for pool surrounds and areas where decking might be an alternative. www.daltile.com
East Coast Tile
The Residence collection is a unique Color-Body Italian porcelain that replicates a modern blend of textured linen on washed cement. The linen look is enhanced by subtle tone shading in four colors (Ash, Beige, Brown and Black), available in a natural finish or a semi-polished lappato. Residence comes in two rectangular formats, 12 x 24” and 8 x 48”, along with 2 x 2” mesh-mounted mosaics and trim. www.eastcoasttile.com
Ege Seramik Booth # 3807
Jupiter is a new wall tile from Ege Seramik. The Turkish tile producer offers Jupiter in a 10” x 16” wall tile and glazed porcelain field tiles in 13” x 13”, 18 x 18” and 12” x 24” formats. Jupiter offers a complete package, with 2” x 2” mosaics, wall and floor trim and two different insert and listello options. The slightly textured surface and slightly chiseled edge comes in a matte finish in Grey, Ivory and Taupe hues. www.egeseramik-usa.com
Florida Tile Booth # 7333
Inspired by planks found in an abandoned factory floor in Northern Italy, CellarHDP perfectly captures the rich character of vintage boards, from its timeworn surface texture to its variety of color tones. Rooted in history, these planks show the patina of heavy use by people, machinery, chemicals, and water for a unique rustic yet modern appearance. CellarHDP is as well suited for an industrial chic loft as it is for a farm to table restaurant. It features a natural palette of bleached greys, aged charcoal, rich mocha or warm honey brown, that meld with forged steel, aluminum and exposed brick, as well as hand-hewn beams. Available in 8” x 48” format planks, a generous herringbone mosaic and a modern stack mosaic, CellarHDP combines the look of reclaimed wood using advanced HDP – High Definition Porcelain® printing technology with the technical performance of porcelain. CellarHDP is appropriate for all interior residential and commercial applications. It’s entirely made in the USA of 40% pre-consumer recycled content, meets the DCOF AcuTest requirements to be installed in wet areas and is GREENGUARD® and Porcelain Tile certified. www.floridatile.com
Florim USA Booth # 1637
Wood Tobacco is a durable new alternative to pavers; Florim USA’s outdoor tile can be used in a variety of applications. These 24” x 24” 2 cm thick porcelain stoneware slabs are created by atomizing high quality clays, quartzes and metal oxides pressed at 400kg/cm2, and then slowly firing them in a 2,192 °F kiln. These tiles are frost-resistant, anti-slip, removable, easy to install and clean. www.florimusa.com
Marazzi Booth #1201
Urban District is an eclectic blend of products that complement an industrial design style. The collection is influenced by elements such as brick, metal, concrete and wood that are found in the raw materials of buildings in the warehouse district. Urban District is available in three styles, BRX (brick-look – pictured here), STX (wood-look) and HEX (hexagon-shaped cotto). Urban District is available in a variety of colors and is suitable for floor or wall installations. It is available end of May 2016. www.marazziusa.com
New to the Neolith Timber Collection, TheSize introduces its first wood finish, La Bohème. La Bohème is offered in two versions, La Bohème B01 and La Bohème B02, both ideal for countertop applications and kitchen islands. Inspired by the trunk of the Lebanese Cedar tree, this new design stands out from the collection with its bold grain and raw wooden color. When combined with marble, stone or steel, it gives a modern and warm look with a touch of romanticism. www.neolith.com
The Tile Shop
Highly-dimensional “3-D” tiles are becoming very popular with homeowners and designers alike. A slight “fume” glazing technique creates even more depth and rich shadows while preserving a clean, modern look. Shown here is The Tile Shop’s Nova Hex Graphite (615265), also available in White (Bianco 615267) and Light Grey (Smoke 615266). www.tileshop.com
Murrine is a new collection of pictorial composition tiles born from the interpretation of the historic Venetian murrine designs, made of rods of colored glass. These precious and unique works of art are derived from real blowups of murrine designs, converted into artistic mosaics in order to create new decorative and stylish options, specifically designed for contemporary settings. www.trend-group.com
Walker Zanger Booth #4851
Kaza is a brand new concrete tile collection incorporating tactile 3-D elements and textures into each design, transcending the accent wall to create a bold statement wall. Kaza redefines concrete with a modern sensibility. Born from a collaboration of Kaza, a European tile studio and Walker Zanger, the collection is comprised of both stock products and bespoke items, making it possible to find the right design/color for any application. The designs in Kaza span the stylistic spectrum, from the angular geometry of Edgy (pictured) to the soft curves of Lantern. Walker Zanger is the exclusive distributor of Kaza in the U.S. www.walkerzanger.com
How are design professionals viewing today’s trends and fashion direction in tile? We asked the four design professionals who are participating in the Installation Design Showcase about their views on what’s hot in our industry, as well as their thoughts on partnering with suppliers and NTCA Five Star Contractors in the Installation Design Showcase (IDS), being built in real time on the show floor at Coverings. For information about the vignettes and the teams, see Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra’s welcome on page 8 of this issue.
Participating in this Q&A are:
Raegan Porter IIDA, LEED AP ID+C/
Louise Kowalcyzk, AIA, LEEP AP, FGM Architects (FGM)
Susan El-Naggar, ASID, NCIDQ, LEED Green Associate/Tarik El-Naggar, Healing Environments (HE)
Alena Capra, CKD, CBD, Alena Capra Designs (ACD)
Sharon Exley, MAAE ASID/
Peter Exley, RIBA, Architecture is Fun, Inc. (AIF)
The accompanying sidebar gives more information about our design professionals and their work.
– Lesley Goddin
TRENDS: What is the most dynamic trend you see emerging in tile today and in the foreseeable future? How do you incorporate this trend into your work residentially and/or commercially?
FGM:Large porcelain slabs vs. tile or planks would be what we see as the most dominant trend at the moment.
HE: The wood-look plank tile is still very popular, but this year we will see it utilized in creative ways such as painted patterns, distressed look, and interesting cross grains. The brick-look tile is also “in” this year. It will give an Urban Metro feel on floors, and can appear painted and also aged. The concrete-look tiles are great because they come in large sizes and are versatile for a traditional look or can be used in contemporary spaces to give a sleek look. All of these trends can be incorporated into residential and commercial spaces to give an updated look.
ACD: I believe the wood tile trend has become more than a trend, but a staple in the industry. Every year since this type of tile has been introduced, the printing technology has gotten better, and the style choices and cool offerings have really become quite broad. With many of my projects being located in south Florida, I incorporate wood tile in flooring throughout the entire home, as well as for accent walls, bathroom walls and/or floors, etc. For commercial flooring this is also a great choice, due to the high traffic areas, and the durability of this tile. Everything from the new colors – right now I’m loving more of the taupe, washed-looking woods – to the textures and patterns keeps the product fresh and exciting. I cannot design without it!
AIF: We are excited to have the opportunity to play with scale and shape. Manufacturers are developing product that allows designers to think about tile in more than 4” x 4” or 12” x 12” units. We can be complex or simple. We can clad walls using super-sized tile – super clean sets, and juxtapose that against small jewel-sized tile. Or we can go BIG or little. For designers, this new trend of scale and size options allows us freedom to tell stories of home or work that begin with tile and end with the client’s comfort and delight.
TRENDS: How are new products and designs expanding the application for tile other than traditional kitchen/bath/foyer applications?
FGM: Tile feature walls are being incorporated more and more. The thin porcelain veneer can also be used in lieu of traditional wall protection products to create a more modern/ minimal look.
HE: In the past, we traditionally saw tile in wet areas e.g. bathrooms, locker rooms, and kitchens. Tile is now expanding into luxury areas e.g. the master bedroom, living room, and commercial applications such as waiting rooms. Tiles are being used in these luxury areas on the floor, as well as on the walls to replace paint and wall covering. Darker shades on the wall create a dramatic effect, which many consumers are looking for. Metallic tiles are still trending and look great as an accent tile. 3D designs are big this year in a neutral palette which will add texture to the walls.
ACD: Some of the amazing new 3D tiles, stacked stone, and even some of the wood tile have allowed me to work tile into other areas of my clients’ homes. I love using tile to clad columns, or as an accent wall in a family room or entryway of a home. It’s more durable than a wallpaper, and some of the new prints actually look like fabric and wallpaper prints! With the increased technology of the digital printing, this has made tile an easy choice for that type of application.
AIF: Once you play with tile, you understand it can enrich, enhance, and envelop spaces other than the norm. For example, the open kitchen is living space that can be informed by tile reaching out into the public space from the backsplash. Tile can become the unifying element – adding color, form and beauty throughout. Tile can also call attention to treasures, adding contrast and curiosity to a special collection.
TRENDS: Please speak to the state of sustainable design as relates to tile. Has demand increased? How have EPDs/HPDs made tile a more viable product selection? How often do you seek Green Squared Certified® tile products in your work?
FGM: Sustainable design is a best practices for us. We feel like it has just become a standard in the design industry.
HE: Sustainable tiles are becoming more popular as consumers are becoming more educated about their environments. Many are seeking “healthy spaces” since we spend 90% of our time indoors. As a company that creates “Healthy Environments,” we are continually seeking Green Squared Certified® tile products. Lifecycle assessments (LCAs) study the impact of a product on the environment from sourcing through manufacture, distribution, use, removal/disposal and renewal (through recycling or other means). Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are individual product summaries, similar to nutrition labels on foods, that present a snapshot of key information gained from LCAs to allow designers and architects to clearly evaluate the sustainability of a particular product over its entire life cycle. Together, these two tools help standardize sustainability reporting across industries, and make the process of choosing eco-responsible products simpler, smarter and more transparent.
We are currently working with Crossville. Crossville is the first manufacturer to earn Green Squared® Certification – the highest sustainability standard in the industry – across all of its U.S.-manufactured porcelain tile product lines and its entire production process.
ACD: As mostly a residential designer, I do not get asked as often about the sustainability of the tile or products from my clients. Although, if a tile has that feature, I do point it out, and definitely try to use them if I can. Most of my clients’ choices in tile for residential application still revolves around look, durability, size, availability and price point.
AIF: While many clients are still not motivated by “green” product, or feel over “greened,” it is always important to design responsibly. Certified product makes sourcing healthy and sustainable products easier and provides access to information.
TRENDS: Qualified labor language has been incorporated into the Master Spec. Why do you think this is important and how do you incorporate qualified/certified tile installers/contractors into your projects?
FGM: All of our specifications are written utilizing Master Spec and maintaining the language requiring qualified/certified tile installers/contractors is language we keep in all of our projects. We have been requiring a qualified/certified installer/contractor on our projects resulting in a better final product for our clients, as these contractors have gone through the manufacturers’ training programs on how to properly install their tile product.
HE: The “qualified labor language” is important when bidding a project so that we are selecting high-quality tile contractors who have experience and are committed to their craft. Instead of going with the lowest bid, it is important to select the tile installer that is the most qualified for the scope of the work. A portfolio and references that show the installer’s experience, along with a bid, will help to determine if the installer is qualified for the project. A short interview is also helpful.
ACD: It is very important to me to have qualified installers in my projects. So much time and detail goes into the design planning and materials selection that it is imperative to have the right execution of the installation. My install team knows my work well, and is very talented in their craft, so there are never any surprises. We keep in constant communication throughout the jobs, which is also key.
AIF: We often work on publicly bid projects where we actively advise clients to pre-qualify certified installers. For us, that means that the “gene” pool is knowledgeable and experienced and can meet or exceed the standards and installation criteria we specify. Highly trained, experienced installers are essential to the success of our projects as poorly installed work reflects upon our design and opportunities to specify preferred, high-performing products in future.
TRENDS: Concerning the IDS project, why did you choose to participate? What do you hope to learn from this experience? What do you hope to express with your design and collaborative work with contractors and sponsors? How’s the experience so far?
FGM: The experience has been great. We thought it would be an interesting experience and a great way to collaborate with contractors and manufacturers that not everyone has had the chance to do. We hope to express the variety of ways that you can use tile through our Golf Club Bar/Lounge. The challenge we saw is how to design a space that incorporates a great deal of hard surface tile and still make it warm and inviting. We use a lot of tile in our regular designs, but that (warmth) is always the challenge, so we wanted to take it to the extreme here and see what we could do.
HE: We chose to participate in the “Coverings ‘16 Installation Design Showcase” because it is North America’s largest and most prestigious event for the tile and stone industry. We felt it was a great opportunity to showcase a “healthy environment” that promotes healing and inner peace to the mind, body, and spirit by focusing on a sustainable and highly versatile material. We are enjoying collaborating with the team to create a high synergy for the “Spa Lobby.”
ACD: This is exciting for me to once again participate in the IDS. I was a designer in the inaugural showcase years ago, and loved the experience. I am also fortunate to be paired with the same installation team who was absolutely wonderful to work with, as well as Ceramics of Italy. The collaborative experience of design and installation in the showcase is wonderful. I get the opportunity to work with some of the best tile installers in the nation, and to see my design come to life in just a few days!! Nothing better than that!
I am very excited about my design for this year. I am working on a boutique space, incorporating a mix of many of the tile trends that are emerging this year. I wanted to showcase many of the trends such as 3D tile, tile that resembles fabric, graphic prints, as well as lots of the turquoise blue shades that we will be seeing a lot of at Coverings. As the Industry Ambassador for Coverings, I’m presenting about tile trends at several A&D events in the Chicago area leading up to Coverings. I thought it would be fitting to try and incorporate as many as possible into my IDS design. I am so excited to be working with the same amazing team!
AIF: Architecture is FUN. Materiality has always played a big role in the aesthetic and functionality of the public and private spaces we create, for home, for culture and for play. Coverings is an opportunity for us to play with material goods, disrupting the norm and showing how our partner’s tile and stone can reflect a playful spirit. Within our mock boutique hotel lobby, we want guests to “stay and play.” Great public spaces are those you can claim as your own, where you can be rebellious or not, creative or calm and they are always a destination. Our partner and the products we’re selecting will help support Hotel X’s vibe and vice, while shaping an aesthetic that says – this is for you. Come. Stay. Play. Return. Often.