2014 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition is now accepting entries.Confindustria Ceramica, the Italian Association of Ceramics comprised of over 150 Italian ceramic tile manufacturers, and the Italian Trade Commission sponsor the competition, now in its 21st year. North America-based architects and interior designers are invited to submit new or renovated, domestic and international projects completed between January 2009 and January 2014 using Italian ceramic tile in the institutional, residential, and commercial/hospitality categories. The jury will judge the projects based on their creativity, functionality, and aesthetic appeal, selecting a winner in each category. The official criteria for the jury include: overall design of the project; aesthetic and technical quality of installation; degree to which tile enhances the setting; and the project’s sustainable attributes.
Winners will be announced at the Ceramics of Italy International Press Conference during Coverings in Las Vegas, Nev. from April 29 – May 2, 2014, where they will present their projects to the public. The winning architect/designer in each category will receive a cash prize of $4,000 and a 5-day trip to Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie 2014 – the world’s largest exhibition for ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to the winning contractor/tile distributor team in each category. For details on the competition, which is free to enter, is online at www.tilecompetition. Deadline for entries is February 3, 2014.
Schluter-Systems’ Plattsburgh, N.Y., operations suffered a fire on November 9th around 5:20 p.m. A fire broke out at a storage building. Nobody was injured as a result of the fire. The storage building, which is a separate building from the manufacturing plant, was lost completely in the fire along with its contents. The contents of the storage building were pre-production inventory.
The fire was confined to the warehouse storage facility and arrangements are already being planned for the removal of the debris and the rebuild. This incident has not affected manufacturing or shipping operations at Schluter Systems L.P., and orders will not be affected. The finished goods warehouse was also unaffected and is operating as usual. The warehouse holds ample inventory, so no shortages are expected.
Reinhard Plank, president of Schluter-Systems North America, said, “When a fire of this magnitude occurs, your mind immediately goes to the people that may be hurt. We are extremely grateful that both our employees and the fire fighters who managed the blaze so professionally are all fine. The storage building that burned down was used for raw material storage, and is separate from the manufacturing plant. While the material in the storage building was completely lost, we are already making arrangements for the debris to be removed, and planning the rebuild. The incident has not affected operations, and order fulfillment is fully operational. We cannot thank all the fire departments and state police enough for their quick response and for preventing further loss – this incident could have been far worse if it weren’t for them.”
Over two dozen fire departments from the area and neighboring counties came to help control and eventually douse the fire. Plank added, “Thank you to all who have called, emailed, and reached out through social media. We have heard from tile industry friends and colleagues, many Plattsburgh businesses, the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and local congressman Bill Owens, with offers of help and assistance. We are all safe and thankful to be part of such a supportive community.”
The TEC® brand has awarded Kevin Fox of Fox Ceramic Tile the grand prize in its “Imagine Achieve” contractor contest. Five runners-up have also been recognized by a panel of industry experts.
The judging panel included Rose Mary Clyburn, president of H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc.; Dan Welch, president of Welch Tile, and NTCA; Jennifer Panning, president of Artisan Tile Inc. and TCAA; and Michael Ansari, president of AIC Contracting Inc. These industry experts selected the winning entries based on imagination, craftsmanship and excellent use of TEC® products.
As the grand prize winner for his work on the Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA in Wichita, Kan., Fox – who is a NTCA Five-Star Contractor – received a $5,000 cash prize. Fox Ceramic Tile is featured on the TEC® website and in TEC® advertising.
“Winning this award gives us confidence that we are doing things right and running our business with success,” Fox said.
His project used TEC® products to aid with fast-paced tile installation at the 110,000-square-foot flagship YMCA. Fox Ceramic Tile installed large-format porcelain tile on the building’s lobby floor, ceramic and porcelain tiles throughout the building and porcelain mosaics in its pools, whirlpool and steam room. These varied environments presented installers with a challenge, and the judges noticed.
“It was a complex and labor intensive project,” said judge Michael Ansari.
Fox Ceramic Tile utilized a range of TEC® products, including HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane, Fast-Set Deep Patch, Fast Set Ultimate Large Tile Mortar, AccuColor EFX® Epoxy Special Effects Grout and AccuColor 100® 100% Silicone Sealant.
“Kevin Fox successfully used TEC® products to achieve a highly functional, beautiful space that will be enjoyed by thousands of people,” said Rose Mary Clyburn, president of H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., the manufacturer of TEC® brand products. “We’re proud to see our products in this space.”
Fox Ceramic Tile and the five runners-up will be promoted by the company within case studies. The runners-up are also featured on the TEC® website and each received a $500 cash prize.
“There were a wide variety of entries ranging from small residential to large commercial projects – from across the country,” said Jennifer Panning, contest judge.
The five runners-up are:
1. Ron Mayo, Flooring Systems Inc., for Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon, Ill.
2. Matt Minshall, Uptight Floor Covering, for a hacienda-style custom home in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
3. NTCA Five Star Contractor Nyle Wadford, Neuse Tile, for a pharmaceutical plant install in North Carolina.
4. Jeff Shultz, Metro Tile Contractors, for Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.
5. NTCA Five Star Contractor James Woelfel, Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co., for a college locker room in Arizona.
Photos of these prize-winning projects are available at tecspecialty.com/imagineachieve. The grand prize winner and runners-up will also appear in TEC® marketing materials.
wedi recently invited 18 top distributors and their partners to visit the wedi factory in Emsdetten, Germany, as part of wedi’s incentive program “Blue & More Awards.” The group enjoyed a three-day program including a tour of wedi’s manufacturing facility, where they had the opportunity to see wedi’s advanced manufacturing technology for backer board and shower systems in action. The group also got to enjoy local history, good food and beer tastings that are part of the character of northwestern Germany.
wedi was grateful to have hosted this event, which included discussions and exchanges about marketing of wedi and tile products in the Americas, as well as camaraderie and recreation.
Boca Raton, FL – December 12, 2013– This holiday season Q.E.P. Co., Inc. participated in an innovative community collaboration with the Spirit of Giving Networks Holiday Gift Drive.
The Holiday Gift Drive is a community-wide holiday gift drive and distribution for 4,000 youth ages 1-18 served by 37 nonprofit agencies. Children are invited to participate by invitation only (to prevent duplication among agencies). The children fill out a gift wish and the tags are placed on trees around town. Q.E.P. Co., Inc. took a sleigh full of gift tags that filled up its corporate tree. Employees at Q.E.P. Co., Inc. selected a tag off the tree and went to town playing Santa’s elves making for a magical holiday.
“It always means a lot to be able to give back throughout the year and especially around the holidays to make sure that every child in our community has a magical holiday, ” said Jamie Clingan, senior vice president of marketing. “I am amazed and pleased with the response from our QEP employees. The support and caring in participating in fulfilling these children’s wishes was overwhelming.”
Q.E.P. Co., Inc., founded in 1979, is a world class, worldwide provider of innovative, quality and value-driven flooring and industrial solutions. As a leading worldwide manufacturer, marketer and distributor QEP delivers a comprehensive line of hardwood flooring, flooring installation tools, adhesives and flooring related products targeted for the professional installer as well as the do-it-yourselfer. In addition the company provides industrial tools with cutting edge technology to all of the industrial trades. Under brand names including QEP®, ROBERTS®, Capitol®, Harris®Wood, Nupla®, HISCO®, Ludell, Vitrex®, PRCI®, Porta-Nail® and Elastiment®, the Company markets over 5,000 products. The Company sells its products to home improvement retail centers, specialty distribution outlets, municipalities and industrial solution providers in 50 states and throughout the world
Florim USA has introduced its Pietra Romana Collection to North America. Beautiful porcelain tile for both residential and commercial applications, with the “look” of natural travertine found in yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s Rome.
Offered in four stunning colors, Avorio, Dark Grey, Noce and Silver, Pietra Romana may be selected in the following large format modular sizes: 18 x 36, 6 x 36, 12 x 24, 18 x 18 and 3 x12. The collection also includes bullnose pieces as well as 2 x 2 mosaics mounted on a 12 x 12 sheet.
It should be noted that the 6 x 36 tile is a highly contemporary size offering not just a classic look; but, because each unit is not overly long,only one person is needed to install it. Generally speaking, longer porcelain tile units require two contractors and thus, end up costing customers considerably more. And, each glazed porcelain Pietra Romana tile is produced using High Definition Graphic (HDG) Technology, a state-of-the art inkjet process creating a stone-look that is so realistic… it might just cause a geologist to reach for his magnifying glass!
According to Stefano Rabaioli, Florim USA’s VP Sales and Marketing, “Pietra Romana had a great response at the shows. The U.S. market loves travertine. Whereas initially, this product appears to be mainly residential, its 18 x 36 size has raised much interest in customers focused on the commercial marketplace, as well. The large rectangular format is an ideal size for lobbies, retail stores and even for wall applications. The color palette enhances classic earth-tones typically used in residential design, as a result this tile is an ideal choice for those wanting to invest in a house and increase its value by selecting one of the longest-lasting, most durable, flooring options in the entire industry!”
About Florim USA
Florim USA is one of the largest and most technologically advanced porcelain tile manufacturing facilities in all of North America. The company is a subsidiary of the Florim Group, which is located in the heart of Italy’s Sassuolo industrial district. To find out more about Florim USA, visit the website: www.florimusa.com or call 1.877-FLORIM 1.
Twenty-five years ago, the tile and stone industry in the United States was gaining momentum and needed a single, cohesive venue for distributors, retailers, contractors, installers and specifiers to see the finest examples of new tile production available in North America. The solution: Coverings, the first U.S. tile and stone exposition and conference, was founded not only to showcase new products, tools and machinery, but also to provide networking opportunities, training and education on an array of topics from design trends to installation techniques and certification programs.
Next year, Coverings will celebrate its 25th Anniversary from April 29—May 2, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show will host an official Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on Wednesday, April 30 from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. at a Las Vegas nightclub to celebrate this important milestone. The special event will feature an open bar, music, networking and reminiscing. Exhibitors and distributors can purchase up to 10 tickets to share with customers. Tickets are $60 each, and can be purchased upon show registration at www.coverings.com. Additionally, Coverings attendees will receive a 25th Anniversary commemorative collectible at the show.
“It seems nearly impossible that it has been 25 years since my first show,” said Inma Roca, Coverings Board Member and representative from Tile of Spain. “The show unquestionably hit the mark — finally there was a trade show, and not just an industry conference format event, in North America.”
Since that first show, Coverings has become overwhelmingly the largest and most important international platform for the tile and stone industry in the U.S., with more than 900 exhibitors, more than 70 conference sessions and a myriad of networking events annually — all for free.
“When I look back and see how Coverings has progressed over the years, these words by Peter Drucker come to mind: ‘Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision,’” said Luciano Galassini, Coverings Board Member and Deputy Director General of Confindustria Ceramica. “By joining forces with other tile associations and creating a tradeshow run by the industry, we’ve been able to transform the tile market in the U.S. Many things have changed over 25 years, but the show continues to be the best tool for promoting tile in America among distributors, contractors, specifiers and consumers.”
Coverings Catapults Industry Growth
The growth of Coverings, however, has come with limitations. While Anaheim proved to be a popular venue in the show’s early years, the sheer size of Coverings restricts the locations where it can take place, which currently includes convention centers in Las Vegas, Orlando, Atlanta and Chicago.
“Each year, we seek to produce a show that is more outstanding, impactful and memorable than the last,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Coverings exhibitors continually showcase outstanding products and inventive booths with international flair, like no other trade show in the United States. Paired with the most comprehensive educational track and numerous networking opportunities, Coverings continues to provide the platform that the industry relies on to thrive and continue its success all year long.”
The show’s owners attribute the growth of the industry to the success of Coverings. In fact, tile consumption has catapulted in the U.S. market from 977 million square feet in 1988 to 3.3 billion square feet at the industry’s peak in 2006, according to U.S. tile consumption data from the Tile Council of North America. During that same time, the industry has witnessed a revolution in technology and design, all taking place at Coverings. From the institution of rectified tiles in 1993 to the introduction of large format tiles in 1998 and inkjet technology gaining popularity around 2003, nearly every aspect of the industry has evolved.
“Since inception, Coverings has been about people and education—and over the years, the show has only improved,” said Svend Hovmand, Coverings Board Member and representative of the Tile Council of North America. “Coverings has evolved to showcase truly impressive booths, brilliant products, live installation demonstrations, and equally important—our educational track. As tile and stone have become essential to the overall architecture and design of many spaces, Coverings remains critical to fulfilling industry demand.”
About Coverings In 2014, Coverings celebrates its 25th Anniversary as the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States. It features exhibitors from more than 35 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.
The exposition serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with more than 70 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge.
Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.
Coverings 2014 will be held April 29—May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information, visit www.coverings.com or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-683-8500.
Peruse the contractor comments and then shop the product section for some great suggestions for your next accessory purchase!
Check out the Bucket Mortar Mixer on YouTube. This is the best tool/device for mixing mud for shower floors. I thought it was high priced until I bought it and used it. Now it is one of my most guarded tools. I would replace it in a moment if it disappeared. – Tom Hambrock, T & J Construction Services
We love 9mil black nitrile gloves. The winter is here, and keeping our hands from cracking is a must. These gloves are thick enough to last a full day, but still thin enough to feel lippage and texture. – Joe Lenner, Infinite Ceramic
Barwalt Ultralight Knee Pads are the original, world- famous vinyl-fl ex knee pad that start- ed the comfort revolution! The folding accordion top allows for comfort while standing and the tough, yet flexible nonskid outer shell offers excellent grip, maximum comfort and security while on your knees, perfect for the tile industry. In addition these knee pads are totally rebuild-able with replacement straps, buttons and liners. www.barwalt.com
Beno J. Gundlach’s No. GS02 Spray-On Grout Sealer provides grout the ultimate protection against oil- and water-based 54 stains while allowing the sealed grout to breathe. The inverted “anyway” spray tip allows for easy and precise application to grout on floors and walls. It can be applied immediately after grouting and leaves no hard-to-remove residue. Grout Sealer can also be used with clean existing grout. The 15 oz. can seals up to 1,000 linear feet of grout. www.benojgundlachco.com
BOE supplies Primo Tool’s Back Butter Buddy™, which fits on the top of a standard 3 or 5 gallon bucket. It eliminates installer fatigue and injury and reduces tile breakage when back-buttering tiles. Capable of supporting up to 200 lbs. of stacked tiles, the Back Butter Buddy was invented by a contractor, for contractors. With its 360-degree spinning capability, the Back Butter Buddy makes the back-buttering process simple and easy. www.primo-tools.com
Bosch Power Tools has added the L-Rack to its customizable Click & Go™ system, which allows professionals to expand their current storage system for increased organizational capability and versatility. The L-Rack features convenient single-click stacking and can be used to add additional storage to L-Boxxes or to create a custom organization system. The L-Rack is available as a standalone system or as individual pieces. Bosch’s ST72-OD, a thinner drawer that offers users quick- access storage, as well as four new organization sets, make it easy to sort and store large quantities of smaller consumables, creating the ultimate portable tool box. Every L-Boxx quickly fits together with one-click stacking for easy handling and transport with the L-Cart and L-Dolly. www.boschtools.com
DEWALT®’s new DWE315K corded oscillating multi-tool kit with UNIVERSAL FITMENT™ Accessories combines a powerful 3.0 amp multi-tool motor with the tool-free QUICK-CHANGE™ System that allows users to change blades and attachments quickly. It’s ideal for a range of applications including cutting, sanding, scraping, and material removal. It has a DUAL-GRIP™ variable-speed trigger with multiple options for gripping the tool, a LED light and UNIVERSAL FITMENT™ accessories that fit most major brands of oscillating tools. The included DEWALT Oscillating Tool Guide System allows users to set the depth or height for accurate repeatability when making a series of cuts. Complete with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money back guarantee. This promotion (valid Oct 1 – Dec 31) is for tile distribu-tion only; reach Kevin Burroughs at 433-677-2972 for questions. www. stanleyblackanddecker.com
Edge Strip Kits (ESK) are a new product that aids with the installation of self-leveling underlayments. When installing electric floor heating systems, either cables or mats, the ESKs help contain the underlayment, protecting and encapsulating the heating wire and ensuring a flat tile surface. The peel- and-stick design makes it easy to apply around the perimeter of the area where you want to contain the underlayment. Install across door thresholds to protect adjacent carpet or flooring. The larger format tiles and mosaic inlays require flat tile surfaces. More info at www.edgestripkits.com or contact [email protected]
RTC’s Hammerhead Super Scraper will amaze you with its ability to remove material from a variety of surfaces, using the power of a reciprocating saw. By doubling or even tripling productivity, you can complete a job faster and with less fatigue. The heat-treated shank has a 90° twist which eliminates flexing, and allows the parent tool to be used in the upright position as intended. The Hammerhead is designed to fit most reciprocating saws on the market; is compatible with both corded, and cordless models; has one shank for various blade sizes, eliminating the need for multiple tools; features athicker blade that can be sharpened multiple times and a twisted shank that keeps blade at a comfortable angle. www.rtcproducts.com
TAVY Tile Mallet offers a simple way to install tiles properly. The specially formulated mallet head allows for safe, vigorous beating of tiles to ensure a secure, long-lasting installation. The two-sided mallet has a beveled head with dual-groove designs for packing tiles tightly against spacers using angled blows for the straightest grout joints possible. Beating tiles tightly into the mortar below removes unwanted air from below tiles. The mallet is both lightweight and sturdy for use on tile installations, wood flooring projects or other household applications. 800- 367-8289; www.tavytools.com.
QEP 79650Q XL Professional Knee Pads are designed extra large to offer maximum protection. The form-fitting foam pads add comfort and stability and are made of soft perspiration-wicking neoprene for maximum absorption and fast drying. www.qep.com
By Sean P. Boyle, director marketing and product management, LATICRETE International
There’s good news on the horizon for both the residential and non- residential sectors, which translates directly into upticks in the ceramic tile and stone flooring industry. In this article we provide a brief summary of the outlook of both markets and conclude with an estimate of tile consumption for 2014.
The residential market
The residential market plays a significant role in tile consumption, and is a key barometer to the overall economy. We all saw the impact housing had on the economy as it sparked the recession in 2008 – though it really began fading in 2006.
Housing starts – The good news is that all indicators are in agreement that housing is continuing to rebound from the historic lows witnessed in 2009 through 2011. Although projections are still well short of the approximate 1.7 million annual new single family housing starts seen in 2005, 2014 new single family housing starts are projected to exceed 830,000 units, an increase of more than 32% from the previous year according to the NAHB. Including multi-family, total combined new housing starts are forecast to increase roughly 25% versus 2013.
New housing starts play a significant role in the overall health of the economy due to the contribution to GDP and employment, plus they account for a large portion of tile and stone consumption. Helped by historically-low interest rates, a stable unemployment rate and a decrease in the inventory of unsold homes, confidence is high that the market will achieve the forecasted starts.
Remodeling – Remodeling is the other – and larger – side of the residential marketplace, and it has carried the segment over the past few years. Declining home values during the recession made many homeowners opt out of attempting to sell their homes to avoid losing money and instead chose to remodel. According to the Leading Indicator for Remodeling Activity issued by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, remodeling spending will remain strong through the first half of 2014 at a double-digit rate.
The same macroeconomic factors helping drive the growth in new housing starts play a significant role in remodeling. Rising home values as we have seen over the past 18 months – and low interest rates – allow homeowners to take out affordable home equity loans to remodel a kitchen or bathroom – thus driving demand across all aspects of construction – especially for new tile or stone flooring!
Overall, we forecast the residential market to account for approximately 60% of all tile consumption in the US in 2014 and will be the driver of growth for flooring. For dealers, distributors and professional installers the question of how your business aligns with this segment and the forecasted growth is one that should be examined to capture some of that share.
The commercial market
The encouraging outlook of the residential market is also shared in the commercial segment, which is forecast to experience moderate growth in 2014 of between 15-20% in terms of both volume and value over 2013. The continued improvement in the commercial segment is being fueled by the overall improvement in the economy, and specifically in commercial lending where there has been an easing of standards that allow for more of the much-needed financing for large projects.
The growth projection in the commercial segment is supported by a healthy rise in demand for commercial lending, according to McGraw Hill Construction – further proof and evidence that provides confidence of steady growth in this segment.
Looking within the commercial segment, however, there are some markets forecast to perform better than others. Hotel, office, retail stores and finally warehouses are those with the higher forecast gains in terms of new square footage, whereas those segments that are more dependent upon public funding, such as schools, public buildings and healthcare facilities etc., remain roughly flat to 2013 levels. And though all regions expected to show growth, Texas, New York, California, Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania are expected to surge in terms of nonresidential construction.
In addition, green pays. The green share of commercial construction expected in 2014 is 45% – nearly half of all nonresidential projects. So products that contribute to LEED certification and the like will be important as we go forward.
All the crunching of numbers, analyzing segments, evaluating macro and micro- economic factors, etc., ultimately brings us to the impact on tile consumption – which is what we care most about! It is amazing to look back at 2006 and see consumption of around 3.3 billion square feet, whereas 2013 will end close to 2.7 billion. Based upon the above forecasted growth in each market, we can segment the ceramic industry accordingly, and calculate the respective share in square footage of each segment with an applicable growth percentage based upon the 2014 outlook. A conservative estimate for 2014 indicates tile consumption growth of between 6-10% to approximately 2.9 billion square feet – still making our way back to the good old days!
Of course, there are risks to the above estimates that are out of our collective control – activities in Washington, D.C., play a major role in the construction outlook. Interest rates, budget and monetary policy can instantly reverse forecasts. Add to that the complexity and impact to the U.S. of international markets, and you have quite a bit of data to interpret.
The bottom line is that all major institutions that track and forecast construction activity are projecting growth, and that consensus makes us confident that we have turned the corner and are looking forward to an exciting 2014.
DEWALT®’s new DWE315K corded oscillating multi-tool kit with UNIVERSAL FITMENTTM Accessories combines a powerful 3.0 amp multi-tool motor with the tool-free QUICK-CHANGETM System that allows users to change blades and attachments quickly. It’s ideal for a range of applications including cutting, sanding, scraping, and material removal. It has a DUAL-GRIPTM variable-speed trigger with multiple options for gripping the tool, a LED light and UNIVERSAL FITMENTTM accessories that fit most major brands of oscillating tools. The included DEWALT Oscillating Tool Guide System allows users to set the depth or height for accurate repeatability when making a series of cuts. Complete with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money back guarantee.
This promotion (valid Oct 1 – Dec 31) is for tile distribution only; reach Kevin Burroughs at 433-677-2972 for questions. www.stanleyblackanddecker.com