Coverings Installation Design Awards honors dynamic dozen projects Excellence in design and installation recognized at Coverings

At Coverings this past April, the industry saluted designers and contractors of outstanding tile and stone projects in the first ever Coverings Installation Design Awards. This competition is the evolution of the prestigious Coverings Prism and Spectrum Awards that recognized excellence in design in tile and stone projects and the TileLetter Awards that honored technical excellence in craftsmanship and installation. The Coverings Installation Design (CID) Awards shined a line on both aspects of a projects, acknowledging the critical role collaboration plays in successful and stunning projects. The CID Awards were sponsored by Coverings, TileLetter and NTCA’s newest publication, TADA, Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates.

Judges sifted through nearly 75 entries to determine the 12 winners. Judges included Christine Abbate  — Ceramics of Italy, Lori Dolnick  –Tile of Spain, Jennifer Adams —Contemporary Stone & Tile Design/TILE Magazine/Stone World, Jennifer Renzi —Interior Design, Robin Wilson –Robin Wilson Home, Eric Astrachan  –Tile Council of North America,  and Bart Bettiga — NTCA.

The list of winners are as follows:


Grand Prize Residential: Rosenthal Residence

Walled Lake, Mich.

Designer: David Ellison

Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

Residential Stone: 2012 New American Home

Winter Park, Fla.

Designer: Phil Kean Designs, Inc.

Installer: Girem Tile Work, Inc.

Residential Mosaic/Glass: Bella Leoni

Ada, Mich.

Designer: Signature Outdoor Concepts/Inspired Installations

Installer: Inspired Installations

Residential Tile: Turck Residence

Decatur, Mich.

Designer: Motawi Tileworks

Installer: Harry Underdah



Grand Prize Commercial: El Andaluz

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect

Installer: Dan Upton Construction

Commercial Stone: Atrium

Miami, Fla.

Designer: Insight Design

Installer: Gemini Tile Service

Commercial Mosaic/Glass: Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center

Charlottesville, Va.

Designer: BH+A

Installer: The Ceiling and Floor Shop

Commercial Tile: Palomar Medical Center West

Escondido, Calif.

Designer: Anshen + Allen Architects/CO Architects

Installer: Wirtz Quality Installations

Special Recognition

Historic Renovation: Monroe Skyscraper

Chicago, Ill.

Designer: Holabird & Root/Rookwood Pottery

Installer: DPI

Art in Public Space: The Four Stages of Higher Learning chandelier

GHSU College of Dental Medicine, Augusta, Ga.

Designer/Installer: Paul Pearman

Tile & Stone: Mohegan Sun, Casino of the Earth expansion

Uncasville, Ct.

Designer: Rockwell Group

Installer: Kenneth Castellucci & Associates

Tile & Stone: Hyatt Olive 8 Condominium

Seattle, Wash.

Designer: Mulvanny Architecture G2, Seattle Branch

Installer: Antony Architectural Stone


Following are the details of the Grand Prize Residential and Commercial winners

Grand Prize Residential: Rosenthal Residence

Walled Lake, Mich.

Designer: David Ellison

Installer: RJH Tile and Stone

The owner of this 7,500 square-foot lakeside home hadn’t been on hand for much of the construction. So upon arrival at the nearly-complete residence,  horror ensued at the shoddy construction throughout the five bathrooms and stone floors.

Enter contractor RJH Tile and Stone, and designer David Ellison. Since the previous work had to be demolished, the designer-contractor team now had a blank slate from which to work. One man’s nightmare is another man’s blessing, and the vast footage in question offered the team the ability to stretch creatively, using  stock showroom stone cut to size on site to keep costs down on this admittedly lavish project. But by reducing material costs, more could be invested in details and ornaments.

Stone floors were chosen for beauty, low maintenance, and wheelchair maneuverability.

Careful layout was key for every element of this project, with installers giving special attention to detail, such as external corners that were mitered, epoxied, and filled to give them the look of quarried full-thickness stone rather than a veneer. This sumptuous project made the most of materials and stayed on budget.

Richard Horne,RJH Tile and Stone,  designer David Ellison

GP Residential Horne Ellison

Contractor Richard Horne (l.c.) and designer David Ellison (r.c.) accept the Grand Prize Residential Award from TileLetter/TADA publisher Bart Bettiga (r.) and TileLetter/TADA editor Lesley Goddin (l.)

Rosenthal Bacchus

Rosenthal detail2

Rosenthal detail

Rosenthal fish

Rosenthal master bath

Rosenthal Master Bedroom

Rosenthal medallion

Rosenthal tub

Grand Prize Commercial: El Andaluz

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Designer: Jeff Shelton Architect

Installer: Dan Upton Construction

This mixed-use project contains seven residential units nested around a large tiled courtyard on the upper two floors. At street level on the first floor, two commercial units anchor the project and a tiled roof deck on the fourth floor overlooking the city. Santa Barbara’s architectural guidelines are based on Mediterranean and Spanish motifs and as such, plentiful tile use is encouraged. Designer Jeff Shelton took full advantage of this, dedicating a tenth of the budget to ceramic, cement and marble tile.

Eight elliptical arches sport 1″ x 8″ custom ceramic tiles that were splattered with glaze, then mixed up and installed to give depth and a sense of Moorish writing flowing throughout the arches.  Exterior walls of the commercial units are covered in twelve-by-twelve-inch patterned cement tile : one with a bird pattern reminiscent of Escher, another with a giant swarming ant motif.

Falling Fuscia cement riser tiles bloom on the main stairs leading to the flowering courtyard on the second floor. The courtyard itself is an explosion of tile from the planters to fountains, benches and the zigzag bricks on the floor. Nasturtium cement riser tiles lead to the third floor; loggia tiles are floral cement on one side and a fish motif on the other.

All units are flowing with vibrant 12″ x 12″ tiles on the floors, and marble-covered bathroom walls and kitchen counters. Exterior decks sport 1/4″ ceramic tile. From the commercial-level arches to the residential units, great care in design and excellence in installation impart a sense of warmth, timelessness and character to the entire project.

installer Dan Upton and architect Jeff Shelton


GP Commercial winner Shelton w Bart and Lesley

Architect Jeff Shelton (c.) accepts the Grand Prize Commercial Award from TileLetter/TADA publisher Bart Bettiga (r.) and TileLetter/TADA editor Lesley Goddin (l.)

El Andaluz arch entry

El Andaluz bench

El Andaluz courtyard detail

El Andaluz courtyard

El Andaluz entry stair

El Andaluz


More winners to come…..

LATICRETE Hosts CTEF Installation Certification Program

LATICRETE, a global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry, hosted a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) contractor certification event at its Bethany, CT world headquarters on May 10th.

An educational institution that offers local, regional and national training programs for those focused on the installation of ceramic tile, CTEF’s tile installer certification program is a non-proprietary, standards-based regimen that ensures installer skill level with strong industry backing. It was created as a means for consumers to identify tile contractors committed to providing quality installations.

Co-hosting this event was Tile America, the leading tile retailer with 30 stores stretching from Vermont to North Carolina. “This is a growing program because certified installers are in such demand,” said Steve Rampino, LATICRETE Technical Services Training Supervisor. “CTEF certification involves both an online written test, and a physical installation test.  Although the installation is small in terms of physical size, it takes most people about eight hours and is frankly, very challenging. It really measures the skill of the installer.”

“Scott Carothers, CTEF President, was here to direct the event,” continued Rampino. “Without question, he really put the installers to the test. We at LATICRETE share the same philosophy that CTEF has relative to ‘doing it right.’ That’s one reason why this event was so successful. We both believe that the best tile contractor is one who is committed to continually learning about and upgrading installation techniques.”

LATICRETE International, Inc. is a US-based, family-owned global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry.  LATICRETE® products are produced and distributed worldwide in the commercial and consumer channels.  The company’s philosophy of innovation and technical expertise has led to an unparalleled reputation and commitment to superior quality, performance and customer service. Manufactured in state-of-the-art ISO 9001:2008 certified facilities, LATICRETE offers a broad product portfolio including an extensive line of low VOC sustainable products independently certified by GREENGUARD. LATICRETE®, LATAPOXY®, SpectraLOCK®, Hydro Ban® and DRYTEK® are registered brands of LATICRETE International, Inc. Corporate Website:

NLBMDA Applauds Bill Introduction in House of Representatives to Reform EPA Lead Rule

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) applauded introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule.  H.R.5911, the “Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012,” was introduced today by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and would reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and small children from lead hazards.  Similar NLBMDA-supported legislation (S.2148) was introduced in the Senate in March.

The LRRP rule requires renovation work in pre-1978 homes to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator.  In July 2010, EPA removed the “opt-out” provision from the rule that allowed homeowners without children under age six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of the arduous work practices required by the rule. The removal of the opt-out provision doubled the number of homes subject to the rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community including homeowners.

In addition, EPA has failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives, in violation of its own rules.  The lack of EPA compliant test kits has resulted in some consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

“The NLBMDA and our members have worked tirelessly to reform the misguided EPA lead rule, and the introduction of legislation in the House of Representatives shows that our industry concerns are being heard on Capitol Hill,” said NLBMDA Chair Cally Fromme, Executive Vice President of Zarsky Lumber Company in Victoria, Texas. “We commend Congressmen Sullivan and Murphy and appreciate their leadership on this issue. We will make passage of this bill a top priority.”

Among its key provisions, H.R. 5911 would restore the “opt-out” clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements, prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.

In addition to Reps. Sullivan and Murphy, the original cosponsors of the bill are Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Tom Cole (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Billy Long (R-MO), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Aaron Schock (R-IL).

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) represents its members in the national public policy arena, with emphasis on efforts to 1) promote the industry and educate legislators and public policy personnel; and 2) assist legislative, regulatory, standard-setting and other government or private bodies in the development of laws, regulations and policies affecting lumber and building material dealers, its customers and suppliers. Founded in 1917, the association has over 6,000 members operating single or multiple lumber yards and component plants serving homebuilders, subcontractors, general contractors, and consumers in the new construction, repair and remodeling of residential and light commercial.

Award-Winning Office Atrium Stone Fountain Built to Last with LATICRETE

LATICRETE, a global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry, played a major role in providing its state-of-the-art tile and stone installation materials for a recently completed stone and glass mosaic fountain in Miami, FL.

Located in the front lobby area of the 6100 Office Building in Miami’s Blue Lagoon Business District, the fountain won the award for Best Commercial Stone Design in the 2012 Coverings Installation and Design (CID) Awards, a program honoring achievement in the outstanding use of materials and the synergy between installation and design. The CID Awards were given out last month during the Coverings 2012 trade show in Orlando.

This natural stone and glass mosaic tile project was designed by Inaki Muguruza of Miami-based Insight Design. Overall construction and tile & stone work were handled by Gemini Stoneworks, a family owned-and-operated, custom stone fabrication and tile installation firm. “The fountain we built fits right in with the world-class surroundings of the Blue Lagoon District,” said Tony Blanco, President of Gemini Stoneworks. “We used LATICRETE® Hydro Ban™, LATICRETE® 254 Platinum, LATICRETE SpectraLOCK® PRO Premium Grout and LATICRETE Latasilto help us get the job done correctly. We have always had success with LATICRETE products, and it’s nice partnering with a company that is able to back up its high-performance products with customer service that is just as strong.”

“We were impressed with the fountain,” added Pat Blackburn, LATICRETE Regional Representative. “I don’t think it came as a surprise to any of us that Tony Blanco’s firm received award-winning recognition for their work on this project. We’re proud to have provided the most appropriate installation materials for it.”

LATICRETE International, Inc. is a US-based, family-owned global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry.  LATICRETE® products are produced and distributed worldwide in the commercial and consumer channels.  The company’s philosophy of innovation and technical expertise has led to an unparalleled reputation and commitment to superior quality, performance and customer service. Manufactured in state-of-the-art ISO 9001:2008 certified facilities, LATICRETE offers a broad product portfolio including an extensive line of low VOC sustainable products independently certified by GREENGUARD. LATICRETE®, LATAPOXY®, SpectraLOCK®, Hydro Ban® and DRYTEK® are registered brands of LATICRETE International, Inc. Corporate Website:


The Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety (MICCS) recognized the leaders in construction safety tonight at its 19th Anniversary and Awards Celebration at the Indiana Convention Center Sagamore Ballroom. Among the companies that were recognized for having no injuries on construction and facilities maintenance jobsites in 2011 was McCammack Tile, Inc.

The MICCS Zero Injury Award recognizes member companies who experienced a year without a recordable injury. McCammack Tile was one of 16 companies honored with the award this year. They had over 50,000 man-hours in 2011 without a recordable injury.

“We like to recognize companies like McCammack Tile for keeping their workers safe on jobsites,” said Scott Grimes, Executive Director of MICCS. “They have, in their own way, carried out the mission of MICCS within their own organization.”

McCammack Tile, based in Indianapolis, is a ceramic, stone and porcelain tile installation contractor with over 40 in-house employees.

About MICCS: The Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the elimination of construction and facilities maintenance jobsite injuries and illnesses with the ultimate objective of returning construction and maintenance workers home to their families, friends and communities free from harm. For more information, visit

Ceramica Sant’Agostino suffers tragic losses in recent earthquake

Amidst the destruction in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, where a 6.0 magnitude earthquake on May 20 destroyed ancient buildings and left thousands homeless, were tragic losses suffered by Ceramica Sant’Agostino, a Confindustria Ceramica tile manufacturer.

Two of Sant’Agostino workers, Nicholas Cavicchi and Leonardo Ansaloni, died in the Sant’Agostino factory when the building collapsed early Sunday morning. In addition, the company’s automated warehouse and monocottura production facility were left damaged.

A statement posted by the company on its website reads, “First and foremost, Ceramica Sant’Agostino would like to express deepest sympathy for the victims of this terrible tragedy, the destructive consequences of which could undoubtedly have in no way been predicted or imagined. The disturbing events of last night leave all of us speechless, powerless to express our immense grief. Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a family business, not only because it is now in the hands of the third generation, but because it has always had a close, sincere bond with the area it operates in and with the people who work there. The loss of Leonardo Ansaloni and Nicola Cavicchi leaves a gap it is impossible to fill, and the Company extends its deepest sympathy to their families.”

Ceramica Sant’Agostino is a third-generation business, which was set up in 1964 in the Province of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region (about 35 km north of Bologna). It’s been 800 years since an earthquake of this magnitude has affected the region. The company website noted that buildings were constructed with “the maximum safety criteria” and it has cooperated with examination of company structures by officials in the wake of the quake.

On May 22, Sant’Agostino received a visit from the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who has promised to help small-scale businesses, especially factories and farms, in the region. The government has approved temporary tax relief to owners of property damaged from the earthquake and $64 million in emergency funds have been made available for use by the national Civil Protection Agency providing quake assistance.

Sant’Agostino is still accessing the damages on the whole plant but hopes that many of their problems can be resolved in the next few weeks and remains optimistic about the future of the company.

“Despite the tremendous blow suffered, Ceramica Sant’Agostino is determined to get back on our feet and resume production, above all in order to honour the memory of those we have lost,” the statement continues. “The Company intends to continue to be an important resource for the local area and for the numerous families that depend on it.

“Because this is what it means to believe in one’s work,” the statement concludes. ” Ceramica Sant’Agostino strongly believes in the quality of its products and of the human resources that have made it the business we all know today, and will continue to be the serious, qualified point of reference it has been for many years for the large number of customers who choose our products and appreciate the service we offer.”

Crossville Brings Large Format Tile Panels to the U.S. Market

Crossville Inc. is launching “Laminam by Crossville,”a full line of lean profile, large format porcelain products. This important new offering comes through an exclusive distribution

Collection collection in Crusca

agreement with Italian manufacturer Laminam, a division of Systems Group. Under the agreement, Crossville is the sole source for Laminam’s innovative large unit porcelain panel products throughout the U.S. The distribution agreement is effective immediately, with product availability anticipated in early June.

“This is a landmark agreement and another example of Crossville’s commitment to meeting the needs of the U.S. market,” states Crossville President John Smith. “We recognized the growing demand for very large format, thinner, so we searched the globe to source the best products that would appeal to the American aesthetic and match the Crossville quality standard.”

Laminam by Crossville products, each selected expressly for the U.S. market, are suited for interior wall installations and may be used on an array of surfaces. The initial offering of 3mm thick fiberglass reinforced porcelain panels will be available in over 50 items. As Smith explains, the extremely lean profile of these reinforced panels result in durability, versatility and “unparalleled technical performance.”

Oxide Collection in Grigio

“These products are game changers,” Smith continues. “The colors and styles of Laminam by Crossvile are right for the American market. These thin but extremely durable large panels are very simple to work with and install and will invite innovative field applications. Architects and interior designers should really have fun exercising their creativity in new and unique ways.”

Crossville’s logistics and Laminam’s leadership in production and technology will ensure ready availability for American specifiers. As Smith states, the partnership with Laminam reflects “true synergy and smart international procurement” to “not just meet but lead” domestic demand for the most cutting edge products available globally.

Laminam’s CEO, Alberto Selmi, concurs.

“Crossville’s commitment to quality, excellent logistics team and established relationship with the A&D community make this

partnership truly ideal. We are excited for Laminam by Crossville to launch in the U.S. market,” shares Selmi.

For details on the Laminam by Crossville products, visit

About Crossville, Inc.
Crossville, Inc. manufactures award-winning Porcelain Stone® and Design Solutions™ tile, as well as Natural Stone Collections for both residential and contract applications. The company offers Laminam By Crossville large format, thin slab tile through an exclusive U.S. distribution agreement with Systems Group’s Laminam division. Known for leading innovation, Crossville is a company of “firsts” for the U.S. tile industry:  first to produce large format (24″x24″) tile on site, first to manufacture tile with certified recycled content, first to develop the Tile Take-Back™ Program for recycling fired porcelain tile and first to achieve certification of its waste recycling programs and become a net consumer of waste. For more information on Crossville, visit

About Laminam S.p.A.
Laminam S.p.A. is the world leader in the manufacturing of large format, lean profile ceramic surfacing products. A consolidated division of Systems Group, the company utilizes an advanced, fully automated production process to create a large and thin ceramic and porcelain slab products available worldwide. Through an exclusive agreement with Crossville, Inc., Laminam’s products are sold in the United States as “Laminam by Crossville.”

Tile Heritage Foundation celebrates 25th anniversary

Tile Heritage Foundation (THF) has been collecting and disseminating information about American tile history, both past and present, for the past twenty-five years. The dynamic, affirming evolution of THF’s  preservation and conservation effort allows the tile industry to honor its own history: a key aspect of THF’s mission. Providing a living, accessible archive into the future is its long-term goal. The Foundation honors and records the U.S. tile industry for posterity – its artistry, its craft and its significant installations.

In the mid-1990s, the Foundation established a presence on the web (, offering a wealth of tile-related information and useful resources for its growing audience, including a Member Tile Gallery and an E-News link that complements the Foundation’s printed materials .

The Foundation’s mission of preserving the past history of tiles and tile making continues to be imperative, as well as integrating and documenting the ways of the present to keep the craft alive.

Generous member support makes the efforts of the Foundation possible, providing the impetus for it to continue its efforts and for other colleagues in the field to join in and become partners as well. This partnership enhances the industry by promoting the craft and disseminating information about tile work in the United States to a worldwide audience.

Of special note is the generous support that Coverings gives to Tile Heritage as a co-sponsor for its annual exposition, which provides a platform for the industry to connect with its historic roots. This venue, where Tile Heritage is hosted by TCNA, reinforces the strong partnership that has evolved with its members and tile industry sponsors, who together assist in nurturing the THF mission.

Now in its 25th year, Tile Heritage extends thanks to many people for its continued stability and growing resources. Serving the tile industry and the public with information and counsel regarding historical and preservation issues has been an enriching experience for founders, Sheila Menzies and Joseph Taylor, one that they look forward to continuing into the foreseeable future. For information visit

QEP expands social media presence

QEP Co., Inc. has just launched new social media outlets through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. They provide real-time information about the company, products, and employees to keep customers current with product launches. Other features such as the ability to share how-to pictures and videos are available through these outlets. To LIKE, follow and share QEP Co., Inc.’s brands pages pertinent to the tile and stone industry, visit the following:

Facebook QEP:, Twitter@QEPTools, LinkedIn QEP Co., Inc.:

Ardex adds tile and stone function to iPhone app

ARDEX Americas has added Tile & Stone Installation Products (TSIP) to its popular iPhone App, originally launched in May 2011. In addition to detailed product descriptions, this free app features a user-friendly calculator that can be used  to estimate the amount of ARDEX product required to cover a job area directly from an iPhone.  According to ARDEX Americas President and CEO Stephan M. Liozu, the app “is just one more way we show our customers we are serious about meeting the needs of those who use our products.”

The ARDEX Americas iPhone app is five-star rated. The complete app, or TSIP update, is available via iTunes. More ARDEX tools and updates for mobile devices are planned including TSIP products for its free Android smart phone app. For more information, visit

National Tile Contractors Association Presents Technical Resources at KBIS and NeoCon

NTCA, continuing efforts to provide technical information to specifiers, architects, and designers, will participate in both KBIS and NeoCon in 2012.

KBIS, April 24-26, 2012, at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL., showcases products, trends, and practical solutions for the Kitchen and Bath Industry. This year NTCA will add technical expertise to the program with an interactive two hour course on Monday, April 23, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., titled “Tile and Stone: Appropriate Specification and Installation.” Gerald Sloan, NTCA Technical Director, and Michael Whistler, NTCA Technical Consultant, will spend the first hour discussing designing with tile and stone for baths, and the second hour focusing on designing for kitchens. The experts will provide live demonstrations of proper installation techniques and discussion of various products suitable for appropriate and technically correct uses for a successful and long-lasting installation.

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair, slated for June 11-13, 2012 at The Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, is North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors. NTCA will join 700 other exhibitors, sharing its technical expertise and resources for architects, specifiers, and designers in both the pre-construction / design phase and post-construction / problem-resolution phase. NTCA staff and local board members will be present to share information about technical resources, including NTCA’s prestigious Five Star Contractor program and its new publication TADA (Tile for Architects, Designers and Affiliates). TADA’s mission is to provide important technical content for professionals involved in the design and specification of ceramic tile and natural stone. Visit NTCA at Booth #7-8070 to learn about these resources.

For more information, contact NTCA at 601-939-2071 or visit the website at .

TCAA, NTCA historic partnership accomplishes first goal to elevate the tile trade.

The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), as previously reported in TileLetter, submitted a proposal for language to be included in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation stressing the importance of considering qualified tile contractors and installers when specifying tile and stone.

Stephanie Samulski, TCNA, announced February 8, 2012 that committee members approved the ballot with a significant affirmative vote. Carole Damon, executive director of TCAA, noted, “We are very pleased and gratified by the ballot outcome. The Handbook has long been an authoritative guide to materials usage and installation techniques. Expanding that guidance to the equally important consideration of contractor qualifications is a watershed moment in our industry.”

Nyle Wadford, NTCA president, added, “It was said concerning this new language that „everyone involved has worked to lay a bedrock foundation in which trust and partnerships can develop and thrive for the good of our industry.‟ I could not agree more and would like to thank everyone involved. It is really exciting to see the important industry relationships that are developing as a result of this venture.”

The approved TCNA Handbook language recommends including installer and contractor specifications, stating, “How good the finished installation looks, how well it performs, and how long it lasts are in [the hands of] installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and take the time to remain current with the latest materials and methods.” The Handbook further stresses, “Requiring a portfolio and references reflecting the installer‟s/contractor‟s experience, along with a bid or estimate, is a good way to ensure work of similar size, scope, and complexity has been completed. [Varied installations] require different skills. Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certifications/credentials.”

Programs administered by non-profits, associations, and unions serve the tile industry by providing education, hands-on training, and evaluation of the skills and competency of installers and contractors. The Handbook recognizes the following well-established non-profit programs:

Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program: TCAA is a contractors association for BAC signatory contractors. Its Trowel of Excellence Program recognizes TCAA members who have demonstrated a record of successful installations. To earn the Trowel of Excellence designation, a member must submit letters of reference, submission of a detailed project description and photos, employee participation in educational programs and proof of financial responsibility. See to learn more.

National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractor Program: The Five Star Program is peer review program recognizing NTCA members who demonstrate a record of successful installations. To earn this coveted designation, a contractor must complete a rigorous evaluation including customers‟ recommendations, supplier references, and participation in continuing education, training, and safety programs. For more information, see

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer Program: CTEF tests hands-on installation skills and knowledge. Installers must achieve the minimum required score on both tests to earn the “CTEF Certified Installer” designation. See for more information.

International Masonry Institute (IMI) Contractor College Program: IMI conducts professional and technical courses for union masonry and tile contractors. For more information, see

Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Programs are recognized by the U. S. Department of Labor and require several years of documented training as apprentices. Qualified Journeyman Tile Setters may be located through union locals, primarily the Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers ( and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC,

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