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

New building is over 500,000 square feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CORONAVIRUS CREATED MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS, YET DEMAND FOR SKILLED LABOR IS HIGH, NEW SURVEY FINDS

AGC logo

Sixty percent of firms report future projects have been canceled or delayed, but 52 percent of firms struggle to find craft workers amid worker fears of COVID and unemployment supplement

The coronavirus has harmed the construction industry, prompting project delays and cancellations, layoffs and furloughs, yet it remains difficult for a majority of firms to find craft workers to hire, according to the results of a workforce survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk. The survey paints a picture of an industry in need of immediate recovery measures and longer-term workforce development support, association officials added.

“Few firms have survived unscathed from the pandemic amid widespread project delays and cancellations,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Ironically, even as the pandemic undermines demand for construction services, it is reinforcing conditions that have historically made it hard for many firms to find qualified craft workers to hire.”

Sixty percent of responding firms report having at least one future project postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus, while 33 percent report having projects that were already underway halted because of the pandemic. The share of firms reporting canceled projects has nearly doubled since the survey AGC conducted in June, when 32 percent of respondents reported cancellations.

The coronavirus has also undermined the sector’s productivity levels as firms across the country change the way they operate to protect workers and the public from the disease. Forty-four percent of responding firms report that it has taken longer to complete projects and 32 percent say it has cost more to complete ongoing projects because of the coronavirus. As a result, 40 percent report they have adopted new hardware or software to alleviate labor shortages they have experienced.

“The results of the AGC and Autodesk workforce study reveal that the construction industry is still grappling with the changes and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Allison Scott, director of construction thought leadership and customer marketing at Autodesk. “The long-term effects of the current crisis have yet to play out, and firms that double down on innovation efforts, whether an increased focus on lean construction, workforce training or technology that facilitates remote collaboration will be well poised for enduring resilience.”

The coronavirus has also negatively affected many firms’ confidence in future demand for projects. Only 42 percent of firms report their volume of business has returned to year-ago levels or is expected to do so in the next six months, compared to 52 percent who held this view in AGC’s June survey. Another 37 percent expect returning to normal levels of business will take more than six months, while the remainder don’t know.

While the pandemic has led to project delays and cancellations nationwide, contractor expectations of recovery do vary by region. Forty-five percent of respondents in the Northeast expect it will take more than six months for their firm’s volume of business to return to normal, compared to only 34 percent of respondents in the West, 35 percent in the South, and 41 percent in the Midwest.

There are also some differences by project type and revenue size. For instance, highway and transportation contractors report the greatest difficulty in filling hourly craft positions, with nearly three out of four (73 percent) reporting an unfilled craft position on June 30. About two-thirds (69 percent) of utility infrastructure and federal and heavy construction firms had unfilled craft positions then, along with 58 percent of building construction firms.

Small firms were less likely to have experienced cancellations of upcoming projects. Fifty-six percent of firms with revenues of $50 million or less report a project has been postponed or canceled, compared with 71 percent of mid-sized firms (revenue between $50.1 million and $500 million) and 69 percent of large firms (revenue exceeding $500 million).

Roughly a third of responding firms furloughed or terminated employees as a result of the pandemic and shutdowns ordered by government officials or project owners. Most of those firms have asked at least some laid-off workers to return to work. But 44 percent of firms that recalled employees report that some have refused to return, citing a preference for unemployment benefits, virus concerns, or family responsibilities, among other reasons.

The pandemic has also made it difficult for many firms to fill open positions, especially for hourly craft jobs. A majority (52 percent) of respondents report having a hard time filling some or all hourly craft positions, especially openings for laborers, carpenters and equipment operators. Sixty percent of firms had at least one unfilled hourly craft position as of June 30. In addition, 28 percent of respondents report difficulty filling salaried positions—in particular, project managers and supervisors.

In addition to turning to diverse technologies to alleviate labor shortages, 38 percent of firms report having increased base pay rates to attract and retain workers. In contrast, only 3 percent of firms have reduced pay, in spite of the downturn in business.

Construction firms also identified a series of measures that Washington officials could take to help the industry. Fifty-five percent of responding firms, for example, said they were looking to Congress to increase funding for all forms of public infrastructure and facilities. Fifty-three percent of firms want Congress and the Trump administration to enact liability reforms to shield companies who are protecting workers from the coronavirus from needless lawsuits. And 41 percent want Congress to address unemployment benefits that serve as artificial barriers to returning people to work.

Association officials unveiled new plans to encourage more people to pursue high-paying careers in construction to ease hiring challenges and find a way to attract recently unemployed people into the construction industry. Among other steps, the association is launching a new “Construction is Essential” campaign to highlight the many benefits of construction careers.

“There is a lot that Washington officials can do to help boost demand for construction projects and get more people back to work rebuilding the economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, noting the association was pushing Congress and the administration to enact new recovery measures. “The challenge is that the coronavirus has put many contractors in the position of looking for work and workers at the same time.”

The association and Autodesk conducted the Workforce Survey between August 4 and 26. Over 2000 firms completed the survey from a broad cross-section of the construction industry, including union and open shop firms of all sizes. The 2020 Workforce Survey is the association’s eighth annual workforce-related survey.

Click here for survey materials including national, regional and state fact sheets, survey analysis and event remarks.

MAPEI’s total solutions for luxury living in Honolulu

The Park Lane Ala Moana is an ultra-luxurious, low-rise set of condominiums located in Honolulu, HI. Nestled on 7.3 acres, the multimillion-dollar complex houses seven buildings with 217 units ranging in size from 1,600 sq. ft. to more than 6,500 sq. ft. per condo. The upscale development features resort-style amenities that include oversized unit balconies, private pools and garages, a luxury spa, a wine room, entertainment facilities, a gym, a library, lounges for all owners and guests, a 300-piece private art collection, extensive tropical landscaping and much more.

Park Lane Ala Moana is a prime real-estate property located on the grounds of the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the largest retail complex in the state of Hawaii. Park Lane Ala Moana also presently houses the highest recorded price in Hawaii for a condominium, which sold for $23.5 million (USD). A condominium complex of Park Lane Ala Moana’s magnitude and elegance required detailed work, constant coordination, a dedicated team, and high-quality products during its construction. MAPEI was on hand to help achieve the project’s ultra-luxurious design.

MAPEI products on the jobsite

Over the course of two years, crews from installer A-American Custom Flooring and contractor Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc. worked together to install numerous MAPEI products in order to match the various substrates and specified installation needs. 

“This project included almost every type of installation you can think of,” said Stephen Pazienza, MAPEI’s coordinator on the project. “It was a completely new build. There was waterproofing and prep work. The crews worked on masonry and on concrete. They worked on the building facades and installed cladding. They installed ceramic and stone tiles, wooden flooring, resilient, and carpet.

“There was a total of 1,535,000 sq.ft. [142,606 m2] quoted for this project,” Pazienza said. “It ended up being 980,000 sq. ft. [91,045 m2] of tile, stone, pavers and cladding; 375,000 sq.ft. [34, 39 m2] of wood flooring; 175,000 sq.ft. [16,258 m2] of carpet; and 25,000 sq.ft. [2,323 m2] of resilient and rubber flooring.” 

Achieving zero-tolerance thresholds

During the period of building in Honolulu, many Honolulu architects and designers were specifying luxury high-rise projects that focused on “zero-tolerance” transitions for all finish work. This zero-tolerance-transition design scheme created challenges for interior and exterior walls and flooring, requiring that all transitions had no change of plane from material to material. Height transitions from tile, wood, carpet and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and amenities had to be benchmarked to the same specifics. Even if thresholds were used, the heights of all of the thresholds had to remain at zero transition. 

To ensure a high-quality appearance and truly flat floor, MAPEI’s self-leveling products became the major products for providing and adjusting height transitions.  Novoplan 1, Novoplan 2 Plus and Ultraplan 1 Plus underlayments were used for the bulk of the self-leveling work in conjunction with Primer L, Primer T and ECO Prim Grip. When needed, Planiprep SC skimcoating compound was used to skimcoat over the self-leveling materials for resilient- and wood-flooring installations.

Hawaii’s climate and the jobsite’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean meant that moisture mitigation was a must to ensure stability for the LEED-certified wood flooring, carpet and resilient-/rubber-flooring installation. 

Planiseal VS was the main moisture mitigation product for all areas of wood- and resilient-flooring installations; for bedroom carpeting, Primer WE was used as an approved moisture mitigator in order to save on costs. Mapecem Quickpatch was also applied and used as a pre-moisture floor patch. In addition, Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing membrane was used with Reinforcing Fabric for bathrooms, showers, kitchens, patios, spa facilities, landscaping and balconies.

Setting the stone

Granirapid and Kerabond T/Keralastic Systems mortars were used to install various types of natural stone on the vertical exterior facades, providing necessary bond strength and rapid setup in specific areas. For all terrace and retaining-wall installations, Mapelastic cementitious membrane was used to help create the large “Puka Lava” volcanic-stone look.

Ultraflex LFT became the “workhorse” mortar for all large-format tile and stone installations – both interior and exterior – that included bathrooms, showers, common areas, walkways, meeting rooms, dining rooms and recreation areas. Ultraflex LFT is a premium, non-slump, non-sag, large-format tile mortar with polymer, making it an ideal product for these installations. 

Other product installation included Ultracolor Plus FA, Keracolor S (sanded) and Keracolor U (unsanded) for grouting tile, and Mapesil T sealant for caulking and expansion joints. Mapecem 102 mortar was used to build exterior concrete ways and landings to fix depressions; Planitop X and Planitop XS repair mortars were used for structural repairs and Planicrete W setting compound was used to adhere limestone to elevator-cab doors. For the pool-deck installation, Ultraflex LFT and Keracolor S were used to set the pool coping. In addition, Adesilex P10 Mosaic & Glass Tile mortar was used to set glass-tile mosaics within the spa area. 

To complete the tile installations, crews cleaned the tile using UltraCare Epoxy Grout Haze Remover and UltraCare Heavy-Duty Stone, Tile & Grout Cleaner. They then sealed the tile with UltraCare Penetrating Stone, Tile & Grout Sealer, a natural-looking, water-based penetrating sealer for maximum protection against staining.

For wood-flooring installation, Ultrabond ECO 980, Ultrabond ECO 985 and Ultrabond ECO 995 adhesives were used, along with Ultrabond ECO 810 adhesive for carpet tile, Ultrabond ECO 360 adhesive for resilient flooring and Ultrabond ECO 711 adhesive for vinyl flooring in maintenance areas.

MAPEI’s quality, reputation and warranty standards have been used around the world, and are now part of Park Lane Ala Moana, one of the most unique and luxurious residences in Hawaii. MAPEI is proud to be a part of this living entity and historic development that stands at the gateway of famed Waikiki Beach.

The butterfly effect: Monarch migration mural by ALMA Summer Institute transforms convention center

Young apprentices create and install colorful handmade mosaics that inspire, celebrate and honor

ALMA Operations Director Margarita Paz-Pedro with the in-process mural and a butterfly. 

Back in 2015, TileLetter covered the Albuquerque ALMA (Apprenticeships for Leaders in Mosaic Arts) Summer Institute for the first time. It had been initially established in 1999 as part of the Mayor’s Art Institute, under Mayor Jim Baca. Housed at the Harwood Art Center from 2008-2015, it afforded young people aged 16-25 from high schools, college, and the community the opportunity to conceptualize, design, plan, hand-make and glaze tiles, and install them in various sites around town as part of a paid summer apprenticeship. 

Flash forward to 2020 – I revisited the ALMA (almatile.org) program, which is now its own non-profit, operating out of a new studio. Back in 2015, the mural was installed on the exterior walls of the Albuquerque Convention Center. This year, the program returned to the Convention Center with a mural of migrating Monarch butterflies that weaves words and imagery into a graceful swirl of color, shapes, and meaning along the East wall. 

ALMA (which means “soul” in Spanish) is now operated by a handful of lead artists and three co-directors: Cassandra Reid (lotustileworks.com), Executive Director; Vanessa Alvarado (blubirdtileart.com), Outreach Director; and Margarita Paz-Pedro (paz-pedro.com), Operations Director. Alvarado took the lead on this project with expert consultation by Reid; Paz-Pedro handled the installation. 

Paz-Pedro toured me through the jobsite one warm day in mid-July. She has a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, holds a Masters in Art Education from UNM, teaches full-time high school art and ceramics at La Academia de Esperanza charter school in Albuquerque’s South Valley, and does her own tile mosaics and functional wheel-thrown pottery – all while helping to lead ALMA. Her love for tile was ignited by her grandfather – who, after retiring as an engineer – became a “tile fanatic,” Paz-Pedro said. “He bought scrap tile and mosaics, and tiled EVERYTHING in the house – walls, floors, garden – as a hobby.”

(l. to r.) Margarita Paz-Pedro, Tori Lucero and Atom Vigil work on the mural installation in July.

Paz-Pedro started making tile in college, pieces she could hang on the wall that incorporated motifs from her Native and Mexican roots. When a teacher discouraged her, she lost momentum for a while until she rediscovered tile designs from pottery in 2009 that coincided with her teaching, and then her ceramic work started taking off. Through her involvement with ALMA, she’s helped lead projects around Albuquerque and also in Las Cruces, N.M. 

Poetic inspiration

The process for this mural began in February and involved a series of workshops led by local poet Jessica Helen Lopez that allowed apprentices to explore and envision themes for the project. Almost 320 clay letters spell out the poem that was developed in the winter, and the words wind through the mural as a graphic element. In this time of COVID, all initial work in March, April, and May was done via Zoom and Google Docs.

Then came the process of making tile and glazing it. Hundreds of butterflies, flowers, and geometric pieces, as well as signature Monarchs, were made of a sculpture clay by New Mexico Clay, and layers of glazes by Coyote Glaze, Spectrum, Mayco, Laguna and Amaco applied. 

Apprentices adorned white stoneware butterflies with names of Native tribes.

Again, COVID necessitated the purchase of cleaning materials and masks, the latter of which turned out to not be as onerous as expected. “At first masks were itchy, but wearing them for 1.5 months, and installing, they are almost second nature,” said Atom Vigil, one of the apprentices working on the 2020 project. 

When it came time to install the mural, apprentices worked from
6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to avoid the summer heat, which can get intense in the high desert, even though the jobsite was protected by an overhang. 

Inspired by ceramics

The five apprentices that worked on this project come from a wide range of backgrounds, all of whom were returning from past year’s projects. TileLetter spoke with lead apprentices Tori Lucero, who is in her 6th summer with ALMA, and Vigil, who joined ALMA in 2018.

Lucero, 25, was recommended to this program by someone who knew of her passion for art. “I have a love for making ceramics,” she said. She dreams of starting her own business. “The installation is my favorite part,” she said. “It’s very calming. “

Vigil, 20, came to ALMA on the recommendation of his ceramics teacher. He is currently studying art education at the University of New Mexico, and his main art form is making functional ceramics. 

“This is a great summer job,” Vigil said. “I love working with glazes to get different colors.” He loves the installation as well. “It’s one thing to see it on paper, and it’s another to see it take shape.” Vigil enjoyed the chance to put a personal touch in past murals, with personally-designed tiles. 

In addition to Lucero and Vigil, apprentices Jacqueline De La Cruz, Jai Salazar, and Jacquelyn Helpa helped give life to this mural. Mosaics were installed with MAPEI Ultraflex LFT and grouted with C-Cure MP Sanded 924 grout. 

 (U.l. to r.) Vanessa Alvarado (Lead Artist), Tori Lucero (Lead Apprentice), Jai Salazar (Apprentice), Atom Vigil (Apprentice) and Jacquelyn Yepa (Apprentice). Members of the team not pictured are Jaqueline De La Cruz (Lead Apprentice), Margarita Paz-Pedro (Lead Artist) and Cassandra Reid (Lead Artist).

The “Migrating Souls of Wisdom” mural was completed on July 22. Inspired by the migration of Monarch butterflies from Canada through the U.S. to Mexico, it’s also symbolic of “transcending borders,” Paz-Pedro explained, honoring the four generations of butterflies that make the trip. Individual butterflies feature tiny letters that spell the names of Native tribes and four generations from the artists’ own families.

This design spreads from last year’s Healing into Harmony mural and incorporates the negative space of the concrete convention center wall as part of the design, versus the edge-to-edge murals the group has created in the past. It even incorporates curved tiles that follow the contours of the walls. 

In her book, The Language of Butterflies, New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams observes that, “the language of butterflies is the language of color.” That is truly the case with this ALMA mural, which uses colorful mosaics to convey a profound message of beauty and meaning – putting the “butterfly effect” into motion, with a single mural that can change lives of young apprentices, and those who stop to view and ponder this work when visiting downtown Albuquerque. 

Stunning grotto project combines custom glass and ceramic mosaic with high-level installation expertise

Heritage Marble & Tile, Inc., wins CID Award for Residential Tile Installation

Only a rendering and preliminary plan of the Grotto were available at the pre-construction meeting.

This Corte Madera Pool Grotto project grabbed the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Award for Residential Tile Installation back in April, announced during Coverings Connected virtual trade show. This homeowner’s dream project of a Moroccan-style pool grotto was brought to life through the expert installation of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Heritage Marble & Tile, Inc., in Mill Valley, Calif. 

Heritage Marble & Tile was brought onto the bidding process by landscape architect Todd Standley at Simmonds and Associates in San Anselmo, Calif., on the recommendation of tile supplier Ceramic Tile Design in San Rafael, Calif. Ceramic Tile Design provided the custom glass mosaic tile manufactured by Sicis and the handmade ceramic tile from Pratt and Larson that would form the project’s intricate design. The grotto, which has a circumference of 55 ft., would use approximately 500 sq. ft. of tile by the time the project was complete. 

A story pole was attached to the center point of the domed roof, with datum established that would guide the layout. 

Martin Brookes, owner of Heritage Marble & Tile, said that at the pre-construction meeting, the grotto structure had not yet been poured and only a rendering and preliminary plan were available. 

“Numerous pre-construction site visits took place to ensure that all parties were kept up to date about any issues or changes that arose during the project,” he said. “We projected that the project would be completed in 6-7 weeks.”

Brookes explained that the pool grotto shell had been formed with gunite, and did not meet substrate tolerances for both glass and ceramic tile installation. “To address this issue, we floated the walls, trued up the niches and arch, and used a laser level to create critical layout lines,” he said. “The center point of the domed roof was used to attach a story pole, and datum was established on which the layout would be dependent upon. The pool grotto’s structure required numerous hours of preparation to make the walls smooth enough to accept the Sicis glass mosaic tile. Once the walls were within tolerance, LATICRETE Hydro Ban Cementitious membrane was applied, which is specifically designed for pool applications.”

When Heritage Marble & Tile was ready to begin the tile installation, the project encountered several installation challenges:

  • The mosaic had been carefully drawn by the architect, who had instructed Sicis to cut the niches out during production, thus the tile installation had to accommodate the existing structure. 
  • The niches were not poured in the correct position and ranged from 2-3 inches off-center. 
  • The diameter at the bottom of the grotto was poured 2 inches larger than at the top. 

Brookes said, “To resolve these installation challenges required a cost analysis to determine whether to return the tile to Sicis in Italy to have it adjusted with about a three-month lead time, or make the adjustments on site with our team of qualified installers who held Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and Advanced Certification for Tile Installers (ACT) credentials. We chose to make the adjustments on site, and after much discussion with the architect came up with a game plan: the niches would have to be pieced in by hand and the circles in the mosaic pattern re-worked. This took time but was much faster than the other option of returning the tile to Italy.”

Niches had to be pieced in by hand by installer Gabriel Cortez and helper Ledesmo Calderon.

Brookes said installer Gabriel Cortez – with CTI and ACT credentials – along with helper Ledesmo Calderon took the lead on making these adjustments. “There are few installers I know have the ability and skill like Gabriel to perform this kind of install,” Brookes said. “His attention to detail and focus are exemplary. He is a true asset not only to Heritage Marble & Tile Inc., but to the whole tile community, producing artwork that will last for years to come.”

The Heritage crew began the tile installation by protecting the work area with a structure to maintain a stable ambient temperature. The Pratt and Larson ceramic tile stars on the ceiling and trim were set with LATICRETE Titanium thinset, chosen because of its superior bond strength and workability characteristics. The entire project was grouted with Litokol Starlike EVO epoxy grout that uses Zherorisk® technology – non-hazardous to the environment, non-toxic, non-corrosive and very low VOC. The black grout used on the ceiling contained golden flecks that accentuated the star effect. 

The resulting project took about 12 weeks from start to spectacular finish. “This was a technically challenging installation that tested the focus, detail, and stamina of the installer,” Brookes concluded. “The end result was a stunning pool grotto that exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

Pratt and Larson ceramic tile stars on the ceiling and trim were set with LATICRETE Titanium thinset and grouted with Litokol Starlike EVO epoxy grout. 
The finished stunning pool grotto took 12 weeks and exceeded all expectations. 

U.S. Air Force (Ret.) Tech. Sgt. Matthew Slaydon Home Dedication

Slaydon home dedication

On May 18, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) Tech. Sgt. Matthew Slaydon and his wife Annette were officially welcomed into their new R.I.S.E. specially adapted smart home in Bayfield, Colorado. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Slaydon’s were treated to a unique virtual welcome home video from members of the Foundation and many of our sponsors. This home will not only help Matthew each day to regain independence and mobility that was lost as a result of his injury but will also ease his reliance on Annette.

NTCA and members of the tile industry have been strong supporters of the Gary Sinise Foundation’s Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment (R.I.S.E.) program, which builds specially-adapted smart homes tailored to the needs of wounded veterans across the nation.

The R.I.S.E. program and its sponsors show Matthew Slaydon and his family gratitude for their service and sacrifice. They are wished a lifetime of blessings and happiness in their forever home.

Looking ahead, two more of deserving heroes and their families will get to move into their forever homes very soon. Casey Jones will move into his forever home on June 18 and Rico Roman will receive his iPad– the “keys” to his new smart home on July 2. Move-in day celebrations for them will mirror the private one held for the Slaydons.

AlysEdwards brings beige back big time!

Trendy colors and shapes come and go but neutrals are a classic that lasts a lifetime. Inspire. Create. Design Something Fabulous.

This versatile set of neutral hues fit a wide range of interior styles. Shades like Caolino add a sense of calm to any space while Peak My Interest creates a neat and serene atmosphere. Looking to spice things up? Mix and match complementary shades like Whole Latte Sass and Bazaar Encounters in Marrakech, or Bo-Kaap Blocks and Liggrys to create a layer of elegance. From bold and striking to warm and inviting, the possibilities are endless with AlysEdwards building blocks. 

herringbone pattern tiles
Abitare La Terra

Abitare La Terra

Abitare is a collection of harmonic tones in both ceramics and complimentary porcelains. Translated to inhabit the earth, these rich tones of nature are available in twelve colors of wall tile and eight colors of porcelain. The soothing details in each of the three sizes are unlike any other. If you are looking for something quiet but invigorating, Abitare La Terra is the perfect collection. When you are inspired by nature, the possibilities are endless.

wood look tile set in a herringbone pattern
Basic B

Basic B

Enjoying simplicity doesn’t make you lame, it means you have good taste, DUH! These porcelain planks are totes adorbs and the maintenance of real wood is so last year, #NoShade. This wood-look may not be extra but it sure is versatile and petite in size. So whether you’re cray cray for gray like Britney or soy vanilla-like Bailey, AlysEdwards has something for you.

ethnic design tile in shades of beiges and black
Cape Town

Cape Town

Inspired by traditional textiles from around the world, the Cape Town Collection brings to you ethnic flair in soft muted colors, which enable it to be incorporated into many design styles. Cape Town is hand made using ancient stone artistry, which gives every piece a one of a kind look. Cape Town comes in 8 fabulous patterns and 6 subtle colorways. Use Cape Town in your next design project and take it to the next level.

brown tone wall of small glass metallic mosaics
Man About You




Man About You

A peaceful coexistence of fifteen seductive colors, four different sizes, and two finishes; Man About You is ashamed of nothing, with its embracing metallic foundation.

Rock Glamorous

classic pattern of beige-tones small stone tiles
Rock Glamorous

When basic stone just won’t do Rock Glamorous is the place to turn. All of your favorite classic patterns have been stretched to get them into supermodel shape. Transforming the expected into the unique. Elongated octagons, skinny staggered bricks, zippy zigs, and zags all in six muted tones put the focus on mosaics with stunning shape.

cement wall tile
Tongue in Chic

Tongue in Chic

Cement to Happen! AlysEdwards’ first ceramic line has been taken from a dream to reality with Tongue in Chic. Available in one size and a subdued palette with a classic gloss finish that enhances the brush strokes in each of the 12 colors, this collection can be a versatile element in any setting. We’ve listed all of the Pros and Bronze and we are Totally in Zinc with the new additions of three metallic colors!

small rectangular glass tile

Wanderlust

Inspired by regions from around the world, Wanderlust is glass as unique as the destinations from which it gets its names. Explore this subtle color palette with watermarked surfaces to travel through Alyse’s top getaways. Whether you desire to be taupe-less in St. Tropez or island hopping to Sand-torini, Wanderlust has the selections to start your journey. This collection is available in five blends and ten solid mosaics. Be spontaneous. Experience Wanderlust, after all, not all who wander are lost. View more at http://AlysEdwards.com.

LATICRETE Releases New Liquid Rubber Anti-Fracture Polymer, FRACTURE BAN SC, Saving Contractors Time and Inventory

August 25, 2020, Bethany, Conn.LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry, has launched FRACTURE BAN™ SC, a thin, load-bearing, self-curing liquid rubber polymer that can be easily applied in a single coat to form a flexible seamless anti-fracture membrane. FRACTURE BAN SC is rapid drying and cures between one and two hours, increasing productivity and reducing downtime for installers. As a single-component, single-coat material, it also decreases strain on inventory as it requires less material to complete a project. FRACTURE BAN SC can be applied directly to tile, brick and stone without the need for fabric, providing anti-fracture protection of up to 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) over shrinkage and other non-structural cracks.

Fracture Ban SC bucket
Fracture Ban SC from LATICRETE

“The durability and ease of use that FRACTURE BAN SC provides makes it a valuable resource for contractors needing a quick anti-fracture solution without compromising quality. Possessing rapid-curing technology, coupled with the ability to be applied in a single coat, this new anti-fracture membrane effectively shortens installation time and aids construction professionals working with compressed schedules and controlled jobsite access in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dustin Prevete, LATICRETE Senior Product Manager. “FRACTURE BAN SC is also equipped with Microban® Antimicrobial Protection, fulfilling a growing demand in the construction industry for materials that inhibit the growth of microbes including bacteria, mold and mildew.”

rolling on liquid underlayment
Fracture Ban SC changes from a light blue to a darker blue when cured.

Useful for a variety of horizontal substrates, both interior and exterior, FRACTURE BAN SC can be used for a variety of residential and commercial applications and is useful for terraces and balconies overlooking unoccupied spaces. The product enhances surface durability with “extra heavy” service rating per Tile Council of North America (TCNA) performance levels and exceeds ANSI A118.12 standards. Requiring only a thin, single-coat application with a wet thickness of 30 to 44 mils (0.8 to 1.2 millimeters), the membrane cures at only 0.02 to 0.03 inches (0.5 to 0.8 millimeters) thick. As a design feature, FRACTURE BAN SC changes in color from a light blue to darker blue when cured.

For more information, visit laticrete.com.

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