lat-perma-6LATICRETE’S PERMACOLOR® Select revolutionizes the business and logistics of grout

Premier dispersible dry-pigment grout solution provides more options for A&D professionals

lat-permacolorIn a world where warehouse and display space is at a premium, while the demand for an expanding palette of grout colors to augment and enhance tile and stone installations is growing, LATICRETE has developed an innovative solution that addresses both concerns.

LATICRETE recently introduced PERMACOLOR® Select, the industry’s first dry dispersible-pigment grout solution that separates colored pigment from the PERMACOLOR Select Base. This advanced, high-performance cement grout is designed for virtually all types of residential and commercial installations and offers optimum performance on the most demanding exterior and interior applications.

In addition to offering industry-leading performance, PERMACOLOR Select comes in the widest range of colors available. It also sets a new standard as the first product to innovate the business and logistics of grout–providing specific benefits to architects, design professionals, distributors and contractors alike.

lat-perma-1Two-part solution for A&D desires

The ground-breaking product comes in two parts: a Color Kit and the highly engineered Base powder. The process of preparing the grout begins with the dispersible-pigment packets included in the Color Kit. When added to water, these packets dissolve like laundry or dishwasher packets. When the neutrally colored Base is added to the pigment-water mix, a color-consistent grout is formed that does not require sealing.

The Color Kits come in all 40 existing LATICRETE grout color options as well as the top selling competitor colors. The Base powder comes in 12.5 lb. and 25 lb. options.

“Recently, we’ve seen architects and design professionals demand greater color choices and LATICRETE is getting ahead of this trend,” said Sean Boyle, director of Marketing and Product Management. “With PERMACOLOR Select, these professionals can offer clients the widest array of options while ensuring industry-leading performance.”

The innovations of PERMACOLOR Select allows architects and design professionals the ability to:

Offer expanded color availability and options – With PERMACOLOR Select Color Kits, architects and design professionals can offer clients the widest array of color choices from a single supplier. This includes the existing LATICRETE grout color options as well as the top-selling competitor colors.

Deliver industry-leading performance – PERMACOLOR Select exceeds ANSI A118.7 and achieves ISO 13007-4 CG2FAW. Equipped with STONETECH® Sealer Technology, PERMACOLOR Select offers enhanced stain resistance with no sealing required. PERMACOLOR Select offers anti-microbial protection and vibrant consistent color that resists efflorescence. PERMACOLOR Select is also reinforced with Kevlar® to resist cracks and shrinkage.

Virtually eliminate worries about color variation – The PERMACOLOR Select advanced-pigment technology is manufactured to tight standards and reduces variation between batches.


Two pallet spaces and one shelf is all it takes!

Distributors and contractors also benefit from the introduction of this pioneering product.

For example, PERMACOLOR Select is the first product to innovate the way grout is ordered, inventoried and sold – resulting in distributors running their businesses more efficiently and much more profitably. Only two pallet spaces are needed for the PERMACOLOR Select Base and one shelf for the PERMACOLOR Select Color Kits. This saves dozens of pallet spaces in a warehouse by eliminating inventory of individual bags per each color stocked. The logistical innovations of PERMACOLOR Select allow distributors to:

• Reduce grout pallet space requirements by 80%, grout inventory value by 50% and increase turns by 100% Distributors need only carry only the inventory they require.

• Improve order pick time and accuracy – Picking and packing orders is easier with PERMACOLOR Select. Warehouse personnel will not need to waste time searching for colors or move of bags and pallets.

• Fulfill orders quickly and directly to customers – If a distributor runs out of a particular color, Color Kits can be shipped directly to the customer through the
LATICRETE Rapid Fulfillment Center.

“Our Rapid Fulfillment Center drastically improves the ordering process,” said Boyle. “Through this new service, dealers, distributors, and contractors can rapidly and economically fulfill their customers’ needs.”


Fast-setting grout ready for feet in 3 hours

lat-perma-5Finally, the benefits for contractors are significant as PERMACOLOR Select is suitable for joints 1/16” to 1/2” wide on floors or walls. The fast-setting grout is ready for foot traffic in three hours. GREENGUARD® certified, PERMACOLOR Select is also low VOC. A lifetime warranty is available when used with other LATICRETE products.

The logistical innovations of PERMACOLOR Select also enhance the contractor’s business by:

• Reducing grout inventory value, waste and breakage – Contractors can carry only the inventory they need and greatly reduce grout breakage through less handling and moving of inventory.

• Reducing grout pallet space requirements – Leftover stock from previous jobs is virtually eliminated with PERMACOLOR Select.

• Expanding color availability and options – Contractors can easily and inexpensively stock all 40 LATICRETE colors plus the top selling competitor colors.

For more information on PERMACOLOR Select, visit LATICRETE.com.



International Trends from Italy

Italian style sets tile trends for 2015 and beyond

For those who missed this coverage in our TileLetter and TADA magazines at the end of 2014, following are some of the hottest trends by Italian manufacturers to come out of Cersaie 2014 as identified by Ceramics of Italy. As always, the Cersaie exhibit in Bologna, Italy showcases cutting-edge design, setting trends worldwide for the year to come.

italy-1Black & white: Classic black and white with added effects such as fading reliefs and op art graphics offered a timeless, fresh look.

italy-2Boom. Pop. Wow! Graphic, playful wall tiles reflect influences and images from comics such as Lupin the 3rd (Del Conca) and kings of pop art Roy Lichtenstein (Imola) and Keith Haring (Ascot).

italy-cementiCementine: The inherent charm and beauty of encaustic cement tiles from the turn of the 19th century inspired many collections. Putting a modern spin on the classic tiles, some were overlaid onto concrete, terra cotta and stone designs while others presented crisp or fading patterns.

italy-bordelliCustom made: Tile manufacturers partnered with designers to develop flexible systems for creating tailor-made compositions. Robert Dawson’s Arianna series for Bardelli features a silkscreened pattern that can be freely rotated and randomly combined, while Lavinia Modesti and Javier Deferrari developed hexagonal tiles line for Mirage’s Xgone that can be studded into each other or configured into countless combinations. Two tile lines developed by HOK for Lea can also be used in a myriad of layouts while Ornamenta’s Salepepe tiles offer customizable geometry and a range of 33 colors designed to match MAPEI’s Ultracolor Plus grouts. Tagina’s entire Atelier team creates custom-made ceramic products for architects, even on a large commercial scale.

italy-taginaHexalove: Contemporary hexagons include macro and micro sizes, rhombille tiling effects, irregular cutouts, and encaustic, concrete, marble, wood and brick designs.

italy-muralesHigh tech tiles: Advanced use of technology moved ceramic tiles from beautiful and functional to smart surfaces. ABK Group unveiled a revolutionary technology that adds elasticity to porcelain tile, ensuring perfectly flat installations, while Piemme launched a series of high-tech tiles with embedded photovoltaic cells to create self-illuminating outdoor flooring. Florim showcased some of the largest thin slabs in the industry (5.5´ x 11´ and only 6mm thick) and Faetano introduced a new tile specially designed to wrap corners.


italy-marvelproMarble 2.0: Luxurious white marbles such as Calacatta, Carrara and Statuario, creamy Travertine and darker hues like Saint Laurent and Berimbau were represented at the show. Novel hexagon and chevron shapes overlaid designs, with three-dimensional surfaces like pillowed edges and linear folds were added to the mix.


italy-fusionMetallized: Metallized tiles exhibited the sheen of platinum and bronze or the weathered effects of rusted steel and oxidized copper.


italy-aleaModern Mosaics: Mosaics reflected fresh treatments of traditional penny, hexagon and brick mosaics to completely new formats such as linear, diamond and organic-shaped tesserae.

Neu wood: Displays of ceramic wood ran the gamut from rustic and recycled lumber, charred wood, or the luster of a polished or glazed finish for a touch of sophistication and glamour.



A&D Q&A with Alena Capra

capraTapping into trends

A Q&A with Coverings’ Industry Ambassador, Alena Capra

Alena Capra is Coverings’ newly appointed Industry Ambassador, a liaison to the local industries related to tile and stone as well as media. Capra has been sharing her tile and stone trend insights through media interviews and presentations at trade association events for builders, contractors, installers, distributors, as well as architects and designers, leading up to the show.

Capra brings more than 12 years of experience as a residential designer to the role, and is accredited through the National Kitchen and Bath Association as a Certified Kitchen Designer and Certified Bath Designer. Capra’s design expertise has been leveraged by various design shows around the country as a speaker, and her work has been published in several national and regional media outlets. A proponent of developing healthy partnerships between the A&D community, suppliers and installation contractors, she also was enlisted as a designer for the inaugural Installation Design Showcase at Coverings 2010. Since then she has continued to expand her role with the event.

Being intimately familiar with Coverings and its exhibitors, education and special programs and a talented designer in her own right, she’s in a perfect position to provide an overview of tile and stone trends that will be evident at the show and how they can be best utilized by members of the A&D community.

capra-1Do you feel that the materials tile and stone companies are producing tend to follow design trends…or are they setting the trend?

I have spent a great deal of time attending design events around the country and around the world, and have seen a great deal of connection between what is trending in tile and overarching design trends for furniture, fixtures and decor. But, I would say that there are certain instances where tile and stone manufacturers have the opportunity to set trends for the industry, such as with the continued development of technology that creates wood porcelain tile.

capra-2What are some of the most inspiring or exciting trends you have encountered recently?

Across the board, metallic gold is making a strong return as an accent from fixtures to tiles. Hexagonal shapes are reemerging as a huge trend from tile to wall covering patterns, furniture designs, and fabrics. It’s a classic shape, and I love that it is a look that can be used in modern to traditional designs

I’m also very excited about using many of the new wood porcelain looks that have come out recently. This product has become a true staple in the tile industry, and the technology developments have allowed for the designs to be even more realistic and innovative. When sourcing wood porcelain tile there are so many amazing options to choose from now, from high gloss looks to printed designs, and an incredible variety of colors and textures. Every year there are more and more new wood porcelain looks to choose from, and the possibilities are really endless!

capra-3As a designer, how do you incorporate trends into a design while remaining true to a client’s style?

When incorporating trends into designs for my clients, I try to keep trendy products as accents. This allows the rest of the materials to be more timeless. For example, I may incorporate an accent or border in a trendier tile, and keep the main tile in a classic shape and color.

When specifying tile, a key rule to keep in mind is to look for shapes and materials that work best for the client’s personal sense of style. You should always be mindful of whether your client is comfortable with bold, trendy statements, or if they gravitate to more understated, classic pieces.

If a client loves a modern aesthetic, I will offer 3-D or textured pieces, or tile in bold colors and finishes with clean lines. If they are more traditional, I would show them hand-painted or natural stone options.

capra-4How do you recommend using trending products, colors, materials in projects in a way that will stay relevant or ‘timeless’, even as trends change or evolve?

Designing in a way that will stand the test of time is truly about executing a trend in whichever material that works best for your client, and using it in just the right amount. As I mentioned, I like to use trendier tile for accents in the overall design.

The key is mixing it up in just the right amount. By anchoring the entire look with tiles that are more classic, and adding that pop with something trendy, you will find a solid balance. I would say 75% classic sizes, shapes and colors and 25% trendy accent is a good ratio to consider with tile.

It’s also important to think of how classic shapes that have been around forever, like a 3˝ x 6˝ subway tile or a 1˝ x 1˝ or 1˝ x 2˝ mosaic, can be reinterpreted into trendy designs. Mixing materials, colors or sizes can create a look that is trendier than a traditional white subway tile backsplash.

What resources/sources do you rely on as a designer to keep up with trends?

I have found that visiting industry trade shows, like Coverings, is the best way to keep up with trends. Walking the show floor can keep you right on the front line of everything new. If you can’t make it to shows in person, design magazines are always great resources, as they are reporting from these shows and offering breakdowns of the “best of the best” seen there.

Blogs and social media are great resources. Be sure to follow your favorite designers or architects, your must-read design magazines, your vendor, manufacturer and showroom partners. Most share content on Twitter or Instagram live from trade shows, and always share great trend reports. There are so many great ways to stay connected!!



Following is an extensive list of products that represent the trends in stone that we’ll see at Coverings and beyond. Coverings exhibitors include booth numbers.

stone-aoAmerican Olean

Ascend™ Stone is inspired by the emerging trends driving today’s residential and commercial designs, providing long, linear planks, neutrals like grey and white and comprehensive size packages. The Ascend collection includes two marbles, Open Horizon and Candid Heather, both offered in honed and polished finishes, as well as two limestones, Honest Greige and Gray Virtue, both available in a honed finish. All four stones feature beautiful directional veining, mapping to today’s linear trends in the market.

Sizes include a 12˝ x 12˝ along with three on-trend linear formats, including 12˝ x 24˝, 6˝ x 36˝ and 8˝ x 36˝. A complementing 3˝ x 8˝ wall tile size and a contemporary pencil rail and chair rail are also available. To help create a complete, cohesive look, several exquisite and unique mosaics round out the collection in shapes such as textured hexagons, modern stacked stones, leaves and a chevron pattern. www.americanolean.com

stone-annsacksAnn Sacks

Ann Sacks has updated its Beau Monde collection with two new patterns, two colors and a new finish. The Beau Monde collection represents two tile mosaic categories and three designs all total – the original Beau Monde, a stone mosaic series with 31 designs inspired by the ancient mosaic art form of Pietre Dura, and Beau Monde Glass, that carries 12 waterjet-cut glass designs. Joining the Beau Monde stone portfolio is Clark, a linear 11-9/16˝ x 11-9/16˝ mosaic designed to be laid up on the diagonal to create textural dimension within a room and Madelyn, an 11-7/8˝ x 11-3/8˝ stylized, repetitive abstract design that adapts to horizontal or vertical installations. Also making its debut is the handcrafted finish, Della Mano, its pillowed surface and appealing hand and undulating surface achieved through a labor-intensive hand finishing and polishing process. Rounding out the Beau Monde additions are two new colors, Cashmere, a cream-to-caramel hue, and Shell, a soft white-to-grey blend. Both can be specified for any Beau Monde stone or glass pattern. www.annsacks.com

Arizona Tilestone-arizona

Bardiglio is quarried from a bedrock quarry in the Apennine Mountains near Carrara, Italy, and is often called Bardiglio Scuro, indicating its darker tones. Bardiglio features a mix of light and dark grey tones within a slab, along with some areas of white, and sweeping veins and movement which change on every shipment. Due to the qualities of the stone, the slabs are book-matched; meaning slab one and slab two are cut and polished to create a mirror image of each other. These are then kept in sequence, which allows for a consistent flow in pattern. Sizes include 4˝ x 16˝ x 3/8˝, 12˝ x 24˝ x 3/8˝ and 2˝ x 2˝ mosaic. www.arizonatile.com

stone-artisticArtistic Tile
Booth #611

Three-dimensional Piatti Polished Dimensional Mosaic is engineered to emphasize the geometry of its pattern, inspired by the jeweler’s art of faceting stones. Shown here in exquisite Calacatta Gold marble, it can be fashioned out of a choice of natural stone. With a V3 moderate tonal variation, it is suited for interior walls including shower and steam shower walls and exterior walls in non freeze-thaw environments. www.artistictile.com

Booth #5065

The Luxembourg Collection is inspired by its namesake, a prosperous modern day city built on old world style and charm. The collections include three artistic motifs, Arabesque, Jardin and Lily, which are available in four stone blends: Palais, Louvre, Tuileries and Paris. This collection showcases both limestone and marble stone varieties in white, ivory, grey and taupe tones and brings both a touch of classic and modern flair to any space. From a distance the soft colorways of the stone evoke the feeling of suede but on closer examination one can see and feel the delicate raked surface texture. These bold patterns and harmonious color blends can make a statement in any kitchen, bar, bathroom or wall application in residential and commercial settings.

stone-crossvilleCrossville Inc.
Booth #3818

Yin + Yang, a collection of natural stone tile, is inspired by the allure and balance of Eastern art.

Yin + Yang is designed to represent the beauty that happens when opposite elements come together. The collection has contrasting colors, an abundance of sizes, shapes, and decorative touches. When these elements join forces, the resulting designs are on trend and modern yet also timeless and classic. Yin + Yang is offered in eight stone shades in varying sizes, including .5˝ x .5˝ mosaic, .5˝ x 1.5˝ stacked mosaic, herringbone, elongated hex, 1.5” x 7.75˝ brick, 3˝ x 12˝ plank, and linear mosaic. Yin + Yang is recommended for interior and exterior walls and interior floors in commercial or residential settings in natural or polished finish. www.crossvilleinc.com

stone-diamondtechDiamond Tech Tiles
Booth #3808

The Countryside Slate series melds an array of neutral colors, including steel grey, desert gold and black. Accented with frosted glass tiles and listellos, this new slate tile will step up the style in both rustic and contemporary designs. www.dttiles.com

stone-islandstoneIsland Stone
Booth #2445

The Island Stone cladding series is a range of natural stone tiles designed to create stunning walls, inside or outside. All tiles in this series are made from individual pieces of stone that are precision-cut and fitted together to produce a remarkable result. Available in a range of different stones, colors and surfaces, the Cladding Series seeks to enhance the natural beauty and drama of the raw material, and transform it into a design element for use by those in search of something truly unique. www.islandstone.com

Booth #2218

Crema Marfil marble from Levantina’s Coto quarry offers a rich color, polished finish, physical qualities and impact resistance that make it a preferred choice for architects/project owners. Levantina has now launched a Crema Marfil marble tile that has never been lighter in weight. The new Crema Marfil Coto® 24˝ x 24˝ tile is available in 1/2˝ thickness. Crema Marfil Coto’s light, thin format offers improved storage (due to 58% extra material in every crate) and reduced transportation costs, since it’s 40% lighter in weight. The thin stone also facilitates installation on existing flooring, speeding project work and reducing waste. It can be used indoors or out, on floors and walls. www.levantina.com

stone-tileshopThe Tile Shop

The Hampton Carrara stone Hex (shown here in 5” x 5”) is an elegant white stone with dark gray speckling and veining, pictured with the Midtown Glass Collection, a contemporary take on the classic micro mosaic. The brick pattern features three different sized pieces that create the appearance of waves. www.tileshop.com

stone-walkerzangerWalker Zanger

Villa d’Oro is a stunning collection of stone mosaic and intarsia patterns inspired by the artistic heritage of countless Mediterranean cultures. In Villa d’Oro, decorative influences from Moorish Spain mingle with Venetian Gothic and Medieval Egypt, echoing the mélange created by the eons of cultural overlap in the ancient Mediterranean world. Working from historical sources, each design was stripped down to its graphic essence and then rebuilt it in contemporary colorways and scale, keeping in mind how people use patterns today. Each pattern in Villa d’Oro is carefully cut and assembled from stones fittingly sourced in a variety of Mediterranean countries, creating new decorative art to enliven modern surroundings. www.walkerzanger.com


Demand for natural stone continues


Natural stone is the true original that so many other products copy

By Donato Pompo, CTaSC

The demand for natural stone has not let up. Not only is more natural stone being consumed in the USA, but everyone is emulating the natural-stone look including: porcelain tiles and large thin porcelain tile; concrete tiles; vinyl flooring and luxury vinyl tile (LVT); laminate flooring; and various sheet and paint wall coverings. In fact, now there is thin stone laminated over porcelain tile and other types of backings referred to as “stone composite tiles” and paper-thin sheets of natural slate that can be adhered to walls.

stone-layerstone-courtyardNatural stone is still preferred by many for countertops, particularly the granites. There has been a surge in using quartzite (a class 3 sandstone) for countertops, which is very hard and dense and can be polished. Some importers have been selling dolomitic marble that looks like quartzite but isn’t stain-and-scratch-resistant as is true quartzite.




stone-quartzQuartz stone outpacing natural stone for counters

“Quartz stone” (previously referred to as engineered stone) has grown significantly for use on countertops, eroding the market for natural stone in this application. Quartz stone is about 90% quartz suspended in a resin that can be fabricated and polished like a natural stone. It is sold as a floor tile as well, but is known to be moisture-sensitive and subject to warping, so it requires special care during installation.

stone-quartz-1As a manufactured product, quartz stone has more consistency, but it doesn’t have the inherent beauty and intrinsic value of being millions of years old, with the beauty of natural variations in its appearance.


stone-concreteConcrete – the great imitator

Concrete is being used to simulate a wide range of tiles and natural-stone configurations. It may be known as cultured stone, faux stone, manufactured stone or stone veneer. One of the more popular configurations of this manufactured stone is the dry-stack type used in random shapes on exterior or interior walls, stacked on top of each other and adhered to the substrate (see TileLetter, November 2014 for “Stacking the deck: manufactured/natural stone veneers pros and cons”). These concrete tiles are also used on floors, giving a stone look.

stone-terrazzoNew developments in terrazzo

Terrazzo has made a big resurgence. Terrazzo is normally a poured-in-place mix with marble and/or glass chips embedded in its surface, then polished. Originally, it was a cement-base product, but today chips are embedded into a relatively thin epoxy base. It is used mostly on floors in commercial and institutional applications. It gives a very flat and smooth seamless surface. Traditional divider strips are not required, but it’s necessary to plan for and allow for movement joints during installation. Resin vapor barriers must first be installed, along with crack-isolation coatings if needed. Today, terrazzo can be installed with a plethora of colors and designs to create a very attractive and functional floor.

Large slabs in demand

As with ceramic tile, there is an increase in demand for larger size stones. 24” x 24” formats are becoming much more common, and tiles as large as 2’x 4’ and as thick as 1” to 2” are being used. Also more common is supplying slabs of stone and larger stone tiles with a resin-web backing to help stabilize the stone from cracking during shipping and fabricating. These backings require the use of an epoxy adhesive to ensure a good bond.

stone-medallionsLong, lean lines and medallion accents

Speaking of stone size, rectangular and modular random-sized shapes are very popular today. The rectangular shapes are often installed in staggered patterns. The modular random shapes are being installed in Versailles patterns where the stones are off-set from each other. Adding stone medallions at floor focal points is becoming more common. The medallions are normally a creative design that includes a variety of stone types, shapes, and colors.

stone-artistictileThere is no end in sight in the demand for stone or in the multiple ways it can be utilized.

For more information, contact Donato Pompo of CTaSC at (866) 669-1550; [email protected] or visit www.CTaSC.comtone-annsacks



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