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Tile Trends for 2020 and “Trend Strategy”

Trends in 2020 – what’s hot and what’s not? Before we embark on this journey let’s make sure we define “Trend” vs. “Fad.” A trend has stamina and builds up over time, while a fad fills a niche and is not a broad selling category. We have seen those come and go in our industry, but this article focuses on solid trends. The tile industry is obviously one that rides the trend cycle as it changes but we also experience the trend stages. For those who may have just been in the business for the last few years they would know that wood, marble and concrete are still categories we would call trendy, but the difference is what stage are they in. Below are a few different stages of trends.

  • Brand-new trend – Is it real and does it have staying power in the tile industry?
  • Emerging trend – This is the part of the trend where thought leaders emerge and set the tone.
  • Peaking trend – It’s frenzy time. Everyone will be excited about the trend.
  • Backlash – Everybody is aware of the trend. People think the trend is overdone.
  • Trend Maturity – There’s a lot less excitement than there used to be.

For example, when concrete looks were initially launched, this was a brand-new trend. Now concrete looks have evolved into what we may say is its “backlash” or “trend maturity stage.” “Emerging” or “peaking” trends are where we look to see what’s upcoming, and today many in the industry point to gauged porcelain tiles (GPT) or gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP). This product category has emerged from the 3mm and 3.5mm thicknesses initially launched to 6-, 12- and 20-mm products that continue to grow. Once we conquer the installation education, we will surely continue our excitement on this trend.

While we all would love our trend stage to be emerging or peaking, it’s important to understand we also “live” in the backlash or maturity stage. A perfect example is wood looks. While different looks are in different stages it’s important to look at your product mix to ensure you have your portfolio balanced to your market requirements. It’s vital to have something you feel is a brand-new trend to make certain you’re delivering your customers something that may be that next trend, because if you’re not, someone else will.

When pondering trends, we all think of visuals, yet Mark Seal with Emser Tile noted that “the adoption of the Ceramic Factory 4.0 model – which is the next generation of the ceramic tile factory – will feature previously unseen levels of efficiency and technology.” Essentially this has allowed manufacturers to take the current trend to a new generation of looks via technological advances with even more realistic textures.  He also said, “it has allowed us to be better positioned to meet the needs of our clients from the inside to the exterior of their homes.”

Now for the trends we see today:

Wall tile

Mediterranea’s Key West offers subtle shading of handmade tile, but technical advantages of porcelain tile. 

The year of the wall is here! It is imperative that distributors invest in a variety of wall tile lines as this is a growth category for our industry, vs. just focusing on floors. One of the reasons is right in front of us: as we continue to watch the growth of LVT and compete against other floor coverings the walls are ours to dominate! Come on, who can’t sell against wallpaper and paint? While we traditionally focus on white wall tile, we see cool tones beginning to evolve with Pantone’s Classic Blue (a calm, cool color that is the beginning of a new decade) as it’s heralded 2020 Color of the Year, a definite departure from 2019’s Living Coral.

Marazzi Zellige embodies handmade looks, imperfections and undulating style with a Moroccan flair. 

Mediterranea’s Michael Mariutto, one of our industry’s emerging trend leaders, developed the new Key West line as yet another example of wall’s growing popularity. Additionally, Mediterranea’s VP of sales George Larrazabal added, “The Key West series offers the beauty, subtle shading and colors of hand-made tiles but with the technical advantages of a porcelain rated for floors, walls, and wet areas. There are 10 colors covering traditional and modern styles and size package that can move from the wall to the floor in many applications, featuring 4” x 8”, 4” x 12”, and 8” x 8” sizes, which is in line with continuing trends for smaller formats and decorative tiles.” 

Shelly Halbert, Director of Product Design for Marazzi, commented, “Marazzi’s new Zellige collection reflects the currently hot trend of ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ as embodied in Zellige’s handmade looks, imperfections, and Moroccan style while the undulated surface and variation in color tones accentuates the natural imperfections and hand-crafted look of Zellige.” Furthermore, she noted, “In general, designs are getting bolder. We are seeing a Moroccan influence in new products as well as global destinations like Portugal, Italy and Spain, as handmade tile continues to be a top trend.”

Additionally, Tressa Samdal, Florida Tile’s Director of Marketing and Product Management, remarked, “The wall space is an area where consumers and designers are starting to be tastefully expressive. They are no longer shying away from fashion colors, textures or unique shapes. We are seeing larger-format wall tiles and more elongated shapes. While hexagon and picket shapes are still very popular, we are now seeing some interesting trapezoids, circles and triangles.”

Gauged porcelain tile panels and large-formats

As mentioned previously, gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs (GPTP) are gaining popularity with the increased decorative capabilities, from traditional looks to stone and thicknesses for countertops. The large-format sizes – which are not necessarily new – are being used more and more with commercial applications driving the volume. However, this has found its way to the residential market with the 24” x 48” formats taking the lead. 

From a design standpoint, the marble look has risen to the top as it replicates the real marble with superior performance characteristics. Not to mention the 6mm panels allow designers to use this on walls more easily than a traditional marble slab.

A brand-new trend

BreakThru Backers by 3D Stone and Tile. 
New shapes like trapezoids, triangles and half hexes are on trend, such as American Olean’s NeoCrete.

While I like to feature trends that drive volume, I also mentioned the importance of having a brand-new trend. For this I turn to a small company in Salt Lake City: 3D Stone and Tile. Rod Katwyk, owner, operator, and NTCA member, has developed a patented technology called BreakThru Backers™ to create 3D tiles from any field tile you choose, which creates an endless opportunity for designers for feature walls, backsplashes and a vast array of other installations. Katwyk declared that focusing on this trend does not impact his current positioning and therefore does not alienate his key customers. “In the past the only alternative for creating true 3D stone and tile installation was purchasing expensive stone or tile that had been specially milled to create pre-cut wedges or pieces of alternating thicknesses,” he explained – a fact that drove installers like Rod out of their minds. But his special innovation enables a dynamic wall treatment of any material the customer desires.

According to Sean Cilona, Director of Product at Virginia Tile, “Importers search for new mosaic suppliers with the recent anti-dumping imposed upon China, but that is for the traditional mosaics. Many suppliers feature new shapes like triangles, trapezoids and half hexes; options like American Olean’s Neocrete 3D mosaic cube.”

Exteriors

And don’t ignore exteriors! The industry has seen an influx of porcelain 2cm pavers, yet the key is understanding who the customer is for this type of product. MSI is one of the leaders in exterior products and Emily Holle, MSI’s Trend/Design Director, explains, “Our new Arterra Porcelain Pavers bring the look of natural stone into the exterior paver market. High-definition glazed ink jet pavers offer all of the features of natural stone pavers, with the added benefits of porcelain including enduring the freeze-thaw cycles.” Likewise, MSI’s Dekora Porcelain Ledgers feature the same freeze-thaw benefits over natural stone, yet still emulate the beauty of the stone. Holle went on to say, “Our Dekora line gives you everything you love about ledger panels, but without any of the maintenance. Dekora features five different porcelain ledger panels; these panels come in a familiar 6” x 24” size to fit perfectly into your outdoor or indoor design.”

MSI’s Dekora Arterra pavers bring the look of natural stone to the paver market, in hard-wearing porcelain. 
MSI’s Dekora Arterra line also includes 6” x 24” ledger panels to fit into indoor or outdoor design. 

Wood looks

Crossville’s Story Teller, here in Serious, achieves a mirrored, light-and-dark woodgrain appearance.
Crossville’s Jazz Age in Duke, shows the nuances of timeworn waxing, scuffs, and undulations from foot traffic. 

Yes, woods are still in the backlash or maturity stage of trends, Terri Marion, Product Manager – Crossville, pointed out. “With over 50% of the world’s population now living and working in urban areas surrounded by steel, cement, artificial light, and recirculated air, we crave connection with nature,” she said. “Current tile trends answer the desire for sensory-rich environments that remind us of natural elements.” A perfect example is Crossville’s Story Teller that achieves a mirrored, light-and-dark woodgrain appearance.

In addition, Crossville’s Jazz Age lends itself to the traditional hardwood flooring that bears the nuances with timeworn grace. The high-low sheen of endless waxing, scuffs from chair legs, and subtle undulations from nightly foot traffic mark these floors with character and style. Now–in your newest designs, you can incorporate this authentic, aged hardwood patina.

Keep in mind there is a reason 90% plus of LVT sold in the U.S. are wood looks – those manufacturers haven’t developed the technology to create the subtle and complex looks we can achieve in ceramic. So, continue to sell the benefits of tile over LVT, since – like tile – the LVT “wood look” is in its trend maturity stage, yet tile can offer many more beautiful options.

Mix of mediums

Portobello America’s Ms Barcelona fuses materials like limestones, cements and basalts into a striking, minimalist surface. 

Many manufacturers have attempted and failed to accomplish the mix of different mediums; however, Portobello America’s Ms Barcelona was developed with the goal to fuse materials like limestones, cements and basalts. Michael Ward Portobello’s VP of sales points out, “Ms Barcelona creates a striking but minimalist surface that may use veins and elements of natural stones or cement textures with aggregates, in a balance that converges to something unique and synthetic.”

Quest, shown in Gray from Yurtbay, is available in both polished and matte finishes in the popular 12” x 24” format, plus 24” x 24” and 24” x 48.”

I would also note that marbles and concrete are still trends in the industry that will continue to “wow” the consumer and commercial specifiers. Most manufacturers feature a variety of options for both looks that continue to evolve with new generations of aesthetics. Just think of where we were 20 years ago when we were “selling” the feature of how many “flat screens” were used to manufacture our marble patterns.

Semih Susleyan USA General Manager for Turkish producer Yurtbay Seramik observed that, “Consumers tend towards sleeker stone looks – such as Carrara, Calacatta and Statuario looks – rather than busy marble looks. We see more people looking for rectangle wall and porcelain tiles in different (mainly small) sizes for backsplashes and shower walls, mainly in light colors.” In order to meet demand, Yurtbay Seramik increased its small size wall tile capacity in the last quarter of 2019. “We have also made a new investment to increase our polishing capacity, which will be up and running towards the end of the first quarter of 2020,” Susleyan said.

Yurtbay’s Ral 4” x 12” wall tiles in glossy and matte finish are on trend. 

Susleyan also noted the favorable effect of tariffs on Chinese tile for Turkish tile producers, which resulted in 48% increase in Turkish exports to the U.S. in 2019 compared to the previous year. “In 2018, the U.S. was the third largest market for Turkish tile manufacturers after Israel and Germany,” he said. “Thanks to increasing Chinese tariffs, U.S. became Turkey’s number one tile export market in 2019.”

Alp Er, of Ege Seramik, another leading Turkish tile producer, agreed. “At Ege, we benefited from this situation since most of our large customers transitioned many products from Chinese manufacturers to us.” Like Yurtbay, small format wall tile and polished porcelain were the two product areas where Ege had the most gain. “Those two were dominated by Chinese manufacturers for years because of the pricing and their factory set ups,” he said.

Our industry is far superior to other wall and floor covering options; we just need to let ceramic’s beauty and superior performance lead the way.

Updated woods and marble, industrial chic and color punctuate new products

Tile of Spain manufacturers traveled to Italy last fall to showcase their latest collections at Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings. As Europe’s number one ceramic production and export, Spain is a regular participant at the show. This year, over 100 Spanish ceramic manufacturers, unveiled their latest offerings in a preview for what’s to come in 2020.

Tile trends for 2019

Here we are, about to embark on another Coverings, the only United States trade show exclusive to ceramic tile and the showcase for the trends in our industry. We are all looking for the next new trend that will carry our industry into the future and continue to see ceramic gain share over other floor and wall coverings. We see other categories attempting to steal our thunder with terms like “waterproof” and “scratchproof,” where we want to say, “Hey – that’s not new! These have been characteristics of ceramic tile since its creation.” So, let’s talk about the tile trends for 2019 as we all converge on Orlando, Fla. to show who truly is the king of floor and wall coverings.

When looking at the industry, we immediately focus on the appearance of the product to announce what’s new, but in my quest to identify the next trend, I found we must look at a couple of key elements. Raj Shah, President of MSI Surfaces, commented, “We have to ask what it is the consumer wants from a performance standpoint. If you look at why other ‘trends’ have been created, it’s not always the decorative aspect. For instance, observe the transition from marble to quartz or laminate to luxury vinyl tile. These trends were driven by easy care and maintenance, or ease of installation.” 

We all are seeking the answer to an easy installation, so it makes you wonder who will be the first to bring “click ceramic tile” that solves our installation costs compared to other floor coverings. Then again, tile is a different animal than carpet or plastic floors – less forgiving and with a much longer life. Though speed is often a factor in our modern world, retaining craftsmanship and performance that result from installation by qualified installers is also a key consideration. Keep this in mind as you’re searching vendor booths at the show to ensure you are addressing your customers’ true requirements.

With the performance trend addressed, let’s turn our attention to the visual aspect, which ceramic tile leads the floor and wall coverings category hands down. 

Technology

While we have seen other categories strive to mimic ceramic tile to gain share, we continue to develop new technologies to enhance the visual appeal, and also widen the application scope of ceramic tile. Ink jet continues to evolve to allow manufacturers to create visuals that are more realistic than ever. We have truly started to understand the opportunities that gauged porcelain tiles, panels and slabs offer for increased applications on counter tops, walls, showers and other installations with this new technology. In addition, we will see additional 2cm pavers targeted at exterior applications, which will continue to grow with a new focus on exteriors from tile distributors.

The visuals 

It is critical that we continue to showcase the most desired visuals for our markets while ensuring we keep our clients engaged with what is new and trending.

Wood

Wood is obviously here to stay and is estimated to be about 30% of our industry’s sales; manufacturers continue to replicate new wood looks whether they be a new species or a weathered look from antiquated buildings. 

Gauged porcelain tiles, panels and slabs 

This has been a game changer in our industry and will continue to grow with the beautiful replications of various stones. They also offer marble looks with the ease of maintenance consumers, designers and architects strive for. Daltile’s Panoramic Porcelain collection is an example that offers stunning visuals and seamless design with no boundaries.

Daltile’s Panoramic Porcelain

Marble looks

With the continued evolution of ink jet, we continue to see marble looks as one of the most sought-after visuals with ceramic tile. As stated earlier, the ease of maintaining a beautiful marble is now achievable and will only continue to evolve.

Encaustic looks

While this has been viewed as a niche product, you will see a wide range of variations at Coverings, like Daltile’s Quartetto (pictured), which features a handmade-look encaustic tile in an 8” x 8” porcelain. It offers eight selections of decorative patterns in both warm and cool palettes, giving you a wide range of design freedom.

Daltile’s Quartetto

Fabric looks

Fabrics are continuing to come into the mix as manufacturers find the balance of what both the residential and commercial client is looking for.

Cement looks

Cement looks – also known as the industrial look – are still a large part of our industry’s sales, and manufacturers will showcase the next generation of these. While a large portion of the sales has been commercial, we see consumers seeking the more modern or contemporary look that the cement look caters to. Furthermore, ceramic tile’s performance and maintenance is far superior to stained concrete.

Metallic looks

The new iteration of metallics features a more muted appearance that lends itself to a wider range of applications. MSI’s Oxide (pictured) is a good example that offers three colors each with a unique distressed metallic-look finish for lasting visual impact. This appeals to both the edgy industrial look and one that’s more conventional.

MSI’s Oxide

Wall tiles

While floor tiles are increasingly used on walls, many distributors have increased their selection of wall tile beyond the traditional subway tile into larger rectangular sizes and even 12”x24”. Traditionally we have seen the neutral colors dominate this category; however, as more manufacturers enter this arena, we will see more design aspects like MSI’s Urbano collection (pictured) that features a contemporary detail in six colors as well as 3D patterns to allow a more chic look. Daltile’s Color Wheel wall program is a stunning collection of colors and formats in a program that is straightforward, easy to understand and easy to work with. This is key as we continue to increase our share of wall applications.

Also, Daltile’s Geometric Fusion (pictured) offers nine patterns designed to be installed randomly, which creates an intentional deconstructed geometric aesthetic. Each tile features a decorative blend of metallic, matte and glossy finishes enhanced by EverLux™ Sync technology, which utilizes dry glazes with digital synchronization and creates a high-definition realism that is new to the tile industry.

Daltile’s Geometric Fusion

Rustic/stone

While some markets in the US have moved beyond rustic stone looks, we still have many users that seek this style without the maintenance of natural stone. Manufacturers will display new generations of these designs to enhance the installation. 

Colors: what will we see?

Pantone announced the 2019 color of the year as Living CoralThe traditional colors will continue to dominate our market since we are a “neutral” category; however, as users get “braver” we see more colors being used in tile installations. While Pantone announced the 2019 color of the year as Living Coral, we will not see this impact our core colors, but it’s important to offer more color in our offerings. 

Summary

Keep in mind these checklist items as you walk the show:

What are my customers’ true desires from a performance standpoint?

Do I have the core looks addressed at various price points?

a. Wood

b. Gauged porcelain tile, slabs/
panels

c. Marble

d. Encaustic 

e. Fabric

f. Cement

g. Metallic

h. Wall tiles, with an emphasis on the contemporary design

i. Rustic/stone

j. Colors – be sure to infuse this into your offering

Stone Products – TRENDS 2018

Ann Sacks

Ann Sacks by the Kohler Co. unveiled Terrazzo Renata, a new collection that brings the beauty of Old Italy terrazzo into the homes of today. Terrazzo Renata includes marbles from Tuscany’s Carrara quarries, which the Italian government recently approved for limited usage, with a 28% pre-consumer recycled content, making it an ecologically sound choice, which can contribute to LEED v4 certification. www.us.kohler.com

Arizona Tile

Opal White Satin is quarried from a bedrock quarry about 135 miles from Hanoi, Vietnam. This white marble has a consistent structure and the slab sizes are large. Because this is a very pure calcite it can be back lit like onyx. Opal White has an elegant, clean look that lends itself to the modern contemporary kitchen. www.arizonatile.com

Artistic Tile

With a design that alludes to the ancient citadel of Athens, Acropolis is a stepped 2”x12” decorative dimensional tile carved from one of Greece’s most elegant stones-peerless crystalline-white Thassos. Finished with a clean polish, Acropolis’ sparkling white tiered surface creates a geometric pattern in a field or when used as an accent. www.artistictile.com

Bedrosians
Booth #1304

Offering the luxurious look of marble and the practical advantages of granite, quartzite (White Macaubas 3cm Quartzite shown) has gained increased popularity for homeowners and interior designers. Its stylish appearance combined with unsurpassed durability and resistance to wear-and-tear make it suitable for all kinds of surfaces – from outdoor paving and feature walls to kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities. www.bedrosians.com

Cosentino

Cosentino’s latest collaboration with with architect/designer Daniel Germani draws inspiration from Dekton Trilium. Germani envisioned three new designs that capture the organic texture of weather-worn stone and aged metals. Relaxed and modern with a rough aesthetic, the Dekton Industrial Collection can be installed indoors and out. It also embraces Cosentino’s commitment to sustainability: 80% of the content used to make Trilium and Radium is post-production material from the Dekton manufacturing process. Orix mimics the industrial appearance of eroded cement with a multi-tonal color palette of greys, blues and greens. Nilium (shown) blends hues of silver and white, conveying the elegance and strength of metal. Radium resembles acid-washed steel, juxtaposing earth tones against cold blue/green hues. Trilium, the first of the collection, captures the visual texture and color variation of aged and oxidized stainless steel.
www.cosentino.com

Daltile

Stone A’ La Mod is a collection of unique stone mosaics that will set your design apart with the luxury of popular species like bluestone and marble in exotic shapes and patterns, both flat and three-dimensional. Let your wall tile set the standard for excellent design. www.daltile.com 

Emser

Building on the popular Metro line, Metro Blue expands the marble and limestone series to include three-dimensional split face and chiseled textures, as well as a linear pattern. Available in various shapes and sizes, Metro Blue celebrates a neutral, rustic aesthetic ideal for walls and surfaces. www.emser.com

Levantina

Caliza Capri white sandstone exhibits a variety of whites evoking the bright Mediterranean light. This white sandstone creates an elegant and striking look. White sandstone is perfect for creating a noble appearance, which is why so many façades display these radiant and immaculate stones. It is ideal for exteriors, pool surrounds and outdoor staircases thanks to their special texture. These natural stones stand out for their porosity, which gives them non-slip properties. Their chromatic variety also allows them to adapt to very different projects. www.levantina.com

Neolith

Influenced by early-Renaissance Venetian architecture, Neolith introduces its new sintered stone décor: Retrostone (Fusion collection). The bold composition is a mosaic of marble and granite chips set in concrete stone. Its earthy elegance produces a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic effect, based on terrazzo that is ideal for flooring, countertops, walls and more. Retrostone is 100% natural, composed of raw materials – clays, feldspar, silica and natural mineral oxides – and is recyclable, durable and low maintenance.
www.neolith.com

Tile Products – TRENDS 2018

American Olean
Booth #2817

Offering an authentic interpretation of time-worn and weathered concrete factory floors, Union by American Olean captures the uniqueness of the industrial concrete chic trend in a beautiful way. The modern mosaics and five tone-on-tone color options available in large-format sizes bring contemporary artistry to any space for the ultimate urban industrial look. www.americanolean.com

Crossville
Booth #7654

The new Java Joint porcelain tile collection reflects the trend toward the warming of neutrals, as well as the popularity of bold, linear striations. The line’s five hues are an arsenal of on-point colors, punctuated with the movement of luxe striations. The line comes in a 12” x 24” field tile, 2” x 2” mosaics, and a full trim package, and is suited for walls and floors in commercial and residential applications.
www.crossvilleinc.com 

Daltile

Reinvent the acclaimed look of mid-century modern design with RetroSpace™. A modern interpretation of a nostalgic aesthetic, this translucent-glazed wall tile beautifully reflects light in your space. A subtle undulated surface is the foundation of this wall tile, and is available in soft green and blue hues and neutral colors. www.daltile.com

Emser Tile

Embodying the latest trends in tile including large-format dimensional wall tile and wood-look porcelain planks are Motif and Porch. With Motif, a delicate lace overlay defines this glazed ceramic subway tile collection. Featuring a selection of neutrals, the collection’s understated texture and glossy finish combine to create a unique aesthetic. Porch (shown, in Coffee) features subtle wood grain movement with caramel- and coffee-inspired tones and provides color variation on interior and exterior floors, walls, and fireplace façades. An understated satin finish completes the glazed porcelain tile for visual depth.
www.emser.com

Florida Tile
Booth #7620

Responding to the on-trend demand for the cement look, Florida Tile NY2LA HDP features compelling characteristics of cement and plaster fused into a porcelain representation of urban sophistication.
www.floridatile.com

Interceramic

Vintage meets modern in Interceramic’s Emma, a glazed ceramic wall tile echoing the handmade wall tile of years past. Emma offers an undulating texture with elegant gloss finish, for a sophisticated high-design look. This USA-made ceramic tile incorporates modern accent colors in blues and greens that can transition from Cosmopolitan to Country French. www.interceramic.com

Lunada Bay
Booth # 8062

Origami Field is a collection of glass field tiles that reflects the iconic Japanese art of geometric paper folding. Featuring nine opalescent colors and three-dimensional shapes, the distinctive glass tile designs play with light and shadow. Origami Field comes in six shapes – Moxie (shown), Verve, Trapeze, Lacuna, Elation and Ambit – each with a unique pattern that emerges both visually and dimensionally. Origami Field is an extension of Lunada Bay Tile’s Origami line, which also includes mosaic tiles in four patterns and eight colors.
www.LunadaBayTile.com

Marazzi
Booth #2817

Marazzi’s D_Segni™ offers a vast assortment of encaustic-look tiles that bring energy to any room.
D_Segni’s decorative designs range from geometrical, vintage and metropolitan patterns that can be used individually or mixed-and-matched for personalized designs, providing a bohemian romance feel. Seven coordinating solid colors are also available to complete the look.
www.marazziusa.com

Modomo: The Art of Italian Tile
Booth #3671

Organza conveys a contemporary fabric/linen interpretation. Three surface options available – natural, semi-polished/lappato, and outdoor/anti-skid – with four complementary field sizes, from wall to large- format floors – 2” x 2”, 4” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 24” x 24”, and 24” x 48”– to accommodate any environment. All sizes are color-body and rectified.
www.modomotiles.com 

Tile Trends for 2018

By Joe Lundren, Joseph Lundgren Consulting

As we prepare for Coverings in Atlanta, be assured that we will see a large turnout of buyers since the economy is strong and the show will be full of factories from around the globe showing their newest products and innovations for 2018 and beyond. 

The big question is “What are the trends and how can I be at the forefront to capitalize on them?” Equally important is “How does one keep inventory of the right products on hand – and devote a portion of that inventory to ‘edgy or trending looks’ to be at the leading edge of the competition?” 

First, let’s look at what’s selling and how it may evolve into newer generations of that style. Remember, a trend is a pattern of gradual change that we see in the industry and not a “one-hit wonder” that fills a niche and is not a broad selling category. We have seen those come and go in our industry, but this article focuses on solid trends. 

Technology

Ink jet has changed the industry and has taken us to a level of design no one could have imagined, and it alone has allowed us to continue to grow with the development of other floor coverings. In addition, we see the large panels/slabs being promoted by manufacturers and distributors alike. Finally, we see the U.S. market being more accustomed to larger sizes from around the world, including 24″ x 24″ and 24″ x 48″. 

When we discuss technology, we cannot forgo the next step of some of these new products, which is how they are installed. We are fortunate to have industry associations and leaders such as Bart Bettiga (Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association), Eric Astrachan (Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America), and Scott Carothers (Training Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation) that ensure our industry is focused on quality installation with certification programs such as the Certified Tile Installer (CTI)and Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). The CTI credential certifies installers in basic installation knowledge and skills, and ACT certifies installers in seven specific areas: in setting large-format porcelain tile and subfloor preparation, mud walls and floors, showers and membranes, grouts and thin porcelain tile.

Wood

Rest assured, one of the categories in which we will see new introductions is wood. Wood has become a category on its own with some distributors saying wood looks account for 30%-40% of their tile sales. The question is, how many wood looks do you need to ensure you have the right mix and you limit the cannibalization? We have seen multiple new generations of wood looks that target both the residential and commercial market. Ink jet technology has allowed us to emulate the look of real wood and we have the ability to press or cut plank sizes that we see in real wood. In addition, users love the differentiating factor that comes with tile, which is durability and ease of maintenance.

Porcelain slabs/panels 

A trend that we see continuously evolving is the gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP) and slabs. These products are manufactured differently from traditional dust-pressed tile with technology like Lamina or Continua machinery. We have seen the thickness gauge of the products range from as thin as a 3mm to as thick as 30mm, the latter of which allows it to be used on countertops and compete with the traditional stone and quartz market. The beauty of the technology is that it allows you to get a wide variation in the graphic and retain the virtues of porcelain. I believe as we train installers and our specifiers become more acquainted with it, we will see this material replace a portion of the countertop market as well as traditional wall coverings as consumers and designers look to differentiate their projects.

Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a product we traditionally view as a competing flooring product to the tile industry, however, with the emergence of ink jet, manufacturers can now produce porcelain tile with the majestic look of real poured terrazzo. Porcelain terrazzo tile brings the benefits of porcelain with the visual of the real mixed product modeling embedded marble, granite, quartz or glass chips.

Marble looks

Wow, this is one of my favorite products with the advances we see in ink jet technology! Again, the virtues of porcelain combine with the beauty of marble curated from around the world. In addition, porcelain provides the ability to perfect a finish from matte to honed and a perfect polish. Tile now rivals the beauty of real stones’ intricate veining and realistic color palettes.

Encaustic cement tiles

Manufacturers have reproduced traditional hand-made encaustic cement tiles, which evolved in the 13th century. The look allows you to romance a space with designs that vary from classic, geometric, and metropolitan patterns that can be used individually, or mixed.

Cement Looks

Cement looks aren’t new, but they continue to trend higher with each new generation of product, from the conventional concrete to refined visuals. Consumers and designers love the industrial look, and cement visuals lends themselves to the growing design trend of more modern or contemporary looks. Manufacturers have and will continue to evolve this style with new textures, formats and colors replicating the stained, stamped, and polished effects to create a much more classy and enduring floor. 

Glass

Glass is here to stay and continues to mature, utilizing the ever-popular ink jet technology. In addition, we will see new sizes and shapes (manufactured via casting, pressing and slumping) with colors that add translucency and a shimmer to an installation. We see glass as what makes a room pop and catches the eye of everyone who enters it.

Fabric Looks

Fabric in tile? Yes, we have seen some manufacturers take it to the extreme of emulating tartan patterns while others focus on simple woven patterns. This allows us to displace the growth of carpet tiles in lieu of a porcelain tile that will have the benefits of easy maintenance and endurance of porcelain. 

 

Wall Tiles

Specifically, you’ll see rectangular looks that have evolved from the traditional subway tiles into larger sizes including 3″ and 4″ x 12″ tiles and even larger, and patterned tiles (domed, beveled, arched, and sculptural) that allow the usual monochromatic look to move into the next generation with endless design possibilities. Furthermore, larger wall tiles including 12″ x 24″ sizes are becoming more commonplace.

Stone

The rustic stone look still is here to stay as consumers love the appeal of natural stone, but not the maintenance and cost that accompany it. Manufacturers endlessly pursue new designs as we see the capability to create a tile with wide-ranging graphics has flourished, and has allowed us to see visuals emulating the real stone graphics and colors.

 

Colors, what will we see?

Yes, white, beige and grey – our industry neutrals will continue to be the “go to colors,” with a palette of warming tones, moody dark tones and warm creams. Some refer to neutral colors as any hue that doesn’t compete with other colors, yet ceramic tile typically involves a large space, therefore giving the eye the ability to flow from one point to the next without the distraction of a singular color. Furthermore, regardless of your design style, there is a place for neutral colors in your décor. 

Additionally, when feature colors are used in the room it enhances the “pop” more when amidst neutrals. With the introduction of additional shapes and textures in the tile, industry neutral colors benefit these without becoming an eyesore. 

To reach Joe, phone 214-641-7773 or visit josephlundgrenconsulting.com.

Tile Trends – TRENDS 2016

 

Following is a sampling of trending tile products. Booth numbers for companies exhibiting at Coverings are included.

American Olean

A modern take on cement, American Olean’s Theoretical ColorBody porcelain tile features a light graphic variation created through the company’s patented Reveal Imaging technology that gives depth and visual richness to the minimalist- style tile. Ideal for commercial or residential installation, Theoretical can be used to achieve a modern urban environment, which is particularly on trend for 2016. Available in 10 colors, with an array of options to customize the space. Available in June 2016. www.americanolean.com

Ann Sacks

Ann Sacks introduces three gorgeous collections from the internationally known designer Kelly Wearstler. Her eponymous global luxury lifestyle brand is renowned for its distinctive designs and sophisticated soulful vibe pioneered by the celebrated interior designer. Wearstler has a signature style that juxtaposes raw with refined, melds color, sophistication and spirited spontaneity, and seamlessly blends diverse periods of furniture under one roof. Drawing upon Wearstler’s affinity for repetition and relaxed, painted geometric patterns, Maven (shown) by Kelly Wearstler for ANN SACKS features the designer’s signature graphic striations and black and white motifs in embossed, textural designs that are at once spirited and sophisticated. Also in the collection are the stone mosaic Liaison, and the textural Tableau. www.annsacks.com

Arizona Tile

Arizona Tile’s Just Design Program offers a collection of modern and traditional patterns and textures. It allows the company’s clients to customize one of its unique designs by choosing their own materials from Arizona Tile’s extensive selection of products. Designs can be created by combining porcelain, stone and glass or mirror. Shown is the Ribbons Feature Wall made using the Arizona Tile’s Calacatta Gold marble with Antique Mirror accents in silver. www.arizonatile.com

Artobrick

The arabesque shape continues to be a winner at Artobrick, and the classic subway tile rectangle in ceramic is a company mainstay. Arto takes a fresh approach to the brick shape with a grey hue and concrete aesthetic for interiors. Shown is the Artillo Series in Early Grey 2” x 8” tile. www.artobrick.com

Bedrosians

Both a trend and a tradition, the herringbone pattern adds a dramatically wonderful aesthetic appeal that won’t go out of style. Inspired by Japanese ceramics, the 90 degree Collection is an elegant herringbone mosaic that portrays 90-degree angles collectively throughout the panel. Offered in six luscious colors, the collection is offered in 1/2”x 2” mosaic on a 11”x 12-1/4” sheet. www.bedrosians.com

Bon Ton Designs
Booth # 8012

Arbor brings the natural look of wood with the versatility of tile in a unique cross-cut wood aesthetic to meet the Rustic Urban trend. Available in 40 glaze options, Arbor is perfect for fireplace surrounds, wood-burning stoves and commercial applications. www.bontondesigns.com

Crossville
Booth #7306

The Oceanaire porcelain tile collection captures the appearance of sea- and sand-swept natural stone. Multidirectional striations are interpreted in five gradient color options and a range of versatile size options – including large formats and a mosaic option, for a true beachside look and feel. Oceanaire’s color options offer an earthen palette that ranges from lighter to darker tones, each in both unpolished and honed finishes, which can be mixed and matched within the installation. Sizes include 24” x 24”, 12” x 24”, 18” x 36”, and 6” x 36,”as well as a 4”x24” bullnose and 2” x 6” mesh-backed mosaics. Crossville’s Get Planked sizes may also be requested. Oceanaire is Green Squared Certified®, with a minimum of 4% recycled content. Oceanaire is suitable for commercial and residential interior floors, walls, countertops, and exterior walls in both residential and commercial applications. www.crossvilleinc.com

Daltile

The warmth and timeless look of hardwood can flow through the entire home to the outdoors, with Saddle Brook XT glazed porcelain tile. An authentic hardwood visual created by Reveal Imaging™ technology is combined with four natural wood tones to give a realistic look on a durable, scratch-resistant surface. The popular plank size features coordinating trim. StepWise™ technology provides superior slip resistance while being exceptionally easy to clean. Saddle Brook XT provides a dynamic coefficient of friction (DCoF) that is among the highest in the market, allows for seamless installation of wood-look tile from the indoors to outdoors and is ideal for pool surrounds and areas where decking might be an alternative. www.daltile.com

East Coast Tile

The Residence collection is a unique Color-Body Italian porcelain that replicates a modern blend of textured linen on washed cement. The linen look is enhanced by subtle tone shading in four colors (Ash, Beige, Brown and Black), available in a natural finish or a semi-polished lappato. Residence comes in two rectangular formats, 12 x 24” and 8 x 48”, along with 2 x 2” mesh-mounted mosaics and trim. www.eastcoasttile.com

Ege Seramik
Booth # 3807

Jupiter is a new wall tile from Ege Seramik. The Turkish tile producer offers Jupiter in a 10” x 16” wall tile and glazed porcelain field tiles in 13” x 13”, 18 x 18” and 12” x 24” formats. Jupiter offers a complete package, with 2” x 2” mosaics, wall and floor trim and two different insert and listello options. The slightly textured surface and slightly chiseled edge comes in a matte finish in Grey, Ivory and Taupe hues. www.egeseramik-usa.com

Florida Tile
Booth # 7333

Inspired by planks found in an abandoned factory floor in Northern Italy, CellarHDP perfectly captures the rich character of vintage boards, from its timeworn surface texture to its variety of color tones. Rooted in history, these planks show the patina of heavy use by people, machinery, chemicals, and water for a unique rustic yet modern appearance. CellarHDP is as well suited for an industrial chic loft as it is for a farm to table restaurant. It features a natural palette of bleached greys, aged charcoal, rich mocha or warm honey brown, that meld with forged steel, aluminum and exposed brick, as well as hand-hewn beams. Available in 8” x 48” format planks, a generous herringbone mosaic and a modern stack mosaic, CellarHDP combines the look of reclaimed wood using advanced HDP – High Definition Porcelain® printing technology with the technical performance of porcelain. CellarHDP is appropriate for all interior residential and commercial applications. It’s entirely made in the USA of 40% pre-consumer recycled content, meets the DCOF AcuTest requirements to be installed in wet areas and is GREENGUARD® and Porcelain Tile certified. www.floridatile.com

Florim USA
Booth # 1637

Wood Tobacco is a durable new alternative to pavers; Florim USA’s outdoor tile can be used in a  variety of applications. These 24” x 24” 2 cm thick porcelain stoneware slabs are created by atomizing high quality clays, quartzes and metal oxides pressed at 400kg/cm2, and then slowly firing them in a 2,192 °F kiln. These tiles are frost-resistant, anti-slip, removable, easy to install and clean. www.florimusa.com

Marazzi
Booth #1201

Urban District is an eclectic blend of products that complement an industrial design style. The collection is influenced by elements such as brick, metal, concrete and wood that are found in the raw materials of buildings in the warehouse district. Urban District is available in three styles, BRX (brick-look – pictured here), STX (wood-look) and HEX (hexagon-shaped cotto). Urban District is available in a variety of colors and is suitable for floor or wall installations. It is available end of May 2016. www.marazziusa.com

Neolith/TheSize

New to the Neolith Timber Collection, TheSize introduces its first wood finish, La Bohème. La Bohème is offered in two versions, La Bohème B01 and La Bohème B02, both ideal for countertop applications and kitchen islands. Inspired by the trunk of the Lebanese Cedar tree, this new design stands out from the collection with its bold grain and raw wooden color. When combined with marble, stone or steel, it gives a modern and warm look with a touch of romanticism. www.neolith.com

The Tile Shop

Highly-dimensional “3-D” tiles are becoming very popular with homeowners and designers alike. A slight “fume” glazing technique creates even more depth and rich shadows while preserving a clean, modern look. Shown here is The Tile Shop’s Nova Hex Graphite (615265), also available in White (Bianco 615267) and Light Grey (Smoke 615266). www.tileshop.com

Trend Group

Murrine is a new collection of pictorial composition tiles born from the interpretation of the historic Venetian murrine designs, made of rods of colored glass. These precious and unique works of art are derived from real blowups of murrine designs, converted into artistic mosaics in order to create new decorative and stylish options, specifically designed for contemporary settings. www.trend-group.com

Walker Zanger
Booth #4851

Kaza is a brand new concrete tile collection incorporating tactile 3-D elements and textures into each design, transcending the accent wall to create a bold statement wall. Kaza redefines concrete with a modern sensibility. Born from a collaboration of Kaza, a European tile studio and Walker Zanger, the collection is comprised of both stock products and bespoke items, making it possible to find the right design/color for any application. The designs in Kaza span the stylistic spectrum, from the angular geometry of Edgy (pictured) to the soft curves of Lantern. Walker Zanger is the exclusive distributor of Kaza in the U.S. www.walkerzanger.com