Industry Insights
November 1st, 2004

November-December 2004

Call for Entries: Ceramic Tiles of Italy

The Italian ceramic tile industry announces the 12th annual Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. This awards program, sponsored by Assopiastrelle, the Association of Italian Ceramic Tile Manufacturers, and the ITC, recognizes design excellence in projects that feature Italian ceramic tile. North American architects and interior designers are invited to submit residential, commercial, or institutional projects.

A jury of design professionals will judge projects on their creative attributes as well as how well the tiles meet their functional and technical requirements. Submissions from three categories: residential; institutional; and commercial, may be entered for consideration. Entries will be judged on overall design, innovative use of tile, tile design, quality of installation and degree that the tile enhanced the setting.

Winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $5,000, and a trip to Coverings May 3-5, 2005. Winners will also be eligible for a trip to CERSAIE 2005, to be held in Bologna, Italy. Projects can be domestic or international, and new construction or renovations, and must have been completed between January, 2000 and January, 2005.

Completed submissions must be received no later than January 30, 2005. For more information and an application, visit:, or contact Novita Communications at

Q.E.P. acquires Tuplex

Q.E.P. Co., Inc. has announced that it has acquired substantially all the assets of Tuplex® Corporation of Naperville, Illinois. Tuplex manufactures and distributes HarmonyTM and Tuplex® brands of underlayment for use under all laminate and engineered hardwood floating floors. The HarmonyTM product provides a moisture barrier, increases comfort underfoot, and reduces the noise associated with floating floors. Sales for Tuplex during its latest fiscal year were approximately $1.4 million. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Lewis Gould, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented that this acquisition increases the product offerings Q.E.P. can provide to worldwide distribution and home center customers.

Euro-Tile appoints Gibson National Marketing And Sales Rep

Sherri Gibson, an Eau Claire, Wisconsin native, was recently appointed as the Euro-Tile National Marketing and Sales Representative. “It’s great to be on board with such a revolutionary company,” said Gibson. “Euro-Tile’s extensive line of Villi®glas glass tile is unique and essential in an industry constantly searching for the latest design innovation. As the firm’s National Marketing and Sales Rep, I plan to expand our client base while also servicing existing customers.” Gibson currently holds an undergrad degree in Marketing Education, Business Administration and a Master’s in Training and Human Resource Development. After teaching marketing and business for three years, Gibson is ready to put her extensive knowledge of marketing into action. ( )

Father-Son Team From Custom Building Products Paddles For Hope In 29th Annual Catalina Contest

John “Mac” McMullen, an executive with Custom Building Products of Seal Beach, California, teamed with his 25-year-old son Jonathan, who also works for the company, in the oldest race in the sport of paddleboarding, the Catalina Classic, a 32-mile course from the island to Manhattan Beach on Sunday, August 29. Their goal was to raise $15,000 for the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California. “Father and son teams in this sport are rare. We have raced together in three US Championships, the 2002 International Championships held in Australia, and the 2002 Catalina Classic. To my knowledge we are only the second father-son team to compete together in the entire 29-year history of the Catalina Classic.” McMullen first got involved with City of Hope 16 years ago, through Custom Building Products in Seal Beach, California, when he began leading the company’s fundraising program for the organization. The company is part of the hardware/home improvement industry sector of City of Hope’s fundraising program—this sector is a large donor to City of Hope and over the years has raised millions of dollars for cancer research.


November-December 2004

Custom Blend Tool

Hakatai Enterprise’s new online Custom Blend Tool provides customers with the ability to create, price and order their own unique, custom blend online. “From architects and designers to builders and homeowners, anyone can experiment with this creative Custom Blend Tool by simply going online to Hakatai’s newly redesigned website,, and clicking on the ‘custom blend tool’ link,” says Ann-Britt Malden, Creative Marketing Director for Hakatai. Users choose up to 10 colors from the Carter Glass Mosaic ¾” palette of 51 colors. After each color has been dragged and dropped into the designated slots, the customer chooses the percentages of each color to be blended and clicks the ‘remix blend’ button. The computer then randomly mixes the custom color choices and instantaneously the newly created blend is displayed as a graphic on the screen. The user can click the ‘remix blend’ button as many times as desired to change the percentage mix, choose new colors or to see the same blend in other random variations. The Custom Blend Tool also gives the customer the option of choosing their own sample grout color. “Taking advantage of this option is quite important,” says Malden. “Creating a glass mosaic tile blend with various shades between the tiles in this early design stage can really help the customer visualize what the end result will look like.” Hakatai does not sell grout or setting material but does offer a list of grout manufacturers. After the custom blend colors and percentages have been finalized, the system provides a price and shipping quotes. Once the order is complete, a Hakatai representative confirms the order and gets the custom blend project started! Each custom blend sheet is mounted with clear film on the face of the tile. With any custom blend, there is a 3-5 week production lead time from the point of Hakatai receiving the 50% deposit. This does not include shipping time. (

New from NATTCO®

North American Tile Tool Company (NATTCO®) is presenting its Adjustable Tile Nippers—quality nippers that are “easy on the hands.” The new NATTCO Adjustable Tile Nippers feature a special cushioned depth stop which could help prevent hand and wrist injury associated with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. The Adjustable Tile Nipper introduces a patented spring device located between the nipper handles to adjust cushioned depth, making them more comfortable to use. Professional tile setters have said ordinary tile nippers cause hand fatigue due to the hard impact at the time the tile is nipped. “A tile installer could use the new Adjustable tile nippers for longer periods of time, reducing discomfort while getting the job done quicker and more efficiently,” said Brad Kettle Operations Manager of NATTCO. The company is also presenting the Easy-Pull™ Tile Spacers, complete with extended spacer arms for easy removal. NATTCO has engineered and manufactured durability in these soft tile spacers, making them perfect for repeated use. NATTCO’s Easy-Pull™ Tile Spacers are available in a 1/16″ size/200 per bag, 1/8″ size/150 per bag, 3/16″ size/150 per bag and ¼” size/150 per bag. These spacers fit with any tile size. With a spacer arm measuring the same width as the actual spacers, NATTCO’s Easy-Pull™ Tile Spacers give installers the option of using the arm for hard to reach areas. In addition, the spacer arm is angled to not interfere with checking the level of the wall tile—no need for needle nose pliers or spacer removal tools. These spacers can be removed from wall and floor tiles quickly without any chance of damaging the tile. (

Heated Floors Easier

Nuheat has unveiled its newly designed programmable floor sensing thermostat. Available for both of its 110-volt and 220-volt electric radiant mats, the Energy Star qualified programmable thermostat offers a homeowner the best control for adjusting their floor-temperature to fully maximize on energy saving potential. Offering sleek styling and an innovative backlit display, it comes complete with a built-in GFCI (safety device), allowing one to program the specific days and times for the system to be turned on and off. The control boasts one-touch “comfort” and “economic” settings. “One of the smartest and simplest ways to combat heating costs is by installing and using a programmable thermostat,” said John Rose, Nuheat president. With more than 60 different standard sizes, the heating mats are designed to fit the majority of rooms, while custom mats can be made to fit a room with curves or angles. The heating mats are installed directly between the floor and subfloor and require the same bonding materials that are used to lay tile floors—no extra supplies are needed. A professional tile installer bonds Nuheat to the subfloor with thinset before laying tile. A certified electrician then connects the Nuheat system to a dedicated circuit in the panel box. Nuheated floors are the ultimate affordable luxury; installing Nuheat in a standard 3 X 7 bathroom adds roughly $500 to construction costs. (

Introducing nybacker

Resource Composites has introduced nybacker, a revolutionary composite backerboard for hard surface applications like ceramic tile, VCT, and wood flooring. It is made of 100-percent recycled materials and is the performance grade alternative to cement and gypsum-based backerboard. Made using a patented manufacturing process, recycled nylon carpet and plastic materials are combined to produce a product that is lighter in weight and stronger than other types of underlayment. Among its many features, nybacker has a rough face design that increases adhesion strength, will not tear or break down when replacing damaged tiles, is mold resistant, contains no silica dust, is 37-percent lighter than cement-based backerboard, acts as a water and vapor barrier, resists jobsite damage, is made from recycled materials and offers a 50-year warranty. (

Gruppo Ceramiche Saicis S.p.A.

Gruppo Ceramiche Saicis S.p.A., one of Italy’s top producers of through-body porcelain tiles, is presenting its Legnass tile series as part of the state-of-the-art HI-TECH Gres Collection. Legnass, mirroring the simple, natural exquisiteness of hardwood flooring, features a mix of carefully selected minerals pressed into porcelain tile with an innovative molding technique that creates a wood appearance. The series is available in hues of Bruno Moresco (brown), Giallo Dorato (golden yellow), Verde Laguna (green), Azzurro Canaletto (pale blue) and Rosa Antico (antique rose). Tile sizes include: 12- by18-inches, 6- by 18-inches, and 4- by 18-inches. Mosaics on 12- by 12-inch sheets, 6- by 6-inch corner pieces and 6- by 12-inch listellos are also offered with Legnass. Saicis Legnass series is suitable for heavy traffic areas such as hotel lobbies and restaurants in addition to exterior applications. The tile can withstand harsh outdoor temperatures. (877-675-3772)

Shampoo & Soap Caddy

The Shampoo & Soap Caddy Shelf from Caddy Company, Inc. is made from DuPont™ Corian®, a product that is known for it’s lasting beauty and durability. It is available in 3 basic colors and 21 designer colors. The Shampoo & Soap Caddy Shelf is designed with a soap dish on both sides, making the Caddy Shelf versatile for placement in any corner. The notch in the soap dish holds a scrubby which helps eliminate the buildup of soap scum on your wall. Install the Shampoo & Soap Caddy Shelf in new or existing tile installations. The Shampoo & Soap Caddy Shelf complements bathroom tile and provides extra storage space for shampoo and soap. (

Huron Porcelain Tile from Laufen

Laufen has introduced the Huron series of floor, wall and countertop tiles ideal for residential and commercial use. Huron is a fully glazed porcelain tile with the look of weathered stone. The moderate shade variation allows for a distinctive look to any room. Available in Onyx, Sage and Sand in 16 by 16-inch sizes, as well as 13-¼ by 13-¼-inch and 13-¼- by 26-½-inch sizes. A matching 3 by 13-½-inch bullnose adds a practical finishing touch to any room. Huron is appropriate for application in entryways, hallways, walkways and public areas. The product has a coefficient of friction higher than 0.65 and is commercially rated for both indoor and outdoor heavy traffic areas. Architects and builders also prefer the tile for its durability, stain resistance and ease of maintenance. (

Stone Evolution

Laufen tile has introduced a new, innovative line of double-pressed porcelain products called Stone Evolution. The collection uses state-of-the-art technology to reproduce the look of natural stone. With Stone Evolution the tile goes through a press, is decoarated and then sent through another press before entering the kiln. The double-press produces the effect of natural stone and seals the porcelain making it less porous and more durable. The product has a coefficient of friction/wet higher than 0.60 and is commercially rated for both indoor and outdoor heavy traffic areas. Stone Evolution is available in two series Solaris (pearl, gold or ivory) and Jupiter (dusk, tundra and shadow) and multiple shapes and sizes to maximum design flexibility. Homogeneous dimensions and thicknesses make Stone Evolution easier to install than natural stone. The only maintenance required is routine cleaning. (

QuickShelf™ Makes it Easier!

Wheeler Tile & Company has added a new 9- by 13- size and a BOLD new bonding texture to its line of QuickShelf™ wall inserts for tile and stone. The waterproof liner and tile form makes it easy to create a recessed shelf in any tiled area. Every tile setter will appreciate the simple “Nail it On and Tile it In” system. The improved QuickShelf line offers enhanced surface texture for superior overall strength and shelf corners will now accept both ¼ round and surface bullnose trim shapes. The products provide valuable storage space for bath and shower items and create an interesting design element. Available in 13- by 13-inch square and 9- by 13-inch rectangle, QuickShelf wall inserts are 3 ½-inches deep for use within standard wall framing. The inserts are fully modular with 4 ¼-inch wall tile, but are easy to use with any size or type of tile. QuickShelf’s mounting flange is easy to trim and fasten as needed, thin enough to mount over or under any type of tile backerboard or mortar system. (

Custom Adds to Patch & Repair Products

Custom® Building Products is introducing two new products, All Purpose Spackling Paste and All Purpose Water Putty Patching Compound to its popular line of patch and repair products. Custom’s patch and repair products are preferred by professionals and consumers for keeping interior and exterior surfaces looking flawless. Patch-N-Paint® is an easy-to-use, pre-mixed spackle that fills deep cracks, holes and dents with one simple application. The durable finish resists shrinking, cracking and sagging, and is ready to paint in just minutes without sanding. Patch-N-Paint is equally effective for indoor or outdoor applications. Custom’s new Water Putty is a fast-setting, non-shrinking patching compound that can be used for interior or exterior surfaces. It is effective for repairing cracks, knots and nail or screw holes in plaster, wall board, wood, cement and stone. Water Putty dries to an exceptionally hard finish and will not shrink or sag. Another newcomer, All Purpose Spackling Paste is a pre-mixed, water-resistant formula for interior and exterior uses. It combines strong adhesion with a high degree of weather resistance for outstanding results. All Purpose Spackling Paste can be used to fill holes, cracks and other imperfections on a wide variety of surfaces including both primed and unprimed wood, composition board, masonry, wall board and plaster. It dries quickly, sands easily and is ready to paint within minutes. (800) 272-8786 or visit

Almatec, by Impronta Italgraniti

Impronta Italgraniti’s Almatec Stone Technology Italian technology combined with the creativity of Impronta Italgraniti has launched Almatec, the production of stone, replicated in through-body porcelain stoneware. State-of-the-art Almatec porcelain is available in sizes up to 48- by 48-inch with slabs that feature deep stone veining and present perfect modularity in appearance and in application. The Almatec high-tech production and quality slab fabrication is the brainchild behind color-through porcelain stoneware slabs which are ideal for interior and exterior, walls, floors, residential and commercial installations. “Almatec, by Impronta Italgraniti, is a beautiful alternative to marble and granite. Not only is the price affordable but the porcelain manufactured through Almatec is superior, long lasting tile. And, Almatec porcelain is practically identical to a piece of marble or granite, complete with veining and natural shading,” said Impronta Italgraniti USA Vice President Jerry Joyce. “This technology surpasses any porcelain in the industry today. It’s truly unique.” The stones fashioned through Impronta Italgraniti Almatec are available in a variety of marble, granite and limestone looks. When professionally installed, Almatec porcelain exhibits higher mechanical strength, shipping costs one-third that of natural stone, resistance to extremely high thermal excursions, resistance to freeze/thaw cycles, low maintenance, high resistance to wind thrust and competitive pricing. (703.455.9200,

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