From the Editor’s Desk: Stay on top of your business.
 
March 1st, 2006

by Janet Arden, Editor

March-April 2006

“A big part of our job is helping you learn more about what’s happening in the business.”

I have a confession to make. I read grammar books. There is no self-help group for this—no Grammarians Anonymous that I know of, although I do know other editors who enjoy the same indulgence. I do this because language is a significant part of my business and I want—and need—to know what’s happening with it.

So what does this have to do with tile?

We all need to be on top of our business. And, the tile business is increasingly complex. Think of the new products you have added in the last few years—glass, metal, and stone—and the sizes that range from mosaics through increasingly large formats. Then there are the innovations in installation that go with these products. And what about new add-ons like under-floor heating?

At TileDealer we think a big part of our job is helping you learn more about what’s happening in the industry, so you can “stay on top of business.”

This issue, in particular, has some important features on future industry issues.

First, the current One-on-One interview features a lengthy talk with Vince Marazita, president and owner of Vince Marazita & Associates, an international consulting firm specializing in the stone industry.

Why are we talking about stone?

Because stone is an increasingly important product in this business. Many of you are stocking and selling it now—and if you aren’t, chances are good you will be soon. Learning more about stone, especially from experts like Vince, is all part of staying on top of the business.

One of the points Vince makes so convincingly is that stone is no longer reserved for commercial installations and high-end homes. It’s an increasingly important feature in moderately priced homes. Technology has made quarrying and cutting stone more accessible, and that makes it more affordable to the consumer. He points out the number of real estate ads that note “granite countertops” or “marble bath.” Stone is often part of a larger design scheme with other materials. Designers will tell you that stone and ceramic materials are often both installed in the same room.

Stone is just one of the trends we’re looking at now. Another one is exterior tile. Although exterior tile has always been popular in some settings, technological and design advances have made it even more desirable for these installations. Manufacturing processes have improved the hardness and wearability ratings of many porcelains, while design advances have increasingly captured the look of more expensive stone installations. Technology is also a factor driving this trend.

The growth of outdoor kitchens and living spaces has encouraged more use of exterior tile. In commercial settings, porcelain’s greater mechanical strength but lower weight make it an “added value” in exterior cladding. Check out the feature on page 42 on “Exterior Tile Trends” to see where these products are going.

Not all the news TileDealer covers is about a product. One of the most important issues we’ll be covering in the near future is mold. Recently, industry leaders lead by USG Corporation joined to form the Responsible Solutions to Mold Coalition (RSMC). Their purpose is to act as a clearinghouse for accurate information on mold and moisture control. As the RSMC points out, mold is “ubiquitous in nature.” It is always in the air.

We first talked about mold in the July/August 2005 issue. At the time we said mold had become an increasing problem because today’s tighter building practices do not allow moisture to escape. Controlling mold depends on controlling moisture and a food source such as dirt, wood or other organic material. Left untreated, mold can destroy building materials, and remediation is very expensive. More information about RSMC is on page 47. Look for a followup to this important topic in an upcoming issue.

As always, there’s a lot going on in the industry and between the pages of TileDealer.

Read on!

Janet Arden

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