Everything old is new again
March 2nd, 2008

By Janet Arden, Editor

March-April 2008

This issue of TileDealer looks at one of the oldest ceramic tile traditions, Turkey, where the focus today is on new, modern, elegant, and sophisticated designs. Take a look at some of the latest offerings from these manufacturers. I’m sure you’ll be as “wowed” by their style as we are.

One of the newest trends around—cement tile—isn’t really new at all, but a return to a hand-crafted art form that’s more than a century old. Cement tile developed in France in the late 19th century as part of the evolving cement industry. The tiles were prized for their color, design and hand- crafting and found their way into public and private places in Europe and European colonies. And, because this material is so durable, many of these installations are still in place. Though cement tile fell out of favor as newer floor covering technologies caught the imagination of designers and manufacturers, they are enjoying a rebirth today as designers, specifiers and consumers are once again spellbound by their color and pattern. What’s new about it now? How can you find them? How can they be used? We offer some insight starting on page 22.

Dave Gobis is the industry’s go-to guy when something goes wrong. He has more than 30 years of experience as a tile retailer and installer. He’s seen every tile failure you can imagine (and probably some you have never thought of) and he’s back in TileDealer this month to talk about his current list of the five most common tile failures right now. Please note that Dave refers to this as the current list of failures. Yes, there are some themes that always return. Poor substrate preparation is still up there. But Dave points out that there are some newcomers to his list: larger format tile (newer on the marketplace) setting, which requires more exact leveling. Turn to the Installation Update for his complete review.

Speaking of new, how about a new revenue source? Don’t miss this issue’s Showroom Seminar. Kathy Furore takes a look at the design (and profit) opportunities for listellos and other trims. Perhaps today more than ever, the consumer wants a high-end look without paying a high-end price. They’ve watched all the design shows on TV and they’ve seen what’s out there. Here’s your chance to deliver. Listellos and trims in ceramic, porcelain, glass or even metal add a lot of punch for just a few tiles along the border of a shower or outlining a backsplash. They offer your customer the opportunity to select something a little pricier, a little more sophisticated and a lot more custom for not that much more cash. AND they offer you some great profit potential.

But—here’s the hard part—you have to stock them and show them off, let your customers know you have access to these accents and are willing to help them choose and use the right one. Why settle for cream 6 by 6 when you can accent it with a metallic medallion, or a white subway tub surround when you can top it with glass? The options are endless, but you’ll have to educate your public.

Speaking of accents, Roger Questel’s cast metal tiles have opened an exciting door by capitalizing on a remarkable product. To learn more, turn to a special One-on-Two this month with Roger Questel and Barry Culkin.

Finally, we’ve skirted the issue of a skittish economy long enough. In this issue Al Bates weighs in with some important advice for management about soft or even non-existent sales. As Al says, “Every firm must know the impact that sales declines are having now, while offsetting actions can be taken.”

Don’t forget Innovations, Industry Insights and our Tile Boutique. There’s more for you in every issue of TileDealer!

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