Innovations & Insights
May 3rd, 2011

Precision Tile Pro 2.0 is a tile layout and design program that allows tile retailers to plan and quote tile layouts as they generate drawings for customers, the company said. According to Phil Rittenhouse, president of Laurel Creek Software, the software helps tile retailers close more sales while reducing costs.”Visualization software like Precision Tile Pro allows tile retailers to show a customer how a tile layout will look in the customer’s space and explore their options with just a few clicks of the mouse.” he said. “The software’s high-quality full-color tile layouts are much easier for the customer to visualize than the traditional sample board and hand drawn sketches. This greatly simplifies the buying decision for customers and helps close sales more quickly.” Precision Tile Pro users agreed: “We made sketches on small pieces of scratch paper, and if a customer did not have the ability to visualize their tile design from that scratch paper and a loose tile sample or concept board, they would leave to “think about it” and often did not return.” said Stuart Nelson, VP Sales and Marketing of Doma Kitchen & Bath Showroom in Bridgeport, PA. “Now, we are able to secure sales more quickly, especially for those customers who are not able to visualize from sketches and samples. We can work with the customer to build a tile design right in front of their eyes.” This release adds new drawing tools to improve user productivity while maintaining exceptional ease-ofuse. Savvy retailers have found that they can now charge for their design services, which adds directly to their bottom line.”[Precision Tile Pro] allows us to charge a fee for measurement and design services, because we can use the software to create a tangible product for the customer in the form of a professional, full color, rendered tile design.” said Nelson, Precision Tile Pro also generates a detailed material list and quote that eliminates the problems of over or under estimating.” In a slow economy tile installers and retailers have found high-tech tools like Precision Tile Pro help them differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

Building on the success of Total Solutions Plus in 2010, the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) will host Total Solution Plus 2011 in Chandler, Arizona, November 7-11. The 2010 debut of TSP in Naples, Florida, was a huge success, drawing on the considerable resources of the industry’s leading manufacturers, distributors and contractors. Expectations for 2011 are even higher. “I was very pleased with quality of the speakers and the Table Top session, but for me the best part of the 2010 Total Solutions Plus was the chance to network with key industry personnel. We already budgeted for attendance for the 2011 event in Phoenix” said Rick Baldini, Owner Sponga US, LLC. TSP offers each industry group a setting for their traditional annual meetings, along with a platform for dynamic joint keynote presentations and unparalleled networking. A table top session on Thursday offers exhibitors an especially valuable opportunity for face-to-face meetings with industry buyers and decision makers. As David Scalise of Tileware explained, “Because TileWare is an entirely new value for the industry, we decided to launch our new products at Total Solutions Plus. This more intimate platform proved to be a fantastic success. We were able to shake hands and develop relationships with many of the industry’s most prolific and influential distributors. TileWare will not only recommend this new marketing platform, but will be participating in a more significant way in 2011.”

Florida Tile continues adding to its new product portfolio with the launch of Pristine, a porcelain floor and ceramic wall tile series. Inspired by the classic Crema Marfil, Florida Tile’s design team has updated the look with a modern and contemporary twist on sizes and shading. According to Marketing Director Sean Cilona, Pristine features coordinated porcelain floor and ceramic wall tiles in one line. “Pristine’s new 9×18 format wall tile adds contemporary styling to a classic look and further extends a designer’s ability to create unique spaces. It’s available in two colors and three sizes: 12×12 and 18×18 for floors and walls and the all-new 9×18 wall format,” Cilona said. “The result is a classic natural stone look with a perfectly coordinated modern large format wall tile. The smooth texture and subtle veining give the rich look of marble with none of the maintenance associated with natural stone,” he added. The Pristine line features a light background with very delicate veining in subtle Greys and Oranges, both unique to classic Crema Marfil stone. Pristine is offered in a natural finished porcelain floor tile and a shiny ceramic wall tile. “These two classic warm tones transform any interior into a richly decorated personal palace, especially when finished with Pristine’s luxurious decorative elements,” said Cilona. Pristine is a complete collection, featuring bullnose, chair rails, decorative inserts, listellos and mosaics. Pristine is made in the USA and is Porcelain Tile and Greenguard® Certified and contains recycled content. Said Cilona, “Pristine’s high recycled content draws on Florida Tile’s recent start-up of a new scrap tile crushing facility last year which allows more post-production fired tile than ever to be crushed for reintroduction into the body of all tile made at our Lawrenceburg, Kentucky facility.”

Tile Redi®’s pre-formed Redi Bench™ is now available for new shower construction or tub-to-shower renovation projects in residential or commercial settings. Tile Redi has garnered an international reputation as the leading supplier of pre-formed, one-piece shower pans and bases for hospitality and healthcare interior designers and specification pros. The innovative new Redi Bench can simply be screwed into the shower frame and becomes immediately ready to tile over. Pre-formed, one-piece Redi Bench models provide developers and architects the chance to add luxury to private residences and large-scale projects that might otherwise go without. The Redi Bench, can be installed in a fraction of the time it would take to custom build perhaps hundreds of shower benches in resort or healthcare settings. The Redi Bench provides one more option for the luxury design of new showers or in the renovation of existing ones when designing with porcelain, glass mosaic, natural stone and other solid surface materials.

Mark MacDonald

In other company news, Mark MacDonald, a seasoned sales professional within the tile and stone industries, has joined Tile Redi® as the firm’s newest Regional Sales Manager. MacDonald’s former employment includes key sales positions at Trend Group/USA; Granite Transformations; EmilCeramica; Marazzi USA and Florida Tile. Representing those factories, he serviced wholesale distribution, architects & designers, builders, retailers, private label (OEM) and more. “We are delighted to have an experienced sales professional on our staff,” stated Farrell Gerber, Executive Vice President of Sales for Tile Redi. “Our company has grown at a very consistent clip, even during these embattled times. With a person with Mark’s industry experience and personal rolodex, we are planning to accelerate our growth. And in doing so, continue to keep our customers very pleased with our products and service.” MacDonald will be working out of Tile Redi’s corporate headquarters in Coral Springs, Florida.

Tile design artisans at Mediterranea have produced a new collection of glazed porcelain tiles as unique and life-like as the process in nature that inspired them. Using its exclusive Dynamic HD Imaging™ program, featuring advanced software and the very latest in digital inkjet design transfer technology, Mountain Timber glazed porcelain tiles from Mediterranea have the look and appeal of fossilized wood that’s been petrifi ed, or transformed into natural stone. Mediterranea discovered this incredibly rare stone material and perfectly recreated the array of colors and surface textures in a glazed porcelain tile series for architects, designers and homeowners. Mountain Timber is available in three true-to-life color shades and two fully-rectifi ed sizes of 6×24” and 12×24”, complete with 2” x 2” meshbacked mosaics. Produced in the USA with LEED and LEED for Homes required levels of recycled content.

Kirby Davis

LATICRETE announced the promotion of Kirby Davis to National Specifications Manager for the LATICRETE Specialty Products Division (SPD). Davis will work closely with top architectural firms across the country to secure proprietary specifications for LATICRETE materials and methods. Davis played an integral role in developing the LATICRETE MVISTM specification for the direct adhered method of thin brick, manufactured and natural thin-stone masonry veneer installations during her time as LATICRETE Senior Architectural Specialist in the Texas region. Davis offers the architectural and design community her in-depth knowledge in specification review, AIA education seminars, LEED submittal evaluation and industry organization reports. Davis has CSI, CCTS, CDT, LEED AP BD+C certification, and currently is vice president of the Dallas chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute. She serves on the national committees for CSI on the Marketing Task Team, the Sustainability Practice Group and Construction Documents Education Program. As CSI CDT, Davis focuses on helping architectural firms improve the green aspect of their specifications with the complete range of LEED-compliant products manufactured by LATICRETE.

Bob Duke

LATICRETE also announced the promotion of Bob Duke to Technical Support and Training Specialist for the newly formed LATICRETE Specialty Products Division (SPD). Duke joined LATICRETE in the Texas Region in 2005. Duke played an integral role in developing the materials and methods for the LATICRETE MVISTM specification for the direct adhered method of thin brick, manufactured and natural thin-stone masonry veneer installation. With 27 years of experience in the tile and stone industry, Duke now fills a national senior sales position and will work to seek out new opportunities for the LATICRETE MVIS specification, as well as for additional product lines that fall under the LATICRETE Specialty Products Division.

In other news, LATICRETE has continued its long-standing commitment to the education, training and testing of end-user installers by contributing as one of the top-sponsors or “Signature Level” partners for the 2011 Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) tesing program. In addition to financial support LATICRETE will continue to make materials donations for specific CTEF host testing sites and provide further assistance by making LATICRETE technical sales representatives available in each region as the installer testing program makes it way around the country. The CTEF provides the only certified tile installer program with a nationally recognized set of standards that includes testing the hands-on skills of each end-user along with a written evaluation to produce a verifiable CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI). The CTEF has the full support of several of the tile industry’s most important organizations including the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and Coverings.

StonePeaks’ newest collections introduced during Coverings 2011, Raja, Materia 3D and TheStandard, satisfy a range of tastes and use technology exclusive to StonePeak: advanced ink jet technology, full-body combined with ink jet, and a new polishing technique – Satinato. Stone- Peak is the only American company to produce porcelain tile using these new technologies. RAJA is engineered to inspire the exotic slate found in the ancient quarries of India. StonePeak uses the most advanced ink jet technology on the market to interpret even the smallest details of the quarried slate. Raja is available in three varying colors, three sizes and comes with a complete trim package. Classic meets contemporary in the elegant Materia 3D collection. Designed for the A&D community, Materia 3D embodies the new trends in design using the latest full-body technology combined with ink jet, making Materia 3D unique to any other product. It is available in 5 stylish colors, two fi nishes and complemented by trims and mosaics. TheStandard brings new life to neutrals with four shades ranging from Creme to Dark Gray designed to fit every space. TheStandard comes in three sizes and two finishes, honed and Satinato, which is a new polishing technique exclusive to StonePeak in the United States. The Satinato finish gives a new sensory experience to ceramic tiles, making these neutrals a step above the rest. All StonePeak field tiles are made exclusively in the domestic manufacturing facility.

Commercial and residential construction contractors looking for a multipurpose, simple-to-use and easy to maintain color grout need look no further than ProSpec® ProColor Sanded or Unsanded Tile Grouts. Introduced in 2010, ProSpec’s ProColor Tile Grout portland-cement-based blend is fast becoming the grout of choice among high-end commercial and residential contractors across the country. ProSpec offers 38 designer colors in the ProColor Tile Grout line, each selected to complement a variety of tile and stone options. With options ranging from Navy to Moonlight and Evergreen to Aspen, the line is certain to include shades to suit any color pallet. The company also guarantees the color consistency of its product, ensuring that the color selected for the project is the same color that end users see once the project is completed. The product also boasts multiple application-friendly features. ProSpec’s ProColor Tile Grout is polymer modifi ed, so mixing is as simple as adding water. Once it’s mixed, the ProSpec Easy Float Formula promotes an extended bucketlife and excellent workability, ensuring a smooth and trouble-free grouting process. Clean-up is also a cinch thanks to reduced effl orescence and the product’s low absorption, which leads to reduced staining. “We created this product with the tile installer in mind,” says Seco. “We’ve been in this business for a very long time and we understand the issues our customers face out in the fi eld. We want to help solve those problems with products like our ProColor Tile Grout.” Versatility is another installer-friendly feature. The same product can be used on interior or exterior projects to grout ceramic tile, porcelain tile, pavers, cement tile, glass tile, quarry tile, slate and other natural stone. The company’s smooth, creamy formula makes it simple to apply – even on vertical surfaces – making ProColor Tile Grout ideal for wall, fl oor and even ceiling applications. All ProColor grouts feature Micro Defense® Technology, an anti-microbial additive that prevents the growth of mold and mildew. This revolutionary technology ensures that a tile project will remain as beautiful as the day it was installed. Additionally, the grout’s low-absorption properties also make maintenance so simple that it’s like having a sealer built in.

Quick Drain USA, has announced that architects, interior designers and construction professionals can earn AIA CES learning credits for participating in its course that features the revolutionary ProLine Drain. The stainless steel, low-profi le drain system was quickly recognized by industry leaders as the ultimate replacement for the traditional round-center drain for new showers, wetrooms or tub-to-shower renovation projects. The ADA-compliant universal drainage system now also provides online and/or active participation AIA CES course approved credits for the architectural specifi cation of the ProLine Drain. Offering the ability for uninterrupted designs with large-format tiles and endless possibilites for ADA-compliant, barrier-free showers or wetrooms, the ProLine Drain has been architecturally-specifi ed for some of the most prestigious hospitality, casino resort and healthcare facility projects by leading design fi rms and hotel brands. With the list of high-profi le project specifi cations continuing to roll out, more and more attention became focused on the ProLine Drain. The next logical step was to further increase awareness on the time and labor-saving installation benefi ts and unlimited design possibilities by offering AIA CES credits as a way to improve and revitalize the industry.

Imagine Tile is excited to announce the unveiling of a new program! No longer are you limited by the color range from a typical ceramic tile manufacturer, Imagine Tile gives you infinite color possibilities including metallic and bright colors, allowing your imagination to run tiled. The Color Tile program is the perfect tool when you need just the right color for your project. Virtually any color can be replicated perfectly in durable commercially rated and eco-friendly ceramic tile for both floor and wall use. The color match process is easy. First, you pick a color target, which can be a Pantone color, paint swatch, University or corporate color or logo, piece of fabric, or really anything you want to match. Then, pick a size, or several sizes and Imagine Tile gets to work, formulating a glaze to match your specific needs. Samples are sent and if any changes are necessary revised samples are provided for your approval before production. These vibrant custom tiles are available in a wide range of sizes and finishes for floors, walls and counter tops. These tiles contain no VOC’s, require little maintenance, contain recycled materials and are sustainable with a long life cycle. The product contains pre-consumer recycled materials, which are sustainable and are ecological throughout their life cycle. The tiles contribute to certifying the sustainability of buildings, in accordance with the LEED system. Imagine Tile is a commercially rated ceramic tile company helping customers turn imagery into reality. Using patented glazing technology, Imagine Tile offers specialty surface designs that allow for the reproduction of textures, patterns, photos, illustrations and even three-dimensional images onto ceramic tiles.

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