Installing to Meet Moisture and Chemical Resistance Requirements
September 30th, 2013

The new Robert D. Love Downtown YMCA in Wichita, KS, contains more than 50,000 square feet of mosaic and large format tile. Its installers turned to TEC® products to aid with fast-paced tile installation in a variety of challenging environments.

The 110,000 square-foot LEED®-Certified YMCA is the flagship YMCA for the city and is expected to serve 30,000 people annually in its state-of-the-art exercise facilities. It also includes administrative offices and community meeting rooms for local activities.

The facility features large format porcelain tile on its lobby floor, ceramic and porcelain tiles throughout the building and porcelain mosaics in its pools, whirlpool and steam room. For the job, installer Fox Ceramic Tile used specific products to address each space’s unique demands, including time constraints and exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

In the wet areas of the building, TEC® HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane protects the substrates of showers, steam rooms and saunas. TEC® AccuColor EFX® Epoxy Special Effects Grout was used in these areas for its extreme heat, stain and chemical resistance. “We were confident that TEC® products would hold up to the environmental challenges that showers, steam rooms and saunas present,” says Kevin Fox, owner of Fox Ceramic Tile.

The locker rooms and pool deck have 8,300 square feet of running bond mosaics that also face moisture and chemicals. TEC® Full Flex® Mortar was selected for use in these areas.

The building’s high-traffic corridors, which feature large format tile, posed another type of challenge to installers. The tile had to be installed and set quickly to allow other trade workers access to them. “TEC® Fast Set Ultimate Large Tile Mortar allowed us to quickly complete installations in critical areas like the corridor, which we had to rapidly turn over to other trades to meet the owner’s aggressive timeline,” says Fox. TEC® Ultimate Large Tile Mortar was used with large format tile in less time-critical areas.

“This space required a highly stain resistant, durable grout that met both budget and installation requirements. Using TEC® Power Grout® saved us money and time, because it sets faster and is less labor-intensive to install than epoxy,” Fox says.

Finally, TEC® AccuColor 100® 100% Silicone Sealant was used to caulk each tiled area of the YMCA. This product provides a flexible, long-lasting and water-resistant seal.



Tile of Spain: Patterns, neutrals, textures and bright accents
September 25th, 2013

Tile today is anything but flat or square, it’s all about adding depth and interest to environments. Tile of Spain manufacturers are constantly presenting materials and solutions that empower and inspire their clients to use tiles in creative ways. Here’s a look at what’s trending now.

Mixed patterns. Often times the same Tile of Spain collection will feature Moorish geometric shapes next to French revolution damask and Celtic tartans. And somehow this period fusion all fits together and looks like it was always meant to be. Here we see the pattern mix working together in the Vives Tassel series.

New neutrals. Many Tile of Spain collections feature complimentary neutral tones meant to work together to create a unique neutral canvas, the Tecnica Paris 3060 series for example. Stripes, solids and patterns in the same color tones allow for spaces to be as unique as the people that inhabit them.

Textures. Just as TVs, movies and smartphones are moving into the 3D, so too are ceramics. Spanish tiles, such as Porcelanosa Ona, are offered in multiple textures to further the ability to personalize spaces. Contrasting layers of thin and thick, bent or warped and pulled or stretched formats create dynamic landscapes for light to play with and create a nuanced space that connects with the individual.

Bright accents. Accent colors that remind us of childhood are here. They are the bright, saturated colors of creamsicles and cherry ice pops. These strong, vibrant tones give an uplifting punch of color to ground and accent designs. Here we see an example from Pamesa.


For images and more information about these, or any Tile of Spain product, visit our website at





What’s new & next: LATICRETE hosts an auction, NAC offers sound solutions and Tau honors nature
September 19th, 2013

LATICRETE hosts mosaic auction at Total Solutions Plus

LATICRETE has announced a joint auction with CTDA, NTCA, TCAA and TCNA for 12 world-class mosaic pieces to be held at the 2013 Total Solutions Plus event in Bonita Springs, FL this October. One hundred percent (100%) of the proceeds will be donated to the CTEF and the TCAA scholarship fund. LATICRETE commissioned the 12 pieces from industry mosaic artists to display their work at the company’s Surfaces 2013 exhibit earlier this year, in support of communicating the 10 year anniversary of SPECTRALOCK® Grout.  This mosaic art gallery was comprised of unique, museum-quality creations using SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Grout with DAZZLE™.  Ryan J. Blair, LATICRETE Channel Manager said, “At Total Solutions Plus, we have arranged for these exclusive works of mosaic art to be showcased in the area right where attendees will be gathering during the event. They’ll have the opportunity to see the many facets SPECTRALOCK can be used in a beautiful, focal setting… and then, to bid and buy them outright. In conjunction with the officials of the associations hosting Total Solutions Plus, all monies collected will be donated to Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) and Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) scholarship funds.”

Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association added, “I absolutely love this idea. Everyone wins. The associations backing Total Solutions Plus will get great exposure from this, as will the artists. LATICRETE will also benefit by reinforcing its longstanding reputation of giving back to those industries in which it serves.”

“The amazing SPECTRALOCK DAZZLE features and more will be clearly visible when attendees of Total Solutions Plus witness these beautiful mosaic pieces firsthand,” concluded Blair.

laticrete mosaic

Educational Booklet for Sound Control

NAC has developed an educational booklet aimed at helping customers and distributors get a better understanding of issues related to sound control. The Sound Control Solutions

booklet gives a general overview of industry standards related to sound, how sound is measured through testing, and the NAC solutions to a variety of sound control situations. “We continuously strive to develop materials that educate consumers as well as the industry about potential challenges and pitfalls when looking for sound solutions,” said Vice-President of Operations, Brian Petit.  “It also provides a platform for us to showcase the NAC solutions to a number of sound control issues.” The 16-page booklet breaks down the Impact Insulation Class (IIC), Sound Transmission Class (STC) and the Delta Impact Insulations Class (É¢IIC) and how those tests are conducted and how issues like flanking can impact the numbers from a test. For more information and to get a copy, contact your local sales representative or NAC Products at 800-633-4622.

NAC-sound control

Tau: Honoring nature

Tau pays a huge compliment to nature with its brand new wood collection. Three collections with different finishes representing current trends in the world of interior design ranging from Northern design to a minimalist concept but never forgetting the industrial look. The Forever collection represents the Northern design, showing soft, natural colours with a low relief yet a superb graphic reproduction. This range is available in a wide color choice, Nogal, Olivo, Tilo, Arce, Haya, Roble and Teka. The larger format, 22’5×90 cm, is complemented with a smaller one, 15×60 cm, which can be used on either walls or floors and has an anti-slip option that allows the same model and colour to be used outside too. The Tapial collection, in its design, combines both wood and cement effects pursuing the urban style but with a feeling of warmth about it. The total lack of repetition in its graphic design makes this collection look absolutely natural. This range is available in just one size, 22’5×90; two finishes – indoors and outdoors – and six colours: grey, pearl, white, sand, beige and brown. finally, the Delta Series has been reduced to bare essentials. It is now available in one size: 22’5×90 cm; six colours: grey, pearl, white, sand, beige and brown and in finishes for both indoors and outdoors.



Are you up-to-date on COF?
September 11th, 2013

New changes in the coefficient of friction requirements are coming in 2014!

Coefficient of friction (COF) requirements for ceramic tile are included in the vast majority of commercial construction specifications for ceramic tile. The standards for COF have changed, and any individual or firm involved in the manufacture, specification, sales, installation, or maintenance of ceramic tile floors should understand the new requirements for tile. COF is the measurement of a tile’s frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness.

You didn’t know the standard for tile and COF had changed? Perhaps that’s because many manufacturers continued to report COF numbers from the older method (specifically, SCOF values from the ASTM International C1028 test method) along with newly required COF numbers prescribed by the ANSI A137.1-2012 standard for ceramic tile, which mandated this change in test methods. The new test protocol is found in Section 9.6 of the A137.1 standard and is commonly known as the DCOF AcuTestsm.

Starting early in 2014, with the ASTM C1028 method headed for obsolescence, many ceramic tile manufacturers will only report their tile’s COF per the DCOF AcuTest. In addition to the change in test methods, A137.1 now specifies a required DCOF AcuTest value for level interior tiles that will be walked on when wet; the required value is ≥0.42. Previously, there was no required COF value in A137.1 for wet floors, although a minimum SCOF value of 0.6, measured by the ASTM C1028 test method, was commonly specified for ceramic tiles in commercial project specifications.

Does a DCOF AcuTest value of 0.42 represent more or less traction than the old SCOF value of 0.6 per the C1028 test method? While various correlations on average have been established, based on hundreds of tiles and multiple studies, there is no direct relationship between the methods because they measure different physical principles with different wetting agents. In a nutshell, values on individual tiles cannot be correlated between the two methods.

To know definitely if a tile meets the minimum 0.42 DCOF AcuTest criterion, it must be measured.

The technology on which the DCOF AcuTest is based was not available in the United States until recently. The DCOF AcuTest in particular offers several benefits over other methods of measuring COF: it is highly repeatable, it more accurately measures the COF of very smooth surfaces, it correlates well with European measures of COF, and it is portable.

If you haven’t switched yet to specifying/reporting/using/requiring DCOF Acutest values, make the switch today and don’t get left behind.

For more information, visit:

Bringing an Ambitious Design from Concept to Reality
September 4th, 2013

The design of Coba Cocina Restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, was inspired by cenotes, a natural wonder found most often in the Yucatan Peninsula, where land has eroded over centuries to create a mystical underwater world. The focal point of the restaurant is an aquarium that is home to the largest private collection of moon jellyfish in the world. The project team decided that the best material to simulate the limestone bedrock and underwater atmosphere would be a variety of tile.


“The design of the floor and walls at COBA is a work of art,” said Todd Ott, AIA, Associate with CMW, Inc., architect for the project.. “By using ceramic and glass tile of various sizes and colors, including iridized blacks, greens, golds, silvers and aqua, on the floors and walls, restaurant patrons can experience a sense of underwater movement. The look continues on the restaurant’s exterior, which is covered in solid porcelain, large format (12” by 24”) tile that gives it a travertine look.

To achieve this intricate look, the team turned to TEC® products because of their wide variety of options and ultimate performance. As a result, the restaurant’s 60,000 square feet of glass, porcelain and ceramic interior and exterior tile, all installed with TEC® Power Grout® and IsoLight™ mortar.

“There was really no other choice when it came to deciding which products to use,” said Ott.  “IsoLight™ and Power Grout® did everything that we needed for all interior and exterior tile applications throughout the project through a single source. The products enabled us to get the look we imagined, with peak performance.” IsoLight™ is a lightweight mortar that protects tile from up to 1/8″ substrate cracking from in-plane horizontal substrate movement. It contains recycled materials that enable superior handling and ease of use.  Additionally, IsoLight™ can be applied over many substrates, an extra bonus for the installer of the Coba Cocina project.

TEC® Power Grout® Ultimate Performance Grout was used for all tile applications on Coba Cocina. It provides permanent stain resistance, crack resistance, efflorescence resistance and superior color uniformity. Power Grout is available in 32 color options that match the latest design trends – yet another advantage for the Coba Cocina design and project team.

“The mortar was applied over various substrate surfaces and used with a variety of tile materials,” said Donnie May, President of May Contracting who served as installer on the project. “Not having to change products during installation saved us time and allowed us to focus on the intricate details of this installation.”

Coba Cocina was completed in spring 2013. The project team consists of architect CMW, Inc., Lexington, KY, tile installer May Contracting, Lexington KY, and distributor Louisville Tile, Lexington, KY. Visit to learn more about TEC® products.

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