More news from Coverings
May 9th, 2013

Florida Tile introduces Cliffside

Florida Tile has taken the look of early Americana and its own Made-In-The-USA initiative a few steps further with the release of Cliffside HDP High Definition Porcelain™ wall and floor tile, inspired by traditional Vermont slate.“As an American manufacturer, we love to promote anything American,” says Marketing Director Sean Cilona. “That is especially true in the design of our newest color body porcelain floor and wall tile line, Cliffside. This material has been used as a building material since the founding of this great country.” Florida Tile’s Cliffside takes those traditional benefits and delivers a product that is better. Porcelain. Cliffside can be used in both commercial and residential applications. According to Cilona, “Available in pressed, 12×12, 12×24 and 18×18 formats, Cliffside will outperform real slate in durability, ease of maintenance, price and color offering.  Cliffside is offered in the deep monochromatic blue and gray tones of Vermont slate, right down to the classic clefted slate surface.”

“We began with three colors that represent traditional slate… light gray, deep blue and dark gray/black, named by Florida tile as Light Grotto, Blue Oasis and Gorge Dark Gray, respectively. Then we introduced a fourth color that combines the look of slate with a traditional sandstone color called Beige Bluff,” Cilona says. “With Cliffside, design opportunities in this stone are endless, regardless of where you are in America.” Designed using Florida Tile’s HDP-High Definition Porcelain technology, the company combines it with a very sophisticated series of five different punches or textures per color, creating a surface that’s truly remarkable. “From strong cleft to slight texture, the variation of the physical punches combined with the graphic, visual representation of texture makes this a look that you can’t keep your hands off of,” Cilona notes.

Accompanying the field tile is an M12 mosaic, 6×12 cove base and corners as well as a 3×12 bullnose all offered in 4 colors. Decorative listellos are 2×12 and created in a warm and cool version. The surface has strong linear crosshatch of raised forms that are accented by a heavy gloss glaze application which draws a strong contrast to the matte base. Cliffside is made in the USA of 40% post-industrial recycled content. It is Greenguard and Porcelain Tile Certified, and meets the new DCOF Accutest requirements to be installed in wet areas. An all new tile category, HDP High Definition Porcelain™ is a Florida Tile trademarked brand. HDP High Definition Porcelain™ is the most technically advanced glazing system available today delivering the most realistic image possible in stone or wood and also allowing for the creation low relief patterns, handmade effects, fabric looks and mosaics.

Reception at the Chiswick Moran Hotel. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.

ClearPath from FinPan

New from Fin Pan, the ClearPath  Curbless Shower Pan System uses TI-ProBoard® and the ClearPath ® Drain Plate. TI-ProBoard® is a composite structural underlayment that readily installs directly on floor joists, eliminating costly structural concerns modifying jo8ists to achieve level entry designs. TI-ProBoard® offers a Commercial Floor Rating and can be cut to size and installed with standard tools. The ClearPath® Drain Plate comes with integrated drain assembly and offers flexibility in positioning plumbing. The drain plate is pre-pitched and serves as a template for p-roper sloping of the thin bed. ClearPath® is available in three shower kits which include drain plate with integrated drain assembly, TI-ProBoard®, L-angle, fasteners, and CPE waterproofing membrane. When used in conjunction with Util-A-Crete® or ProTEC™ Cement Backer Board or ProPanel® Lightweight Waterproof Backer Board, FinPan offers a Lifetime Limited Warranty.

New from Crossville

Crossville has introduced Virtue, a new porcelain tile line that replicates the look and finish of marble. The collection captures the aesthetic qualities of the world’s purest marbles—Carrara, Calacatta and Statuario—blended in a single shade of subtly veined white interpreted in two authentic finishes:  unpolished and satin.  “Virtue makes it possible to enjoy the look of marble in places where the use of the real stone would not be feasible,” explains Lindsey Waldrep, Vice President of Marketing for Crossville, Inc. “Actual marble is tender and may stain, wear or chip in certain environments where Virtue’s porcelain body will perform beautifully. It’s an ideal option for designers looking for porcelain tile’s performance characteristics and marble’s classic, elegant appearance.” To create the authentic satin finish for the collection, Crossville’s product development team reworked existing technology. The result is a finish that effectively replicates the feel and luster of gently sculpted, timeworn marble—a subdued luminosity without high gloss. “This finish is reminiscent of the smooth texture of a marble statue,” Waldrep describes. “We took painstaking measures in the manufacturing process to ensure the luster was accurate…a unique feat for our industry.”Waldrep also reports that Virtue’s size offerings make the collection highly customizable. The line comes in modular field tile sizes of 3″x6″, 3″x6″ picket, 6″x6″, 6″x24″, 12″x12″, 12″x24″, 24″x24″ with mosaics available in 2″x2″ hex and 3″x3″. Trim options, including chair rail, crown molding, base molding, single bullnose, cove base, inside and outside corners, are also available to add finishing touches to installations. The range of sizes, interplayed with the two finishes, offers ultimate versatility and flexibility in creating custom patterns to enhance the dimension and texture of the line’s singular hue. Virtue is suited for interior floors, walls, countertops, and exterior walls in both residential and commercial applications (The satin tile is not recommended for wet areas where standing water may occur).  Manufactured in the U.S., Virtue contains a 4% pre-consumer recycled content and is Green Squared certified through the Tile Council of North America for its proven standards of sustainability. For more information on Virtue, visit

In other show news, Crossville announced that it will introduce Hydrotect as an optional treatment for most of its porcelain tile collections beginning in June 2013. Hydrotect is a coating applied to tile during a second firing process that occurs after the tile is traditionally glazed and fired. This treatment is comprised of a triple silver-copper-titanium dioxide mixture that makes the tile to which it is fired have antimicrobial effects* and be self-cleaning and air purifying. With its hydrophilic and photocatalytic properties, Hydrotect effectively kills odor causing bacteria*, significantly reduces dirt and oil accumulation and rids the air of odors and nitrous oxide. Because Hydrotect is fired on to the tile separately from the glaze, it will not wash or wear off over time. It is not visible and, thus, does not alter the appearance of the tile. Hydrotect nanotechnology was developed by the TOTO Corporation to improve the healthful properties of man-made surfaces by replicating the way by which plants harness light for photosynthesis to improve the healthful properties of man-made surfaces. Crossville has entered a partnership with TOTO to attain this technology for its tile lines. Beginning in June 2013, customers may specify Hydrotect for their tile orders at an additional cost. More information will be available on Crossville’s website in June.

NAC Products Celebrates 30 Years
May 1st, 2013


Congratulations NAC Products on 30 years of industry service! (Photo above, Tom Duve of NAC Products, cuts cake and serves champagne at Coverings)

Awards at Coverings
April 30th, 2013

The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association presented its first Supplier of the Year Award to Florida Tile. The winner is selected by CTDA members who ranked candidates in ten criteria categories.


In another presentation, the Clear family,owners of Fin Pan, accepted the Giving Green Award from Tile Partners for Humanity for their commitment to the organization. FinPan has donated more than 100 truckloads of backer board and related materials oner the last two years.

Something New Around Every Corner
April 29th, 2013

“How exciting to see the hustle and bustle on today’s Coverings Show. From tile and stone to all types of allied products, both attendees and exhibitors are busy! Don’t miss the amazing exhibitors in every booth…if you can help it! There’s something new around every corner!” – Susan Sommers, Sales Associate with TileDealer

“Lots of excitement on the show floor today: wood looks even better, texture and color (how about gray or blue?) are key and residential is back! Plus education and awards to come!” – Janet Arden, Editor with TileDealer

Tile of Spain: Coverings 2013
April 22nd, 2013

This year marks 26 years of Spanish influence at Coverings. Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), will once again bring one of the largest foreign delegations to the show – 43 ceramic and stone manufacturers.

Visitors to the Spanish Pavilion (#3309) will witness first-hand some of the most advanced ceramic tile technology and breathtaking design choices the world has to offer. Guests will experience cutting-edge technology, sustainable design and diverse architectural solutions from leading Spain tile manufacturers.

The Tile of Spain booth, located in the center of the pavilion, holds a variety of literature, including directories to the must-see Spanish tile exhibitors at Coverings, and the latest issue of Ceraspaña, Tile of Spain’s quarterly magazine.  Audio-visual presentations will run throughout the show, including Tile of Spain’s award-winning architectural and design projects and an overview of Tile of Spain manufacturers’ achievements featuring beautiful design and products with unsurpassed quality, durability and versatility.

The schedule of presentations in the Spanish Pavilion includes:

“The Complimentary Paradigm”

Tuesday 4/30:           12:15 pm – 12:45 pm

Thursday, 5/2:           12:15 pm – 12:45 pm

Influences are everywhere for the spaces we create today- fashion, upholstery, wallpaper, furniture, media and even electronics all must relate to each other in our spaces and uniquely embody the current style of the client. With so many indicators to track how do we hone in on the style and colors that define the coming year for tile? Join us as we explore the long-view take on trends from the perspective of a lifetime service material. Presented by Ryan Fasan.


“Connect the Dots”

Monday 4/29:            12:15 pm -12:45 pm

Monday 4/29:            1:15 pm – 1:45 pm

Wednesday 5/1:       12:15 pm – 12:45 pm

Wednesday 5/1:       1:15 pm – 1:45 pm

The tile industry has never been better positioned to be the material of choice for the 21st century. Join us as we discover the bucket-list of today’s client’s demands and the powerful tools provided by Tile of Spain manufacturers to uniquely satisfy them. Connectivity allows for easy synergy between branding efforts across the industry, from associations to manufacturers to distributors and retailers, a cohesive message can be developed and organically support growth of recognition for all. Connect all the dots to give your clients everything desired before they even know they want it and reap the rewards. Presented by Ryan Fasan.


April 20th, 2013

LATICRETE has expanded their radiant heating offering by introducing LATICRETE® Floor HEAT Wire. “Our new wire product is not attached to a grid mesh mat,” stated Jay DeLuca, LATICRETE Product Manager. “As a result, it offers contractors a great deal of flexibility. Offered on a spool, installers can easily and quickly place it perfectly in tight areas around cabinetry, islands, and bathroom fixtures such as raised lavatory pedestals, bathtub ‘feet’ and other spots where a mat system would be more difficult to position.” DeLuca added, “LATICRETE Floor Heat is the only radiant floor heating system that is part of a comprehensive, lifetime warranty system for tile and stone applications. When using LATICRETE Floor HEAT Wire, contractors can rely on a single source to provide the total solution for their next floor warming project. The LATICRETE Lifetime Warranty covers not only the floor warming system and its components, it also covers the thin-set mortar, grout and surface preparation products.”

TCNA welcomes Lundgren
April 19th, 2013

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is pleased to announce that Joe Lundgren, of Joseph Lundgren Consulting (JLC), has joined the TCNA team to advance TCNA’s laboratory services. Mr. Lundgren’s extensive experience in the tile industry makes him uniquely well-suited to connect his customers with TCNA lab services that can help build their businesses. Marketplace requirements, conformance to standards, and product research are all areas where the customer benefits from the synergy between JLC and TCNA lab services. Mr. Lundgren began his career in tile in 1984 with American Olean and went on to management at Dal-Tile, becoming Vice President of Marketing.  While with Dal-Tile, he represented the company on TCNA’s Board of Directors and played a key part in TCNA initiatives aimed at growing the tile industry and the organization.  “We are excited to have Joe working directly with our laboratory,” says TCNA Executive Director Eric Astrachan. Mr. Lundgren will work closely with Claudio Bizzaglia, TCNA’s Director of Laboratory Services. “I always valued the work the TCNA did for the ceramic and stone industry while I was on their Board of Directors,” says Mr. Lundgren. “I look forward to promoting their testing services, including the new glass tile standard [ANSI A137.2] to ensure our industry continues to grow with the same quality TCNA has driven since 1945.”

Introducing River Valley
April 18th, 2013

Inspired by the enchanting isle of Sardinia, Mediterranea is pleased to introduce the River Valley series – an innovative combination of elements from the old world and the new. Found along Sardinia’s jagged seashore cliffs and lush Mediterranean valleys are extremely unique natural stones found only in this special corner of the world.  Mediterranea has utilized its Dynamic HD Imaging™ inkjet technology to combine these distinct stones with modern cement graphics to create a never-before-seen combination of cement and stone. River Valley is offered in four rich color selections:  Amber, Bronze, Copper and Sand.  And with sizes in 12×24, 18×18 and 13×13, River Valley is manufactured in the most popular formats to suit any residential or commercial installation.  2×2 mosaic and bullnose trim pieces are the perfect complement to any project.



News from Cevisama
March 28th, 2013

5 Key Design Trends Behind 10% Growth in Exports

News from CEVISAMA, the International Ceramic Tile Fair held February 5-8 at the Feria Valencia center in Spain is good for both designers and the bottom line. Despite current economic conditions, the Spanish tile industry is vibrant and sales are on the rise for a second year. Spain has grown its tile exports, further solidifying their leadership position at the forefront of technology and design. As a result, CEVISAMA’s nearly 700 exhibitors attract more international visitors than any other trade fair in Spain.

Topline Figures from Spain’s Ceramic Tile Industry in 2012

Spain’s ceramic tile sector exports grew by 10%. Spain is the second largest exporter of ceramic tiles in Europe, and the third in the world. It is estimated that total sales by the Spanish ceramic tile industry will have hit $3.4 million by the end of 2012, equating to a 2% increase versus the previous year.

Tile of Spain launched a strategic marketing initiative under the bold statement: “Distinctively Unique.” The approach embodies the idea of the singularity of Spanish ceramic tile products, associating them with values such as personalization, versatility, design and innovation. Choosing Spanish ceramic tiles means opting for distinction and quality, which combines tradition and modernity.

Key Trends/New Products Featured

CEVISAMA is all about design and the latest loks, and in 2013 there is no shortage of trends to follow. The following from Tile of Spain provides a brief overview of some of the key trends and new products featured at CEVISAMA:

1. Reclaimed Wood:  Spanish tile makers have once again pushed the envelope on wood looks evolving the trend into reclaimed wood territory. Tile provides nature’s weather worn appearance with the durability to keep it that way indefinitely. Bright colors and graffiti styles also have been integrated – transitioning the look from a warm Maine boat slip to something completely unique and trendsetting.


2. Precious Metals: Gold, silver and copper are weaving their way into tile design in a more sophisticated tone and with impressive technologies for mirrored effects and on-the-floor durability. Not only a “shout out” for the wealthy, precious metals are being used in luxury commercial settings and in master baths as an elegant focal point.


3. Vintage is the new Black: Vintage patterns express the ultimate in personalization. And here again, Spain pushes the boundary. Adding centuries of patina through the art of ink jet or modernizing a traditional look with today’s gray and black palettes.

Cevisama3_Tassel Gris-Th

4. Technology Advances: Unsurpassed in technology, Spain continues to impress from thin tile that can be used in large format countertops, building facades or even ceramic induction cook tops to custom tile murals and lifelike digital photography.


5. Mix and Match: Mix and match styles were prevalent around the show. Manufacturers mixing patterns and finishes to achieve unique personalized looks for each project or client. Popular were stone looks in tile with a rough-hewn finish as if it was fresh cut from a quarry matched with natural or semi polished finishes. Patterns that took their inspiration from fashion textiles were mixed together as were vintage tiles or photo tiles. No one room is the same “out of the box” as every order is original – customized by design.


Sylvie Atanasio talks about the industry, design, and CTDA
March 26th, 2013

By Jeffrey Steele

When Sylvie Atanasio joined Country Floors about a year ago, she made no small plans.  She and general manager Charlie Duncanson teamed up with one large goal in mind: “Returning it to the glory days was the whole lure of joining the company.”

‘The attraction of coming to Country Floors was back in the day, it was number one,” she says.  “It was the Versace of tile.”

Five years ago, in the deepest nadir of the Great Recession, Atanasio launched a new line of tile and stone, AlysEdwards. “Instead of coming up with custom, high-end $150-a-square-foot product, I created products that looked and felt custom, but were ready made, in stock, on the shelf, could be shipped within 48 hours and cost just $26 a square foot.  I called it ‘ready-made custom tile.’”

In four years, the line went from zero to $1 million a month.  Though it had been unveiled at the worst time, February 2008, “in retrospect, it turned out to be the best time, because competitors stopped bringing in anything edgy or innovative,” Atanasio says.

In the 12 months she has been at Country Floors, she has designed 14 new lines, which are about to be unveiled at Coverings. “But the biggest thing is, when I left AlysEdwards, I wasn’t sure if clients who said they would follow me, would,” she recalls.

“But when the first five lines came out, I did a road trip.  It was the first time in a while I felt nervous.  Every old customer I went to see signed on as an authorized dealer, to buy into the program.  There wasn’t a single one I asked who said ‘no’ to me.”

Tiledealer: How would you describe the creative philosophy of Country Floors?

I don’t know what the creative philosophy of Country Floors is. I can only tell you what my creative philosophy or mission is.

My creative philosophy is to create and bring forth new and cutting edge designs in both luxury tiles and natural stones, whether they are my own designs, or designs that are created by other artists exclusively for Country Floors.

My commitment is to bring forth beautiful tile and stone products. It doesn’t matter if they’re old world or modern. Country Floors has a responsibility to stay progressive, and I a duty to uncover and discover new talent and products designers crave.


TD: What sets Country Floors apart from competitors?

The biggest distinction between Country Floors and our competitors, besides designing and developing high-end decorative and handmade tiles, glass tiles and mosaics, is owning the quarries.

We own our own quarries and the largest stone processing plant in Turkey, and now in Tunisia. We are the direct source, whereas my competitors are just buying from a factory and importing.

TD: What is your own background?

Seventeen years ago I opened my own boutique showroom and found out the hard way that all the desirable lines were taken and that with no clout, no one would give me the time of day.

That forced me to start designing and contract manufacturing with a small artisan studio to make proprietary lines for me.  I have learned the tile biz through trial and error. Over the last 27 years in this business, I have made and lost a lot of money.  And I have learned to consistently evolve and change to fit the market.

Talking about the industry: real diamonds or cubic zirconia?

TD: How do you see stone faring vs. ceramic and porcelain?

Asking me how I see natural stone faring against the new ink jet technologies available in porcelain tiles today is like asking how I think real diamonds are going to fare against cubic zirconia.

The new porcelains that are being produced today are beautiful, the technology is truly amazing and it will allow the ceramic tile industry to capture a larger segment of the hard surface industry.

But in the end, nothing compares to natural stone!  Given the choice, and depending on the application, I would pick the real thing,  just like I wouldn’t wear cubic on my left hand either.

TD: What is your own personal design philosophy?

I am not sure what my personal design philosophy is. I know what my mission is, and that is to design beautiful tile products at every price level.  Don’t get me wrong, I love designing for the luxury high-end market.  But not everyone can afford to spend $50 to $100 plus per square foot. I like developing products that look and feel expensive, but that are affordable to the majority of people.  They’re still willing to spend money, but they need to see value.

TD: You’ve designed some custom lines for various manufacturers.  What is your process for doing such designs?

I have privately labeled for several large companies, including Marazzi, Florim USA and Arley Wholesale. I recently organized collections for Kolher and Crossville Ceramics   If I told you my process I’d have to kill you.  Just kidding.  My success in designing for other manufacturers is that I really listen to what they want and their vision, and then I design what I think that means.

TD: What would you like to accomplish as a CTDA board member?

During my time as a board member, I can help strengthen the voice of the CTDA, so that we are seen as a network of help not just for the tile distributors, but really the tile and stone industry as whole.

The CTDA is a place to be educated on the most current style trends, new technology concerning tile and the products used to install them. CTDA should be thought as a network of help, a lifeline.

I liken it to the AAA Motor Club.  When you have a flat tire, what do you do?  First you say to yourself, “&@*%#!”

Then you say, “I need to call AAA to fix my flat.”  You never say, “Hmm, I think I’ll fix it myself.” That’s what CTDA should mean to everyone in our industry.  It’s a place to turn for help.

TD: What are the most exciting issues for the industry?

Trend wise, I think the textures and the 3D patterns being done in stones are very exciting.  The mixed media being used in water-jet patterns, the new thin, large porcelain tiles, and the continued advancement of the ink jet technology and recycled products continue to be on the forefront of what is being developed.

As far as hot topics are concerned, I think a big one is how e-commerce sales are re-shaping how we do business in the tile industry.  How that affects tile distributors nationwide and the philosophy of protected territories is a major issue.

The CTDA has formed a task force to address these very issues, and I suspect that at the Total Solution Plus 2013 conference, there will be seminars addressing the Internet and social media.

TD: You’ve been described as something of a firebrand; are there any positions you advance at odds with the industry?

Firebrand… true.  I am very provocative, and people think I’m crazy or pure genius, and I’m not for the faint of heart.  I am very passionate about having more women executives and business owners get involved in the tile industry.  The demographics of our industry have changed quite a bit.  Let’s face it, the tile industry, like construction, has always been a male-dominated industry.  But there are more women doing business in the tile industry than ever before, many running very successful business.

I would like to see more women join and actively participate in the CTDA, as well as other industry organizations.

TD:  What is your forecast for the tile industry over the next couple of years? 

I think the business will continue to improve because the American people are getting used to the economy.  They realize life must go on, and tile distributors and retailers have adjusted their business models to be competitive in today’s market.  Let’s face it, if they haven’t changed their thinking by now, they’re probably out of business.

TD: What will it take for the tile industry to come all the way back and forge ahead of its past successes?

I think to be successful now, companies must re-invent themselves entirely. They can’t afford to rest on their laurels and reminisce about how successful they once were.

I think you need to think novel and act entrepreneurial.  More important than having the coolest products, or the best price, or the most aggressive sales staff is exceptional customer service! I have found that if you have stellar customer service people will flock to you and stand in line to do business with you. If you have their best interest at heart they will follow you anywhere because they trust you.



Sylvie Atanasio, Creative Director



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