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.

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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.

Pamesa-Coverings
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.

Keraban-Coverings

“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.

Grespania-Coverings


LATICRETE® Floor HEAT Wire
 
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.”

www.laticrete.com.


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.”

Joelundg@aol.com


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.

http://mediterranea-usa.com.

 

Mediterranea-River-Valley-Sand


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.

Cevisama1_Sonar

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.

Cevisama2_LaPlatera_Star-Th

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.

Cevisama4_DSCF4342-Th

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.

Cevisama5_Pamesa_Davos-negro-Th


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.

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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.

###

SOURCE:

Sylvie Atanasio, Creative Director

COUNTRY FLOORS, Los Angeles

714-655-6633


Why slip resistance continues to be a “moving target.”
 
March 13th, 2013

Specifying Ceramic Tile, Glass Tile, Stone and Terrazzo for Slip Resistant Surfaces…

 By: Donato Pompo

SONY DSC

About twenty years ago, slip resistance was a big selling point to architects because of common slip-fall lawsuits.  Back then most ceramic tiles were not offered with a textured surface. Texture was considered the key characteristic for determining the degree of slip resistance. It became a big selling point, and new tile products were developed with a textured finish.

Soon the industry realized some unexpected tradeoffs with too much texture.  Textured surfaces more readily picked up and showed dirt, requiring more maintenance.  Heavily textured tiles were also more difficult to clean to the extent that in some cases the new tile floor had to be torn out and replaced with a tile that had less texture.  As a result, products were adjusted so they wouldn’t be a maintenance problem, but they would meet slip resistant requirements.

These same concerns apply to glass tile, natural stone, terrazzo and other hard-finish surfaces.  Natural stone has been used extensively in malls, airports and other public areas. Recently terrazzo flooring has been used more due to the increased design options.  Glass tile use has greatly increased in recent years.  In each case, the degree of texture influences the degree of slip resistance and maintenance.

Slip resistance depends on a number of factors: surface texture, whether the surface is clean or contaminated with one or more residuals, whether it is wet or dry or frozen, whether the surface is level or sloped, the type of shoe soles, if any (e.g. bare feet), and the condition of the soles that a person is wearing, whether the person is walking or running; their gait, and whether they are turning or transitioning from one plane to another or from one textured surface to another.  There are other dynamics in terms of the size and weight distribution of the person, whether they have any mobility handicaps, and even their state of mind, making this a complex issue.  Traction engineers say that the walking surface has to be slippery to some extent in order to allow the surface to be a walking surface.

Slip resistant standards-of-care and codes have been a moving target.  Years ago a reasonable Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) for a wet or dry surface was considered to be 0.50. This is supported by Underwriters Laboratories UL410 that is based on testing with the James machine per ASTM D-2047 on polished coated flooring surfaces. Then various agencies said the requirement should be 0.60 per the ASTM C1028 SCOF test protocol. Later the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) recommended a 0.60 SCOF on level surfaces and a 0.80 for ramp surfaces, wet or dry, without calling out a test method. (ADA has since removed those recommendations and now states that the surface must be firm, stable and slip resistant throughout its lifetime.)

OSHA’s non-mandatory appendix A of the Walking Working Surfaces notice says a reasonable measure of slip-resistance is a 0.50 static coefficient of friction (COF) when using the English XL test device per ASTM F1679 protocol (this ASTM protocol has now been withdrawn), which OSHA says is based upon studies by the University of Michigan.  All of these recommendations apply to any hard walking surface material. The higher the COF number, the more texture or friction the surface is supposed to have.

Years ago the industry discovered that ASTM C1028 gave misleading readings on highly polished surfaces due to a condition called stiction (an artificially high coefficient of friction value in comparison to the traction the surface provides).  Polished stone and polished porcelain tiles would give SCOF readings of over 0.90 in some cases, which was misleading because they were not more slip resistant, and were slippery under wet conditions.  Over the last twenty years, organizations such as the Ceramic Tile Institute, ADA, and many local city building codes required or recommended that a 0.60 SCOF be met for wet or dry surfaces as tested by the ASTM C1028 protocol. The standard of care was expected to be a minimum of 0.60 SCOF even though the ASTM C1028 did not have a required pass – no pass value.

Manufacturers produced some products that would at least meet the 0.60 SCOF, but, in my opinion, they obviously intentionally made no reference to the tile being slip resistant.  I suspect the liability of slip fall cases was too large and there were too many variables that manufacturers had no control over, so they couldn’t make any claims about slip resistance. They generally continue to take that position today.

The impact of maintenance

One important factor was that property owners were not aware of necessary maintenance routines for tile floors; as a result, floors were not kept as clean as they should have been.  Many believed mopping was all the care required. Tile floors offer benefits regarding maintenance, but they are not self-cleaning.  Regular, appropriate cleaning is necessary to maintain the slip resistant properties. Commercial properties that use maintenance companies in particular tend to have problems cleaning tile floors. They hurry through the process, use mops rather than abrasive pads or brushes, don’t change mop water frequently, and  let the dirty water air dry on the tile surface.  This leaves a dirty residual that builds up over time and lessens the floor’s slip resistant potential.

Ride-along or stand-behind scrub cleaning machines that wet, brush and vacuum as they go work well if used properly. However they have the same contamination problems if water is not changed frequently, cleaners leave a residual film, and floors are not rinsed. In particular, textured tiles need to be brushed clean with a neutral based detergent.  The dirty solution needs to be picked up with a wet-dry vacuum, and the floor needs to be rinsed with clean water to avoid residual contaminates.  Now commercial scrubbers can be used with ionized water solutions (e.g. Tennant’s ec-H2O Technology) in lieu of cleaning chemicals that work very well and are environmentally friendly.

As the tile industry performed more research, more practical and reliable test methods developed that were better indicators of slip resistance.  Much of the research was done by the University of Wuppertal in Germany, which developed what some considered the most reliable test method known as the German Ramp test.  A dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) was found to be a better way to measure and specify slip resistance. SCOF is a measurement of frictional resistance when an object is subjected to a force necessary to start it in motion to overcome surface friction.  DCOF is a measurement of the resistance that must be overcome to keep an object in motion, which is already in motion. SCOF is normally higher than the DCOF when a surface is being tested under the same conditions.

You can’t specify a slip-resistance rating without identifying the testing method, test device, surface conditions, and sensor material to be used; thus you can’t compare values obtained through one methodology to those resulting from a different one. A number of different SCOF and DCOF devices are available, some more suitable for laboratory testing and others for field testing. They all produce different results to some degree.

The ANSI A137.1 Ceramic Tile Committee, managed by the secretariat Tile Council of North American (TCNA), started researching and testing various test methods over a number of years.  This year a new method for measuring coefficient of friction, titled the DCOF AcuTest, was passed as part of the updated ANSI A137.1 standard.   It uses an automated, portable device called the BOT 3000 that measures DCOF. According to an article written by Eric Astrachan and Katelyn Simpson of TCNAfor Tile magazine in June 2012, the DCOF AcuTest correlates well with the German Ramp test.

According to the TCNA 2012 Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installations, the 0.42 DCOF AcuTest value is considered an additional measure of safety over the SCOF 0.60 when tested per ASTM C1028. The referenced TCNA article notes that in a study of over  300 tile surfaces, TCNA researchers found “on average” that a 0.60 SCOF per ASTM C1028 measured with de-ionized water generally correlated with a 0.38 DCOF per the AcuTest measured with slightly soapy water. Not all products with a DCOF value over 0.42 are suitable for all applications.  Type of use, traffic, contaminants, maintenance, expected wear, and type of tile are important and must be considered by specifiers. Refer to Section 6.2.2.1.10 of ANSI A137.1-2012 for details.

There are additional standards for keeping a public floor safe, particularly under wet conditions.  When it rains, signage should be placed at the doorway transitions.  Absorbent floor mats should be placed at doors to provide enough length of matting to allow shoes to dry as they walk, which is normally about 4.6 m (15 feet).  Plastic bags should be provided at doorways for wet umbrellas so they don’t drip on the floor.  Spills on interior floors should be cleaned and dried immediately and warning signage should be placed in the area during the clean up process.  OSHA has additional rules for floors in work places to be maintained in a manner that keeps them safe for employees.

 


Smaller Partnerships Lead to Grander Plans
 
February 28th, 2013

A few years ago, CTDA, along with NTCA and TCNA blended their annual meetings into a single, industry-wide event, Total Solutions Plus (TSP). Although many participants initially viewed TSP as more efficient way to meet (and it is), by combining travel, time away from one’s own business and even the financial obligations that go along with attending major industry events, into a single meeting, the result has quickly become greater than the sum of its parts.

Today TSP is the most comprehensive industry event, offering networking across the supply chain, a broader variety of seminar opportunities, more dynamic keynote presentations, and a table top show to introduce the latest products to those professionals who really make the decisions.  This year, the Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) has joined the CTDA, NTCA, and TCNA to jointly host the 2013 Total Solutions Plus October 26-29 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Those of us who have been involved with TSP from the beginning realize that this growth underscores that what we are doing at TSP and in CTDA is moving the tile business forward in ways we’ve never seen before.TSP_new_logo

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