July 31, 2014

TCAA, NTCA Establish Historic Partnership to Elevate Tile Trade

Joint promotion of association recognition programs offer opportunity to demand installation excellence.

The Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) are pleased to announce a major initiative that will take place immediately. In an attempt to raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade, and to present project owners, builders, architects, and design professionals an opportunity to demand installation excellence, the two associations have agreed to mutually promote and market their company recognition programs. This partnership is unprecedented in the tile trade, and as such, carries with it historical significance.

The TCAA “Trowel of Excellence” and the NTCA “Five-Star Contractor” programs have separately been acknowledged in the tile industry as worthy efforts to recognize companies that demonstrate a proven track record of success and ethical business practices. By promoting the two programs together, the top companies in each association that successfully complete the criteria for acceptance into these exclusive groups will be presented with unique opportunities for marketing and business development.

“The word quality just shouts out!” said John Trendel, president of the TCAA. “The only two nationally-recognized ceramic tile trade organizations joining forces to offer building owners and architects rigorous certification of member companies cannot help but raise the level of quality for their ceramic tile installations,” he said. “Building owners and architects will have an unsurpassed level of comfort that their projects will have the highest levels of quality at the national, regional, and local level.”

“I’m excited and energized by our partnership with NTCA to jointly promote these two outstanding programs,” said TCAA executive director Carole Damon. “By working together to increase the professionalism and expertise of tile-installation companies and giving architects and project owners a road map for selecting the right tile contractors for their projects, we take a giant step toward ensuring quality craftsmanship in every installation and increasing consumer confidence in the durability, beauty and value of tile. It’s a win-win for everyone in the industry and we’re proud to be part of this effort.”

Leaders of both the NTCA and TCAA have been working on this initiative for several months, and have established several goals and objectives they hope to accomplish. To be clear about the strategy, the group has included several representatives from some of the top tile- and installation-material manufacturers in the U.S. industry.

“I am excited about what has been accomplished to date and I’m looking forward to where this leads in both our associations’ efforts to acquire work for our membership,” said NTCA president Nyle Wadford. “The synergy produced from the allegiance of labor and manufacturing for the benefit of both, once again demonstrates the power of unifying for similar goals within the industry.”

Perhaps the most important goal currently set forth to be accomplished is to create an opportunity for those individuals involved in the specification of tile and stone to demand installation excellence. Language is currently being developed for consideration in several important standards that will provide them with this quality option.

“For far too long, we have heard the complaints about the quality of installation on certain projects in our trade,” said NTCA executive director Bart Bettiga. “In our current economical times, we have seen the emergence of unqualified companies being hired and performing work that they were incapable of successfully completing. By presenting this option for excellence to architects, design professionals, and residential and commercial project owners, we are elevating our trade to the level it deserves.”

The associations will continue to grow and develop this initiative. Currently, there are approximately 50 companies in the two programs that have been approved in the recognition process. This number is expected to increase as the awareness of this effort becomes clearer. Additional goals underway include the specification on national accounts, incentive programs from manufacturers who recognize the groups’ efforts, and jointly-promoted educational efforts to the architectural and design community. The leaders of both associations will continue to work closely to further develop these plans in 2012.

For more information on the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program: http://www.tcaainc.org/trowel-of-excellence.php

For more information on the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program:
https://www.tile-assn.com/Member/FiveStar.aspx?mid=84
Contact:
National Tile Contractors Association
Bart Bettiga [email protected]
601-639-2071

Tile Contractors’ Association of America
Carole Damon [email protected]
800-655-8453

2013 TCNA Handbook call for submissions: January 13, 2012 deadline

The Tile Council of North America is asking the industry to submit new tile installation guidelines or edits to existing guidelines for consideration by the Handbook Committee. The deadline for submissions is January 13, 2012.

The Handbook Conference will be held June 19-20, 2012, in downtown Atlanta.

Submission criteria and format includes:

  • All submissions must be specific, i.e., exact language must be provided.
  • Each submission must be accompanied by a Handbook submission form.
  • For new methods, include a generic drawing.
  • Edits to the existing Handbook must include a page clearly showing where the requested changes are to be made.
  • New methods should be submitted in a form that is ready to be inserted into the Handbook (see submission form for new details).
  • It is recommended you have the latest version of the Handbook and American National Standards A108/A118/A136.1 to reference when drafting your submissions.
  • Please compare your submission to an existing method to make sure all necessary fields are listed. All testing and supporting documentation should be included (visit website below for sample).
  • Submissions that do not meet the Handbook format and criteria requirements will be returned.

Contractors and tile installers are encouraged to make submissions via their organizations or associations. All others should contact Stephanie Samulski at 1-313-999-9714, or visit the TCNA Handbook submission website at http://www.tileusa.com/.

Proline Drain A People’s Choice Awards Winner at Healthcare Design 2011

The voting for the 2nd Annual New Product Pavilion People’s Choice Awards took place during the live 2011 HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference, November 13 – 16, in Nashville. The Product Pavilion area displayed only products new to the industry within the last 24 months. 2011 HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference attendees were asked to vote for their favorite of the 17 featured products featured in the pavilion. Of the hundreds of votes cast throughout the course of the 4-day conference, QUICKDRAINTM USA’s PROLINE Drain, with its universal design, garnered enough to win the prestigious 2nd Runner-up Award.
The PROLINE system is linear drain covered by a smooth outer panel with small drain holes. The fully sloped, long drain trough makes for easy water drainage, offering a barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible shower. Water is caught in the drain, and thus, will not spread over onto the facing floor. Accessible showers are integral in the design of a healthcare facility.
“We are honored to win this award,” stated Josef Erlebach of QUICKDRAIN USA. “In particular, because we know our products make any healthcare facility not only more attractive… but also safer tomorrow than it is today.”
For more information on the PROLINE Drain by QUICKDRAIN USA contact Josef Erlebach ([email protected]). Call Toll Free 866.998.6685 or 970.668.0805 (office). Quick Drain USA, P.O. Box 1358, Frisco, Colorado 80443 www.quickdrainusa.com

Shrinkage Leads to Indent Fractures in Stone

Natural stone tile continues to grow in popularity despite reduced consumption due to the soft economy. Materials used to install these tiles continue to change. As products and their usage change, so must you change to stay current with industry standards and the manufacturer-recommended applications of these products.

Shrinkage is not new. In fact, it’s expected to occur within setting materials. What has changed is that much more stone is being installed today, over different substrates and substrate conditions For instance, crack-isolation membranes – rare years ago – are much more common today. There are also a variety of membrane types with different properties and requirements.

Also, installers today tend to use much thicker application of thin-set mortar to compensate for irregular substrates, instead of correcting the substrates’ irregularities before installing tile. There are many more polymer/latex-modified thin-set mortars being used now rather than the standard dry-set thin-set mortars. All of these changes produce shrinkage and less resistance to shrinkage, resulting in a condition in stone known as “indent fractures.”

The phenomenon of indent fractures is much more frequent today. An indent fracture is a spider web-like fissure typically found in softer stones such as limestone and travertine, but is also seen in marbles and even some granites. It typically runs through one or more tiles and will branch off in different directions. Indent fractures are not easy to see; typically they can only be seen from an angle when light reflects off them. If you run your hand over the indent fracture you can’t feel it because there isn’t an actual crack or separation in the stone surface. If you put a straight edge over the indent fracture and shine a flashlight from the back of the straight edge, the light shines through at the fracture, indicating a low spot. Indent fractures can develop into an actual crack separation if the stone is subjected to enough movement, stress from deflection, or due to lack of movement joints.

The culprit

I have investigated numerous stone tile applications with this indent-fracture condition. The common denominators in each case are typically excessively-thick, polymer-modified thin-set mortar installed over a membrane of some sort. It also occurs where a bonded mortar bed wasn’t bonded to its substrate and was applied very wet and rich and in cases where the wire reinforcement for a non-bonded mortar bed was at the bottom of the mortar bed rather than suspended within the mortar bed.

What we found in our investigations was that the combination of excessively-thick thin-set mortar over a resilient membrane allowed the indent fracture to occur. The total force of shrinkage resulting from thicker applications of thin-set mortar will impart greater stresses in the stone than a thinner application, causing more deformation (strain) or shrinkage. This is compounded if the thin-set is also installed over a resilient membrane, because the membrane isn’t as effective in restraining the thin-set mortar as a rigid concrete substrate would. Instead, the thin-set mortar under the stone dries in a manner similar to a dry lake bed, with compression within some areas of the thin-set that results in tension in other areas, creating cracking in the thin-set. The crack then works its way up through some of the stone, but does not appear as a crack at the surface.

This condition is further compounded when a stone is installed over a membrane, since the moisture within the thin-set mortar can’t be absorbed by the substrate. The moisture can only escape through the stone or the grout joints. Of course the thicker the thin-set, the more moisture the stone is subjected to. This causes it to expand, resulting in more stress and deformation.

Wet-set mortar

Indent fracturing can occur when tile is installed over a wet-set mortar bed application particularly if it is over fat mud (very wet) which creates much more shrinkage, particularly if the mortar mix is very rich (higher ratio of cement to sand). If the mortar is placed over a membrane, as the mortar shrinks the membrane isn’t restraining the shrinkage. If the membrane isn’t properly attached to its substrate then it can further reduce the amount of resistance on the mortar bed or the thin-set. On a non-bonded mortar bed over cleavage membrane, wire reinforcement is required to minimize the shrinkage. If the wire reinforcement is left out or placed at the bottom of the mortar bed, then it can’t do its job of mitigating shrinkage and avoiding indent fractures. Dry-pack mortar has very little moisture for the stone to absorb, so shrinkage is much less.

Recently I was involved in devising some experiments to reproduce indent fracturing in a testing laboratory. We substantiated that the thicker application of thin-set mortar created more stress and strain, and application over a resilient membrane contributed to deformation by not fully restraining the thin-set as it would if bonded to a rigid surface. It was determined that the fractures were the result of tension within the thin-set mortar at those points.

Indent fractures didn’t develop right away, but took a week or more to develop and eventually halted. Cracking initiated within the thin-set and traveled up through the bottom of the tile. Based on Pythagorean triangular geometry, an indent can be explained by the bottom of the stone shortening from deformation caused by the thin-set shrinkage, resulting in the crack. The top surface of the stone is drawn down at the crack location resulting in the indent (low point).

Avoiding indent fractures

So what can you do to avoid indent fractures? First, follow thin-set mortar manufacturers’ recommendations for their products. ANSI now has defined the differences between a medium-bed and thin-bed thin-set mortar, indicating their limitations. A thin-bed mortar cannot be used any thicker than 1/4” or less than 3/32” after the tile is embedded. A medium-bed mortar cannot be any thicker than 3/4” thick after the tile is embedded. ANSI further states that the medium-bed mortar is not intended to be used in truing or leveling underlying substrates or the work of others, but only to accommodate the irregularities within a tile.

Make sure you adjust your substrate to meet ANSI A108 flatness requirements. Then use thin-bed mortar, limiting the thickness to 1/4.” Use a rapid-setting thin-set to help minimize the extent of shrinkage since it cures faster. A membrane with less resilience can also help to restrain the thin-set mortar if it is properly attached. Use dry-pack mortars for wet-setting stone on floors to limit the amount of shrinkage and the amount of moisture to which the stone is subjected. Make sure your wire reinforcement is suspended within one-third to one-half the thickness of the mortar bed for non-bonded applications to help minimize shrinkage.

Bottom line: if you want to avoid problems, follow industry standards.

––––––––––

Ceramic Tile Consultant, Donato Pompo CTC CSI CDT MBA is the founder of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC). Donato has over 30 years of experience in the ceramic tile and stone industry from installation to distribution to manufacturing of installation products. CTaSC provides services in forensic failure investigations, quality control for products and installation methods, including writing specifications, training programs, testing, and on-site quality control inspection services. CTaSC is a professional consulting company comprised of expert tile and stone consultants, accomplished ceramic tile and stone installers, architects, engineers, general contractors, construction scientists and other industry specialists conveniently located throughout the US and Canada. Reach Donato at www.CTaSC.com or e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 866-669-1550.

Turner, Jr. to lead Dal-Tile; Turk to head up strategic development activities

Mohawk Industries, Inc., (NYSE: MHK) today announced that effective January 2, 2012, John “J.T.” Turner, Jr., will be appointed president of the Dal-Tile business unit and Brian Carson will be appointed president of the Mohawk Flooring business unit. Turner will succeed Harold Turk, current president of the Dal-Tile business unit and Carson will succeed Frank Peters, current president of the Mohawk Flooring business unit. Both Turk and Peters will continue with the company by leading strategic development activities in their respective segments.

Turner began his career with Dal-Tile in 1990, progressing through a series of leadership roles in sales, operations and general management throughout the business. In 2005, Turner was promoted to senior vice president of sales and served in that role until being appointed senior vice president of operations in 2008. He assumed his current responsibilities as chief operating officer of the business segment in early 2011.

Carson joined Mohawk in 2006, after a 16-year career at Armstrong World Industries, where he held a number of senior leadership roles. Carson joined the Mohawk Flooring business unit as president of Hard Surfaces and was later promoted to vice president of operations for the division. In early 2011, he assumed his current role as the business unit’s chief operating officer.

“Brian and J.T. are industry veterans with the institutional knowledge, business acumen and innovative creativity to further the success of our carpet and ceramic businesses,” said Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries.

Turner and Carson will succeed Harold Turk, current president of the Dal-Tile business unit and Frank Peters, current president of the Mohawk Flooring business unit. Both Turk and Peters will continue with the company by leading strategic development activities in their respective segments.

“I am grateful for the many years of leadership that Frank and Harold have contributed to the company, and I am pleased that they will provide ongoing guidance and drive initiatives within our business,” Lorberbaum said.

About Dal-Tile Corporation
Dal-Tile is the largest manufacturer of ceramic tile and natural stone products used in residential and commercial design and construction across North America. The company, a division of Mohawk Industries, was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. As a leader in the industry, Dal-Tile delivers advancements in product innovation with its Reveal Imaging™, Outstand Technology™ and Proadvanced™ Protection Program. The company is committed to incorporating environmentally friendly materials, processes and products throughout its organization. Dal-Tile has more than 7,500 employees in North America, and sells its products through a network of more than 250 company-owned sales service centers, stone slabyards, gallery design centers, independent distributors and leading home center retailers nationwide. For more information on Dal-Tile and its brands, visit www.dal-tile.com or call 1-800-933-8453.

About Mohawk
Mohawk is a leading supplier of flooring for both residential and commercial applications. Mohawk offers a complete selection of carpet, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone, vinyl, and rugs. These products are marketed under the premier brands in the industry, which include Mohawk, Karastan, Lees, Bigelow, Durkan, Daltile, American Olean, Unilin and Quick-Step. Mohawk’s unique merchandising and marketing assist our customers in creating the consumers’ dream. Mohawk provides a premium level of service with its own trucking fleet and local distribution in the U.S. Mohawk’s operational international presence includes China, Europe, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia.

Mediterranea to unveil high-definition video display at Surface 2012

Mediterranea, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-grade porcelain tiles, has announced plans to introduce a state-of-the-art high definition video display at Surfaces 2012 running January 24-26 in Las Vegas, NV. The video will be seen along Artisan Avenue (Booth B3027) at the Mandalay Bay resort.

“As our company has grown, so have our lines of tile available for distribution”, said Mediterranea president Michael Mariutto. “Using high-definition video technology, we can display at Surfaces our stunning room scene images that truly show off the beauty of our tile, both in residential and commercial settings.”

Mediterranea employs exclusive Dynamic HD Imaging™ technology in the manufacture of its porcelain tiles – allowing for the perfect transfer of high-resolution graphic images. The process allows Mediterranea’s latest products to burst with true-to-life color, natural shading, depth and texture.

A focus of the high-definition video display will be Tuscan Stone, one of Mediterranea’s most carefully crafted lines featuring the look of reclaimed stones from Tuscany, evoking the region’s timeless architectural heritage. Among the other lines to be featured at Surfaces 2012:

• Mountain Timber – Fully-rectified planks in 6” x 24” and 12” x 24” sizes with the look and appeal of fossilized wood, available in three color shades;

• American Naturals – Elegant and rustic natural wood looks available in four colors and in 4” x 24” and 6” x 24” planks;

• Essence – A stunning marbleized stone look available in four colors and in 13” x 13”, 18” x 18” and large-format 12” x 24” sizes. Essence also features 55% recycled content.

For over a decade, the Italian-based tile designers and craftsmen of Mediterranea have been producing glazed porcelain tile in collaboration with leading factories in Italy, Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and the United States. Mediterranea has the unrivaled ability to match its unique design concepts with the ideal manufacturer, surpassing the competition with cutting-edge technology and outstanding U.S.-based service. Contact Mediterranea USA, 3501 NW 115th Avenue, Doral, FL 33178. Call: 305.718.5091. [email protected] or www.mediterranea-usa.com

LATICRETE SUPERCAP Launches the “Next Generation” Pump Truck

LATICRETE SUPERCAP, LLC, manufacturer of the revolutionary self-leveling SUPERCAP® System, announced today the addition of the First Next Generation Mobile Blending Unit (MBU) to their fleet of state of the art pump trucks. By combining the power of the pump with the next generation of self-leveling materials, LATICRETE SUPERCAP has created a revolutionary system that is being used throughout the North America marketplace.

The LATICRETE® SUPERCAP System has proven to be a time-saving, cost-effective method in finishing new concrete or capping existing slabs. LATICRETE SUPERCAP is a LEED-qualified, GREENGUARD certified, low alkali, self leveling, cement-based technology that is installed using a computer-controlled mobile blending pump truck.

[Read more...]

Brad Fulkerson Appointed Managing Director of LATICRETE SUPERCAP

LATICRETE® SUPERCAP®, LLC, manufacturer of the revolutionary self-leveling SUPERCAP® System, announced today the appointment of Brad Fulkerson to the position of Managing Director.

Fulkerson brings an impressive construction industry resume to his new post. Most recently, he was President/CEO of Avalon Flooring LLC, a floor covering installation firm working primarily with General Contractors and specializing in high-end projects. During his tenure, he designed and implemented all of the internal systems and controls for the organization.

“I’m excited about the challenges offered by LATICRETE SUPERCAP,” Fulkerson stated. “Whereas the system is already a tested and proven method, I truly believe we have a start-up business. We have the opportunity to change the way people look at concrete finishing. In particular, because we’re marketing a special methodology, one which can deliver 50,000 square feet per day of perfectly flat concrete and eliminate problems associated with deflection.”

Holding a B.S. in Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan, Fulkerson stated that one of his many goals as the new Managing Director of LATICRETE SUPERCAP is to “ultimately build the brand to such a degree, that it becomes the Kleenex® of commercial flooring.”

The LATICRETE SUPERCAP System is a time-saving, cost-effective method for finishing new concrete or capping existing slabs that meet or exceed finished flooring tolerances. The system is a LEED-qualified, low alkali, self-leveling, cement-based technology that is installed using a patented computer-controlled mobile blending unit. LATICRETE International, Inc. is a US-based, family-owned global manufacturer and leader of premium installation and finishing systems for the building industry. 

For more information, visit the corporate website: www.laticretesupercap.com.

MIA Technical Director To Lead ASTM Committee

The Marble Institute of America has announced that Chuck Muehlbauer, the association’s technical director, has been elected to chair the ASTM Committee C18 on Dimension Stone. With Muehlbauer, Michael Lewis of Façade Forensics, Cincinnati, OH, has been elected to serve as the committee’s vice chairman; Kurt Hoigard of Raths, Raths, & Johnson, Inc, Willowbrook, IL, has been elected to serve as the committee’s secretary. The new slate of officers will begin serving their terms on January 1, 2012.

ASTM Committee C18 on Dimension Stone was formed in 1926 to promote knowledge, stimulate research, and to develop specifications, methods of test, definitions and nomenclature, and recommended practices relating to dimension stone. The committee currently has a multinational membership of approximately 125 members representing 14 countries. C18 has jurisdiction of over 25 standards, published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 4.07. The committee has 5 technical subcommittees that maintain jurisdiction over these standards. These standards have and continue to play a preeminent role in all aspects important to the effective standardization of dimension stone, including, testing, specifications and construction practices.

Muehlbauer started his career in the stone industry after graduating from technical college in 1981, and has been an active member of the ASTM Committee C18 on Dimension Stone since 1989. He has previously served as chairman of Subcommittee C18.08 on Stone Selection and Committee C18 Secretary. He has written and edited papers published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), ASTM, Cold Spring Granite Company, and the Marble Institute of America.

MIA Executive Vice President and CEO Garis Distelhorst said, “Chuck’s election as chair of the ASTM C18 further solidifies the notion that the Marble Institute is a clear leader in the natural stone industry, particularly in its technical knowledge and information. His history and his reputation as one of the stone industry’s most technically proficient experts, first with Cold Spring Granite Company and for the last seven years with the MIA, earned him this opportunity to assume the leadership of this critically important ASTM Committee. The entire MIA membership is proud to call Chuck one of ours.”

MIA President GK Naquin added, “Chuck’s commitment to the natural stone industry and the Marble Institute of America once again has been validated through his election as committee chairman of the ASTM C18 on Dimension Stone. Chuck has made a positive difference representing our industry within ASTM. We look forward to his continued guidance as chairman.”

About the Marble Institute of America

For over 65 years the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has been the world’s leading information resource and advocate for the natural dimension stone industry. MIA members include marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and other natural stone producers and quarriers, fabricators, installers, distributors, and contractors around the world.

About ASTM

ASTM International, known until 2001 as the American Society of Testing and Materials, was originally founded in 1898 in Philadelphia, PA, as the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials. Today, ASTM International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.