Sustainable Stone Certification Now Recognized in Both LEED v4 and LBC

logo_transpHollis, N.H. – (October 20, 2016) – The Natural Stone Council (NSC) – an association comprised of the leading Natural Stone Associations throughout the country – announces its Sustainable Production for Natural Dimension Stone (ANSI/NSC 373) certification is now recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 building certification program, as well as the International Living Future Initiative’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) version 3.1. Now, design teams have a clear path to ensure the stone they specify helps projects reach sustainability goals as outlined by LEED and LBC.

“Being named an approved program by the USGBC and the ILFI within Responsible Sourcing of Materials is a huge accomplishment for the stone industry,” says Kathy Spanier, NSC Sustainability Committee Chair and Director of Marketing at Coldspring, a Minnesota-based stone industry producer. “These achievements come as the result of tremendous coordination and years of cooperation among stone industry associations, environmental experts and additional stakeholders to further the awareness of sustainably sourced natural stone.”

The NSC established the sustainable stone certification standard in 2014 with two important goals in mind: to provide natural stone quarriers and fabricators with third-party verification of their sustainable practices and to give the building and design community confidence that certified stone is a sustainable material choice.

To develop ANSI/NSC 373 for alignment with LEED and LBC, the NSC Sustainability Committee worked closely with third-party organizations including Jack Geibig at Ecoform of Knoxville, Tenn., and NSF International of Ann Arbor, Mich., to determine the sustainable footprint of how stone is quarried, transported and processed. In addition, ANSI/NSC 373 was developed using the consensus-based ANSI (American National Standards Institute) process and can be applied internationally with certification by a third-party certifier like NSF International.

ANSI/NSC 373’s national and international requirements for environmental, ecological, human health, and social responsibility in stone quarrying and processing will help satisfy the growing demand for transparency in the market.

“Natural stone rates high on an environmental scale. It is reusable, low maintenance, emits no VOCs, and is one of the most durable and most beautiful materials on the planet,” says Duke Pointer, Executive Director of the Natural Stone Council. “The ANSI/NSC 373 certification gives the market confidence they are using a material that has also been third party verified.”

LEED v4 and LBC Application

The LEED Steering Committee approved certification to ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimensional Stone as a “USGBC-approved program” third-party verification (full credit) in Option 1 of LEED v4 BD+C and ID+C Material Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials, provided that the facility and/or quarry operation has earned certification including either optional credit 7.2.1 (Ecosystem Boundaries) or 7.2.2 (Environmental Impact Assessment), and has made its scorecard publicly available.

In addition to LEED v4, the Living Building Challenge is advocating the Sustainability Standard for Natural Dimension Stone for Living Building projects using natural stone. ANSI/NSC 373 aligns within the LBC 3.1 Material Petal, in the Responsible Industry category.

The rigorous and voluntary certification standard including its companion Chain of Custody program is gaining acceptance among stone industry companies. In 2014, TexaStone Quarries, which operates natural stone quarries and a closely aligned fabrication facility in Garden City, Texas, became the first company in the world to achieve certification. Coldspring became the second to achieve ANSI/NSC certification of its headquarters, primary manufacturing operations and three Minnesota-based quarries. Additional companies have since certified, with more working to achieve certification.

For more information about ANSI/NSC 373, visit

Bostik and Artaic Team Up with Microsoft to Stage Interactive Designer Workshop

bostiklogoBostik, Inc. (, a world leader in specialty adhesives and installation systems for building construction, and Artaic Innovative Mosaic, ( creator of architectural mosaics using its patented American robotic production, co-hosted a state-of-the-art interactive workshop for key members of Boston’s A&D Community on October 6th.

Taking place at the Prudential Plaza Microsoft Store in Boston’s Back Bay, guests included 20 top architects and designers psyched to learn about creating mosaic murals using the new Microsoft Surface Pro 4.After being introduced to/being updated on Artaic’s robotic production process, which is driven by the firm’s patented Tessera™ software and also, learning about Bostik’s state-of-the-art Dimension® Rapidcure™ glass-filled grout, each of the attendees were given a specific assignment.  Working with a Surface Pro 4 pre-downloaded with Tessera™ software, they were tasked to create their vision of a mosaic mural apropos for a Microsoft Store. And, they were asked to specify complementary Dimension® grout (which is offered via Tessera™) for their respective designs, as well.


Scott Banda; Winner Samantha Clarke; Dr. Ted Acworth. Presentation of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for best mosaic design created using Tessera™ software.

“This was an exhilarating experience,” beamed Scott Banda, Bostik’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. “Many of our guests, but not all, knew a bit about Artaic’s unique offerings and their tie-in with Bostik. They were also eager to create designs using the new Surface Pro laptop/tablet. To sweeten the pie and get our guests really ‘into it,’ we held a small competition. Each designer’s creation was to be judged not only by the Artaic/Bostik team, but also by each of the enthusiastic attendees. The winner would receive a brand new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 courtesy of Bostik. Needless to say, these designers were all focused!”

Samantha Clarke, Senior Associate at MDS / Miller Dyer Spears, Boston-based architecture, planning and interior design firm, was the winner, coming up with a whimsical mosaic mural rendition of a 1970’s Bill Gates photo.  She stated via e-mail the following day, “Great night! Thanks for hosting a wonderfully educational and fun event last night, and
 I’m enjoying my new tablet as I write.”

This high-energy, highly successful event would not have been possible without the partnership of Eliza Mulcahy, Community Development Specialist at the Microsoft Prudential Plaza Store.

Bostik's Scott Banda addressing A&D group at Microsoft store workshop.

Bostik’s Scott Banda addressing A&D group at Microsoft store workshop.

“Together, Artaic and our partner, Bostik, are on a mission,” stated Dr. Ted Acworth, President/Founder of Artaic and inventor of Tessera™ software. “We want to resurrect the ancient art of mosaic mural design, for which the demand has greatly diminished over the years. That is a major reason why we developed our computer-driven, robotic production process. To see how thrilled our guests were designing, most for the first time, using our software, incorporating Bostik’s Dimension®… and all working on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4… was absolutely awesome! Bostik and Artaic want our ‘mosaic mission’ to be a meaningful and fun experience for all involved. Our October 6th workshop was an indication of that, and much more.”

After the workshop was over, Bostik hosted a high-energy hospitality event for all attendees at the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Scott Banda added, “Together, we want to engage the design community in learning about futuristic, efficient and one-of-a-kind solutions its members can now offer their clientele. Furthermore, together with Artaic, we plan to bring back mosaic design, which for a myriad of reasons, is seldom specified… or, for that matter, even considered any more. Already we’re seeing positive results… and our Microsoft workshop event was a perfect example of that re-vitalized interest!”

About Bostik, Inc.

Bostik is a leading global adhesive specialist in industrial manufacturing, construction and consumer markets. For more than a century, they have been developing innovative adhesive solutions that are smarter and more adaptive to the forces that shape people’s daily lives. From cradle to grave, from home to office, Bostik’s smart adhesives can be found everywhere. With annual sales of $1.63 billion, the company employs 4,800 people and has a presence in more than 50 countries. Bostik is a company of Arkema. Visit for more information.

About Artaic

Artaic designs and fabricates custom, award-winning tile-work. Combining modern technologies with an established art form, Artaic modernizes the creation of architecturally compelling mosaics. Through fast design iterations, free sampling and robotic production in the USA, the process of customization is made as simple and painless as purchasing stock products. Artaic’s Tessera™ software enables their skilled design team to easily collaborate with the robotic manufacturing systems, easing the creation of modern mosaics by increasing design flexibility and decreasing lead times and costs. Artaic’s Mass-Customization technologies enable the production of any size project, from small to large-scale production. For more information, visit

Q.E.P. Co. UK Ltd. Raises Funds for Macmillan Cancer Support with Snowdon Challenge

qep logo 2013 (2)Team QEP recently participated in ‘The Snowdon Challenge,’ to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The challenge involved an intense 8 mile hike up Snowdon, the highest mountain peak in all of England and Wales. With a grand sense of accomplishment and pride, Team QEP reported that the entire team of 25 reached the summit and exceeded their original fundraising goal.

The Snowdon Challenge was only the latest fundraising effort to support this worthy cause. Beginning in November of 2015, Q.E.P. Co. UK Ltd. began their partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and commenced their ongoing effort in the grueling fight against cancer. In just under one year, the company is pleased to report that they have raised an astonishing £15,300 (approx $18,800 US)!

Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest British charity organizations, providing information, support, resources and even financing to individuals affected by cancer. From those personally diagnosed, to the family around them, Macmillan’s goal is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living and dealing with this frightful diagnosis.

Macmillan estimates that it costs £27 per hour to fund a single nurse, meaning that thanks to the effort made by QEP, an additional 566 hours of nursing time has been added, administering the applaudable service that Macmillan staff continues to provide.

The QEP/Macmillan partnership has been spearheaded by QEP Commercial Accountant, Steve White, who has been responsible for event planning, engaging colleagues and generating enthusiasm within the team. Contributions generously poured in from corporate contacts, suppliers, customers, colleagues, family and friends, all to which Steve, Team QEP and the entire company would like to send a massive thank you.

David Allen Company Presents 20th Annual Design School Scholarship

Accompanied by College of Design Dean Hoversten, Robert Roberson (on right), David Allen Company’s Chairman, presents the 2016 David Allen Company Scholarship to Architectural Student Amanda Fuller.

Accompanied by College of Design Dean Hoversten, Robert Roberson (on right), David Allen Company’s Chairman, presents the 2016 David Allen Company Scholarship to Architectural Student Amanda Fuller.

For the past 20 years David Allen Company has awarded a $5,000 scholarship to a gifted and promising architectural student at the North Carolina State University College of Architecture. The Dean of the college makes the selection to either a graduate or an undergraduate student.

Robert Roberson, Chairman, presented the 2016 award to Amanda Fuller, who has been identified by the Design School faculty as a promising leader in architecture.

David Allen Company has a long history of promoting the use of tile, marble, granite, natural stone, and terrazzo through its relationship with and support of architectural and design schools.  With offices in Raleigh, NC; Washington, DC; Columbia SC; Birmingham, AL and South Florida, the company is celebrating its 96nd year in 2016.

TECH 2016 Feature: TEC Provides Solution for Renowned Medical Institute


feat-00tomplaskotaTEC® provides multiple solutions for headquarters of renowned medical institute

By Tom Plaskota, TEC® technical support manager

The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Ind., is an internationally-renowned healthcare research organization – itself a model for research, efficiency and innovation – that recently benefited from those same attributes, courtesy of numerous TEC® tile installation solutions. Altogether, a total of 7,100 sq. ft. of TEC® products were used throughout various spaces for this project.

Known for developing better pathways to wellness, Regenstrief built a four-story, 80,000 sq. ft. building as the latest addition to its already impressive campus that serves as the institute’s headquarters. The new building is now home to the institute’s global research facility, with 165 staff members and a large number of allied scientists.

TEC® products were used throughout hallways, bathrooms and stairwells of the new Regenstrief Institute headquarters.

TEC® products were used throughout hallways, bathrooms and stairwells of the new Regenstrief Institute headquarters.

Regenstrief prides itself on improving the quality of care, increasing the efficiency of healthcare delivery, preventing medical errors, and enhancing patient safety. But those ideals could have been put at risk when serious issues arose with some of the new building’s floors during the early phase of construction.

As work was just underway, the contractor, Indianapolis-based Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. – a NTCA member – discovered that more than 3,000 sq. ft. of the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96. Moisture mitigation was the only way to solve the problem on the burnished, contaminated concrete, and TEC® moisture mitigation systems were the solution.

How MVER may affect tile installations

Subsurface moisture has always been a potential Achilles’ heel of floor covering installations, but excessive moisture vapor emission rates (MVER) recently have become occasional problems with ceramic and natural stone tile installations.

Today’s tiles – not as porous as they once were – are now often bonded directly to concrete, which has been covered with a waterproof and anti-fracture membrane, making installations more convenient and successful, but less breathable. On top of that, today’s fast-paced construction timelines mean installations may take place before concrete moisture levels are completely stabilized.

 TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same day flooring installation. “TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” says Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. 

TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same day flooring installation. “TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” says Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc.

Innovative and efficient

Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. decided to use TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ moisture vapor barrier to moisture mitigate 3,000 sq. ft. of the floors. Another 450 sq. ft. were mitigated with the original TEC® LiquiDam™. Both formulas, which can be directly applied onto green concrete up to 100% RH and may not require shotblasting on clean, sound surfaces, helped achieve a high level of moisture control and allowed the contractors to quickly move on with the installation.

TEC LiquiDam EZ, which launched January 2016, is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It protects flooring and tile systems from damage caused by severe moisture and alkalinity, and can be hand-stirred and then directly applied. The single-component formula dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same-day flooring installation.

“TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” said Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. “We were able to reduce our application crew by one person due to the ease of the new installation process required by this non-epoxy product.”

LiquiDam EZ impressed the contractors with its resealable packaging – a bonus when reusing product for next-day jobs. LiquiDam EZ can be resealed and stored up to six months, and eliminates waste and special handling.

After discovering that the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96, the contractor chose TEC moisture mitigation systems as the solution.

After discovering that the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96, the contractor chose TEC moisture mitigation systems as the solution.

Since the Regenstrief Institute is closely associated with the busy Indiana University School of Medicine and Health and the Hospital Corporation of Marion County, the job needed to be completed properly and in a timely fashion. When moisture problems are not addressed properly pre-installation, all sorts of potential issues may arise – particularly problematic for healthcare facilities that require sterile environments. Moisture control is one of the most crucial steps to carry out on the floor installation checklist. Yet this aspect of the process is all too often overlooked.

Other TEC tile installation solutions for the Regenstrief project

Within the new Regenstrief building, TEC quality product solutions extended well beyond moisture mitigation. Four flights of steel stairs in the Regenstrief headquarters were covered in 12”x 24” large-format tiles – a challenge since steel is a difficult-to-bond-to substrate for tile installations. TEC Multipurpose Primer created a quick fix, directly bonding the tiles to 120 large steel stairs. TEC Ultimate Large Tile Mortar was used for its non-slump and non-slip formula for heavy tile and stone applications.

Additional TEC products relied on during building construction include: TEC HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane, TEC PerfectFinish™ Skimcoat, and TEC Power Grout in DeLorean Gray. TEC products were used throughout the headquarters in the hallways, bathrooms, and stairwells.

Distributor Louisville Tile provided the 12” x 24” large-format tiles from Crossville, which were a sleek gray with subtle accents. Designed by Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis, construction started in October 2014 and was completed in November 2015.

feat-04The nonprofit medical research organization is dedicated to improving the quality, cost, and outcome of healthcare around the world. Regenstrief investigators work closely with nearby schools and hospitals – Indiana University’s School of Medicine, Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, the Roudebush VA Medical Center, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and IU Health University Hospital.

For more information about TEC, visit

The TEC® brand is offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., a leading provider of technologically advanced construction materials and solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential construction industry. Named “one of the world’s most ethical companies” by Ethisphere in 2013, and headquartered in Aurora, IL, the company’s recognized and trusted brands – TEC®, CHAPCO®, Grout Boost®, ProSpec®, Foster®, and others – are available through an extensive network of distributors and dealers, as well as home improvement retailers. For more information, visit

Technical Feature: Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels – TECH 2016

tech-00noahchittyThe status of standards for gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs (formerly known as thin porcelain tile)

Unique partnership between tile and installation materials manufacturers, tool suppliers, and labor set the groundwork for product and installation standards for new breed of tile

By Noah Chitty, director of technical services, Crossville

tech-01It began approximately 15 years ago when an Italian equipment manufacturer by the name of System Group came up with a new way to press tile with a process they called Lamina. It worked to gain traction for the product manufactured by this process by building a factory and showing people that a new way was viable and the product it made – hopefully – could change the face of tile making forever. A little bit of this product trickled into the U.S. market, but it was not until approximately five years ago that this tile entered the domestic market in a meaningful way. Along with the product, came the hopes of revolutionizing how people think about a material that has been around for a few thousand years.

tech-02The market was already moving in the direction of larger sizes: 12”x 24” was starting to replace 12”x 12” as king of the hill; 18”x 36” was starting to pick up steam; and 24”x 48” was being dabbled with here and there. This new thing was a tile over 3’ wide and approximately 10’ long – and to make it more complicated – with a thickness of only 1/8” to 1/4”. It was for sure sort of an anomaly that no one really thought could go anywhere. For the first 18 months or so most thought it was a fad that would go away, then designers and architects started to get excited and we started to see specifications for it.

This presented a new challenge; no one knew how to install it or what the rules were. So, a few tile and thinset manufacturers started to look at traditional setting methods as a basis for developing new techniques that would be necessary to comply with existing standards of coverage, lippage, etc.


As the market pressure increased, a unique partnership started to develop between tile and installation materials manufacturers along with tool suppliers, and most importantly labor. This new organic collaboration provided a mechanism for rapid development of new materials and methods for the installation of these extremely large tiles. Sales started to rise and the awareness of the tile industry started to grow. (Photos show training sessions at Crossville with Laminam, an example of this new breed of gauged porcelain tile.)

tech-04New language starts to emerge

In an ANSI meeting about three years ago there was enough awareness that while maybe a standard was not in the immediate future, it was clear something had to be said about it. Chris Walker of NTCA Five Star Contractor David Allen Company was designated as the leader of an ad-hoc group mandated to draft a statement for inclusion into the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile. Walker and company wrote some language for what they called “reduced thickness tile” and our industry documents started for the first time to recognize these new materials.

tech-05By this time we were seeing even larger tiles, up to 5’ wide, and in some cases more than 10’ long. By now a second technology from SACMI was emerging called Continua Plus, compacting porcelain powder between two large steel rollers. System Lamina technology was continuing to innovate as well, with even larger sizes and textures pressed between its new equipment that was more than 17’ long with plates more than 5’ wide with 50,000 tons of pressure. Both technologies advanced in thickness capability as well, able to press up to 30mm. From here momentum was starting to grow; a few manufacturers started talking about drafting a product standard to protect this new market from lesser-quality materials.

The next step towards the product standard

With the advancements in technology and the growth of the market, it was becoming evident that standards would soon be necessary. So a couple of companies that believed in the future of the category decided to start some testing, and sure enough we started to see data that would serve as the outline for a product standard. At the April 2015 ANSI A108 meeting it was formally decided to move forward with the product standard, as well as form an ad-hoc group to begin work on an installation standard to be called A108.19.

tech-06To drive the product standard quickly, tile manufacturers started to formalize the criteria around the terminology, thicknesses, breaking strengths, and other physical properties required to accurately describe the characteristics and quality of this category. As of the last meeting of the TCNA Tile Technical Committee in mid-July 2016, tile manufacturers had reached a general consensus that the majority of the content in the draft of the product standard was nearing completion for submission and subsequent ballot to the full ANSI A108 committee convening in October of this year.

tech-07Part of the evolution of the standard includes a name change from “large thin porcelain tile” to “gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs. The name change to “gauged” is based on two main things: the technology now being able to produce thicker materials that one day may be encompassed by the standard (so thin no longer made sense); and second the need to use a replacement term that describes materials produced to a precise thickness that determines their physical properties and areas of use. So we picked a term used to describe exactly that, similar to how “gauged” is used to describe wire or sheet metal. For panel/slab, we just recognized that both terms were being used in the industry/market so to recognize that fact and not hinder anyone’s way to market, we decided to propose the use of the dual term.

tech-08The installation standard starts to develop

In the meantime, the ad-hoc committee for the installation standard has also been hard at work. The first step was to get together as a group and look at all of the existing information from around the industry pertaining to these materials. Once the data was analyzed, an outline was created to address all of the different concerns brought by the members of the committee. The next step was to look at the variables of piece size, embedding technique, coverage rates, lippage tolerances, qualified labor language, and other required criteria needed to complete a comprehensive standard.

Drawing on the information and data supplied by different members of the committee we have been able to complete a draft that was distributed at the A108 meeting at Coverings 2016. While there is still some work to be done, the majority of it has been completed, and all signs point to a viable draft being distributed at the same A108 meeting in October of this year, and taken to ballot soon thereafter. As the leader of this group I can say the dedication to the effort has been second to none, and I would personally like to thank all involved for participating diligently and unselfishly to better the industry in which we work. Because of this collaborative effort we are well on our way.

Methods and Standards: Recent Proposals for the Upcoming TCNA Handbook

methods-01NTCA Methods and Standards Committee makes headway on six revisions

By Kevin Fox, NTCA Methods and Standards Committee chairperson

The NTCA Methods and Standards Committee’s work over the last two years reaped great success at the TCNA Handbook meeting in Atlanta, Ga., recently. There were six proposals submitted, and with great help and guidance from the TCNA staff, all were approved. Following is a brief summary on each of them.

I believe our proudest accomplishments are new sections on design and evaluation criteria pertaining to finished installation appearance. These new sections are as follows:

  1. Under the section GROUT JOINT SIZE AND PATTERN CONSIDERATIONS, you will find two new sub-sections, “System Modularity” which clears up confusion on modular tile sizes, gives design professionals guidance on using different sizes together, and points to the simple truth that when the tile modularity is not understood, design compromises are inevitable. The second new sub-section is “Tile Layout” which gives general tile layout provisions addressing reasonable expectations and limitations that challenge most projects.
  2. Under the section USING THE TCNA HANDBOOK FOR SPECIFICATION WRITING, a new sub-section called “Design Considerations When Specifying Tile,” references the Handbook’s many sections that design professionals must familiarize themselves with that impact the selected tiles and designs. It gives a very important reference that strongly recommends industry standards, guidelines, and best practices to be followed and strongly discourages variances from them. It also recommends in-situ mock-ups to be used under the given job site conditions.
  3. Under the section FINISHED TILEWORK, is a new sub-section called “Visual Inspection of Tilework.” This will be extremely helpful for the industry. It recognizes the hand-build aspect of tile installations, references substrate requirements, lippage, allowable warpage, effects of lighting and many more factors that affect the installation visual and aesthetic appearance of the finished tilework. It also gives guidance on viewing distance and lighting when finish tilework is being inspected.
EJ171 movement joint guidelines

Another accomplishment, with substantial consultation from Crossville’s technical staff Noah Chitty and Tim Bolby, was major additions to EJ171 MOVEMENT JOINT GUIDELINES. Most notable changes are recommendations in movement joint width and depth. The additions give a chart for minimum movement joint widths (for dry interior, not exposed to sun) in relation to joint frequency and tile thermal expansion properties, along with reference to the proper ASTM guides for calculating the joint.

Another addition to this section is a new sub-section called “Wall Tile Movement Joints in Framed Wall Assemblies” (with substantial consultation with Tony Fuller of National Gypsum) which gives the design professional awareness that wall movement joints are unique and require consideration of other wall components such as sheathing, framing and backer board before the wall is constructed – and that such considerations many times cannot be retroactively added.

Members of the NTCA Methods and Standards committee, representatives from Crossville, National Gypsum MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff all assisted with the states submissions described in the article.

Members of the NTCA Methods and Standards committee, representatives from Crossville, National Gypsum MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff all assisted with the states submissions described in the article.

Lighting and tile installations

Many of us are familiar with the effects lighting has on an installation. A substantial new Lighting and Tile Installations section has been added to give importance to this issue which can lead to much heartache for all involved. The majority of the added language was taken from the NTCA Reference Manual, so for many of you this will look familiar.

Mortar and mortar coverage

There was also language added to the MORTAR AND MORTAR COVERAGE section noting 100% mortar coverage is not practical. Many specifications call for 100% mortar coverage but this cannot be consistently attained and therefore it should not be specified.

It has been well-established that mortar cure times are extended when impervious tile is installed over waterproof or crack-isolation membrane. To alert design professionals of this situation, language has been added to the SETTING MATERIAL SELECTION GUIDE. Other conditions that will also delay cure times are narrow grout joints and using high-performance grouts. Recommendations of extending turnover of the floor to traffic are given.

Membrane selection guide

Other language added pertaining to membranes is in the MEMBRANE SELECTION GUIDE. A new sub-subsection called “Considerations When Using Membranes” that not only references the above-noted extended cure times for mortars, but also the fact that the hollow sound of tile installed over membranes is normal and not indicative of loss of bond (without concomitant installation issues).

Substrate requirements

The last submission involved the continued discussion of the disparity between division 3 and division 9 floor flatness. The section on SUBSTRATE REQUIREMENTS gives many references to this. The language we submitted further clarifies this difference. One of the key points to note is when division 3 floor flatness (FF) levels are specified, the floor must be verified to assure the specified levels are attained. This may seem implied, but many times this test is not performed. Therefore it quickly becomes a source of tension for projects when it’s required to correct the floor to division 9 specifications, and the tile contractor requests to be compensated for the work. This also leads to another important addition to this section: recommendations for the design professional to incorporate a separate allowance to correct the floor flatness from division 3 to division 9 specifications.

As chairman of the Methods and Standards Committee, I want to thank its members, the gentlemen from Crossville and National Gypsum mentioned above, representatives from MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff for helping us with these submissions.

Our next meeting with be October 22 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif., during Total Solutions Plus, October 22-25. If you have topics you feel would be appropriate for this committee to consider, you are welcome to contact me at [email protected].

President’s Letter – Tech 2016

JWoelfel_headshotNew tile technology may resurrect old installation methods

Qualified installers are key to large thin porcelain tile and plank success

As many of you know, I wear two hats for the NTCA: President, and Chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee. As a tile contractor it is the technical aspect of our business that will determine the success or failure of that installation.

The NTCA is blessed with some very intelligent contractor members who are actively involved in both the NTCA Reference Manual and national industry installation standards committees. Our association was very successful at the recent TCNA Handbook meeting this past June. New inspection standards and nominal sizing criteria in regards to multi-size tile patterns will help alleviate a lot of headaches for our members. I would like to shine a light and give credit to the following members for their hard work in helping our members save time and money when it comes to all of our tile installations:

  • Methods and Standards Committee Chairman Kevin Fox
  • Education Chairman and NTCA Technical Committee member Jan Hohn
  • ANSI Chairman, TCNA Committee and NTCA Technical Committee member Chris Walker
  • ANSI Vice-Chairman, NTCA Technical Committee Vice-Chairman and TCNA Committee member Nyle Wadford
  • Technical Committee and ANSI Committee members John Cox and Martin Howard
  • Technical Committee, and Methods and Standards Committee members Joe Kerber and Martin Brookes
  • TCNA Handbook and NTCA Technical Committee members Brad Trostrud and Rich Galliani
    Technical Committee member and Apprenticeship Guru Dan Welch

These hard-working tile contractors have gone above and beyond when it comes to fighting for both union and non-union tile contractors, both NTCA members and non-members.

I want to commend all of these people for volunteering their valuable time and energy to make our industry better. We at NTCA have committed to our members that their thoughts and concerns are heard and disseminated in front of national industry installation standards committees. Please know that there are a lot of NTCA tile contractors that I failed to mention who work very hard and volunteer their time as well, and I want to say thank you to all of them too.

As you can see, there are a lot of NTCA members who give their time and effort to make sure the entire tile installation community can be more successful. If you have a chance at the next meeting, go ahead and tell them great job or nice work – it will mean a lot.

James Woelfel, President NTCA
Chairman NTCA Technical Committee

Virginia Tile Co. Purchases RBC Tile & Stone

screenshot-2016-10-14-13-44-42Virginia Tile Co. has purchased RBC Tile & Stone.

Virginia Tile, founded in 1928, is a distributor of ceramic, porcelain, stone and glass tile in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin and serves residential and commercial contractors, dealers and other trade professionals.

Founded in 1959, RBC is a wholesale distributor of tile and stone with six locations serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

“We have known RBC for many years and have worked closely with them to secure a number of commercial projects in out-of-market situations,” said William Stephenson Sr., president and CEO of Virginia Tile. “RBC shares many of the same suppliers as Virginia Tile, including Crossville, Caesar, Atlas Concorde, Florim USA, Anatolia and Walker Zanger. Their ‘go-to-market’ strategy is very similar to ours with a particular focus on the commercial side of the business. We look forward to building on the tradition of service and quality that RBC has established over the years.”

Brian Mark, owner and president of RBC, said, “We are excited for the opportunities that this merger brings to our business. I will continue to be part of this new entity not only as an equity partner, but also with a leadership role in the combined companies. Our employees are very pleased to continue to be part of an industry leading organization.”

The combination of RBC and Virginia Tile, along with Virginia Tile’s acquisition of ISC Surfaces earlier this year, continues a strategy of geographic expansion and creates a dominant market position as the most important supplier of tile, stone and related products in the Midwest. On a combined basis, Virginia Tile, ISC and RBC will service 14 states or almost 30% of the contiguous U.S.

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Publisher’s Letter – Tech 2016

bart_0114Inaugural Installation Summit sparks awareness for floor covering job opportunities

By Bart Bettiga

In early August, the National Tile Contractors Association participated in an invitation-only Installation Summit, promoted by leaders of the Floorcovering Leadership Council and managed by Informa Exhibitions. The event took place at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Over 70 industry professionals, including 25 from the tile and stone industry, came together to address what many people are now referring to as an installation crisis, especially as it relates to overall quality and availability of a trained workforce.

This was an important first step in addressing a serious issue. For many years, the lack of qualified installers has plagued our industry. With the economic recession now past, and a steady increase in growth in all flooring segments, we find ourselves faced once again with this shortage. What makes this even more challenging is that a new generation of workers does not appear to be on the horizon. Discussion at the Summit centered around all the great jobs available in the flooring industry, and the realization that there is very little awareness of these opportunities – not just in installation, but in sales, design, management, etc.

pub-02By holding an Installation Summit, we’ve brought all the groups together to identify common challenges, with the hope of a collective approach to address a potential crisis in all segments. Training and apprenticeship programs, certification, on-line education, and recruitment of new people into the trades were all listed as critical items to work on collectively.

Following this town-hall group approach, tile and stone leaders met in intensive breakout sessions, seeking feedback to association direction in our industry. Representatives of the NTCA, MIA and BSI, and the CTEF were able to engage with our members for a focused discussion of how to work with other flooring industry segments.

pub-01On the second day of the Summit, all the attendees got back together to discuss next steps. The leaders of the Summit came out of the meeting with some clear direction. The group agreed an awareness campaign needs to be developed to inform people of job opportunities in the industry, with a special emphasis on installation as a trade. In order to accomplish this, Summit leaders agreed that a small group representing a cross-section of the industry will need to be created to brainstorm how to achieve these steps. This group will be appointed by Summit leaders, and will work closely with the Floorcovering Leadership Council for support and direction.

The NTCA would like to thank its staff, contractor and associate members who attended the event and provided valuable feedback. We are committed to participating in the committee, and will give a full report to our board of directors at our annual meeting, held in conjunction with Total Solutions Plus October 22nd-25th in Indian Wells (Palm Springs), Calif.

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