TRENDS 2017: PRESIDENT’S LETTER

Martin Howard

We are fortunate to be part of a dynamic and innovative industry, where change is normal with new products, methods and trends in design and installation. Here at David Allen Company, we have just completed several projects with 40 to 60 different tile types and numerous different color combinations. I don’t know of another finish trade that is so diverse and complex: gauged porcelain tile/panels in sizes up to 5’ x 10’ have been around long enough that most of us have some experience working with them. There has been a resurgence of handmade and extruded tiles with concave, convex and three-dimensional faces, just to name a few.

If you were at TISE West in January, you had the opportunity to see many new tile designs. While these tiles create beautiful projects and sometimes works of art when they are complete, they demand the highest levels of installation skills and management ability. Continuous training to keep crews updated on the specific installation requirements of 60 different products on a single project is challenging. It’s mes like this that a good working knowledge of industry standards and recommendations is essential. On more than one occasion recently after installing handmade tiles, the project architect rejected portions of our installation quoting the TCNA Handbook tolerances. Knowing that the TCNA Handbook standards only apply to tiles manufactured and tested to comply with ANSI A137.1 was the key to helping educate the architect that not all tiles can be judged by the same standard and installation tolerances. Following are excerpts from the TCNA Handbook that specify where standards can be applied.

Ceramic Tile Types

“Ceramic tile suitable for TCNA Handbook installation methods are those that meet the specifications outlined in ANSI A137.1 American National Standard Specifications for Ceramic Tile. ANSI A137.1 contains performance and aesthetic criteria for the five major types of ceramic tiles: porcelain, pressed floor, mosaic, quarry and glazed wall tiles.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.2

Specialty Tile

“Specialty tiles are designed to meet special physical requirements or to have special appearances characteristics. They are not required to meet all requirements of ANSI A137.1. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications. They are some mes manufactured to create an architectural effect toward the casual [sic]. These tiles vary in size, one tile from the other. Variations in plane may be expected. Larger les will usually require greater varia on in joint width. For each specialty tile being chosen, review installation guidelines supplied by manufacturer/distributor of specialty tiles and/or adhesive manufacturer. Specialty tiles include, but are not limited to, tiles made from non-ceramic materials.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.5

Keeping up with industry standards can keep you from replacing accept- able workmanship unnecessarily. If you are unsure if the tile you have been contracted to install meets ANSI A137.1 contact the manufacturer and request a Master Grade Certificate. If they can’t provide one or state that their product is not manufactured to meet this standard, you have the answer needed. This will allow you to educate your client and establish reasonable expectations for the installation.

Education is key to working more professionally and profitably. Keep on tiling!

Martin Howard, President NTCA Committee Member, ANSI A108 [email protected]

 

TRENDS: EDITOR’S LETTER: Lesley Goddin

Here we are, in the midst of a long-anticipated spring. Weather is warming, blades of grass are poking out of barren ground and COLOR is everywhere.

That’s fitting since in this issue, we are having a veritable spring explosion of color – and style. Take a look at Shelley Halbert’s story for a bloom of fresh new colors that will be influential, inspiring and blossoming forth from everything from fashion to home decor. And in fact, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is GREENERY – a life-affirming color of hope, and fresh new starts.

There’s a burst of new color and design from around the globe as well – see the stories from Tile of Spain, Ceramics of Italy and Turkish Ceramics to sample the international menu of important trends that will inform our industry. And just how are tiles incorporated into residential and commercial design? Explore the A&D Q&A to see how interior designers Lisa Mende and Patricia Gaylor create magical settings through the use of tile.

Kent Klaser speaks with us about budding stone trends and directions, and suppliers of stone and tile share with us what’s selling in their necks of the woods and identify up-and-coming trends.

Peruse our product sec on for an overview of color, aesthetics and formats in tile and stone this year. We also include a setting materials sec on because a sound foundation, complemented by the proper accessories, treatments and tools, helps ensure the beautiful finishing materials look and perform splendidly for decades.

And I would be remiss to not men on a big event for NTCA – this year marks this association’s 70th Anniversary. A festive celebration is planned Thursday night, April 6, at Coverings to commemorate NTCA’s perennial influence in supporting the trade, advancing the use of tile, and partnering with other sectors of our industry in creative ways to raise tile’s visibility as a beautiful and enduring surfacing material – and to ensure that installations perform beautifully for years to come.

There is so much beauty, drama and style coming into ower this year in tile and stone – and TRENDS is just the beginning. Enjoy the issue and see these trends come to life on the Coverings show floor in Orlando April 4-7, 2017.

March 2017 EDITOR’S LETTER: Lesley A. Goddin

Welcome to spring. The long, dark winter (for some – here in New Mexico, we’ve had 80 degree temperatures in March already!) is over and the tiling season has begun.

Of course, for most contractors, the tiling season is all year round, though the warmer weather affords some flexibility (and struggles – with wind, humidity, high temperatures, sun and rain) and opportunity for indoor and outdoor tiling projects.

Though warm weather is upon us (or nearly upon us, for those of you in the Northeast), cool weather will come round before we know it. That’s why it’s worth discussing electric floor warming with your clients. Today’s technologies make it easy to install and the benefits of a warm, cozy floor (even enjoyed on cool summer nights) will be appreciated for years to come. Take a look at our Tech Talk section for some discussion of electric floor warming challenges straight out of the NTCA Reference Manual.

Despite the push towards spring, we’re taking a look back at The International Surfaces Expo West

(TISE West) that took place in the dead of January in Las Vegas. Take a gander at the events and activities that NTCA sponsored and supported at the show, which has really grown into a vibrant and vital opportunity for tile and stone con- tractors. Our product section this month also contains a sampling of what was seen at the show, both in terms of finishing product and set- ting materials and accessories.

We also have a fun Business Tip this month – Riding Shotgun with Connie Heinlein. Connie is wife and intrepid assistant to NTCA technical trainer/presenter Mark Heinlein, and accompanies him to workshops around the country (many of the excellent photos of Mark you see in TileLetter or on social media are courtesy of Connie). She has a unique perspective on the value of NTCA to installers in the industry, and in the Business Tip section, she shares it with you.

At Total Solutions Plus, Training and Education coordinator Becky Serbin interviewed some of our prominent contractor members on video about the value of being a

Certified Tile Contractor. TileLetter freelancer Terryn Rutford has extracted some salient quotes about the importance of this credential and how it helps in business, and presents it as our Qualified Labor story this month.

And in closing, a little tidbit that came to my attention from the Tile Geeks social media group on Facebook. Schluter’s Shannon Huffstickler had shared some information about Tim Daly – known for his role in television hits Wings and Private Practice, and currently appearing as the husband of the Secretary of State in Madame Secretary opposite Tea Leoni – that she had heard during an interview with him on NPR that morning. It turns out that Daly (whose sister is Tyne Daly, by the way) once had a tile company in California called Silver Dollar Tile Company, because they “signed” their work by installing a silver dollar in every floor.

Do you “sign” your work? Send an email to [email protected] and let me know how you make your mark on the installation (apart from your excellent work, of course).

Make this day your best one yet. God bless,

Lesley

[email protected]

 

PRESIDENT’S LETTER: NTCA enjoys great success at TISE West

I’ve just returned from TISE West/ Surfaces West in Las Vegas where the NTCA experienced its most productive and successful attendance at this conference to date.

What made it so special, you ask?

This is the fourth year NTCA has been responsible for the tile contactor education track and with the help of the NTCA State Ambassadors, we created quite a buzz around the conference hall. The NTCA booth was much larger, and featured lounge areas for networking and impromptu contractor roundtable discussions. The State Ambassadors worked the booth for the most part and signed up several new members. The Ambassador Reception and Dinner was very well attended by contractors who were excited to be there and exchange ideas and information.

The Board of Directors meeting started out with an update of the NTCA Strategic Plan by executive director Bart Bettiga.

The great news here is that the two-year Finisher program will be completed and available on-line at the NTCA University website by Coverings this year. The two-year Installer program is on track to be complete by the end of 2018. If you haven’t seen this tremendous learning tool, I encourage you to contact Becky Serbin, Training and Education Coordinator for a preview (see NTCA University Update on page 84 of this issue).

Another major initiative that started at the end of 2016 is the hiring of Kevin Insalato, of California Flooring in Manteno, Ill., to work with Scott Carothers and CTEF. His major responsibility is to train and certify Regional Evaluators who will administer the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) examination. Kevin has nearly tripled the number of evaluators across the country and is seeking more qualified individuals. Our goal is to see the current number of 1,300 CTIs grow well into the thousands by the end of 2018.

Next up, the subcommittee reports

The Training and Education committee, chaired by Dave Rogers, of Welch Tile & Marble, Kent City, Michigan, now has five subcommittees as follows:

Safety – Chaired by Robert Showers. This committee is working on documents to be made available to all NTCA members as a resource for safety training, OSHA-approved safety programs and up-to-date changes in regulations and how they might impact our trade.

Promotion – Chaired by Paige Smith. This committee is working on initiatives to promote CTI and specific hot topics in distributor showrooms, along with talking points for workshops.

Certification – Chaired by Sam Bruce. This group is working hard to write scripts and study aids for those preparing to take the CTI exam. Its goal is to see those who possess the skills and knowledge increase their success rate by being properly prepared for the exam.

CEU Programs for Management – Chaired by Dirk Sullivan. This group is working to provide pro- grams and educational study guides for advancement in all areas of management.

CEU Technical – Chaired by Rod Owen. This group is developing scripts for educational videos to be used in training field foremen and superintendents.

These committees have now held two in-person meetings – at Total Solutions Plus (TSP) and TISE West – along with many conference calls and video conferences showing their commitment to grow the value of membership in the NTCA. There were nearly 100 industry professionals in attendance at the Board of Directors meeting, and it is very exciting to see so many new faces taking leadership roles within the association.

The Technical Committee, Membership Committee, Methods and Standards Committee and Convention Planning Committee also gave reports along with an update on the NTCA Five Star program from new Five Star Program director, Amber Fox.

As always, I invite your involvement and feedback and I look forward to seeing you at Coverings in April.

Keep on tiling!

Martin Howard, NTCA President Committee member, ANSI A108 [email protected]

Member Spotlight: Gudbrandsson Tile & Stone

NTCA is an international association, and as such, in this issue, we present to you a member from Manitoba, Canada – Gudbrandsson Tile & Stone (www.facebook.com/gdtileflooring), which installs tile and stone in mostly residential renovations and new homes, with occasional commercial hand-crafted specialty projects.

Brandur Gudbrandsson was working as a trucker until the discovery that he would soon be dad to a daughter helped bring his passion into laser-like focus. At the time, he learned his best friend for 17 years was also having a child. That became the impetus to start in the tile and ooring industry, with Gudbrandsson’s only knowledge stemming from “being in and out of the trade for 10 years.”

Gudbrandsson drove from Manitoba to Chicago in 2016 to attend Coverings; Dave Karp gave him a warm welcome.

Gudbrandsson quit driving and began buying tiling tools until he hit a bump in the road. “Ironically, my buddy of 17 years did not want to continue after one month of work and we found out our sixth-great-grandfathers were half brothers,” he said. “He became a professional trucker; I became a professional tilesetter.”

Gudbrandsson’s grandfather said, “Stand still, nothing accomplished.” Standing still wasn’t good enough for Gudbrandsson. “ When I had to take the leap of being a dad, I told myself follow my passion and I will succeed,” he said. “I thank my daughter for where I am today – and my grandfather’s hard working roots. Everything I do – on a job or in the industry – has my family name on it. It signifies quality.”

Brandur Gudbrandsson joined NTCA in 2016 due to the influence of fellow Tile Geeks tilesetters he admired.

Gudbrandsson joined NTCA in 2016 due to the influence of fellow Tile Geeks tilesetters he admired. “I believe the industry is being re-pioneered today, and I came into the industry at the best time,” he said, adding that he wants to “be involved with the industry as deeply I can get.”

Gudbrandsson said, “The greatest aspect of becoming a NTCA member is the support and net- working from so many GUD people. I had the pleasure of meeting many in Chicago at Coverings 2016. It was a GUD drive; Dave Karp, owner of Tile Fusion, was the first to greet me on the journey from Manitoba.”

He continued, saying, “It is a GUD satisfaction to be a part of an ancient art. It gives me great joy to see more people involved every day. The networking is very GUD locally and abroad. Becoming a Tile Geeks member led me to create Tilesetter Canada Facebook group for more regional connections. I see now setters from Canada helping each other nding work, becoming friends and helping troubleshoot problems, or connecting with a tile company representative.

Brandur Gudbrandsson (far left) and a group of NTCA members and Tile Geeks at the NTCA booth during Coverings 2016 in Chicago.

“Seeing the tile community through social media using the word GUD is also attering,” he added. “Perseverance, consistency, details – meeting anyone with the same passion is always a pleasure.”

 

 

 

 

 

Gudbrandsson Tile & Stone projects

 

NTCA CONTINUES CAREER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS WITH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

In an effort to provide online training to support tile contracting companies, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is in the process of completing the first year of its Apprenticeship Program. The first year, introduced at Coverings 2016, is broken into six-month increments. The first section focuses on introducing the worker to the tile industry, promoting safety in the workplace, the types of tools that will be used on a regular basis, and basic knowledge of mixing materials and how products are used together. The final phase of the first year of the program will go into further detail of installation processes like surface preparation and profiling.

The Apprenticeship Program was developed to attract people into the trade by demonstrating a clear path for them to be properly trained while they are employed and being compensated. The online program is intended to support contractors own training efforts on the jobsite. It serves as related learning for a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program that a contractor provides, or any additional training for introductory employees including sales people, counter help at a distributor, or helpers. The program can also serve as a refresher course for those who haven’t had training or education in these areas in a while. Contractors can sign up for the program through NTCA University for an all-access subscription and can register any current or future employee.

According to Education and Training Coordinator Becky Serbin, the association will soon begin developing the second year of the program, which will include more in-depth knowledge of grouting techniques, waterproofing, transitioning into a tile setter helper role, and introducing the worker to management courses to provide training for individuals to manage their own finishing crew.

“While the content development has been slower than I originally expected, I have been working with contractors and manufacturers to ensure that the information we are providing can be used to give the next generation of mechanics the tools they need for successful tile installations,” Serbin said. “I’m lookingforward to the next year as we continue to grow NTCA University into a site that all tile installers can come to learn something new, no matter their skill level.”

NTCA is in the final stages of working out agreements with technical colleges about using this program as curriculum for the education portion of their classes. The next steps in development of the apprenticeship program will be a tile setter related learning program which will also be a two-year related training program. The curriculum will continue to be announced in six month increments, and will be available for viewing and purchase online as each course is completed.

NTCA Benefits Box – April 2017

NTCA’s State Ambassador program – 132 strong at last count – has evolved over the last few years from its State Director program.

These “ambassadors” represent the NTCA and assist trainers at local NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops, recruit and recommend contractors for membership, work with local distributors in circulating NTCA brochures, applications and posters in their locations, and welcome and support new members. They also provide current industry news from their local area, which is often covered in TileLetter magazine or at tileletter.com online.

The intent of this group is to form a strong, supportive web of NTCA members that support the tile trade and all NTCA members in the local area. They also positively promote qualified labor, certification, the NTCA, and the tile industry as a whole.

Many of the State Ambassadors are installers themselves, but some are manufacturer reps who cover more than one state. Active in this program are: Ardex Americas, Bostik, Daltile, HB Fuller, MAPEI and wedi.

State Ambassadors are also NTCA’s eyes and ears in the local market, and gather information and ideas that can help NTCA better serve local contractors.

Visit NTCA at www.tile-assn.com and search for “2017 State Ambassadors” or use this shortened link to take you directly to the list of State Ambassadors: http://bit.ly/2o8gmLe.

Member Spotlight – Lofthouse Tile & Mosaic – April 2017

Lofthouse Tile & Mosaic:

Striving for perfection is worth the investment

Randy Lofthouse is an independent residential contractor, specializing in waterproof showers featuring glass mosaics and large format porcelain.  Lofthouse Tile & Mosaic, in Bloomington, Ind., (www.LofthouseTile.com) offers comprehensive service relevant to tile, stone and mosaic installation.  This includes demolition, framing, subfloor amendment, sales, design, installation, finish carpentry and associated touch-up necessary to complete the project.

Lofthouse started out in his home state of Texas, first using tile nippers in 2006.  The creation of mosaic flower pots and coffee tables helped cultivate an interest in future tile setting.

“I was on a bicycle ride in Fort Worth, Texas, when the window display at Lucasso Stone caught my eye,” Lofthouse said. “I walked in at the right time and met the owner; he referred me to an associate who needed a warehouseman.  I eventually gained employment with a natural stone importer in Fort Worth.  I was responsible for unloading freight including fine stone from Pueblo, Mexico.”

The team handled slabs of natural stone, crated dimensional stone, and cases of sheet mosaics. This first hand witnessing of Rojo, Noche, and Fiorito Travertine, Emperador Marble, tumbled, hammer brushed, honed and filled, and all of the terminology fascinated Lofthouse.

“From material handling and general warehouseman I eventually cut and produced sample boards to display at showrooms that offered our stone,” he continued. “Eventually, I tiled the entryway to the warehouse with an assortment of travertine — our best selling varieties.  The owner was impressed, and compensated me accordingly.” 

From there, Lofthouse moved into small bathroom flooring remodels, and eventuallyI acquired the correct tools of the trade.  “I remember buying my first wet saw at a pawnshop in Irving, Texas.” He said.  “Timing was perfect. A realtor recommended my services to a pilot that contracted me to tile a second story shower within an aircraft hangar in Saginaw, Texas.”

Lofthouse didn’t have a sophisticated truck to start – just a 1982 El Camino, which he said was very easy to load but not so fuel efficient. The downturn of the building industry in 2007/2008 brought difficult years.  But over time, work picked back up, with Lofthouse considering  each project more exciting than the previous.

Joining NTCA

After struggling in the development of my trade, witnessing the failed installations which are so prevalent, and learning to become a much better negotiator, Lofthouse decided to join the NTCA two years ago.

“I’ve always felt strongly about strengthening the industry,” he said. “Even among other tile setters, my question has always been:  ‘What are you doing to make conditions better?’  I’ve learned to use the word ‘NO’ whenever necessary.  This means turning down projects with insufficient budgets or expectations.  With the support of NTCA knowledge and networking, combined with my solid reputation, homeowners recommend my business naturally.

This approach has worked out well for Lofthouse. “With my experience and confidence, I offer a level of service few are willing to match,” he said. “ The majority of my clients are homeowners wishing to update their existing shower, whether a failed installation or simply out of date.  A very small percentage of my work has been new construction; although I am highly experienced and very much appreciate a fresh canvas.  I continue to reach out to reputable builders in search of establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship.  When I meet that special builder, we will both attain new levels of project efficiency and longevity.”

Lofthouse beams with pride in demonstrating professionalism, beginning with the initial quote, procuring materials, staging the project, making timely progress while honoring manufacturers’ recommendations, right through grout, caulking, and sealing.  He’s happy to educate the homeowner if they are curious as to why he installsl tile and stone in such a manner.

“What a great feeling when you are operating your business correctly; the end product is of museum quality,” he said.  “I have developed the habit of ‘service after the sale’ (which I learned from a respected jeweler).  I follow up with an email describing care and maintenance of the investment, and my warranty is:  ‘If you should have an issue with your tile, I would like to be the first person you contact.’  Thankfully, when a homeowner calls you back, it’s for ADDITIONAL WORK!”

Recently, Lofthouse  purchased a home about two hours north of Evansville Ind., where he had built his solid reputation.  “I feel accomplished, receiving referrals from homeowners to take care of family and friends here in the city of Bloomington, as far as Indianapolis,” he said. “Striving for perfection is worth the investment. I truly enjoy my career!”

 

Northern Virginia NTCA Five Star Contractors partner on high-visibility Dekton project

Collins Tile and Stone, David Allen Company collaborate on commercial fabrication showroom install 

The crew (l. to r.): DAC’s Hugo Gonzalez, Chris Walker, and Edgar Martinez; and Collins’ Oscar Cardenas, Arpad Bereczki, and Buck Collins.

 

When Marble & Granite Express, a Cosentino Loyalty fabricator in Chantilly, Va., decided to completely redesign and remodel its DC-area customer showroom and design center, only a beautiful floor that would perform under the most extreme foot-traffic conditions would do. Because this customer is a Cosentino Dekton Certified fabricator – working daily with Dekton for countertops, fireplaces, exterior kitchens, showers, facades and other interior and exterior applications – it knew that Dekton, of course would be the perfect solution for the 2,000 sq. ft. showroom floor.

 

Crews had to diamond-grind the floor to prepare it for primer and self-leveling underlayment.

Dekton is a breed of surfacing material unto itself. The website (www.dekton.com/usa) explains that Dekton “employs exclusive Sinterized Particle Technology, a high-tech process which represents an accelerated version of the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years.” The material has zero porosity and is super strong, lacking micro-defects in other materials that can cause tension or weak spots and it resists heat, frost and thawing. It’s also super flat, with 1/4000th of an inch tolerance.

 

Primer was applied after diamond-grinding and prior to self-leveler application.

 

To best show the value of Dekton, Cosentino has chosen to partner with highly-skilled NTCA Five Star Contractors. These contractors have a proven ability to expertly handle Dekton’s hardness and its size with specialized techniques and equipment necessary to work with the material. That’s why Larry Mazzola, who runs Cosentino DC, turned to Collins Tile and Stone in Ashburn, Va., and David Allen Company (DAC) in Raleigh, N.C.

Stellar collaboration from Five Star Contractors

Crews get ready to level the floor.

 

Both NTCA Five Star Contractors – an industry-recognized measure of excellence and accomplishment — Collins and DAC have had a long professional and personal friendship, born of mutual membership in the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). Buck Collins, president of Collins Tile and Stone is dedicated to employing installers with Certified Tile Installer (CTI) credentials, an industry-recognized measure of validating tile setting skills.  Buck, along with wife Dana, has a superior reputation for performing high-end

LATICRETE NXT Level created a smooth, flat surface for the Dekton panels.

residential installations with unrivaled customer-satisfaction.  In addition, the company is involved in serving the industry and always learning more. Buck was the NTCA Region #2 director until last year, and was the first Northern Virginia NTCA Five Star Contractor.  He also is a member of the NTCA Technical Committee. 

 

Chris Walker is vice president of the David Allen Company, NTCA vice president , and chairman of ANSI A-108 and the new A-108.19 gauged thin tile panel installation standard.  And it turns out that both Collins Tile and Stone, and the David Allen Company are inaugural members of the Cosentino-Dekton family.

The Dekton panels were 56” x 56” x 8 mm thick.

The project got started when Collins Tile and Stone was contacted by Mazzola because of Collins’ regional reputation for high quality installations and commitment to customer service.  After evaluating the needs of the project, Buck decided to call on Chris and DAC for collaborating on the job.  David Allen Company – one of the nation’s largest contractors — brought experience with installing several gauged thin porcelain tile and large panel projects to the table. Since these sintered ultra-compact Dekton Zenith materials on floors were 56” x 56” x 8 mm thick, DAC’s experience was invaluable in ensuring a smooth installation process.

ETM Grip from European Tile Masters was used to move and handle the ultra-large format Dekton panels.

Good thing too – “The biggest challenges…were the size of the tile,” Collins said.  “While the tools we used made that easier, we were still setting 21.77 square foot per tile!” 

Another key member of the team was LATICRETE’s Kurt Webber, who worked with Collins’ Concrete Coatings crew to facilitate self-leveling necessary for the project.

“Since a perfectly flat floor is instrumental to successful tile installations — particularly large panel installations — significant floor preparation was required,” Walker said.

 

The prep work took three days and the tile installation itself was eight days,” Collins said. Collins Concrete Coatings personnel used diamond-

LATICRETE 4-XLT mortar was used on the job.

wheel concrete grinding equipment in concert with a survey by DAC to identify areas that needed grinding or filling, Walker added. After grinding, crews installed LATICRETE NXT Primer and leveled the floor using LATICRETE NXT Level.  In addition, two coats of LATICRETE Hydro Ban were installed for its crack isolation properties.

To facilitate moving and handling of the Dekton, European Tile Masters’ Brian Runkle reviewed the latest installation techniques and equipment with the installation crews.

 

The installation crews featured three Certified Tile Installers: Collins Tile and Stone’s Oscar CardenasCTI # 1007, along with two from David Allen Company: superintendent Marcos Castillo, CTI #552, and Edgar Martinez, CTI #1257.

Dekton panels were back buttered with a large-format tile mortar.

 

 

Crews used LATICRETE 4-XLT large-format mortar to bond the Dekton and LATICRETE SPECTRALock Pro Premium to grout it.

 

In addition, Collins Tiles and Stone’s experienced finisher Arpad Bereczki (who is on track to take his CTI exam soon) and DAC’s Hugo Gonzalez also assisted with the installation (Hugo is enrolledin the NTCA University’s Apprentice training program). Buck Collins noted that the Marble & Granite Express was “absolutely thrilled” with the installation.

 

Mortar also was applied to the floor to lock in the bond.

 

And the added benefit for Collins Tile and Stone and nearby David Allen Company is that there is now a “2,000 sq. ft. showroom in our backyard.” A true win-win for everyone involved.

 

 

 

 

 

Crews installed 2,000 sq. ft. of Dekton panels on the fabricator showroom floor.

Dekton expertly installed by crews from Collins Tile and Stone and David Allen Company.

 

Editor’s Letter – March 2017

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Welcome to spring. The long, dark winter (for some – here in New Mexico, we’ve had 80 degree temperatures in March already!) is over and the tiling season has begun.

Of course, for most contractors, the tiling season is all year round, though the warmer weather affords some flexibility (and struggles – with wind, humidity, high temperatures, sun and rain) and opportunity for indoor and outdoor tiling projects.

Though warm weather is upon us (or nearly upon us, for those of you in the Northeast), cool weather will come round before we know it. That’s why it’s worth discussing electric floor warming with your clients. Today’s technologies make it easy to install and the benefits of a warm, cozy floor (even enjoyed on cool summer nights) will be appreciated for years to come. Take a look at our Tech Talk section for some discussion of electric floor warming challenges straight out of the NTCA Reference Manual.

Despite the push towards spring, we’re taking a look back at The International Surfaces Expo West (TISE West) that took place in the dead of January in Las Vegas. Take a gander at the events and activities that NTCA sponsored and supported at the show, which has really grown into a vibrant and vital opportunity for tile and stone contractors. Our product section this month also contains a sampling of what was seen at the show, both in terms of finishing product and setting materials and accessories.

We also have a fun Business Tip this month – Riding shotgun with Connie Heinlein. Connie is wife and intrepid assistant to NTCA technical trainer/presenter Mark Heinlein, and accompanies him to workshops around the country (many of the excellent photos of Mark you see in TileLetter or on social media are courtesy of Connie). She has a unique perspective on the value of NTCA to installers in the industry, and in the Business Tip section, she shares it with you.

At Total Solutions Plus, Training and Education coordinator Becky Serbin interviewed some of our prominent contractor members on video about the value of being a Certified Tile Contractor. TileLetter freelancer Terryn Rutford has extracted some salient quotes about the importance of this credential and how it helps in business, and presents it as our Qualified Labor story this month.

And in closing, a little tidbit that came to my attention from the Tile Geeks social media group on Facebook.  Schluter’s Shannon Huffstickler had shared some information about Tim Daly –known for his role in television hits Wings and Private Practice, and currently appearing as the husband of the Secretary of State in Madame Secretary opposite Tea Leoni– that she had heard during an interview with him on NPR that morning. It turns out that Daly (whose sister is Tyne Daly, by the way) once had a tile company in California called Silver Dollar Tile Company, because they “signed” their work by installing a silver dollar in every floor.

Do you “sign” your work? Send an email to [email protected] and let me know how you make your mark on the installation (apart from your excellent work, of course).

Make this day your best one yet.

God bless,

Lesley

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