30 Openings available for CTI test at Coverings; Registration fee reduced during the show

Are you – or someone you know – ready to become a Certified Tile Installer (CTI)?

CTEF is making it easy for you to add this credential to your business. At at Coverings17 in Orlando, Florida, there are 30 openings over three days for the hands-on test. Choose between Tuesday, April 4, Wednesday, April 5 or Thursday, April 6.

In addition, during Coverings 17, you can register for the CTI exam for only $295 — that’s a $200 savings over the standard $495 exam fee.

To learn more about the CTI program, click on Becoming a Certified Tile Installer: What’s Involved?

The future of the tile industry depends on having trusted professionals who are nationally recognized as qualified labor. Sign up today – and invite a colleague — to become part of the future!

Register here:http://bit.ly/2nxqNro.

 

Tech Tip: Q&A with NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein

NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein was recently asked the following question regarding the use of marble thresholds and the options available to installers who need to transition tile or stone to another flooring product.

Question
I have a school cafeteria with Marble thresholds all are broken. Is there something more stable that I can use to replace them with. There are several 3′, 4′ and up to 8″ lengths. Before the 3/4 marble only came in 3′ so there are many joints.

Mark’s Answer:
While marble is among the softer natural stones, if the substrate is sound with no deflection and if the marble is properly bedded, it should hold up well.
As an alternative, I would suggest contacting a stone fabrication shop.  They often have remnant pieces of harder stone or composite materials that they can mill to your specifications for length and width.  They can also put beveled or bullnose edges on them for you.  I have found that 2cm thick material works well for this sort of thing.

TCNA Handbook Method TR611-16 is your reference for more information and a schematic detail for proper installation of a threshold.

Any material you install will still require proper preparation of the substrate and proper bedding with appropriate mortar.

NTCA issues position statement in reference to method EJ 171

One of the most consistent installation replacement or repair claims made in the tile industry centers around problems associated with the lack of accounting for movement of a building and how it affects the tile assembly.  The National Tile Contractors Association felt the issue is so signifiant to tile contractors that it issued a position statement that will be published in its 2017 edition of the NTCA Reference Manual.  At the heart of the concern is who bears the responsibility for designing, specifying or locating movement joints in a tile installation.  It points out that special attention to method EJ 171, located in the Tile Council of North America Handbook for the Installation of Ceramic and Stone tile, should be considered.
The position statement will be made available to all NTCA contractor members to include in documentation and correspondence.  Its intent is to point out that it is beyond the scope and ability of a tile contractor to properly design and specify movement accommodation, for either commercial or residential tile construction projects.

Lack of Movement Joints in a tile assembly can lead to installation failure

Tile Contractors and their installers should be aware of EJ 171 and its requirements, and should use the position statement to request in writing where the movement joints should be located.  They should use this method to point out to the building owner or design professional that the tile industry recommends that movement joints be installed every 20 to 25 feet in each direction in interior applications,and every 8 to 12 feet in each direction on exterior projects.  If interior jobs are exposed to direct sunlight or moisture, it should be treated as an exterior project and have movement joints located every 8 to 12 feet in each direction.

The NTCA recommends that the tile contractor take the responsibility to point out the requirements of EJ 171 before they begin the tile work and to not take on unnecessary liability by proceeding with work until movement accommodation is addressed.

To order your copy of the NTCA Reference Manual, go to www.tile-assn.com and visit the NTCA store.

LEVANTINA AND ITS CLIENTS FIND GOOD FORTUNE IN BUSINESS AT Xiamen Stone Fair, China

March 6, 2017 —  In China, superstition and symbols are deeply rooted in the culture. Levantina is introducing this allusion to the millenary culture on the occasion of the Xiamen Stone Fair, one of the most important natural stone fairs in the world.

The fair, which is always held from 6 to 9 March in China, is a meeting place for many industry players, who come together during these days.

The stand of Levantina, leader European company, with the largest Crema Marfil Coto® marble quarry in the world, located in Alicante, attracts many visitors.

This exhibit is open to all visitors, and full of Asian symbology. The “good fortune in business” is the driver of this spectacular space in which symbolic allusions coexist:

– A large aquarium with 9 fish welcomes visitors and symbolizes wealth, abundance, and good luck.

– Inside, tables in the shape of Chinese coins foretell wealth and prosperity in business.

– A Peijing or Chinese bonsai provides harmony in a vital space.

All this in a nature environment, source of the wide collection of marble, granite, quartzite, limestones and sandstones. With all these materials, we have created a new sensory experience, the “stone tunnel”, conceived to “feel” natural stone through the senses: the sight of stunning images, the relaxing sound of nature and the delicate touch of its finishings.

 

 

ABOUT LEVANTINA

Levantina is a world leader in production, transformation and marketing of Natural Stone. Born in 1959, they have the world’s largest deposit of Crema Marfil marble, located in Alicante. They currently own many quarries, 7 factories and 20 distribution warehouses. Their portfolio includes more than 200 different materials, among which national marbles and Brazilian granites stand out. They export to more than 100 countries all over the world.  www.levantina.com

 

 

 

LATICRETE Launches First-in-Industry Live Chat Online Technical Service

 

March 6, 2017, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE, a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the tile and stone industry, has launched the installation material industry’s first Live Chat online technical service functionality of its kind, allowing customers to connect directly with a LATICRETE Technical Services representative via web chat, email or phone call. Agents are available daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

“Live Chat raises the bar for the entire industry, with LATICRETE leading the way. We’ll be able to provide instant, easy-to-access, five-star service to our customers across the globe by whichever means is most convenient for them,” said Mitch Hawkins, Technical Services manager at LATICRETE.

LATICRETE Live Chat, which is available on every page of the company’s website, can be accessed through computers, tablets and smartphones, without having to download an app.

Live Chat allows the technical services team to instantly address the current situation at hand while providing customers with instant access to information and assistance wherever they might be.

# # #

About LATICRETE

LATICRETE is a leading manufacturer of globally proven construction solutions for the building industry. LATICRETE offers a broad range of products and systems covering tile & stone installation and care, masonry installation and care, resinous and decorative floor finishes, concrete construction chemicals, and concrete restoration and care including the LATICRETE® SUPERCAP® System. For 60 years, LATICRETE has been committed to research and development of innovative installation products, building a reputation for superior quality, performance and customer service. LATICRETE methods, materials, and technology have been field and laboratory proven by Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners. Offering an array of low VOC and sustainable products, LATICRETE products contribute to LEED certification, exceed commercial/residential VOC building requirements, and are backed by the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. For more information, visit laticrete.com.

 

Wash wall lighting installation recommendations from NTCA Technical Trainer Mark Heinlein

Proper preparation of substrate to ensure flatness requirements and installation of tile with acceptable lippage are key components for a successful wash wall lighting installation.  Determination of grout joint size and layout and location of lighting prior to the installation are critical.  Creating a mockup with lighting placed as it will be in the final installation and having all responsible parties review the mockup, make adjustments, or sign acceptance is strongly advised before proceeding with such an installation.
NTCA Reference Manual Chapter 6, pages 113 – 120 provide an excellent discussion on Critical Lighting Effects on Tile Installations.  Page 114 lists a series of 12 recommended tips for the tile contractor to prevent issues resulting from lighting

New Regional Evaluators expand CTI Certification opportunities

New Regional Evaluators expand CTI Certification opportunities

As of TISE West/Surfaces, there are 10 new Regional Evaluators at your service for the Ceramic  Tile Education Foundation’s (CTEF)  Certified Tile Installer (CTI)  Certification program. That means that installers no longer need wait until classes reach 10 or more students before they are able to take the hands-on portion of the exam and achieve industry-recognized certification and validation of skills and knowledge.

Qualified labor, like CTI Certification and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT), has been included in the MasterSpec and is being specified by more members of the A&D community.

Brad Denny (l.) and Dave Rogers are two new CTI Regional Evaluators.

The CTI test consists of a written, open-book, 155 question, multiple-choice exam that can be taken online and a live, in-person, hands-on test, which is monitored and assessed by Regional Evaluators. In it, installers must demonstrate their ability to execute a complex layout and proper installation of vapor retarder membrane, backer board, tile (walls and floors), cementitious grout, and flexible sealant (caulk). For each installation material, the applicant is scored on the various aspects of workmanship relevant to producing an installation that will endure use and satisfy the discriminating client.

Those who pass both parts of the exam receive a CTI certificate, plastic wallet ID card, CTI logo for use on cards, vehicles, websites and other marketing materials, consumer brochures and a listing on the CTEF website.  Any installer who has had at least two years of verifiable experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis is eligible to take the CTI exam. Study materials are supplied for those undergoing the test.

Led by Regional Evaluator coordinator Kevin Insalato, this troupe of Regional Evaluators now includes:

  • Brad Denny, Nichols Tile & Terrazzo – Joelton, Tenn.
  • Dan Hecox, Hecox Construction – York, Neb.
  • Joe Kerber at Kerber Tile – Shakopee, Minn.
  • Matt Newbold, Elite tile Setters – Lehi Utah.
  • Dave Rogers, Welch Tile – Kent City, Mich.
  • Tom Cravillion, Cravillion Tile – Plymouth, Wis.
  • Triniti Vigil, J&R Tile – San Antonio Texas.
  • Rafael Lopez, California Flooring – Manteno, Ill.
  • Mark Heinlein, NTCA trainer
  • Robb Roderick , NTCA trainer

In addition, Scott Carothers, director of Training and Certification for CTEF, is conducting CTI exams, with plans to concentrate on and grow  ACT certifications in the future. This team of evaluators has expanded the opportunities for CTI certification. The current schedule of CTI certifications is as follows:

  • February 21 – Heuler Tile, Pewaukee, WI
  • March 10 –CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • March 17 –ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • March 18 – The Tile Shop, Lombard, Ill.
  • April 4-6 –Coverings ’17, Orlando, FL
  • April 25 – Fire Keepers Casino, Battle Creek, MI.
  • May 12 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • May 19 – ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • July 14 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • September 15 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • September 22 – ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS
  • November 17 – CTEF Facility, Pendleton, SC
  • December 8 –ISC Surfaces, Kansas City, KS

There are two more March testing dates in regional locales in Utah and San Antonio awaiting approval.

Visit the CTEF website at https://www.ceramictilefoundation.o

CTI Regional Evaluator coordinator Kevin Insalato (r.) with NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson during TISE West/Surfaces 2017.

rg/events to check the calendar for new locations and CTI test opportunities as they become available; and this site to https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/certified-tile-installer-cti-program to learn more about becoming a Certified Tile Installer.

Business Tip – February 2017

Top 5 tips to avoid ambiguity in construction contracts

By Yasir Billoo, partner at International Law Partners

Avoiding ambiguity should be a primary goal when drafting and negotiating construction contracts. This helps ensure that you get what you want, including the bargained-for benefits of the contract, smooth contract administration and fulfillment, and avoidance of lengthy and expensive legal disputes. Follow these five tips to minimize ambiguities:

1. Keep it simple.

Keep your writing simple, clear and concise. Construction contracts are read and interpreted by a wide variety of people, including judges with no knowledge of the construction industry. Using plain English and shorter sentences while avoiding legalese and redundancy will make your contracts easier to read and understand.

2. If it’s part of the agreement, include it in the contract.

If a contract appears complete and comprehensive on its face, courts will prohibit the use of other documents to give meaning to the parties’ intentions. Statements made during pre-bid meetings or negotiations will not be effective in contradicting express terms in the contract. Include all terms of the deal in the contract, or incorporate key documents by reference.

3. Define key terms.

Courts give ordinary terms their ordinary meanings and technical terms their technical meanings. But the meanings of words cannot be divorced from the context in which they are interpreted, and parties often disagree on what terms mean in certain contexts. To avoid disputes, capitalize and define terms to attribute specific meaning. Then use the capitalized term as needed throughout the contract.

4. Include an order-of-precedence clause.

Because numerous documents make up construction contracts, conflicts may arise between requirements contained within the documents, such as the drawings and specifications. One way to address these conflicts is to include a clause providing that in the event of a conflict, the specifications take precedence over the drawings, or that contract documents take precedence according to a prescribed order of hierarchy. You may also wish to include a provision stating that what is required of any contract document shall be binding as if required by all.

5. Make proper use of standard forms.

Standard-form agreements such as AIA and ConsensusDocs are commonly used throughout the construction industry. However…there are risks with using such forms because they are written broadly, they may contain terms that are inapplicable to the transaction at issue, and parties often use such forms without fully reviewing them. Even if both parties orally agree to terms that differ from what is written, oral understandings will yield to written agreements, so it is important to read all the terms before using standard-form agreements. Add terms you think should be included in the contract and delete terms that are inapplicable.

Yasir Billoo is an experienced attorney in the areas of business/commercial contracts and litigation, real estate transactions (and title services) and litigation, intellectual property litigation, employment and labor, and civil appeals. Yasir’s experience ranges from representing large Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation and appeals in state and federal court, to helping small business owners with simple agreements and legal consulting.

Yasir earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and was admitted to both the Florida Bar and the California Bar in 2004. He is admitted to practice in all courts in each of these states.

Yasir earned dual Bachelors Degrees in International Relations and Communications from Florida International University. While earning his Juris Doctor, he was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court team and on the Board of the Journal of International and Comparative Law. A native of Karachi, Pakistan, Yasir, speaks English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and Memoni.

Prior to practicing law, Yasir managed the finances of a group of Central American companies, handling complex international financial transactions.

Yasir currently serves as a Hearing Officer for Miami-Dade County’s Commission on Human Rights, where he presides over appeals of initial determinations in cases where discrimination is alleged.

Yasir is a member of the prestigious invitation-only International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). IADC has been serving a distinguished membership of corporate and insurance defense attorneys and insurance executives since 1920. The IADC membership is comprised of the world’s leading corporate and insurance lawyers and insurance executives. They are partners in large and small law firms, senior counsel in corporate law departments, and corporate and insurance executives. Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including the majority of companies listed in the FORTUNE 500. Reach him at intlawpartners.com

Ask the Experts – February 2017

QUESTION

I’m a homeowner in Berkeley, Calif. On my recently completed bath renovation, we’ve found that the shower curb collects water and it takes a long time to dry even with ventilation. I’m trying to determine if this condition meets industry standards or if it would legitimately be considered a defect. Someone online recommended NTCA may be able to provide help.

ANSWER

Thank you for contacting The National Tile Contractors Association. The TCNA Handbook’s wet area guidelines state that horizontal surfaces must be sloped to direct water to the drain. The slope recommended is no less than 1/4” per foot.

I couldn’t tell a whole lot from the picture you sent, but it appears there is metal endstop trimming out your curb. If that endstop edge is above the edge of the tile, it can sometimes act as a dam on curbs that are sloped. Many shower systems incorporate surface waterproofing that lays right under the tile and can be easily damaged by removing tile. I would suggest tiling over the existing curb tile using a chair rail or some type of specialty trim to maintain the integrity of the waterproofing below the surface. Guidelines for tiling over the existing tile are found in the renovation section of the TCNA Handbook in section TR711. Scarification or primers are sometimes needed. And always make sure to use the correct adhesive for tiling over tile in a wet area.

– Robb Roderick, NTCA trainer/presenter

QUESTION, part 2

Thank you very much for the prompt and helpful response! Much appreciate the advice to tile over rather than break tile and risk waterproofing damage.

You are right – there is a stainless steel edge on the curb; it seems to be proud and acting as a dam.

Regarding the tile-over repair – a question. The manufacturer says the 24” x 24” tile we are using is slightly bowed for water runoff. I suspect the current ponding is related to this. Can this type of tile be cut for successful use on a curb like this, and if so are there standards for how to do this correctly so the repair is successful?

ANSWER, part 2

The tile you have selected appears to be pretty typical as far as inherent warpage. A byproduct of the firing process in tile manufacturing is that tiles become bowed or warped. This normally manifests itself with the center of tile being the high point and the edges being the low points. There are ANSI standards for what is and is not allowable for warpage. Considering you purchased the material from a reputable manufacturer, I’m sure it would follow in the acceptable guidelines for warpage, since this company has a great track record of offering quality tile.

As far as doing the repair within standards, the requirements are for the existing installation to be sound, well bonded, and without cracks. All soap scum, wax, or coatings must be removed from the surface prior to installation. You may want to scarify or prime the surface of the tile prior to the installation to increase bond strength. Always select a mortar that is approved for tile-over-tile installations. Incorporate your 1/4” per foot minimum slope in the new assembly. Most curbs are 6” so this would equate to a minimum of 1/8” drop.

– Robb Roderick, NTCA trainer/presenter

BUSINESS TIP – JANUARY 2017

IRS continues to enforce “reasonable” sharehold-employee salaries

 

 

In the ceramic tile industry there are many small businesses which may be Subchapter S Corporations, since there are many appealing tax benefits while still providing liability protection to the shareholders. If you’re a shareholder-employee of an S Corporation, you more than likely considered the tax advantages of this entity choice. But those very same tax advantages also tend to draw IRS scrutiny. And the agency has made clear that its interest in S Corporations – including possible audits – will continue. The IRS focuses on determining whether the salary of the shareholders is unreasonably low. The tactics listed below will help protect your company from this IRS examination.

 

 
What’s the problem?
The IRS pays particular attention to S Corporations because, as you well know, shareholder-employees of these organizations aren’t subject to self-employment taxes on their respective shares of the company’s income. This differs from, say, general partners in a partnership.

 
To better manage payroll taxes, many S Corporations minimize shareholder-employee salaries (which are subject to payroll taxes) and compensate them mostly via “dividend” distributions. If this holds true for you, the IRS may take a close look at your salary to determine whether it’s “unreasonably” low. The agency views overly-minimized salaries as an improper means of avoiding payroll taxes.
If its case is strong enough, the IRS could recharacterize a portion of distributions paid to you and other shareholder-employees as wages and bill the employer and/or employee for unpaid taxes, interest and possibly even penalties.

How do you define it?
By following certain guidelines, your business can ensure salaries paid to you and other shareholder-employees have a higher likelihood of meeting the agency’s typical standards of reasonableness.
For starters, do some benchmarking to learn how S Corporations of similar size (as indicated by capital value, net income or sales) in your industry and geographic region are paying their shareholder-employees. In addition, pay close attention to certain traits held by your shareholder-employees. These include:
Background and experience
Specific responsibilities
Work hours
Professional reputation
Customer relationships

 

The stronger these traits are, the higher the salary should be in the eyes of the IRS. Shareholder-employee salaries should be fairly consistent from year to year, too, without dramatic raises or cuts.
For more in-depth information about the particulars of S Corporations, visit https://www.thebalance.com/the-s-corporation-your-questions-answered-397844 or http://tinyurl.com/hp2qwna.

 
CTDA helps you succeed in your business through a variety of programs and services that include educational opportunities, webinars, and discounts on shipping, client collection services, telephone charges, auto rentals, and more. CTDA offers networking and relationship-building opportunities through participation in Total Solutions Plus all-industry conference and Coverings annual trade show. Membership in CTDA also increases your national exposure and gives you access to the annual membership survey, a valuable resource to evaluate your company in terms of profit improvement, employee compensation, distribution and company performance. The CTDA website, CTDA Educational Opportunities, Weekly Newsletters and TileDealer Blog are all free resources that will “keep you in the loop” as well. CTDA is always looking for ways to improve the benefits of membership. To learn more about membership, please contact [email protected] or 630-545-9415 visit the website at www.ctdahome.org. Like CTDA on Facebook and Twitter @Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA).

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