Qualified Labor: The Benefits of Certification

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program run by the Certified Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) encourages installers to test their skills against industry standards. It offers industry members the chance to establish their place among the best and brightest installers. During Total Solutions Plus in Palm Desert last October, Becky Serbin interviewed several NTCA members about the benefits of certification.

Sullivan

“It really is a way for me to categorize my installers as well as let them know where they stand,” said Dirk Sullivan, NTCA state ambassador for Oregon and owner of Hawthorne Tile, and State Ambassador. “It helps them want to move forward in the industry and to know what they have to do to get there.” The CTI program leads to bet- ter installations and increased wages across the industry.

Brookes

Martin Brookes, with Heritage Marble and Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., and NTCA 2nd vice president, said, “We’ve had great Brookes success using the program to elevate workmanship, to elevate the confidence of our guys to do higher-end installations, and higher commitment to the standard of quality of work. It’s been really advantageous to Heritage Marble and Tile.”

Denny

As the industry rises in reputation and reliability, its members benefit. “The CTI program allows me to offer something to my customers that not Denny everyone else can,” said Brad Denny, NTCA regional director and State Ambassador, and project manager at Nichols Tile & Terrazzo Co. Inc., Joelton, Tenn.

 

Albrecht

In addition to being a benefit to the installer, the CTI program is a boon to the installation company. “We’ve been located by people across the country using the database through the CTEF and NTCA websites,” said Erin Albrecht, chief operations officer of J&R Tile in San Antonio, Texas. And every year the construction industry is recognizing certi cation as more important.

Woelfel

Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. saw a huge financial benefit after
receiving a request for certified installers. “Five years ago
we had an owner call us and say, we’re looking for CTEF-certified installers and we can’t find anyone who knows what they’re doing,” said James Woelfel, Artcraft vice president and NTCA chairman of the board. “It generated at least a billion dollars worth of work over the last six years,” he said.

Overall, certification raises the industry standard and encourages
quality installation.

Fox

“I think what we have seen is a different culture of professionalism in the trade,” said Kevin Fox, president and owner of Fox Ceramic Tile, Inc., in St. Marys, Kan., and chairman of the NTCA Methods and Standards Committee. “It took us a while to get a buy-in on it. We have a lot of installers that have been doing [installation] for 20 to 30 years, so it took me a while to convince them to validate their skills. We need those skills validated as a company as we’re talk- ing to general contractors, especially those who aren’t familiar with us. And we also need it validated for even repeat custom- ers that are looking for clients that will provide a consistent product.”

Howard

The tile industry toward certification as a standard. Martin Howard of David Allen Company in Raleigh, N.C., and current NTCA president, observed, “It really does set you apart from your competitors and it also validates your skill and it validates the knowledge that you have and the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are.” The more installers who are certified the better off the industry is as a whole.

Hohn

Jan Hohn of Hohn & Hohn, Inc., in St. Paul, Minn., said, “It was a selling point I could talk to general contractors about, to architects, and designers to let Hohn them know we had passed a national test and it said we were qualified to install tile.” As more contractors, architects, and designers recognize certification as evidence of quality installers, certification will become ever more important to the industry and its members.

For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/certified-tile-installer-cti-program.

NTCA RECOGNIZES FIVE STAR CONTRACTOR PROJECTS OF THE YEAR AT COVERINGS

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recognized industry leaders at its fifth annual awards ceremony during Coverings 2017 in Orlando. Among the awards presented were the Five Star Contractor Grand Prize awards for both commercial and residential tile installation projects.

Submissions were judged based on project size, challenges involved, resolution of challenges, design and overall presentation. “When we are reviewing all the amazing submissions I feel immense pride in the proficiency in which our Five Star Contractors achieve. These projects are not only technically complex but artistically beautiful as well,” said NTCA Five Star Program Director Amber Fox.

“The Ratner Residence”

Heritage Marble and Tile of Mill Valley, California received the Five-Star Grand Prize for residential tile installation. The firm was tasked with the Ratner Residence, a project consisting of handmade glass made by Fireclay Tile of San Jose. The project was challenging in the fact that the install involved a curved wall, soaking tub and an integrated shower stall with a curbless application. With oversight from the homeowner, a qualified crew of CTI and ACT certified installers exceeded expectations.

 

US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings

The Five-Star Grand Prize for commercial tile installation was presented to Grazzini Brothers & Company of Eagan, Minnesota for the completion of their project, the 1.75 million square foot U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The installation incorporated 56 different types and sizes of tile, from the marble stairs, to the glass walls and porcelain plank flooring. Having multiple architects on a project this size gave crews the opportunity to showcase their skills from layout to install of different ideas and design under one roof.

Both Five Star winners were awarded $2,500 in prize money, sponsored by Daltile Corporation.

Sponsor Product Spotlight: LATICRETEⓇ TRI-LITE™

LATICRETEⓇ TRI-LITE™ is a lightweight, high performance tri-purpose mortar designed for large and heavy tile, thin-bed and wall installations. Due to its lightweight formula and smooth, creamy consistency, a 30 lb bag provides the same coverage as a 50 lb bag of traditional mortar.

LATICRETE TRI-LITE can bond to many suitable substrates including concrete, steel and cement plaster. Its incredible non-sag performance is able to support very large and heavy tile with ease.

LATICRETE TRI-LITE can be used for common applications such as countertops, ceilings and bathtub walls. For more information, visit www.laticrete.com.

Tips for Successful Floor & Wall Tile Installation With No Lippage

Many contractors contact NTCA technical advisers regarding acceptable tolerances for floor tile installations, but our trainers also tell us that with the increased use of large format tile being specified for walls, it is becoming increasingly challenging for tile contractors to successfully install these products without lippage. Contractors should be aware that the tolerances for both floors and walls are the same, and that this issue should be addressed before installing the tile.  Many applications in dry areas are to be installed directly over gypsum board or drywall, and there is little opportunity with the adhesive to make up for imperfections in the surface. Lighting can also wreak havoc on a tile installation on a wall, making the edges appear to be even more uneven and imperfect. Industry tolerances for both floor and wall tile applications state that the substrate should have a maximum variation of /14” in 10’ from the required plane, nor more than 1/16” in 12” when measured from the high points in the surface.  If a builder wants a tile installation to be flush with no or minimal lippage, they need to make sure the framing and drywall contractors are delivering a surface that meets tile industry tolerances.  If the tile contractor doesn’t check for this, and accepts the substrate as is, they run the risk of having a serious issue take place that can cost everyone money and time.  

For more information on this subject, you can order the TCNA Handbook or ANSI A108 Book for tile installation on the NTCA website at www.tile-assn.com

Product Spotlight: NXT™ SKIM by LATICRETE

New and improved, LATICRETE® NXT™ SKIM is a premium quality, fast-drying, cement-based underlayment designed for skim-coating, smoothing and leveling prior to the application of floor coverings. The improved formula can now hold more water, resulting in a creamier consistency for a smoother application and sleeker finish, as well as an extended pot life and easier troweling. In a first amongst skim-coating products, the NXT SKIM packaging has also been redesigned with a tin tie resealable feature that allows the product to be saved for additional uses, minimizing product waste and increasing cost savings for the installer. NXT SKIM can be applied from skim depth to 1″ (0 – 25 mm) and the finished flooring can be installed as soon as 20 minutes after application. Designed to meet UL GREENGUARD® certification standards for low chemical emissions, the new NXT SKIM can be utilized at high profile jobsites, including hospitals and schools.

F For more information, visit www.laticrete.com.

Tech Tip: Ask NTCA Technical Trainer Robb Roderick

Q: Are there any standards or situations where it is acceptable to install ceramic tile over gypsum wall board and not a tile backerboard?   

A: There are two methods in the Tile Council of North America handbook for installation of tile over gypsum board. Method  W242 which employs organic adhesive for a setting material. And Method W243 which employs the use of thinset mortars that meet ANSI 118.1 or 118.4 or better.

In W242 (organic adhesive method) in the section preparation by other trades it states ” The maximum allowable variation in the tile substrate is 1/16 of an inch in 3′ with no abrupt irregularities greater than 1/32″. Both methods specify the gypsum board is to be installed according to GA216.  ” Treated with tape and joint compound with bedding tape only( no finish coat) Nail heads, receive only one coat.

In Method W243 (thinset method) it states ” Maximum allowable variation in tile substrate for tile with edges shorter than 15″ the maximum allowable variations is 1/4″ in 10′ from required plane with no more than 1/16″ variations in 12″ when measured from the high point of the surface. For tiles with at least one edge 15″ in length, maximum allowable variation is 1/8″ in 10′ from the required plane, with no more than 1/16″ variation in 24″.

So there are many standards depending on the type of tile and adhesive you are using.

OSHA to delay enforcing crystalline silica standard in the construction industry

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.
The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017.
OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

TileLetter and NTCA will keep you informed on developments regarding the standard.

Product Spotlight: NXT Level by LATICRETE

LATICRETEⓇ NXT™ Level is a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates including concrete, vinyl tile, cement terrazzo, exterior glue plywood, cement mortar board, cement backer board, ceramic tile and stone. NXT Level produces a flat, smooth and hard surface for the installation of finished flooring. 

The NXT Level formula is a factory-prepared blend of cement, aggregate and other materials to produce a flowable, fast hardening underlayment that can be distributed via pour or pump. Common applications include interior thin bed floors and renovations.

NXT Level can be placed from 1/8 – 3″ (3 – 76 mm) in a single lift and applied directly over concrete testing at a relative humidity of 95 percent or less per ASTM F2170. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible, non-sensitive to moisture and maintenance-free. For more information, visit www.laticrete.com.

Tech Talk – April 2017

A tour through NTCA’s “Innovative Tools” Coverings 2017 presentation

An array of tools that make tiling easier, safer and more efficient will be on display

By Lesley Goddin

This year, at Coverings ’17 (taking place as this book is going to press), NTCA technical trainers/presenters Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick are conducting a Coverings Conference session called “Innovative Tools in the Tile Industry.” In addition, the session will be presented in Spanish by NTCA technical trainer Luis Bautista, and David Allen Company’s Marcos Castillo. NTCA training and education coordinator Becky Serbin will also be on hand at the session.

The session explores a number of tools available in the industry right now and their benefits. For our Tech Talk section this issue, we are presenting a synopsis of the tools that will be presented in this session, along with photos and the URL, so you can research them on their own and see how they might enhance your installation experience or efficiency.

Several of the products selected for the session offer tremendous innovation in the ability to remove dust, especially in light of OSHA’s new requirements for limiting the amount of crystalline silica in the workplace. These new safety standards are to go in to place this summer. These include the iQTS244 dry-saw, and Alpha Tool’s HEPA Dry Vacuum and Ecoguard series of dust collection devices.
The iQTS244 10″ tile saw from iQ Power Tools is a dry-cut saw with a vacuum attached on the bottom. This saw makes precise cuts in a dust-free environment without the use of water. NTCA technical trainer/presenter Robb Roderick said, “Traditional wet saws have a tendency to spray water around the jobsite, which is why they are normally set up outside or in a garage. This saw works great in freezing temperatures where wet saws would have difficulty.” www.iQpowertools.com

 

Alpha Professional Tools offers the Alpha® Hepa Dry Vacuum, with an extra-large capacity HEPA filter system and a power 2-hp motor. The drop-in HEPA filter is individually certified to have a minimum efficiency of 99.97% at .3 microns. Alpha is updating this vacuum, and a new model will be available in the near future.

 

In addition, Alpha offers the Ecoguard series of dust collection devices (pictured is the Ecoguard EG, an Economy Grinding Dust Collection Cover for larger grinders, fitting most 6” to 8” grinders). When connected to an industrial vacuum the Ecoguard EG moves easily and creates a virtually dust-free grinding experience. Roderick said, “Cutting and grinding creates a lot of dust which can have adverse effects in the user, and require extensive amounts of efforts cleaning up the mess. These products help eliminate those issues.” www.alphatools.com

 

When it comes to mixers, the RUBITOOLS’ Rubimix -9 electric mixer offers a configuration that is more comfortable to the user for mixing thin-set and grout than that offered by traditional  drills, Roderick said. It also has adjustable speed setting allowing you to use it to mix multiple types of products with one mixer. The versatile mixer allows mixing adhesives, resins, paints and other materials by changing the mixing paddle. Its double grip with bi-material handles has improved ergonomics and greater user comfort.

RUBI also has developed a rubber graduated RUBI-KANGURO “ITALIANO” bucket, which is easily cleaned and has greater longevity. Roderick noted that traditionally tile installers have used plastic buckets to mix thinset or grout. “To be used again, the buckets must be cleaned daily,” he said. “Because of the rigidity of the plastic after thin-set or grout hardened, the dried materials are nearly impossible to removewithout damaging the bucket. These buckets are rubber and much more easily cleaned when setting materials have dried in them.” The buckets have reinforcing ribs and a base and mouth which are designed to make the bucket very structurally robust. www.rubi.com.


Gundlach is distributing a new Montolit Masterpiuma P3 cutter– and it’s Montolit’s #1 bestselling cutter. “This cutter has gotten rave review on several tile-related Facebook sites, because  of its ease of use and its ability to cut virtually every type of tile available,” Roderick said. “Many of our members are amazed at how well it works.”


It can cut all types of tile quickly and accurately, ranging from thicknesses of 0-22mm. It even makes cutting on a diagonal safe and simple. It features an accurate, powerful and effective ergonomic push scrib handle, a self-adjustable patented scoring system and easy, fast set-up, transport and storage due to the patented foldable design. Adaptable for large-format tiles as well. www.montolit.com

Not every tile line offers bullnose pieces for finished edges. But the Raimondi Bull Dog™ bullnose machines, made by Raimondi and distributed by Donnelly Distribution LLC, allows installers to make custom bullnose pieces of porcelain or stone easy. The pump-cooled machine bullnoses and bevels, offering rough, finished and polished levels of finishing. www.raimondiusa.com

 

Another product from Raimondi is the Raimondi Maxititina Multi-Functional Floor Machine with Grouting Paddle. While this is not a NEW machine, it is innovative in that it allows contractors to grout a floor without kneeling, clean a floor, or grind/scarify or prepare subfloors to improve the bond. It allows installers to level out high spots on concrete, and power grout a job at 55 rpm, spreading the grout and packing the joints full. It also can seal floors in a jiffy, and polish them to a desired level of shine, at 110 rpm.

 

Also useful is the Berta by Raimondi which has a large replaceable sponge drum which rotates to clean freshly-grouted floors, which is a major time saver on large floor installations.

Finally, with dimensions of tile growing larger and larger, the ETM Grip by European Tile Masters facilitates handling and back-buttering of gauged porcelain panels. It has 12 fully-adjustable suction cups and four adjustable handles, can be configured to multiple lengths (up to 10’) and multiple shapes (including U and Z shapes), and can be tilted from 90 to 15-degree angles. The ETM Grip allows two people to move and manage today’s larger format tiles with ease. www.europeantilemasters.com

Stone – April 2017

Dazzling natural beauty on display at Antolini

At Coverings this month, show guests will have the opportunity to be wowed by fantastic natural stone exhibits at Antolini, booth #2270.

HAUTE NATURE is Antolini’s tribute to a designer who has provided the world with the most

fashionable creations: Mother Nature. Antolini’s most elaborate exhibition immerses guests in stunning examples of Mother Nature’s most marvelous natural stone masterpieces, displayed in innovative ways and often illuminated and backlit for fantastic effect.

The reception desk is made of Explosion Blue, accompanied by two Morsetto lamps designed by Alessandro La Spada, and a magnificent backwall made of Stratos Design | Explosion Blue with an insert of backlit Crystal Quartz.

The bar area features a counter in Amethyst “Original” and Bianco Lasa | Covelano “Vena Oro”

illuminated by two Amethyst “Original” chandeliers and a backwall featuring the same stones

as the counter.

The booth also features 12 large backlit Precioustone slabs, six non-backlit Precioustone slabs, six Shellstone slabs, and 56 stone strips in polished and leather finish.

Eight onyx coffee tables in different colors can be found throughout with white poufs for seating. A large

videowall plays Antolini studios. Fourteen stone busts are adorned with Lady A Precioustone jewelery.

A special room dedicated to Azerocare will feature Bronze Amani walls and a kitchen. The room is strictly reserved for customers accompanied by salespeople, and a demonstration of the revolutionary innovation of AzeroCare’s bulletproof protection against staining and etching for marbles, onyxes, and soft quartzites. For the very first time, the public will be able to see firsthand proof of the treatment’s efficacy.

Antolini features a dazzling booth of stunning natural stone at Coverings 2017

Materials used include:

  • Amethyst “Original” — For over 3,000 years it has been one of the gems that are most often used in jewelry and furniture, prized for its properties of “second sight,” and exuding a royal purple hue.

 

  • Bianco Lasa | Covelano “Vena Oro” — This marble is uniform, compact, with fine-grain crystals and excellent physical properties. Bianco Lasa Covelano marble, is excellent to work with and can be easily mirror-polished to bring out its unique shine, color and transparency. Due to its good resistance to compression and bending, its ability to resist weathering and its hardness, it can be put to any use inarchitecture, construction and art.
  • Quartzite Michelangelo — Beautiful veining characterizes this stone, combining both warm and cool tones.
  • Fusion Wow | Original “Multicolor” – With the intense color of papayas and iridescent flares, this multicolor stone offers warm colors and exotic appearance.
  • Fusion Wow | Original “Light” – This quartzite is perfect for adorning the most fascinating projects, with shades of green that spread like gentle waves or and windblown field. This wonderful natural stone, unique for its colors and stunning veining, is now offered in a world exclusive by Antolini.
  • Fusion Wow | Original “Dark” – This quartzite captivates with a dappled blue appearance that is mysterious and deep.
  • Invisible Grey — Much like a painting, the Invisible Grey stone effortlessly displays a unique and individual pattern that consists of an almost shattered, dramatic look, with delicate lines of dark grey contrasting against the light.
  • Bronze Amani —This valuable and elegant natural stone comes from Spain, bringing warm and welcoming tones,which recall hints of bronze, and treating observers to three-dimensional characteristics that are formed from interlacing of various shades of color.
  • Explosion Blue – This natural stone resembles a wave that creatively embraces the nocturnal sea-dark tones, slightly reflecting the gold threads of the moon.
  • Crystal Quartz —Crystal Quartz preserves the intact beauty of spirituality. Able to capture the natural light and to produce extraordinary effects, this material has been considered in ancient times a god’s gift and so is today, as its healing properties are still effective. This natural stone has a magic allure that can be used as a perfect tool by the most visionary designers in search of a new harmony, conceptually as well as materially conceived.

 

 

For more information on these and other beautiful and spectacular Antolini materials, visit www.antolini.com

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