July 25, 2014

What’s new in the 2014 Handbook?

Handbook_Highlights

ANSI A118.15 Mortar (thin-set) added

The 2014 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation has been released, and this year’s edition includes the newest performance designation for tile bonding mortar within the ANSI system: ANSI A118.15 American National Standard Specifications for Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar. The new mortar standard is important because it enables contractors’ project bids to be compared more evenly – particularly when a higher-performing mortar is needed – because it provides a means for requiring or specifying use of a higher-performing mortar. Previously, many mortars that are now classified as an “A118.15 mortar” would have been categorized under ANSI A118.4, which still exists, but with a slight name change (now the American National Standard Specifications for Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar).

How does this affect tile contractors?

Specifications that called for an ANSI A118.4 mortar allowed a wide range of mortars in terms of performance. When estimating, contractors would have to decide whether or not to factor in a higher-performing (likely more expensive) mortar. Given the competitiveness of bids, doing so could jeopardize the chance of getting a job by adding cost to a bid that others are not including because it is not required. At the same time, experienced contractors and estimators know that some installations and applications need – or would at least benefit from – a higher-performance mortar, even if the job spec doesn’t require it. With the new A118.15 standard in place, there is a more level playing field. Plus, it could be argued that the consumer and end user will benefit because, when a higher-performing mortar is needed, the job specifications can call for it, and the project is likely awarded to a contractor that included it.

What methods are affected?

In the just-released 2014 Handbook, A118.15 mortar has replaced A118.4 mortar as the minimum requirement for tiling above-ground balconies and decks, pools, and steam showers. For interior above-ground floor installation methods (for example F113A), the mortar requirement depends on whether or not a membrane is being used. If there is no membrane, A118.15 mortar is required – the concept being that having a flexible component in such systems is helpful. If a membrane is used however, an ANSI A118.4 mortar may be used. Similarly, A118.15 mortar is required when a membrane will not be included when using the radiant-heat floor-installation methods and the exterior-wall methods.

Manufacturers of A118.15 mortars are already educating design professionals on when higher-performing mortar is needed and how to specify it. Be on the lookout for updated specs and be sure to bid accordingly.

TCNA Hires Lynn M. Zott

zottTile Council of North America (TCNA) has hired Lynn M. Zott as project manager. Zott has joined TCNA to further develop its communications and publications programs, along with TCNA project manager Stephanie Samulski. Zott brings a wealth of experience in publishing, having spent the last nine years as president of Zott Solutions, Inc., an editorial services company that provided contracted project management, editorial, and production services for 175+ reference and textbook titles worth millions in annual revenue.

Both as a small business owner and during her tenure at Gale, a major reference publisher where Lynn served as managing editor in charge of several award-winning, flagship reference series, she has honed her skills in writing and editing, product and marketing conceptualization, researching, designing for print and digital publications, and project management. Lynn particularly enjoys analyzing workflows, locating ways to maximize efficiencies in production, and designing methods and strategies to support optimal individual and team performance.

Eric Astrachan, TCNA executive director, said, “With Ms. Zott on staff, we believe we can better communicate industry initiatives, better inform our members, and make better use of content TCNA develops.”

DCOF Testing Mandated in 2014

eric_DCOFThe requirements for coefficient of friction – a measurement of a tile’s frictional resistance, closely related to traction and slipperiness – for ceramic tile have changed. The measurement is now DYNAMIC coefficient of friction (DCOF), which measures COF when in motion, vs. the old testing standard that measured a static COF. Any individual or firm involved in the manufacture, specification, sales, installation, or maintenance of ceramic tile floors must understand the new requirements for tile.

Many manufacturers continue to report COF numbers from the older method (specifically, SCOF values from the ASTM Intl. C1028 test method) along with newly-required COF numbers prescribed by the new ANSI A137.1-2012 standard for ceramic tile, which mandated this change in test methods.

The new test protocol is found in Section 9.6 of the A137.1 standard and is commonly known as the DCOF AcuTestsm.

Starting early in 2014, the old ASTM C1028 method is headed for obsolescence, so many ceramic tile manufacturers will only report their tile’s COF per the DCOF AcuTest.

In addition to the change in test methods, A137.1 now specifies a required DCOF AcuTest value for level interior tiles that will be walked on when wet; the required value is ≥0.42. Previously, there was no required COF value in A137.1 for wet floors, although a minimum SCOF value of 0.6, measured by the ASTM C1028 test method, was commonly specified for ceramic tiles in commercial project specifications. DCOF AcuTest values cannot be compared to old SCOF values due to the use of different wetting agents. For an accurate measure and assurance that the tile meets the minimum 0.42 AcuTest criterion, tile manufacturers MUST use the DCOF AcuTest method.

The technology on which the DCOF AcuTest is based was not available in the United States until recently. The DCOF AcuTest in particular offers several benefits over other methods of measuring COF: it is highly repeatable, it more accurately measures the COF of very smooth surfaces, it correlates well with European measures of COF, and it is portable.

If you haven’t switched yet to specifying/reporting/using/requiring DCOF Acutest values, make the switch today and don’t get left behind when the January 2014 deadline strikes. For more information, visit: TCNAtile.com.

TCNA – MEXICO UPDATE

From its five founding members, TCNA – Mexico’s membership has grown to 36 companies supporting Tile Council projects in Mexico.  This total includes 11 tile manufacturers (representing 98% of the tile manufactured in Mexico), 11 associate installation materials members, and 14 associate raw material supplier members.

The following are some of the recent developments with which TCNA – Mexico has been involved to benefit the North American tile industry:

Government Relations

TCNA – Mexico continues to participate in a government program to monitor tile imports by assisting in the revision of a government database used to identify and report misclassified tile, sub-valuation (when the price is less than 50% of the HS code average), tile falsely labeled as porcelain, and other illegal trade practices.

In 2012 TCNA – Mexico is also working with the Federal Consumer Agency (PROFECO) to prevent consumer fraud by identifying and reporting tile falsely labeled as porcelain being sold at retail stores or through distributors.

Installer Training & Certification

TCNA – Mexico now operates three installer training centers: one in Monterrey and the other two in the Mexico City area (in Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl and in Alvaro Obregon).  Construction of a fourth training center in Guadalajara will begin later this year.

Additionally, the installer certification program that was launched in Oct. 2010 continues to grow with the added support of TCNA – Mexico associate installation materials members.

TCNA – Mexico hired Oscar Urbina Almanza as training manager to promote the certification program and supervise training classes at each location.  Mr. Almanza is also in charge of evaluating installers taking certification exams.

Tile Installation Video

TCNA – Mexico developed a tile installation video that demonstrates all steps necessary for a successful tile installation in Mexico.  This video will be launched soon in the TCNA – Mexico section of Tile Council’s website.

Promotional Efforts/Tradeshows

In 2010 TCNA – Mexico successfully launched a 25,000-sq. ft. TCNA pavilion at Expo CIHAC, the largest construction show in Mexico. This year will mark the third year of TCNA – Mexico’s participation in Expo CIHAC, with its pavilion growing to more than 35,000 sq. ft.

In 2012 TCNA – Mexico will launch an installation stage within TCNA pavilion at Expo CIHAC for installation materials manufacturers to demonstrate their products.

TCNA – Mexico’s efforts at Expo CIHAC are designed to promote TCNA members, the use of tile, and improving tile installation quality through installer training and certification.

Green Initiative

TCNA – Mexico is leading the way to promote the sustainability of tile in Mexico.  It is working with the Green Building Council – Mexico to customize 80 of the 120 credits necessary for LEED certification to meet Mexico’s climatic and environmental needs.  TCNA – Mexico’s involvement will provide the tile industry with a strong voice in this effort.

TCNA – Mexico was created in 2005 to serve Tile Council of North America’s Mexican members, as well as U.S. and Canadian members doing business in Mexico.

TCNA Laboratory Expands Services

Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) Product Performance Testing Laboratory is pleased to announce several new services designed to meet the industry’s growing and ever-changing needs for relevant, up-to-date product testing.

ISO Testing

In addition to TCNA’s full ISO 13007 cementitious grout and adhesive testing capabilities, TCNA just added ISO 10545-5 “Determination of Impact Resistance by Measurement of Coefficient of Restitution” to its standard ISO testing offerings.

ASTM Testing

TCNA’s lab can test all tile and stone products to the new DCOF AcuTestSM method referenced in ANSI A137.1, as well as traditional ASTM C1028 coefficient of friction testing.

Additionally, TCNA continues to offer modified ASTM C666: “Automated High Cycle Freeze/Thaw” stone testing, making it practical and cost effective to test stone to hundreds of cycles, as well as ASTM C1721: “Petrographic Analysis of Dimension Stone” testing, which determines a specimen’s important physical and chemical characteristics, such as mineralogy, texture, and composition.

New Green Testing

TCNA staff recently developed a first of its kind method for testing the hypoallergenicity and cytotoxicity of coated surfaces.  TCNA also added lead and cadmium testing to its existing menu of green testing:

  • Photocatalytic testing
  • Antibacterial testing
  • Expanded fungus and microorganism testing
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) testing
  • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) testing

ANSI Testing

TCNA is pleased to add glass tile testing per the criteria found in ANSI A137.2, the industry’s new glass tile specification.  It also tests to every other existing ANSI tile industry standard.

As the largest tile and stone-only testing facility in the U.S., TCNA’s Product Performance Testing Laboratory offers confidential product and performance testing conducted in a state-of-the-art laboratory.  The TCNA lab offers a wide range of tile, dimension stone, and installation materials testing per ASTM, ANSI and ISO standards and can also provide custom testing services on request.  TCNA’s lab can also provide larger-scale testing and research conducted via partnerships with the National Brick Research Center and Clemson University.

DCOF AcuTestsm: The New Method for Measuring Coefficient of Friction on Tile

Tile Council of North America (TCNA), is pleased to announce there will soon be a new standard for coefficient of friction (COF) testing on tile.

The DCOF AcuTest method will soon replace ASTM C1028 as the specified method for COF testing.  DCOF AcuTest is a more repeatable and reproducible method that gives a better indication of actual slip potential on a tile surface.

This new method uses the BOT 3000 automated portable testing device with a specific type of rubber sensor and slightly soapy water.  The sensor is resurfaced using a sanding device designed by the TCNA’s Product Performance Testing Laboratory.

A new version of ANSI A137.1 Specifications for Ceramic Tile will soon be published with the new DCOF AcuTest method.  Additionally, for the first time there will be a minimum COF requirement of 0.42 for level interior tile surfaces expected to be walked upon when wet.

The new A137.1 will also include a two-page informational section (section 6.2.2.1.10), which will help specifiers better understand how to choose the right tile for every application.

TCNA’s lab is fully-equipped to test all tile products to this new and improved coefficient of friction test method.  For more information on this and other tile and tile-related product testing, visit www.tileusa.com/test_main.htm or contact TCNA at 864-646-8453.

World’s First Glass Tile Standard Now Available

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is pleased to announce the availability of the world’s first standard for glass tile, ANSI A137.2 American National Standard Specifications for Glass Tile.

Since glass tiles have performance and aesthetic properties very different from ceramic tiles, a separate and unique standard was required.  ANSI A137.2 categorizes and defines types of glass tiles and establishes aesthetic and performance standards within each category.

Some of the key issues the standard covers include:

  • Methods of manufacture: cast, fused, and low temperature-coated
  • Categorization by size: large format, mosaic, and miniature mosaic
  • What constitutes a defect
  • Mounting criteria for mounted glass mosaics
  • Measurement and definition of translucence
  • Strength criteria
  • Thermal shock resistance using real life temperature ranges
  • Levels of recycled content

With standard criteria in place, the industry now has a consensus baseline for manufacturing quality and a valuable tool which can aid in the development of new installation standards and in the general specification of glass tile.

“With the wide variety of products available around the world, this much-needed standard aims to reduce confusion in the marketplace,” stated TCNA Executive Director, Eric Astrachan.  “TCNA and its members are confident that the clear and consistent definitions and standards established by ANSI A137.2 will help preserve the value, popularity, and quality associated with glass tiles today.”

Print and electronic copies of ANSI A137.2 can be purchased from TCNA.  To order this standard contact TCNA at [email protected]  or (864) 646-8453.

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

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

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

Submission criteria and format includes:

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

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