Tile Council of North America To Celebrate National Tile Day by Visiting Clemson’s New Football Operations Complex

(Clemson, SC) —  Thursday, February 23 marks the first-ever National Tile Day, and the staff of Anderson, SC-based Tile Council of North America (TCNA) will celebrate the occasion with a tour of Clemson’s new 140,000 square-foot Football Operations Building. The $55-million building is currently pending LEED Silver Certification, thanks in part to its ubiquitous use of tile.

“As the trade association representing North American manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products, we’re of course always excited to get a first-hand look at innovative uses of our members’ products,” says Eric Astrachan, Executive Director, TCNA. “As it happens, we also have very close ties with Clemson University, and not only does our lab —  home to the most experienced tile-and-stone-specific team in North America —  draw a lot of in-house lab and engineering talent from Clemson, but we also work closely in concert with the materials and science engineering department there when we need outside assistance on different facets of projects.”
The tour will be a treat for reasons beyond TCNA’s professional affiliation with the University, Astrachan notes.
“To say that we’re all Clemson fans would be a vast understatement, and the day after the Tigers’ National Championship win this year was very nearly a national holiday at TCNA,” he adds. “Since we were ‘All In’ with the Tigers on their big day, there’s no place we would rather be on tile’s big day —  National Tile Day.”
The Clemson Football Operations Complex encompasses 30,000 square feet of tile, along with 4,000 square feet of thin brick.  Jeff Thomas, Senior Account Executive, DCO Commercial Floors, says that both the expanse of the project as well as the wide variety of styles used —  including stone- and wood-look tiles and glass tiles, just to name a few, contributed to the complexity of the install. Thomas adds that the TCNA Handbook was instrumental in the team’s success, especially considering they had a firm due date: ESPN’s live broadcast on National Signing Day.
“I was fortunate to have the use of the TCNA Handbook to pass along our reasoning on why we recommended certain methods of installation.  For example, this project covered numerous types of installation methods —  showers, pools, steam rooms, and thin brick veneer were all present, and in many cases, focal points of the project.  With the TCNA Handbook, I was able to easily illustrate to the design team our preferred method of installation while explaining the reasoning behind it.  This allowed any RFIs and clarifications to be expedited and continue to meet the fast-paced schedule.”
“We’re proud that our research, industry standards, and reference materials have been of service to the companies who worked on the Clemson Football Operations Complex project. Seeing tile playing a key role toward the building attaining LEED Silver certification is even more rewarding,” says Bill Griese, Director, Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives (Clemson ’06). “Further, we fully anticipate that the energy, environmental, health, and lifecycle benefits resulting from the project’s extensive use of tile will serve Clemson and its athletes well, long into the future. It’s neat to see firsthand the beauty and limitless design potential of tile on full display in any high-profile LEED project, but when ‘Clemson orange’ and waterjet-cut ‘tiger paws’ are involved, it’s that much more fulfilling.”
Clemson aims to achieve at least a LEED Silver rating for all newly constructed buildings and large renovations. The LEED green building certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. It contains prerequisites and credits in five categories: sustainable site planning, improving energy efficiency, conserving materials and resources, embracing indoor environmental quality and safeguarding water.

About LEED Certification
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely-used third-party verification standard for green buildings, with around 1.85 million square feet being certified daily. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then receives one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Learn more about why LEED continues to be the benchmark in green building at USGBC.org/LEED.
About TCNA
TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products. Established in 1945 as the Tile Council of America (TCA), it became TCNA in 2003, reflecting its membership expansion to encompass all of North America.
Tile Council is recognized for its leadership role in facilitating the development of North American and international industry quality standards to benefit tile consumers. Additionally, TCNA regularly conducts independent research and product testing, works with regulatory, trade, and other government agencies, offers professional training, and publishes industry-consensus guidelines and standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.

Miles Distributors, Inc. Announces Management Changes

Miles Distributors, Inc., a 47 year old distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone, with locations in Traverse City and Wyoming, Michigan and South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Indianapolis, Indiana announces several management changes.

Douglas R. Miles, President of Miles since 1992 and a former president of the CTDA, will be stepping down as President but will remain active as Chairman of the Board.

Douglas M. Miles, General Manager of Miles since 2010, has been named President.

John Zolman, Sales and Marketing Manager for Miles since 2000, has been appointed Vice President of Sales and Marketing. John currently serves on the board of directors for the CTDA.

Miles Distributors, Inc. currently sells, supports, and delivers to over 1,800 tile dealers, residential tile contractors, and commercial tile contractors throughout Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Miles can be contacted through their home page at www.milesdist.com.

Doug Miles

John Zolman

Event Cancellation: The International Marble and Granite Fair, Espírito Santo, Brazil

Due to the public security situation in the State of Espírito Santo and the city of Vitória, the annual edition of the International Marble and Granite Fair – VITORIA STONE FAIR | MARMOMAC LATIN AMERICA, that was to be held February 14th to February 17th, 2017 at the Carapina Events Center in Espírito Santo has been cancelled. This decision was made to preserve the safety and integrity of their customers, exhibitors, visitors, and all service providers committed to the event. Milanez & Milaneze S/A reaffirm the importance of this international event for the ornamental stone sector. They reiterate their goal is to preserve the safety of those involved and hope for everyone’s understanding. For more information, visit http://www.vitoriastonefair.com.br/site/2017/en/home.

Announcing Crossville Studios

Distribution Division Launches New Name and Branding

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – Crossville Tile & Stone, the distribution division of Crossville Inc., recently announced that it has changed its name to Crossville Studios and is unveiling a refreshed brand identity that reflects its growth and transformation, while celebrating the history and heritage of the Crossville legacy.

According to David Koenig, vice president and general manager of Crossville Studios, the rebranding project is the result of many months of strategic planning, precipitated by recent acquisitions that significantly increased the company’s market reach.

“With each acquisition, we’ve not only expanded our geographic territory, but more importantly, we’ve added valuable talent to our team and broadened our product offering. The company has changed significantly over the past fifteen months, so the timing was right to refresh our brand and develop an identity that would better reflect who we are today and where we’re going,” Koenig shares.

The division’s new name retains the Crossville nomenclature because of the equity it holds within the industry, while the term “Studios” was chosen to reflect a heightened emphasis on the design experience.

“A studio is a collaborative destination where creative minds come together to design beautiful spaces,” Koenig explains. “We offer beautifully designed products, innovative environments, and a knowledgeable and passionate team ready to guide customers in their selection of surfaces. We are committed to being the company customers choose when they want to explore the very best in surfacing design.”

Tim Curran, co-president of the Curran Group, the holding company that owns Crossville Studios, states that the rebranding is just one of many enhancements on the docket for this growing business.

“We’re constantly improving to not only answer the demands of a busy marketplace but to lead the way into the future of surfacing distribution—always, our goal is to keep an unwavering focus on the needs and desires of our customers,” reports Curran.

Curran and Koenig agree that Crossville Studios is positioned for strategic growth in both the short and long term.

“We’re poised for targeted growth for our company—growth that will come thanks to the root system of our corporate foundation and the dedication of employees at all of our branches,” Koenig summarizes.

Immediate steps to launching the new identity include the introduction of a more contemporary logo, a refreshed color palette, and a new tagline: “Spectacular Surfaces”. Social Media links will change to reflect the name, and the new website—crossvillestudios.comlaunches today with a number of site improvements to better meet the needs of customers.

Email addresses for Crossville Studios are also changing. Associates may now be reached at “[first name initial last name]@crossvillestudios.com”.

The changes are effective immediately and will be implemented across all aspects of the company’s marketing initiatives throughout 2017.

To find more information about the company’s locations, product offerings, and services, visit the website – crossvillestudios.com or contact Wendy Stine at [email protected].

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.

MIA+BSI Announces 2016 Pinnacle Award Winners


Oberlin, OH and Chestertown, NY, January 31, 2017—The winners of the 2016 Pinnacle Awards were announced at the MIA+BSI Awards Luncheon at TISE 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. For the 9th year, a Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to the best overall project. The 2016 Grande Pinnacle Award was presented to the 6 companies responsible for the Minnesota State Capitol renovation: Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone, and Bonstone. This marks the first time in the program’s history that multiple companies have been honored with this award.

The Minnesota State Capitol restoration is one of the largest and most complex restoration projects in the United States. The project architects used the same White Georgia marble selected by the building’s first architect, Cass Gilbert, 115 years ago. Success in communication between all stone team members resulted in less than a 1% fabrication error rate and kept the stone schedule on time and within budget. The Pinnacle Award judges commented that “the number of disciplines working together on this project is exemplary and shows overall quality throughout.” They called the project “a monumental task accomplished with great skill and teamwork.”

The 2016 Pinnacle Awards are as follows.

Pinnacle Awards of Excellence

Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone, and Bonstone
Minnesota State Capitol Restoration
St. Paul, MN

Rugo Stone
Lorton, VA
UVA Rotunda Renovation
Charlottesville, VA

Commercial Interior
Camarata Masonry Systems
Houston, TX
Energy Center III
Houston, TX

Commercial Exterior
JMS Jura Marble Suppliers
Eichstaett, Germany
Talan Towers
Astana, Kazakhstan

Bath of the Year
Ceramic Harmony International, Inc.
Huntsville, AL
Mitchell Master Bath
Huntsville, AL

Kitchen of the Year
United Marble Fabricators
Watertown, MA
Private Residence
Weston, MA

Pinnacle Awards of Merit

Cold Spring, MN
St. Francis of Assisi Church
Staunton, VA

Ford Marble and Tile
New Athens, Illinois
The Arcade
St. Louis, MO

Vermont Stone Art
Barre, VT
9 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA

Residential Interior/Exterior
Stonrich Pte Ltd.
Peirce Hill Residence

Residential Interior/Exterior
Marmi Natural Stone
Norcross, GA
Monumental Staircase
Washington, DC

Commercial Interior
ASI Stone Imports
Chelsea, AL
Inspiration Slope/Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Commercial Interior
Rugo Stone
Lorton, VA
Hungarian Chapel
Washington, DC

Commercial Exterior
Cold Spring, MN
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Washington, DC

Commercial Exterior
PICCO Engineering
Concord, Ontario, Canada
Aga Khan Park
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Commercial Exterior
Salt Lake City, UT
Indianapolis Temple
Carmel, IN

Commercial Exterior
Red Leaf Stone
Vancouver, BC
The Vermeer
Vancouver, BC

MIA+BSI would like to thank the sponsors of the 2016 Pinnacle Awards: MAPEI (Commercial Awards), GranQuartz (Residential Awards), Coldspring (Renovation/Restoration Awards), Vitoria Stone Fair-Marmomac Latin America (Kitchen and Bath of the Year Awards), and Marmomac (Grande Pinnacle Award). For photos and complete descriptions of each winning project, please email [email protected].

Photo caption: Representatives from Polycor, Twin City Tile and Marble, Italmarble Pocai, Tennessee Marble Company, Cutting Edge Stone, and Bonstone with Janina Mathiasz (Veronafiere), 2016 MIA President David Castellucci, and 2016 BSI President Aaron Hicken.


MIA+BSI: the Natural Stone Institute serves more than 1900 members in 55 countries who represent every aspect of the natural stone industry, offering them a wide array of technical and training resources, professional development, regulatory advocacy, and networking events. Two prominent publications—the Dimension Stone Design Manual and Building Stone Magazine—raise awareness in both the industry and the design communities for the promotion and best use of natural stone. Learn more at www.naturalstoneinstitute.org.

NTCA Webinar targets maintenance and cleaning

On Tuesday, February 21 at 1 pm CST, NTCA will present a free webinar on Maintenance & Problem Solving for Tile & Stone: What to Know, What to Use & Why.

With advances in tile manufacturing, sealers, cleaners, grouts and mortars, you must stay up-to-date with the best technology for specific projects and materials used. Knowledge of what to recommend and use for proper sealing, problem solving and maintenance is vital. Learn techniques and which types of products to use to remove cementitious and non-cementitious grout haze, strip a sealer, remove efflorescence, and restore heavily soiled and neglected installations and other common issues. And discover when you should use a grout release and why with today’s factory applied coatings.  This program will explore the problems associated with using “household” cleaners followed by what products should be used and why – where and why to use an acid, alkaline cleaner or solvent stripper.

Rod Sigman, CUSTOM

The webinar is sponsored by Custom Building Products and presented by Rod Sigman, the Business Development manager for Technical Installation and Care Products for CUSTOM.  Sigman has worked for the company for the past 25 years (most in support of the Aqua Mix brand of sealers and cleaners) in various roles including all aspects of training and education for national accounts in support of the sales and technical departments.. Sigman is also responsible for job site inspections, product specifications, product demonstrations and product research and development.. Sigman sits on the NTCA, IICRC and MIA Technical committees’. He graduated the Ceramic Tile Consultant Course in 1995 and passed the Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson program in 2008. Sigman is also a frequent speaker at many national tradeshows including Coverings, Surfaces/TISE West and StonExpo.

Click the link for more information and to register: https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/#/?meeting=5pfe4298isde&campaign=xzhp3pnvnklg

Coverings kicks off National Tile Day: February 23

To raise awareness and promote the use of tile, Coverings is proud to announce the inaugural National Tile Day (NTD), February 23!  Over the next few weeks, Coverings will be sharing why tile is the best choice for both residential and commercial products.











Coverings is also hosting the “Why Tile” discussion. Join the conversation by sharing why  you choose tile with #WhyTile and #Coverings2017.  Find more information at: http://bit.ly/CoveringsNTD

The campaign will also announce reasons WHY to choose tile. Watch social media between now and February 23 for these messages:

It’s Durable and Sustainable: Ceramic tiles have been used in buildings since the ninth century BC. A long-lasting material results in a lower consumption of resources in the long term, and a lower environmental impact. Unlike carpet, vinyl, or laminate flooring which have to be replaced periodically, properly installed tile will last a lifetime.

It’s Resistant: Ceramic tiles are highly resistant to weathering, as they are inert and are not affected by exposure to water, fire and even ultraviolet radiation. They do not release any toxic substances when exposed to high temperatures, which is one of the main risks in the event of fire. Due to the use of natural minerals fired at temperatures over 2300 degrees F, ceramic tile will never fade and is not affected by UV rays.

It’s Versatile: Ceramic tiles can be used on horizontal or vertical surfaces, flat or curved, indoors or outdoors, in wet or dry areas. They can have reflective surfaces to provide lighting, or have materials and colors that absorb radiation to control the temperature naturally.

It’s Low Maintenance: Unlike other organic materials or textiles, ceramic tiles require little maintenance to keep them clean and in good condition. This is done using procedures and materials that have a low cost and little environmental impact, reducing maintenance costs over their lifespan. Tile is also highly scratch-resistant and simple to clean.

It’s Energy Efficient: The ingredients that make up ceramic tile – compressed raw materials like sand, clay, and glass – are all easily recyclable, and as naturally renewable resources, create a low environmental impact. Tile can reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling because of its exceptional thermal mass.

It’s Healthy: Since tile is fired in kilns to extremely high temperatures, there are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the finished product that can be released into the air we breathe. VOCs contribute to a wide variety of health problems and are a significant cause of “sick building syndrome.” In addition, there are adhesives and grouts available that contain zero, or very low VOCs.

Life-Cycle Costs for Floor Finishes (per square foot): Because a tile installation will last as long as the building it’s installed in, its environmental impacts are minimal when compared to other surface coverings that would have be to replaced numerous times over the life of the building. This also means tile costs less per square foot over the long haul, whereas carpet, vinyl, and other floor coverings are significantly more expensive due to their replacement, maintenance, and refinishing requirements. Ceramic tile costs less per year than all other floor finishes over the life of a building. In fact, all tile is less than $0.40 per square foot per year. Carpet and vinyl are significantly more expensive due to their shorter expected life.

Livestream and Twitterview

Coverings will partner with Interior Design magazine to broadcast a live segment through Facebook. The segment will highlight tile trends that will be seen at Coverings 2017, and Alena Capra will be the on-camera spokesperson discussing the products and messaging. Time for this event is to be announced.

On National Tile Day, February 23, Coverings and its partners will join Metropolis for a Twitterview, Tile Today from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This chat will take place on Twitter, and is a live discussion about tile’s versatile designs, applications, and benefits. Each partner will be responsible for three questions, which will touch on key messages about tile. Additionally, Alena Capra and IDS Designer Kim Lewis will join the discussion.

Stay tuned to your favorite social media outlet for news and information over the next few weeks about National Tile Day!

Arizona Tile Celebrates 40 Years in Business

In 1977, after 10 years of playing football at the collegiate and professional levels, Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte decided to focus his leadership and team-building skills on a new business endeavor. He took a leap and signed a lease on the back of a cardboard box and opened the first Arizona Tile location in San Diego, California.

John Huarte accepting Heisman Trophy, 1964

John and Eileen Huarte, 1987

First Lease

Forty years later – With hundreds of employees, nearly half of which have been with the company for over a decade, and many who have been with the company since the beginning, unparalleled customer service, and products from around the world – Arizona Tile has become one of the leading tile and slab distributors in the U.S. “Our success solely comes from the vision that John and (his wife) Eileen Huarte had for this company when starting it – the sensibility that our relationships with our customers and our fellow employees are the most important aspect of what we do.” Said company President, Bob Traxler.

Arizona Tile strives to provide a uniquely positive experience for each customer. The company prides itself on providing customers with ideas and information they may need in order to move forward with their projects. Whether a customer is working on a large commercial project, or creating a small mosaic design on a table, the company endeavors to provide that customer with the best experience they possibly can.

“We’ve stayed focused on taking care of our customer needs as best as we can, and they’re satisfied and become a referral service,” said founder John Huarte. Beyond assisting with products, the company strives to meet the necessities of their customers by listening to what their product and location needs may be. This has helped Arizona Tile identify which markets would benefit from a nearby showroom, as well as pinpoint which types of products customers are most in need of.

Ontario, CA Quartz Warehouse

Originally Arizona Tile began as a ceramic tile supplier. As their customer needs changed, the company evolved to accommodate those needs. In 1993 Arizona Tile introduced slab materials to their inventory. At that time the company had twelve slab colors available. In 2017 the company is now one of the largest slab distributors in the United States offering over 235 slab products. In addition to slabs, the company also distributes several various natural stone, porcelain, glass and mosaic tile products that you won’t find anywhere else on earth.

Still, the company’s executive team attributes much of Arizona Tile’s success to the dedication of their employees. John Huarte states “There’s a sports element to our teamwork. People aren’t perfect, and they’re going to make mistakes, but you have to learn from them. And I think without ever even talking about it, from my examination, (the company) has naturally followed that sports culture.”

John’s disposition has also had a great impact on the way the company operates, and has a significant impact on how employees work together. Eileen Huarte recalls,

“John’s always been an extremely humble man. And when he was in leadership (at Arizona Tile) that meant that there was no such thing as a closed door. He was accessible, and he was willing to do anything. If he was in the warehouse and saw somebody loading boxes of tile, he would be right there to help move the job along. If the showroom needed to be cleaned he jumped right in and cleaned it, and had the showroom ready on Monday morning for customers. And I think that everyone else around him picked up on his energy and we had a lot of great people early on who didn’t think of themselves as having just one title or as wearing one hat. They recognized that they were a part of something here, and we all wanted to make this good.”

John Huarte, Arizona Tile Founder




It’s that willingness to help others that sets Arizona Tile apart in the industry. A willingness to help their customers achieve the design they’re looking for, a willingness to grow as their customers grow, and a willingness to grow a team of dedicated employees who can assist customers long term.

“We have always seen ourselves as a company serving our customers in the western United States. But we continue to grow our footprint geographically. And as our customers have continued to grow and have started moving eastward, I think there’s more call for us to grow and to cast our eyes a little further east, and as time goes on, I think we will. The single thing that drives (our growth) more than anything else is our wish to create opportunity and value for both our employees and also our customers,” said company President, Bob Traxler.

Austin, TX Location – Opening 2017

Tempe, AZ Showroom

San Diego, CA Location – First Arizona Tile Showroom

This growth is evident as the company excitedly awaits the opening of their newest branch in Austin, TX at the start of 2017. John Huarte’s son, and Arizona Tile’s Vice President of Operations, Mark Huarte, adds “We’re excited to announce the building of our Austin, TX location and our intent is to continue that path with another store.”

As Arizona Tile celebrates 4 decades of dedicated service to their customers, they look forward to growing from their roots. “Growing from that humble mindset that really was the formula of our success.” – Bob Traxler, President.

About Arizona Tile

Founded in 1977 in San Diego, California, Arizona Tile has grown into a nationally recognized commercial and residential distributor with more than 25 showrooms throughout seven Western states. Arizona Tile is one of the largest independently-owned importers of stone in the United States, offering more than 230 varieties of granite, travertine, onyx, slate, marble, limestone and quartz, plus medallions, porcelain tile and other design creations. Founded by John Huarte, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, the company is still family-owned after 40 years.


Contractors, installers speak out about new OSHA silica rule

Last week in TileLetter Weekly, we reported on the new OSHA ruling and regulations to protect workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica, and thus curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease .

The rule contains key provisions, set to take effect on June 23, 2017. The rule:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.

Jeremy Waldorf of Legacy Floors in Howell, Mich., wears a respirator specifically designed to protect against silica. Waldorf purchased it online for about $45.

Tile contracting companies and individual installers spoke out recently about the provisions of the rule and what it will mean for them and their businesses.

Jesse Boswell, owner of ReTile in Mesa, Ariz., said, “I believe it is a necessity to protect workers from dust . I wish it didn’t have to get to the point where government had to step in. And it is unfortunate that not all tasks in construction have the necessary dust control available yet. It will be difficult to comply with this ruling without wearing a respirator full time.”

Phillip Kozey, controller at Stuart Tile Company and NTCA Michigan co-State Ambassador with cousin Todd Kozey, said, “I’m 36 years old and was diagnosed with COPD last year. But I was hand-making thinset in a wheelbarrow with Portland silica sand and liquid latex when I was 9 years old. I’m glad they’re coming out with these new laws. I just started using a mask and respirator about a year ago.”

Chris Wood, of Chris Wood Fixit in Russell, Ontario, recommended some products that really help with dust collection, like the Wale Tale and ARDEX dust collector. “It’s so nice to be able to mix indoors, and you know, not get COPD,” he said. “I do strongly believe in the dust systems. They are a game changer.”

James Woelfel, NTCA board chairman, with Artcraft Granite, Marble and Tile Co., also from Mesa, Ariz., stressed the importance of safeguarding employees, while pondering how the provisions of the new rule are to be measured and enforced.

“First and foremost, our company wants to make sure our employees are safe from external factors that could cause injury or illness,” he said. “That being said, how does OSHA intend to enforce a standard that technology has not caught up to? How do we measure a cubic foot of air outside in the wind? How is OSHA showing small businesses to be flexible?”

Calling the ruling “onerous,” Woelfel added, “It is so easy for people not in the fight everyday mandate a regulation or a process, to continue to pile on regulations that will eventually strangle our companies. We are investing in technology every day to reduce dust and other by-products from our jobs. Here in Arizona we actually have to have a license to be able to be tracked by the state environmental department in regards to creating too much dust.”

Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble & Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., and NTCA’s 2nd vice president, also felt the burden of the legislation. “We implement PPE and safety meetings to make our workers aware of silica and other airborne particulate that could be detrimental to their health and safety,” he explained. “I’m all for the welfare of the worker as this keeps them healthy, and in turn productivity is not affected. In my opinion the legislation takes it too far, and is more for a revenue stream than to help the worker. The money would be better spent in educational campaigns to make the workers aware rather than a “gotcha” approach which does nothing but hurt the business owner.”

Martin Howard of David Allen Company (DAC), and NTCA’s current president echoed safety program strategies voiced by Woelfel and Brookes, as well as noting that DAC has a dedicated full time safety director. “We want to educate and train our employees to be safe at all times from all jobsite dangers,” he said.

He related tales of three on-site monitoring surveys by independent engineers DAC conducted to understand the exposure to crystalline silica its workers experience, intentionally making conditions worse-case.  “All three produced results that were below the old OSHA standard, some by a large margin,” he said. With the new ruling, he said that “if exposure limits reach a level less than half the old standard, a whole series of precautionary steps must be implemented along with air quality monitoring for the balance of the job. This is a very expensive process that would seem to be unnecessary. The number of exposure cases resulting in sickness under the old standard was very small, and most could be attributed to a lack of enforcement of the standard. Instead of starting to enforce the reasonable standard they are regulating an unreasonable standard that is almost impossible to measure.”

He added, “I think many of the preventative tools and methods prescribed in the new standard are common sense, and if enforced, could achieve a reduction in illnesses without lowering the parts per million in the air to an immeasurable level.”

Do you have an opinion on the new OSHA silica rule, or have found workable ways to reduce your exposure to silica? Send your thoughts to [email protected]Lesley Goddin


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