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        Leadership Letter
        September 1st, 2006

        “Mining” Industry Knowledge at the 2006 Management Conference

        September-October 2006

        Perhaps you thought CTDA was busy last spring with Coverings and the trade mission to Turkey, but that was just a warm-up for the packed agenda at the 2006 Management Conference.

        I believe the educational program in 2006 is the best CTDA has ever offered. There is more than something for everyone at this year’s Management Conference:

        ? How would your business benefit if you could read your customers, employees, vendors and competition better? Dan Korem, author of The Art of Profiling—Reading People Right the First Time, shares profiling insights to read fast, read accurate, and deliver results. Learn how to use profiling to: lead teams, sell, coach athletes, read people from any culture, conduct interviews, deliver presentations, negotiate, and even improve personal relationships. Audience profiling skills are tested with video clips of real people in real situations and interactive keypads.

        ? In World Out of Balance, Paul Laudicina, focuses on the five “drivers” which will shape tomorrow’s business environment—globalization, demographics, the new consumer, natural resources and environment, and regulation and activism. Armed with a clear understanding of these five drivers, you will be better equipped and informed to make business decisions and to prepare for unforeseen events.

        ? Tom Roland is the Assistant Port Director, Trade and Tactical Operations at Port Everglades. He will be discussing the Department of Homeland Security’s tile initiative and the impact of container infestations on the port and on the distributor.

        ? Kelly McDonald is a recognized expert on multicultural marketing and business trends who will be sharing marketing insights, strategies and tactics for cultivating diverse consumers. Her topics are always customized to the specific industry —in our case, ceramic tile. Market segmentation has replaced mass marketing and mass media. Diversity marketing is the new norm.

        ? Al Bates from the Profit Planning Group will once again present the annual CTDA Company Performance Report. Compiled confidentially from responses of ceramic tile distributors across the country, the report gives a clear and concise view of the financial strengths and weaknesses of the ceramic tile distribution industry.

        Have you considered how CTDA’s Certified Ceramic Tile Salesperson (CCTS) program fits into your business? The launch of the CCTS program is another milestone in the association’s 27 year history of maintaining a strong industry. More important, it’s an opportunity for participants to gain prestige, professional recognition, expanded knowledge and increased customer satisfaction through documented sales competence. It’s the first and only certification program specifically designed by and for ceramic tile salespeople!

        CCTS was developed by professional ceramic tile sales experts with the assistance of Southern Illinois University (SIU) and covers the necessary skill sets to meet customers growing demands. Be among the first to take the exam—and earn certification—at the 2006 Management Conference.

        No conversation about the CTDA Management Conference would be complete without emphasizing the invaluable networking opportunities all attendees share at these events. This is much more than an invitation to hear a stimulating speaker or have dinner with an industry counterpart. It’s your opportunity to get to know other industry leaders, ask them how they solve the same problems you face, and “mine” the collective industry knowledge of CTDA members.

        Mark your calendars now and plan to join other industry leaders November 8-12 at Marriott’s Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Complete details are available at the CTDA website, www.ctdahome.org.


        From the Editor’s Desk: What’s Old is New
        September 1st, 2006

        by Janet Arden, Editor

        September-October 2006

        One—of many—incredible impressions I came back with from CTDA’s trade mission to Istanbul is a new appreciation for the ancient traditions of ceramic tile.

        For a material that dates back 7,000 years, ceramic tile is remarkably modern. It offers dynamic designs (just take a look at some of the tiles featured in this issue) and state of the art manufacturing. Its durability fits well with environmental concerns. It even addresses the health issues of those insatiable—and aging—baby boomers.

        Therefore it was no surprise to me that recent numbers released by Catalina Research report that ceramic tile sales in 2005 increased by 7.3% and square foot sales increased 3.8%. This is just slightly more than the 7.0% the Tile Council of North America predicted earlier this year.

        But wait, you say. That was last year. Fuel costs have jumped and the housing market has slowed.

        Despite those economic factors, and perhaps even in the face of them, the prospects for tile and stone continue to be bright. Simply put, there are more houses than ever, they have more and bigger bathrooms as well as more and bigger alternative spaces for tile, including kitchens, auxiliary kitchens and even outdoor living spaces.

        As long as we’re looking at numbers, consider the recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau that chart the growing number of bathrooms in newly constructed homes and the mounting popularity of outdoor amenities.

        Specifically in 2005, 26% of newly constructed homes had three or more bathrooms. In 1975, this category represented just 5% of new construction.

        Outdoors in the time from 1992 until 2005, the number of newly built homes with patios grew from 37% to 46% and the portion of new homes with porches grew from 42% to 53%.

        These are trends to make a tile dealer smile

        The numbers don’t stop there. This issue of TileDealer features some equally interesting numbers about the growth of stone. According to the Stone Product Industry Report 2006 compiled by Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants LLC and Catalina Research, stone products had 15.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 1998 to 2005. That’s a growth rate any business would love. Whether you include stone in your product mix or not, the tremendous growth of this product category is sure to impact your marketplace.

        But tile and stone are not just installed in new homes. In fact remodeling accounts for a substantial chunk of these sales. You should also be aware that remodeling typically means upgrading to better, more fashionable materials. Look around your showroom. Do you have the products to meet this need?

        Is this a good time to be in this business? We think so. The opportunities to install more and better products come with the opportunity to upgrade the installation process itself with better underlayments to meet the needs of new products and difficult surfaces (Editor’s note: See our cover feature on Getting Underlayment Right). Additional options such as mold-inhibiting products and undertile heat add value to every installation.

        The message here is that what’s old is new, and this is as important as ever. Meet the customers needs. Sell quality products and follow up with quality installation. The marketplace is there, but so is the competition. At TileDealer, we’re committed to keeping you on top of an always changing 7,000 year-old industry!

        A word of thanks…

        As one of the CTDA staff members invited to participate in the Turkish Trade Mission, I want to take a minute here—and a little space—to express my sincere thanks to the many people who worked tirelessly to plan and then facilitate a wonderful venture for all of the participants. There is simply no alternative to meeting and getting to know your business partners in person. The opportunity to become better acquainted with both the industry and the culture is sure to signal more and better business opportunities for everyone involved.

        September 1st, 2006

        September-October 2006

        Bonsal Introduces Versatile B-6000

        Bonsal? B-6000, an advanced polymer-based technology that covers both waterproofing and crack isolation needs, has been introduced by Bonsal American. Bonsal? B-6000 eliminates the conditions which promote mold and mildew growth, when applied directly beneath the tile; dries quickly—tile over B-6000 in four hours; is more flexible and elastic than other products; can be applied over practically any substance; and exceeds ANSI 118.12 standard for crack isolation and ANSI 118.10 standard for waterproofing. The product is pre-mixed and ready to use, available in one gallon and 3.5 gallon sizes. (www.bonsal.com)


        Mediterranea’s latest series “Cottage” is a wood-look, glazed porcelain tile that captures the essence of that old family cottage by the beach. Using the very latest in Rotocolor technology, Mediterranea has created a unique blend of stone and wood graphics that is impossible to recreate in real wood. In the presence of this beautiful series, the visions and memories of those special moments with family spring to life. Produced in Italy, Cottage is offered in one, unique 4.75″ x 20″ size field tile, and is offered in four different shades. Snow Peak (White), Sun Baked (Almond), Harvest (Gold) and Chestnut (Noce). Created with only the finest ingredients, Cottage is perfect for both residential and commercial spaces.


        Stayflex? Keeps Tiles in Place

        Bonsal American? has developed Stayflex?, a new thin set designed to bond large ceramic tile, marble and natural stone to walls without slippage or sag. The thin set is specially formulated with polymers that significantly increase bond strength to keep the tile or stone in place, even those weighing up to 11 pounds. “Stayflex eliminates the need to hold the tiles in place—the thin set does it for you,” said Kevin McFadden, Director of Marketing for Bonsal Tile products. “Because the product does the work of holding the tile or stone in place, installers will find that the job can be completed more quickly. Because the product also has 20 percent more coverage than the standard thin set, you get even more for your money,” McFadden added. Stayflex is designed for commercial and residential uses for both interior and exterior applications. The product also offers improved flexibility, impact strength and extended open time over ordinary thin set mortars. While Stayflex is designed for walls and ceilings, it is also suitable for floors. Stayflex meets ANSI A.118.4 and A.118.11 standards and works perfectly over drywall, cement backerboard or any other cement substrate. www.bonsal.com.

        Diamond Tech Glass Tiles Expands

        Diamond Tech Glass Tiles introduced its Platinum Series glass tile. These glamorous glass tiles transform any surface into a spectacular show of color. Transparent and semi-transparent, Platinum glass tiles possess a special reflective surface which transforms when hit by light into an ever changing rainbow-like display. Tiles are available in a 1.5cm x 1.5cm format with an average thickness 1/8″. Square foot paper-front sheets are perfect for the floors and walls of kitchens, baths and pool or wherever a touch of glamour is needed. Diamond Tech Glass Tile’s new Dimensions Series add a bold shot of color with an array of translucent hues in 4 sizes to arrange in endless combinations. The company also offers the Frosted Dimensions Series of colored 8mm etched glass tiles. Frosted Dimensions will never fade, their color withstands cold and heat and they are impervious to dirt. Available in eight 1″ x 1″ solids and four stylish color mixes, each square foot flexible mesh-mounted sheets can be applied directly to walls and countertops or wrapped around curved surfaces. The sheets can be cut into strips to be used as a decorative border in combination with other materials. www.dtglasstiles.com


        The Marble Institute’s new “Gallery of Ideas,” is a looped 16-minute DVD program, featuring nearly 185 of the best applications from MIA members around the world. Interspersed with key selling points about natural stone products like marble, granite, travertine, limestone and others, this outstanding collection of images is designed to stimulate customer creativity as they spend time in fabricator and distributor showrooms. This collection of images is also suitable for kitchen and bath professionals to showcase with their clientele. To gather material for the DVD, MIA solicited photographs from its member companies and the response was overwhelming. These submissions provided the video editors with a real challenge in selecting those images to be used in the program. “Along with our collection of posters and other point-of-sale and published materials, this DVD helps to accomplish our goal of providing members with professionally-produced selling pieces aimed at promoting the use of natural stone,” said Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of MIA.For a streaming preview of the DVD visit

        www.marble-institute.com/gallery.cfm. For further information, call 440-250-9222.

        Imagine unveils Polynesian design

        Imagine Tile, the ceramic industry leaders pioneering the use of high-resolution imagery in custom tile, has released its latest design, Polynesian, featuring the image of Tahitian rattan. Excellent for commercial and residential installations, indoors and out, Polynesian is available in a 16″ by 16″ square single tile image and 8″ by 8″ four-tile image. Matching bullnose in two sizes is also available. www.imaginetile.com

        Grout Inhibits Mold and Mildew Growth

        Bonsal American? recently improved its line of sanded and non-sanded grouts by adding an antimicrobial agent aimed at inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew. The biocide additive, or mildewcide, makes the grout inhospitable for mold growth without affecting any of the grout’s inherent properties such as workability, colorfastness or product safety. “Mold growth is a huge issue today for builders and consumers. New construction tends to be more airtight, which promotes mold and mildew growth,” said Kevin McFadden, Director of Marketing for Bonsal? Tile products. “Furthermore,” McFadden said, “the addition of mildewcide to Bonsal’s line of grouts has allowed us to improve the value of our product without passing along any additional cost to the consumer.” Because of the difficulty of removing mold and mildew from grout, the Bonsal grout incorporates the mildewcide throughout the product mix, making grout joints easier to clean and stay cleaner longer. Product testing confirms the effectiveness of the added antimicrobial agent in the grout. The mildewcide also has low water solubility, meaning it does not wash away over time and lose its mold resistant characteristics, even in high moisture environments like showers. www.bonsal.com


        New from World Sales Group, Tramonto is a glazed porcelain floor tile available in three colors in a 17″ x 17″ format. The colors, Beige (shown), Gray and Rosso, are reminiscent of natural cross-cut stones and display their beauty with a variation from tile to tile. www.mediterranea-usa.com.


        Hakatai Enterprises Inc., importer and distributor of glass tile, introduces the Cartglass “Luster Series”. The unique color palette of Luster combined with the play of light equals iridescent luxury. Resembling an opal in the display of various colors, this glass tile is sure to bring a unique radiance and sophistication to any interior or exterior wall, countertop, backsplash or pool. The sleek-surfaced Luster Series is available in 1.15 square feet sheets which are mesh-back mounted for easy installation. Choose from a palette of twelve opaque colors and watch as the charming opalescent qualities of each of these mosaic tile colors come alive with changes in lighting angles. Or utilize Hakatai’s online custom blend tool and custom gradient tool to create, price and order your own glass tile designs! www.hakatai.com.

        Elevations from Oceanside

        Oceanside Glasstile introduced Elevations?, a new line of modular larger format field tile and multidimensional decorative liners. Elevations is series of large field tile and decorative liners featuring clean lines and modern aesthetics. Its combination of sizes and multidimensional geometric decorative liners makes a strong statement in a broad range of architectural styles, both commercial and residential. The Elevations collection creates dramatic indoor and outdoor floor and wall applications; set vertically, horizontally, straight set, offset, or in random modular patterns. Six distinctive decorative liners in geometric relief patterns, rare in the field of glass tile, are available—Vanishing Point, Optics, Levels, Decipher, Freehand and Mirage—averaging 2” x 10?” in size. Elevations decorative liners and most field tile sizes are available in 34 iridescent and non-iridescent colors. 5″ x 10″ and 10″ x 10″ field are available in seven iridescent colors. The line’s 3/8”-plus thickness makes for ease of mixed media installation with materials such as ceramic, porcelain and stone. www.glasstile.com

        Proust from Steuler-Fliesen

        Steuler-Fliesen, has unveiled “Proust,” an eye-catching new series which is part of the ALESSI collection from the Germany-based company. Designed by Alessandro Mendini, Milan-born architect and designer whose work has been exhibited at both the MOMA and the Met, “Proust” is influenced by both two-dimensional textile design and three dimensional home furnishings. The created look is both elegant and fun, utilizing striking colors and attention-grabbing lines. With a clean, white background and the striking, overlying pattern of “Proust,” the contemporary square tiles are appropriate for both kitchen and bath. Offered in a 25 x 25 cm tile size, Proust provides a high-end, geometrically designer touch while maintaining the ultra- modern look Steuler has become known for. www.unaterra.com.

        Product Focus: Tile Tools
        September 1st, 2006

        September-October 2006


        Roberts Consolidated Industries, Inc., announces the addition of the new Folding Pocket Utility Knife to the Roberts Knife Family. The unique folding ability of this knife allows for safe and easy storage not offered by traditional utility knives. Measuring just 3?” when folded, it is small enough to fit in your pocket but strong enough when open to cut carpet, vinyl, drywall and more. The simple “push” trigger allows quick, one-touch blade replacement, and is exclusive to the Roberts 10-203. This knife also features a release trigger that unlocks the blade shaft to safely fold it away and a secure metal belt clip for easy access. The Roberts Folding Pocket Utility Knife uses Roberts 10-434 Utility Blades and all standard 2 and 3 notch utility blades. www.robertsconsolidated.com.

        Diamond Drill Kits from Plasplugs

        Plasplugs has developed the new sure way to drill tiles perfectly, the Diamond Porcelain Hollow Core Drilling System. Working in the same way as Plasplugs’ world-renowned tile Wetsaws, the advanced diamond tip drills a clean core through the hardest tiles, including porcelain, granite and marble, without chipping or cracking. The drill tip is water cooled in use by the integral cool-feed reservoir, with its quick and easy press button action dispensing a measured amount of water for the very best results. The diamond drills are aligned spot on by the unique patented self-centering drill guide; keeping the drill on target and eliminating drill wander and tile damage. The Diamond Porcelain Tile Drill is available for floors and walls in sizes ?” and 5/8″ with more sizes to follow. Covering an extensive range of domestic and industrial drilling tasks from the installation of regular duty anchors for basic bathroom and kitchen fittings, to the more specialized installation of sanitary fittings and copper piping. sales@plasplugsusa.com.

        New 4″ Dry-Cut Masonry Saw

        Hitachi Power Tools announced its new 4″ Dry-Cut Masonry saw, the CM4SB2. Designed with a powerful 11.6 Amp motor, it cuts smoothly through tile, marble, granite, concrete brick and similar materials. The CM4SB2 was built to withstand the tough conditions of a dry-cutting environment. A specially sealed armature and switch protect the tool in these conditions, allowing it to perform with outstanding durability. It is the ideal dry-cut for professionals who demand a workhorse of a tool at a competitive value.

        The hefty 11.6 Amp (2,090 Watt Output) motor produces a no-load speed of 11,500 RPM for greater cutting efficiency through the toughest materials. Designed specifically for dry-cutting, the uniquely sealed armature coil is protected from dust and debris. This special seal also helps to minimize tool vibration producing only 1.4 m/s2. Additionally, this leads to less noise coming from the CM4SB2. It produces a noise level at 85 dB. A dust-proof switch prevents debris from entering the tool in that location and a metal seated ball bearing wards off damage to the motor caused by high temperatures and vibration, adding to its overall performance and durability. The CM4SB2 dry cut masonry saw offers the shortest base edge-to-blade distance in its class making it easy to cut into the tightest spaces. A one touch lever adjusts the depth of cut quickly and easily. The elastomer covered handle provides a sure grip and improves comfort. Compact at 81/8″ in length and lightweight at only 6.2 lbs, this saw is easy to use all day. And it comes with a premium Hitachi 4″ continuous rim diamond blade designed for high performance in dry-cutting applications. www.hitachipowertools.com

        New Waterjets at Used Waterjets Pricing

        RICHEL, Inc. is pleased to introduce the DARDI waterjet systems, available in three standard table sizes. RICHEL, Inc. is recognized as the leading reseller of used waterjet systems in the U.S. and has sold and installed hundreds of used machines of nearly every make and model. With the shortage of used waterjets growing and prices rising, the opportunity to supply a new lower priced, yet high quality waterjet presented itself. The DARDI waterjets are complete abrasive systems built with some of the best components available worldwide. They come with the full support of the RICHEL team including software and technical support, spare parts, installation, and training. www.richel.com

        DITEQ’S new cutting technology

        DITEQ Diamond Tools & Equipment is introducing a new diamond blade manufacturing process—ARIX technology—that improves cutting speed AND blade life consistently in the range of 50% to 100%. It is being touted as the biggest technological advance in diamond blade industry since laser welding was introduced in the 1980’s. Dan Steiner, President of DITEQ, explains the impact ARIX will have on the industry. “People used to think that you had to sacrifice cutting speed to get longer life and vice versa, but ARIX gives you both because it is flat-out, a superior product. We recently tested some blades in Houston—the toughest place in the world to get good performance out of a diamond blade. The contractor was pretty pleased with what he was using, then we had him run an ARIX, and his inch/feet doubled… yes—doubled! We see it all the time. That’s why when we say ‘this changes everything,’ we mean it!” DITEQ gets superior performance out of its ARIX diamond blades by being able to precisely arrange individual diamond particles throughout each segment. Each diamond is strategically located to deliver maximum efficiency. The diamonds are also treated with a proprietary process to increase their ability to resist being crushed. Each is spaced out evenly so they do not interfere with each other’s support structure. Precision is the hallmark of the ARIX process. DITEQ currently offers ARIX diamond blades for high speed saws and professional flat sawing applications. DITEQ plans to expand its ARIX offering to cover its full range of diamond products. Visit www.diteq.com.


        Marmo Machinery USA announces the availability of the DEP-250 Water Reclamation Unit. This machine is perfect for shops that would like to reclaim water and save money on their water bill. This advanced piece of equipment is a self-contained system that will allow fabricators to reuse water from existing operations, and reduce exposure from mandated EPA regulations. The unit is made with galvanized steel and reclaims 250 liters, or just over 66 gallons per minute. This system solves the problem connected with sludge and contaminates in the shop’s water. It accomplishes the water sludge separation by using liquid flocculent and gravity. The sludge will then be extracted and dehydrated through a series of filtering bags. Once full, the bags can be easily disposed of. Marmo Machinery USA can install and warranty the system very quickly with minimal shop interruption. The many benefits will place fabricating shops in a great environmental situation while paying for itself over a twelve month period. www.marmousa.com.

        Industry Insights
        September 1st, 2006

        September-October 2006

        NRI Industries and Mer-Krete Systems Form Alliance

        With 114 years of experience between them, it’s safe to say NRI Industries and Mer-Krete Systems have their fingers on the pulse of their respective industries. It only makes sense that they join forces to market and distribute “QuietDown,” a new acoustic control system. The system includes an engineered acoustic membrane that delivers high levels of acoustic performance with the highest bond strengths in the industry. “This relationship represents the new efforts we’re making to build brand awareness in the United States,” stated Andy Pattenden of NRI Industries. “Mer-Krete Systems’ worldwide recognition will certainly help us to market and distribute the acoustic control system. We share a comparable customer base so it makes good business sense to partner.” “We believe that the research and development which has gone into “Quiet Down” assures that it is one of the most effective acoustic control systems available to the tile industry today. As a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality professional waterproofing and crack isolation membranes, the “Quiet Down” acoustic membrane is a natural addition and enhancement to Mer-Krete’s comprehensive line of underlayment products,” said Tim McDonald, President of Mer-Krete Systems.

        GranitiFiandre Partners with Genesee Ceramic Tile

        Italian stone and tile manufacturer GranitiFiandre has partnered with Genesee Ceramic Tile Distributors, Inc., based in Burton, Mich., to exclusively market and distribute GranitiFiandre and TCL brand products in the state of Michigan. “We are very proud to have the opportunity to partner with GranitiFiandre,” said Genesee President Jim Cokley. “With GranitiFiandre’s extensive product line and our 33 years of experience and established industry relationships, we are strengthening our operations in the commercial arena, as well as providing increased product options for our current clientele.” GranitiFiandre’s ten innovative collections will provide the comprehensive flooring solutions Genesee’s clientele seek. “GranitiFiandre’s broad array of products, colors, and sizes, and their innovative, made-in-the-USA collection allow us to successfully address all of our customers’ flooring needs,” said Lisa Haas, vice president of marketing for Genesee. GranitiFiandre recently presented a three-day training workshop to the Genesee operations and sales staff highlighting the company’s history, product offerings, and technical specifications. The staff has since implemented an aggressive team approach to bring GranitiFiandre products to their architecture, tile contractor, builder, and dealer markets. “Both GranitiFiandre and Genesee are committed to achieving an increased presence for GranitiFiandre products in the Michigan market,” said Marcello Sassi, vice president of Trans Ceramica, GranitiFiandre’s U.S. sales and marketing company. “We are confident that our broad product offering will be greeted with enthusiasm by customers seeking an exquisite, durable flooring solution.”

        Tile of Spain call for entries

        The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) is pleased to announce the call for entries in the 5th Tile of Spain Awards of Architecture and Interior Design. The awards recognize outstanding architectural and interior design projects using ceramic tiles from Spain. Prizes totaling 45,000 Euros are being offered; 18,000 Euros each for the architecture and interior design categories as well as 9,000 Euros for the Degree Projects (Student) category. “Each year the Tile of Spain Awards entries are inspired. It is awesome to see how architects and designers use tiles from Spain. It is our (ASCER) honor to offer such a platform as the awards for them to showcase their creativity and talent,” said Javier Soriano, Director of Foreign Trade and Export Promotion for ASCER.

        The competition is open to professional architects, interior designers, architectural engineers, landscapers and decorators of all nationalities. Entries may represent new construction, renovation and restoration projects, urban development projects or exterior landscaping. Judging will be based upon entries focusing on the decoration of interior spaces in new buildings, renovation and restoration projects and on settings created for short-term use. Projects for both categories must have substantial use of floor and/or wall tiles made in Spain displayed in the formal part of the building. All entries must be for projects completed between January 2005 and October 2006. Entries and supporting information must be received by October 31, 2006. More information regarding rules and regulations can be found by visiting www.spaintiles.info/awards.

        Q.E.P. Co., Inc. Appoints Daubs

        Q.E.P. Co., Inc. announced the appointment of Jim Daubs as Vice President Business Development. In this role, Daubs will focus on the company’s strategic marketing initiatives and strengthening of key customer relations. Commenting on the move, Lewis Gould, Q.E.P.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Jim’s extensive experience in the floor covering industry will allow Q.E.P. and its subsidiaries the opportunity to grow the business with new and innovative approaches to its markets far into the future”.

        Questech? Wins New England Innovation Award

        Questech Corporation recently was awarded the Smaller Business Association of New England’s (SBANE) prestigious 2006 New England Innovation Award, joining past Vermont-based winners Ben & Jerry’s, Green Mountain Coffee and The Vermont Teddy Bear Company. “It is truly an honor to be among this select group of innovative and successful companies,” said Barry Culkin, president and chief executive officer of Questech Corporation. “This award reflects our commitment to artistry and imagination, honoring our pledge to find original ways to make people’s homes more beautiful and welcoming.” For two decades, SBANE has been granting New England-based companies this exclusive award in recognition of their demonstrated ability to turn innovative ideas into successful enterprises. A panel of 42 judges evaluated this year’s 172 nominees, and Questech was among the six winners chosen. According to Mr. Culkin, the company’s legacy of innovation comes from noted sculptor and founder Roger Questel. “Roger invented a revolutionary technology—a process for casting beautiful metal objects at a fraction of the weight and cost of solid metals,” Culkin said. “His discovery allowed us to launch the industry’s first mass-produced cast metal tiles, creating an important category in the tile and home improvement markets.” Mr. Questel is chairman of the board and creative director, leading the design and development of new and innovative additions to the company’s product lines.

        NTCA hosts Total Solutions 2006

        The Las Vegas Hilton is the home to the National Tile Contractors Association’s (NTCA) annual meeting, Total Solutions from September 14-16. This free event started in St. Louis in 2004, offering contractors the opportunity to learn about new products, methods, processes, while networking in a relaxed, conducive environment with fellow contractors and other industry personnel. This year, Total Solutions will feature business and technical sessions as well as tabletop displays that present a range of products and services for contractors. A Contractor’s Forum on best practices in commercial and residential installations and an association update will complete the event. On Friday night, the NTCA Awards Dinner will recognize the 2006 NTCA Tile Person of the Year and two NTCA Ring of Honor inductees. In addition, several outstanding contractors will receive the 2nd Annual Best Practices Awards. For complete details and schedule as well as registration for Total Solutions and the Awards Dinner, visit the NTCA website at www.tile-assn.com or contact executive director Bart Bettiga at (601) 939-2071, email bart@tile-assn.com.

        Vitromex Opens New Distribution Center

        Vitromex USA opened its new distribution center in Laredo, Texas, built in response to increased customer demand for Vitromex products throughout the United States. The new 145,000-square-foot facility will warehouse all Vitromex products, including the newly launched Artemis Impervious Glazed Porcelain tiles, as well as the outsourced products. Additionally, the new distribution center boasts a side yard of 50,000 square feet, and 20 loading docks. “Vitromex has experienced tremendous growth over the last couple of years and we needed to take steps to keep up with this demand,” said Sergio Cardenas, president of Vitromex USA. With all flooring products available in one central location, Vitromex USA is now able to offer a 48-hour turnaround on full truckload orders. “Trucks will be ready to ship product within 48 hours of receiving an order, which allows for faster delivery to distributors”, said Ricardo de la Cabada, operation manager of Vitromex USA.

        StonePeak Ceramics Opens Chicago Showroom

        StonePeak Ceramics opened its tile showroom in downtown Chicago at 314 W. Superior Street. Amidst other prominent vendors in Chicago’s Design District, StonePeak’s nine tile lines are on display for guests and customers to browse, feel and even use to layout their own sample floor patterns. “As a company, our next strategic goal is targeting the architecture and design community that can use our products in a range of residential and commercial projects,” said Graziano Verdi, CEO of StonePeak Ceramics. “Our new showroom is located in an area of high traffic for these

        customers whose designs will benefit greatly from our variety of tiles and trims.” Complete with a full working kitchen and meeting areas, the showroom is a “home away from home” for StonePeak’s distributors. The versatile work space allows them to use the showroom to hold meetings, perform training sessions or simply entertain customers. Equipped to hold hundreds of guests, the showroom will be available for rent to outside companies holding events or parties. The company’s corporate headquarters and offices are located on the second floor above the showroom.

        Eliane Appoints Gaidzinski and Muller

        Marcio Muller has been appointed General Manager of Eliane North America, the U.S. subsidiary of Eliane Revestimentos S/A, Brazil’s largest tile manufacturer and exporter. For the past 14 years, he has worked in various positions for the firm, including marketing director and national sales manager. During that time, Muller received his MBA degree from The University of Dallas. He takes over the GM position from Edson Gaidzinski, Jr., who was recently appointed CEO of Eliane Revestimentos. Edson Gaidzinski, Jr. has been appointed CEO of Eliane Ceramic Tiles, Brazil’s largest tile manufacturer and exporter. For the past 12 years, he has directed the operations of Eliane North America, the firm’s U.S. subsidiary. Gaidzinski studied economics and received a master’s degree in International Management from Thunderbird University.

        new MAPEI CEO for the Americas

        MAPEI has named Rainer M. Blair to succeed Nick Di Tempora as President and CEO of MAPEI Americas. Di Tempora has chosen to retire at this time, but he will remain on board as an advisor to Blair to ensure a smooth transition of leadership within the company. During this period, Blair will function as Deputy CEO. Dr. Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of the MAPEI Group, said, “We want to thank Nick Di Tempora for his many, many years of successful leadership in guiding MAPEI Americas to its current strong position in the market. We are happy that he will ensure continuity for the company by staying on as an advisor, while Rainer Blair assumes the reins of management.” Blair comes to MAPEI from 16 years with BASF Corporation, where he most recently served as Group Vice President for BASF’s coatings businesses in North America. Blair majored in Business Administration for both his B.B.A. at the University of Massachusetts and his M.S. at Boston University.

        Interceramic Opens New Distribution Center in Ontario, CA

        Interceramic has opened up a new distribution center in Ontario, California. The new facility is a 200,000 square foot distribution warehouse located at 2521 East Francis. The Ontario Distribution Center will be part of the expanding chain of Interceramic Tile & Stone Gallery Stores. Interceramic’s first California location opened in Anaheim four years ago, followed by store fronts in San Diego and Sacramento and another distribution center in Manteca. The Ontario facility will better serve current California Interceramic Tile & Stone Gallery locations, as well as future plans to add twelve new branches in the market area.

        Portelli Named by Imagine Tile

        Imagine Tile announced that Lynda Portelli has joined the company as manager of marketing and public relations. In this newly created position, Portelli will oversee all marketing and public relations campaigns for the Imagine Tile brand, reporting directly to Imagine Tile President Christian McAuley. Portelli is a marketing business veteran, bringing over 13 years of home furnishing industry marketing, public relations, sales and product development experience. “We are excited to welcome aboard such a seasoned furnishings industry professional,” said McAuley. “Lynda’s experience will be a great asset to growing the Imagine Tile brand.”

        Installer Update: ‘Tile Saw Goddess’ Uses Hi-Tech Tools for Engineered Tile Installations
        September 1st, 2006

        By Ed Sullivan

        September-October 2006

        Instead of discussing installation techniques, this issue of TileDealer features a former CEO and manufacturing whiz who created a whole new career engineering, designing and cutting custom tile systems.

        As Bob Dylan once wrote, one is a success if they get up in the morning and go to bed at night and in between do what they really want to do. In the case of Colleen Staton, what she “really wants to do” is a stunning culmination of her experiences as a business developer, CEO, patent-winning engineer, and graphic artist. Staton has managed to pull all of her talents, skills and interests together in a unique approach to designing and producing custom-engineered tile systems, one-off packages that she creates for architects, interior designers, homeowners and tile installers (including her own crew).

        Four years ago Staton decided to leave the demanding yet lucrative world she had created for herself—the high-tech business of designing, manufacturing and supporting automated packaging equipment for major food processors. After 20 years in the pressure cooker of administration, marketing, managing employees and developing customized high-tech machinery, Staton decided she needed a change.

        “Burn-out is not an option for someone like me,” she says. “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do for my next career, but I’d already packed a lot of knowledge and ability into my life, so I wasn’t afraid to sell out and move on.”

        Having grown up in a family of construction contractors, Staton felt that she could meld her early interests in graphic design with her professional experience and, just possibly, a passion she had developed for antique tile designs.

        “After college I traveled through Great Britain and lived in Ireland for two years,” she explains. “I discovered fantastic geometric tile designs there in some of the older buildings. I especially loved the patterns and mixtures of colors. The Victorian-era designs were my favorite. So, I tucked that interest away in the back of my mind.”

        Fast-forward to 2001, when Staton decided to create a new business in providing pre-cut, customized tile systems. Her vision was to incorporate Old World patterns as well as customized geometric design “insets” to otherwise solid-color tile floors, bathrooms and other surfaces. Hence the name of her new company: Geometric Tile ( St. Paul, MN).

        “The designs I had loved were dynamic geometric patterns and borders that could really breathe life and interest into flooring and bathroom walls,” she says. “I thought about outsourcing classic antique studio tile. There are companies in England that still do dust-pressed tiles, which are these old-style tiles that they use for geometric floors, but they require special ordering and can take four months for delivery. Also, they cost a ton. So, it became clear that I would produce my own geometric designs to go along with the rest of the tiles that were involved in a project.”

        It quickly became evident that in order for Staton to reach her new goal, she would have to do some things that were not standard in the traditional ceramic tile business. First, she would use AutoCAD computer design (modeling) to lay out her tile designs. Secondly, she would present these designs as very accurate

        renderings of the tile designs, in both grayscale and color. Third, she would permit clients—whether architects or homeowners—to request changes, and then show them exactly what they requested, frequently via e-mail. Fourth, she would be recommending the use of very hard, non-standard materials such as porcelain and stone, for the geometric part of her designs. And, in addition to authentic Victorian designs, she would try to integrate existing architectural features of a home, such as a stained glass window, into her geometric shapes and effects.

        “All of this meant that I was going to introduce a new technology to the tile business—but more importantly, to the customer,” says Staton. “And that primarily meant the use of AutoCAD plus some great cutting equipment.”

        Because of her engineering and manufacturing expertise, Staton was highly skilled in the use of AutoCAD software. From her teenage years, working with her contractor uncles and grandfather she has experience working with conventional tile, mud and thinset. But since she was going to pre-cut virtually every tile, including cutting commonplace foot-square ceramic tile into patterns, she was going to need some great saws.

        “I didn’t want to diminish my innovation by requiring tools that were too complex or loaded with features that you don’t really need for this work,” Staton says.

        Staton began early in her business to source polished porcelain tiles from Tennessee, with good historical color examples.

        “You have to consider that porcelain is very hard,” she says. “Add to that the fact that I cut every tile before it goes out. That includes dividing the bigger sizes of tiles into smaller, geometric shaped tiles. Every order is cut to suit the customer’s layout, and comes with a diagram that allows you to start anywhere you like with just a 2ft. X 2ft. grid. Add a few chalk lines, and no dry fitting is required.”

        Right after she got started, Staton joined the Tile Your World Forum on the Internet (formerly the John Bridge Forum). “My nickname for the forum chat rooms is Tile Saw Goddess,” she says, “and I’ve certainly earned that title.” To cut larger tiles, Staton uses two 10-inch saws with water kit and blades suited for the material she is cutting. For smaller cuts and fieldwork, she uses a portable tile saw.

        Because her tile and inset designs can be expensive, Staton pays particular attention to creating leak-proof showers. “It doesn’t make any sense to me that showers often leak or have shower pan problems after only 10 years. Fixing those problems is very destructive and expensive, and should not happen,” she says.

        Although Victorian is her favorite period, Staton also enjoys others, including Art Deco as well as custom insets and borders and other trim designs that reflect special architectural features or even the furnishings of a home.

        The kind of quality Staton sells doesn’t come cheap, but she says her high-tech, engineered approach helps to contain the costs of a highly customized job. “And when you consider that I let the clients preview and change their insets, colors and patterns, and that I will absolutely stand behind my work, then it’s worth it,” she says. “Also, many of my works are of ‘magazine quality,’ and can add considerable value to a home.”

        Geometric Tile is headquartered in St. Paul, MN where the Tile Saw Goddess lives except for the winter months. She has two crews that also do installations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, Charleston and Greater Atlanta. Thanks to the Internet, her architect, decorator and installer clients are everywhere.

        Written by Ed Sullivan, a freelance writer based in Hermosa Beach, California. Courtesy of Felker saws and blades, www.felkersaws.com.

        Getting Underlayment Right
        September 1st, 2006

        by Beth Rogers

        September-October 2006

        The wrong underlayment can undermine an otherwise perfect installation. Today more and more products are available to meet the needs of every tile and installation challenge.

        No matter how beautiful new ceramic tiles may look on the surface, if they haven’t been laid properly, ugly cracks may soon appear that undermine the beauty and integrity of the installation. A whole host of products have been developed to address problems of deflection or moisture in the subflooring or wall that can mar a tile job.

        Joe Still, national sales manager of Naples, FL-based Proflex Products Inc., says underlayments are important to “cover up the sins of all the other trades.” For example, workers are on a tight schedule, finishing concrete more quickly than they had in the past. “In the past people actually had time to actually do a good job of finishing concrete,” says Still. “The fast-track schedule has pushed us into mixes that cure quickly but crack.”

        FinPan, Inc. of Hamilton, OH, manufactures Util-A-Crete and Pro-Tec concrete backer boards reinforced with fiberglass mesh especially designed for ceramic tile installers. Jeff Ketterer, product manager, notes that the company was one of the first to manufacture backer board: “We’ve been making cement backer board for over 30 years.” He notes that the company now has lots of competition, but observes that Util-A-Crete has been shown by independent testing to be the strongest concrete backer board on the market. The company also has a new line of pre-formed shower pans, shower seats, and shampoo niches. Under ASTM 3272 the product has a 9 out of 10 rating for mold and mildew resistance.

        New high-density DensShield Tile Backer from Georgia-Pacific recently passed the Robinson Floor Test with a compression rating greater than 1500 psi which helps ensure that tile floors maintain their integrity over time. Made of gypsum with a vapor barrier, DensShield comes in three different thicknesses. The ?” is recommended for residential and light commercial countertop and floor applications, the ?” is recommended for residential wall applications, and 5/8″ Type X is recommended for fire rated wall assemblies in commercial buildings.

        “Anywhere you install floor tile, such as in a kitchen, bathroom or family room, DensShield provides outstanding strength,” says Leo Bissonnette, national sales manager.

        Unlike cement-based boards, DensShield can be scored with a utility knife and snapped without requiring special tools. Lightweight and easy to install, it can be attached to the floor using staples. Incorporating glass-mat facings and a moisture-resistant core, DensShield helps protect the tile installation and subfloor from moisture intrusion and damage and meets the 2006 International Residential Code for use behind tile in wet areas. Georgia-Pacific is so confident of its product that it offers an original owner lifetime limited warranty on any properly applied residential tile installation over DensShield Tile Backer. The combination of moisture and mold resistance, along with potential labor savings, makes DensShield a superior tile substrate for use by tile industry professionals, says Bissonnette.

        Akron, OH-based National Applied Construction Products has developed a number of underlayments specifically designed for sound abatement. Pam Zepp, marketing director, notes that the company is working on a sound-abatement system that includes a Homasote backerboard combined with NAC’s SAM3 and Super SAM underlayment technologies in conjunction with an acoustical medium-bed mortar that is currently under development but is expected to be launched later this year.

        NAC got its start making anti-fracture membranes. “This company introduced the first thinbed antifracture membrane ever [ECB]. NAC led the market on that. Every other product that’s out there for thinbed anti-fracture came after,” said Zepp. “What’s significant about that is that we have 23 years of installation—we have millions of square feet installed. Another thing that sets us apart is we use a non-reemulsifiable primer which basically means you can’t pull the membrane up—it has a grip to the substrate that is stronger than other membrane systems. We guarantee absolute fusion for life. Our membranes are also formulated with higher rubber content and proprietary fillers to create maximum elasticity. We also offer 3/8 of an inch crack bridging protection and guarantee that for a lifetime.”

        Zepp points out that this year, NAC meets the new ANSI spec for crack isolation, A118.12, as well as the new water-proofing spec, A118.10.

        Michael Blades, product manager with Permabase, a product manufactured by National Gypsum of Charlotte, NC claims that cement backer boards are the oldest and most versatile underlayment systems. “I think what’s new is that people are starting to realize that all the newer products that have come out since cement board tend to have more limitations and fewer places that you can use them.” As Blades points out, fiber cement and fiber or glass mat gypsum can’t be used in exterior tile applications and not all foam boards are suitable for floors. On the other hand, he says, cement backer boards are a “one stop shop.”

        “Certainly some of the newer products have their niches,” Blades admits, “and I think there are consumers looking for certain attributes that newer products may fit well into, but for the day in and day out, particularly for contractors who do bathrooms and kitchens, hallways, counters, floors and ceilings, if they have to go into all those different places—like regular shower versus dry area versus sauna, residential versus commercial….trying to figure out where you can use product A versus product B can be difficult.” With an overwhelming amount of choices, many contractors are choosing to simplify with “something that works everywhere—and traditional cement boards work just about anywhere you can put tile, whether it’s interior, exterior, walls, floors, ceilings, countertops.”

        The company did introduce one new product that’s “dramatically” different from its competitors—a ?” cement board that incorporates a fiberglass mesh that bends without being scored or wetted. “We can achieve a 90 degree radius at six inches,” says Blades.

        Installing Larger, Heavier Tiles

        Blades is noticing an increase in the size and the heft of the tile being used. “Four inch and six inch tiles are really kind of disappearing except maybe in the backsplash area….All the thinset manufacturers are coming out with no-sag mortars, ultra-gripping traction mortars for these larger, heavier tile and stone products.” When working with stone, particularly on vertical surfaces which are subjected to movement, and deflection from heat and cold, notes Blades, “you have to make sure that the backer board is rated for the weight of the material that you’re putting on it.”

        Blades says, “We’ve really tried to take a product that’s been out there for a long time and make it as versatile and high performing a product as possible. We believe that while newer products may have come along, at the end of the day, newer doesn’t necessarily make it better. If the old one works, just tweak it.”

        Denver-based Protecto Wrap makes a number of protective peel and stick membranes for the construction industry. In its flooring division its staple product is AFM, a 1 mm anti-fracture membrane meant to be used in lieu of products like cement backer board. The thinness of the product makes it convenient, says marketing coordinator Melissa Lucas. “It’s very easy to work with so it saves installers and contractors time because it’s so easy to put down. Because it’s a very thin peel and stick, you can just place it down and then put your thinset directly over top of that.” Living up to its name, Lucas says, “AFM is meant to give a little bit so we actually guarantee that it can withstand substrate cracks of up to ?” of an inch without affecting the tile. This product is like insurance—you place it down under your expensive tiles or natural stone and you won’t get any shifting or cracking.”

        Lucas says that AFM is recommended for stone or tile, but only when used with thinset. She cautions, “If you’re using a product that requires a medium or thickset, then this product is not for you.” AFM can be used on walls, countertops, and backsplashes. Bathrooms are a popular application because AFM has waterproofing qualities.

        The company also manufactures “WhisperMat,” an 1/8″ underlayment that incorporates fracture mitigation with sound control qualities. Lucas notes that the product is popular in multi-housing situations to mitigate sound travel and has been used under wood as well as ceramic.

        Richard Maurer, director of marketing for the Noble Company of Grand Haven, MI, says the company’s most popular items are shower and waterproofing products such as Chloraloy, a shower pan liner made from chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) that is laminated on both sides with a fiber to help bond the membrane to the substrate. Chloraloy was introduced in 1964 and since then, says Maurer, “We’ve sold millions and millions of feet. People dig it up after 30 years and it’s still like new.” Placed under a mortar bed, Maurer says Choraloy is superior to lead and copper shower pans. It won’t crack and it doesn’t react with water in an alkaline environment. Chloraloy can also be used to waterproof vertical and horizontal surfaces—even ceilings. “We promote the fact that sheet membranes create consistency, regardless of who installs the product,” says Maurer.

        More recently, in the 1990s the company developed ProSlope, a shower form made from expanded polystyrene that creates the recommended ?” slope per foot in shower floors. Traditionally slopes were built up out of mortar beds. “This saves a whole bunch of time,” points out Maurer, who adds that ProSlope is so easy to use even plumbers can install it. Another new offering is ProForm shower niches, also made from extruded polystyrene, which are completely waterproof so no moisture ever comes in contact with wood studs, which can create mold problems. Noble Company’s niche market is growing by “leaps and bounds,” says Maurer.

        More options to save time, save money and improve installation

        Bob Pritchard, sales and marketing manager with SGM of Pompano Beach, FL, says the most popular of the company’s crack suppression systems is Southcrete 1132, an elastomeric coating that gets painted on surfaces. A gold liquid that is roller or spray applied, Southcrete 1132 serves as an anti-fracture and waterproof membrane and is ready to use straight out of the bucket with no additional mixing. “The beauty of our product is it pretty much takes all the guess work out of anything to do with gauging or mixing and the fact that it can be rolled or spray applied over large areas makes it very attractive—labor costs are minimal,” says Pritchard. The coating can be used on floors and walls both indoors and out and can be used under thinbed or thickbed installations. The product is a viable substitute for sheet-applied or trowel-applied water-proof membranes. “Some sheet-applied membranes are much more expensive and labor intensive because you have to seam the overlap,” points out Pritchard who adds that because Southcrete 1132 is easy to use, it is a popular choice for tile contractors.

        The underlayment division of Pomona, CA-based Halex Corporation, makes an engineered plywood specifically for the tile industry, also called Halex. The plywood is made with exterior grade glues so mold isn’t a problem, notes sales manager Charlie Martin, who admits that plywood had lost market share to cement board as an underlayment material but is gaining ground again. He says that’s mainly because thinsets didn’t bond to older plywoods. Now, with new refinements, says Martin, there’s plenty of reason to return to plywood.

        “The biggest problem as far as ceramic tile is concerned is cracked tiles and cracked grout and the number one cause of that is deflection in the floor joists and the subfloor,” Martin says. In order to demonstrate that Halex performs better than cementitious panels, the company recently had the Tile Council of North America test its five-ply ?” Halex which passed the Robinson floor test, 16 inches on center (the seven-ply 3/8 inch passed last year).

        Martin believes that Halex is the best solution when it comes to addressing deflection because “there’s nothing stronger than our underlayment in terms of structural strength.” Because of that strength Halex is perfectly suited to handle the weight of larger tiles and stone. As evidence, Martin notes he was doing a demonstration at a trade show with his 3/8″ product and someone who worked for one of his distributors came up and wanted to stand on the demonstration. The man, who admitted to being 365 pounds, stood on the plywood which was sitting 24″ on center. “I was trying to get across how strong this material is—that you can go across 24″ on center and it doesn’t break. He stood on it and it didn’t break and then this other guy who also worked for the company came by, jumped on top, and hugged him. The two of them combined didn’t break the plywood. Whereas if you took a piece of the popular selling ?” cement board it would break under far less weight. It just doesn’t have the structural strength that our product has.”

        Martin notes that Halex is perfect for today’s larger scaled homes, many of which have larger spans between joists. He also says that installers like the product because they can install plywood without thinset which eliminates a lot of prep and drying time. Additionally, Halex can be stapled down. “Bingo, you’re done,” he says.

        Durock, manufactured by USG of Chicago, is so widely used that the trade name has become synonymous with cement board, just like Jell-O is synonymous with flavored gelatin. Last year, notes Jeremy Verstraete, USG segment marketing manager, the company introduced a lightweight roll-down water-proofing underlayment called Durock Tile Membrane which can be used on top of a subfloor or on Durock. Durock Tile Membrane comes in a 300-square foot roll and is coated with a layer of portland cement on top to create a strong tile bond. The back is a woven material.

        Technically, admits Verstraete, one wouldn’t need to use a membrane on top of Durock, but in applications like second floor bathrooms where there are worries about potential overflow this provides additional protection. “It’s a thin product, it can be cut with scissors and applied to the floor,” Verstraete says of the membrane which gets adhered to the floor with a mortar or mastic. “In order to get 300 square feet of any other type of underlayment, think about the enormous amount of labor that is needed to carry that into place. You can get 300 square foot of product on your shoulder. That’s how light it is.”

        Schluter?-Systems, a company that originated in Germany, and develops installation systems for ceramic and stone tile, has an “uncoupling” membrane called Schluter?-DITRA that eliminates the major cause of cracking on a tiled surface. Lisa Schwartz, public relations coordinator with Schluter?’s US office in Plattsburgh, NY, says that DITRA “is based on an ancient method of setting tile, which used sand as an uncoupling layer, or forgiving shear interface, within the tile assembly. DITRA provides the same uncoupling principle through its open rib structure, which allows for in-plane movement and neutralizes the different movement stresses between the substrate and the tile.” DITRA is unique from other underlayments because it is multi-functional. It provides waterproofing and vapor management in addition to uncoupling. DITRA’s underside channels provide a route for excess moisture and vapor to escape from the substrate, allowing it to breathe. This function is especially useful when tiling over fresh gypsum and mortar screeds, young concrete, and concrete subject to moisture migration. Schwartz says that DITRA “creates a lasting tile installation in one product” and is lightweight, making it easy to handle and dramatically reducing installation time.

        Proflex Products Inc. is a relative newcomer to the marketplace, but one that has captured a lot of attention and business. At Coverings 2006, Proflex introduced Ultimate Sound Control Membrane (USC) and a vapor barrier system, Crack-Free Membrane (CFM). USC is a self-bonding, reinforced, 200 mil-thick engineered elastomeric/cork composite membrane that provides sound reduction, crack isolation, and moisture vapor transmission and helps eliminate breaking bonds due to high Ph(over 9). USC is specially engineered to be used under thinset and mudset mortars and adhesives for interior applications of ceramic tile, stone, brick, and wood flooring, and bridges cracks and controls joints up to 3/8″ wide. When used with Proflex rubber seam tape, USC provides the same protection against moisture vapor transmission as CFM, a 40 mil-thick, elastomeric membrane.

        The company’s products may be applied over a broad range of substrates and are fully warranted for up to 3/8″ cracks in finished flooring for a minimum of ten years and up to lifetime based on the system of materials installed. The warranties cover labor and material of up to $9 million per incident. “If a builder wants it, we’ll list them as an additional insured on our policy,” says company representative, Joe Still, who adds that the company has never had a claim filed against it, despite having 100 million square feet of its product installed. “I’ve never seen a cracked tile. We even had one job where a water main broke under a house during new construction, lifted the floor four inches. It was flooded for two weeks. And when it was over all they had to do was repair the drywall because the floor tile stayed intact. They didn’t have a single disbonded or cracked tile or grout joint.”

        Another advantage of Proflex, says Still, is that it has a much higher melting temperature which gives it the ability to be installed in temperatures ranging from below freezing to 120 degrees F. Still adds, “Installers love it because when it hits the floor you can reposition it until you put weight to it.” The company offers 24/7 technical support.

        As Still notes, properly-laid tile has the ability to last for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Today’s underlayments should do much to enhance the longevity of tile installations.

        One – on – One…Adnan Polat
        September 1st, 2006

        By Jeffrey Steele

        September-October 2006

        As president of the Turkish Ceramics Federation, Adnan Polat was not only the host of CTDA’s recent trade mission to Istanbul , but he has been the driving force behind the growing presence of Turkish ceramics in the world marketplace. It’s important to remember that the Turkish ceramic tradition began 8,000 years ago on Anatolian soil. However, its industrial growth which began in the second half of the 20th century has become even more focused in the last fifteen years. Today Turkey produces more than 180 million sqm of ceramic tile, making it the fifth leading ceramic tile producer in the world and third largest in Europe . Turkey ’s ceramic tile production represents 3.5 % of world production and 11% of European production. Since most of the country’s production was started after 1990, its plants are technologically up-to-date. The combination of technology and tradition has made Turkey a growing influence in the industry.

        TileDealer recently spoke with Mr. Polat to get this thoughts not only on the trade mission, but on the worldwide role of Turkish tile.

        TileDealer: What is the Turkish Ceramic Federation?

        Polat: The Ceramic and Refractory Manufacturers Association was founded in 1986 to bring together the manufacturers in the Turkish ceramic industry. It reorganized in 1996 into four individual associations reflecting the interests, problems, and lines of business of the sub-sectors under the roof of the Association. The new sub sectors are SERKAP, Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association; SERSA, Ceramic Sanitary Ware Manufacturers Association; SEREF, Ceramic and Refractory Manufacturers Association; and SERHAM, Ceramic Raw Material Manufacturers Association.

        In accordance with the resolutions adopted by the Board of Directors of the Associations in 2001, initiatives were taken for the foundation of the Ceramic Federation which would bring these four associations and other organizations in the sector under a single roof. At the end of 2002, with the participation of the Trade Association for Sanitary Ware and Building Suppliers (TIMDER), these leading organizations representing the ceramic refractory and raw material manufacturers joined under a roof. After bureaucratic paperwork was completed, the Turkish Ceramic Association also joined the Federation; thus, in addition to manufacturers and dealers which comprise sales channels, scientists and ceramic fine artists also took part in the Federation.

        The Ceramic Federation, which represents the sector with all its branches, has major influence regarding the development of the sector and elimination of common problems and satisfaction of needs.

        Efforts directed towards the promotion of Turkish ceramics, financed through a fund created voluntarily by the members of SERKAP and SERSA, and pursued with the support of the Under Secretariat of International Trade and Central Anatolia Exporters Union (OAIB) are gaining each year. The Turkish ceramic sector is mentioned more and more in local and foreign media led by trade magazines. The whole sector is represented in domestic and international trade fairs alongside magazine ads, catalogs, CDs, the Internet and multivision efforts.

        UNICERA Ceramic and Bathroom Fair, which is held in Istanbul in April since 1988, has gained influence. Starting in 2002, SERKAP and SERSA took an active part in the organization. The aim is to make the trade fair, which was rather a local fair previously, an international trade fair with major trade potential where significant ceramic buyers and sellers of the Middle East , Central Asia and the Balkans come together. UNICERA Fair would become the most important ceramic trade fair of the region.

        In short, the Federation seeks to achieve a synergy regarding the strengthening of the image of Turkish ceramic manufacturers who have attained major success in exports, in international markets through the organizations and promotional activities carried out locally and abroad.

        TileDealer: Can you explain what your role is in the Turkish Ceramic Federation and how you achieved the position you currently have?

        Polat: I am the president of the Turkish Ceramics Federation. My role is to maintain the joint interests of the manufacturers, dealers, scientists and artists existing in the Turkish ceramics sector. I was head of the Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association until the Federation was founded in 2002. Upon the foundation of the Turkish Ceramic Federation, I was elected as the president by unanimous vote of all the Ceramic Associations.

        TileDealer: How did you first learn about the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association?

        Polat: My company, EGE SERAMIK America Inc. was founded in 1991 in the USA and one of the first things we did was to search for such an organization in the USA and become a member of it. I am proud to say that we were the first Turkish company to be an associate member as a ceramic tile manufacturer and amongst the very first foreign manufacturers which joined and supported CTDA.

        TileDealer: What made you decide to just “invite the CTDA” to Turkey ?

        Polat: The USA is one of our targeted markets. Turkish tile manufacturers have been in the USA market for many years. Turkish tiles are accepted and approved by the American people. Turkish tile producers are searching the USA tile market continuously and trying to catch the likes and dislikes of the American consumers about the ceramic tiles. Members of the CTDA are our friends, and we have had established very fruitful and very friendly relations with them.

        Besides, Turkey and the USA are two friendly countries. We wanted to host our American friends for a few days in our country and to introduce them our cultural, historical and social behaviors. Let them taste our food, walk around the Bosporus , see the historical monuments coming back from the Byzantine.

        Most of the CTDA members were not knowledgeable about the plants of their Turkish suppliers. We wanted them to come and see with their own eyes how large the manufacturing facilities are in Turkey and how wonderful they are.

        TileDealer: What was the response among the Turkish ceramic manufacturers to this proposal?

        Polat: They found it a very good idea and they accepted it immediately without any hesitation.

        TileDealer: Everyone agrees that the trade mission was a wonderful experience and even those who were unable to attend will undoubtedly benefit from the friendships and business alliances it helped to forge. What do you see as the next step in growing the business between our two countries?

        Polat: We leave the next step to our American friends who will take it toward us. They have seen our culture, our way of doing business, our friendship, our production facilities and our products in full detail. Now they are free to stimulate the trade transactions between our two countries. We hope our business will grow and will give fruits to both parties.

        TileDealer: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to doing business with the US?

        Polat: The very first obstacle of doing business with the USA , from my company’s view, is the lack of knowledge and/or misconceptions of American consumers about Turkish Ceramics and Turkey . Of course the effect of current oil prices on freight costs due to the very big distance between Turkey and the USA seems to be another obstacle. And one should not forget that since the USA is the largest growing ceramic tile market in the world, close to 1500 companies are competing for a share of the market. Although this is not a very big obstacle for EGE SERAMIK, it is a challenge for us to be one of the leading suppliers to the USA among our peers in the world

        TileDealer: What do you see as the biggest challenges to the Turkish ceramic industry?

        Polat: The Turkish ceramic industry has many challenges. Ceramic tiles are heavy commodities and need fast and cheap transportation. Ceramic tile manufacturing is a heavy energy consuming industry. We need more efficient and low cost energy supplies. The cost structures of the European countries are more or less like ours. But some developing countries such as India , Iran , UAE and Mexico may challenge the Turkish ceramics industry if they overcome the above facts.

        TileDealer: More than 10,000 ceramic tile dealers read TileDealer every issue. What would you like them to know about Turkish ceramic tile?

        Polat: I want the readers of TileDealer Magazine to be sure that Turkish ceramic tiles are the best in the USA regarding quality, fashion, durability and cost. I want them to know that Turkish tile producers are staying behind their products in all aspects and wishing to offer them a good deal.

        Special thanks to Mr. Kuthan Gunay for his help in facilitating this interview.


        Software Expressly Designed for Tile Retailers
        September 1st, 2006

        By Jeffrey Steele

        September-October 2006

        It was only a year ago that TileDealer launched an exhaustive look at software programs created to help dealers operate their businesses more productively and profitably. But in the fast-paced world of software, where new products and upgrades to existing ones are never ending, that investigation is already yesterday’s news.

        In the past, manufacturers of software serving the tile industry have been criticized for gearing programs solely to larger customers. But today, an increasing number of programs target small and intermediate sized firms as well as big ones.

        American Business Computers, Inc. and its predecessor firm, Worlco Data Systems, Inc., have been handling flooring and ceramic tile inventory management since 1975. In explaining the need for his product, company president Joe Flannick says if a dealer has very little inventory, off-the-shelf accounting software like QuickBooks works just fine. But the minute the company reaches a significant inventory investment of $50,000 to $100,000, “You want to get vertical market software like ours,” he says.

        Vertical market software is another term for “industry specific,” an essential quality of a good inventory software management program, Flannick explains. While there are a lot of software companies out there, if they don’t know the flooring industry, 30 years of computer experience won’t do them much good, he says.

        ABC’s product is FloorPro III ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning. Unlike most general inventory control software, which cannot handle the unique inventory requirements of the flooring industry, FloorPro III can track dye lot; cut individual pieces of stone, laminates and sheet vinyl; can round up to the correct quantity; and can convert between different units of measure, among other capabilities. QuickBooks and other off-the-shelf programs, by contrast, assume tile comes in in cartons and goes out in cartons. “That’s not the reality of the flooring industry,” Flannick says.

        Affordability is another key advantage of FloorPro III. ABC offers a product called Software As A Service, or SAAS, which allows users to access FloorPro III over the Internet. “That eliminates the need for a server, in-house networks and in-house personnel,” Flannick says. “All the labor, and the IT professional who would upgrade your software, you don’t need any of that. All you need is a connection to the Internet.”

        SAAS is expressly designed to serve smaller businesses with tighter budgets. At a cost of $200 a month for up to three users, companies with an Internet connection, computer and printer can access the service. The service works on any Windows platform, although Windows 98 Second Edition and above are recommended.

        “This is ideal for smaller guys without multiple locations, and maybe one or two users,“ Flannick reports. “It does all the things this guy wants to do, but he doesn’t have to invest a lot of money. If he starts growing, and grows into multiple locations, he can then buy the software. And there are some guys who want to sit on their boats on their vacations and still look at their sales numbers. You can do that with this product.”

        Earnest & Associates was launched in 1978 as a value-added reseller of computer systems solutions to the wholesale, distribution and manufacturing industries. It is now the nation’s leading representative of Infor Global Solutions, the world’s third largest developer of enterprise resource planning software, according to marketing manager Tom Birdwell.

        Earnest & Associates targets the tile industry with a product called FACTSTile. The core part of the program, FACTS, is written by Infor Global Solutions and enables users to handle purchasing, sales orders, past sales inquiries, sales analysis of current and past transactions, accounts payable and receivable and general ledger.

        In the Tile part of the program, Earnest & Associates leveraged its years in the tile industry to create rich functionality for industry professionals, Birdwell says. Users can facilitate stock transfers across multiple locations, determine lowest and highest square feet when selling by boxes of tile, handle recalculations based on particular lot quantities and display shade, number of boxes and square feet on the pick ticket. The program can also handle conversions from one weight or size measure to another.

        “It’s a very popular package,” Birdwell adds. “There are more than 2,000 installations of FACTS across the country, in all kinds of industries.”

        Several software companies provide products expressly designed for tile dealers. Dancik International of Cary, N.C. offers the Dancik Enterprise System, which handles everything from order processing to inventory management, warehouse management, purchasing, claims management, routing and logistics, receivables, payables and general ledger, says director of sales Tony Thomas. Dancik Enterprise System is the company’s “core product,” and is supplemented by other products that help extend its functionality. The IWMS Integrated Warehouse Management System add-on provides a paperless, directed workflow warehouse environment and includes interfaces with two of the more popular third-party software systems for managing truck fleets and maximizing truck routes, Thomas says.

        Décor 24 is an Internet-based B2B selling system that allows customers to place orders without needing to deal with CSR staff. Another product is a B2B industry standard product called CMS, which automates the exchange of automated documents between trading partners. And other add-ons include data mining and warehousing tools and design and productivity tools for the showroom level enterprise.

        Thomas believes the market for software designed for flooring customers is large and growing. “Our biggest customers, who have been with us for years, continue to grow and continue to buy add-ons, so there’s a lot of market opportunity, dispersed geographically throughout the country, and economically throughout the market. We are not seeing anything suggesting big companies are gobbling smaller companies to grab market share. We’re seeing a market that has a lot of room for a lot of players.”

        Blue Cove Technologies is a Raleigh, N.C. company that allows users to “templatize” their best practices, says chief operating officer Michael Tucker. “Users of our software can set up templates that are representations of the type of work they’re about to perform, save them in their systems, and then administrative assistants can build out jobs using these templates, picking the crews to do the installation, and the types of products.”

        PlanPoint will cost out jobs, apply an appropriate profit margin chosen by users and generate with one click all paperwork associated with each job, Tucker says. The user can provide a detailed or a shorter estimate to the customer, as well as all crew work orders. He can create purchase orders, financial analyses and an integrated work calendar to schedule jobs, Tucker explains.

        The software also allows for easy change orders. And once users are satisfied, they can click another button and have everything they’ve done loaded into QuickBooks, eliminating secondary data entry.

        Looking at the market for software in the flooring industry, Tucker reports many people are not satisfied with QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. “People are looking for something more specific,” he notes. “In the software business, it never made much sense to go after the sole proprietor, because even though there are millions of them, they tend not to be technology friendly. It made more sense to develop software for big distributors, who are looking to gain efficiencies and to automate. We’re after nothing less than unseating Excel.”

        Orlando-based Comp-U-Floor produces a product of the same name that is an integrated point-of-sale, retailing and distribution software system exclusively designed for the floor covering industry. According to president Edgar Aya, the product encompasses many different and important niches, including importers, residential installers, commercial installers, multi-family apartment floor covering companies, and companies that exclusively work with new construction builders. Each of these niches requires a specialized set of tools, and those tools are included in the Comp-U-Floor software, Aya reports.

        The market for software for the flooring industry continues to be robust, he adds. “Even large companies realize the investment required to produce a software product comparable to Comp-U-Floor would require millions of dollars and years of development. They’ve finally seen the light, and have come to the realization that even at their size and with their considerable resources, it makes more sense to purchase a developed, mature product than to try to develop software on their own.”

        Moreover, smaller but growing companies are recognizing they need to purchase an industry-specific system if they are to remain competitive, Aya believes.

        At Yardley, Pa.-based Activant Solutions, Inc., Steve McLaughlin, senior vice-president and general manager of Activant’s Wholesale Distribution Group, reports that in today’s margin-squeezed tile distribution market, distributors require strong inventory management functionality able to track shades, lots and slabs. They also require the ability to monitor costs when importing product, and the power to effectively manage relationships with all their business partners, including vendors, homeowners, contractors, architects and specifiers.

        Tile distributors buy product by the carton or pallet and sell it by the piece or square foot, McLaughlin notes. They must have a technology solution that can convert pallets and cartons into square feet and pieces prior to price extensions to ensure they always maintain adequate profit margins.

        Additionally, because many of the products distributors sell are natural, color lots often vary greatly. They require a solution that controls color lots by shade to ensure pickers always pull single orders from the same color lots, improving customer service and inventory management, while simultaneously reducing likelihood of returns.

        “Many contractors and end users want to take a few pieces of tile to see what fits best in their kitchen, bathroom or foyer,” McLaughlin says. “While most distributors charge nothing for these samples, they should track what leaves their showroom to better calculate inventory costs. Software exists that can make it easy to create sample invoices within order entry. In addition to better understanding inventory costs, this allows distributors to follow up on sales opportunities, track popularity trends, and pursue the pieces they want customers to return.”

        Customers often call to request the same item they ordered previously, whether a week, a month or a year earlier. However, they can’t provide the original invoice or knowledge of the item’s part number. For that reason, distributors need a technology solution that enables them to search through complete sales histories by self-determined criteria.

        Such functionality should be capable in a few simple steps of narrowing down sales history searches by data range or keywords, such as “6-by-6 stone brown.” That item can then be added to the customer’s current order. This saves time and eliminates trips to the file cabinet to thumb through customer invoices.”

        Programs with graphic functionality

        Construction Software in West Palm Beach markets two products, a hardware digitizer product manufactured by GTCO/Calcomp, and compatible software called QuickMeasure. The two products combine to deliver a digital blueprint measuring system.

        According to owner Trevor Hadley, the system works like this. A tile contractor using the system places his blueprints on the digitizer—a tabletop pad about the size of the plans—sets the scale, and then traces with a pen the rooms being measured.

        The system provides the square footage as well as the perimeter, Hadley says. The software interfaces back into the contractor’s Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, allowing him to import the information he’s just obtained into the spreadsheet. He then puts together his pricing and bid on the spreadsheet, Hadley explains.

        While the system is performing this task, “It’s also saving a picture of what’s been measured, so it can be viewed later,” he adds. “You can see what you’ve done, and make sure you haven’t missed anything. Or if you have someone else reviewing your work, that person can look at the picture. And some of my customers will print the picture and actually include that in the bids they submit.”

        The system saves users 75% of the time it would take them to measure a job off blueprints. Moreover, most users are up and running within an hour of beginning to learn the system. Construction Software offers free technical support as well.

        Because the system is offered for an investment of just $3,700, Construction Software markets to firms of all sizes. Some of Hadley’s customers are contractors who use it on their dining room tables; others are large companies with multiple systems being used by a variety of estimators, he says.

        But the product is not for everyone, Hadley says. Companies that use the system are involved in new construction and have sets of building plans. The system obviously doesn’t work for contractors handling projects involving existing buildings, who have to measure the buildings in the field.

        RFMS is based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. National sales manager for Measure Estimating System, Ron McConnell says RFMS was begun 21 years ago by Tuscaloosa carpet store owner Terry Wheat, who developed software that could completely control the floor-covering business, from order writing and entry to inventory control and accounting.

        “Measure Estimating System is a portion of the software,” McConnell says. “It does the complete estimate, and its relationship to RFMS is you can import your products and pricing from RMFS, and export the entire order back into the business system, and it installs the entire order into the RFMS system. You can also export it to Excel and QuickBooks. Once you get it out into Excel, you can export it to other software.”

        Utilizing the software, tile dealers have the ability to mix sizes together, create designs and instantly apply them to any room, McConnell says. The software provides an instant tile count, indicates how much tile must be ordered and can include any waste factor users choose. Set it up properly, and the software even determines how much thin set and grout will be needed for the job. It can calculate a job on the basis of square footage, add an extra weight factor determined by the user, and—if told how much tile is in each carton—round up to the next carton.

        The benefit? You not only have the right bid, but you’ve covered your cost factor if you have to buy tile by full cartons, McConnell says. “So when you bid the job and, for instance, want a margin of 29 percent, it will make sure you get that margin.”

        An added bonus is that two versions back, RFMS added QuickTile to the software’s capability. QuickTile uses DalTile’s Tile Book, incorporating 40 patterns from that assortment. Click on the QuickTile button, and it will bring up those patterns, from basketweave to checkerboard, cobblestone, diamond insets and alternating horizontal, McConnelll says.

        Meeting the needs of the Stone Market

        Stone Profit Systems in Chicago markets two kinds of software systems, one for distributors/suppliers, and one for fabricators/installers, says sales manager Ravi Rudraju. The system targeted at distributors/suppliers permits inventory, container and sheet management, and also offers a bar coding module that permits bar coding of all slab and tile. A Web site module enables users to connect their inventory and customer relationship management to their Web site.

        “Another feature allows your suppliers to do your ordering when supplies run low,” Rudraju says. “You can give that access to suppliers you trust. It also allows them to do the bar coding of pallets before they even send the material to you.”

        The program for fabrication/installers allows them to undertake all the estimation and job costing, as well as job scheduling. It enables them to produce job budgets and set up shop calendars to manage projects based on timelines and deadlines. Another module allows customers to log on and check out the job from their end.

        According to Rudraju, the edge Stone Profit Systems can offer is that, unlike other software, this is a Web-based system, not an installed system.

        Stone Profit Systems doesn’t leave out the little guy, either. The first of its three versions, the Lite Edition, is designed for small companies with three to five users, and costs less than $10,000. The Standard Edition is an intermediate version for medium-sized firms with two or three locations and 10 to 20 users, and costs from $20,000 into the upper $20,000 range. Upper-end users can purchase the Enterprise Edition, which allows for extensive customization and ranges from $60,000 to $200,000, Rudraju says.

        St. Paul, Minnesota-based Fabricator’s Choice is a seven-year-old company born out of a distribution business that provided quartz, granite and solid surface countertop materials to fabricators, says president Tom Harms.

        “We basically started to train the companies to which we sold product, in order to raise their level of efficiency and proficiency in fabrication,” he recalls.

        “Along with that was the need for equipment improvements and software to make it quicker. We were able to allow them to produce more square footage with less people, or grow at a more rapid rate without adding more people.”

        The product that resulted from that experience is PhotoTop, which enables users to take photos with a digital camera of a countertop, cabinet area, wall or other space, and create digital drawings of that area.

        Countertop manufacturers, for instance, can export the resulting file into their cutting equipment and cut the shape to fit the area. In a residence where the walls aren’t perfectly straight, PhotoTop can produce a photo that provides the actual rather than right-angled shape and allow material to be cut to the specific shape.

        This in essence is templating, in which templates of physical spaces are created in a digital format, Harms says. “Once you have that, you have square area, lineal footage, whatever you need, and you can store the file, as well as transfer it to other people to output it and cut it. It’s a very convenient way of transferring information that formerly was transferred on paper, or through use of a wooden or plastic template.”

        The fact that the templates are created in a digital file is the big benefit. Any other form of template would require the individual receiving the template to interpret it and then translate it into something else, or transfer it to a finished shape of some sort, Harms says. With the digital file, on the other hand, there’s no need for interpretation.

        The initial expense of PhotoTop is $15,000, and includes everything needed to get up and running quickly and efficiently, including the system itself, two days of hands-on training and a year of free maintenance and support. The system is fully expandable, and can allow customers to add multiple digital cameras, Harms says.

        QFloors is headquartered in Midvale, Utah. Company

        President Chad Ogden and his brother Trent founded QFloors 1999. The Ogden brothers grew up in the flooring business as sons of Steve Ogden, a well-known name in the industry.

        QFloors is the core product in a suite of software programs that includes QSketch, QEstimator and QReporter. QFloors is the business management product that runs the day-to-day functions and tasks of the business, Chad Ogden says.

        “A lot of small companies will use QuickBooks, Peachtree and other generic accounting programs,” he adds. “Those programs are tailored to accountants. This program is a business management program tailored to business owners, sales reps and bookkeepers who run these flooring companies—not accountants. More than half of our current customers are coming from one of these generic programs. So they’ve already tried them and found they’re not working for them.”

        In the floor covering industry, B2B Industry Standard is a uniform industry standard developed in the past four years as a means of transferring data electronically between manufacturers and floor-covering dealers to save time and money, Ogden says. QFloors has been one of the leaders in allowing its users to transfer information such as pricing updates, vendor invoicing and online ordering electronically back and forth between distributors and manufacturers.

        “The other thing we offer is ease of use,” he says. “We have come to be known as the most user-friendly software on the market. In the past, the software offered in this industry has been notoriously complex, hard to use and not intuitive.

        “When people think of ease of use in this industry, they think of QFloors.”

        QFloors offers products for small, intermediate and large companies, with its most basic package for smaller firms starting at $2,900, Ogden adds.

        Activant Solutions, Inc.


        or 800-776-7438

        American Business Computers


        Blue Cove Technologies

        www.planpointsoftware.com or 866-321-2583


        www.comp-u-floor.com or 800-766-0330


        www.dancik.com or sales@dancik.com

        Earnest & Associates


        Construction Software






        Stone Profit Systems


        Fabricator’s Choice


        Tiles of Turkey
        September 1st, 2006

        September-October 2006


        Founded in 1957, the KALE GROUP includes the brands ?anakkale Seramik and Kalebodur to serve different tastes and purposes. Kaleseramik, is the largest ceramic manufacturer of the world operating in a single facility with 62 million sqm ceramic production annually. ?anakkale Seramik & Kalebodur are proud to introduce the new Cappadocia Collection inspired by the civilizations of the Anatolian territories. The beauty that has been sculpted into the region by history now translates into ceramics. The Cappadocia collection conveys the aesthetic legacy of this natural and cultural heritage in modern design and works wonderfully in a variety of living and working spaces. The Cappadocia collection comprises four different series as Seandos, Sinasos, Argeus and Assiena including wall and floor tiles and full decors.


        Element is in line with contemporary tastes, with a soft, essential design, warmed by the organic naturalness of the material. This extremely natural fabric texture in browns, greys and blacks, has been reproduced in porcelain and can be used not only for floors but also for walls applications. The surface enhances the sense of touch. Element is perfect for all the residential and commercial environments. BAB Tile’s manufacturing facilities are in Soke, Turkey. Since its inception in 1997, the company has prided itself on being a world-class distributor and manufacturer of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone. BAB TILE / YUKSEL SERAMIK began operations in 1997 and has maintained an aggressive growth rhythm, giving the consumer a product of high quality, with the best designs and competitive prices. BAB TILE / YUKSEL SERAMIK expanded into the United States market in 2003 by opening its own facilities in Anaheim, California. This strategic move proved to be very successful and allowed us to expand our distribution system rapidly, covering the majority of North America market.


        Kalesinterflex is the first and only porcelain ceramic slab produced in Turkey using a breakthrough, environmental friendly technology. It has the dimensions of 1000x3000x3 mm and has an elasticity radius of 5,5 m. Thanks to these unique attributes; Kalesinterflex has many application fields in addition to conventional examples. Kalesinterflex is a great next generation product in architecture and construction.


        A dream home. A place to get away from it all. Your own little corner of paradise. Let the Calais Portfolio from BAB Tile take you there. Indulge yourself with luxuriously large sized glazed porcelain floor tiles, in rich earthen colors with stone-like veining and shaded undulations. Generously sized tiles of 13″ x 13″ and 18″ x 18″ in three colors.


        Incorporating original concepts while working with traditional tools, Turkish designer, Defne Koz, is bringing her unique creative flare to VitrA tiles. The Creator of the “Calm” and “Sense” tile lines and various other collections for the high-end porcelain tile company, Koz is building a reputation throughout Europe and the world. While Koz’s designs can be seen in numerous international magazines, her client portfolio also includes several world famous brands. Born in Ankara and now based in Milan, Koz’s industrial design background has come to incorporate many philosophies that she is implementing at VitrA. “It’s important to know the culture of design,” Koz says, and includes her own Turkish background in her designs. From using traditional Turkish tools to recreating centuries old Turkish designs, updating them with a smooth, contemporary feel, Koz brings to VitrA a unique yet traditional feel. Achieving a combination of both old-world flare and contemporary appeal, Koz emphasizes VitrA’s focus on cutting-edge design. www.vitra-usa.com

        Kale Stone

        Kale Stone’s natural stone look represents the next generation in ceramic tiles. By using the Twinpress technology, Kale Stone is able to achieve a real stone appearance that isn’t possible through other methods of manufacturing. With its modularity, low weight, and resistance to the elements, Kale Stone gives designers the freedom to work without the usual concerns associated with other materials.


        New from Ege Seramik America, Inc., Piel is a modern leather-look available as a glazed porcelain floor tile in White, Tobacco and Mocha in 13” by 13” and 18” by 18” or as a non-porcelain wall tile in the same sizes as well as 12” by 18” in a choice of White or Tobacco. Ege Seramik also offers Teak, a rectified, glazed porcelain tile with the look of wood. It is available in 4” by 24”, 5” by 24” and 6” by 24” and in a choice of White, Almond, or Mocha. (678) 291-0888

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