CoolSprings Galleria: wide array of LATICRETE products and Tennessee-sourced tile make massive fast-track mall installation a success

CBL Properties, owners of the CoolSprings Galleria shopping mall, a massive complex located in Franklin, Tenn., were planning to renovate the 1.1 million . sq. (102,193 sq. m.) facility, which houses a total of 165 tenants. Areas to be remodeled included a 500-seat Oasis Court, path- ways and bathrooms encompassing more than 147,000 sq. . (13,656 sq. m.) of space.

The project was a two-level mall renovation highlighted by a full demolition of both upper and lower levels, all receiving new tile. The project used two different subcontractors – both NTCA Five Star Contractors – David Allen Company (DAC) for level two and Profast Commercial Flooring on level one.

Challenge

So what was the project’s main dilemma? How to get the job done in a fast and comprehensive fashion without interfering with the mall’s huge amount of foot traffic, a.k.a., thousands of daily shoppers. The solution was a plan to do the bulk of work at night, using highly skilled teams of installers and craftspeople to bring the ambitious project to completion.

“The unique challenge for the CoolSprings Galleria project was how quickly the work that was taking place throughout the night had to be turned around for typical mall use,” noted Mark Brooks, technical services manager, LATICRETE INTERNATIONAL.

The CoolSprings Galleria project was a two-level mall renova on high- lighted by a full demolition of both upper and lower levels, all receiving new tile.

“CoolSprings Galleria has many dedicated mall walkers and, in order to accommodate them,” he explained, “the mall opens its doors at 6:30 a.m. This means an extremely short timeline to complete work during the night.”

Harold Waid, division manager, Mid-South region for DAC, agreed with Brooks, no ng that while there were many challenges during the project, the main one was “installing the project a er hours in a relatively short me frame with no disrup on to the mall tenants or shoppers, with all work areas being required to be open to mall traffic the next morning.”

The Profast Commercial Flooring crew installs Shades porcelain tile from Crossville over FRACTURE BAN crack isolation membrane from LATICRETE

To accomplish this, he recalled, all tile and setting materials were brought in from an outside storage area each night. “We would prep the floor area and install crack isolation membrane, perform the layout and install tile using a rapid-set thin-set, clean the installed tile and work area, prep the edge of the installed tile with transition strips, and remove any tile over material back to the storage area.”

Kevin Killian, president of Profast Commercial Flooring, said that on-site project manager Jimmy Roue and head superintendent Tyler Lekki were con dent that the company’s experience and expertise would allow them to “ finish the installation ahead of schedule.” Working with LATICRETE made the process run smoothly. “The LATICRETE materials were always delivered on me and were very easy to work with,” he said. “The LATICRETE support team checked in with our field team on a regular basis to see if everything was working properly. This was a very successful project for us and I believe all par es involved – including the owner – are pleased with the finished product.”

Crossville, Inc., supplied its Shades porcelain tile in honed Frost, unpolished Mist, Ash and Thunder, in 6” X 24” (150 mm x 600mm) and 12” X 24” (300 mm x 600 mm) formats, as well as its Laminam by Crossville porcelain tile wall panels.

The project had to be installed after hours in a relatively short time frame with no disruption to the mall tenants or shoppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LATICRETE Solution

In the mall and food court, LATICRETE® NXTTM Level or DRYTEK® LEVELEXTM self-leveling underlayments, NXTTM Skim skimcoat and patching compound, FRACTURE BANTM crack isola on membrane, 4-XLT Rapid or 4-XLT large-and-heavy-tile mortars, PERMACOLOR® Select high-performance, cement-based grout and LATASILTM silicone sealant were utilized. In the bathrooms, NXTTM Level or DRYTEK LEVELEX, NXT Skim, HYDRO BAN® waterproofing and crack isolation membrane, 4-XLT, SPECTRALOCK® PRO Premium Grout epoxy grout and LATASIL were used.

Crossville, Inc., another major player in the remodel, provided its Shades porcelain tile collection in honed Frost, unpolished Mist, Ash, and Thunder, in 6” X 24” (150 mm x 600 mm) and 12” X 24” (300 mm x 600 mm) formats, as well as its Laminam by Crossville porcelain tile wall panels.

To facilitate the successful installation of the Crossville porcelain tile, LATICRETE products were used across the installation. Said Brooks, “The LATICRETE products that were used on the project were all fast-setting in order to return the main mall areas back to service in a timely manner.”’

Outcome

The project, which began in April 2016, would be completed on time almost six months later on the eve of the holiday shopping season. Project designer Suzy McHenry of Omniplan gave some insight into the CoolSprings vision, noting, “In our design, we sought to express Franklin’s unique regional influences with a contemporary aesthetic that stays true to the area.

“Our design resolves authenticity with modern materials that elevate the shopping experience,” she added. “These finishes include stainless steel handrails, porcelain tile pattern from material manufactured in Tennessee, and quality stone.

“We went with a much darker floor than our client has ever used on other properties,” McHenry noted. “Rather than using a beige tone, we opted for the cool palette of the grays with a pop of white.”

For the wet walls of the bathrooms, the design team utilized Laminam by Crossville for its clean look and durability, especially for the harsh and wet conditions of a public bathroom. The remaining bathroom walls feature Crossville’s Ready to Wear in unpolished Button Up with accents of Groove Glass in the grey Rumba tone.

 

David Allen Company was another installation crew, here installing the Crossville Shades porcelain over skim-coated FRACTURE BAN crack isolation membrane.

Like McHenry, Corbett Drew, senior property manager, CBL, noted the project featured all things Tennessee. “Some may find it interesting that CBL’s headquarters, Crossville’s plant and CoolSprings Galleria are all separated by a couple hours’ drive time, making this floor bought, produced and placed in the state of Tennessee.”

As a senior property manager for the owner, Drew endeavored to involve all of the flooring system suppliers well ahead of procurement. “From design input to drawing and specification review to mock ups to instal- lation to system warranty discussions, LATICRETE had a seat at the table at every step of the project.”

As Heidi Vassalo , strategic accounts, Crossville, noted, CBL takes a very collabora ve approach to their projects “by bringing all parties to the table to review/cross analyze information being brought forth. Crossville’s technical team has been very active in working beside LATICRETE on this project.”

“This new floor was very much a product of strong team collaboration,” Drew concluded, “and LATICRETE’s sales and technical representatives were right there in the mix throughout.”

Coverings Industry Ambassador – TRENDS 2017

Welcome to the show!

By Alena Capra, CKD, CBD

This year, Coverings makes its return to Orlando…and April is the perfect time of year to be visiting the Sunshine State.

This Coverings, I’m excited to see all that’s in store – I’m looking forward to checking out the exhibitors’ newest products, and sharing the tile trends with my fellow design and tile industry friends. Where else can you tour miles of tile on a show floor but Coverings?! I’ve packed my comfortable shoes, and I’m excited to take on the show floor.

In addition to all of the beautiful tile and products to see, this year there are a few more fun things in store to explore while you’re at the Orange County Convention Center. The Installation and Design Showcase is back, but with a fun new twist! This year, it will be the “Tiny House Edition.” Keeping in line with the tiny house trend, this year, three top designers, and three NTCA Five Star Contractors will partner to design and build these tiny houses live at the show! Each will have a different theme, with unique and beautiful tile, donated from several different manufacturers.

Among the notable things to discover while at the show is the NASCAR experience, also new this year! See what it’s like to drive on a NASCAR track with this simulator. There’s also an opportunity to win some pretty exciting prizes!

In between all the fun events, live demonstrations, and products to see, don’t forget to sign up for some of the free CEU sessions; there are many great topics on deck this year.

Looking forward to seeing you all again this year, for another exciting Coverings show!

– Alena

President’s Letter – TRENDS 2017

Keeping up with standards

We are fortunate to be part of a dynamic and innovative industry, where change is normal with new products, methods and trends in design and installation. Here at David Allen Company, we have just completed several projects with 40 to 60 different tile types and numerous different color combinations. I don’t know of another finish trade that is so diverse and complex: gauged porcelain tile/panels in sizes up to 5’ x 10’ have been around long enough that most of us have some experience working with them. There has been a resurgence of handmade and extruded tiles with concave, convex and three-dimensional faces, just to name a few.

If you were at TISE West in January, you had the opportunity to see many new tile designs. While these tiles create beautiful projects and sometimes works of art when they are complete, they demand the highest levels of installation skills and management ability. Continuous training to keep crews updated on the specific installation requirements of 60 different products on a single project is challenging. It’s times like this that a good working knowledge of industry standards and recommendations is essential. On more than one occasion recently after installing handmade tiles, the project architect rejected portions of our installation quoting the TCNA Handbook tolerances. Knowing that the TCNA Handbook standards only apply to tiles manufactured and tested to comply with ANSI A137.1 was the key to helping educate the architect that not all tiles can be judged by the same standard and installation tolerances. Following are excerpts from the TCNA Handbook that specify where standards can be applied.

Ceramic Tile Types

“Ceramic tile suitable for TCNA Handbook installation methods are those that meet the specifications outlined in ANSI A137.1 American National Standard Specifications for Ceramic Tile. ANSI A137.1 contains performance and aesthetic criteria for the five major types of ceramic tiles: porcelain, pressed floor, mosaic, quarry and glazed wall tiles.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.2

Specialty Tile

“Specialty tiles are designed to meet special physical requirements or to have special appearances characteristics. They are not required to meet all requirements of ANSI A137.1. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications. They are sometimes manufactured to create an architectural effect toward the casual [sic].These tiles vary in size, one tile from the other. Variations in plane may be expected. Larger tiles will usually require greater variation in joint width. For each specialty tile being chosen, review installation guidelines supplied by manufacturer/distributor of specialty tiles and/or adhesive manufacturer. Specialty tiles include, but are not limited to, tiles made from nonceramic materials.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.5

Keeping up with industry standards can keep you from replacing acceptable workmanship unnecessarily. If you are unsure if the tile you have been contracted to install meets ANSI A137.1 contact the manufacturer and request a Master Grade Certificate. If they can’t provide one or state that their product is not manufactured to meet this standard, you have the answer needed. This will allow you to educate your client and establish reasonable expectations for the installation.

Education is key to working more professionally and profitably. Keep on tiling!

––––––––––

Martin Howard, President NTCA
Committee Member, ANSI A108
mhoward@davidallen.com

Editor’s Letter – TRENDS 2017

Here we are, in the midst of a long-anticipated spring. Weather is warming, blades of grass are poking out of barren ground and COLOR is everywhere.

That’s fitting since in this issue, we are having a veritable spring explosion of color – and style. Take a look at Shelley Halbert’s story for a bloom of fresh new colors that will be influential, inspiring and blossoming forth from everything from fashion to home decor. And in fact, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is GREENERY – a life-affirming color of hope, and fresh new starts.

There’s a burst of new color and design from around the globe as well – see the stories from Tile of Spain, Ceramics of Italy and Turkish Ceramics to sample the international menu of important trends that will inform our industry. And just how are tiles incorporated into residential and commercial design? Explore the A&D Q&A to see how interior designers Lisa Mende and Patricia Gaylor create magical settings through the use of tile.

Kent Klaser speaks with us about budding stone trends and directions, and suppliers of stone and tile share with us what’s selling in their necks of the woods and identify up-and-coming trends.

Peruse our product section for an overview of color, aesthetics and formats in tile and stone this year. We also include a setting materials section because a sound foundation, complemented by the proper accessories, treatments and tools, helps ensure the beautiful finishing materials look and perform splendidly for decades.

And I would be remiss to not mention a big event for NTCA – this year marks this association’s 70th Anniversary. A festive celebration is planned Thursday night, April 6, at Coverings to commemorate NTCA’s perennial influence in supporting the trade, advancing the use of tile, and partnering with other sectors of our industry in creative ways to raise tile’s visibility as a beautiful and enduring surfacing material – and to ensure that installations perform beautifully for years to come.

There is so much beauty, drama and style coming into flower this year in tile and stone – and TRENDS is just the beginning. Enjoy the issue and see these trends come to life on the Coverings show floor in Orlando April 4-7, 2017.

God bless,
Lesley
lesley@tile-assn.com

TECH 2016 Feature: TEC Provides Solution for Renowned Medical Institute

feat-00tomplaskotaTEC® provides multiple solutions for headquarters of renowned medical institute

By Tom Plaskota, TEC® technical support manager

The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Ind., is an internationally-renowned healthcare research organization – itself a model for research, efficiency and innovation – that recently benefited from those same attributes, courtesy of numerous TEC® tile installation solutions. Altogether, a total of 7,100 sq. ft. of TEC® products were used throughout various spaces for this project.

Known for developing better pathways to wellness, Regenstrief built a four-story, 80,000 sq. ft. building as the latest addition to its already impressive campus that serves as the institute’s headquarters. The new building is now home to the institute’s global research facility, with 165 staff members and a large number of allied scientists.

TEC® products were used throughout hallways, bathrooms and stairwells of the new Regenstrief Institute headquarters.

TEC® products were used throughout hallways, bathrooms and stairwells of the new Regenstrief Institute headquarters.

Regenstrief prides itself on improving the quality of care, increasing the efficiency of healthcare delivery, preventing medical errors, and enhancing patient safety. But those ideals could have been put at risk when serious issues arose with some of the new building’s floors during the early phase of construction.

As work was just underway, the contractor, Indianapolis-based Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. – a NTCA member – discovered that more than 3,000 sq. ft. of the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96. Moisture mitigation was the only way to solve the problem on the burnished, contaminated concrete, and TEC® moisture mitigation systems were the solution.

How MVER may affect tile installations

Subsurface moisture has always been a potential Achilles’ heel of floor covering installations, but excessive moisture vapor emission rates (MVER) recently have become occasional problems with ceramic and natural stone tile installations.

Today’s tiles – not as porous as they once were – are now often bonded directly to concrete, which has been covered with a waterproof and anti-fracture membrane, making installations more convenient and successful, but less breathable. On top of that, today’s fast-paced construction timelines mean installations may take place before concrete moisture levels are completely stabilized.

 TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same day flooring installation. “TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” says Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. 

TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same day flooring installation. “TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” says Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc.

Innovative and efficient

Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. decided to use TEC® LiquiDam EZ™ moisture vapor barrier to moisture mitigate 3,000 sq. ft. of the floors. Another 450 sq. ft. were mitigated with the original TEC® LiquiDam™. Both formulas, which can be directly applied onto green concrete up to 100% RH and may not require shotblasting on clean, sound surfaces, helped achieve a high level of moisture control and allowed the contractors to quickly move on with the installation.

TEC LiquiDam EZ, which launched January 2016, is the industry’s first single-component, liquid-based moisture vapor barrier. It protects flooring and tile systems from damage caused by severe moisture and alkalinity, and can be hand-stirred and then directly applied. The single-component formula dries in a quick four to five hours, allowing for same-day flooring installation.

“TEC LiquiDam EZ easily saves 30-40% on labor,” said Brian Estes of Certified Floorcovering Services, Inc. “We were able to reduce our application crew by one person due to the ease of the new installation process required by this non-epoxy product.”

LiquiDam EZ impressed the contractors with its resealable packaging – a bonus when reusing product for next-day jobs. LiquiDam EZ can be resealed and stored up to six months, and eliminates waste and special handling.

After discovering that the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96, the contractor chose TEC moisture mitigation systems as the solution.

After discovering that the concrete slab in the foyer and bathroom had a high relative humidity (RH) of 96, the contractor chose TEC moisture mitigation systems as the solution.

Since the Regenstrief Institute is closely associated with the busy Indiana University School of Medicine and Health and the Hospital Corporation of Marion County, the job needed to be completed properly and in a timely fashion. When moisture problems are not addressed properly pre-installation, all sorts of potential issues may arise – particularly problematic for healthcare facilities that require sterile environments. Moisture control is one of the most crucial steps to carry out on the floor installation checklist. Yet this aspect of the process is all too often overlooked.

Other TEC tile installation solutions for the Regenstrief project

Within the new Regenstrief building, TEC quality product solutions extended well beyond moisture mitigation. Four flights of steel stairs in the Regenstrief headquarters were covered in 12”x 24” large-format tiles – a challenge since steel is a difficult-to-bond-to substrate for tile installations. TEC Multipurpose Primer created a quick fix, directly bonding the tiles to 120 large steel stairs. TEC Ultimate Large Tile Mortar was used for its non-slump and non-slip formula for heavy tile and stone applications.

Additional TEC products relied on during building construction include: TEC HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane, TEC PerfectFinish™ Skimcoat, and TEC Power Grout in DeLorean Gray. TEC products were used throughout the headquarters in the hallways, bathrooms, and stairwells.

Distributor Louisville Tile provided the 12” x 24” large-format tiles from Crossville, which were a sleek gray with subtle accents. Designed by Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis, construction started in October 2014 and was completed in November 2015.

feat-04The nonprofit medical research organization is dedicated to improving the quality, cost, and outcome of healthcare around the world. Regenstrief investigators work closely with nearby schools and hospitals – Indiana University’s School of Medicine, Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, the Roudebush VA Medical Center, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and IU Health University Hospital.

For more information about TEC, visit www.tecspecialty.com.

The TEC® brand is offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., a leading provider of technologically advanced construction materials and solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential construction industry. Named “one of the world’s most ethical companies” by Ethisphere in 2013, and headquartered in Aurora, IL, the company’s recognized and trusted brands – TEC®, CHAPCO®, Grout Boost®, ProSpec®, Foster®, and others – are available through an extensive network of distributors and dealers, as well as home improvement retailers. For more information, visit www.hbfuller-cp.com.

Technical Feature: Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels – TECH 2016

tech-00noahchittyThe status of standards for gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs (formerly known as thin porcelain tile)

Unique partnership between tile and installation materials manufacturers, tool suppliers, and labor set the groundwork for product and installation standards for new breed of tile

By Noah Chitty, director of technical services, Crossville

tech-01It began approximately 15 years ago when an Italian equipment manufacturer by the name of System Group came up with a new way to press tile with a process they called Lamina. It worked to gain traction for the product manufactured by this process by building a factory and showing people that a new way was viable and the product it made – hopefully – could change the face of tile making forever. A little bit of this product trickled into the U.S. market, but it was not until approximately five years ago that this tile entered the domestic market in a meaningful way. Along with the product, came the hopes of revolutionizing how people think about a material that has been around for a few thousand years.

tech-02The market was already moving in the direction of larger sizes: 12”x 24” was starting to replace 12”x 12” as king of the hill; 18”x 36” was starting to pick up steam; and 24”x 48” was being dabbled with here and there. This new thing was a tile over 3’ wide and approximately 10’ long – and to make it more complicated – with a thickness of only 1/8” to 1/4”. It was for sure sort of an anomaly that no one really thought could go anywhere. For the first 18 months or so most thought it was a fad that would go away, then designers and architects started to get excited and we started to see specifications for it.

This presented a new challenge; no one knew how to install it or what the rules were. So, a few tile and thinset manufacturers started to look at traditional setting methods as a basis for developing new techniques that would be necessary to comply with existing standards of coverage, lippage, etc.

tech-03

As the market pressure increased, a unique partnership started to develop between tile and installation materials manufacturers along with tool suppliers, and most importantly labor. This new organic collaboration provided a mechanism for rapid development of new materials and methods for the installation of these extremely large tiles. Sales started to rise and the awareness of the tile industry started to grow. (Photos show training sessions at Crossville with Laminam, an example of this new breed of gauged porcelain tile.)

tech-04New language starts to emerge

In an ANSI meeting about three years ago there was enough awareness that while maybe a standard was not in the immediate future, it was clear something had to be said about it. Chris Walker of NTCA Five Star Contractor David Allen Company was designated as the leader of an ad-hoc group mandated to draft a statement for inclusion into the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile. Walker and company wrote some language for what they called “reduced thickness tile” and our industry documents started for the first time to recognize these new materials.

tech-05By this time we were seeing even larger tiles, up to 5’ wide, and in some cases more than 10’ long. By now a second technology from SACMI was emerging called Continua Plus, compacting porcelain powder between two large steel rollers. System Lamina technology was continuing to innovate as well, with even larger sizes and textures pressed between its new equipment that was more than 17’ long with plates more than 5’ wide with 50,000 tons of pressure. Both technologies advanced in thickness capability as well, able to press up to 30mm. From here momentum was starting to grow; a few manufacturers started talking about drafting a product standard to protect this new market from lesser-quality materials.

The next step towards the product standard

With the advancements in technology and the growth of the market, it was becoming evident that standards would soon be necessary. So a couple of companies that believed in the future of the category decided to start some testing, and sure enough we started to see data that would serve as the outline for a product standard. At the April 2015 ANSI A108 meeting it was formally decided to move forward with the product standard, as well as form an ad-hoc group to begin work on an installation standard to be called A108.19.

tech-06To drive the product standard quickly, tile manufacturers started to formalize the criteria around the terminology, thicknesses, breaking strengths, and other physical properties required to accurately describe the characteristics and quality of this category. As of the last meeting of the TCNA Tile Technical Committee in mid-July 2016, tile manufacturers had reached a general consensus that the majority of the content in the draft of the product standard was nearing completion for submission and subsequent ballot to the full ANSI A108 committee convening in October of this year.

tech-07Part of the evolution of the standard includes a name change from “large thin porcelain tile” to “gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs. The name change to “gauged” is based on two main things: the technology now being able to produce thicker materials that one day may be encompassed by the standard (so thin no longer made sense); and second the need to use a replacement term that describes materials produced to a precise thickness that determines their physical properties and areas of use. So we picked a term used to describe exactly that, similar to how “gauged” is used to describe wire or sheet metal. For panel/slab, we just recognized that both terms were being used in the industry/market so to recognize that fact and not hinder anyone’s way to market, we decided to propose the use of the dual term.

tech-08The installation standard starts to develop

In the meantime, the ad-hoc committee for the installation standard has also been hard at work. The first step was to get together as a group and look at all of the existing information from around the industry pertaining to these materials. Once the data was analyzed, an outline was created to address all of the different concerns brought by the members of the committee. The next step was to look at the variables of piece size, embedding technique, coverage rates, lippage tolerances, qualified labor language, and other required criteria needed to complete a comprehensive standard.

Drawing on the information and data supplied by different members of the committee we have been able to complete a draft that was distributed at the A108 meeting at Coverings 2016. While there is still some work to be done, the majority of it has been completed, and all signs point to a viable draft being distributed at the same A108 meeting in October of this year, and taken to ballot soon thereafter. As the leader of this group I can say the dedication to the effort has been second to none, and I would personally like to thank all involved for participating diligently and unselfishly to better the industry in which we work. Because of this collaborative effort we are well on our way.

Methods and Standards: Recent Proposals for the Upcoming TCNA Handbook

methods-01NTCA Methods and Standards Committee makes headway on six revisions

By Kevin Fox, NTCA Methods and Standards Committee chairperson

The NTCA Methods and Standards Committee’s work over the last two years reaped great success at the TCNA Handbook meeting in Atlanta, Ga., recently. There were six proposals submitted, and with great help and guidance from the TCNA staff, all were approved. Following is a brief summary on each of them.

I believe our proudest accomplishments are new sections on design and evaluation criteria pertaining to finished installation appearance. These new sections are as follows:

  1. Under the section GROUT JOINT SIZE AND PATTERN CONSIDERATIONS, you will find two new sub-sections, “System Modularity” which clears up confusion on modular tile sizes, gives design professionals guidance on using different sizes together, and points to the simple truth that when the tile modularity is not understood, design compromises are inevitable. The second new sub-section is “Tile Layout” which gives general tile layout provisions addressing reasonable expectations and limitations that challenge most projects.
  2. Under the section USING THE TCNA HANDBOOK FOR SPECIFICATION WRITING, a new sub-section called “Design Considerations When Specifying Tile,” references the Handbook’s many sections that design professionals must familiarize themselves with that impact the selected tiles and designs. It gives a very important reference that strongly recommends industry standards, guidelines, and best practices to be followed and strongly discourages variances from them. It also recommends in-situ mock-ups to be used under the given job site conditions.
  3. Under the section FINISHED TILEWORK, is a new sub-section called “Visual Inspection of Tilework.” This will be extremely helpful for the industry. It recognizes the hand-build aspect of tile installations, references substrate requirements, lippage, allowable warpage, effects of lighting and many more factors that affect the installation visual and aesthetic appearance of the finished tilework. It also gives guidance on viewing distance and lighting when finish tilework is being inspected.
EJ171 movement joint guidelines

Another accomplishment, with substantial consultation from Crossville’s technical staff Noah Chitty and Tim Bolby, was major additions to EJ171 MOVEMENT JOINT GUIDELINES. Most notable changes are recommendations in movement joint width and depth. The additions give a chart for minimum movement joint widths (for dry interior, not exposed to sun) in relation to joint frequency and tile thermal expansion properties, along with reference to the proper ASTM guides for calculating the joint.

Another addition to this section is a new sub-section called “Wall Tile Movement Joints in Framed Wall Assemblies” (with substantial consultation with Tony Fuller of National Gypsum) which gives the design professional awareness that wall movement joints are unique and require consideration of other wall components such as sheathing, framing and backer board before the wall is constructed – and that such considerations many times cannot be retroactively added.

Members of the NTCA Methods and Standards committee, representatives from Crossville, National Gypsum MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff all assisted with the states submissions described in the article.

Members of the NTCA Methods and Standards committee, representatives from Crossville, National Gypsum MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff all assisted with the states submissions described in the article.

Lighting and tile installations

Many of us are familiar with the effects lighting has on an installation. A substantial new Lighting and Tile Installations section has been added to give importance to this issue which can lead to much heartache for all involved. The majority of the added language was taken from the NTCA Reference Manual, so for many of you this will look familiar.

Mortar and mortar coverage

There was also language added to the MORTAR AND MORTAR COVERAGE section noting 100% mortar coverage is not practical. Many specifications call for 100% mortar coverage but this cannot be consistently attained and therefore it should not be specified.

It has been well-established that mortar cure times are extended when impervious tile is installed over waterproof or crack-isolation membrane. To alert design professionals of this situation, language has been added to the SETTING MATERIAL SELECTION GUIDE. Other conditions that will also delay cure times are narrow grout joints and using high-performance grouts. Recommendations of extending turnover of the floor to traffic are given.

Membrane selection guide

Other language added pertaining to membranes is in the MEMBRANE SELECTION GUIDE. A new sub-subsection called “Considerations When Using Membranes” that not only references the above-noted extended cure times for mortars, but also the fact that the hollow sound of tile installed over membranes is normal and not indicative of loss of bond (without concomitant installation issues).

Substrate requirements

The last submission involved the continued discussion of the disparity between division 3 and division 9 floor flatness. The section on SUBSTRATE REQUIREMENTS gives many references to this. The language we submitted further clarifies this difference. One of the key points to note is when division 3 floor flatness (FF) levels are specified, the floor must be verified to assure the specified levels are attained. This may seem implied, but many times this test is not performed. Therefore it quickly becomes a source of tension for projects when it’s required to correct the floor to division 9 specifications, and the tile contractor requests to be compensated for the work. This also leads to another important addition to this section: recommendations for the design professional to incorporate a separate allowance to correct the floor flatness from division 3 to division 9 specifications.

As chairman of the Methods and Standards Committee, I want to thank its members, the gentlemen from Crossville and National Gypsum mentioned above, representatives from MAPEI, TEC and Bostik, and the TCNA staff for helping us with these submissions.

Our next meeting with be October 22 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, Calif., during Total Solutions Plus, October 22-25. If you have topics you feel would be appropriate for this committee to consider, you are welcome to contact me at kevin@foxceramictile.com.

President’s Letter – Tech 2016

JWoelfel_headshotNew tile technology may resurrect old installation methods

Qualified installers are key to large thin porcelain tile and plank success

As many of you know, I wear two hats for the NTCA: President, and Chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee. As a tile contractor it is the technical aspect of our business that will determine the success or failure of that installation.

The NTCA is blessed with some very intelligent contractor members who are actively involved in both the NTCA Reference Manual and national industry installation standards committees. Our association was very successful at the recent TCNA Handbook meeting this past June. New inspection standards and nominal sizing criteria in regards to multi-size tile patterns will help alleviate a lot of headaches for our members. I would like to shine a light and give credit to the following members for their hard work in helping our members save time and money when it comes to all of our tile installations:

  • Methods and Standards Committee Chairman Kevin Fox
  • Education Chairman and NTCA Technical Committee member Jan Hohn
  • ANSI Chairman, TCNA Committee and NTCA Technical Committee member Chris Walker
  • ANSI Vice-Chairman, NTCA Technical Committee Vice-Chairman and TCNA Committee member Nyle Wadford
  • Technical Committee and ANSI Committee members John Cox and Martin Howard
  • Technical Committee, and Methods and Standards Committee members Joe Kerber and Martin Brookes
  • TCNA Handbook and NTCA Technical Committee members Brad Trostrud and Rich Galliani
    Technical Committee member and Apprenticeship Guru Dan Welch

These hard-working tile contractors have gone above and beyond when it comes to fighting for both union and non-union tile contractors, both NTCA members and non-members.

I want to commend all of these people for volunteering their valuable time and energy to make our industry better. We at NTCA have committed to our members that their thoughts and concerns are heard and disseminated in front of national industry installation standards committees. Please know that there are a lot of NTCA tile contractors that I failed to mention who work very hard and volunteer their time as well, and I want to say thank you to all of them too.

As you can see, there are a lot of NTCA members who give their time and effort to make sure the entire tile installation community can be more successful. If you have a chance at the next meeting, go ahead and tell them great job or nice work – it will mean a lot.

James Woelfel, President NTCA
Chairman NTCA Technical Committee
480-829-9197
www.artcraftgmt.com

Publisher’s Letter – Tech 2016

bart_0114Inaugural Installation Summit sparks awareness for floor covering job opportunities

By Bart Bettiga

In early August, the National Tile Contractors Association participated in an invitation-only Installation Summit, promoted by leaders of the Floorcovering Leadership Council and managed by Informa Exhibitions. The event took place at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Over 70 industry professionals, including 25 from the tile and stone industry, came together to address what many people are now referring to as an installation crisis, especially as it relates to overall quality and availability of a trained workforce.

This was an important first step in addressing a serious issue. For many years, the lack of qualified installers has plagued our industry. With the economic recession now past, and a steady increase in growth in all flooring segments, we find ourselves faced once again with this shortage. What makes this even more challenging is that a new generation of workers does not appear to be on the horizon. Discussion at the Summit centered around all the great jobs available in the flooring industry, and the realization that there is very little awareness of these opportunities – not just in installation, but in sales, design, management, etc.

pub-02By holding an Installation Summit, we’ve brought all the groups together to identify common challenges, with the hope of a collective approach to address a potential crisis in all segments. Training and apprenticeship programs, certification, on-line education, and recruitment of new people into the trades were all listed as critical items to work on collectively.

Following this town-hall group approach, tile and stone leaders met in intensive breakout sessions, seeking feedback to association direction in our industry. Representatives of the NTCA, MIA and BSI, and the CTEF were able to engage with our members for a focused discussion of how to work with other flooring industry segments.

pub-01On the second day of the Summit, all the attendees got back together to discuss next steps. The leaders of the Summit came out of the meeting with some clear direction. The group agreed an awareness campaign needs to be developed to inform people of job opportunities in the industry, with a special emphasis on installation as a trade. In order to accomplish this, Summit leaders agreed that a small group representing a cross-section of the industry will need to be created to brainstorm how to achieve these steps. This group will be appointed by Summit leaders, and will work closely with the Floorcovering Leadership Council for support and direction.

The NTCA would like to thank its staff, contractor and associate members who attended the event and provided valuable feedback. We are committed to participating in the committee, and will give a full report to our board of directors at our annual meeting, held in conjunction with Total Solutions Plus October 22nd-25th in Indian Wells (Palm Springs), Calif.

Editor’s Letter – Tech 2016

Lesley psf head shot“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

As science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke aptly stated, advanced technology is a bit of magic. We see the stuff of this today – surface treatments, glazes and inkjet printing processes for tiles that replicate anything from lace to wood with perfect authenticity or quirky artistry; tiles that are thinner than the diameter of a pencil; mortar that can bend and flex…the list is endless. Our industry truly is a marvel of advanced engineering that provides a spectrum of amazing surfacing materials, setting materials, tools, and accessories with which to make projects more enduring and better performing, while streamlining the process for the installer. The magazine you hold in your hands pays homage to this.

Welcome to the 2016 repeat performance of our TECH issue of TileLetter. NTCA debuted this publication in 2015, and it’s back this year by popular demand.

Overall, this issue takes an in-depth look at new technologies and advances of a range of product categories: substrate preparation; electric floor warming; shower systems; mortars; grout; tools, accessories, and apps; and this year we added a sustainability category.

Within each category, you’ll find manufacturer comments about the direction the category is taking and what advances we can expect to see emerging over the next year. As an adjunct to each category, we present a range of new products that demonstrate these cutting-edge advances.

And in many categories we include comments from contractors and installers working in the field. These give a view on what REALLY works and what doesn’t by those putting them to the test on the job – and occasionally ideas for improvement.

In addition to our category content, we have a cover feature by TEC about the expansion of The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Ind., and a collection of stories that support the advance of technology and standards in our industry. Kevin Fox, Methods and Standards Committee chairman discusses the development of some new submissions and additions to the 2017 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation. Crossville’s Noah Chitty updates us on the latest in the quest for product and installation standards for gauged porcelain tile, the tile formerly known as large thin porcelain tile. NTCA president Bart Bettiga uses his Publisher Letter to report on the first-ever Installation Summit, held in Dallas at the beginning of August, which brought together 70 representatives from all flooring installation sectors (25 from tile and stone alone!) to put their heads together about what is being called an “installation crisis” – particularly quality work and lack of experienced installers.

Something that’s new for this year is the Regional Sales Snapshot, where several major suppliers share information about what is selling in their region, in terms of setting materials, tools and tile and stone products.

We’re grateful to everyone who shared their wisdom and perspectives in this issue. We hope it’s a useful reference document for the entire year to come, and brings technological magic within reach for your upcoming projects. Think of something you’d like to see in the 2017 edition? Send your ideas to me at lesley@tile-assn.com.

God bless,
Lesley

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