Posted on

MSI opens new showroom, distribution center

Orange, Calif.—MSI opened a new showroom and distribution center in Austin, Texas, with a full offering of the company’s flooring, countertop, decorative mosaic, wall tile and hardscape products. The new, 65,000-square-foot space will also serve residential and commercial markets in the San Antonio and Waco region.

"With our new showroom and distribution center, we have dramatically enhanced our ability to service our customers across Texas," said Raj Shah, president of MSI. "With a dedicated team of local professionals, local inventory and a state-of-the-art showroom, we believe we can offer both the broadest selection of hard surfacing products, unparalleled customer service and the strongest distribution capabilities across the region."

Due to the breadth of MSI products, the space is built as a trade resource across various business channels including residential remodeling, new home construction, multifamily and commercial. “Builders, retailers, fabricators, contractors and interior designers will have an immersive, customer-focused experience with the full line of MSI products," said David Pettit, Austin’s branch leader for MSI. "Access to a fully stocked inventory means they will be able to source and select the best surfaces for their projects–all under one roof.”

MSI’s Austin showroom features dedicated, well-lit and climate-controlled areas to encourage trade professionals and consumers to make the best product and design decisions. “Vignettes display bestselling products in a real-life setting so that visitors can see the latest innovations in everything from hardscaping to porcelain and ceramic tile to mosaic backsplash tile," Pettit added.

The showroom features products for a diverse customer base that were developed around lifestyles, trends and budgets–complete with a state-of-the-art indoor slab area featuring natural stone, Q Premium natural quartz and bestselling products like Everlife LVT and Arterra porcelain pavers. The slab viewing area includes more than 300 colors of granite, marble and other natural stone slabs. A designated quartz gallery houses the company's Q-Premium natural quartz collection. The lineup features more than 90 colors in an array of finishes such as matte, concrete and polished.


Posted on

Iris Ceramica launches Marmi 3.0

Chicago—Iris-Fiandre Group’s Iris Ceramica presents Marmi 3.0, an unexpected style combination of pure classical elegance and ultra-trendy modern tiles for porcelain floor and ceramic wall solutions. Debuting for the first time in the U.S., Iris Ceramica’s Marmi 3.0 includes the latest in advanced technology and manufacturing capabilities in this new collection of high tech architectural surfaces.

The new Marmi 3.0 collection is now available for the U.S. market through the group’s own distributor, Transceramica as well as through its nationwide network of distributors. The sleek styles and surface solutions are engineered for both commercial and contemporary residential projects. The collection will also soon be on display in the group’s Chicago showroom.

With light-filled contemporary spaces as the canvas, the veins and fascination of marble creatively combine with glossy wall tiles in modern hues for a new material perspective. Marmi 3.0 porcelain floor tiles are available in two finishes natural (honed) or glossy (polished) with a 9 mm thickness in eight marble-like shades: Gioia White, Black Pulpis, Brown Saint Laurent, Georgette Grey, Onyx, Machaubas White, Dolomiti White and Venato White. Floor tile dimensions include: 24 x 24, 24 x 12 and 24 x 48.

Ceramic wall tiles are available in eight 4 x 8 glossy colors: White, Black, Black Pulpis, Platino, Venato White, Brown Saint Laurent, Onyx and Oro. The metallic tones add a sense of luxury to any room and the bold, glossy color palette offers a shimmering richness to classic colors. The deep tone background allows the sparkle of gold and platinum to shine. What makes this collection unique is the geometry of the glossy wall tiles that contrast with the classic marble-like surfaces and veins—the perfect balance between linear design and nature with a 3.0 mood.

Posted on

Ceramic: New formats, designs emerge

February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18

By K.J. Quinn and Nicole Murray


Several of the industry’s major players have invested significant capital and resources into the development of next-generation tile flooring and wall products. Judging by the introductions making their respective debuts at various markets this winter, those investments are paying off.

On one hand, advances in digital printing are enabling producers to introduce head-turning formats and designs. At the same time, technological breakthroughs are helping suppliers improve performance and durability. “We are constantly evaluating our technologies, always looking for new ways to improve our product offerings,” said Gianni Mattioli, executive vice president, product and marketing, Dal-Tile. “Our digital printing techniques allow us to create tile that is so realistic, most customers cannot discern between what is tile and what is the natural surface we are imitating.”

Emerging formats such as large slabs are providing a broader canvas for many of these new designs. At Surfaces, Dal-Tile showcased its Panoramic porcelain series available in a 10 x 6 format. Then there’s the Industrial Panoramic series, which comes in four colors, and the Elemental Panoramic series, which comes in seven colors. Tiles for the new collections are available in varied thicknesses including 12mm for countertop applications and 6mm, which is more suitable for the floor or wall applications.

“We had to go bigger because people’s kitchen islands are growing larger and their surrounding counters have larger wrap-arounds,” said Roy Viana, Dal-Tile’s director of slab and natural stone. “Within this collection alone are color and texture options for just about any look to be achievable along with the durable and long-lasting benefits of porcelain.”

Another hot trend in porcelain tile is thinner looks. One of the most significant advantages of thin tile is the ability to be offered in much larger slabs than traditional tile, according to Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing, Emser Tile. “Grout lines are the bane of everyone’s existence in the industry. The monolithic look that comes with larger tiles allows for [rooms] to look spacious and, therefore, much more appealing.”

Vance Hunsucker, national sales manager, tile and stone, Shaw Floors, also cited the new tile’s ease of installation. “Gauged porcelain slabs take less time to install since they are manufactured in large pieces and don’t require the same intensity in terms of grouting and cutting that’s inherent with traditional tile formats.”

New designs in products such as porcelain slabs are offering even more incentives for homeowners and specifiers to choose tile for more than just showers and backsplashes. “We see convergence of designs appealing across both commercial and residential,” said David Koenig, vice president and general manager, Crossville Studios, the tile maker’s distribution division. “Porcelain slabs are starting to come into the market and will continue to gain market presence over the next two to three years.”

Aesthetic enhancements
High-definition printing is completely transforming the category, allowing manufacturers to supply consumers with high-quality floor tiles that resemble natural materials. Image resolution, observers say, is integral to creating products with superior characteristics in terms of detail, color fidelity and graphic designs.

The digital printing process has become so sophisticated that manufacturers are creating tiles that vary from piece to piece, much like the real products.

A case in point is Marazzi’s Urban District BRX collection, which closely resembles brick but is actually ceramic tile. Exuding the look of handcrafted bricks, the Urban District BRX line is inspired by 19th century Chicago brick, so realistic consumers will be hard pressed to tell the difference.

One natural look that remains strong in commercial and residential flooring is wood, thanks to the introduction of new graphics and sizes. Longer, wider formats in wood visuals are becoming increasingly popular, Shaw’s Hunsucker said, a trend that is in line with hardwood flooring. “There appears to be a transition away from 6 x 24 formats, which are quickly becoming more of a commodity product within the market.”

Posted on

Surfaces Ceramic Coverage: Tiles go bigger, colors stay neutral

February 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 17

By Nicole Murray


One thing still seems to be true regarding the tile trends at this year’s Surfaces: the bigger the better. Large slabs with infinite design possibilities due to printing technologies were seen all over the showroom floor in varied thicknesses. These new slabs are available for floor, wall or countertop applications.

Roy Viana, Dal-Tile’s director of slab and natural stone tile, raved about Daltile’s Panoramic porcelain series. The series’ larger tile formats, which include a 10 x 6-foot tile, provide a cleaner, monolithic look. Industrial Panoramic comes in four colors, while Elemental Panoramic is available in seven colors that mainly revolve around shades of white with marble imitations. Tiles for both of these collections are available in varied thicknesses including 12mm, suitable for countertop applications, and 6mm, ideal for floor and wall applications.

“We had to go bigger because peoples’ kitchen islands are growing larger and their surrounding counters have larger wrap-arounds,” Viana explained. “Within this collection alone there are various color and texture options for just about any look to be achievable along with the durable and long-lasting benefits of porcelain.”

Some of Daltile’s other offerings include Emerson Wood, a wood-look tile with subtle wire-brushed effects in 6 x 48, 8 x 48 and 12 x 48 formats. The large format tiles also feature Daltile’s innovative StepWise technology for improved slip resistance. RetroSpace is a translucent-glazed wall tile that reflects light in spaces and can be mixed with other tiles designs. There is also Chord, a cement-look offering available in a floor tile, 12 x 24 decorative accent and 3-inch triangle mosaic.

Also from the Dal-Tile family of brands, Marazzi is launching D_Segni this spring, which offers a classic reinterpretation of traditional handmade cement tiles. The product will be available in an assortment of colors and decorative accent tiles that can be used individually or mixed together. D_Segni is available in an 8 x 8 floor and deco tiles. Hawthorne is one of Marazzi’s new wall tiles available in an 8 x 24 large format as well as 10 x 14 and 4 x 12 versions. Colors include monochromatic shades of white, taupe and gray in two types of construction: smooth flat surface or beveled edge. Arenella, another introduction, presents the illusion of marble with soft natural tones. It is available in a variety of sizes for floor and wall applications as well as a 2 x 2 mosiac dot-mounted on a 12 x 12 sheet.

American Olean, another Dal-Tile brand, highlighted three of its new spring collections. Union offers an authentic interpretation of time-worn, weathered concrete factory floors. Designed with StepWise technology, Union touts improved slip resistance. Windmere provides smooth concrete and weathered stone looks in a monochromatic color palette. The collection features a full assortment of floor and wall sizes including a mosaic and jolly trim. American Olean’s third collection, Visual Impressions, offers a contemporary and fashionable wall tile in neutral colors and 3D patterns.

Other manufacturers are also taking advantage of the latest printing technologies. For example, Del Conca showcased its Boutique collection—a marble-inspired porcelain series available in four colors. The collection was also just released in 48 x 48 panels.

“The bigger face is so much easier to sell and offers a rustic charm with the dark brown and taupe options,” said Kendall Litton, marketing specialist, Del Conca. “There are visible veins where one could truly be fooled into thinking this is a marble product.”

Among Emser Tile’s product debuts was its Porch collection, a porcelain plank printed in wood patterns with color variations in each individual piece. The collection comes in four colors, but the plank’s “cutting-edge” attribute is its wide range—6 x 47, 8 x 47 and 12 x 47—a variety that allows for staggering patterns when various widths are used side by side.

“The [ability to] mix and match the widths along with the color variation allows for experimentation with light and dark colors as well as patterns and shapes all in one material,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing, Emser Tile. “You have the option to use only one size panel for a more uniform look, but that would not be taking advantage of all this collection has to offer.”

The manufacturer’s other offering, Façade, is a cement-themed collection that is combined with a plaster effect to give the tile a much softer, more pleasant feeling. This collection, which can be used for interior and exterior applications, is available in four colors in two panel sizes: 12 x 24 and 18 x 36. As Christine Wu, product development manager for Emser Tile, explained, “We are building on the concrete trend but offering a more welcoming texture, which is something you don’t see very often on the market these days. These colors are so understandable and very diversified.”

Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing, Crossville, said the manufacturer’s new porcelain stone tile collection, Java Joint, exemplifies the continuous need for fresh designs that play with the basic neutrals. Java Joint is available in 12 x 24, 2 x 2 mosaic and is offered in five different colors. “The colors of this collection are all warm and comforting—similar to the feeling of a coffee shop,” Waldrep explained. “These colors give you flexibility but have just enough edge so your final design looks new and fresh.”

On the topic of flexibility, Dal-Tile’s Viana added that white continues to be one of the best-selling colors within the tile industry because of its ability to balance with the other patterns or designs. “White will always be a best seller,” he said. “Now consumers can have an easily maintainable product that offers a clean and chic look but will complement these bold and more accent-like designs for a nice, easy balance.”


Posted on

CTEF to hold CTI, ACT demonstrations at TISE

Pendleton, S.C.—The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry, will be conducting ongoing demonstrations of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) testing programs during The International Surfaces Event (TISE) in Las Vegas.

These demonstrations will include step-by-step procedures for both the installer taking the test and the evaluation process. CTEF Regional Evaluators (REs) will conduct CTI program demonstrations while also training new REs onsite. Additionally, CTEF will be presenting all aspects of the ACT large format tile and substrate preparation test and evaluation process.

Throughout the show hands-on demonstrations will be presented covering: substrate preparation, layout considerations, mortar coverage, grout installation, sealant joint application and forensic analysis of installed tile.

“It is incumbent on the CTEF to provide good solid information about the tile industry standards and best practices to the thousands of show attendees,” said Scott Carothers, director of certification and training at CTEF. “Likewise, it is imperative that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and contractors become aware of the necessity of having ceramic and porcelain tile products installed correctly the first time by qualified labor. We have all seen the horrific work that has been done by ill-trained and unqualified tile placers—we can’t call them installers because they do not possess the necessary skills. Tile is a beautiful and long-lasting product which, when properly installed, lasts a lifetime.”

To learn more, visit CTEF at Booth #4727 during TISE 2018.

Posted on

Emser Tile collections bring color, movement to the wall

Emser Tile LogoLos Angeles—Emser Tile has introduced two glazed ceramic wall tile collections, Ombre and Craft, inspired by the subtle shifts and movement of color.

Ombre is an avant-garde expression of a classic subway tile. The series creates a luminous effect on the wall fading from a bright center to a darkened edge. Available in a 6 x 12-inch size, Ombre includes four tinted neutrals—White, Ivory, Silver and Taup—and two saturated accent colors—Graphite and Blue—to transform residential and commercial interiors, from compelling shower walls to contemporary fireplace facades.

Craft is a crisp, contemporary approach to wall design. Craft is an intriguing statement tile in a 3 x 12-inch size. Classic neutrals take on an undulating glossy finish for a refreshing complement to any décor in residential and commercial environments. Shadow and light are reflected across horizontal panels to encourage movement along a surface, making this collection especially suited for large accent walls.

For more information, visit and

Posted on

Tile: Innovation provides inspiration behind stone designs

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By K.J. Quinn


Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.20.40 AMStone flooring flourished as a premium upgrade over ceramic tile, high-end faux stones and even certain hardwoods the past several years, industry experts say. And while the green movement continues to influence consumer preferences toward materials made of or replicating natural materials, the category is experiencing some bumps in the road that threaten to slow down sales growth into 2018.

“We haven’t seen major growth this year in this segment,” said Marc Bergeron, natural stone manager, Cosentino. “We detected a decrease in natural stone demand for flooring.”

The U.S. natural quartz and manufactured stone products market is a $10 billion-plus industry, according to the Catalina Research Natural and Manufactured Stone Product Industry Report released in December 2015 from Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) and Catalina Research. While U.S. stone product sales increased an estimated 7.4% during 2016 to $10.2 billion in manufacturers’ dollars, the market is expected to grow more moderately this year. “Volume in 2016 was estimated to be 120 million square feet and is also expected to continue to grow more moderately in 2018,” stated Donato Pompo, CTaSC founder.

Market conditions have softened in the past year due to a variety of reasons. The low end has been impacted by an oversaturation of commodity stones and improved aesthetics in competitive floors such as LVT and ceramic tile. The housing market hasn’t helped, as private owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.12 million in September, which is 4.7% below the revised August estimate, the Commerce Department reports.

Top issues
The stone business faces a host of competitive issues.  For example, the nature-inspired styles and appearances of stone are among the most knocked off in the flooring industry. “You can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buy porcelain tiles that look like natural stone for a lot less than you would pay for the natural stone,” Pompo said.

New inkjet technologies are creating porcelain and ceramic tiles to replicate the natural variations typical of stone, making it increasingly difficult for the naked eye to discern the differences between products. Where stone is being hit hardest by these Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.20.44 AMinnovations is in the low end as competitors aim to capture more share from customers who are shopping for stone but may be more attracted to the performance benefits of ceramic tile.  “The technological advancements in porcelain tile technology have impacted stones sales, both commercially and residentially,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

A bugaboo hampering stone sales is the perception it is a high-end product with limited clientele. For years, industry stakeholders and trade associations have touted the benefits of natural stone and dispelled false perceptions to consumers and the A&D community. And while stone remains among the most expensive flooring options, prices have come down so it’s more affordable.

Life cycle costing can provide consumers with insight into the value of stone compared to other flooring. Natural stone can be refinished to look like new after years of wear, unlike porcelain tiles which can get damaged and need to be replaced. And when installed prices are amortized over the life of the floor, experts say the costs look even more reasonable.

“No matter what, the search for low-cost, high-performing products is there and, at the same time, making sure the quality is right for customer expectations,” said Roy Viana, director of natural stone at Dal-Tile. “There is always a demand for that entry-level, low-cost price point.”

An increasing number of retail channels sell stone, making it more available to consumers, architects and designers. At the same time, it is also contributing to more competitive pricing. “Home Depot, Lowe’s, the Tile Shop—what we consider retail distributors—are bringing in more affordable stones that are more accessible to the retail customer,” Viana observed.

Like ceramic tile, the stone industry is plagued by a shortage of qualified installers, making it difficult for retailers to keep up with demand. “If stone tile is not installed properly, it can be quite expensive to fix,” Bettiga said. “Suppliers who sell stone tile and refer or subcontract the installation should make sure the installers have a proven track record of success in stone tile installation.”

What’s trending
Stone tiles are timeless, having been used inside residential spaces for thousands of years.

Among the most popular options for use in the home are granite, limestone, sandstone, slate and flagstone. Each piece maintains its own veining, coloring and natural imperfections, depending on the type of stone and location of the quarry.

“I continue to see limestone and honed materials used regularly,” Bettiga said. “Slate is also popular in many geographic regions, both indoors and in exterior applications.”

What’s trending are dark gray, soft red and medium green colors available in geometric and irregular sizes. Hard, sense stones that are non-porous are being used more frequently in high-traffic areas. Classic styles, such as white marbles, are also growing in popularity and available in many variations.

“Natural stone slabs seem like an innovation,” Bergeron said. “Certain factories are now using [them] to provide more options in large format tiles that previously were only available in a 2-cm thickness.”

In the past year, Nemo Tile introduced Think Thin 1.2, which offers large format, natural stone tiles in a 1.2-cm thickness. “This product is the result of innovation in block processing, slab finishing, material handling and special crates,” said Dan Gorecki, director, stone division. “Designers, contractors and clients are able to have large, slab-sized panels at a fraction of the cost for a custom slab fabrication project.” The lighter weighing materials translate into savings on local shipping, waste and jobsite handling.

Bigger is better when it comes to size, experts say. Variations from tile to tile are more evident, plus it meets pent-up demand for larger formats in residential and commercial spaces. “Recent trends seem to be toward larger format tiles,” Bergeron noted.

Specialized natural stone formats are also gaining traction. For example, “We’ve been seeing a lot of varied, hexagon-like shapes, which is due to design flexibility,” Viana said. “You can create a lot of different, unique installations, even vertical vs. horizontal.”

A newer process enabling highly styled and intricate patterns is water-jet mosaics. “You can program in designs and there is no limit to what it can look like,” Viana explained. “You can program in a flower and get petals cut.”

The latest styles and colors in stone provide end users with more flooring choices than ever before, fueling the trend toward mixing and matching different materials. As Gorecki explained, “Design trends are constantly in flux with colors, tile sizes and details changing by market and application.”


Posted on

Marca Corona: Modern industrial style for ‘Made in Italy’ porcelain tiles

photo1Sassuolo, Italy—Marca Corona, one of the oldest ceramic tile manufacturers in northern Italy, has been producing top-quality ceramic tiles since 1741. The company has consistently been a part of the ceramic industry’s evolution by combining the most advanced techniques and aesthetic designs.

Today, Marca Corona produces top-quality products and distributes mosaics, wall and floor coverings in Italy and across the world. In 2006, Marca Corona USA was established, introducing North America to the elegance of “Made in Italy” porcelain and the new trend of tile fashion.

Marca Corona's Bleeker.
Marca Corona’s Bleecker.

The porcelain tiles of Marca Corona are designed and manufactured to meet the ever-changing market needs. The manufacturer’s new collections, Bleecker and Type, are suitable for both residential and commercial areas. These collections combine industrial style of the last trend with innovative materials, with a touch of exclusive elegance. The products are available in different colors and sizes in order to meet not only the needs of comfortable living but also planning requirements.

Marca Corona's Type.
Marca Corona’s Type.

Bleecker perfectly embodies the metropolitan style: modern, dynamic and pragmatic. It fits with modern industrial designs and recalls recycled wood, particularly the oriented strand board. This collection is appreciated for its natural, matte finish with partial light and shiny application, which make the wood grain even more lively and natural.

The collection is available in six different shades—white, beige, gray, sage, maple and dark—and five sizes ranging from 12 x 24 to 48 x 96. The combinations of colors, formats and finishes are endless to inspire great and unique ideas from designers.

Type highlights three simply colors—rust, gray and dark—along with a natural finish. This sheet metal-look collection proposes the perfect balance between industrial strength and elegance, suitable for both residential and commercial areas. The collection is available in various sizes from 24 x 24 to 48 x 96. In addition, Type has original three-dimensional walls tiles (31.5 x 45) with linear reliefs on the surface, making the sheet metal effect even more touchable and sophisticated.

Posted on

Ceramic: Domestic expansion continues to pick up steam

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Ken Ryan


Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.38.56 PMU.S.-based ceramic tile manufacturers—as well as several foreign entities—continue to ramp up domestic production with new builds or plant expansions. This latest trend began earlier this decade and has been picking up steam ever since.

Market leader Dal-Tile Corp. has been making the most noise lately. In July the company announced plans to build a second plant in Dickson, Tenn., just down the block from a now completed 1.8-million-square-foot facility that produces large-format 12 x 24 glazed porcelain tiles. Since operations started in March 2016, the original Dickson tile plant has produced approximately 100 million square feet of tile products, according to John Turner Jr., president. The new facility is scheduled to begin operations in late 2018.

Industry observers see many benefits to domestic production. For one, by producing stateside manufacturers are less exposed to uncontrollable factors such as exchange rate fluctuations and ocean freight price increases due to capacity shortages. Faster turnaround times on orders and possibly less expensive access to products are other advantages.

“Domestic facilities offer manufacturers a number of key advantages, including the quality of the local workforce, access to raw materials and an ideal location from which we can ship to a majority of the U.S. population quickly and efficiently,” said Gianni Mattioli, executive vice president, product and marketing, Dal-Tile. “We are now able to produce products that are as visually appealing as the products being imported from Europe. At Mohawk and Dal-Tile we are leading the advancement of design and manufacturing technologies domestically so we can continue to deliver on our promise of providing our customers the best value through these innovative products and exceptional service.”

While Tennessee has become a hotbed for tile manufacturing, it should be noted that other companies have been producing tile in this region for decades. Crossville has been manufacturing tile in Tennessee since the 1980s. Located in the hills of the Cumberland Plateau, Crossville, Tenn., was chosen as home because of its central location to all primary raw materials. To this day, Crossville is no further than 400 miles from the sourcing sites of its porcelain and natural stone raw materials.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.39.02 PMLikewise, the vast majority of Florida Tile’s flooring products are manufactured in Lawrenceburg, Ky., which is within 500 miles of the raw materials it uses from surrounding states. Florida Tile is one company that plays up the Made in America story. It is part of the “We Build American” initiative, a partnership with 84 Lumber that recognizes and encourages the use of domestic materials in home construction.

Tennessee is one of six states where Dal-Tile makes products. The company manufactures glazed wall tile in Dallas and El Paso, Texas; porcelain floor tile in Muskogee, Okla.; unglazed quarry tile in Lewisport, Ky., and Fayette, Ala.; and unglazed mosaic tile in Gettysburg, Pa.

Other market leaders are putting their stakes down as well. MS International has been accelerating its efforts in the U.S. with a new innovation center in Georgia. The 20,000-square-foot space within a 150,000-square-foot warehouse supplements its 200,000-square-foot showroom and nearby warehouse. MSI has also updated and doubled the size of its Bay Area showroom and distribution center. Today, the company features more than 500 surfacing products displayed and inventoried throughout 5,600 square feet of showroom space and approximately 160,000 square feet of total warehousing space.

Expanding capabilities
Thanks to technology advancements, particularly in digital printing, companies now have the manufacturing wherewithal to produce higher-end visuals that replicate hardwood, marble and stone looks that rival Europe’s manufacturing prowess, proponents say. “Ten years ago it seemed like new technologies or techniques for ceramics and porcelain product started in places like Italy and were more exclusively found there for a longer period of time,” said Bob Baldocchi, chief marketing officer/vice president business development and sales support, Emser Tile. “Today the advancement, regardless of the country of origin, seems to go global very quickly.”

While U.S.-based manufacturers are investing in new technologies at a feverish pace, there is significant investment coming from non-U.S.-based manufacturers. Several companies have built new plants that are now online while others are in progress—mostly in the Tennessee area. “Certainly the non-U.S.-based manufacturers see the opportunity to produce in the U.S. and serve, or partially serve, this market without having to export from Europe, etc.,” said Rick Church, executive director, Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA). “Clearly, this makes it more efficient to bring the product to market.”

Posted on

Kent Klaser joins CTaSC

20170607PoloSan Diego, Calif.—Kent Klaser has joined Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) as a project manager. He will work alongside founder Donato Pompo. In this position, Klaser will work as a forensic investigator, expert witness and will oversee tile and stone investigations.

Klaser will also work on developing new specifications for new construction and projects that are remediating failures. In addition, he will develop quality control and quality assurance plans to help make sure new tile and stone installations are installed correctly. Furthermore, Klaser will develop training programs for tile installation companies through the University of Ceramic Tile and Stone, a division of CTaSC.

Klaser brings over 20 years of tile, stone and management experience to CTaSC. He grew up in a family tile and stone installation company, Klaser Tile of San Diego, Calif., and started working full time as an installer for the company in 1996. Later he worked as a project foreman and then as a senior project manager. In 2006 Klaser became vice president of operations for Klaser Tile—a position he held until he started working full time for CTaSC. In these various positions he did take-offs and bidding. He also oversaw and managed commercial projects and managed a labor force that at times had over 100 workers on various projects.

Klaser is a licensed ceramic tile and stone installer and a mason installer; he also has a Bachelor of Science degree.