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Coverings preview: New products, programs on tap for attendees

April 30/May 7, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 23

By Mara Bollettieri

Coverings 2018, one of the largest international tile and stone events, is expected to deliver fresh, new features and programs when it kicks off May 8-11 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. More than 1,100 exhibitors representing over 40 countries will showcase their wares.

“Coverings aims to not only highlight the inherent value of tile and stone materials—their adaptability, durability, low environmental impact and beauty—but also foster connections between industry professionals in order to grow business and build lasting professional relationships,” said Alena Capra, Coverings industry ambassador.

With displays of the latest products and hottest trends, live demonstrations, networking opportunities, educational seminars and more, attendees will have more than enough activities from which to choose during the event. Some highlights:

New and notable

This year, Coverings will host several first-time events, starting with the “Tile Installation Experience,” a hands-on learning experience consisting of a discussion with tile installers. Installers are expected to share best practices for tile installations through live demos. “This is the first time they are doing this at the show,” Capra said.

Also new for this year is extended hours offered on the first day of the show, Tuesday, May 8, which will allow for attendees to spend extra time on the floor. Along with the addition of longer hours comes a networking event, “Around the World of Tile & Stone,” which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. The event will include entertainment, happy hour specials and a chance to meet with other attendees. What’s more, attendees can network within the show’s mobile app along with an on-site Meet @ Coverings, with a designated area to meet and discuss. Also new is the Orientation Theatre, a program that provides guests with answers to frequently asked questions.

Another new feature is the Tile Heritage Foundation’s Donor Wall for Posterity, which allows attendees to be part of the show’s history. For a $25 donation, individuals can press their hands, names, ideas and/or logos into a tile of wet clay, which will be part of a larger mural that will be placed at the headquarters of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in Anderson, S.C.

On the humanitarian front, Coverings has teamed up with three charitable initiatives, with each one giving back to an area of the local community in Atlanta. The three initiatives are Habitat for Humanity and Freeman, Clean the World and the Homeless Pets Foundation. “We’re delighted to support these charitable initiatives that serve important segments of the Atlanta community at Coverings 2018,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Events.

Educational opportunities

Coverings will feature more than 50 CEU-accredited sessions primarily intended for architects, builders/remodelers, designers, distributors, fabricators, installers and retailers. Topics of interest include the ongoing labor shortage and skills gap in the industry, a forecast of upcoming trends that are best suited for businesses, what design professionals and general contractors are discussing about the industry, and how to meet the standards of these designers and contractors. Translation services will be available for Spanish-speaking attendees.

Back by demand

For the second consecutive year, Coverings will include the Installation Design Showcase (IDS), which will display tiny homes. Leading designers and contractors will be showing off their stone and live tile installations by certified installers with supplies from major manufacturers, such as ESTIMA Ceramica, Ceramics of Italy and Crossville USA. The miniature homes will be on display in Booth #8804 in Hall C.

“The Installation Design Showcase remains a favorite destination for trade professionals, as a one-stop resource to see and experience the latest in installation techniques and design trends,” Capra said.

Also returning this year are the self-guided audio tours. Guests can explore the show at their own convenience through the mobile app. Like last year, the two repeating tours include the Coverings 101 Tour, which is created especially for new attendees, and the Tile Trends Tour, where visitors can learn about the most recent and hottest trends in the industry on the showroom floor.

Emerging trends

Visitors of the show will have the opportunity to view the hottest and latest trends in the tile and stone industry. “Tile companies are constantly seeking new ways to add movement and volume to the flat surface, whether by texture, pattern, or tromp l’oiel effect,” said Kristin Coleman, marketing representative for Ceramics of Italy. “Deconstructed is the most recent example, featuring a breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile such as Palladiana designed by Studiopepe for Bardelli and I Cocci by Fioranese.”

Coleman anticipates finding a return to retro. “Many companies are inspired by simpler times, using square formats, candy colors and retro patterns like Comfort by Dom Ceramiche and Aquarel by Tonalite,” she said.

To that end, patterns such as terrazzo and patchwork are expected to make a strong showing. Designers have embraced and updated this old-fashioned style, giving it a fresh look.

Donato Pompo, president of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants, expects to see larger sizes, based on his observations from attending the Cevisama trade show in Spain. Specifically, he said, “12 x 24 inch tiles are still popular, but there are tiles as large as 24 x 48 inches. They are available with realistic types of stone, such as marble, limestone, travertine, etc.”

Concrete has become popular, Pompo noted, although the wood look is still in high demand as well. Also, thin tile porcelain panels/slabs are rising in popularity. “Porcelain tiles are as large as 5 x 10 feet and can vary in thickness from 1⁄8 inches to ¾ inches,” he explained. “With ink-jet technology, the tile gives a very realistic look of the various types of marble, limestone, concrete and other types of styles and looks.”

Glass tile and rectangle subway tiles are still going strong as well, according to Pompo. He’s also seeing movement with respect to embossed 3D ceramic wall tile combined with unique finishes.

Other tile trends that guests can expect to see on display at the show are industrial-inspired looks along with more realistic-stone looks and, of course, larger format tiles.

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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.

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Al's Column: Restoring porcelain’s luster

March 27/April 3, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 21

By Donato Pompo

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.39.49 AMHere at Ceramic Tile & Stone Consultants (CTaSC) we field a lot of questions from retailers and consumers alike about restoring the surface of porcelain tile products, which are growing in popularity. Following is a customer’s recent inquiry about how to remove common grout haze from unfinished porcelain tile:

The grout haze and residue was allowed to cure and dry on the porcelain tile for 11 days before any attempt for removal of this product. After three days of cleaning the floor, I still have a dull residue and dripping spots on a large portion of the tile. (Do you think the grout haze and residue remained on the porcelain tile too long to affect the cleaning process? If so, what would be considered an adequate time frame to start removing the grout haze and residue from the tile?)

All materials were installed on a concrete slab—1,030 square feet tiled, three bedrooms with closets and a living room. The tile—Crossville Moonstruck Series Luna and Juno 12 x 24 unpolished with cross-sheen product—is a rectified tile and porcelain installed over Laticrete Fracture Ban 40 mil membrane with the recommended floor primer. The mortar used for the installation of the tile was Mapei Ultraflex 1.

The grout width is 1⁄8 inch thick and the brand used is a Bostik TruColor rapid cure grout. The grouting process was completed on Feb. 17, 2017, by the installers.

On Feb. 28, I first attempted to remove the haze and residue with Bostik Blaze. But there is still a dull residue and shiny dripping spots on the tile.

I would appreciate your advice on fixing this issue.

Dear homeowner:
It’s important to note there is always a grout haze after grouting a tile. For cementitious grouts, the haze should be polished off with a dry clean cheese cloth soon after the tile surface dries. If you wait too long the haze can be very difficult to remove.

Sometimes the haze could be a latex residue from the polymers in the grout or thin-set mortar. There are special removers of latex haze that can be bought from the various tile and stone cleaning and sealing manufacturers. Check the CTaSC Resource Directory at ctasc.com.

However, it isn’t clear what the drip marks are. If you used a very corrosive acid to try to clean the tile it could possibly etch the surface. If it is etched the only thing you can do is get a professional stone restoration company to hone the surface.

If it is a cementitious haze, you can use some diluted vinegar or diluted phosphoric acid and scrub it with a 3M pad to remove the haze. In situations where the haze is more difficult to remove, use a scrubber with water and detergent with silica sand. Note: This can only work if the product is an unglazed or unpolished porcelain tile. You can never perform these steps on a polished tile, so it’s important to know what you’re working with. Always test the scrubbing method in an out-of-the- way spot before you apply it to the floor.

There is a condition called optical haze that can occur on some polished tiles that gives it a sort of cloudy appearance when the light shines on it at a certain angle. But that isn’t known to happen on an unpolished tile.

If all else fails, there are stone restoration companies that can deep clean and refinish stone and some tile floors. Make sure they are credible and qualified with a lot of experience.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.38.38 AMDonato Pompo, CTC CMR CSI CDT MBA, is the founder of CTaSC and a leading stone forensic expert and consultant in North America.