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Installation: ‘Blazer’ tool makes quick work of laying cove base

By Reginald Tucker

David Low, a floor covering installer with 25 years under his belt, had grown tired of pulling muscles, busting his knuckles and otherwise breaking his back when laying down wall base—particularly on large jobs. But he wasn’t quite ready to hang up his tools and knee pads altogether, so he decided to do something about it.

Using a little ingenuity—and a lot of imagination—Low crafted a crude dolly device that would not only hold rolls of cove base in place, but also allow an installer to easily transport the heavy rolls (usually about 70 lbs.) and unfurl the material while gluing it in place to the bottom of the wall.

Low looks back on the day the idea for his invention came to be. “I was doing a job for a lawyer’s office that had all these little rooms as well as big open office spaces. I said, ‘Man, there has got to be a better way.’ So I went to Home Depot and bought a Lazy Susan and three caster wheels. I had an idea in my head in terms of what I wanted to do, so I just fabricated a round circle to put the wall base on.”

The Base Blazer Pro can accommodate cove base rolls spanning 2-, 4- or 6-inches wide.

After experimenting with some different materials used to form the foundation of the base of the dolly, Low switched to a more durable plastic that would withstand the rigors of years of use on job sites without breaking the bank. “With the materials I’m using to make this product, it’s probably bulletproof. Heck, it can probably catch bullets. You could probably even drive a car over it.”

At first Low began making the Base Blazer using a CNC lathe. Later on, production shifted to a full-service machine shop in Graham, Wash., where his uncle—who has 35 years building all sorts of contraptions—lent his expertise. “I showed him what I wanted, then we started drawing the design using CAD,” Low explained. “Then I got some help from family members who helped me apply for the patent.”

Back saver, money maker

Just as knee pads lessened the pain and wear and tear for carpet installers when they were invented decades ago, Low’s creation—dubbed the Base Blazer Pro—aims to preserve the joints and muscles of floor layers who oftentimes have to install cove base in awkward positions.

“When you’re on your knees you have to throw the cove base, it can create what’s called ‘tennis elbow’ from the impact each time you toss your arm out,” Low explained. “Base Blazer Pro gives installers a tool they can push or pull around the room and still and work from at the same time. Using this product, installers can glue right up to an edge, pull it out a little bit and make their corners while it’s still on the dolly and just keep going.”

Aside easing the task at hand from a purely labor perspective, the Base Blazer Pro also allows installers to shave time off each installation—which, in turn, frees them up to take on more jobs and earn more money. “Installers see the possibilities with this tool,” Low said. “It basically transforms cove base as an accessory product into a profit center. And it’s going to help installers get home faster.”

Those who have utilized the product on the job site see the benefits. Low shared a story about how he loaned the Base Blazer Pro to one of his friends—another flooring installer—to see how he liked it. That friend, unfortunately, allowed another installer to borrow it. Problem is, he never gave it back. “That tells you a lot right there,” Low said. (Good news: Low ultimately gave his friend another one to use.)

Then there’s the case of Sam Penlesky, a professional flooring contractor and the owner of SJP Flooring, LLC, Tacoma, Wash. He said the Base Blazer Pro typically shaves off one-third the time it takes for him to lay the cove base. “Usually with roll base you have to use your hand to spin the coil, and over time your hands hurt. But with this tool you just put in on the base blazer and it does the work for you. I’ve had the Base Blazer Pro for a few years now, and I use it all the time.”

According to Low, this is the typical response of those who have used the product. “It’s like the first time you put on a pair of Pro Knees; you ask yourself, ‘Why didn’t I get one of these before?’ Once you have installed multiple rows of cove base with this tool, you’re not going to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing it. For the professional installer, it’s just another tool in their arsenal.”

The Base Blazer Pro retails for $179, not including shipping and handling.

For more information, visit BaseBlazer.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Installation: Self-levelers solve subfloor prep issues

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

By Lindsay Baillie

Retailers, installers and contractors know that what’s underneath a floor is just as critical to a consumer’s long-term happiness as the floor’s overall look and feel. For the consumer to get the most out of her floor over the life of the product, installers need to properly prep the substrate.

To assist installers with this crucial step, manufacturers are developing new self-levelers to help shorten prep time and create a better working environment for workers on the job site. Following are some of the recent entries to the market.

Ardex

Ardex K 22 F and Ardex K 60 are designed to accelerate even the tightest construction schedule. Ardex K 22 F is a high-flow, self-leveling underlayment that is reinforced with microfibers to increase product flexibility. This installation can be done as thin as 1⁄8 inch without the need for a liquid admixture or any sort of mesh fastened to a wooden subfloor. The product eliminates the need for putting down lathe. It is also fiber reinforced and low tension allowing it to go over challenging substrates with less floor preparation than the most common self-levelers.

Ardex K 60 Arditex—a rapid-setting, self-leveling latex underlayment—is mixed only with a latex additive and can be installed over a wide variety of substrates without the use of a primer. Ardex K 60 is a versatile product that eliminates the need for sourcing water. It also saves significant time by reducing the need for floor preparation.

Laticrete

The Laticrete SuperCap ready-mix delivery service is a new turnkey service that delivers blended self-leveling underlayment (SLU) through the company’s patented pump truck technology directly to the job site. According to the manufacturer, this service significantly saves both time and cost while providing a safer, cleaner work environment.

With the ability to blend and pump up to 30,000 pounds per hour—the equivalent of 600 small bags per hour—the SuperCap ready-mix delivery service benefits the entire project from design to completion by providing predictable results, according to Clint Schramm, director of marketing, Laticrete SuperCap. “Thanks to its computer-control system, a consistent, quality blend is ensured every time, shaving weeks off a project schedule while delivering a flat floor for subsequent trades to build out on within 24 hours.”

Schönox

Schönox will soon take the wraps off its latest cement-based, self-leveling compounds, S1500 and XM. Schönox S1500 is a cement self-leveling compound designed for a multitude of projects with a depth of ¼ inch to 1½ inches. Schönox S1500 is noted for its very low shrinkage and PSI of 4900.

Schönox XM offers a self-leveling, cementitious smoothing as a leveling compound with very low VOC, good working properties, standard preparation and cost-effective applications. This high-flow self-leveler is designed for layers from 1⁄6 inch up to ½ inch with a PSI of 4300.

Both of these new compounds feature high hardness and strength, underfloor heating and a Schönox quality smooth subfloor.

Sika

Sika recently launched two innovative self-leveler systems: Sika Level-425 and Sika Level-525. Sika Level-425, a low-dust solution, offers innovative dust reduction technology preventing excess dust from spreading around the job site during the mixing of the product. Sika Level-525, which is designed to work quickly, rapid cures in 90 minutes, offering installers the opportunity to cover the underlayment with a floor in the same day.

The new products round out Sika’s total system of moisture-mitigation products. “The Sika Secure System helps installers to find what they are looking for,” said Marlene Morin, marketing manager, interior finishing. “We offer solutions that can provide great flow, high compressive strength, fast drying time and varying thicknesses.”

Taylor

Sahara is one of Taylor’s most aggressive moisture vapor barrier (MVB) products on the market. The product, which is engineered to withstand the most extreme moisture installations, is designed to control concrete substrate vapor emissions. For glue-down applications, it is designed to be paired with the company’s all new Enhance bond promoter. Sahara can be applied directly to a clean and porous concrete substrate, meaning installers can eliminate expensive and time-consuming bead blasting or scarifying, also making it easier for the flooring contractor to comply with the new OSHA regulations on crystalline silica dust.

As a self-leveling, one-part trowel applied product, Sahara is ready to use straight out of the pail. It creates a smooth, solid surface for excellent flooring installations and is ready for next steps in approximately eight hours. Floating floors can be installed directly over Sahara and hardwood can be glued directly to it using the Taylor Signature Series line of wood flooring adhesives.

Uzin

Uzin Fast System features three products: Uzin PE 414, a turbo surface strengthener/ primer; Uzin PE 280, a fast primer; and Uzin NC 172, a bi-turbo self-leveling compound. This system allows flooring to be installed in as little as four to six hours from initial application, which makes it ideal for time-sensitive projects. The Fast System also reduces mixing time from three minutes to one minute and meets strict Emicode EC1 Plus environmental criteria.

Uzin PE 414 dries in 60-90 minutes, saving time and labor costs. As a single component, it requires no mixing and is ready to use. Both water and solvent free, Uzin PE 414 meets strict criteria for healthy indoor air quality. Uzin PE 280 dries in approximately 45 minutes and has superior bonding strength. Uzin NC 172 is ready for covering in as little as one hour and provides a flat, level surface.

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Guru USA looks to make a splash in North America

Europe-based waterproof membrane supplier seeks opportunity for expansion

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Mara Bollettieri

 

Guru USA knows a thing or two about waterproof membranes for ceramic tile flooring and wall installations. The Spain-based company brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of waterproofing membranes, shower drain systems and other accessories designed to advance installation performance and increase sales opportunities for its customers.

Derick Cooper, national sales and marketing manager of Guru USA, North America, stands behind its products as well as its focus on high-quality manufacturing. “We actually manufacture our own products. A lot of people in the waterproof membrane industry don’t. We are proud to be a company that’s supportive, approachable and collaborative with our customers.”

Already a household name in countries like Spain, Italy and France, to name a few, Guru USA wants to share its expertise with the North American market. The company’s goal, according to Cooper, is to penetrate new territories by reaching out to wholesale distributors, dealers and contractors. Another potential avenue to market is through private-label manufacturing agreements with other suppliers.

In many cases, Guru USA is willing to take that extra step to keep customers happy by offering a variety of colors, different packaging and sizes of waterproof membranes—all at a competitive price, according to Cooper. “We can sell to anybody because we make it, so that makes us different. We can customize our products.”

Guru’s Water-Stop waterproofing membrane, which touts both strength and flexibility, can be used with polymer-modified thinsets in steam showers and as a crack isolation membrane. How it works: The membrane is applied to both the walls and floors using thinset, and the tile is joined directly to the membrane. According to Cooper, these products surpass the ANSI 118.12 and the ANSI 118.10 specifications for crack isolation and load bearing, respectively.

Cooper identified a few standout products such as Guru’s Evolux Linear and square drains, which are made with marine-grade 316 stainless steel and known for its high-quality properties. The manufacturer’s innovative open set drain flashing system also allows the contractor to install the drain over remaining floor tile, which helps cut demolition costs.

“Our open set drain system is patented; it has an up-and-down movement, so it can adjust to any height over any shower floor,” Cooper explained.

Guru’s high-performance membranes not only exceed specifications, according to Cooper, but they are also priced competitively. This allows retailers to earn higher margins on their installation projects. “When I look at all the other membranes out there, our performance and quality is on the top level. But our pricing is not; it’s more on the mid-level. So that is something we bring to the table.”

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Underlayment: Education is the key to sales success

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, supplier say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.
Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments:

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good, better, best platform that provides retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether or not to purchase underlayment along with her floor; and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explains, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the retailer outlining the many added benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like a simple accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment manufacturers point out, qualities such as sound absorption, comfort and protection all sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president sales and marketing, Foam Products Corp. “In terms of comfort, for a hard surface flooring a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring. The underlayments Foam Product Corp. produces also act as a protector and offers a high degree of moisture vapor protection. This moisture vapor can pass up through concrete and wood joist floor and can severely damage laminates and wood flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

1In addition to its other characteristics, underlayment also serves to reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac Flooring Products, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—ad such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “The addition of an appropriate underlayment may mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a permanent, durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz explained.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is a critical component to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

 

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Installation: Flooring dealers grapple with tight labor market

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

By Ken Ryan

 

A strengthening economy coupled with an increasingly tight labor market—with unemployment at 4.1% nationally—has exacerbated the installation crisis for many dealers, observers say. The issue has forced some to turn work away because of a scarcity of crews, while others are having to pay substandard mechanics more just to retain them.

While flooring dealers say business is still up in 2018, they believe the installation challenge is stunting this growth. “Our business is being affected in three ways,” John Taylor, president of Taylor Carpet One, Fort Myers, Fla., told FCNews. “First, the shortage of labor is affecting our growth. Second, because of the shortage, our labor prices are going up because [installers] know there is a shortage. Lastly, the quality of the installers out there has gone down drastically, and the workmanship is not where it should be. This will continue unless we all somehow pull together and figure out a way to recruit and train people for our trade. Not everyone is meant for college and there is a great opportunity installing if it is done the right way.”

Such a tough labor market makes finding skilled workers more difficult in sectors like flooring installation. As such, some dealers are forced to pass on certain jobs, unable to fulfill their customers’ needs. In other cases, wages appear to be rising even for mediocre installers. “Unfortunately, I only see this problem getting worse as our labor force is aging—unless we can get the next generation interested in the trades,” said Josh Elder, owner of Gainesville CarpetsPlus Color Tile, Florida.

For Carlton Billingsley, owner of Floors and More, Benton, Ark., the labor market is challenging his business to be more strategic, particularly on the commercial side as he picks and chooses which partners to work with. However, as the backlog grows, his business suffers. Rather than bemoan his situation, Billingsley has a solution he believes will pay off. “We are creatively working with other skilled/non-skilled laborers to learn flooring skills to grow with our business. We continue to invest in training at manufacturer facilities, our facility and in our regional area, too, to diversify the mechanics’ skill set so they can do different types of flooring. This way we can accelerate our growth together.”

Due to the shortage of qualified installers, Tim Schoolfield, owner of CountrySide Flooring America, O’Fallon, Mo., said he is “less confident” these days in spite of an improving economy. “I am less confident we can get flooring installed in a timely fashion or in the ability of new hires to exceed the expectations of an increasingly demanding customer,” he explained.

That sentiment was shared by other flooring dealers such as Cathy Buchanan, owner of Independent Carpet One Floor & Home, Westland, Mich. “It is an uneasy feeling to sell high-quality woven products, hardwood, LVT, laminate, etc., not knowing if you’re going to overwhelm your existing installation crews,” she said. “And then once their knees give way—who do you have? Having a back-up plan just isn’t the case today. No offense to millennials, they just aren’t driven to the challenge of such a difficult job. And when talking about the sales floor, office/support staff, [they] seem to get bored quickly and look for a better position.”

What’s regrettable, Buchanan added, is the flooring retail industry should be primed for growth. “There is so much opportunity in our field of retail—not so much with the shopping centers—because Amazon can’t quite get the touchy-feely experience of buying carpet. People have an opportunity to make a lot of money selling and even more so by installing, and also taking pride in the field of installation. It’s a scary thought.”

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IC vs. employee update: As enforcement heats up, flooring dealers need to be vigilant

January 22/29, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 6

By Ken Ryan

 

The debate over the misclassification of employees—treating them as independent contractors instead of employees—became a hot-button issue during the Obama administration after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance that potentially put some flooring dealers at risk for the way they use subcontractor installers.

Fast forward to 2018 and a Republican administration and GOP-led Congress are calling the shots. Is the coast clear? Not exactly. While there have been some tweaks to the interpretation of language, the fact remains the law still exists and all flooring businesses need to be careful.

Jeff King, counsel to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) and author of “The Independent Contractor,” said his ongoing message to specialty flooring dealers is to be vigilant. “I want to emphasize the continuing importance of complying with the independent contractor rules,” King told FCNews. In late December, King noted an administrative law judge at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled misclassification of an independent contractor is an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act.  “This is an issue that will continue to confound flooring dealers and contractors until a single basic standard is developed,” he surmised.

New developments
In June 2017, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the “withdrawal” of the U.S. DOL’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on independent contractors, essentially a relaxation of enforcement. The Obama-approved independent contractor “interpretation” (issued July 2015) discouraged the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. This interpretation also caused deep concern among many business owners who used independent contractors.

In response to Acosta, David Weill, who served as the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor under Obama, said from a practical perspective, “removing the guidance will change nothing in terms of employer responsibilities—the law is still the law. But it did potentially signal an intention to move away from addressing worker misclassification as a fundamental problem worth addressing. That is disturbing.”

However, despite Acosta’s move, others say the withdrawal is unlikely to significantly change the legal landscape because the issue is now handled mostly in a growing number of private class-action lawsuits and state unemployment insurance audits and proceedings—not by the U.S. DOL.

In July, legislation was introduced to protect the independence of independent contractors. U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, introduced the New Economy Works to Guarantee Independence and Growth (NEW GIG) Act, or S. 1549. This legislation creates a safe harbor for those who meet a set of objective tests that would qualify them as an independent contractor, both for income and employment tax purposes. “Today’s fast-growing gig economy has made it easier for people to offer unique services like home repair and cleaning, child care, food delivery or ride sharing through easy-to-use mobile applications that can be opened with a simple swipe of a finger,” Thune said. “While these gig economy companies have created thousands of new jobs, they’ve also faced new challenges when it comes to how the service providers are classified by the IRS. My legislation would provide clear rules so these freelance-style workers can work as independent contractors with the peace of mind that their tax status will be respected by the IRS.”

The safe harbor focuses on three areas that are intended to demonstrate the independence of the service provider (IC) from the service recipient and/or the payer based on objective criteria rather than a subjective facts-and-circumstances analysis:

  1. The relationship between the parties (e.g., job-by-job arrangement, the service provider incurs his own business expenses, the service provider is not tied to a single service recipient);
  2. The location of the services or the means by which the services are provided (e.g., the service provider has his own place of business, does not work exclusively at the service provider’s location, provides his own tools and supplies); and
  3. A written contract (e.g., stating the independent contractor relationship, acknowledging that the service provider is responsible for his own taxes, providing the service recipient’s reporting and withholding obligations).

In the meantime, enforcement continues. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office recently ordered Oakland-based Attic Pros, an attic cleaning company, to pay more than $3.5 million in back wages and penalties for misclassifying 119 workers as independent contractors. The agency said investigators found that Attic Pros’ employees worked 10 to 14 hours per day up to six days a week and were paid a daily rate regardless of the actual number of hours worked, thus putting their earnings below minimum wage.

“There are so many abuses of it,” King said, citing other cases such as Uber, Lyft, Menards and FedEx. (FedEx Ground Package System agreed to pay drivers in 20 states $240 million to settle lawsuits claiming the second-largest U.S. parcel delivery company misclassified them as independent contractors.)

Despite encouragement from the WFCA/CFI for flooring dealers to either employ their installers or hire a third-party firm to do the work, King said they have not seen “big movement” on the part of specialty dealers to progress in either direction. There remain many “mixed” models where the same retailer uses both employee installers and subcontractors. King advises these dealers to call them “sub” and not “independent contractors” and to make sure the subs have employee ID numbers and are registered as an independent business.

King believes the IC issue is not going away, no matter who occupies the White House or which party controls Congress.

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ARDEX launches S 1-K waterproofing compound

Aliquippa, Pa.—Ardex Americas is launching S 1-K, a single-component topside waterproofing compound that is easy to use and produces a flexible waterproof coating ideal for showers, bathrooms and other wet areas.

“We’re excited to add to our waterproofing line this easy-to-use, single component solution,” said Russ Gaetano, senior marketing manager, tile & stone installation systems, Ardex. “Everything about Ardex S 1-K was designed to provide ease for installer, even the containers are oval shaped to readily accommodate a roller.”

Ardex S 1-K is recommended for use over a wide range of substrates and finishes. The workable consistency aims to minimize drips and splatters. Installers can flood test Ardex S 1-K in 12 to 24 hours after the second coat has been applied. It also provides crack isolation up to 1/8-inch. Available in two convenient sizes (large 3.5 and small .7 gallons), Ardex S 1-K provides coverage at nearly 57 square feet per gallon in two coats.

Ardex S1-K is now available for purchase at Ardex distributors throughout North America.

For more information visit ardexamericas.com.

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FCLC commissions research initiative on installation crisis

LaGrange, Ga.—The Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC) has commissioned a strategic research initiative to lead the industry through the next phase of resolving the flooring installation crisis.

In September, members of FCLC worked with an industry consultant to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the research project. Four research firms were selected and made proposals for the program. In December, coalition members within FCLC met with the contenders and decided to move forward with Chicago-based firm, The Blackstone Group.

The Blackstone Group brings 30 years of expertise in delivering custom marketing research and consulting solutions. According to council members, Blackstone stood out from the other firms as they offer a full-spectrum of resources for multi-dimensional, multi-phase research engagements, and they employ advanced analysis tools and out-of-the-box approaches. FCLC members concluded The Blackstone Group will provide crucial insight and expertise as the flooring industry continues its resolution of installation challenges.

Key research objectives of the FCLC commissioned study include an examination of the evidence for gaps between the supply of and demand for floor covering installers, including an estimation of the size of this gap now and over the next five to 10 years. The study will also seek to quantify the financial consequences of the installation crisis on industry participants and lay out a stakeholder-driven determination of barriers and potential solutions.

The coalition is now working to gain industry support to fund the approximate $150,000 required for the research project. FCLC members committed approximately $50,000 to kick off the funding. Research sponsorships are available as follows: Platinum $20,000+; Gold $10,000+; Silver $5,000+ and Bronze $2,500+.

For more information, contact FCLC member Phil Zolan at pzolan@wfca.org or call 229-220-4974.

 

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Laticrete honored with 2017 Family Business Award

LATICRETE logo high res imageBethany, Conn.—Laticrete was honored at Hartford Business Journal’s 2017 Family Business Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in family-owned businesses across the Northeastern region.

“This award pays tribute to my parents, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg and Lillian Rosenstock Rothberg, and the company they took from a basement invention to a global powerhouse,” said David Rothberg, chairman and CEO of Laticrete. “We’re proud to have three generations—including four of their grandchildren—carrying on their legacy and values around the world.”

The award was accepted on behalf of the family by Rebecca Rothberg, granddaughter to Henry Rothberg, who supports marketing strategies in sales promotions for the company.

To be named a winner, a panel of independent judges evaluated Laticrete based on overall company mission, community involvement, rate of innovation and business achievements over the past 12 months.

Significant achievements that received notoriety included: the launch of the industry’s first high-strength, chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive for installing stone and tile; and the opening of a new 70,000-square-foot in Grand Prairie, Texas—nearly doubling the existing 100,000-square-foot facility, making it the company’s largest manufacturing and distribution center outside of the Laticrete headquarters in Bethany. The acquisition of global licensees Laticrete Costa Rica, Laticrete Norway and Laticrete Italia are additional hallmarks of the company’s growth and allow Laticrete to function as a local company in every community served.

“The Laticrete family extends beyond the Rothberg name to our customers, employees and partners, and continues to be a vehicle whereby people around the world can achieve personal and professional success,” Rothberg added. “That’s really a testament to sound family values. You wouldn’t ask your son or daughter to work for a company you didn’t truly believe in.”

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Installation: Today’s adhesives in lockstep with ‘green’ flooring trends

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

By Lindsay Baillie

 

As more floor covering manufacturers embrace environmentally friendly practices in the development of their products, producers of adhesives and installation materials are following suit. Many of today’s green glues tout key attributes such as low-to-zero VOCs, are solvent free and are indoor air quality certified to high standards, thereby contributing to LEED. These qualities are beneficial to not only the end user and the environment but also the installers who handle the products on a daily basis.

Following is a sampling of some of the latest green adhesives.

Bonstone
Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.36.35 AM
Touchstone T-2000 is one of Bonstone’s top adhesives for floor and wall tile installations. In addition to exceeding ANSI-A-118.3 requirement, Touchstone T-2000 is chemical resistant, has low VOCs and offers a long open time.

“Our products are designed for permanent installations,” said Mike Beckmann, president. “They are structural products designed to last as long as the lifetime of the substrate. So, if you are installing a countertop, a floor or wall tile, or restoring a building or monument, the adhesive will last as long as the lifetime of the structure.”

Touchstone T-2000, a 100% epoxy, has exceptional strength, durability, adhesion, temperature resistance and chemical resistance. These properties make them suitable for aggressive installations, such as breweries, dairies, wineries, etc., where frequent steam-cleaning is necessary to maintain hygienic conditions.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.36.42 AMDriTac
DriTac 7800 Supreme Green is DriTac’s latest multi-functional adhesive solution for the wood flooring industry. It is a single-component, premium green sound and moisture control hybrid polymer wood flooring adhesive that can serve to isolate old cutback adhesive residue and suppress concrete subfloor cracks. Supreme Green provides unlimited subfloor moisture control with no testing required and a lifetime warranty.

DriTac 7800 contains zero isocyanates, zero VOCs, zero solvents and has been independently tested and certified by CRI for indoor air quality. Supreme Green is manufactured in the USA and can be used to install multi-ply engineered plank, solid wood plank, bamboo flooring and more.

“This is the very first wood flooring adhesive that boasts five installation solutions in one pail, allowing retailers to now stock one SKU in place of the several required in the past,” said John Lio, vice president of marketing. “Requiring effortless cleaning—wet or dry—off the surface of hardwood flooring, this flooring installation solution provides value for installers, retailers and their customers.”

DriTac offers a full-line of wood and resilient flooring adhesives certified by CRI’s Green Label Plus program. The company manufactures all of its adhesives in compliance with all mandated regulations and requirements at the federal, state and local levels.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.36.48 AMSchönox
Schönox Emiclassic can be used with interior floor and wall products including vinyl, linoleum, rubber, impact sound insulation underlayment, carpet, needle felt and PVC. It is resistant to moisture as high as 90% RH or 9 lbs., covers up to 850 square feet with one 4-gallon pail and is easily applied with a notch trowel or roller.

Emiclassic can be installed over absorbent and non-absorbent substrates. What’s more, it allows the installer to control the tack of the glue changing from wet, tacky and pressure-sensitive installation with short waiting times between 10-60 minutes. Its alkaline-resistant technology also makes the adhesive “Ph irrelevant,” the company stated.

Due to its very low emissions (EC 1PLUS, EPD and FloorScore certified), low odor and solvent free characteristics, Schönox Emiclassic is safer for the health of the labor force, the end user and the environment.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.36.55 AMHenry
New to Henry, an Ardex Americas brand, is Henry 622 vinyl bond premium high strength vinyl flooring adhesive is a certified bio-based product. It’s an ideal adhesive for environmentally conscious installers who are working with LVT-type products. Henry 622, which features the company’s GreenLine logo, boasts environmentally friendly technology designed to meet or exceed industry and governmental regulations. All Henry adhesives with the GreenLine logo have ultra-low VOC emissions, low or no odor and contributions to LEED.

“At Henry being green isn’t just a slogan, it’s part of our culture,” said Ed Masilunas, Henry business manager. “We’re committed to minimalizing our environmental footprint throughout the manufacturing process, including the use of sustainable materials, recyclable packaging and less residual waste.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.37.07 AMUzin
Uzin, a UFloor brand, now offers KE 66, a premium, fiber-reinforced, wet set adhesive, designed for the installation of vinyl and rubber flooring on porous substrates. This hard-setting, high shear strength adhesive has excellent resistance to indentations and shrinkage and is effective in areas where rolling loads and furniture are in use.

Uzin KE 66 meets the strict GEV-Emicode EC 1 Plus criteria for indoor emissions testing. GEV is the European testing agency Association for the Control of Emissions in Products for Flooring Installation, Adhesives and Building Materials. GEV’s stringent standards are recognized internationally as the highest level of indoor air quality protection. KE 66, a LEED v4 contributing product, meets the rigorous California Sect. 01350 standard as well as meets the SCAQMD rule 1168 with less than 30g/l VOC.