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Jaeckle Distributors to offer Florida Tile in additional territories

Madison, Wis. – Jaeckle Distributors, a family-owned wholesale distributor based in Madison, Wis., will be expanding the territory in which they offer products from Florida Tile. Jaeckle will now be distributing Florida Tile products in Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Jaeckle Distributors has a decades-long relationship with Florida Tile. Having distributed Florida Tile in other states, Jaeckle looks forward to providing the same value to a new area. “As a distributor of Florida Tile for nearly 40 years, we’re thrilled to be able to service our customers in Southern Illinois and Missouri with this fantastic product line,” said Jeff Jaeckle, president of Jaeckle Distributors.

For more information, visit jaeckledistributors.com.

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Ceramics of Italy present top tile trends for 2018

New York, N.Y.—Ceramics of Italy has gathered the top tile trends dominating the booths at Cersaie, the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and sanitaryware furnishings. Following are the top 10 trends.

Botanical. While floral designs have been around since decorative tile was invented, botanical is a new trend reflecting two movements in the design industry. The first is a focus on health and wellness and the incorporation of the natural world into interiors. Meanwhile, the influence of tropical modernism has seeped into interiors and product design, which can be seen in this year’s abundance of palm, cacti and other flora-inspired patterns.

Deconstructed. 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. Deconstructed is the most recent example, featuring a breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile.

Earth tones. Color palettes range from dirt, clay and sand inspired browns; forest, moss and grass-like greens; red and golden tones reminiscent of the sun; and shades of blue to evoke an oceanic feel. This trend has become popular partially due to a revival of 1970s style along with a greater focus on mother nature and its ability to create a sense of natural serenity.

Globalism. Designers and brands frequently look to other cultures for inspiration, which are exemplified in this year’s tile introductions.

New typologies. While some companies recreate the look of wood or stone to an impressive degree of realism, others mix different materials or handpick certain characteristics to form a whole new typology. This fusion of material-looks and themes result in a surreal, imaginative interpretation of tile and a potential new language for interior design.

Nostalgia. People often look to design for an escape and in this current political climate it’s unsurprising that companies are turning to the past to bring people a euphoric boost..

Painterly. There is an overarching softness and romanticism in the design world today with gentle curves, washes of color and the unmistakable touch of an artist’s hand. Tile is no exception with this year’s collections featuring hand painted patterns, sketches and illustrations, marbled effects and watercolor designs.

Pastels. Moving beyond the celebrity of millennial pink, shades of blush, lavender, sea green and pale yellow can be found in dozens of floor and wall tiles. Less saturated than primary colors, pastels create a light, soft and calming effect, which dovetails with a few other trends from this year from Painterly to Nostalgia.

Terrazzo twist. Already a popular trend in interior design and fashion, terrazzo started popping up in the tile industry last year and has grown to become a potential new mainstay, on par with marble, wood and concrete designs. Dozens of designs are now available ranging from cement to epoxy terrazzo, traditional to modern colors and glossy to matte finishes.

Weathered. A departure from the soft, romantic effects of the other trends, weathered is a style with staying power. From stones with scratch marks and colored rustic planks to rusted tin tiles and oxidized metals, these tiles mirror an ongoing fascination with unfinished spaces, worn surfaces and vintage effects.

 

 

 

 

 

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Emser Tile launches Glitz collection

Los Angeles—Emser Tile introduces Glitz, a glass and metal mix series that emulates a captivating aesthetic with brush-like movement.

The mosaics feature metallic accents and layered texture in hexagon shapes. The collection is available in five color variations: Fame, Glory, Joy, Love and Value.

With a myriad of design opportunities for backsplashes, fireplace facades, and shower and accent walls, Glitz is suited for both residential and commercial interiors.
Additionally, the collection carries a glossy finish to enhance texture and reflective qualities. It also contributes to LEED v4 certification and improves indoor air quality with zero VOC emissions.

For more information, visit emser.com/products/glitz.

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Crossville marks 10th tile installation in specially adapted smart home

Crossville, Tenn.—Crossville recently celebrated its 10th specially-adapted smart home dedication for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E program. Throughout the past year, Crossville has donated more than 10,000 square feet of tile for installations in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other spaces inside homes custom-built for wounded veterans and their families.

“It’s exciting to know we have contributed to help 10 deserving heroes and their families enjoy the comforts of brand new, specially adapted smart homes,” said Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing. “Our tile is a part of the everyday surroundings that are making life better for those who’ve sacrificed so much.”

The dedication of U.S. Navy EOD1 Andrew Bottrell’s home in San Diego, Calif., marks Crossville’s 10th R.I.S.E. home completed this year. Crossville tile was installed in the master bath, guest and upstairs bathrooms, and in the laundry room—covering the floors and walls.

The master bath and shower floor and walls feature Crossville’s Gotham collection. With subtle striations, aggregate finishes, and lived-in colorations of concrete, this collection provides an urban aura for the space. In addition, Crossville’s Ebb & Flow collection accentuates the master bath walls with a touch of stone and glass.

The upstairs bath features Crossville’s Buenos Aires Mood collection. This line offers an elegant color, touchable texture, and sensuous movement to offer the right look and feel for a relaxing space.

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Ceramics of Italy sponsors exhibition at the National Building Museum

New York, N.Y.—Ceramics of Italy is participating in and sponsoring the National Building Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America.” Opening on Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C., the 10-month exhibit aims to highlight innovative housing solutions in a one-of-a-kind, evolving installation. Organized by the museum and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council and presented in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei, “Making Room” focuses on residential interior design, which is envisioned to meet the growing needs of America’s diverse households.

“We are honored to support the National Building Museum, which is the only cultural institution in the U.S. dedicated to the built environment,” said Vittorio Borelli, president, Confindustria Ceramica. “‘Making Room’ is a unique opportunity for Ceramics of Italy to demonstrate the impressive versatility and unmatched quality of Italian ceramic tiles. The future of residential design is rapidly changing and [Ceramics of Italy] understand the necessity to create products for flexible and multi-functional spaces.”

With unprecedented shifts in demographics and lifestyles over the past few decades, American households have undergone a transformation. More adults than ever are living alone, multigenerational households are on the rise, and affordable housing is in crisis. Technology, the desire for creative use of space and environmental sustainability, as well as demands for healthy living all require 21st-century solutions, while traditional residential housing design have not kept pace.

“Making Room” examines the groundswell of developers, architects, interior designers, allied with housing advocates, policy makers and activists who are proposing exciting, flexible answers for these evolving needs. Replete with surprising architectural and design improvements, the exhibition illuminates cutting-edge approaches such as micro apartments in New York City, shared housing experiments in the D.C. area, backyard accessory cottages in Seattle, tiny houses that are helping the formerly homeless in Austin and the boom in cohousing communities nationwide, among other advances. Models, plans and images showcase some of these alternative options and their effects on the housing market in those communities.

The exhibition’s centerpiece, The Open House, is a 1,000 square-foot, full-scale, flexible dwelling, which further illustrates how a small space can be adapted to meet many needs. Designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo, the home comprises two distinct living spaces that could be used independently or combined to form a larger residence. On its own, the smallest space could be configured as a micro apartment. To highlight how the same space can accommodate three entirely different living arrangements—roommates, an extended family and a retired couple with a live-in aid—the interior furnishings will be swapped out twice during the exhibition’s seven-month run.

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Ceramic: State of the industry—Technology, design help drive tile consumption

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By K.J. Quinn

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.12.39 AMSlow but steady. That’s how industry experts describe the current state of the ceramic tile business. Still in recovery mode several years after the Great Recession, the industry continues taking gradual steps forward with economic indicators pointing in the right direction and significant investments being made to improve styling and performance.

When you look at the numbers, ceramic is among the healthiest of all flooring categories. Last year, tile rang up $2.8 billion in sales at the first point of distribution while volume spiked nearly 6% to 2.31 billion units, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth, according to FCNews research. “The U.S. continues to trail most of the world on per capita sales of tile,” noted Raj Shah, president, MSI. “We believe that the U.S. consumption will grow at a disproportionate rate.”

The stateside market remains fertile ground for foreign tile makers, as the amount of ceramic sold is significantly less than other parts of the world. “The import market in general has grown, but the growth percentage for Spain was much bigger,” said Rocamador Rubio, director, Tile of Spain USA. The organization reports U.S. ceramic imports from Spain jumped 19.5% in value and a 22.9% in volume during the first eight months this year.

Traditional metrics used to gauge the state of ceramic—the strength of the U.S. economy, new housing market, consumer confidence, lending and unemployment rates, for example—are all positive. Commercial activity was up in most sectors, with growth seen in hospitality, healthcare, education and corporate spaces, according to published reports. “Ceramic tile is the second fastest growing hard surface category behind resilient in terms of percentage growth,” noted Vance Hunsucker, national sales manager, tile and stone, Shaw Floors. “The increase in U.S. residential ceramic tile sales is driven by consumer demand for higher-end products and a greater breadth of visuals and formats.”

Experts say tile as a percentage of total flooring in single-family new homes continues to rise as it finds more applications in spaces such as patios, garages and basements. Meanwhile, new single-family homes are larger and more expensive, industry observers say. “As a result, these homes often use greater quantities of ceramic tile because it offers the style and luxury homeowners crave without the maintenance and performance concerns found in other materials,” said Gianni Mattioli, executive vice president, product and marketing, Dal-Tile.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.12.50 AMAnother factor impacting ceramic consumption is the fact the category is available in more retail channels than ever before and at price points that can meet nearly every budget. “Mass retailers are significantly investing in the product line, which is increasing awareness,” MSI’s Shah observed. “The likes of Pinterest, Houzz, etc., are providing inspiration to home owners at almost no cost.”

There are unforeseen situations—such as the recent hurricanes in the South and fires in Northern California—impacting flooring choices in home improvement projects as well as new residential construction. “The recent storms are making people rethink soft surfaces and the value of having tile floors,” Shah explained. “We are hearing examples where insurance companies are demanding tile floors be installed as replacements.”

Issues affecting growth
While industry sales and consumption projections vary widely (mainly because U.S. ceramic distribution is so fragmented, experts say), the general consensus is tile is on pace to increase 4% to 8% this year. “We have seen positive growth in the U.S. residential ceramic tile business, something we anticipate to continue throughout the remainder of 2017,” Dal-Tile’s Mattioli said.

Masking the positive gains are numerous macroeconomic issues, experts note. One is new home construction, a sector lagging behind growth expectations. Privately owned housing starts in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly 1.13 million, a 6.1% increase over September 2016, according to the Census Bureau. “Considering the growth of residential construction, it would be a good assumption to say that residential ceramic tile sales are increasing accordingly,” Tile of Spain’s Rubio said.

The average per-square-foot tile price increased from $0.95 to $1.20 in the last decade, FCNews research shows. While this contributed to increasing sales, it also means ceramic is among the priciest floor coverings. “Other products with good visuals such as LVT have also entered the market,” noted Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing, Crossville. “The dilution of hard surface offerings at a wide range of price points also impacts ceramic industry’s position.”

The lack of qualified installers remains a major issue, as flooring retailers and contractors are challenged to find good help when they need it. “As ceramic tile sales continue to increase, the market demand for experienced installers will likely cause an increase of skilled laborers, as retailers and independent contractors look to find ways to match supply with demand,” Shaw’s Hunsucker explained.

The labor shortage could also stunt ceramic growth, as this lingering issue finally comes to bear. “This is leading to increased labor prices and lower quality of work,” said Luca Setti, chief sales and marketing officer, Florida Tile. “This affects choices being made on what product to spec and buy.”

Investments pay off
Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 10.12.56 AMSuppliers continue investing in manufacturing to bolster production efficiency and speed to market, plus create new value-added products. “Obviously, much more domestic production has come online over the last year and in the upcoming 12 to 18 months,” noted David Koenig, vice president and general manager, Crossville Studios, the tile maker’s distribution division.

Domestic production has been a big story in ceramic the past few years, as several companies expanded production or broke ground on new plants. For example, Crossville, which produced the first domestically made porcelain tile in 1986, expanded its plant and firing capacity last year. “We continue to keep up with fashion and the value proposition of porcelain tile exceeding those of other materials,” Waldrep stated.

The plethora of new styles offers even more incentive for homeowners and specifiers to choose ceramic for more than just showers and backsplashes. For instance, gauged porcelain slabs and panels offer exciting opportunities in areas where tile has never been a player, such as veneers for furniture and cabinetry, countertops, tabletops and exterior paneling. “Finally, in traditional tile, many manufacturers are employing nano-particulates and catalysts within their glazes to inhibit bacteria growth, self-clean—to a degree—and even help to purify the air,” Fasan explained.

Indeed, vendors are constantly evaluating their technology to improve upon their product offerings. “I believe the thin tile technology is the innovation that brings the most value to our end consumers,” Florida Tile’s Setti said. “The ability to install tile over tile gives you the very important benefit of less downtime and still have a result that is beautiful.”

While thin is in, a major point of emphasis—from a design perspective—centers on digital printing. The process has become so sophisticated that it completely transformed the category, allowing production of high-quality floor tiles that mimic natural materials and vary from piece to piece. “This is enabling production of just about any format, size, finish and look, ultimately giving consumers infinite choices of tile,” MSI’s Shah said.

Advances in technology have also paved the way for larger sizes. “The industry has developed new standards for these products,” said Rick Church, executive director of the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association. “The products can be used in many applications, including outside in large commercial construction.”

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Emser Tile honored with 2018 Training Top 125 Award

Emser Tile LogoLos Angeles—Emser Tile, in recognition of the company’s commitment to associate development, has been named a 2018 Training Top 125 winner.

The award, now in its 18th year, is determined by factors such as the scope of development programs, financial investment in employee development and how learning and development programs are leveraged to achieve business goals and objectives.

Emser Tile’s customized, multi-tiered learning and development program, Emser University, uses videos and webinars to teach a myriad of topics in both on-site and virtual trainings–from a flooring industry overview to technical specifications and usage guidelines. In May, the company expanded the program’s availability as a training resource to its entire customer base.
“We designed Emser University to be a venue for educating and training our associates and customers, and it has grown to be one of our most appreciated and valuable initiatives,” shared Eddie Loussararian, training manager, Emser Tile. “It is a privilege to be entrusted with developing such motivated and talented individuals.”

Training Top 125 rankings will be unveiled at the Training 2018 Conference & Expo in February 2018.

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Daltile awards winners of sixth annual Interior Design scholarship competition

Daltile Interior Design ScholarshipPhiladelphia—Daltile, in partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation and the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center, has awarded Baileigh Petty the grand prize of the sixth annual Daltile Interior Design Scholarship, presented by the ASID Foundation. A panel of experts from the design industry and beyond used their experience to judge and award scholarships to Petty and three finalists.

This year’s challenge was to reimagine the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center using Daltile products and incorporating Fitwel components to create a stimulating, comfortable and futuristic space for employees. Students were asked to look at the entire Innovation Center space and identify areas of opportunity throughout the floor plan that could be redesigned to increase occupant health and comfort, while adhering to a $25,000 to $50,000 budget limitation.

Petty, a senior at Utah State University majoring in Interior Design, was named this year’s grand prize winner during a special event at the Daltile Philadelphia Design Studio on Nov. 15. In her winning project, Petty transformed the Center’s recharge room, a space for employees to take a break from their work, enjoy healthy snacks and coffee, and network with their colleagues in a relaxed environment. Her winning design showcased a variety of products from Daltile, including Fabric Art, Amity, Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces and Volume 1.0.

In addition to Petty, three runners-up were each awarded $2,500 scholarships. This year’s scholarship recipients are:

  • Grand-prize, $10,000 scholarship winner: Baileigh Petty, Utah State University
  • First runner-up, $2,500 scholarship winner: Brianne Brooks, Utah State University
  • Second runner-up, $2,500 scholarship winner: Amanda McRae, Utah State University
  • Third runner-up, $2,500 scholarship winner: Sasitorn Wangspa, Utah State University

Similar to last year’s competition, the school or university with the highest number of completed entries was awarded a $10,000 grant for their interior design program. For the second year in a row, Utah State University won the grant, with 70 students entering the competition.

For more information, visit daltiledesign.com.

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Installments: Getting a better handle on large format tiles

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

By Dean Cunningham

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.41.07 AMLarge format tiles allow consumers to unleash a world of design possibilities and achieve a flawless, minimalist appearance to any residential or commercial space. As the contemporary, modern design trend continues to be a favorite among the consumer as well as installation professionals, large format tiles are creating major advantages in the marketplace.

When large format tiles were first introduced to the flooring industry, the tiles typically measured 1 or 2 feet in width and length. Now, after nearly a decade of development from tile flooring manufacturers, large format tiles can be as large as 10 feet x 5 feet or even larger in some custom flooring applications.

As large format tiles made of porcelain began building momentum with designers, the term “thin porcelain tile” was coined. Due to its increased popularity, manufacturers began producing larger sizes in different materials such as ceramic, glass and stone. Thin porcelain tiles have since been designed to be half the thickness and weight of conventional tile, making them lighter to carry on the jobsite and easier to work with than actual stone slabs. Because of their versatile style and manageability, large format tiles are often chosen by designers and installers alike to be featured on floors, countertops and walls, and they are continuously utilized in innovative ways. For example, with open floor plan layouts currently on trend, large format tiles are the ideal choice when needing to seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor spaces such as the kitchen to the patio.

Large format tiles also often alter room size perception, tricking the eye into thinking the space is actually much larger than it appears. Additionally, tiles of this size mean far fewer grout lines and thinner grout joint widths, resulting in an easy-to-clean, uninterrupted finish.

New considerations
In recent years, these materials have presented new installation requirements and challenges. To completely benefit from the aesthetically pleasing nature of these finish types, there are several considerations to keep in mind when installing large format tiles.

To avoid lippage, proper substrate preparation is critical to achieving a flat, even finish and achieving the required coverage. When using self-leveling products, it is important installers also address moving joints and cracks in the substrate. If not addressed and repaired, moving joints and cracks can transfer up and cause cracks in the finish.

Other issues: Lack of proper adhesive mortar coverage can lead to cracked tile and grout and potentially loss of bond to the large format tiles. Since the panels are often very thin, it is also important for installers to pay extra attention to cleaning out any leftover adhesive mortar in the joints to ensure enough grout fills the grout joint.

Because of their size, large format tiles often require a longer cure time than standard tiles, especially when using a dense, porcelain-bodied product. To be proactive in meeting industry needs, manufacturers are required to stay on the cutting edge of technology and produce products that allow for a faster return to service.

 

Dean Cunningham is technical services manager for Laticrete. In his current capacity, he is responsible for a team that provides technical assistance to specifiers and construction professionals.

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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.”