Ally Fertitta of TPFH shows Jody Dyer how to set Crossville tile with Elite thinset mortar and Easy Pull tile spacers in the laundry room.

Marsha Stow, a Tallahassee-area tile contactor, sets mesh tape between two sheets of Hardibacker in the Dyer master bath.
Members of the tile industry, working through Tile Partners for Humanity, donated tile, setting materials, backerboard, tile spacers, tile cleaner/grout sealer, and installation labor/training to tile the home of the Dyer family last week in Tallahassee, Fla. The family solicited multiple donations of building materials in its quest to build a house large enough to accommodate its four children, quadruplets born nearly three years ago.

Tile Partners for Humanity (TPFH) is a partnership between the tile industry and Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate substandard housing around the world. Industry partners provide tile, setting materials, tools, floor preparation materials, cleaners and sealers, labor and installation training to Habitat affiliates interested in building with tile.

TPFH Executive Director Allyson Fertitta said that while the industry partnership works primarily with Habitat builds, this project presented a unique opportunity to tile with parents working to creatively provide for their larger family. Parents Dwain and Penny Dyer, along with several relatives and friends, worked alongside industry partners from Thursday, Feb. 17, through Monday, Feb. 21, to tile their home.

Industry partners included Crossville, Inc., Elite Building Products, James Hardie Building Products, North American Tile Tool Company, Easy Pull Tile Spacers, Aqua Mix, Master Tile and Marcia Stow. Collectively they tiled 750 square feet of floor and wall space, including three full bathrooms, one half bath and the laundry/utility area.

Donations for the Dyer house included Crossville tile, Elite setting materials, Hardibacker tile backerboard, NATTCO tools, Easy Pull tile spacers, and Aqua Mix cleaners and sealers.

The Dyers built their new home through a partnership with the CBS Early Show "Week of Wishes" and donations from the Wood Promotion Network and other material donors. The Early Show featured the finished home on its program in late February.

Kristina Petrandis, project manager and family representative, said the Dyers were thrilled with the donation of tile and the value that it added to the home. "The tile is exactly what Penny and Dwain need with their four young kids - something that will look great and last forever! We're grateful to the industry partners for not only helping to make this house possible, but also for taking the time to teach us to install it ourselves. We had a great time!"

Penny Dyer, mother of Bailey, Brooks, Jessica and Payton, spent two full days tiling the new home with industry partners. While she had previous experience working with stained glass, she had never installed tile. She said that working with the tile, which perfectly matched her cabinets, walls and countertops, was the most enjoyable part of working on the new home.

Penny Dyer holds an Easy Pull tile spacer in her mouth as she uses them to set Crossville tiles in the master bathroom.

"The tiling was the most fun for me, the first project I can honestly say I loved. There was instant gratification and I love learning and working with my hands. Having the industry partners there made the job a lot easier. They taught me what to do and it was fun to have someone to work with!"

Crossville, Inc., a U.S. tile manufacturer, donated 750 square feet of 12-inch-by-12-inch earth-tone Porcelain Stone tile to cover the floors and walls in the bathrooms and laundry/utility area. Bill Patin, a Crossville representative working with Master Tile in Jacksonville, donated two days to teach the Dyers to install tile in their home.

"This was a great opportunity to work with a family in need while doing something I enjoy," Patin said. "I'm proud to work with two companies - Crossville and Master Tile - that believe in giving back to the community. I really enjoyed working with Penny and Dwain to tile their new home."

Dwain and Jody Dyer, father and grandfather of the quadruplets, install Hardibacker tile backerboard with Elite thinset mortar and NATTCO tools in the laundry room.

Elite Building Products of Duluth, Ga., donated all of the setting materials, including Multipurpose Hi-Flex Thinset Mortar and Sanded Grout. Elite representative John Gallman donated one day to work with the family.

James Hardie Building Products donated 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch Hardibacker tile backerboard to aid in the tile installation. Volunteers used 1/4-inch boards on the floors and 1/2-inch boards on the walls. Chad Liott, JHBP sales representative in the Tampa area, also donated time to help install Hardibacker in the home.

Bill Patin, a Crossville representative working with Master Tile in Jacksonville, spreads Elite thinset mortar over Hardibacker to install Crossville tile in the master bath.

"We're privileged to have the opportunity to participate in this exciting project," said Stacey Otto, JHBP product manager. "Dwain and Penny have been blessed with their four children and it's heartfelt to know that we're able to help. Our industry is coming together through Tile Partners for Humanity not only to help build a house, but also to give the Dyer family a special place to call home."

Easy Pull Tile Spacers of Huntington Beach, Calif., donated tile spacers to aid in the installation. NATTCO donated tile tools, including trowels, floats, tile cutters, sponges, buckets, and gloves. Aqua Mix, of Corona, Calif., donated grout sealer and tile cleaner to help the Dyers seal the grout and keep their floors looking beautiful for years to come.

Finished tile floor next to cabinets in the Dyer master bath.

Marsha Stow, a local tile contractor, donated six days to work with the family and other industry partners to install tile. Fertitta, of TPFH, also spent four days on site tiling with the family.

TPFH is guided by seven industry organizations whose representatives sit on its board of directors, including the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, Ceramic Tile Institute of America, National Tile Contractors Association, The Tile, Tile Council of North America, and Tile Heritage Foundation.

TPFH is based in Norcross, Ga., and accepts donations of tile, installation materials, tile tools, floor preparation materials, cleaners and sealers, labor, and installation training for Habitat projects. TPFH is supported by industry donations and accepts donations of financial support for its operations and communication efforts.

For more information on TPFH or to make a pledge, please visit