When it comes to tools, many installers follow the philosophy that if it isn't broken, why fix it? Perhaps this is because of the comfort zone offered by tried and true tools, perhaps it is simply an unconscious desire to save money. Whatever the reason, it is unfortunate, because by taking advantage of the latest advances in technology, installers can work more quickly, safely and efficiently.

Whether it's a new tile saw, a power stretcher, or just a new set of kneepads, these small changes can boost your productivity and make your job more enjoyable. While the time savings may seem small, for example, a few minutes per cut for a tile cutter, these savings quickly add up, and you will find that a new piece of equipment can pay for itself in only a couple of jobs. Aside from the time savings, you should also consider liability issues. Many installers will forgo buying a different sized trowel for a particular job, figuring their trusty old standby 1/16-inch square notched trowel will work fine. What they may not realize is that if the installation fails due to the wrong amount of adhesive being applied, they will be held responsible. Another consideration should be your health; installers subject their bodies to tremendous amounts of stress, often resulting in serious injuries to knees, backs, wrists, and many other areas. Newer, more ergonomic tools and work wear such as gel-filled kneepads can relieve this strain and help reduce these types of injuries. If you're not taking advantage of these products yet, what are you waiting for?

To help you, the installer, to understand how using the right tools can save you time and money, as well as avoid costly installation failures, two of our columnists weigh in on the subject of using the right tools in this issue. Dave Gobis explains how the latest ceramic tools can help installers to reduce their working time and increase the profitability of their businesses. Christopher Capobianco focuses on the ubiquitous but often misused trowel, and shows how using the right trowel can help installers avoid installation failures.

In this special Spotlight Showcase issue, we have assembled the latest floor covering installation products from top manufacturers, who describe in detail how these new products can help make your job easier, safer, and more efficient. You owe it to yourself to take the time to thoroughly investigate what's new, so that you can work more safely and effectively and your business can be more competitive and profitable.