Habitat volunteer Josh Bigelow, NATTCO President Brian Turner, and Journeyman Scott Wooldridge of BAC Local 4 IN-KY set tile in the Austin kitchen in Indianapolis, IN.


TEC's Marc Mularoni pours thinset mortar donated by Specialty Construction Brands into a mixing bucket as his son Mason looks on.

Members of the tile industry, working through Tile Partners for Humanity, donated tile, setting materials, tile tools, cleaners, sealers and installation labor and training for 24 Habitat for Humanity homes in Indianapolis in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis affiliate's Fall Blitz Build.

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.

Industry partners in Indianapolis include Crossville, Inc., the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Local 4 IN/KY Zone 2 Tile, Marble, and Terrazzo Apprenticeship Program, Kurtz Services, Louisville Tile Distributors, McCammack Tile, North American Tile Tool Company, Schluter Systems, Specialty Construction Brands, Inc. (SCB), Tremain Tile, Marble and Granite, and Yager Tile & Marble Co., Inc.. Partners tiled the kitchen, dining, entryway, bathroom, and laundry area in the 23 homes built during the Fall Blitz Build. They also tiled the kitchen in an existing Habitat home where the vinyl kitchen floor failed.

This marked the first TPFH project with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. Jeff Carter, executive director of the Habitat affiliate, said that the donation of materials and labor by the industry only underscores the commitment of the community at large for the homes built during the blitz.

"This is really going that extra step, showing the caring and commitment of the community to these homes and the new homeowners, he said. "The addition of tile flooring with its durability and attractiveness will add significant value to our Partner Families' homes. We are proud to have the tile industry partners on board with us in this project."

Representatives of the BAC Local 4 IN-KY, Louisville Tile, and TEC Specialty Products all donated time to install tile in Indianapolis-area Habitat homes.

Crossville and Louisville Tile each contributed about 4,300 square feet of ceramic and porcelain floor tile to the project.

"Crossville is a big believer in the work of Habitat for Humanity and we're particularly appreciative of the work of TPFH, which has given our company the opportunity to contribute tile to worthwhile projects throughout the country," said Jim Dougherty, Crossville's vice president of marketing and business development. "Our involvement with TPFH last year produced truly excellent results."

This marks the first TPFH project for Louisville Tile. Randy Parker, president of Louisville Tile, said the company was proud to participate in the community-improvement project with other industry members and Habitat volunteers.

"Part of Louisville Tile's mission as a company is to be a friend to our community and a leader in our industry," he said. "We were ready and honored to join Tile Partners for Humanity in this effort because it's a natural extension of our company's 50-year history of giving back."

Adam Beck, store manager of the Indianapolis location of Louisville Tile, donated time to help install tile and teach new homeowners and other volunteers how to do so.

SCB, the manufacturer of TEC brands and also a first-time TPFH partner, donated all of the setting materials, cleaners and sealers for the project. That donation included TEC Full Flex thin set mortar, AccuColor grout, and Grout Guard PlusTM penetrating silicone sealer and Refresh Pro stone and tile cleaner, which will preserve and protect the natural beauty of the tile and keep it looking like new for years to come.

"We are delighted to contribute products and expertise to Tile Partners for Humanity, which is a great cause and one that we're proud to be associated with," said Jim Griffin, president and general manager of SCB. "It's very gratifying to know that our technologically advanced solutions will go to very good use in two dozen homes for Indianapolis families in need." The TEC brand is owned by SCB, a fully owned subsidiary of H.B. Fuller Co.

Adam Beck of Louisville Tile straightens a Crossville tile in this Habitat home on LaSalle Street in Indianapolis, IN.

Marc Mularoni, a TEC strategic account manager, also donated time to help install tile in the homes and teach new homeowners and other volunteers to install as well.

Longtime TPFH partner North American Tile Tool Company (NATTCO) donated 12 sets of new tile tools to the affiliate for use in this and future projects. The tools included wet saws, tile cutters, notched trowels, spacers, grout floats, tile nippers, mixing blades, knee pads, and buckets.

NATTCO representatives, including CEO and President Brian Turner and his wife, Gillian, NATTCO's vice president, also donated time to work with homeowners and volunteers to install tile in the homes. For the Turners, who recently donated time to work with homeowners in Houston, the project was a chance to give back on a local level.

"North American Tile Tool Company is gratified in the knowledge that the little we give is received with such appreciation," said Brian Turner. "Why would you not support the efforts of so many to make another person's life better?"

Habitat's Lee Bigelow carries edge protection profiles donated by Schluter Systems into a Habitat home in Indianapolis.

The BAC Local 4 IN/KY Zone II Tile, Marble, and Terrazzo Apprenticeship Program and Journeyman of Local 4 donated the use of a 20-man crew to tile several homes and work with homeowners interested in learning to tile. Greg Waltz, Zone II apprenticeship coordinator, said he considered it an honor to participate in the project.

"My International Union encourages locals and apprenticeship programs to get involved in partnerships with these organizations," he said. "I am glad that our Union Apprenticeship program, which consists of 19 tile apprentices, can help out along with some Journeyman tile setters. It builds good relationships and it lets the community know that the Union cares about these homeowners."

Jeff McCammack of McCammack Tile donated the use of a two-man crew of tile setters for one week to help install tile in the homes. Tremain tiled four homes on Luett Street, working with a local homeowner who arrived as the contractors were finishing her new home. Yager Tile & Marble donated one day to set tile in a home on LaSalle Street. And Kurtz Services donated one day of labor to grout a home on LaSalle.

Schluter Systems, which manufactures installation systems specifically designed for tile and stone, donated transition and edge protection profiles for 23 homes. "Projects like this are a true expression of a caring and generous society, and our company is grateful to be a part of this worthwhile undertaking," said Lisa Schwartz, Schluter Systems' Public Relations Coordinator.

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, TheTileDoctor.com, 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 exclusively 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 www.tpfh.com.