Coverings 2013 will be held for the first time in Atlanta this year, April 29 to May 2 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The show will offer more than 70 free educational sessions and 900 exhibitors displaying their latest products to an audience that will include contractors, installers and distributors.

Rounding out the offerings is a series of live demonstrations and an Installation Design Showcase, which will follow the construction of a mock bar/lounge, hotel lobby, in-patient room and master bathroom by National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five-Star Contractors, right on the show floor.

“The Design Showcase is one of the most engaging and interactive parts of Coverings,” according to Coverings Show Director Karin Fendrich. “Leading installers and designers are paired together to collaborate to showcase the synergy between great design and installation. Each space will highlight a different design aesthetic and feature tile and stone in a live installation.”


Classes and events for installers and contractors

The educational sessions are targeted to a wide range of tile and stone professionals, including installers, fabricators and distributors, as well as architects, builders/remodelers, green building professionals, interior designers and retailers. “The sessions cover everything from business development, green issues and installation best practices to product and design trends and industry news, over the course of four days,” Fendrich noted.

Topics geared toward installers and contractors specifically include the unveiling of the 2013 edition of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook and presentations on epoxy grout and bonding materials; solving difficult substrate issues; sealing natural stone, tile and grout; profitable installations for large-format tile; installing tile and stone in remodeling projects; tools for tile contractors; concrete substrates; liquid waterproofing; the importance of vapor management in steam room installations; avoiding installation failures; and thin-tile installation considerations.

General business enrichment topics, which are aimed at anyone who runs or wants to run a business, include tools for developing your team; the psychology of price; the effect of the housing recovery on ceramic tile sales; preparing for healthcare reform; handling litigation; leadership and ethics; managing an installation-based business; managing a successful family business; and selling tile from the standpoint of the Internet, the industry and the consumer.

Also during the show, organizers will offer Contractor Tours, April 30 and May 1. The hour-long events will give contractors a sneak peek of new products and exclusive visits with key exhibitors. The tours, which are limited to 25 people a day, also include a lunch and 3 to 5:30 p.m. happy hour in the Contractor Lounge. Any attendee with a contractor badge can relax and network in the Contractor Lounge during the show, and grab a beer and participate in raffles during happy hour.

Live installation demonstrations, showcasing some of the latest tools, products and techniques, will also take place during the show. Companies scheduled to present include Bonsal American, Fin Pan, H.B. Fuller/TEC, LATICRETE, MAPEI, NAC Products, Noble Co., Schluter Systems, USG and Wedi Corp. NTCA will also offer demonstrations, explaining the finer points of the new Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program.


ACT certification program

The first crop of installers will undergo testing for the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) at the show. The program addresses four areas of expertise: Large-Format Tile Installation/Substrate Preparation, Mudwork, Shower Pans, and Membranes. Each ACT certification is a stand-alone unit. Completion of all four units is not necessary for certification.

According to Scott Carothers, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) exec. director, the certification program is designed to offer a unified certification system for tile installation and “help populate a pool of qualified installers, whether union or non-union.”

Partners in the development of ACT include CTEF, the Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the International Masonry Institute and NTCA. Additionally, TCNA manufacturer members have contributed to the development of modules and tests.


Awards and recognition

Coverings will also host the 2013 Coverings Installation and Design (CID) Awards. Open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, installers and other construction professionals, the CID Awards aim to recognize projects that demonstrate design and installation excellence in their use of tile and stone, in both residential and commercial projects. Award winners will be announced during a special ceremony, 5:30 p.m. April 29.

Project: Green will also return to Coverings. The program highlights projects, both within the U.S. and internationally, that create a positive environmental impact and exemplify innovation, aesthetics and the use of sustainable tile and stone products. Selected projects will be housed on the show floor at Coverings and be the focus of a conference session during the show.

Fendrich expects a high turnout for Coverings 2013. “In 2012, 22,000 people registered, representing a 19 percent increase over 2011. For 2013, the first time the show has been in Atlanta, registration is already strong. The expectation is that the numbers will surpass 2012.” For more information and to register, visit