TCNA Meets to Develop New Ceramic Tile Standards

International trade and standards for ceramic tile were the focus of discussions as delegates from 15 countries met in Clemson, S.C., home to the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), to develop new standards for ceramic tiles.

Delegates considered several crucial questions about technologically advanced ceramic tiles that experts see as the future of construction; some tiles fight smog by breaking down nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to produce a cleaner atmosphere, others hinder microorganism growth to create an antiseptic environment.

The agenda also included discussions of what standards ought to be met for a tile to be labeled as “sustainable,” potentially affecting tax incentives for green construction and certification for using sustainable materials. Water absorption testing, rectified tile tolerances, performance standards for “thin tile,” and myriad other technical topics were also covered in the three-day meeting of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee 189, the standards body that presides over international standards for ceramic tile and tile installation materials.

Proposals and standards developed by ISO, such as those discussed in Clemson, are voted on by 28 participating countries, with at least 75% required to adopt it. Attending were delegates from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. “These meetings are a boost to the industry and get decision-makers together talking about standards that are relevant to where the industry is going,” said Eric Astrachan, TCNA’s executive director and head of the U.S. delegation.

U.S. demand for tiles is rising as the housing market recovers. While about 70% of the nation’s tiles are imported, the domestic industry is making a comeback, Astrachan said, adding that the availability of natural gas has lowered costs to run factories. The United States also has the advantage of plentiful raw materials, highly skilled workers and lower labor costs than Europe, he added.


Parex Announces Ownership, Leadership Change

Parent company of Parex USA, ParexGroup, has been sold to CVC Capital Partners. Under this new ownership, an improved financial structure will give the company flexibility to accelerate its development on a worldwide level, according to the company.

ParexGroup was founded in France by Lafarge in 1978. Since 2001, ParexGroup was one of four companies owned by Materis, a French corporation. Under the new ownership structure, ParexGroup will operate independently and will no longer be affiliated with Materis or its subsidiaries

“We are now an independent company with a new shareholder, who is strongly motivated to support us with ambition in this new phase of our development,” said Richard Séguin, CEO of ParexGroup. “CVC is one of the largest and most respected financial investors in the world.”

With the move comes a change in leadership. Rodrigo Lacerda has been promoted to president of ParexGroup Americas. Additionally, James Chilcoff has been named Parex USA managing director.

In his new role, Lacerda will coordinate the growth of the group in both North and South America and ensure the company continues to develop sound strategic positions. Chilcoff  previously spent 12 years with James Hardie in sales, marketing and general management roles, including in Australia, where he led the company’s operations. More recently, Chilcoff was the managing director of U.S. Gibraltar Industries, a manufacturer of metal and flashing products.


IICRC to Develop Hard Surface Inspection Standard

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has formed a consensus body to develop the new BSR-IICRC S220 Standard on Hard Surface Floor Covering Inspection.

“As new materials and processes are introduced into our industry, we remain committed to ensuring the IICRC’s standards provide credible, up-to-date information,” said Mili Washington, IICRC standards director. “Through the development of the S220 standard, we are upholding our promise to the industry to establish an international standard of care and provide our registrants with a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.”

According to Washington, the new BSR-IICRC S220 Standard will be developed over approximately 36 months and will include inspection of hard surface floor coverings including stone, marble, laminate, wood, ceramic and resilient. The document will establish a procedural standard for professionally inspecting hard surface floor coverings. The new standard will be developed in accordance with the ANSI Essential Requirements as an American National Standard.


Flooring Associations Partner to Address Industry Issues

In an effort to address and improve pressing issues and problems in the flooring industry, 15 associations have partnered to form the Floor Covering Leadership Council (FCLC).

Organizations include The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors  (NICFI), Marble Institute of America (MIA), Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Carpet Cushion Council (CCC), Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association  (FCICA), International Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI), Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA), North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), North American Laminate Floor Association (NALFA) and American Flooring Association (AFA).

At FCLC’s inaugural meeting, held recently in Orlando, Fla., the council identified and focused on three industry concerns:  efficient, effective and affordable professional training and instruction for industry members; the installation industry’s future; and effective and ongoing communication between industry associations.

“This group provides a forum for us to not only learn from each other, but to also develop new products and services that will have tremendous benefits to the entire industry, said elected chair of the council, Scott Humphrey, WFCA CEO. “The spirit of collaboration is growing as we learn to see each other’s perspectives and define our goals together.”

Humphrey has been elected to chair FCLC and Michael Martin, president and CEO, NWFA will serve as vice chair. Kay Wiley, executive administrative assistant to Humphrey, will serve as secretary. All will serve two-year terms.

“We’re at a unique time in the flooring industry where a changing of the guard is taking place in many associations at the same time,” said Martin. “This group provides a forum for us to not only learn from each other, but to also develop new products and services that will have tremendous benefits to the entire industry.  The spirit of collaboration is growing as we learn to see each other’s perspectives and define our goals together.”

The group, which plans to meet two times per year, will hold its next meeting in Miami in conjunction with the International Surface Event East.


H.J. Martin Named to RetroPlate Elite Team

H.J. Martin & Son has been named to the RetroPlate Elite Team. This designation qualifies H.J. Martin for national accounts that specify the RetroPlate System, a chemically reactive concrete stabilizer that enhances concrete density and hardness, allowing the floor to be finished to a high cosmetic, marble-like sheen, according to the company.

“With the increased demand for concrete polishing, we are pleased to have been hand-picked to offer this high-end solution,” said Tim LaSure, H.J. Martin project manager. “Built on customer satisfaction, RetroPlate certification required extensive, up-front training on our part.  We were happy to make the investment because we see this as an excellent complement to the array of services already offered by H.J. Martin.”


Haines Begins Expansion Into Florida Market

JJ Haines’ team at the new Wheeler Supplies Center in Orlando, Fla.

JJ Haines’ Wheeler Supplies Center is now open in Orlando, Fla. This is Haines’ first Supplies Center opening and the beginning of Haines’ Flooring Supplies Division expansion into the Florida market.

Haines began the new supplies division when it acquired Allied Products in early 2013 and then grew the division when it acquired CMH Space and Ellis Flooring earlier this year. Haines now operates 26 Supplies Centers throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeast.

“Our goal is to become the premier flooring supplies company within our territory. This will not happen overnight,” said Bruce Zwicker, CEO. “We will achieve our goal through acquisition, organic growth, greenfield expansion of supplies centers, and building the best supplies team and business model that we can. We are new to the supplies business and have a lot to learn and do.”

He noted the Wheeler Supplies business has employed a very knowledgeable team of four, led by Jed Collins, sales manager, flooring supplies, to start the Florida expansion. Collins has been a sales leader at Wheeler since the acquisition of Wheeler by Haines in 2007.

According to Zwicker, the Wheeler Supplies Center is stocked with a broad array of flooring installation tools and supplies to meet the expectations of flooring contractors and flooring dealers. In addition, the current flooring supplies available to Wheeler floor covering dealers will be expanded and sold by the existing team of Wheeler account executives.


Wagner Meters Now Shipping Internationally

Wagner Meters’ moisture measurement products can now be directly shipped to international customers. “We have customers from all parts of the globe, and now a Wagner Meters moisture meter or Rapid RH system can be ordered from the website and shipped directly to them. It’s a door-to-door experience,” stated Ed Wagner, president of Wagner Meters.

For more information, visit www.wagnermeters.com, or call 800-634-9961.


All-Female Team Volunteers on Habitat Build

An all-female volunteer group installs USG Durock Brand Cement Board, donated by Tile Traders, in three Habitat For Humanity homes in Woodland Park, Colo.

Under the coordination of Tile Partners for Humanity (TPFH), five members of the tile industry donated tile and installation materials to tile three Habitat for Humanity homes in Woodland Park, Colo. The project was part of a Habitat initiative known as Women Build, in which women make up the entire volunteer force. Under the leadership of Habitat construction supervisors, the women also handled the tile installation.

“What a delight it was to work with such generous partners like these to provide such a warm and welcoming home for our families during the Women Build Week. The ladies had tons of fun laying tile and totally look forward to next year,” said Jamie Caperton, executive director of Teller County Habitat for Humanity.

Through TPFH—which represents the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor— Dal-Tile, Capco Tile & Stone, and Marino Tile and Marble all donated tile; Merkrete, a division of Parex USA, donated thinset mortar and grout; and Tile Traders donated USG Durock Brand Cement Board.

“It’s only through generous partners and their desire to improve their communities that we’re able to support the work of our nonprofit partners,” said Herb Miller, executive director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center. Three families now know the joy of home ownership and the value of beautiful tile floors in their homes.”


Distributor Appointments

Lanham Hardwood Flooring is now distributing UFloor Systems’ Pallmann’s Hardwood Complete products in its Indianapolis, Ind., Louisville, Ky., and West Chester, Ohio branch locations. “Contractors in these regions have been telling us that Lanham is their distributor of choice when we asked them who they would like to purchase from,” said Mark Weglowski, brand manager for Pallmann. “We’re now happy to give them the good news that they can purchase Pallmann from Lanham.”

Philadelphia Floor Store (PFS) and Primatech have partnered to launch the Pro 245 Nailer. PFS will serve as the only national distributor of the new product, according to the company. “Primatech is well-known for their innovative design and durability and we are proud to have been selected to deliver their newest hardwood flooring tool, the P245 Nailer, to market,” said Mike Galvin, founder and owner of PFS.


New Hires and Promotions

AmericasMart has named Douglas Broward executive vice president of marketing.

Broward officially joined AmericasMart in February 2012 in the newly created position of senior vice president of branding. During his tenure, he built an omni-channel team responsible for conceptualizing and implementing marketing programming supporting AmericasMart’s 14 annual markets and shows.

Marco Ludwig has been named president of Schluter North America, replacing Reinhard Plank who has retired. As president, Ludwig will divide his time between the Montreal and Plattsburgh, N.Y. offices as he is responsible for all of the company’s operations in the U.S. and Canada, including the North American manufacture of many Schluter products.


Upcoming Events

The International Surface Event East – Miami Beach, Fla., Oct. 19-22. www.tiseeast.com

NAFCD/NBMDA Annual Convention – Dallas, Nov. 18-20. www.nafcd.org

2015 INSTALL Conference – Las Vegas, Jan. 18-20. www.installfloors.org

The International Surface Event  – Las Vegas. Jan. 20-23. www.tisewest.com

For more industry events and training, visit www.fcimag.com and click the Calendar of Events link under the Resources tab.


USG Supplies Products for Daytona Project

USG Corp. is now a “We Built Daytona” partner at the Daytona International Speedway (DIS) as part of the Daytona Rising redevelopment project. The project encompasses the Speedway’s nearly one-mile long frontstretch that, upon completion in January 2016, will create a facility that delivers a unique experience for fans, sponsors and guests. A variety of USG brand products will be used in the interior and exterior construction of the DIS frontstretch.

“USG is honored to be a partner in the transformation of this iconic racing venue,” said Greg Salah, general manager, Wallboard & Surfaces, USG Corp. “Daytona Rising is all about reimagining DIS and the fan experience, and we see strong similarities in the way USG is reinventing itself with a new brand, new energy and new focus on innovation. With shared values of high performance, leadership, teamwork and excellence, we look forward to having USG products be a part of the new DIS.”


INSTALL Announces 2015 Conference

The International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL) has announced its 2015 INSTALL Conference will be held Jan. 18-20 at the Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas.

The group stated in a recent INSTALL eNews: “We will have speakers from the leadership of the floorcovering mills, industry and INSTALL. A trade show will be provided so that our partners can demonstrate their latest products, and a comprehensive demonstration of INSTALL Certifications will be provided.”


Beaulieu International to Build New Plant

Beaulieu International Group said it will invest $200 million to build a campus-style manufacturing facility in Cartersville, Ga.  Currently, the company has 3,500 employees in 26 plants and nine sales offices spread across 13 countries.

The company plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Cartersville on 120 acres and create 350 jobs in the next five years. It’s expected to be operational by the end of next year.

Initially Beaulieu International will manufacture one product, a 16-foot cushioned vinyl flooring, in one building on the campus. That product is now produced in Belgium and shipped to the U.S. It could eventually produce a variety of products at the site, not including carpet.

Beaulieu International is composed of three business units—Flooring Solutions is the European supplier of wall-to-wall floorcoverings (carpet, needle felt, cushion vinyl, LVT and wood). A second business unit, Granules, produces polypropylene granules for numerous applications. The third business unit, Engineered Products, houses the activities fibers, yarns, technical textiles and technical sheets.


Ardex to Expand Plant in Mansfield, Texas

To accommodate growing business, Ardex Americas has begun the expansion of its 35,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant in Mansfield, Texas. Expected to be completed by the end of the year, the expansion will add 45,000 square feet.

“We continue to experience strong growth, particularly in our line of tile and stone installation systems products,” said Marshall Seavers, plant manager at the facility. “The expansion is primarily warehouse space that will improve inventory and logistics for all Ardex Americas products throughout the Southwestern U.S.”

Currently, the Mansfield plant employs 14 people on two shifts, and according to Seavers, is expected to produce nearly 42 million pounds of product this year. The Mansfield location is also home to one of eight Ardex Academy Training Centers in North America.

The Mansfield Plant earned SHARP Certification in 2012 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, establishing it as a Safety Benchmark Facility. According to OSHA, by achieving SHARP status, the plant and its workers are in a group of small businesses that maintain exemplary injury and illness prevention programs.


NWFA Members Volunteer with Nurses for Newborns

Members of the National Wood Floor Association (NWFA) recently volunteered their time and skill to install wood flooring for Nurses for Newborns, an organization providing at-risk families with needed education, healthcare and positive parenting skills in the St. Louis community.

“I am happy the NWFA could help make this improvement project happen for Nurses for Newborns, an organization that provides so much good for the St. Louis community,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO. “We are proud of our members for many reasons, not the least of which is their generosity in sharing their time, knowledge and skills as they did with this project.” 

The NWFA member volunteers were Nick Motto and Trever Carson, of Motto’s Flooring in O’Fallon, Mo.; Mathew Young, of Craftsman Flooring in Victoria, Australia;  and Dustin Tunstall, of Tunstall Flooring in Port Allen, La. The flooring was donated by NWFA member company Mannington Mills. The project was completed in partnership with Local Floor Layers 1310.

“We are incredibly grateful for members of our community to contribute this magnificent floor,” said Demetria Jackson, administrative and community engagement specialist at Nurses for Newborns. “To receive such a tangible gift we never could afford on our own, and one that allows us to improve our environment while still focusing our resources on programs for the community we serve, is extremely valuable to us.”


Intermountain Celebrates Grand ReOpening with Bostik

Bostik helped long-time customer Intermountain Wood Flooring stage the Grand Reopening of its Salt Lake City distribution center. “The purpose of this gala affair was not just to introduce our headquarters’ bigger and better building,” stated Ron Winterton, Intermountain director of marketing. “We wanted our customers and premier vendors, people we view as business partners, to be part of our excitement.”

James Allred, Bostik territory sales manager, performed demonstrations of the company’s Axios Tri-Linking Polymer Technology. “A strong number people from the architectural & design, dealer and contractor sectors attended the demonstrations we performed.”

Prizes awarded at the event included barbeque grills and an iPad, which were contributed by Bostik. “Intermountain Wood Flooring is a model business partner for Bostik,” added Allred.  “The firm’s 11 distribution centers only sell Bostik adhesives and stock the line heavily. They treat all their vendors with great loyalty, and continually make sure that every interaction with their company, from every perspective, is positive for all involved.”


Mohawk to Invest $10M in Landrum, S.C., Facility

Over the next 10 years, Mohawk Industries is investing $10 million in its Landrum, S.C., commercial carpeting facility in Spartanburg County. According to the company, this upgrade is expected to create approximately 20 new jobs at the facility, which currently employs 160 people.

“For more than 50 years, Mohawk has been an integral part of the Landrum community,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “As the world’s largest flooring company, they could have chosen to go anywhere, but they continue to expand here in South Carolina. We applaud Mohawk’s $10 million investment and 20 new jobs in Spartanburg County, which will support their customers around the globe.”

Basked in Calhoun, Mohawk operates two manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, including the Landrum plant as well as a facility in Bennettsville in Marlboro County. The 340,000 sq. ft. Landrum facility produces high-end, woven contract commercial carpeting for both domestic and international customers. Additionally, the plant manufactures aviation carpet for most domestic and some international airlines and airplane manufacturers.

“By modernizing the looms at the Landrum facility, we can update the styling of the carpet we produce there and keep the business viable for the men and women at the facility,” said Miles Wright, vice president of commercial manufacturing for Mohawk Flooring. “This is a good investment for Mohawk and will help us remain the industry leader in high-end performance woven carpet.”


Tec Products in Ronald McDonald House

Tec products were used to renovate the Kansas City Ronald McDonald House. For more than 30 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities has aimed to provide a home away from home for families with seriously ill or injured children. On an average night, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City serves 67 families.

To provide additional space for its guests, Sporting Kansas City—a Major League Soccer team—partnered with MLS WORKS to sponsor the Ronald McDonald House renovation. Jennifer Bertrand, the season three winner of HGTV’s “Design Star” and whose family received services from a Ronald McDonald House in New York, designed the space. Using donated materials, labor and furnishings, the space was converted from an outdated storage area to a unique place of respite and entertainment for visiting families, with cheerful decorations, televisions and video game systems.

Flooring contractor Interior Surface donated renovated two bathrooms at the Ronald McDonald House, and used Tec products to install brightly colored 1” mosaic tiles. The tiles, in blues, creams and browns that match Sporting Kansas City’s uniforms, stick to the restrooms’ walls, ceilings and floors with Tec Full Flex mortar. The installation was capped off with Tec AccuColor Siliconized Unsanded Acrylic Caulk.


INSTALL and UFloor Continues Partnership

The International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL) and UFloor Systems are continuing their partnership which began in 2009, including the donation of select UFloor branded equipment and educational support for INSTALL’s ongoing curriculum and training programs.

As part of its continued INSTALL partnership, UFloor hosted a “Train The Trainer” event at INSTALL’s International Training Center (ITC) in Las Vegas. UFloor provided the curriculum and instructors to teach a group of INSTALL trainers. The company donated select Wolff brand equipment, including a Vario Silent Stripper, Master Groover, Weldmaster Automatic Welder, Samba Grinding Machine, Samba Mounted Vacuum, among other tools.

“INSTALL is a valuable partner organization with us,” said Matthias Liebert, president of UFloor. “They are intimately connected to the flooring installer on a nationwide basis and provide some of the most complete and technically accurate training in our industry. It was an easy call for us to donate this equipment to their organization... we recognize it as an investment in the future of high quality floor installations.”


Coverings Unveils New Logo for 2015 Show

Coverings 2015 will be heading to Orlando, Fla.’s Orange County Convention Center, April 14 to 17. According to Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director, Coverings 2015 is expected to be the largest edition of the show since 2009, with a projected 23,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors, across 400,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

“We’re really excited for what we anticipate will be one of the most impressive shows yet,” she said. “At Coverings 2014, we had the highest re-sign rate in the history of the show, with more exhibitors committing to space onsite for next year’s show than ever before. We feel this signifies a renewed confidence and revitalization of the tile and stone industry and that Coverings continues to provide valuable opportunities to its stakeholders.”

In preparation for the show, Coverings has revealed a new logo and creative campaign that communicates the breadth and depth that the show offers each year, according to Fendrich. Developed in partnership with Giona Maiarelli, creative director of Maiarelli Studio, the new campaign features a series of overlapping, colorful square frames—a nod to the traditional shape of tile—that focus on people. Coverings’ new logo features a slimmer font, intended to communicate the show’s sophistication and value for its audiences, particularly the architecture and design communities.


Armstrong Redesigns Floorexpert Site

Armstrong World Industries has redesigned its floorexpert.com site featuring technical, installation and maintenance information for Armstrong commercial and residential floor products. The redesign brings a fresh, new appearance and improved functionality to the website, according to the company.

 “The enhanced website is now fully responsive, making it uniformly accessible by smart phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops to reach customers wherever they are,” the company noted.

With over 1,300 documents covering everything from installation and warranties to troubleshooting and repairs, floorexpert.com features the same information used by the Armstrong Customer Service team.


Tarkett’s Florence Employees Give Back

Tarkett’s Florence, Ala. employees are giving back to their local community through the company’s Tarkett Gives Back program. “Tarkett Gives Back started a year ago and focuses on establishing a positive presence in the community by helping those [in need],” said Derrica Poole, special projects coordinator for Tarkett in Florence. “It’s meaningful that Tarkett employees have given their time to help people. We want Tarkett to be known not only as a great employer that supplies flooring, but also as a good steward. It means more to us just to see the look on their faces.”

Tarkett selected the home of veteran James Tuttle and his wife, Joyce to honor the local veteran. According to Poole, 20 Tarkett team members gathered at Tuttle’s home to perform several projects, primarily building a wheelchair ramp to make his home more handicap-accessible. In addition to the wheelchair ramp, the employees also spruced up the outside of the home with landscaping work.

“It means a lot to see the reaction from those, like the Tuttles, who Tarkett helps. It’s worth all the effort we put into it just to see them beaming from ear to ear and it’s a good group of people who have donated their time to help others,” said Seth Brickner, director of operations at Tarkett.


FCICA to Continue Diamond Club Program

The Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA) will continue its Diamond Club member program for the 2014-2015 FCICA membership year. The program was originated to encourage and incentivize current members who support FCICA by bringing in new members to the association.

Diamond Club members receive recognition at FCICA’s Mid-Year Meeting and at the 2015 Convention. Diamond Club member’s names are listed with their company logo on FCICA’s website, within the Diamond Club page. Additionally, Diamond Club members receive a FCICA logo shirt, certificate and five free red tickets to be used at the Mid-Year Meeting and annual convention.


Q.E.P. Engineered Wood Now FloorScore Certified

Q.E.P’s engineered wood flooring has now joined the list of certified products that meet the indoor air quality qualifications of FloorScore, a voluntary, independent certification program that tests and certifies hard surface flooring and its component materials to ensure they comply with stringent indoor air quality emissions. The FloorScore program was developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute with certification audits conducted by SCS Global Services, a third-party certification company.

“Choosing a product with the FloorScore logo assures you that your new flooring contributes to good indoor air quality,” said Renee Tester, Q.E.P. product marketing and technical services manager.

According to the company, every one of Q.E.P’s engineered wood flooring products that carry the FloorScore certification meets the indoor quality emissions criteria of LEEDv4, CHPS, the Green Guide for Health Care, as well as other healthy building programs.