Earlier this year, Cosentino—a manufacturer known primarily for its Silestone and Sensa countertops—entered the flooring business with Dekton large-format tile. We recently spoke with Carl Harris, director of the Dekton program, about this ultra-compact tile that can used in flooring, siding, building façades and countertops.

Q: How did Cosentino get into the flooring category?

A: Actually, it wasn’t initially planned that way. Cosentino wanted to develop a revolutionary product for the kitchen and bath market for countertops. When the economy was down, the company took a look at what the quartz industry was doing and thought it would be wise to work on something new. So the company created Dekton. As they started working with the material, they realized it made a lot of sense in the flooring market as a large-format material.

I came on board about a year ago. We took our ultra-compact material to the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) to have it tested. We found out Dekton was not only outstanding for countertops but exceptional for flooring; it could definitely compete in that space.

Q: How did you plan the rollout?

A: The very first thing we needed to do was look at the history of other large-format tile manufacturers. We have a tremendous amount of respect for many of the manufacturers who produce large-format porcelain. It’s an absolutely marvellous product. That said, we’re competing for space, and we feel we’re competing directly against porcelain.

The installation side of the industry was a critical piece to this rollout. We needed to touch base with contractors and installers and see what the needs, challenges and obstacles were on the installation side.

We worked closely with the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) to develop the sizes and the price points and also [get a grasp on] the fringe benefits of the material. We then went out to setting material manufacturers and developed partnerships with them. After that, we added people into our organization in the A&D sales market.

Q: So you worked with both TCNA and NTCA on this product?

A: Yes. We had all our materials tested through TCNA so we could compare our material directly with porcelain. NTCA then supported us in the process of developing our flooring program.

Q: Tell me about the product itself.

A: The size of the tiles is 28” by 28”, 28” by 56”, 56” by 56” and 126” by 56”. All of the products are microbeveled. Thicknesses range from 8mm to 12mm and 20mm. We offer the Xgloss series, which is high-gloss, and a variety of different finishes from matte to leather to suede. Our design possibilities are virtually unlimited.

Dekton is an ultra-compact material. We compress our material at 25,000 tons—or 50 million pounds—over a 10’ slab. Because of our formula, this essentially allows us to create a uniform molecular structure. We virtually eliminate water and air in the material.

Our material is also extraordinarily flat. ANSI 137.1 defines acceptable edge warpage for tile. For example, a 24” by 24”calibrated tile’s maximum allowable warpage is 1.3mm, or 1/16”. Dekton’s warpage on the other hand is 0.1mm, or 1/4000”. As long as you have a flat substrate, we feel we have eliminated lippage.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: We recommend installing Dekton with a large and heavy tile (LHT) mortar. The process is very similar to what installers are used to when installing other large-format products.

I also wanted to note that this material is what we call a universal architectural application material. That means it can be used anywhere in the interior—floors, walls, countertops. It can also be used as an exterior ventilated façade or direct-adhered. It can be used on hardscape. It can be installed on pool decking (slip resistance can be added to it). It can be used in wet environments.

For more information, visit dekton.com.