Coverings, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, remains the biggest destination for tile and stone installation tools and accessories in the U.S. Here are some of the newest installation products we’ve seen during the show so far:
Alpha Professional Tools. Travis Adams, outside sales representative, discussed his company’s newest pneumatic tools: the AIR-830 and AIR-850 polishers, and PSC-600 pneumatic cutter. “The AIR-830 runs at 4,000 rpm and AIR-850 at 5,000 rpm. New features include a silicone boot, quick disconnect water feature and the ability to put in lubricating oil without turning off the air. The PSC-600 runs at 8,600 rpm and the spindle is designed so the water comes out directly at the point of contact when you’re cutting.”
Ardex. Russ Gaetano, senior marketing manager for the tile segment, highlighted his company’s X 90 Outdoor tile and stone mortar, Flexbone Heat radiant heating system and various products for showers. He pointed out the energy efficiency of Flexbone Heat, stating that “it has less air space under the mat, and when you’re heating a floor you have to heat the air space under the mat first.”
Custom Building Products. Custom Building Products highlighted its Prism Ultimate Performance Cement Grout; TechLevel WSF fiber-reinforced, high-flow, self-leveling underlayment; Silk patching and finishing compound; and TechPatch RP fast-setting underlayment.
FILA. Jeff Moen, general manager of FILA, said the company is aggressive targeting the U.S. market with an “everybody-in-the-pool, full-court press” approach. “The U.S. market wants good, better and best price points, so we’ve created entry level, medium-grade and premium products with different performance warranties. We’ve also changed our bottles from white to gray for a more professional presentation. And this year we are coming out with several spray products that remove grout haze from tiles while the grout is still fresh.”
Guru USA. Derick Copper, national sales and marketing manager for North America, unveiled Water-Stop membrane and the Evo Slant system for curbless showers. “Water-Stop is a waterproofing and crack isolation membrane that can also be used in steam showers. It folds easily and is very workable. Our Evo Slant is a modular shower underlayment system. It fits any shower and is compatible with any drain.”
iQ Power Tools. iQ Power Tools will unveil its iQ426 HEPA vacuum later this summer, featuring 200 cfm with 100 water draw, a six-stage cyclonic system and iQ smart power management. “This pushes power where it needs to go so there are no popping breakers,” explained Sarah Hurtado, marketing manager.
Laticrete. Spencer Maheu, director of product management, showcased products including 125 Tri Max and Multimax Lite mortars, as well as the Quick Cure shower system. 125 Tri Max is a three-in-one LHT mortar also offering sound control and crack isolation properties. Multimax Lite is an LHT mortar that is also silica-free. The Quick Cure system features Quick Cure mortar and Hydro Ban Quick Cure waterproofing membrane that Maheu called “the fastest shower system.”
Leggett & Platt. Carl Olson, southeast regional sales manager for Leggett & Platt Flooring Products, displayed his company’s ACI-125, Whisper Step and Firm Grip underlayments. “ACI-125 is crack isolation membrane and sound suppressor for ceramic tile, LVT, hardwood and laminate. Whisper Step is a similar product but it can’t be used with ceramic tile. Firm Grip is for use under area rugs,” he explained.
MAPEI. MAPEI’s newest products included Planislope RS—a pre-blended, polymer-modified sloping mortar that cures in 1-2 hours; and Planislope 330 Fast—a polymer-modified, fiber-reinforced cementitious rendering, patching and leveling mortar for walls, floors and submerged areas, according to Jennifer Kramer, MAPEI communications manager.
Merkrete. Merkrete presented several new mortars in its dustless line, including 725 for LHT, 735 for porcelain tile, 820 Merlite and 855 XXL.
Pearl Abrasive. Peter Lalicki, territory manager, discussed several products including the new V-Max HEPA vacuum cleaner. “The cyclone vacuum offers 258 cfm airflow and comes with a 33 ft. hose. It also features a continuous bagging system and is ideal for power tools, floor machines, saws, grinders and polishing machines.”
Rapid Recess. Rapid Recess is a new installation product for curbless showers. To use, remove the existing tub, toilet and floor covering; exposure the joists and attach the brackets from the kit; then glue and screw 3/4” plywood pieces to the brackets. This process results in an 11/16” gain in the subfloor, said Barbora Hulikova-Erlebach, owner and CEO.
Schluter. Schluter’s latest included stainless steel shelving units that can slide directly into a grout joint; Trendline drain covers in rose, vintage and classic gold colors; 10 ft. profiles to accommodate higher ceilings; and a new paver support system called Troba-Level “designed to compensate for any slope,” stated regional manager Michael Cardoso.
USG. USG gave a sneak peak of a new decoupling mat. According to Corvette Morales, product manager, “It replaces 1/4” tile underlayment. The mortar has a greater bond to the tile because of the fleece we’re using. And the roll is flexible but will still stay flat and not curl back up. We’re targeting this for release this summer.”