Tool inventors, suppliers and aficionados were out in full force at Coverings 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia, and they were definitely not disappointed with what they found. Tooling for GPTP, thin panel, super format, call it what you like, was everywhere you looked. From Sigma to Battipav to Russo and many more, it seemed like these tools were taking over—if they haven't already. If you haven't seen these products yet, I highly recommend seeking out some proper training because they're coming, and they require installation methods different than anything we've seen before. For those of you who know me, you know I've got a bit of an obsession with tools and all things installation related. So, from one tool nut to hopefully many more, here's my tool rundown for Coverings 2024.

Sigma 63F 60"x70" Work Table

While not entirely a newcomer to the market, this work table was the base for all the thin panel demos being run in the RTC booth. The versatility of this table allows customization of the work surface, storage of other tools and accessories in the lineup, and its modular design will let you attach it to another table when working with larger panels. This table is by far my favorite when I have the room to set it up on my jobsite. 

Sigma 63F work table

Kera 38F6 Cut Scoring Head

I was more than impressed to see this little gem perform under pressure. No pun intended. While not only cutting thin panels seamlessly with the Kera Cut rail, it also stood out when taken off the rail to attempt some freehand serpentine cuts on the same panel. Freehand serpentine cuts may not be an everyday occurrence on the jobsite, but they do show Sigma's dedication to innovation. 

Sigma NEX

Speaking of innovation, may I present the Sigma Series 4 NEX Push Tile Cutter.

I have been a Sigma fan for the better part of a decade. I have also used, tested or owned just about every tile cutter on the open market, and the Sigma cutters are my favorite. So, if this seems a little biased, you're absolutely right. It is—and justifiably so, in my opinion. I have used the old-style MAX cutters daily, with the exception of the smaller 14" pull cutter for subway tile, since I purchased my first cutter years ago. I know these cutters like the back of my hand, and I can honestly say that the new NEX cutters blow them, and every other snapper I've used, out of the water—no contest.

The changes/upgrades: 

  • No more adjusting the rail for the thickness of the tile. It's all in the handle now, and it fits tiles up to 3/4" thick.
  • They beefed up the fence/guide making it more stable for more consistent cuts.
  • The scoring wheel has been upgraded and relocated to the rear of the handle, so it can be seen much more easily while lining up cuts.
  • Additional accessories include an extended arm for longer measurements and on-board cutting wheel storage.  

I have one simple request, and that is to have Sigma cutters with “fricken laser beams attached to their heads!” Don't worry, Dr. Evil. Sigma's got you covered. You can purchase an aftermarket kit to add a laser sight to your new Sigma NEX cutter. It even comes with a little punch-out tool to make sure you get it all lined up.

Battipav Bridge Saw

These guys showed up to the party with more toys than I even knew they offered. Snappers, super format tools, and an impressively extensive line of bridge saws stood strongly in front of their banners and commanded attention from attendees. For those unfamiliar, Battipav is a quality Italian brand offering great value and pricing. With several different tiers of quality/pricing, they've got a tile cutter for tile setters of all levels. From 17" up to 72" they're easy to use and a basic design makes them very user friendly. While I didn't get to see their thin panel tools in action, I could see that their quality is right in line with the rest of their product offering. Where I feel this vendor truly shines is in their line of bridge saws. With a wide range of features and accessories, coming in sizes 24" up to an impressive 126", there's one, or more, that will fit nicely into your arsenal of tools. 

Battipav booth

Russo Trading Company RPM Kit

While RTC is always at the forefront of innovation in the tile industry, they've taken that to a whole new level with their RPM kit for thin panel fabrication. Multiple rail sizes, innovative coupling design, and versatile accessories allow for unlimited configuration possibilities in a professional grade, cost effective kit ideal for thin panel contractors. Powered by 6 Grabo suction cups, not included, this kit will cover all of your transportation/fabrication needs.

Maximus Pedestal Systems 

Maximus Pedestal Systems

I have been so hesitant to get into this part of the industry simply because of the overwhelming abundance of systems that are available. Maximus has made the transition simple. With only three SKUs, they have streamlined their product line to solve every problem and obstacle that previous systems have had. Their simplified offering includes a standard pedestal (45mm-145mm), a junior pedestal (20mm-45mm), and an extender to build up to larger heights. This eliminates three to four pedestals from other vendors' lines. A simplification of the process along with an easy to use/adjust system makes an installer like myself much more interested in learning how to take my skillset outdoors because who doesn't enjoy a little more sunshine on the jobsite?

Fento Ergonomic Knee Protection

Straight from the Netherlands with an assortment of knee pads and accessories, we're introduced to Fento. In a market already filled with vendors selling knee protection, Fento has entered the Thunder Dome with their lightweight heavy-duty lineup, and they’re coming out swinging. With full size, mid-size, buckle and velcro straps, and a kneeling board featuring the same technology as the knee pads, they've got all of our knees covered and protected.

Maxisil Silicone

Silicone is hard to work with. Silicone can stain natural stone. Just a few challenges that Australian-based company Maxisil has overcome. With a silicone and sealant-based product line, more extensive than I knew was necessary, Maxisil offers a line of silicone for wet locations, another for natural stone (guaranteed not to stain), another for use in pools, and even a sealant/adhesive offered in both white and clear. They've even got a variety of tube extenders, angled couplers, and each tube comes with a screw-on cap for extended storage. A visit to their website,, will show you the color match tool that will provide a "coordinating" silicone color to your favorite grout manufacturers.

Rapid Recess Blind Pipe Connector (BPC)

Rapid Recess Blind Pipe Connector (BPC) 

Now this little guy was a big surprise and in a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of product release it quietly made its Coverings debut. The company that brought us the Rapid Recess kit, the only way I'll build a curbless shower now by the way, solves all of our frustrations when setting linear drains in our curbless showers. No more blind gluing. No more rushing to get everything in place; the BPC is some grade A innovation and is IPC- and UPC-approved. The bottom of the BPC attaches to your straight pipe, that's already glued into the trap, like a standard Fernco fitting. The straps are screwed into the subfloor to keep it stable and the linear drain just presses into the fitting. The accompanying engagement tool locks the compression portion in place. I've never been so excited about a plumbing fitting before.

I always love seeing all the new and exciting innovations and, even more so, the people I've come to know and befriend over the years. Coverings 2024 did not disappoint in either case. I hope this tool rundown covered some things you may have missed at the show or reminded you to seek them out at your local or online dealers. I hope to see y'all next year.