The Coverings show in Orlando late last month offered a glimpse of the future of ceramic tile and stone in the U.S. The show was well-attended, and included some important educational opportunities.

New this year was Project: Green, highlighting residential and commercial green projects. The show also offered more than 70 free educational sessions during the four-day event for retailers, contractors, installers, distributors, designers and architectural specifiers.   

The buzz on the exhibit floor was about thinner tiles. Porcelain wall tiles are definitely going to become thinner – much thinner than the current 12 mm. The future will be between 3-7 mm and offer manufacturers an immediate savings in transportation and raw material costs.

As long as costs are taken out, everyone in the supply chain will win along with the buyer/consumer. The thin tiles can also be installed directly over the existing floor or wall covering, while avoiding demolition on the job-site. Wall tiles will also be able to be made larger and will be easier to handle on the job-site.

At this time only a limited number of manufacturers have installed equipment to produce the sleek product. They include: Lea Ceramiche, Cotto D’Este, Kale, and Inalco. Other companies have already added this new technology or are in the process.

Floor tiles (reinforced with a sheet of fiberglass) in the same 3-7 mm thickness are just around the corner. Materials are now being tested to provide a successful installation. However, a rush to market should not occur without adequate testing. Failure of any product installed will leave the flooring industry with a negative image.

Other notable products I saw on the show floor were Stoneskin, a 4 mm stone mosaic tile from Stonexpress, in both peel & stick and traditional installed; and Homax Spray & Set Wall Tile Adhesive.

2010 NFT Directory: Your Source of Information Online and in Print

No doubt about it – the National Floor Trends’ 2010 Trade Directory and Buying Guide appearing in this month’s issue along with its online, fully searchable version combines the industry’s most up-to-date information available with the immediacy of online updates.

And this year we have added a new way to get your industry source information, directly from your mobile phone. Get the free app for your phone at Then, snap the image at the bottom of this page or on the cover to go directly to the NFT 2010 Trade Directory and Buying Guide landing

The online edition has the most complete information as it is updated throughout the year – 24/7 – and includes more manufacturer, distributor, sales agent, product, buying group, association/market, and cross-referenced technical training school listings. All the online section listings include more robust data (for example, the addition of branch offices and representatives in the manufacturer section) and additional listing enhancements like keyword search options, premium ranking and designation online, spec sheets, marketing messages, product photos, videos, and a request for proposal program.