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. The thin tiles can also be installed directly over the existing floor or wall covering, while avoiding demolition 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 also 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.

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

More Coverings 2010 coverage:

American Marazzi, Porcelanite/Lamosa nab Overall Best in Show award

Video: Karim Rashid at Coverings 2010

Spanish participation up at Coverings 2010

Coverings 2010 opening highlights excellence in tile and stone

Coverings Select winners named

Coverings 2010 slideshow:

TCNA, NTCA awards
Florida Tile
Tile of Spain
Wholesale Tile by Aguayo
Tile of Spain award
Confindustria Ceramica award
Women in Tile Networking Event
Brazilian Pavilion