Seeking out unique products in the ceramic and stone arena that it can bring to market is a core value of The Tile Doctor. Curt Rapp, founder and CEO, says his job is to pursue innovative technology that has the potential of bringing change to the industry. One product that will soon be offered by the company promises to do exactly that, and in my humble opinion it will bring a sizable change. As big a story as this product is, the branding of this product and the brand under which this product will be brought to market is most certainly the major game-changer for the industry.
First, the product itself: It’s actually a liquid glass that when applied to ceramic or stone surfaces renders them easy to clean and stay clean longer. It also has an antimicrobial element that prevents the growth of mold and mildew on the surface. This material is engineered to be applied at the factory level, and The Tile Doctor has just completed a licensing agreement with Invista for this product, which will now be marketed under the Stainmaster brand.
How strong is the Stainmaster brand? What will it mean for ceramic and stone? Cleanability and the ability to keep the surface clean longer has, in every industry survey I’ve ever seen, been one of the top features consumers seek when looking for floor coverings. Stainmaster is in nearly every retail floor covering store in America, it’s the most recognized brand in the floor covering industry, and it’s been responsible for the sales of millions of dollars of carpet over the years. I’m told that salespeople often hear in no uncertain terms that when a consumer is looking for carpet, they want to see Stainmaster and nothing else will do.
It’s not yet clear which international and domestic ceramic producers will be offering Stainmaster product treated with this material, but extending this top-tier brand to ceramic is a move that will no doubt bring the same success to this product group as it has to carpet for all these years. It’s a very good bet that branding The Tile Doctor product with Stainmaster will pay off in a big way.
The Stainmaster story is not the only new and unusual product that Rapp has linked onto. He has also come across a new and unusual grouting product that he says has two prime features: ease of use and unique design. It is designed to install more easily than regular cement grout, even though it’s a 100% solids epoxy. It also features some very unique design colors and additives that permit a metallic look, for metal mosaics. There is also a crystal grout in the line with hollow glass beads that refract the color of the glass.
With people like Rapp around to keep their eye out for new and innovative ideas, we’re sure to see some interesting developments in the industry.