Mapei Industries Presents
Technical Information by Jim Whitfield
Tile is thinner and larger than ever-Standards to govern quality & installation
by Jim Whitfield
Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs
In the last few years, there has been a concerted effort by tile manufacturers to produce larger format porcelain tiles that use less natural resources by reducing the thickness (For example: 1/8”x 5’ x 10’) . Due to this increased format size and reduced thickness, it has required us to re-think how we define the quality standards and also the installation methods for these type of porcelain tiles. That is why Associations such as MMSA (Materials Methods & Standards Association), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) and the TCNA (Tile Council of North America) have been instrumental in working with its members to develop clear, concise and useable Standards.
Although to some it feels like thin tile standards have been taking forever, since thin porcelain tile have been around about seven years, but really it has only been just a little over a year that we have been developing the Standards. To those that know the process, we recognize this as record setting pace for the creation and completing the thin tile product as well as the installation standard. It was exciting this morning (December 12th) to open an ANSI ASC A108 email and see the Product Standard ANSI A137.3 and the Installation Standard A118.19 for Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs being sent out to vote. I believe there is a sincere interest in getting these two standards passed. They have been distributed to committee members before for comment and I believe any of those negative comments have been resolved. I suspect there may be new concerns which always occur when a committee of 65 reviews any consensus document but I think it is possible to see two new “thin tile” standards in the first quarter of 2017. This would be a huge boost for the tile product category and a huge accomplishment for our industry.
We have really seen a lot of interest in these products. The requests and attendance at our trainings for the installation of Gauged Porcelain Tile have increased substantially in 2016. These requests were from different tile industry associations, tile manufacturers, distributors, sales representatives and installers. I think it is a reflection of growth in the product category, architecturally driven specifications, industry promotion and installers wanting to grow in their trade. We have hosted trainings on the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains, and the Midwest and all over the East Coast.
At trade association meetings there are multiple presentations on thin tile or Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs. We have Gauged Porcelain Tile presentations in 2017 with Surfaces, and three different one at Coverings which one included an interactive live demonstration. Our industry standards even the playing field, establish a level of quality and provide the Design Professional with the ability to specify quality by reference standard. This should allow for better quality and more competitive bidding. The committee was formed to write the installation standard in April of 2015. The fact we have a version of the installation standard out to vote in 2016 is record setting speed. This highlights the excessive interest in this type of porcelain tile by the tile trade, ANSI Committee, Gauged Porcelain Tiles and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs product and installation committee members. A big thanks to all of the committee members who got these standards out to vote in record time. The upcoming 2017 will be exciting for the thin porcelain tile industry for sure!
Jim is MAPEI’s Technical Services Manager and has been active in many industry committees over the years. Currently serving as vice president of the Materials and Methods Standards Association, he also belongs to the National Tile Contractors Association’s Technical Committee and the Tile Council of North America’s Handbook Committee. In addition, Jim is a voting member of the ANSI ASC A108 Committee. In 2001, he was elected to the elite Fellowship of the Construction Specifications Institute, thanks to his contributions to education in the construction industry.