Archive | May, 2013

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Stone Forensics Offers Stone Inspection Training in June

Posted on 31 May 2013 by cradmin

Stone Forensics will be conducting a Stone Inspector training program June 24 to 27  in San Diego. The program is designed to teach the basics of inspecting stone and ceramic tile installations. According to Fred Hueston, who will be conducting the training, “The amount of failures, poor installations and other issues with stone and tile flooring are on the rise. There are only a few qualified inspectors in the United States and there are unfortunately few quality training opportunities in this discipline.”

The program includes a certification test on the last day and the class size limited. The cost of the class is $1,500 per person.

The following will be covered: the geology of stone; understanding the structure of different kinds of stone and marble materials; identification of stone and tile types; quarry techniques that affect the final product; production of tile and slabs; fabrication and installation requirements; physical and chemical testing; stone and tile forensic investigation; diagnosis of problems; stone and tile restoration; repair and replacement; stain removal; troubleshooting; report writing; expert witness testimony; slip resistance; and laboratory testing.

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Freedonia ‘Decorative Tile’ Study Now Available

Posted on 30 May 2013 by cradmin

Industry market research firm, The Freedonia Group, released a new study titled Decorative Tile that examines the current state of the tile industry. The 297-page report contains a variety of information on topics such as decorative tile trends, market share and product demand. In addition to offering graphs and charts, the report draws conclusions about the current state of the industry and forecasts the decorative tile market going forward.

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Concrete Countertop Training

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Concrete Countertop Training

Posted on 29 May 2013 by CRadmin2

A series of videos produced and released by Trinic LLC sheds light on some of the mystery surrounding the fabrication of concrete and GFRC countertops. Trinic is a respected concrete specialty company in Windsor, N.Y., co-owned by Bob Chatterton and Mark Celebuski.

Celebuski holds free concrete training sessions for Trinic’s customers. The sessions are videotaped as they are conducted and uploaded to the company’s YouTube page where they can be accessed by anyone interested. Celebuski states that his goal in holding his classes and producing his videos is “to make the physical process as pain free and easy as possible and let artists be artists.”

The following video is part one of the Concrete Countertop Class Lecture, and it provides an overview on the process of mixing concrete for countertop fabrication. Other videos in the series are on wet casting, GFRC, fiber optics, fabric forming and sealers.

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ITW TACC (Formerly Plexus) Joined with Related Companies, Renamed

Posted on 29 May 2013 by cradmin

Illinois Tool Works (ITW), with numerous industrial manufacturing companies under its banner, has repositioned three companies with related products to allow for global competition. TACC (formerly Plexus), along with ER Systems and Schnee-Morehead, are all now part of a larger business known as ITW Polymers Sealants North America Inc. Effective April 1, the aforementioned business units are one legal entity. ITW Polymers Sealants North America has six facilities operating in Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. The division headquarters is located in Irving, Texas. ITW Polymers Sealants North America, Inc. offers expanded sealants solutions to various industries and its key markets including construction, aerospace composites and wind energy. Brands include: STA-PUT, Acryl-R, Elastek, ER Systems, Miracle, Pacific Polymers, Permathane and Tacky Tape.

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Grenite Environmental Product Declaration Issued

Posted on 28 May 2013 by cradmin

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Grenite engineered stone by Saint-Gobain was issued. Compliant with ISO 14025, EPDs are internationally recognized, standardized tools that detail the environmental impact of a product. The move is made to help architects and designers better identify environmental impacts from building materials when making purchasing decisions. To determine the product’s eligibility for an EPD, UL Environment tested one square meter of the Grenite Recycled Refractory (Birch Prada) and the Grenite Recycled Slag (Anaconda Black) line in accordance with EPD product category rules (PCRs). UL Environment develops EPDs in five steps, including verifying the product lifecycle assessment (LCA) meets requirements defined in the PCRs. The EPD presents the results of the LCA along with additional information about the product’s performance and other sustainability attributes.

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Fabricator Profile: Dream Stone – a Company with a Method to Beating Low-priced Competition

Posted on 27 May 2013 by cradmin

Dream Stone Countertop Fabrication Shop

Dream Stone, in Longmont, Colo., like many stone fabricators these days, has had to face low-priced competitors. However, owner Scott Murphy made a decision to not play the pricing game and instead focus on high-quality craftsmanship. Instead of dropping his prices to try to compete with the low-priced companies in his area, Murphy decided to diversify his business and it has worked out well. Not only does he offer a diverse line of products (countertops, flooring, carved stone products, shower surrounds, etc.), he also goes after different (and sometimes distant) markets. This method has served his business well… Read more about Dream Stone at Moreaware’s blog

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Decorative Concrete Hall of Fame Members Announced

Posted on 25 May 2013 by cradmin

Professional Trade Publications, owners of the Concrete Decor Show and Concrete Decor magazine, recently inducted the newest members of the Decorative Concrete Hall of Fame.  Established in 2010, the Decorative Concrete Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and companies whose contributions have impacted the decorative concrete industry, both as a business and an art form. This year’s inductees are:

Ralph Gasser:  Gasser made his mark, literally, on the concrete industry when he developed his own set of stamping and imprinting tools. His invention, the Shasta Seamless Texture Mat, was one of the first large-scale texture mats in the industry. Despite his successful innovation, Ralph kept his business focus on the artistic side. He’s done all of the hardscaping inside Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Euro-Disney, demonstrated architectural concrete on three continents, and won over half a dozen awards for his projects stateside.

Byron Klemaske II:  Klemaske is a recognized authority and innovator in the decorative concrete industry.  Currently he is the vice president of operations for T.B. Penick and Sons Inc. Recently, he helped T.B. Penick secure a federal patent for a pervious concrete system called Pervious Concrete Elements. Always an innovator and visionary, Byron continues to push himself and inspire the industry to evolve in terms of sustainability, functionality, new products, new uses, new finishes and new concepts of architectural and design beauty.

Barbara Sargent:  Sargent was introduced to Epmar Corp.’s Kemiko stains and coatings during her tenure at Lambert Landscape Co. As part of her retirement negotiations she took over Lambert’s distributorship of Kemiko products. She worked tirelessly to expand Kemiko’s presence in the industry, and was a driving force in the idea that decorative concrete had a place in residential applications.

Bill Stegmeier:  Stegmeier is the founder of the Stegmeier Corp and developed the first cantilever deck form made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) as a replacement for the traditional precast coping stones. His innovative and industry-changing forming product replaced precast coping stones, and this type of forming method is still used in the majority of in-ground swimming pool installations in the present day. Many products widely used in the pool industry are based on Bill’s nearly 60 patents, including the removable top and other deck drains, a variety of deck forms, installation tools, and many more.

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sia Abrasives Expands Abrasive Line

Posted on 24 May 2013 by cradmin

sia6120 siafleece - Black Silicon Carbide siaFastsia Abrasives, Inc. USA has expanded its series 6120 siafleece siafast discs with the launch of new medium-grade black silicon carbide material. Stocked in standard 5- and 6-in. disc sizes, the material is available in custom sizes made to order with longer lead times. As a series, all 6120 siafleece siaFast discs are suitable for finishing and scuffing with minimal stock removal. They are designed for general purpose surface preparation on a variety of surfaces including: metal, wood, composites, and gel coats.  6120 siafleece processed with full grit penetration – the grit is impregnated throughout the entire structure. This provides a consistent scratch pattern while extending the effective life of the material.  It can be used moist or dry and doesn’t clog due to its open structure.

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Samsung Radianz Brings on New Distributor in SE Florida

Posted on 23 May 2013 by cradmin

Marble of the World, in southeast Florida, has been named the latest authorized Samsung Radianz distributor. Marble of the World, a 25-year-old importer of stone and stone products, will now carry the Radianz line of quartz surfacing. This means Samsung Radianz is now distributed in more than 30 states and Canada.

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Five Pitfalls that Derail Decision Making

Posted on 22 May 2013 by CRadmin2

By Michael Menard

Despite the wealth of information available to us, many of today’s best and brightest business leaders still make poor decisions. This is unfortunate because sound decision making is at the heart of every company’s success.

Even if you have the best education and years of experience, it’s still possible, and common, to make poor decisions. Why? Today’s decision makers are up against a long list of pitfalls and obstacles that prevent them from making sound choices. Fortunately, once you know what you’re up against, you can take the proper steps to correct it.

Here are the top five decision-making pitfalls that get in the way of organizational success:

1. “We need to change, only not today.” (Avoiding the decision)

Saint Augustine (b. 354 d. 430) prayed, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.” It’s one thing to know about change and imagine future benefits, but we often avoid deciding to take action right now because change means some level of immediate discomfort. Realize, though, that no business or individual grows without change and risk. However, risk aversion is basic human nature. The paradox is that we want something different without having to change. This is like teenagers who want their parents out of their lives but first want to be dropped off at the mall.

With the economic downturn, many companies have employed a bunker mentality. They’re staying put and not taking action. Instead of playing to win, they are playing not to lose. Without a realistic vision of what’s both possible and probable, organizations will continue to play it safe and delay making decisions. But this so-called safety is an illusion. Organizations must keep moving, employ their assets and create value. That value comes from the decisions they make and the projects they implement. Remember, any decision is a choice, including the decision to do nothing.

2. “It’s such a simple decision.” (Oversimplification of the challenge)

Telephone numbers are seven digits long because most of us can only keep this much information in our short-term memory. We naturally chunk information into intelligible bites. Likewise, difficult and complex situations can overwhelm us, so we unconsciously and erroneously make them simpler. However, this natural tendency to simplify information can hinder decision making.

Of course, let’s not confuse oversimplification with the highly valuable ability to reduce a problem to its essentials. After all, decision making needs to be both effective and efficient, but we must distinguish between these two words. We can be efficient without being effective by doing the wrong task well.

No matter how well-intentioned we are, under pressure, our desire for simple answers to complex questions increases dramatically. The red flags go up. When we imagine we don’t have time or resources to address a problem adequately, we start to look for a single explainable cause that fits into our existing framework. Paying too much attention to what we see directly in front of us is called the present bias. Oversimplification discounts contributing factors and exaggerates what already stands out for us. Oversimplify and we set ourselves up for poor decision making.

3. “Everything is great!” (Happy talk)

Project advocates would never get the ear of senior management without predicting optimistic outcomes. Politicians would never be elected if they didn’t promise a sunny future. Optimism is ingrained in American culture. Attempts to confront it with reality are consistently dismissed with the discussion-ending judgment of negativity.

Who wouldn’t rather think they are going to enjoy a positive future rather than pain, suffering and gnashing of teeth? However, because of unrealistic optimism, who hasn’t miscalculated how long it will take to get to a destination? Who hasn’t underestimated the real cost of time and effort to reach a particular goal? The optimism bias shows up every time a company has to restate its earnings. Project-cost overruns, delays and benefit shortfalls result from this combination of wishful thinking and the inability to recognize complexity.

Of course, optimism is not a bad thing. It can stem from genuine responsible confidence, and confidence may lead to bold, necessary and effective action, but optimism without a foundation sunk into the ground of reality is unstable and delusional. The optimism bias underestimates necessary contingent factors, as any insurance salesman would be happy to point out to you.

4. “I can’t wait that long.” (The time factor)

Given the choice, would you prefer to have $100 today or $300 tomorrow? Most of us can defer immediate gratification and wait an extra day for a significant monetary increase. However, studies show that if we have to wait one year for $300 or we can take $100 today, most of us demonstrate present bias and go for the $100 right now.

The perceived length of time to realize a benefit has a significant impact on our selection, so let’s change the time factor. Imagine you are given the choice between gaining $100 one year from today or $300 in one year and one day. Most people given such a choice can wait the extra day. Studies show that under similar conditions, as the time to realize the benefit is increased, the majority of us would reverse our decisions. Without short-term reinforcement of long-term goals, our objectives remain mirages and greatly affect our decision-making ability.

5. “According to my Magic 8-Ball…” (Magical thinking)

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” The evil queen in Snow White wanted to know about the future, and so do we. She had a magic mirror. We have educated guesses. While any prediction about the future or how a decision will turn out is a guess, educated guesses are more likely than magical thinking to deliver results we want. However, we should be aware of our tendencies to oversimplify, as we discussed, by focusing only on what we think is relevant.

Cognitive scientists call this bias anchoring. Once this anchor has securely fixed itself in a crevice in the seabed of your mind, it’s not easy to shift. Then you interpret information based on this what-you-think-is-relevant anchor. It gets worse. You ignore other possible relevant factors. Not only are you focusing on wrong information, but you’re ignoring information that could be vital to long-term success. Falling prey to magical thinking and not testing your assumptions can capsize the whole enterprise.

It’s Never Too Late

If you’ve ever realized that a decision you made was less than stellar, don’t feel bad. It happens to us all, but by understanding the top five things that get in the way of most decision makers, you can analyze your decision with a new perspective and make the best choice for you and your organization.

About the Author

Michael Menard is the author of A Fish in Your Ear: The New Discipline of Project Portfolio Management and cofounder and president of The GenSight Group, which provides enterprise portfolio-management solutions for strategic planning, project portfolio management and business performance optimization. To learn more about Mike Menard please visit

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