Archive | March, 2015

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Fabricator Profile: Creative Countertops

Posted on 27 March 2015 by cradmin

FlorestaVerde-mid2Nearly 30 years ago, Andy Nettles set out to fabricate and install countertops for upscale clientele in the area around Charleston, S.C., and he must’ve been doing something right because today he operates the largest fabricator in the metro area: Creative Countertops. The company now covers markets throughout the state and two others: North Carolina and Georgia.

According to Guy Richards, general manager of Creative Countertops, the company stands out among the competition because it has never hesitated to implement the latest technology. As of 2012, the shop had two Intermac CNC saws, two bridge saws and a double-bed Flow waterjet at its disposal, which allowed the team to make clean, custom cuts that would be difficult for other fabricators in the area to handle.

The company’s success allowed it to expand into two 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouses, one dedicated to natural and engineered stone and the other to solid surface. A full-time sales staff of eight individuals brings in new clients and takes care of current customers, while 15 installation teams are dispatched through the tri-state area. Even though the company is large and receives 25 percent of its business from Lowes, the company proudly boasts a lead-time of only seven to 10 days.

One of the marketing tools Creative Countertops has found helpful is the company’s own fleet of service trucks, which are branded with a logo and a few pieces of helpful contact information. In addition, the company offers an incentive program to its customers to help bring in new clients. Customers who bring in others receive $100 for each referral, and it is not unknown to receive three or four new jobs from a single client.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Creative Countertops

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IceStone Releases Health Product Declaration for its Recycled Glass Surfaces

Posted on 26 March 2015 by cradmin

IceStone White_Pearl

White Pearl is just one color of IceStone recycled glass and cement-based colors for which the company has recently released an HPD

IceStone LLC released a health product declaration (HPD) for its entire line of recycled glass and cement durable surfaces. The HPD is a reporting tool that standardizes the disclosure of product ingredients, enabling specifiers and consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions. Although Health Product Declarations are relatively new (a pilot HPD program was initiated in 2012), the company’s commitment to transparency and healthy ingredients has been a driving force behind product development since the company’s founding in 2003. The HPD is a complement to IceStone’s Cradle to Cradle™ certification, which assesses a company’s social responsibility, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and material reutilization, in addition to product material health.

“The increasing demand for transparency and preference for ecologically sound products is a positive shift in the design industry,” said IceStone President Jana Milcikova. “Producing a health product declaration is a natural fit for IceStone, and allows us to easily express our commitment to responsible design.”

You may also be interested in this article on the new colors of GEOS recycled glass surfacing.

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Santamargherita Introduces Thin Engineered Stone Line

Posted on 25 March 2015 by cradmin

santamargherita Contempo thin quartz and marble engineered stoneSanta Margherita now offers Contempo Surfaces, a thin slab 1.2cm (1/2 in.) product line in addition to its line of engineered quartz and marble surfacing in 2cm and 3cm, slabs and tiles. According to the company, thin slab materials are experiencing rapid growth because of their lighter weight, lower cost and unique areas of use. The thin slabs fabricate and install directly over existing surfaces, such as countertops, backsplashes and shower and tub surrounds. According to the company, it can be fabricated without expensive machinery and installed over a wood substrate, giving the same look as 2 or 3 cm material with lower cost and weight.

You may also be interested in this article on Granite Transformations Thin Porcelain Product.

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Daltile Offers Expanded Quartz Surfacing Line

Posted on 24 March 2015 by cradmin

Daltile One Quartz Snow Leopard

‘Snow Leopard’ – one of Daltile’s One Quartz Collection’s newer colors

Daltile now carries 30 colors/patterns of quartz surfacing in three distinct series within it ONE Quartz Collection. The three series are Geo Flecks, containing 11 colors, Micro Flecks with 13 colors, and Natural Flecks with 6 styles. Three of the newest colors, Chipped Ice, Midnight Canyon and Riverbank fall in the Geo Flecks collection, whereas the other four most recent colors, Honeyed Mahogany, Molten Grey, Snow Leopard and White Sand are in the Nature Flecks Series. Slabs are available in 120 by 55 in. in both 3cm and 2cm thicknesses. Polished finishes are kept in stock, but colors can be special ordered in semi-polished, honed or leather finishes. Also thinner or jumbo slabs can be special ordered. As is typical with quartz surfacing, the products are nonporous, reducing the potential for bacteria growth and resist common food stains. They are also scratch- heat- and scorch-resistant. They are made with 93 percent natural quartz providing consistent color and visual movement.

You may also be interested in this article on the new Wilsonart line of quartz surfacing.

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LATICRETE Appoints Ryan Blair To Position of Product Manager

Posted on 23 March 2015 by cradmin

Ryan Blair of LaticreteLATICRETE appointed Ryan Blair to the position of product manager, handling the company’s tile and stone grout and sealant lines. Blair joined LATICRETE in 2012 and has served as the channel manager for the company’s Tile & Stone Installation and Care Systems, covering surface preparation, waterproofing, sound control, anti-fracture, adhesives, grouts, sealers and cleaners, and shower system components. Over the past two years, he developed a thorough understanding of the company’s end contractors, distributor customers and product lines, and will report to Sean Boyle, director of marketing and product management.

You may also be interested in this article about a recent appointment at BLU Bathworks.

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ISFA 2015 Countertop Forecast Predicts Another Solid Year

Posted on 20 March 2015 by cradmin

ISFA Q! industry forecast lead-inA few weeks ago, the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) published its annual Countertop Industry Outlook for 2015 in its magazine Countertops & Architectural Surfaces. This forecast for the coming year is the only one of its kind published openly that we are aware of, and it is not specific to only one kind of surfacing material. It is researched and written by the magazine’s editor and ISFA Communications Director Kevin Cole, who predicts fabricators and others involved in the countertop industry can expect “another year of continued growth.”

This is expected to be the third year in a row of industry growth after the economy began to recover from the Great Recession. According to the 2013 industry forecast, the economy was still a bit sluggish, but was beginning to look up. Since that time, growth has continued in the general economy and most industries.

Because there are very few sources available that specifically focus on countertops, the Industry Outlook is based on data that is indicative of countertop demand, beginning with the general economy and then looking at more closely allied areas, such as U.S. housing starts data, nonresidential building construction, home improvement product sales, remodeling predictions, cabinet sales and more. If you aren’t ISFA members receiving this publication, we strongly suggest you sign up for it. Right now subscriptions are free to qualified individuals in the United States.

Taking all of the sources into consideration, the forecast from ISFA has been anchored for the last three years by a 382-page report from The Freedonia Group offering predictions on the countertop market through 2022. According to this report, demand for countertops in the United States is expected to increase by 5.1 percent through 2017, spurred by building construction, single-family home completions and a relaxation in credit requirements for remodeling loans.

According to the Freedonia report, the demand for laminate countertops is expected to decrease from a 60 percent share of the market 10 years ago to 47 percent by 2017. Natural stone is predicted to make the largest gains with quartz surfacing/engineered stone coming in a close second. In addition, countertops made of “other materials,” such as concrete, metal and recycled products, should grow by 7.2 percent per year through 2017. It also makes predictions about tile, solid surface and other cast polymers.

Other specific factors that led to the favorable outlook for 2015 include the expected growth of the national GDP of 3.1 percent and increase in housing starts from 924,900 in 2013 to more than 1 million in 2014. In addition, predictions for nonresidential construction are up across the board.

However, beyond the ISFA forecast, one of the strongest indicators of a great 2015 for the countertop industry comes from anecdotal evidence provided to us by our general audience, which includes thousands of fabricators across the country. Talking with fabricators at KBIS and TISE this year and communicating with many others online and by phone, we have heard very little bad news. Most of our readers cannot deny that business is up, and many are expecting growth to continue in the future.

We are currently working to uncover specific information about the countertop industry (as well as how we are doing serving you) through our own Countertop Industry Survey, and we would love to hear what you have to say. To help you make our data as complete as possible, we invite you to take the survey and have your name entered for a drawing to win one of two $250 gift certificates to Best Buy. You can start the short survey by clicking here now.

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A Look at Zinc Countertops

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A Look at Zinc Countertops

Posted on 19 March 2015 by cradmin

In recent years there have been any number of materials being used for countertops. Here is a video put out by Brooks Custom going over the use of zinc in countertops. The narrator goes over the attributes of the materials, typical applications, common finishes. He then discusses the process for making zinc countertops using the zinc sheets as a lamination over a waterproof fiber core.

The video shows plenty of examples and also compares the look directly to stainless steel. There is also a short discussion of how zinc can be welded/soldered to create integral sinks, but the narrator also mentions that for joining sections of countertops, his company usually will do so mechanically, leaving a visible seam.

Edge options are displayed as well as some matching accessories for kitchens, such as range hoods.

While the video is obviously a little self-serving, in that it is one company’s take on the product and what they offer, it does provide some interesting insight into the material as a countertop option.

You may also be interested in this video on how stainless steel countertops are made.

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Life Balance: The Urgent vs The Important

Posted on 18 March 2015 by cradmin

by Denis Waitley

Of all the wisdom I have gained, the most important is the knowledge that time and health are two precious assets that we rarely recognize or appreciate until they have been depleted. As with health, time is the raw material of life. You can use it wisely, waste it or even kill it.

To accomplish all we are capable of, we would need a hundred lifetimes. If we had forever in our mortal lives, there would be no need to set goals, plan effectively or set priorities. We could squander our time and perhaps still manage to accomplish something, if only by chance. Yet in reality, we’re given only this one life span on earth to do our earthly best.

Each human being now living has exactly 168 hours per week. Scientists can’t invent new minutes, and even the super-rich can’t buy more hours. Queen Elizabeth I of England, the richest, most powerful woman on earth of her era, whispered these final words on her deathbed: “All my possessions for a moment of time!”

We worry about things we want to do – but can’t – instead of doing the things we can do – but don’t. How often have you said to yourself, “Where did the day go? I accomplished nothing,” or “I can’t even remember what I did yesterday.” That time is gone, and you never get it back.

Staring at the compelling distractions on a television screen is one of the major consumers of time. You can enjoy and benefit from the very best it has to offer in about seven total hours of viewing per week. But the average person spends more than thirty hours per week in a semi-stupor, escaping from the priorities and goals he or she never gets around to setting. The irony is that the people we are watching are having fun achieving their own goals, making money, having us look at them enjoying their careers.

Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire today. If you’ve just frittered away an hour procrastinating, you will still be given the next hour to start on priorities. Time management contains one great paradox: No one has enough time, and yet everyone has all there is. Time is not the problem; the problem is separating the urgent from the important.

Every decision we make has an “opportunity cost.” Every decision forfeits all other opportunities we had before we made it. We can’t be two places at the same time.

In their excellent management book Tradeoffs, Drs. Greiff and Munter discuss the difficult options that face us in all areas of our lives. One case in point illustrates a common opportunity cost. It’s a true anecdote they call, Bicycle vs. Mother:

John is a precocious eight-year-old boy. Both his parents work. His mother is a management consultant and travels frequently. After being away for several days, she arrived home late one night and hugged her son.

He said, “Mom, I missed you. Why were you away so long?”

She smiled and replied, “One of the reasons I was away was to make enough money to buy you the bicycle you wanted.”

Young John looked at her reflectively and stated, “Mom, I really did want the bicycle. But mothers are more important than bicycles. So please stay home more.”

Even though we all are aware of the tradeoffs of “quality time vs. quantity time” in our relationships, we are not used to thinking specifically about how our decisions cost us other opportunities. Without this understanding, our decisions will often be unfocused and unrelated to helping us achieve our most important goals.

You may have heard the analogy of the “circus juggler” to each of us as we try to balance our personal and professional priorities. I have heard the story repeated by many keynote speakers and have used it in previous books but have never been able to trace the identity of the original author.

When the circus juggler drops a ball, he lets it bounce and picks it up on the next bounce without losing his rhythm or concentration. He keeps right on juggling. Many times, we do the same thing. We lose our jobs, but get another one on the first or second bounce. We may drop the ball on a sale, an opportunity to move ahead, or in a relationship, and we either pick it up on the rebound or get a new one thrown in to replace what we just dropped.

However, some of the balls or priorities we juggle don’t bounce. The more urgent priorities associated with self-imposed deadlines and workloads have more elasticity than the precious, delicate relationships, which are as fragile as fine crystal. Balance involves distinguishing between the priorities we juggle that bounce from the ones labeled “loved ones,” “health,” and “moral character” that may shatter if we drop them.

The reason I always ask my seminar attendees to list the benefits of reaching their goals is so they can arrange them in the true order of importance to them and give them a sufficient amount of attention as they juggle them within their time constraints. Handle your priorities with care. Some of them just don’t bounce!

To live a rich, balanced life, we need to be more in conscious control of our habits and lifestyles. Actualized individuals have healthy lifestyles that include relaxation. And in addition to blocking periods of time for recreation and vacations, they also schedule large, uninterrupted periods of work on their most important projects. Contrary to popular notions, most books, works of art, invention, and musical compositions are created during uninterrupted timeframes, not by a few lines, strokes or notes every so often. Every book or audio program I have written has been done with the discipline of 12 to 15 hours per day during a specific block of time.

True enough, I may have sacrificed a ski trip or an escape vacation once or twice. But by trying to focus on prime projects in prime time, the opportunity costs have been outweighed by the return on invested resources.

With your material, time and energy resources allocated well, you should be able to use your innovative powers to focus on goal achievement. Effective priority management creates freedom. Freedom provides opportunity to make decisions. We make our decisions and our decisions, over time, make us.

Freedom from urgency: That’s what will allow us to live a rich and rewarding life. You may have thought your problem was “time starvation,” when in truth, it was in the way you assigned priorities in your decision-making process. Have you allowed the urgent to crowd out the important?

Each day we will continue to encounter deadlines we must meet and “fires,” not necessarily of our own making, we must put out. Endless urgent details will always beg for attention, time and energy. What we seldom realize is that the really important things in our life don’t make such strict demands on us, and therefore we usually assign them a lower priority.

Our loved ones understand when we are preoccupied with our urgent business, but it’s hard for us to understand, many years later, why they appear preoccupied when we finally find some time for them. Harry Chapin’s classic song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle,” is still a mirror reflecting our priorities.

All the important arenas in our life are there awaiting our decisions. But they don’t beg us to give them our time. The local university doesn’t call us to advance our education and improve our life skills.

I have never received a call or email from the health club I joined insisting that I show up and work out for 30 minutes each day. My bathroom scale has never insisted that I lose 30 pounds. The grocery clerks have never made me put back on the shelves the junk food I put in the cart, nor has a fast-food restaurant ever refused me a double cheeseburger and large fries because of my high cholesterol. Nor have I ever been subpoenaed by the ocean or the mountains to appear for relaxation and solitude. Yet I receive hundreds of urgent phone messages and e-mails each week from people with deadlines.

You see, it’s the easiest thing in the world to neglect the important and give in to the urgent. One of the greatest skills you can ever develop in your life is not only to tell the two apart, but to be able to assign the correct amount of time to each.

Beginning tomorrow, throughout the day, and every day thereafter, stop and ask yourself this question: “Is what I’m doing right now important to my health, well-being and mission in life, and for my loved ones?” Your affirmative answer will free you forever, from the tyranny of the urgent.


About the Author

Denis Waitley is one of America’s most respected authors, keynote lecturers and productivity consultants on high performance human achievement. He has inspired, informed, challenged and entertained audiences for over 25 years from the board rooms of multi-national corporations to the control rooms of NASA’s space program; from the locker rooms of world-class athletes to the meeting rooms of thousands of conventioneers throughout the world. He was voted business speaker of the year by the Sales and Marketing Executives’ Association and by Toastmasters’ International and inducted into the International Speakers’ Hall of Fame.

Copyright© 2015, Denis Waitley. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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GranQuartz Now Carries Line of Supports for ADA-compliant Vanities

Posted on 17 March 2015 by cradmin

GranQuartz is now offering a line of Stone Pro ADA-compliant Vanity Supoorts that allow for easy install of ADA-compliant, wheelchair accessible vanity topsgranquartz Stone Pro ADA Compliant Vanity Support. The ADA Vanity Supports have a 4-ft. span with two brackets, a 5-ft. span with three brackets or an 8-ft. or larger span with four or more brackets depending on the compliant spacing needed.

You may also be interested in this article on ADA compliant sinks.

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Jeffrey Matthews Receives MIA Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement

Posted on 16 March 2015 by cradmin

Jeff Matthews (left) accepts the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from MIA president Tony Malisani.

Jeff Matthews (left) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award from MIA president Tony Malisani

Jeffrey Matthews, owner of Trade International, Inc. of Atlanta, was been awarded the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Marble Institute of America (MIA), the association’s highest honor. It was presented at MIA’s annual awards luncheon at StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas in Las Vegas on January 22, 2015. Matthews, a native of Washington, D.C., has been in the stone industry since the early 1970’s, amassing more than four decades of experience in sales, marketing consulting and service to the industry and the MIA. He has visited more than 30 countries, 300 quarries and inspected more than 400 factories worldwide.
In 1986, at the age of 37 and after several years of service to the MIA as an officer and director, he was named the association’s youngest president. Over the years, he and other officers were instrumental in revising the Dimension Stone Design Manual (DSDM), producing the MIA Stone Color Book, and assisting the MIA with becoming a more relevant organization. Once off the board, his involvement with the MIA continued. Jeff assisted in authoring the early version of the Stone Selection & Stone Testing technical bulletin, as well as helping to complete version 6 of DSDM, after MIA technical director Vincent Migliore passed away. Today, Jeff Matthews is still consumed with learning and helping others do a better job in selling and producing better projects. He is currently working with other MIA volunteers on a new “Supplier to Buyer” stone manual which will debut in 2015.

You may also be interested in reading this article on the new MIA Treasurer.

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