Archive | October, 2015

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Fabricator Profile: Brazilian Best Granite Relies on Word of Mouth

Posted on 28 October 2015 by cradmin

imagesBrazilian Best Granite (BBG) was founded in 2008 just as the Great Recession was beginning to bare its fangs, but not only did the company survive, BBG was named one of Richmond, Va.’s, most promising new businesses. What is even more amazing is that it was all done right across the street from Home Depot.

Trey Monday, general manager of BBG, claims that the company’s success is thanks in part to word of mouth advertising by satisfied clients. In order to ensure customers are happy, Monday and his team stay impeccably organized and keep them well informed along every step of the buying and installation process. At the end of each job, a company representative always asks for feedback and reminds clients to recommend Brazilian Best Granite to their friends.

The founder of Brazilian Best Granite, Fernando Sobreira, has been in the imports industry since 1973, and upon his arrival to the United States, he believed without a doubt that he could deliver granite countertops and service customers better than any existing fabricators in the area. However, BBG had the advantage of finding a great location.

The company started off by leasing to units in a local industrial park with a total of 15,000 sq. ft., and only one year later was able to lease a separate 12,000-sq.-ft. building for a showroom on a high-traffic street. Monday says that as soon as they put up their sign outside, business doubled overnight. Later BBG ditched the original units in the industrial park and operates a 31,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and fabrication shop near the showroom.

Although Brazilian Best Granite was founded as a Brazilian granite importer, the company now relies heavily on local distributors for high-quality slabs.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Brazilian Best Granite

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A Review of Slab Clamp Safety by the Marble Institute (MIA)

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A Review of Slab Clamp Safety by the Marble Institute (MIA)

Posted on 27 October 2015 by cradmin

This video produced by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) is a primer on safety when using slab clamps to lift large slabs of stone or other countertop materials. It walks the viewer through the proper procedures and reminds that slabs can easily weigh more than 1,000 lbs. and can severely injure or even kill someone if there were to have a slab fall on them. It reminds that training is a key element to safety and a video such as this is just one step of a good safety plan.

Specifically the video hits on such topics as remembering to inspect slab handling equipment daily and driving home the fact that a minimum of two people should be involved in any slab lifting procedure.

Overall it is a good refresher on some key safety elements and could be of benefit to pretty much anyone working in a stone/quartz countertop shop.

You may also be interested in the latest article in our countertop shop health & safety series.


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A&M Hardware Offers a Variety of Countertop Support Brackets

Posted on 26 October 2015 by cradmin

A&M Hardware countertop support bracketsA&M Hardware has more than 250,000 countertop support brackets in stock, including those made both in the United States and abroad. One new support is the Vanity Bracket (patent and copyright pending), designed to simplify ADA installations. Brackets are available in a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Both hidden and concealed brackets are also available.

You may also be interested in this blog post on improving your designs with countertop brackets and legs.

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Coverings Seeks Submissions for 2016 Installation & Design Awards

Posted on 24 October 2015 by cradmin

Coverings CID AwardsCoverings is seeking submissions for its 2016 Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards. The awards honor projects that feature creative designs and demonstrate technical mastery in stone and tile in commercial, international, residential and sustainable projects. There is no fee to submit an entry and multiple entries are accepted and encouraged. It is open to architects, builders, contractors, designers, distributors, installers, retailers and other professionals who exhibit skills in design and installation excellence. All winning projects will be honored on Mon. April 18, 2016 at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration. The celebration will include a cocktail reception with a presentation of the winning projects during an interactive showcase. This will give attendees the opportunity to meet the professionals behind the industry-leading projects. The CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration is free and open to all attendees.

Entries can only be submitted via through Coverings’ online portal and must be received by January 18, 2016. Each submission must include a 500-word project narrative; materials information and a minimum of four photographs of the project. If the submission is for an installation award, photographs of the actual install and a technical write up describing the install are required. The entries will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges based on excellence in execution and installation, original and inspiring use of stone or tile and overall design and purpose of the project. Projects will be judged on their levels of creativity, craftsmanship, and use of materials. Projects featuring unusual use of materials or incorporating innovative technology will be highlighted.

Installers and designers of the Grand Prize winning projects will each receive a one-night hotel stay in Chicago and $2,000. All winners must be able to attend the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration. If the chosen winner is unable to attend, the project will be disqualified and a new winner awarded, with the exception of international projects.

The “Scouting Shot” category is new to the CID Awards program for 2016. This gives projects with amateur photography the opportunity to be professionally photographed. The winning project will receive a complimentary professional photo shoot prior to the show. The photos will be on display at the Opening Night Celebration.

More information about the Coverings 2016 show is available here.

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Samsung Introduces Staron Supreme Collection of Solid Surface

Posted on 23 October 2015 by cradmin

staron supremeSamsung Surfaces introduced its Supreme Collection, solid surface product with a series of natural patterns. The nature-inspired collection features a subtle, free-flowing directional pattern that is suitable for commercial and residential projects, according to the company. It is available in 10 muted colors: Delphi, Cloudbank, Magnolia, Natural Bridge, Dawn, Dandelion, Pastoral, Loam, Ocean View and Presto. As with all Staron solid surface products, the Supreme Collection is a durable, high-performance acrylic material that is nonporous and hygienic.

You may also be interested in this article about Krion solid surface.

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ISFA Appoints New Executive Director After Previous Director Steps Down

Posted on 22 October 2015 by cradmin

Mike Langenderfer of ISFAAccording to a statement released by the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), a new executive director has been appointed. Mike Langederfer, a former ISFA Board Member and seasoned countertop fabrication business owner, was appointed to fill the vacant role after previous executive director Keith Haight left the organization. Haight served in the role for two years and “left to pursue other opportunities.”

It is not clear if Langenderfer (pictured here) is only serving as an interim executive director or if his role will be for the long term, but according to the statement he is beginning the role immediately. Langenderfer is the sixth person to fill the executive director role in the 19-year history of the organization (the others being Mike Duggan, Robert Oxley, Russ Lee, Chuck Sawyer and most recently Haight).

You may also be interested in this article about the new appointment at the Marble Institute (MIA).

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Effective Safety Planning Part 2: The Four-Point Plan

Posted on 21 October 2015 by cradmin

Every day in the United States, 17 workers are killed in occupational accidents, 137 succumb to fatal, job-related medical conditions and more than 17,000 suffer from injuries sustained while working. Aggregating the losses for the year, the cost to the U.S. economy is more than $170 billion. Chances are that your business has experienced a bit of these losses, but they can be reduced to a bare minimum by establishing a four-point safety plan as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Last month, we took a look at the ultimate goal of safety planning, which is establishing a culture of safety in the workplace. It is generally regarded that maintaining a strong safety culture is the most effective way of reducing worker injuries and fatalities. However, developing a culture of safety is more easily accomplished by following the OSHA-recommended Four-Point Safety Program:

  1. Commitment from management and employee involvement
  2. Full worksite analysis
  3. Hazard abatement, prevention and control
  4. Safety training for managers, supervisors and employees

Commitment from Management

The first step in the establishment of an effective safety plan is to obtain a commitment from everyone in the company, starting at the top. As an owner or manager of the business, when you take a genuine interest in the safety and health of your employees, you employees will be more likely to reflect your sentiment. You must create a clear and uncompromising safety plan that covers everyone equally with no exceptions, and you must actively enforce it at all times.

Business owners and managers must demonstrate leadership in keeping a safe workplace by providing training, resources and motivation and by holding everyone accountable for safety, including themselves. A written plan starts with training management to be effective safety leaders.

The best way to create safety leaders is to elevate safety above everything else. Safety should not merely be another duty that must be accomplished. Rather, it should be among the company’s chief values or part of the mission statement. Safety and health should be an overriding concern that plays into every situation every day of the week.

Benefits of Management Safety Leadership

Effective safety leaders can make a huge difference in a business. Management leadership can increase productivity, cut costs and improve morale in the workplace. OSHA has found that companies enrolling in one of its Voluntary Protection Program’s (VPPs) report a decrease in lost workday cases by up to 80 percent. In addition, studies show that for every dollar saved on direct medical expenses or insurance compensation, up to $50 are saved on indirect expenses, which may include hiring and training new workers, delays in production, equipment repair and much more. A prime example of the benefits of a proactive safety program comes from a major Ford factory that experienced a 13 percent increase in productivity and a 16 percent decrease in wasted materials.

Actions of Effective Safety Leaders

When managers are committed to workplace safety, they will take many of the following actions:

  • Post the company’s official safety policy near the required OSHA Workplace Poster so that it is easy to find and read.
  • Hold employee meetings concerning safety and health issue, goals and procedures.
  • Visibly and explicitly show support and personal involvement in the company safety plan, such as reviewing reports and conducting follow-ups when accidents occur.
  • Personally follow all laws and safety rules that pertain to employees.
  • Immediately halt hazardous activities or activities held in unsafe conditions.
  • Encourage all employees to become involved in workplace safety, especially those who have specialized knowledge.
  • Assign specific safety responsibilities to employees as outlined in the safety plan. Try to disburse duties in the same way that you would assign production duties.
  • Provide the people, time and training necessary to ensure all responsibilities can be carried out.
  • Make everyone accountable for the responsibilities that have been assigned to them.
  • Ensure that all responsibilities are covered and completed adequately.
  • Review safety accomplishments and accidents at regular meetings held at intervals of no greater than one year.

Employee Involvement Is Crucial

One of the top reasons for making your managers effective safety leaders is to encourage employee involvement in your workplace safety and health program. The best way to reduce health and safety issues is to share responsibility for them with everyone. In this way, you can tap the unique knowledge and resources that your employees provide. In addition, employees will have greater interest in and appreciation of the company safety plan the more involved they are in establishing and maintaining it, and they will be less likely to engage in unsafe activities that can affect your bottom line.

Following are just a few of the advantages of getting employees involved in workplace safety:

  • Employees will hold a vested interest in their own safety and their duties in keeping a safe workplace.
  • Group decisions are more likely to be followed.
  • Employees are more apt to support programs that they have helped create or maintain, and without employee buy-in, safety will be compromised.
  • Employees who are encouraged to share ideas and expertise are generally more satisfied and productive than those who are told to keep quiet.
  • The more involved employees are with the safety plan, the more they will learn about how to avoid injuries and dangerous situations.

Employees can be encouraged to participate in workplace safety in several ways:

  • Become members of safety committees
  • Conduct onsite safety inspections
  • Analyze workplace hazards
  • Develop safety rules
  • Participate in accident investigations
  • Become safety observers, safety coaches or safety trainers
  • Report hazards
  • Provide ideas for reducing or eliminating hazards

Be on the lookout for next month’s Health & Safety Watch where we will continue our theme with Effective Safety Planning Part 3: Workplace Hazard Assessment.

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GlueBoss Releases StoneBond Acrylic Adhesive

Posted on 20 October 2015 by cradmin

GlueBoss stonebond adhesiveGlueBoss Adhesive Company, LLC released its new proprietary two component acrylic adhesive for stone, granite, quartz and porcelain. Trademarked as StoneBond® Acrylic Adhesive, the product is available in standard 250ML and 500ML cartridges in all colors. With its dripless features, simple dispensing cartridge system and trimmability, it delivers what stone fabricators have been asking for, according to the company. Jeff Smith, a representative of the company, stated that the activator is pigmented instead of the resin (as is traditionally done with solid surface adhesives), “thereby giving the stone fabricator the confidence in knowing that when they see color, they’ll know positively that it’ll react and get hard.”

You may also be interested in this article on Integra’s color matching smartphone app.

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Daltile’s ONE Quartz Builder Series Provides 1.2cm Slab Alternatives for Bathroom Surfacing

Posted on 19 October 2015 by cradmin


photo credit: Shea Homes

Daltile’s latest extension of its ONE™ Quartz line offers builders a 1.2cm slab offering alongside more traditional 2cm and 3cm sizes. Available in four contemporary neutral tones, the new slab offerings provide an affordable alternative to popular agglomerated products for tub surrounds, shower walls and vanity countertops. The collection provides a waterproof seal on installation, and does not emit harmful VOCsto help meet strict environmental building codes, reports the supplier. The 1.2-cm slab provides a lighter, more affordable options.  Available in four new colors – Mesa Sand, a darker warm tone taupe; Pearl, a white/bright light grey; Presidio, a charcoal gray; and Sahara Pearl, a warm-tone beige.

You may also be interested in this article on Wilsonart’s line of quartz surfacing.

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HanStone Quartz Expands Distribution in Southeastern United States

Posted on 16 October 2015 by cradmin

Hanwha L&C Surfaces announced that HanStone Quartz will partner with Houston, Texas-based distributor, Avanti Stones. The partnership with Avanti enables HanStone Quartz to market and distribute its quartz surfaces throughout Texas and neighboring markets. With the addition of Avanti Stones, HanStone Quartz has more than 40 distribution branches throughout the United States and Canada. Avanti obtains a wide variety of stones from all over the world and carries all levels in 2 and 3 cm., in classic and exotic colors.

You may also be interested in this article about MSI’s expansion efforts.

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