Archive | April, 2016

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Federal Brace Partners with Your Other Warehouse

Posted on 27 April 2016 by cradmin

Federal Brace announced a partnership with Your Other Warehouse (YOW), a subsidiary of Home Depot, which will make all Federal Brace products more easily accessible to contractors, designers and architects. Customers are now able to order Federal Brace countertop supports, bench brackets, shelf supports and more through Home Depot. According to the compay,  YOW has a 99 percent in-stock fill rate and offers same-day shipping to all of its customers nationwide.

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ISFA Industry Outlook Predicts Growth in 2016

Posted on 26 April 2016 by cradmin

ISFA Outlook article grabThe International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) published its annual Countertop Industry Outlook for 2016 in its magazine Countertops & Architectural Surfaces. The ISFA forecast is the only one of its kind in a print publication (although it can also be read online), taking into consideration that it is not specific to a single type of countertop material. The forecast is researched and written each year by the editor of the magazine, ISFA Communications Director Kevin Cole, who predicts fabricators and others involved in the countertop industry are “poised for another year of growth.”

This is expected to be the fourth consecutive year of growth in the countertop industry since the economy recovered from the recession that began to hit hard in 2008. According to the 2013 industry forecast, the economy was still a bit sluggish but was beginning to look up, and since that time, most industries and the economy in general has improved.

Because there are very few sources available that specifically focus on countertops, the ISFA Industry Outlook is based on data that supports countertop demand, which begins with the general economy and then looks more closely at allied areas, such as U.S. housing starts data, nonresidential building construction, home improvement product sales, remodeling predictions, cabinet sales and others. If you are not a member of ISFA or are not otherwise receiving their quarterly publication, we strongly suggest you subscribe online. Subscriptions are free to qualified individuals and organizations in the United States, at least at the current time.

ISFA’s industry forecast has been anchored for the last four years by the Countertops study conducted by The Freedonia Group. The latest report is 389 pages in length and forecasts the state of the countertop market through 2024. According to this report, demand for countertops is expected to increase by 4.2 percent annually through 2019, which values the industry at about $29.3 billion.

The Freedonia Group also expects the share of laminate countertops will fall in terms of square footage in comparison to other materials, yet continue to account for more than one-third of the market through 2019, and demand will rise by 3.4 percent per year through 2019.

Natural stone is predicted to make the largest gains as low-cost imports enter the market and prices continue to drop. However, the forecast for total annual sales by square footage has dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent for the next few years.

Also according to the report, solid surface will hold steady as the third most-popular countertop material in terms of square feet after natural stone with demand predicted to rise by 1.2 percent, and engineered stone holds the fourth spot and is expected to grow by 5.8 percent. The fifth spot is occupied by the generic cast polymers category, and it is expected to increase by 1.3 percent.

Tile follows cast polymers in expected popularity, and the segment is expected to increase each year over the next several years. Finally, the forecast shows the Other Materials category, which includes concrete, metal recycled materials and pretty much everything else will increase by 10.1 percent through 2019.

This year, the 238-page “2015 Natural and Manufactured Stone Product Industry Report” published by Catalina Research in December 2015 complements the Freedonia report. According to Catalina Research, natural stone ruled the countertop market in terms of dollars (versus square feet, which is what Freedonia uses as a gauge, with 43 percent of the share in 2015 while laminate was at 18 percent and engineered stone at about 16 percent.

When it comes to residential construction, housing starts have increased by 10 percent at an estimated 1.1 million after breaking the million-unit mark in 2014, and starts for multifamily dwellings have increased by 15 percent since 2006. However, starts for single-family homes are less than half they were at the peak of the housing boom.

Another resource used for the ISFA forecast is the latest Construction Outlook from FMI, a leading investment banking and consultancy firm for the construction industry. Highlights of this edition, which focuses on non-residential construction, are as follows:

  • Four out of five non-residential construction categories have grown for five years straight.
  • Growth in lodging is centered on upscale properties, and green construction is becoming more common.
  • Office construction has increased by 19 percent from 2014 to 2015.
  • Food service and beverage establishments are the fastest growing segment in commercial construction.
  • Construction of healthcare facilities continues to remain in flux with most work going toward renovations and additions.
  • Increased attention to green building technologies will be apparent in the academic sector.

All in all, the 2016 ISFA Countertop Forecast provides a pretty in-depth and solid reasoning with substantial evidence for its positive outlook for the industry.

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StoneTalk Episode 21: Scott Hanes

Posted on 25 April 2016 by cradmin

We are happy to present to you Episode 21 of Moraware’s StoneTalk podcast hosted by Patrick Foley. In this episode, Patrick speaks with Scott Hanes, owner of Majestic Marble & Granite in Orlando, Fla. The topics discussed include all of the following and more:

  • Why granite becoming the standard countertop material may potentially create problems
  • How digital technology can give you an edge over the competition
  • Why some of the simplest tasks and most basic aspects of your shop can be the most important
  • The need for good rapport and relationships with both clients and vendors

A full transcript of this podcast can be viewed on the Moraware website: Episode 21 – Scott Hanes

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Mystera Launched 22 Particulate-based Solid Surface Colors

Posted on 22 April 2016 by cradmin

Mystera Artisan Collection Oceanic

Artisan Series – Oceanic

Mystera Solid Surface, from GSP Surfaces, introduced the Artisan Series comprised of 22 acrylic solid surface particulate colors suitable for commercial or residential applications. These colors range from a solid white to rich blue, black and brown tones at a conservative price point.  Mystera also currently has 23 veined solid surface colors in the Fusion, Winsome and Platinum Series. The new particulate colors generally offer a quieter palette than the veined colors, although some colors (such as Oceanic pictured here) stand out. Like all solid surface, the material is hygienic, non-porous and mold- and bacteria-resistant, meeting commercial guidelines for restaurants and healthcare. All Mystera products are covered by a 10-year limited liability warranty.

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Effective Safety Planning Part 6: Safety Meetings

Posted on 21 April 2016 by cradmin

next-safety-meeting-date-time-location-topic-required-to-attendThe final edition of our six-part series on effective safety planning is aimed at helping you with the upkeep of all the hard work you put into your four-point safety plan: holding regular safety meetings. In a few states, such as Washington, Oregon and California, regular safety meetings are mandated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), but in most area, meetings are recommended but not required by law.

Keep Safety a Top Priority

If you talk to any organization or business specializing in OSHA-compliance training, they will all recommend that you hold safety meetings for several reasons. Some fabricators hold safety meetings every week while others prefer monthly, quarterly or even annually, the last of which is not recommended but better than having no meetings at all. A select few businesses go the extra mile and hold safety meetings daily or at the beginning of each shift to really hit home how important it is to effectively deal with workplace hazards. After all, taking five to 10 minutes each shift could end up saving you thousands of dollars in medical expenses and workers’ compensation premiums.

Safety meetings are one of the most effective ways to ensure that all employees know and remember all of the safety rules, and it encourages a culture of safety in your business. You will be able to discuss opinions and facts on what are acceptable work practices and clear up misunderstandings about how to use tools and equipment in a manner that is least likely to cause harm.

Set an Example as Team Leaders

Workplace safety meetings help management to get all employees to follow the safety standards you have put into place. Holding regular meetings also helps to reinforce the leadership role of management, but managers have also have to do their part by setting good examples for the others. When employees see management following all of the safety rules, they will be more inclined to do so themselves.

This is a vital part of safety meetings because it extends into everyday practices. In addition, you want your managers and supervisors to follow safety practices because when they get sick or injured, your liability is potentially higher than it would be for an entry-level worker.

Safety Meetings or Safety Committee?

Some OSHA jurisdictions allow regular safety meetings to be replaced with a full-time safety committee, but it is your job to discover which is more effective in your specific situation. For the most part, safety committees work best when you have more than 10 employees. When you have fewer than 10 employees, the time it takes to organize the committee and then have the members inspect each and every situation detracts from the work their regular work. In this case, safety meetings are a matter of dollars and cents.

What Is a Safety Meeting?

Safety meetings are usually led by one person who is in management or who has had extra training to learn all of the specific actions that must be taken to comply with OSHA regulations, or to go beyond compliance for even greater safety. The meetings may be overviews of new safety rules, or they may focus on a single situation. In Oregon, businesses that are involved in construction, manufacturing and utilities must keep written records of meetings for three years, but this is a good idea for all businesses no matter where they operate. When you have records of what was covered and who attended, it helps to reduce your liability should accidents occur in situations that were topics of one or more meetings.

If you have trouble thinking of topics for safety meetings, there is no need to try to discover them yourself. Of course, the most effective meetings are those that cover topics specific to your business and location. However, if you can’t think of anything to cover, the California State Compensation Insurance Fund and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries have both prepared lists of possible subjects that can either help you get started or save you when you are in a bind.

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Neolith Introduces New Full Body Compact Sintered Surface Color

Posted on 20 April 2016 by cradmin

Neolith Pierre Bleue (Fusion) compact sintered surfaceTheSize Surfaces introduced the new Pierre Bleue color of its Neolith sintered compact surface. The new color is in the Fusion collection and integrates fossils and rock elements through the entire body for a high-degree of definition. Using a full body design option, the company’s latest technology advancement, integrates the same color, elements and design throughout the slab for improved aesthetic and visible even edging.

Neolith is composed of 100 percent natural raw materials and is recyclable. It has near-zero porosity, making it hygienic, stain-resistant, easy to clean and impervious to chemicals. The product is also wear-, scratch- and heat-resistant, and is not affected by UV exposure, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor surface applications.

You may also be interested in this article about the new colors of Cosentino’s Dekton compact sintered surface.

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Guest Blog: What’s Trending in Kitchen Sinks for 2016?

Posted on 19 April 2016 by CRadmin2

Eric Gunderson, product manager of BLANCO

Eric Gunderson, product manager of BLANCO

EDITORS NOTE: Last month, we presented an analysis of recent trends in kitchen sinks, and Eric Gunderson, the product manager of BLANCO, responded with another insider’s opinion, which we present in full as follows:

As new products begin to emerge in the kitchen sink and faucet market, we continue to see a pattern of certain trends progressing while others die down and new ones take their place. Eric Gundersen, product manager for BLANCO works with these trends on a daily basis and provides insight into where he sees kitchen design now as well as in the future.

Where do you see faucet trends right now?

We see a few different high-demand trends right now in the market. The first is Livable Design, a term BLANCO coined that really takes precedent in the kitchen design market. Livable Design refers to products that work well in the home, are convenient and also have a grand aesthetic appeal. We are seeing a lot of Livable Designs in the market today from dual-finish faucets to Semi-pro dual-finish.

Our new BLANCO ARTONA™ series is wonderful for adding a splash of color without having to redo the sink area while Semi-pro is great because it’s extremely functional for not only consumers in the home market but also commercial consumers like chefs. BLANCO is in the forefront of the Semi-pro products offering the BLANCO CULINA™ and the BLANCO MERIDIAN™.

What is a kitchen faucet must-have?

Pull-down faucets are a huge trend right now and a must-have in the kitchen. If you’re working in your kitchen, using your sink and faucet on a daily basis, a pull-down faucet is the most convenient option and also the most functional. Something to watch for in the future is a hidden pull-down – a cool element that we will definitely see more of in the near future.

In addition to pull-downs, dual-spray faucets are also a must-have in the working kitchen. They’re convenient, provide a contemporary design that is trending right now and create fewer holes in the counter deck.

442031_ARTONA_SOAP_AN-CR_CONCEPT black_5x7What are the most popular materials you’re seeing?

Finish preference often varies based on design style. Contemporary designs are on trend right now, so we’re seeing satin nickel finishes begin to make a comeback while chrome has and probably always will be a perennial favorite.

Where do you see the trends for kitchen sinks?

Right now, we’re seeing a large rise in demand for farmhouse and apron-front sinks. The trend is definitely on the rise in all mediums including fireclay and steel. They produce beautiful aesthetic appeal in addition to being great for working kitchens because they are large and sturdy.  Another style that’s trending is a rectangular bowl with a tight radius. Again, contemporary sinks and faucets are really what are hot in the market right now.

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Suzanne Marzullo Receives Natural Stone Scholarship

Posted on 18 April 2016 by cradmin

Suzanne Marzullo 2015 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship AwardEvery year the MIA+BSI, Natural Stone Institute awards scholarships and presents awards to craftsmen for their outstanding work in the surfacing industry. This year Suzanne Marzullo was presented with the 2015 MIA Natural Stone Scholarship Award.

Marzullo is a sales manager at Dente Classic Stone in Pittsburgh. She joined the company in 2014 and was quickly promoted to Sales Manager for her leadership skills and interior design expertise.

You may also be interested in this article about the TISE “Best Of” awards.

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NTCA Endorses Online Training Courses by UCTS

Posted on 15 April 2016 by cradmin

The National Tile Contractors Association has officially endorsed the core curriculum of the University of Ceramic, Tile and Stone (UCTS) to allow aspiring tile and stone industry professionals to gain the correct knowledge and skills without necessarily leaving the confines of their current jobs. Structured to be delivered online, UCTS is currently offering three online courses that can be completed within 14 days. These include Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile, Understanding the Basics of Natural Stone and Tile Installer Thin-set Standards Verification Course. 

The basic tile and stone courses are geared towards salespeople in the tile and stone industry to equip them with the correct knowledge about industry standards, stone and tile technical information and the different sales techniques for such products. The ITS Verification course is geared to setters, installers and finishers, and reportedly equips them on industry standards, manufacturers’ requirements and best practices on the installation of tiles.

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MIA Women in Stone Mentorship Program Debuts at Coverings

Posted on 14 April 2016 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced the implementation of its Women in Stone Mentorship Program. The program pairs industry veterans with newcomers to provide an opportunity to build relationships in the stone industry. Each pair will receive monthly guidance emails throughout the six month program to help them get to know each other and their respective career goals. The guidance emails will provide reminders and help ensure engagement and success in the program. Mentorship topics will include stone industry knowledge, sales, marketing and communication, technical knowledge, management, leadership and career advancement. Pairs will be matched and guidance will begin in early May 2016. Registration deadline for the program is April 27, 2016. Late registrations will not be accepted.

The Women in Stone Mentorship Program will debut at Coverings with a Speed Mentoring Workshop on Wednesday, April 20 from 1:30 to 3pm. The workshop, led by Julie Kantor of Twomentor, will give attendees the chance to participate in an organized rotation to build relationships and establish a network of peers within the stone industry. This is also a great opportunity to get to know some of the potential mentors/mentees in the six month program. To register for this free workshop, visit

There will also be a celebration for four Women in Stone honorees on April 20 in the Stanley Field Hall at Chicago’s Field Museum from 6:30pm to 11:00 pm. Black Equinox: A VIP Event sponsored by Polycor and in collaboration with Women in Stone and Texastone Quarries, where cocktails, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Enjoy conversation with stone and design industry influencers, talk on the seductive black trends in design and architecture, and enjoy a live Japanese drumming performance from Kodo. Registration is required.

You may also be interested in attending the Park Industries Digital Stoneworking Expo or viewing other opportunities coming up on our Calendar of Events.


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