Archive | August, 2016

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Coverings Seeks Submissions for 2017 Conference Presentations

Posted on 29 August 2016 by cradmin

coverings17Coverings, the largest international tile and stone show in North America, invited presenters and professional development leaders to submit proposals for the show’s 2017 programming.  Coverings 2017 will take place in Orlando, Fla., April 4 to 7 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Coverings calls for cutting-edge content which generates discussion and finds solutions in the categories of interior design and architecture, building and remodeling, distribution, fabrication, installation, retail sales, green practices and health and safety. Individuals and groups interested in helping the industry to grow and thrive are encouraged to submit proposals for one or more topics. Proposals can be submitted online. Deadline for submissions is September 6, 2016.

“Coverings offers and all-encompassing conference program dedicated to educating and engaging all levels of the industry,” said Michele Nebel Peake, VP, Conference  Development of Taffy Events, the management company for Coverings. “We focus on providing a variety of educational options and formats which creates an interactive learning experience, provides opportunities for discussion and helps our attendees to generate solutions which will allow them to succeed both professionally and personally.”

All sessions are free to registered Coverings exhibitors and attendees. Coverings is a registered provider of AIA, NKBA and USGBC continuing education and applies for CEUs for ASID/IIDA through IDCEC.

The complete Coverings 2017 conference program will be revealed in January 2017.

You may also be interested in seeing other upcoming events on our calendar.

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Installation of a Very Large Seamless Copper Countertop

Posted on 26 August 2016 by cradmin

This video put forward by Mini Mansions Moldings and produced by Evision Media shows the installation of a very large copper countertop. Copper is just one of many different materials that have found a niche in the high end countertop market.

When the video was released several years ago, its creators believed it to be the largest seamless copper countertop ever installed. While we don’t know if that has changed over the years, a larger seamless copper countertop would be difficult to find. While the video doesn’t offer much in the way of details on the fabrication process, it is certainly an interesting view. The countertop is so large it takes more than a half a dozen men to manipulate it and move it into place.

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

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MIA+BSI Releases Video On Installation Safety

Posted on 25 August 2016 by cradmin

mia-bsi-natural-stone-institute-best practices videoMIA+BSI released a new video, Natural Stone Installation: Best Practices for Safety and Success. This video is the Institute’s first collection of video modules focusing solely on installation safety. The video highlights the fact that there is a significant difference between shop safety, where the environment is familiar, to being on location, where each setting is different and requires a clear plan of action. Completed as part of the 2016 Safety Initiative set forth by the Institute’s safety committee, eight modules are included in the video, addressing the following topics:

  • Overview of installation safety
  • Identifying safety concerns early in the process
  • Requirements for personal protective equipment
  • Installation case studies
  • Best practices for material loading and unloading
  • Manpower and equipment
  • Large-scale commercial installations
  • Tile-setting best practices

Modules are self-contained and arranged so that they can be watched individually or as part of an overall installation safety program. MIA+BSI Vice President Jon Lancto commented, “This is a great training resource for anyone sending installers into the field. Training our installers to be safe and professional can only enhance the value of our products and help retain great employees.”

Physical DVDs of Natural Stone Installation: Best Practices for Safety and Success are available for purchase at The video will also be made available free of charge as part of the soon-to-be-launched Natural Stone University.

You may also be interested in this video from MIA that reviews slab clamp safety.

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Oceanside Glasstile Adds Antique Mirror Colors to Devotion Collection

Posted on 24 August 2016 by cradmin

The Devotion line from Oceanside Glasstile is no stranger to bold color, glittering movement or intricate details. When the question arose to add additional antique mirror options to the color palette, in-house Designer Cathy Aroz enthusiastically responded, “I really love working with the antique mirrors. Each color shines its own personality into the design. Some patterns need just a touch of mirror to bring a little fire to the project while others can go bolder and bigger creating an element of drama that will literally take your breath away.”

Oceanside Glasstile Helios


Oceanside Glasstile Nocturne


Oceanside Glasstile Astral








The three new additions Astral, Nocturne and Helios, are set to do just that. Helios explodes with sunbursts and solar flares arcing across a field of bronze. While Astral, reminiscent of the moon’s reflection on the ocean’s surface, takes the cooler side of the color palette with its silver splashes set against ripples of navy blue. Nocturne evokes the majesty of a clear starry night sky. Oceanside offers options like a 6 in. by 12 in. micro-beveled field (available in Astral and Nocturne) or the flexibility of custom design with Devotion’s patterns.

‘She sells, sea shells’ is the summer mantra for the Devotion Collection as a new Scallop pattern is also introduced to the family. “Scallop is a classic pattern which has seen a big resurgence in the design world,” Aroz explains. So it is only fitting that Oceanside Glasstile add this classic shape to its offering but not without its own modern twist. “Our art glass can have so much movement,” Aroz details, “I wanted to keep the lines simple with just a subtle layer to open up the possibility to play with color and depth.” This new pattern is the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful space with bold color selection and placement.

You may also be interested in this article about backlighting for glass tile.

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Native Trails Introduces Tolosa Concrete Sink

Posted on 23 August 2016 by cradmin

NativeStone TolosaNative Trails introduced its Tolosa concrete sink. The company describes the sink as a clean, oval shape that shows off the organic beauty of concrete, at a much lighter weight and with no-fuss maintenance. The Tolosa concrete sink is handcrafted of NativeStone, an innovative, remarkably strong blend of cement and jute fiber that is reportedly lightweight for concrete, extraordinarily heavy-duty in the bathroom and refreshingly easy when it comes to clean-up. The sink features a single bowl with a 3 ¾ in. depth that is crack, stain and scratch resistant. It can be installed as a drop-in or standard undermount.  Tolosa is available in Ash, Slate and Pearl finishes.

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Empire Countertops Seeks Investors

Posted on 22 August 2016 by cradmin

Empire CountertopsEmpire Countertops, LLC, a fabricator and installer of granite, marble, engineered stone and solid surface countertops, recently retained Heritage Equity Partners to seek an investor, partner, or buyer to complement the company’s growth strategy.

Peter Eberle, CEO of Empire stated, “Empire is well positioned to become a leading countertop provider in the US. We have an exceptional ability to fabricate the highest quality products in record time compared to any competitor, and a rapidly growing client list that includes custom and production homebuilders, big box stores and general contractors with high profile projects across the country. We believe additional capital is necessary to support our growth plans and have retained Heritage Equity Partners to help us find that capital.”

Founded in 1989, the company has a 27 year history of excellent customer service, precise installations, and quality products. Because of this, Empire experienced unprecedented growth from 2010 to 2015 and saw sales increase from $12 million to almost $32 million. With over 125 employees and dedicated sub-contractors, the company enjoys substantial market presence because of its unique and extremely efficient fabrication and turnaround time. Currently, Empire operates two facilities, one outside of Dallas and another in Austin, each with a complete custom design studio.

According to Matt LoCascio, a managing director at Heritage Equity Partners, “Empire’s underlying business is healthy, but cash constraints produced from a prior management team has created a need for new capital. New management has already made significant expense cuts and streamlined operations with a focus on new portions of the business including commercial projects, big box stores and retail.  In order to continue to support these initiatives and fund sustained growth, Empire is seeking additional investors.”

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Lackmond Stone Presents Its New Product Catalog

Posted on 19 August 2016 by cradmin

Lackmond Stone Product CatalogLackmond Stone, a leading distributor of professional tools and equipment, released a new 156 page, full color product catalog.  The catalog features many new products, and full line of stone tools, supplies and equipment.

Lackmond Stone’s new catalog features CNC tooling, diamond tools, auto-edge machine tools, abrasives, adhesives, stone care, power tools, machines & equipment, material handling and much more.  The catalog showcases products customers need and the brands they trust such as, Tyrolit, Nemi, Alpha, Abaco, Groves Products, Flex, Omni Cubed, FIMAD, Makita, Metabo, Bonstone and more.

Ted Skaff, VP of Marketing said, “We designed a catalog that will allow us to serve our customers.  It is simple to navigate through and provides all the necessary information to make informed decisions.”  Lackmond Stone’s new catalog also features an index by product and by vendor and has information about its website showing how to easily place an order.

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Still Time to Sign up for ISFA/IWF Countertop Symposium Sponsored by

Posted on 18 August 2016 by cradmin

There is still time to register for the full-day Countertop Symposium on Tuesday, August 23, at IWF. The event is put on by ISFA and sponsored by, and takes place the day before the show floor opens for IWF. The seminar is designed to provide a wealth of information to both established countertop fabricators and those exploring their options in the countertop industry.

Industry experts will share information and insights to help you learn about the products and business of the decorative surfacing industry.

Topics will include:

• Solid Surface Thermoforming
• Profiting from Diversification of your Countertop Shop
• Solid Surface Casework: Why it Makes Sense
• Countertop Industry Outlook: A Forecast of Factors Affecting the Industry
• Q & A opportunities with a distinguished panel of industry experts
The presenters include the owners of successful surfacing companies and others who are well versed in the technology, techniques and business requirements of countertop operations.

The session covers both residential and commercial operations, and encompasses information on solid surface, quartz surfacing, stone, laminate and a variety of other countertop options.

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GranQuartz Offers New Edge Polishing Tools

Posted on 17 August 2016 by cradmin

GranQuartz edge finishing wheelsGranQuartz Offers two new edge polishing combo wheels. The ProSeries Fusion Combo Wheels available from GranQuartz are designed for single pass edge finishing on both bullnose and straight edge profiles. Suitable for Park Industries’ Velocity machines for both granite and engineered stone, they are 130 or 150mm in diameter with Snail Lock Connections. The second ProSeries wheels, the NTR2Combo, are made for made in the same sizes and for the same uses, but on backsplash machines. Best flat, it can be used for round profile polishing and requires very low pressure, reducing stress on spindle heads.

You may also be interested in this video displaying a variety of different edge profiles.

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Job Stress: What Can You Do About It?

Posted on 16 August 2016 by cradmin

By Todd E. Linaman

Today’s workforce faces a multitude of pressures: deadlines, office politics, nonproductive meetings, conflict, job ambiguity, miscommunication, increased workload, inadequate resources, customer complaints and long hours. . . to name just a few. On-the-job stress can be quite costly, too, because it often results in increased absenteeism, reduced efficiency, low morale, reduced effectiveness and high staff turnover.

Researchers have discovered that since 1965, the overall stress levels in the U.S. have increased nearly 50 percent, and it is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all office visits to healthcare professionals are for stress-related symptoms and disorders.

We know that a certain level of stress can be good. Stress actually improves performance by sharpening concentration, focusing attention and increasing motivation; however, when the threshold of optimum stress is crossed, it can trigger a very negative domino effect. High levels of stress not only compromise your work performance, productivity and efficiency, but more importantly, they can seriously impact your health.

Common physical symptoms of stress include headaches, migraines, insomnia, back and neck aches, nausea, twitching, appetite changes and sweating. The long-term effects of stress can include heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems and more.

In addition to the physical symptoms, stress can also cause serious psychological and emotional problems, such as mood swings, poor concentration, anxiety, irritability, anger, depression, forgetfulness, pessimism, confusion and self-doubt.

No doubt we all agree that it is important to manage our stress effectively, but how can we do it? Here are a few tips that will help you to keep your stress low and your performance level high.

Control your time. When you are over-committed, something has to give. Take time to identify your most important responsibilities or tasks and focus on them first. Avoid taking on assignments just to please others or to look good. Successful time management involves your ability to control the activities in your life – and the better you are at it, the less stress you will experience.

Minimize procrastination. Putting off important responsibilities breeds stress. Procrastination typically occurs for three reasons: You aren’t sure how to do the task, you can’t decide how to approach it, and/or you don’t particularly enjoy doing what you have to do. Avoid waiting until the last minute to complete jobs by breaking down a large project into as many small, manageable, “instant” tasks as possible. Write these mini-projects on a piece of paper and then include several of them on your daily to-do List. When you complete one of the tasks, treat yourself to a nice reward. Before you know it, the project will be done and you will feel energized as a result.

Take time out for yourself. The busy-ness of work life and constant interaction with others can create a very legitimate need for alone time. Making time in your schedule for solitude can be a big challenge, but make it a priority to set aside “down” or “quiet” time just like you schedule business meetings and lunch appointments. During this time, give yourself permission to take a mini vacation. Find a quiet place to relax where you won’t be interrupted and then mentally transfer yourself to a quiet and beautiful setting. Imagine taking a leisurely walk on the beach or dangling your feet in the cool waters of a lazy mountain stream. As you sense the warm sun on your face and the cool breeze in the air, you will feel the stress and worries of the day slowly drift away.

Practice healthy self-talk. You feel what you think. Negative, critical and hopeless thinking produces fear, anger, worry and stress. Practice maintaining a positive mental attitude about yourself, your work and those around you. Remember, you do have choices in life and you can change and control many of the things that you are dissatisfied with if you are willing to set your mind to it.

Reconsider all meetings. Unproductive meetings are among the worse time wasters in businesses today. Meetings should only be held when interaction is required, and only those directly involved or affected should be required to attend. Productive meetings serve an essential purpose – to share important information and/or to solve critical problems. But unnecessary meetings just delay the completion of important objectives, which ultimately results in more pressure and stress. A study quoted in The Wall Street Journal reported that if American managers started and ended their meetings on time and followed an agenda, they could save 80 percent of the time they currently waste in meetings!

Control your diet. If you put low-octane fuel in your car, your engine will still run but not at top-performance level. The same principle is true for your mind and body. If you regularly consume junk food or skip meals, you can still function but with much less efficiency. A healthy diet is key to maintaining good concentration, a high level of energy and a healthy outlook on life.

Get your heart pumping. Physical activity is one of the best stress busters around. A brisk walk, game of tennis or aerobics class helps you let off steam and distracts you from your source of stress. Exercise can also boost your immune system and help you to fight off illnesses that stress can cause.

Stop mulling it over – take action. If you’re overloaded with worries, sit down with a pen and paper and spend 15 minutes writing down your concerns and potential solutions to the problems. By the time you finish, you will realize that you don’t feel as worried because you are now better prepared to take action.

Recommended Daily Habits

  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
  • Do something nice for someone.
  • Share a laugh or a word of encouragement with someone you like.
  • Make a list of things you are most grateful for.
  • Take a leisurely bath or hot shower.
  • Rest your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes without interruption.
  • Relax outdoors, enjoying nature.
  • Revisit your accomplishments – even the smallest ones.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Get up 15 minutes early to avoid having to rush.
  • Watch a funny movie or television program.
  • Spend 30 minutes reading a good book.
  • Take a walk around the building.

As an Employer

If you are an employer, be aware of what your company or organization can do to help your employees minimize stress in the workplace. Here are just a few items to consider:

  • Provide a safe and comfortable environment in which to work.
  • Provide a workplace free from all forms of harassment.
  • Make sure adequate resources are provided to complete assignments.
  • Discourage excessive work hours over an extended period of time.
  • Develop management practices based on equality of treatment.
  • Provide reasonable workload allocation and feedback on performance.
  • Encourage staff to maintain and improve their physical and psychological health.
  • Strive to ensure good communication throughout the organization.
  • Provide information and training to enable staff to develop their skills and maximize their contribution to the business.

Managing stress in the workplace – or anywhere else in life, for that matter – is really a question of balance. If your work is very busy, hectic or noisy, balance it with quiet times and relaxing activities. If your job is mentally demanding or requires long periods of concentration, balance it with play and physical activity. Eat enough but not too much. Enjoy time with family and friends, offset with periods of solitude and reflection. The key is recognizing the value of activities that aren’t related to your work and giving them adequate priority in your daily calendar.

About the Author

Dr. Todd E. Linaman is a licensed psychologist and the President of Relational Advantage, Inc. Dr. Linaman is also a conference speaker, published author and expert in the area of personal, professional and organizational development. RAI provides quality coaching, consulting and training for family-owned businesses, executives, managers and other business professionals. Copyright© 2016, Todd Linaman, Ph.D. All rights reserved. For information, contact Frog Pond at [email protected].

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