Archive | January, 2017

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Fabricator Profile: Solid Surfaces Inc. Stays on the Cutting Edge

Posted on 27 January 2017 by cradmin

Screen-Shot-2016-01-12-at-8.17.12-AMSolid Surfaces Inc. was one of the first solid-surface fabricators to automate its shop, and the company takes pride in staying on the cutting edge of surface materials and fabrication processes. After updating the business’s software, Mitch Makowski, president of Solid Surfaces Inc., found that he and his team could communicate more efficiently, which streamlined the entire fabrication process.

To keep Solid Surfaces Inc. at the forefront of technology, the company formed a partnership with DuPont to field test new processes for fabricators, and the technicians at Solid Surfaces have been able to provide feedback that has helped shape and refine these techniques.

For the last 30 years, Solid Surfaces Inc. has been headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., and today, the original shop is accompanied by a sister facility in Buffalo with a separate division, Florida Surfaces LLC, located in Orlando. The company is accredited by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and is a member of The Artisan Group.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Solid Surfaces Inc. – Customer Profile

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StoneTalk Episode 30: Blake Christensen

Posted on 26 January 2017 by cradmin

In the 30th episode of Moraware’s StoneTalk Podcast, host Patrick Foley interviews Blake Christensen, owner of Valley View Granite in Utah. The two discuss a variety of topics, including all of the following:

  • How to provide customers with a great end-to-end experience
  • Get good people from other industries and retrain them for yours
  • Reasons to avoid being the low-price provider in your market
  • Challenges of opening a new location

Read the transcript of this episode here: StoneTalk Episode 30 – Blake Christensen

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Deadline Approaching for NRF Scholarships

Posted on 25 January 2017 by CRadmin2

Among the many helpful organizations supporting the construction industry is the National Remodeling Foundation (NRF). The NRF seeks to advance the remodeling industry by providing educational opportunities to those interested in the form of scholarships. At the beginning of each year, the foundation accepts applications from anyone who wishes to pursue a career within the industry, and this year, the deadline for submission is February 15.

Before the end of spring, representatives from the NRF will look over all of the applications, and those who qualify will be notified by May 30. The scholarship funds will then be available within the next 12 months after July 2017. The money can then be used to pay for college courses leading to a degree or certification related to the remodeling industry or for certification programs sponsored by any of the following associations: the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The amount of each scholarship varies from $500 to $2,000, depending on the individual’s circumstances and chosen educational programs, and the money is sent directly to the institution offering the courses. Applicants who are turned down are encouraged to try again the following year by submitting a new application, which is available on the NRF website.

All scholarship applications must be accompanied by two letters of reference, one personal and one professional, and a copy of the applicant’s most recent tax return. If the applicant is under the age of 18, his or her parents’ most recent tax return will be required.

The NRF was founded as a charitable organization with a threefold mission:

  1. Advance professionalism in the remodeling industry
  2. Offer educational opportunities within the industry
  3. Provide humanitarian aid to people affected by natural disasters or other tragedies

“At its core, the National Remodeling Foundation exists to support and encourage individuals who are as passionate about the remodeling industry as we are,” said NRF President Steve Kleber. “We are continually seeking those from younger generations to find new ways to market, grow and ultimately give back to our community. The NRF is proud to support these students and anticipates positive, mutually rewarding opportunities to stem from our relationships with them.”

The latest three scholarship winners were reported to be studying Furnishings & Interiors at the University of Georgia, Interior Design at the University of Pittsburgh and Architectural Design & Drafting at Portland Community College.

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Formica Introduces Writable Surfaces

Posted on 24 January 2017 by cradmin

Formica Writable SurfacesFormica Corporation, the inventor of laminate, brings surfaces to life with the introduction of Formica® Writable Surfaces. These surfaces offer beautiful and durable chalkboard and markerboard options in on-trend colors and patterns. The new Formica® Writable Surfaces, part of the 2017 Formica® Residential Collection, were shown for the first time in the Formica Corporation booth at the 2017 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando.

Formica Writable Surfaces feature six colors and designs, each providing the chance to write a personal creative expression directly on it, and to simply wipe it away when finished. As practical as they are inspirational, the surfaces provide a new platform for homeowners to stay connected, manage schedules, play a game or just create. Like all Formica Brand products, they are also budget friendly and durable.

You may also be interested in this video about repairing high pressure laminate surfaces.

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ISFA Promotes Bryan Stannard to Executive Director

Posted on 23 January 2017 by cradmin

Bryan Stannard ISFA Executive Director

Bryan Stannard New ISFA Executive Director

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) promoted Bryan Stannard to the position of ISFA Executive Director, after having previously served as Membership Director. Stannard was named Acting Executive Director in early November 2016, replacing Mike Langenderfer, who served as the Interim Executive Director since November of 2015. In January, the position was made permanent.

“Bryan is a knowledgeable professional with nearly two decades of experience in the surfacing industry,” said ISFA President Ryan Miller. “He has a lot of great ideas for advancing the association. The ISFA Board of Directors is confident he will do a great job in the role.”

Before taking on his previous role as ISFA Membership Director, Stannard held a variety of positions in the surfacing industry including surfacing manager for ITW Polymers Sealants North America, commercial manager for DuPont, and strategic account manager for IPS. He has also served three years as an Associate Board Member with ISFA and has been a member of ISFA since its inception.

“My goal is to grow not only the membership of ISFA, but also the number and depth of member benefits the association offers,” said Stannard. “I am excited to take on this responsibility and getting out to meet with our members to find out how we can better serve them going forward.”

You may also be interested in this article about NKBA’s 2017 Chairman and Board of Directors.

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L.E. Smith Company Launches New Quartz Program and Quoting Technology

Posted on 20 January 2017 by cradmin

A screen shot of LE Smith's new SQUAD countertop quoting system

A screen shot of LE Smith’s new SQUAD countertop quoting system that allows clients to quote jobs independantly

The L.E. Smith Company introduced a unique quartz countertop offering and a web-based quartz quoting tool. Both investments support the evolving business needs of their broad client base, and exemplify L.E. Smith’s passion for bringing meaningful value to the construction and kitchen and bath industries.

According to the company, the new quartz countertop program is unique to the industry because clients are not charged for offall. “Clients are amazed and ecstatic when I share that they are only charged for the material that they use. They are all accustomed to having to pay for full sheets and additional square footage. This program eliminates that issue for them,” stated Brian Smith, Owner and Director of Sales. Smith also shared that the variety and quantity of “in stock” colors from known brands Viatera®, Hanstone®, Silestone®, Wilsonart® Quartz, and TruQuartz is unique to the industry.  The program boasts 40+ colors (with more coming,) a fast lead time (just 2-3 weeks from sign-off,) and the ability to quote countertop projects online.

To offer quoting in real time, L.E. Smith developed a web-based technology solution named SQUAD.  SQUAD allows clients to independently quote a Quartz kitchen, bathroom, or multi-unit project in minutes and with confidence.  SQUAD houses quotes in a client library, and long term, will allow clients to quote and order for all projects and in all surfaces.  SQUAD will also house online training, industry resources, and sales analytics.  When asked about the unique name, Laura Juarez, CEO and President of L.E. Smith indicated that, “We liked the name SQUAD because it really conveys who we are to our clients.  We’re their SQUAD, working for them 24-7.  We have their back, and we’re always striving to bring them the products and technology that they need to succeed.”

For more information about the company and its offerings, visit

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Seven Tips for Construction Fall Prevention

Posted on 19 January 2017 by cradmin

MCSP1881Topping the list of the “Fatal Four” causes of workplace fatalities in the construction industry is falls. In 2014, falls accounted for 359 of the 899 total construction deaths, which is nearly 40 percent. In addition, fall protection topped the list of standards violations in 2015.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has led various campaigns over the years aimed at reducing fall-related deaths through education and training, and the Oregon chapter of OSHA recently renewed its commitment with the publication of seven tips for preventing falls on construction sites in its bi-monthly magazine Health and Safety Resource.

  1. Give fall protection the attention it deserves in your safety program. Everyone in the company should be playing an active role in preventing falls. Managers need to be committed, and employees have to be involved.
  1. Establish and enforce rules for safe practices. Supervisors should be able to motivate employees and discipline those who do not follow the rules. Following are some of the top tasks of supervisors when it comes to safety:
  • Ensure that employees have been properly trained and know how to perform their work safely.
  • Periodically review the safety performance of each individual on the team.
  • Employees who do not follow the rules need to be instructed, retrained or disciplined.
  • New employees should be supervised closely until they have been adequately trained.
  • Ask all employees to demonstrate that they can carry out their duties safely before allowing them to work unsupervised.
  1. Create a safety policy. Every company that fabricates, installs or otherwise works with countertops must have a written safety policy, and this is required by law in many states. Having a written policy in place shows employees, venders and customers that you are committed to keeping a safe workplace.
  1. Designate responsibilities to the most competent and qualified. The most qualified person supervises the design and use of fall restraints, arrest anchors and lifeline systems while the most competent does the following:
  • Recognizes hazards and warns workers
  • Trains others to recognize hazards and follow procedures
  • Monitors workers when necessary for fall protection
  • Determines when safety nets are required
  • Inspects equipment for fall prevention
  1. Plan for falls. Ask all of the following questions to help prevent falls:
  • Where are the most likely fall hazards?
  • How are employees exposed to fall hazards?
  • Are surfaces structurally sound?
  • Are guardrails and covers meet requirements?
  • Have employees been trained in ladder use?
  • Do anchors and restraint systems meet compliance rules?
  • Will anyone be exposed to falls after the workday is done?
  1. Train employees on fall prevention. Never assume that workers know how to keep themselves from falling, especially at a new job site. Employees must be retrained when they are given new tasks and moved to new worksites. All training must be documented in writing, and they must certify that they understand the fall-protection systems and methods to use in various situations.
  1. Always use equipment for fall prevention. Equipment that can reduce or eliminate the risk of falls should be used whenever possible. This equipment includes hole covers, guardrails, anchors and restraint systems. When fall hazards cannot be completely eliminated, use equipment that reduces the risk of injuries should falls occur, such as safety nets and fall-arrest systems.

For further information and to download workplace posters on falling hazards, visit OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign page or call your local health and safety authority.

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Clio Holdings, LLC Acquires Top Master, Inc.

Posted on 18 January 2017 by cradmin

Top MasterClio Holdings, LLC of Birmingham, Mich. has acquired Top Master, Inc. of Kansas City, KS, expanding its footprint of regional countertop fabrication businesses to eight states. Top Master, a portfolio company of CID Capital, Inc. of Indianapolis, Ind., is a designer, fabricator and installer of a comprehensive line of custom countertop products, including granite, quartz and solid surface, used in both residential and commercial applications. Jordan, Knauff & Company served as exclusive financial advisor to Top Master and CID Capital throughout the transaction.

Founded in 1984, Top Master has operations in five locations primarily serving the Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska markets. As a result of successful partnerships in each market with big box home improvement retailers, kitchen and bath dealer networks, homebuilders and commercial contractors, Top Master has grown to become the largest provider of countertops to the residential remodeling and new residential construction markets in the Midwest. The Company has been recognized for its extensive product offering and commitment to customer service.

Clio was founded in 2016 with a vision to create an industry leading supplier and fabricator of countertops, providing the capital and operational expertise to implement best practices across this highly fragmented industry.

Michael Varone, President of Top Master, stated that partnering with Clio will allow the company to continue its commitment to customer service while enhancing the products, services and opportunities offered to customers, suppliers and team members.

You may also be interested in this article about the acquisition of C-Tech-I Sinks by Chemcore.

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Performance of Laminam Ceramic Compact Surface

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Performance of Laminam Ceramic Compact Surface

Posted on 17 January 2017 by cradmin

While this video, produced by Laminam, starts off looking like a commercial for a restaurant with a chef making pasta and such, it soon becomes apparent it is a demonstration of how the company’s ceramic compact material performs under heavy use conditions. The material is subject to cutting and chopping, oil and acidic materials poured directly on it, liquids that are commonly known to stain, etc. After this, it is simply wiped clean and appears to have no damage.

Laminam is along the lines of Dekton or Neolith compact materials, but it has been said it is “tension free” meaning no relief cuts need be made in it when fabricating.

We’d love to hear your experiences using this product. Post a response to this video below or drop us a line.

You may also be interested in this video showing Dekton’s performance tests.

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Cosentino Receives 2016 Home Depot Supplier of the Year Award

Posted on 16 January 2017 by cradmin

cosentino Cosentino Group, a  producer and distributor of natural stone, quartz, recycled and architectural surfaces, was honored with the 2016 Home Depot Supplier of the Year Award during the retailer’s annual supplier conference at its headquarters in Atlanta. Suppliers that have gone above and beyond in their collaboration with The Home Depot were recognized. Cosentino was acknowledged for its continued commitment to product innovation, speed to market and collaborative spirit with The Home Depot’s business model in North America.

“This award is the merit recognition of a collaboration from multiple divisions across Cosentino, including product innovation and design, manufacturing, logistics, account management, sales and marketing,” says Lorenzo Marquez, VP of Marketing for Cosentino North America. “Building our relationship with The Home Depot has been a key component in expanding Cosentino’s presence in North America and we look forward to further success for both brands as our partnership continues and grows.”

You may also be interested in this article about ISFA’s annual award winners.


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