Large Format Porcelain Panels (LFPP) – Laminam by Crossville

 

On September 24th, Welch Tile was one of three US-based tile contractors invited by Crossville (TN) to travel to Modela, Italy for a four-day conference introducing Laminam Large Format Porcelain Panels.  Honored, Dan Welch, attended to provide input for the proper installation of these massive, (yet incredibly thin) panels.  Full panels, shipping at 3m x 1m x 3mm, are marketed as “One product with 1000 Applications.”

 

We agree.  The porcelain panels are resistant to chemicals, fire, frost, color-fade, and even graffiti.  The product is higenic, has a high flexural strength, and recyclable. 

 

Clearly a product we plan to promote and look forward to installing.  Laminam is poised for strong growth both for interior applications and exterior facades. 

 

What’s the downside?  Simple, you better have a qualified installer.  These panels are 3ft x 10ft….and did we mention… made of 1/8” porcelain?  Covering over thirty square foot, each panel is quite valuable.  Cuts, scrap calculation, and care for each panel must be well thought out.  Special equipment is also used to set each piece in place, and it is certainly not a one-man installation.  Did we mention Welch Tile was one of three contractors invited to develop the installation standards?

 

Check this stuff out at: http://laminambycrossville.com/Index.html

Don’t miss the cool videos at: http://laminambycrossville.com/Videos_Technical.html

 

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Does your shower leak?

Does your shower leak?

 

Nothing is worse than knowing the investment you've made to improve the value of your home is no longer functional because of inadequate construction of your tile shower.

This week we've received five phone calls from home owners with leaking showers and wanting quotes to replace them. This unfortunately is very common in our industry caused mainly by:

1. Contractors having limited knowledge.
2. Use of inferior products.
3 .Taking short cuts while constructing the shower.

Question: Do you know the top three reasons we see showers fail?
Answer:

1. Nailing through the PVC/CPE pan liner.
2. Missing outside or inside corner dams.
3. Missing or lacking of adequate sealant on the drain body assembly.

Constructing a shower should be left to the pros. However, it is very important for you, the consumer to be aware of the steps to ensure long lasting beauty and a leak free, functional system. When your tile contractor is present have him sign off on the checklist below to guide you during a traditional shower installation:

1. Is there a pre-slope under the pan liner? SHOULD BE YES!
2. Are there fasteners in the pan liner where there shouldn't be? SHOULD BE NO!
3. Are inside and outside dam corners being used? SHOULD BE YES!
4. What sealant was used around the drain body?
5. Was an overnight water test preformed prior to tile installation?
6. Was a surface membrane applied?
7. What material was installed behind the CBU if a surface membrane was not applied?
8. Was an expansion joint installed at all adjoining walls/flooors? SHOULD BE YES! Shower temperatures vary dramatically depending on the ambient temperature and moisture. This can make your tiles pop off or even explode. Your grout may also crack or be forced from the joint.

We're consistently being told "No" when we ask our clients if a water test was performed during the construction of the shower that has sprung a leak. A properly constructed traditional shower installation should be able to retain water with minimal loss (due to evaporation) for 24-48 hours after the liner is installed, prior to tile installation. Your tile is not the waterproof membrane! If there is significant loss, you'll want to know where it went (and why) before he installs thousands of dollars of beautiful tile. You may be tearing it out.

Remember, when constructing a shower that will last a life time it's important to use quality products. One such United States manufacture is Noble Company located in Grand Haven, MI.

Welch Tile Gives Back to Community

What’s the old adage… When you teach you learn.  And it was true for Dan Welch. He recently stepped into a High School classroom to help teach. Junior Achievement offered a business class JA Titan Halo-Generator. Students must go through seven steps and lean all facets of business, they compete with other teams and the group that has the highest R.O.I wins.

Click on this link to learn more about the JA Titan Halo-Generator project.

Dan was asked in to help teach the class and also to bring his personal experience with him. As each section was taught, Dan would share his companies information about that same thing, whether it be product design and manufacturing, or marketing and sales.

While Welch Tile does not manufacture a product, another division, Michigan Recycled Stone does, so for Dan teaching these fundamentals to high school students allowed him to reflect on how he runs his own business, and apply these same principals to Michigan Recycled Stone.

Unlike the students that get feedback and then went on to compete at the college level, hoping to win one of the many scholarships that were given as prizes, Dan can now do his own self assessment. Taking into consideration all seven steps when assessing his companies R.O.I.

Dan started this process with the understanding that he could give back to the community that supports his business. What he didn’t expect was to have learned so much in the process.

Documentation, smart technology, can save thousands on any job

Winning the bid is just the start of the work for many subcontractors in business today. The post bid meeting needs to be documented and those notes sent as soon as possible. A verbal acknowledgment just won’t cut it anymore.  

With so many people involved in any job, everything needs to be documented. Both from the construction firms side as well as the sub-contractors. Technology is the key, the use of smart phones or tables with both camera and email access keeps everyone informed and all correspondence available.

Welch Tile stays ahead of the game. With the use of innovative technologies, field supervisors, those walking the job in pre-construction and pre-install, use tablets and smart phones to document a situation with the camera, upload it to an email and from the location of concern send it and get a response in moments.

Not only is everyone informed quickly, but all the correspondence is saved and can be downloaded at the office and archived for reference as needed at a later date.

The world may be going paperless, but the need to communicate in a timely way has never been more important. The use of smart technology in the filed will lead Welch Tile to the forefront of project management, time management and cost control. Savings from the use of smart technology can be in the thousands. Fuel costs, wear and tear on a vehicle, multiple people on site, all can be minimized or eliminated.

Terrazzo Installation Do’s and Don’ts

When a terrazzo floor is called for in a commercial building, careful planning is the key to a successful installation. Dan Welch was recently on a job where his experience and planning skills paid off.

With a diagonal, curved and grid inset pattern laid out on the prepared subfloor, the continues integral base needed to be marked out and trim edge installed.

The problem with this kind of integral base is that well ahead of when you would normally install the finished details, many need to be installed ahead of the terrazzo floor and base going in.

Drinking fountains, non architectural walls and doors, thresholds and trim all must be in place for the floor to be successfully completed.

With Welch Tiles help the construction firm understood just what must be done.  Keeping ahead of the floor installation proved to be a challenge, but with Welch Tiles expert help the do’s and the don’ts of this project were quickly understood and all the contracted teams worked to solve the problem.

Dan’s years of experience really paid off this time. That and having a team of certified installers that stay at the forefront of new installation techniques and materials always helps to have his jobs run smooth, be cost effect and finish great.

Welch Tile & Marble Installs Signatures Statement Showroom

Welch Tile & Marble has installed a new showroom in their Kent City, Michigan location. The existing showroom was aging, so the updates allowed for new products that have recently come on the market.

Also, Dan had negotiated a deal with Daltile to become one of only a few Daltile Statements dealers. This means that Welch can now showcase the latest Daltile products, one on one design support, preferred pricing and have access to a Daltile representative who will keep the showroom current with the latest products.

In addition, a kiosk has been installed to assist in design and layout of tile patterns for the home owner, (look for future blog about this).  Just download your drawings and the program will take you through a series of prompts to show you how different materials will work in your home. Welch can now offer a Daltile credit card through the kiosk, allowing you the flexibility to buy now and be billed at a later date.

Daltile is the nations largest manufacture of tile products, they own their own shipping trucks and distribution systems.

In addition to the 500 sq. ft. Daltile showcase, the AHSG member, Welch Tile showroom has the latest products from a variety of manufacturers as well as tile and stone products from around the world.

Being an AHSG member means that consumers can shop with confidence to choose among the finest brands at the greatest value. As stated by the AHSG, “When you see the familiar AHSG™ sign welcoming you to a floor covering retailer, you can be assured of the finest quality, highest level of service, and an organization that offers the best consumer values in the industry!”

Welch Tile has a full time designer on staff, Nancy will help you select from our endless options, with her help you will know you are getting the best solution for your room. That coupled with Welch’s reputation for high quality installation by certified installers will leave your project perfect for a lifetime.

Epoxy Coating for Decorative Floors

epoxy coating  epoxy coating base

When Dan Welch excepted the job of installing a highly durable floor for the new county animal shelter, the county knew that General Polymers decorative mosaic coating system was the best solution for the price.

The need for a great looking, highly durable solution was what was needed. Cleanability, scratch resistant seamless flooring was the way to go. Having the option of custom mixing the paint chips gave the county the flexibility they needed. A top coat selected for durability and UV resistance, and chemical resistance made this product the best choice. After many tests in selected areas of the shelter, the county picked and Welch Tile installed the finished product. Radius coves, skid resistant surfaces, high durability and UV tolerance, are the corner stones of this successful project.

This product is a high gloss, resilient, mosaic pattern floor covering that incorporates vinyl paint chips in an epoxy base.  These chips are sealed with multiple clear coats of a polyurethane glaze that provides a tough wearing surface.

Dan's knowledge and depth of experience allows for another great job being completed by certified installers who are continually trained in the latest techniques and who stay on top of new products.

Thoughts on Keynote Speaker at Total Solutions Plus

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Dan Welch attended Total Solutions Plus, November 7-11 at the Wild Horse Pass Ranch and Spa in Chandler, Arizona. Listening to the opening nights’ keynote speaker, Dr. Jay Lehr, a nationally recognized authority on trends and the economy, had a few things to say about the tile and hard surface industry. Dr. Lehr’s most outstanding comment was that with an economy that will be in this slump for five more years, the tile industry needs to ban all the associations together and bring one strong voice to the market.  Dan agreed, and feels that only with a consistent message to the consumer and commercial contractors, can the industry gain back the ground lost as the economy took a hit.

 Dan thinks that if the overall industry raises the leave of skill at the installation end and helps the consumer know that the installation of their designer tile will be enhanced with the skills of a well trained installer, that the industry overall will grow and come out of this economic slump better and stronger.

Further Dr. Lehr suggested that a well executed marketing campaign to build awareness of ceramic and porcelain tile as a lifestyle choice will only help to grow the market. Dan concurred and is pursuing conversations with industry leaders to develop just such a campaign. 

Ask The Leader Forum at Total Solutions Plus

Dan Welch sat with a group of leaders from the tile industry that offered their thoughts in a forum titled “Ask The Leaders”. A lively discussion developed as questions from the audience challenged these leaders and looked to open up conversations on a range of topics. 

 

Dan’s focus was how the associations that support installers, manufactures and supportive trades could come together and bring one voice to the market. That by unifying their message, each group looks to gain market share and have a better opportunity to police their own members. In addition, the development of common goals for all the associations was brought up.  

 

Dan added that as the economy turned in the past few years, and the industry downgraded the sense of tile products, to be seen as just a commodity, has backfired and the real work for the industry is to educate the consumer about ceramic and porcelain tile as a luxury product. That adding high quality designer tile to a home is a significant upgrade to a home owners bottom line value.  

 

Dan also stated, as the economy has an upturn, tile contractor firms need to include the tile setters they employ in a discussion about how the industry has changed and that better communication with installers will need to be developed. One that will help to retain installation talent and make sure they (all the employees) understand what it has taken to keep work moving and what it will take to stay in the game over the next few years.  

 

Finally Dan mentioned that an awareness campaign aimed at the consumer, not unlike what  “The Incredible Edible Egg” or “Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives” have done for those industries, should be pursued by the entire industry; manufactures, distribution, and installers. All to build awareness of ceramic and porcelain tiles possibilities.

Tips For Designing a Beautiful Outdoor Area

To create a beautiful outdoor area build an outdoor room with a roller blind to provide shade, comfortable outdoor furniture and use stone tiles to pave the area.


It is not difficult to create a beautiful outdoor area and with a little planning and effort you can have your outdoor area perfect for entertaining.  Having attractive stone tiles will make a big difference to the look of your outdoor area and you should also think about creating shade by having a retractable awning or a veranda.

 
Outdoor Furniture
 
Buy furniture that would not only look great outdoors but would also look fantastic inside.  Think about comfort as well as practicality.  A comfortable lounge outdoors gives you a great place where you can relax and enjoy the sun.  Choose accessories such as cushions with varying designs and colours that blend well together.  You will need somewhere to eat so buy a large table to accommodate a lot of guests and get matching chairs that are well padded and offer good support.
 
Tiles
 
You can turn your outdoor area into a beautiful space by having stone tiles instead of plain concrete.  Sandstone pavers or tiles have a much warmer look than concrete and will blend in with your garden a lot better.  They are also a good surface to have around the edge of a pool as they are non-slip.
 
Outdoor Room
 
Extend your indoors out by having a large folding door.  Your kitchen or living area can easily become part of the outdoors by simply folding back the doors and letting the breeze in.  Directly outside the doors, have a veranda or awning so that the room feels like it is extending out into the garden.  You can decorate the veranda by growing plants or even having outdoor curtains hanging.
 
Outdoor Kitchen
 
Outdoor kitchens are becoming more popular and they are great if you plan on entertaining often.  Don't have the host stuck inside in the kitchen away from the guests.  Turn your outdoor area into a working kitchen that is easy to clean and is sturdy enough to withstand the weather.  Install the best barbecue you can afford and have plenty of bench space where you can prepare and serve the meals, have a sink and tap and you might even want to have a wine fridge, which will keep your wine stored at exactly the right temperature.
 
Garden
 
Finish off your outdoor area by having a beautiful garden.  You can hire a landscape gardener but this can be very expensive.  There are plenty of magazines and books on the subject where you are sure to find inspiration.  Plant a style of garden that is going to suit not only your house but also your lifestyle.  You need to have the time to look after a garden and if you are always out working or don't want to spend the time you are better going for a more minimalist style of garden.