Tile Files - Aug/Sep 2013

By Ryan Fasan

 

I define trend-spotting as the art of immersing oneself in the vast stream of information that surrounds us—to absorb the currents of fashion, technology, media and design—and then to find the common threads throughout. With so many indicators to track, especially in today’s information-overload culture, it’s even more important to understand and hone in on the macro trends and colors that will define tile for the coming year. I hope these insights into tile trends and technology will inspire and inform your business.

Technology
Thin tile technology for flooring has come a long way and is now gaining traction in the U.S. marketplace. The benefits for flooring are noteworthy insofar as large formats require little grouting and offer easy installation, and thin tiles can be installed over existing flooring for remodeling. With the low water absorption and high mechanical performance of porcelain, it is a great solution for exterior and wet areas as well. Manufacturers offer this high tech tile in varying thicknesses, depending on their own proprietary formulations for performance. Look to thin tile to be the wave of the future. (See photo above.)

Textures in Tile
No longer are tiles just flat on the wall or floor. They have depth and movement to them. A couple of years ago, architects drove tile manufacturers to innovate to add dimension to tile. Now this has become a mainstream trend that extends beyond tile that bends and folds in unique shapes. Texture in flooring increases the realism and energy of stone and wood looks. 

Vintage and Well-Loved Looks
What’s old is new again. What’s exciting about the new vintage looks is the extent to which the designs are re-imagined for today’s modern lifestyles. Wood tile doesn’t have to necessarily look like a new wood floor plank; it can be pushed to look like distressed or reclaimed wood. Vintage patterns don’t have to retain their classic colors; they can be presented in trending color palettes. And they can look old or new, be installed as an accent or mixed and matched into completely new patterns. The options and design flexibility are infinite.

Bringing the Outdoors In
Another trend worth noting is the ability of tile flooring to transition between indoor and outdoor spaces in a way that no other flooring has the capability to do. We are seeing so many more ambiance photos from our Tile of Spain manufacturers that demonstrate this capability and design trend. Home spaces are getting smaller, and there is a real need to expand the visual point of reference by tying the exterior to the interior. It makes the room look that much bigger and brings nature into our “indoor” world. Of course, Frank Lloyd Wright was doing this 100 years ago, but today’s advances in architectural glass and wall systems allow everyday homeowners to be protected from the elements and yet experience them at the same time.

Color
Advanced inkjet technology and glazes are delivering new interpretations of color, including deep blacks and pure whites, chilled-out cool tones, contrasting red and metallics.

The palette of today is deep, saturated and dynamic. Manufacturers are providing richly nuanced tones in complementary colors, allowing each client to create their own unique style.

Stone and Natural Looks
Stone and natural looks are really trending in tile. The advantages for flooring beyond price and accessibility are impressive. For wet and high traffic areas, tile offers long-term durability and anti-slip features that stone cannot match. From opulent to sophisticated, and from matte finish to highly polished, these high tech stone look-alikes are stunning, high performance tile flooring options.



THECNOLOGY NOTE ON HIGH POLISHED TILE SURFACES

SThe new high polished surface looks from spain are perfect for residential use in entryways, baths and other living areas. Many designers and retailers ask me how these looks are achieved, so here's a brief explanation.

Porcelains are fired at temperatures upwards of 2,000° F. Because of these high firing temperatures, all glazes are mattified during the firing process. There is a special frit (silicate component of a glaze, a glass) applied prior to firing. After firing, this frit creates a top layer that is thicker than a normal glaze and extremely hard (Mohs rating of six or higher) to allow the manufacturer to polish the tile to a brilliant gloss after firing.

The polishing process, like sanding wood, removes finer and finer layers of material to achieve the polish. This process inherently opens surface pores due to the abrasion. The resulting product really shines (pun intended) compared to other material, is the near perfect finish and lacks visible pores in the surface.

Some manufacturers apply the polishing glaze in a dry form. This creates the 'pock=marked' surface texture for which lesser quality versions are known.


Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

Former Starnet Chairman Wins Mayoral Election   Full Article
Point Pleasant, NJ, Nov. 7, 2014 -- Former Starnet chairman Bob Sabosik won his bid for mayor in Tuesday's elections in Point Pleasant.

Mohawk CEO Lorberbaum Discusses Firm's Growth   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, Nov. 7, 2014 -- Mohawk Industries CEO Jeff Lorberbaum told the Chattanooga Rotary Club that his firm is investing $500 million in its existing businesses in a bet on an improving economy.

Economy Adds 214K Jobs, Unemployment Falls   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 7, 2014 -- Employers added 214,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell again, the Labor Department said.

Attendance at Cersaie Rises This Year   Full Article
Bologna, Italy, Nov. 7, 2014 -- Attendance at Cersaie 2014, the international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings held in Bologna in September, once again topped 100,000 visits, according to organizers.

Builders More Confident in Senior Housing Market   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 7, 2014 -- Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market was up again in the third quarter, according to the latest release of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Market Index.

Housing Markets Improving at a Gradual Pace   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Markets in 59 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the third quarter.

Planned Job Cuts Surge in October   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Planned job cuts jumped 68% in October to the second-highest total this year, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Initial Jobless Claims Fall Again   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department said

Grosser Named Tile Person of Year   Full Article
San Antonio, TX, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Tile Council of North America presented its Tile Person of the Year award to Donato Grosser at the Total Solutions Plus event.

NWFA Renews Agreement With Wildlife Fund   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, Nov. 6, 2014 -- The National Wood Flooring Association said it has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the World Wildlife Fund.

Tarkett Hosts Second Sustainability Summit   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Tarkett recently hosted its second annual Sustainability Summit in Cleveland, Ohio.

Gerflor Acquires Connor Sport Court   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Gerflor said it has acquired Connor Sport Court of Amasa, Michigan.

Armstrong Illinois Plant Wins Sustainability Award   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Armstrong Flooring said its Kankakee, Illinois manufacturing facility has received the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award.

Services Sector Continues To Grow in October   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 5, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy continued to expand in October but at a slower pace, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Mortgage Applications Fall Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week as interest rates increased, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Businesses Add 230,000 Jobs in October   Full Article
Roseland, NJ, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, payroll processor ADP said.

Earthwerks Names Head of Product Development   Full Article
Houston, TX, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Earthwerks has named Lindsey Nisbet head of product development and marketing strategy.

Linron Names de Beaumont VP Business Development   Full Article
Houston, TX, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Linron Co. has named Gilles de Beaumont, vice president of business development.

Domotex Asia Anticipates Larger Wood, Laminate Area   Full Article
Shanghai, China, Nov. 4, 2014 -- It will require four dedicated halls to house just the wood and laminate exhibitions at Domotex asia/Chinafloor’s 17th annual flooring show March 24-26 in Shanghai, organizers said.

Factory Orders Decline in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 4, 2014 -- New orders for manufactured goods fell for second straight month in September on softness in the aircraft sector.