Akrilika Launches AQ Stone Quartz Surfacing Series

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Akrilika Launches AQ Stone Quartz Surfacing Series

Posted on 18 November 2016 by cradmin

akrilikaRussian-based supplier Akrilika introduced AQ Stone – а new line of quartz surfacing material that features marblelike aesthetic and vast veining, flowing through each design. The new products are distinguished by a dynamic combination of natural beauty and performance as demanded by the discerning customers.

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A Sad Reminder Why Slab Handling Safety Is Critical

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A Sad Reminder Why Slab Handling Safety Is Critical

Posted on 11 November 2016 by cradmin

This video put forth by the Marble Institute of America (now MIA+BSI) is a sad reminder of just why following the correct slab handling techniques with granite, marble, quartz or other heavy stones is extremely critical to the safety and health of fabricators and countertop fabrication businesses everywhere.

This is just the introduction to a much larger video offered by the association.

You may also be interested in this article on aerial lift safety.

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NTCA Holds Executive Elections at Recent Annual Meeting

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NTCA Holds Executive Elections at Recent Annual Meeting

Posted on 03 November 2016 by cradmin

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) elected new members of the executive board and several new regional directors at its recent annual meeting.

Martin Howard of David Allen Company was elected President. Chris Walker, also of David Allen Company, was named 1st Vice President. Martin Brookes of Heritage Tile and Marble was elected 2nd Vice President. Outgoing President James Woelfel was elected Chairman of the Board, and Dan Welch was named Executive Committee advisor.

The newly elected Regional Directors include Robert Showers (Region 2), Paige Smith (Region 3), Mike Weaver (Region 4), Dirk Sullivan (Region 9), Stan Platt (Region 10) and Sam Bruce (Region 12).

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

Posted on 29 September 2016 by cradmin

recordkeeping-ruleOver the last couple of years, there has been so much talk among countertop professionals about OSHA’s new silica rule, that it is easy to forget all of the other regulations that must be followed under federal and state law. Although most regulations are directly aimed at keeping workers in the U.S. safe and healthy, several administrative rules are also in place, including recordkeeping requirements, which are set forth in Standard 29 CFR 1904.

Less than two short years ago, the recordkeeping rule only required employers to report work-related fatalities and hospitalizations invoicing three or more employees, but as of January 1, 2015, the reporting requires were expanded to include all of the following:

  • Work-related fatalities
  • All work-related hospitalizations regardless of the number of employees
  • Work-related losses of one or both eyes
  • Work-related amputations

Who Must Report Injuries and Fatalities?

Some employers mistakenly believe that they are not required to report workplace injuries and deaths because they are exempt from having to keep routine records of these unfortunate accidents. However, recordkeeping should not be confused with reporting. The new rule clearly states that “all employers under OSHA jurisdiction” must comply with federal or state injury-reporting requirements even if they are exempt from recordkeeping.

When Must Reports Be Submitted?

To comply with the rule, employers must report injuries and fatalities relatively quickly. If a fatality occurs within 30 days of a work-related accident/incident, it must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours of discovering it. For inpatient hospitalizations, losses of one or more eyes and amputations, employers have 24 hours to submit reports.

How to Report Worker Injuries and Fatalities

It is recommended that employee injuries and fatalities are reported by telephone to the nearest OSHA office. However, these offices are only open during standard business hours Monday through Friday. If reports must be submitted outside of this time, employers must call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).

This reporting system, however, is set to change January 1, 2017. After this date, most employers will no longer be able to submit reports over the phone. OSHA will have an electronic reporting system available on its website, and all reports will have to be entered in the computer. When these reports are entered, they are saved in OSHA’s database so that they can be compiled for later research on workplace hazards.

This rule includes additional provisions that are meant to encourage employees to report all accidents to their supervisors, and it prevents employers from retaliating against workers who report accidents.

The electronic reporting rule only affects employers that have been deemed to run businesses that pose significant safety and health risks to its workers, and countertop fabrication and construction are among such businesses. However, if the company has fewer than 20 employees, reports may still be made over the phone.

For further information on the OSHA recordkeeping and reporting rule, visit www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014 or call the nearest OSHA office.

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Fabricator Profile: Aspen Design Focuses on Wholesale

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Fabricator Profile: Aspen Design Focuses on Wholesale

Posted on 27 September 2016 by cradmin

aspen-remnant-yard-300x110Aspen Design and Fabrication (ADF) in Denver, Colo., was opened by Dan Dugard and John Ragsdale in 2002, but they experimented with several different business models before the business really took off. In the 1980s and 1990s, Dugard was an employee of Makita Tools, but one day, a customer of his offered to sell him his countertop fabrication business. Although the deal fell through, it ultimately led to meeting Ragsdale at a scaffolding company where they both worked.

A few years after meeting, Dugard and Ragsdale decided to become business partners and opened a fabrication shop specializing in solid surface and laminate. In the beginning, they worked the shop themselves, and their only customers were walk-ins who needed new countertops for their kitchen remodels.

Soon, ADF landed a commercial job that was too big for Dugard and Ragsdale to handle themselves. They quickly scrambled to scale up the business to handle the work, and after hiring new employees, the company continued to grow and expanded into natural stone and quartz.

Aspen Design and Fabrication used the leverage they received from their million-dollar commercial job to jump directly into the wholesale market, and the majority of jobs come from builders and dealers. Today, the business has added glass and concrete to its offerings and is fully automated with laser templating, a CNC waterjet and CNC edgers.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Tour of Aspen Design and Fabrication

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Video: Repairing a Scratch in a Cultured Marble Countertop / Vanity

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Video: Repairing a Scratch in a Cultured Marble Countertop / Vanity

Posted on 23 September 2016 by cradmin

This video shows one process used to repair a cultured marble vanity countertop that has been scratched. There is not a lot of information on whose methodology this is or where it is filmed, but it does walk through the various grit changes to get the scratch out of this top.

Because cultured marble typically only has a thin gel-coat top, and are relatively inexpensive, few spend the kind of time developing techniques to fix the material. However, this method appears to work.

Let us know what you think.

You may also be interested in this video on solid surface repair or this video on granite countertop repair.

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U.S. Tile Use up, Says Spanish Tile Producers, Cersaie App Released

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U.S. Tile Use up, Says Spanish Tile Producers, Cersaie App Released

Posted on 22 September 2016 by cradmin

According to information released from the Tile of Spain group, tile sales are on the rise for Spanish producers. The organization, which is the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) representing 125 manufacturers made the following information available:

“During the first six months of 2016, Spanish Tile producers have exported 1,349 million Euros to 183 countries. Sales have grown by 6.8 percent in comparison with the same period in 2015,” stated the release. “The United States is the fastest growing market this year, whereas sales in the Russian Federation and the Middle East North Africa region have ceased to grow or, in some countries, decreased. The growth of the sales to the United States in the last years has been remarkable. From January to June (2016), the sales grew by 36.6 percent. The United States is the second most important market for the Spanish Ceramic Tile producers (6.9 percent of total sales) behind Europe.”

This information reaffirms what fabricators around the United States have been saying – business is booming. And while most research, such as that conducted by Freedonia or Catalina show tile usage as a countertop surface slowing down in America, plenty is still being used in backsplash applications, as well as bathrooms and flooring.

tos-appIn related news, Tile of Spain launched the Cersaie ’16 App in advance of this month’s show that runs Sept. 26 through Sept. 30 in Bologna, Italy. Once again, the group of Spanish ceramic companies is the largest foreign delegation at the show. The free Cersaie ’16 App, which is available for iOS and Android devices, allows access to all Spanish ceramic tile companies at the event. Participants can search through exhibitors, filter by sector and add their favorite companies to a “must visit” list, which can be shared with colleagues via email.

The Tile of Spain Cersaie ’16 App can be downloaded by clicking here, or at the Google Play or App Store.

We’d love to hear your take on the tile market in the United States or elsewhere. Post a response or email us at info@countertopresource.com.

You may also be interested in this article on countertop and kitchen trends in 2016.

 

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ISFA Announces 2016 Annual Award Nominees – Voting Open for Members Only

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ISFA Announces 2016 Annual Award Nominees – Voting Open for Members Only

Posted on 19 September 2016 by cradmin

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) has announced that the nominations for its 2016 Annual ISFA Awards are in and voting for ISFA members in good standing is now open. The nominees this year are as follows:

For the Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the individual who has, in the course of his/her career, made significant contributions to the decorative surfacing industry, and has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of ISFA, the nominees are: Jon Olson for contributing significantly to the knowledge base, understanding and awareness of surfacing materials such as solid surface and quartz; Charles “Chuck” Sawyer for his years of service to the surfacing industry including as a past executive director of ISFA; and John Lancto for his years of assisting with the growth and advancement of the surfacing industry and standing as a pillar of the surfacing arena on the East Coast and an example for all.

For the Associate of the Year Award, given to an associate member company that in the past year has best exemplified the role of servicing the needs of fabricator member companies, and who has best supported ISFA in all activities, the nominees are: Moraware for going out of its way to expand the amount of solid information available to fabricators through its innovative newsletter, blog, podcast (StoneTalk) and its approach to marketing that works to improve industry standards and quality; and Cosentino for its ongoing support of ISFA events and programming and for supporting the fabrication community.

For the Innovator Award, given to the fabricator member firm or individual who goes outside the box and creates a product or system that enhances the life of the surface fabricator, ArtCor was the only nomination for using its experience and innovative solid surface design and fabrication techniques in Russia to advance the scope and possibilities for the use of solid surface material around the world.

For the Envision Award, given to the manufacturer member that excels in creating something imaginative and special for the surfacing industry, Cosentino was the only nomination for developing Dekton Flooring, which allows traditional countertop fabricators to expand into flooring with a durable, high-quality product that can be used in both interior and exterior applications.

And for the prestigious Fabricator of the Year Award, that is earned by an individual of a fabricator member company that in the past year has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and exemplary service to ISFA and/or the decorative surfacing industry, with overall excellence, the nominees are: Augie Chavez of GECKO SSS for building a successful commercial fabrication business from the ground up, while maintaining a commitment to social standards, such as environmentally friendly practices & training, educating and respecting the company’s staff; Mitch & Sonny Hires Construction Resources (Atlanta Kitchens) for pushing the envelop, developing partnerships and setting the standard in the Southeast for excellence; and ArtCor for using advanced systems and methods to fabricate numerous outstanding solid surface projects making it one of the most innovative solid surface fabricators in Russia and the world.

All ISFA members are encouraged to vote for the 2016 ISFA Awards HERE.

Voting must be done on or before September 29. The winners will be revealed at ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting in November.

You may also be interested in this additional information on ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting.

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StoneTalk Episode 26:  Karen Rothenberg

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StoneTalk Episode 26: Karen Rothenberg

Posted on 09 September 2016 by cradmin

Episode 26 of Moraware’s StoneTalk podcast features Karen Rothenberg of Natural Stone Motif, Inc.. Host Patrick Foley and Rothenberg talk about :

  • Why you need to ask your customers questions to determine their lifestyle, wants, and true needs – in order to help them pick the right product for them
  • How to move to a bigger building without interrupting your workload
  • How to work with a big box store like Costco
  • How to leverage your woman- or minority-owned status to win commercial business
  • How daily 5-minute meetings can help keep everyone on the same page

Read the transcript of this episode here: StoneTalk Episode 26 – Karen Rothenberg

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Karran Offers New Quartz Sink Models

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Karran Offers New Quartz Sink Models

Posted on 02 September 2016 by cradmin

karran white quartz sinkKarran is now offering several new quartz sink models that seamlessly undermount to laminate and solid surface, according to the company. These include the Q-350 double equal bowl, the Q-340 extra large single bowl, the Q-360R in white (shown here) and the Q-320 standard single bowl.

You may also be interested in this article on sink trends for 2016.

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