Written by Morgan Bulman*
More than for the floor, tile, as well as stone, offer limitless design opportunities. A visual chameleon, this product is popularly sold in marble and wood looks but, as a material that’s been used for centuries, traditional encaustic styles continue to stay in vogue.
“The tile and stone category is an incredibly unique one; no other category can be placed in as many locations – showers, backsplashes, fireplaces, floors, walls, pools and potions,” Ashley Barnes, Shaw floors’ tile and stone marketing manager, told FCW.
Technology has allowed tile an stone to take on a myriad of visuals and different formats – this flexibility in size and look, form the smallest of small (think penny round tile mosaics) to huge panels (think porcelain tile slabs), lends itself to virtually any surface. It’s why it’s important, added Barnes, for RSAs to understand a consumer’s needs and where they want to place a new product: more often than not, tile or stone is a good fit.
- Porcelain Countertops
Countertops have become an area of concentration for tile suppliers and an opportunity for retailers. As well, these supplies offer a wide range of options for other areas in the kitchen, such as backsplashes. “Tile continues to grow in reference for floor and wall surfaces in residential setting – but we’re anticipating the potential for countertop installations as well.” Observed Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing for Crossville. “Advances in the technology for large, thicker porcelain tile panels couples with the inherent performance advantages of the material have poised it to gain momentum in the countertop market.”
- Mix & Match
“Coordinating flooring and walls is a timeless concept, and we’re building on this concept with better visuals and textures that were previously unavailable due to technical limitations,” shared Sam Kim, vice president of MSI. “now the limitations are gone and even in natural stone, the wall application of the custom-hand-laid looks can be achieved within a fraction of time and resources due to innovations in manufacturing. As long as the RSAs stay on top of the latest trends, porcelain and natural stone can offer all the design options that consumers are looking for, in formats that are durable and timeless.”
- Decorative Exteriors
An alternative to concrete, thicker pieces of tile or stone can be used as pavers for lawns, patios and pool decks, which Daltile’s Diplomacy and Dignitary collections are best suited for. “Tile provides seamless design thought the home for both indoor and outdoor spaces in unlimited color selections that never go out of style,” shared Jason Rachel, senior director of product strategy at Dallas. Tressa Samdal, director of marketing at Florida Tile, predicted porcelain will be the next big thing for exteriors. “Porcelain is one of the most versatile products for almost any application,” she added. And, Ernser Tile’s Haaksma added that the opportunity to carry tile form floor to wall, or even indoor to outdoor, saves on cost, offering a flooring solution for any season or climate.
*All credit for this blog goes to Morgan Bulman from Floor Covering Weekly