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Tile Empire is the latest showroom from the Salomone family in Western Australia.

INDUSTRY ROUNDUP 12 Davco’s search for the “Best Tiler” goes onto China;

DesignBUILD is returning to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in April 2020; Beaumont Tiles has teamed up with Gripset to create a tile underlay system; and online platform Houzz identifies a number of bathroom trends.

SPECIAL FEATURE: GROUT 18 Kerakoll has commissioned designer and architect, Piero

Lissoni to curate the colours for its new grout collection, Fugabella Color.

SHOW REPORT 22 Cersaie 2019 is a showcase for ceramic tile products

of the highest aesthetic value, reinforcing the image of Italian-made beauty and design worldwide, according to Claudio Lucchese, chairman of Florim Ceramiche.

WATERPROOFING 30 Barry Schafer writes about waterproofing around the

edges of external structures such as decks and balconies.

MARKET 34 Regular contributor, Bryan Vadas suggests some ways for

tile businesses to limit the effects of a market contraction.

Tile Today now on: @tiletodaymagazine @tiletodaymagazine tile-today-magazine






TILE TODAY Proudly produced and printed in Australia ELITE PUBLISHING CO PTY LTD ABN: 27 006 876 419 PO BOX 800, Templestowe, Victoria, Australia 3106 Ph: + 61 3 9890 0815 Fax: + 61 3 9890 0087 Email: Website:

As we head towards the end of another year, it may be a good time to reflect on some of the industry developments that could make 2019 memorable. The year began as Tile Today marked its 100th edition of the magazine. On a global scale, the acquisition of major Brazilian tile company Eliane by US giant Mohawk Industries shows more consolidation is happening in the industry.

(l to r) Tile Empire showroom staff, Stephanie, Natasha, Sabrina and Siti. Read about the story on page 8.

Throughout the year, Peter Halliday has been providing regular information and data on ceramic tiles imports coming into Australia. Bryan Vadas has also been writing about his experiences with the Indian tile market, and Barry Schafer continues to share his in-depth knowledge about waterproofing with our readers. This year will also be memorable for Davco’s “Australia’s Best Tiler” competition. From finding regional champions around Australia to the national winner, David Snodgrass making the trip to China for the international grand final, Davco has been supporting tiling talent in a very genuine way. In this edition, international correspondent Joe Simpson reports from Cersaie and finds some striking combinations of colour, textures and patterns. Beaumont Tiles also provide their perspective of the show. From the team at Tile Today, we would like to wish our readers, advertisers and a happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to working with all of you in 2020.

PUBLISHER Vicky Cammiade EDITOR Betty Tanddo INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT Joe Simpson MACHINERY EDITOR Philip Ashley SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Trudi Woodward CIRCULATION For circulation enquiries please email: GRAPHIC DESIGN Plum Publishing Pty Ltd PRODUCTION For artwork and production enquiries please email: PRE-PRESS Prominent Digital

Until next time,

PRINTED BY Prominent Press Pty Ltd ELITE PUBLISHING CO PTY LTD PUBLISHERS OF: Flooring Magazine, Discovering Stone Magazine, Finishes & Surfaces Magazine, TileToday Magazine, Supplier Magazine and FB Magazine.

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Leading the Industry

The Dune brand was established in 1993 in Castellon, Spain and its glass mosaic finger tile in Deep Blue is featured on the front cover. Dune Mosaics comprise of smaller thin and rectangular tiles in a variety of finishes that once installed create a pattern that is more random than the standard tile finishes usually seen. They are sheet mounted to make installation quick and easy.




ELITE PUBLISHING CO PTY LTD. All rights reserved. No part of this publication maybe reproduced, transmitted or copied in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without the express prior written consent of Elite Publishing Co Pty Ltd. Viewpoints, opinions, claims, etc expressed in articles appearing in this publication are those of the authors. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the information supplied or for claims made by companies or their representatives regarding product performance, etc or for any errors, omissions, misplacement, alterations, or any subsequent changes, or for any consequences of reliance on this information or this publication.

Please note: Shade variation is an inherent feature of tile production. The Publisher is not liable for any discrepancy between images published in Tile Today and actual products.


6 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Endorsed by Australian Tile Council








A family made tile empire Tile Empire, the store, was established in 2019. But to know more about the family business behind it, the story has to start back in 1951.

Above: Exterior of the newly opened Tile Empire showroom in Osborne Park (WA). Next to it is the Tile Boutique showroom. Below:: (l&r) Mark and Gino Salomone, brothers and directors of Tiles Expo

8 | TILE TODAY #103 |


any immigrant success stories begin and end when individuals arrive on Australian shores, have families and work their way into obscurity. They contribute to the economy and society along the way. That did not happen to Nicola Salomone when he came to Western Australia in the early fifties, not speaking a word of English. His arrival eventually led to a tile business that has a strong presence in the home improvement, building and architectural market. After a few years, Nicola’s wife Concetta followed him to WA and in 1955, their son Gino was born. Fast forward to 1982 and the first Tiles Expo retail outlet was launched by Nicola, Gino and another son, Frank. Youngest sibling, Mark joined the business in 1986. There are now four locations: Tiles Expo showrooms in Mandurah and Midland, a warehouse and trade centre in Selby Street and a combined Tile Boutique and Tile Empire

showroom in Osborne Park. This showroom is over 1000sqm. Tile Empire is the latest project to be added to the Tiles Expo portfolio. It targets a more design-driven customer interested in luxury and opened in late October 2019. The suburb of Osborne Park, where Tile Empire is located, has several ceramic tile stores so the team constantly has to come up with ideas that deliver a point of difference. But ultimately it comes down to “servicing the clientele and displaying products properly”, said Gino. The approach to merchandising tiles the showrooms is best described as “lifestyle displays”. The directors committed to a lot of space in the new Tile Empire showroom to be able to showcase the tiles in larger areas. Overall, the business attracts a large cross section of the market in WA and its customers work in the retail, wholesale, construction, 10

Bathroom displays inside Tile Empire

architecture industries, as well as DIY home improvement renovators. “At the moment, our biggest clients are in the retail and building industries”, said Gino. After a market downturn four years ago, the business has “remained fairly steady with some ups and downs”, he said. Sales in the most recent quarter of 2019 have been on par with the same period in 2018.

Buying efficiencies Tiles Expo has been part of the Tile Boutique buying group since 2009. At the time, it needed to re-badge its name and logo because the directors believed they needed to be refreshed. The idea of becoming part of a group, pooling resources and contributing funds for advertising campaigns were the main benefits that appealed to Tiles Expo. Tile Boutique has a network of 35 independent retailers around Australia. The business holds major sales events two to three times a year, and

creates the marketing collateral to promote them to its customers. There are special posters and ticket sale prices made for the showrooms. Currently there is no e-commerce functionality on its websites. “Tiles are tactile and we want our customers to not only choose their products with confidence but we also want them to see, touch and truly feel them as we do,” explains Gino. “As great as technology is, you cannot replicate colour, tone, finish or texture on images satisfactorily enough for us to recommend and offer this type of purchase to our clients. “You also can’t replicate the same experience online as we provide in-store. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service including providing everything from technical advice to full colour consultations with our in-house interior designers. “E-commerce certainly has its place, however until this method of purchase offers a service that improves or is at least on-par with what we are currently offering, it’s not a space we see ourselves getting into.”

Skilled staff

Showroom consultants Kelly and Paula

10 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Staff and their training are taken very seriously at Tiles Expo. “We are fortunate to have a full time HR manager on staff as we realise how important the wellbeing of our staff is”, said Gino. “When a new employee begins their job, they are paired with an

experienced staff member for several weeks to learn our systems and what we consider as ‘the basics’. Then we provide tailored training depending on the individual circumstances. Both on and off-site training is available, generally conducted by other staff members and directors, or we engage with external professionals when required.” The opinion of staff is also taken into account when sourcing tile products and updating collections for the showrooms. “When new lines are either ordered or have arrived, the sales staff are advised and presentation is made to them with relevant brochures and technical data. This is usually done by the directors and representatives from tile suppliers [based mainly overseas]”, he explains.

Tile trends The current trends are in wood, marble, stone and concrete, according to Gino, so these tile products are still reflected in its core ranges. He adds: “There is a bit of terrazzo coming in which is a little hit and miss but will probably improve. Decorative tiles are also fairly popular at the moment.” Tiles Expo has invested inlarger and thinner tile formats since their inception back in 2006, said Gino. “Ranges carried in-store range are from 1000 x 1000 x 5mm to 1000 x 3000 x 5mm, and now 1200 x 1200 x 5mm to 1200 x 2700 x 5mm. “We tend to use the larger tile formats for bathrooms and kitchen

Lifestyle displays are created to display tiles

Staff work in a high end environment in Tile Empire

splashbacks with the square shaped 1000 x 1000 and 1200 x 1200 for main floors. We also have some 1600 x 3200 x 6mm ties that are also used for splash backs and benchtops but 10mm. are preferable for those areas”, he explains. Italian-based tile companies are the main suppliers to the business including Panaria, Cotto D’Este, Piemme and ABK. “We tend to have long relationships with our suppliers. If they keep making the right product for our market, there is no need to change. Pricing is always an issue but all suppliers have to be competitive with pricing in our economy. Making the right product is the most important factor to maintain your supplier. It’s not easy for any supplier to continually make the right product every year when the world market is so different”, he said. Interestingly, the worst time for the business dates back to between1988-1990 when the WA economy was booming but it couldn’t

get a reliable supply of tiles. “During the Seoul Olympic Games, it was an absolute nightmare. You just didn’t want to go into the office because you knew the phones would be ringing from customers asking where their tiles were. This is the one time I didn’t want to be in the industry and I didn’t want to go into work”, said Gino. But he also said there have been several “best and memorable” experiences, too many to mention. He nominates the huge Christmas parties it organises and the annual Cersaie event in Bologna, Italy. “It’s always a great place to go to see what the Italians have come up with especially with the development of technology that is changing every day. And of course, the food, wine and catching up with old friends”, he said. Gino also cites the opening of its Tile Boutique showroom in Osborne Park four years ago as a major milestone. Gino and the team at Tiles Expo,

Bathroom ware, especially large tubs, are featured in Tile Empire

Creative displays dominate Tile Empire

have always enjoyed the tile industry despite some tough times because it has always kept them interested. “You meet great clients, reps and people from different parts of the world and also your own staff who are a great bunch of people”, he said.

Artistic flair on show in the Tile Empire showroom | TILE TODAY #103 | 11


Davco’s “Best Tiler” crowned in China out of the five international participants and third overall. “This experience has been incredible! The people I’ve met, the places I’ve travelled and the support I’ve received from Davco has been boundless. I encourage everyone to give it a go, it’s a once in a lifetime experience”, he said. Prior to the event in China, seven regional champions competed in a two-day event for the chance to claim the

Five of the best tilers from around the world, as determined by Davco’s Best Tiler competition, travelled to in Guangzhou, China where the crowning event was held. Representing Australia was David Snodgrass who claimed the title of Australia’s Best Tiler in September after winning the Queensland regional and taking top spot at the national final held in Sydney. Davco sales representative and current world skills judge, Peter Steinweiss, was also representing Australia as an official judge and mentor. "From day one, David has been entirely and wholeheartedly committed to the competition. His passion for his trade drives his success and Davco is very proud to have had such a humble, hardworking individual representing Australia. It's been an honour to mentor David and support him on this extraordinary journey", said Peter. The international competition took place across three days which included training, theory and practical components. David was up against a very talented group of competitors from France, Paraguay, Argentina, Morocco and twenty-two participants from host nation, China. After all the glue had dried, David finished in first place

Regional winners at the Davco NRL event inside ANZ Stadium

(l&r) National winner, David Snodgrass and Davco Australia managing director, Andrew Nunn

On the ground of ANZ Stadium before the Bulldogs v Broncos match.

Davco's brand ambassador and former NRL player Mark ‘MG’ Geyer (centre) dropped in at TAFE Macquarie Fields during the competition

12 | TILE TODAY #103 |

prestigious title of “Australia’s Best Tiler”. The location of the national competition was TAFE Macquarie Fields in New South Wales, with industry tools and educators on hand to guide participants through their day. With the majority of the tiling done, Davco's brand ambassador and former NRL player Mark ‘MG’ Geyer, dropped in to meet and encourage the participants. Once the official competition wrapped up, the group headed out for an exclusive Davco NRL experience where they could unwind after an intensive few days. During half-time, Andrew Nunn, managing director of Davco Australia announced David as the winner of Australia’s Best Tiler. David began tiling in 1997 and was inspired by his neighbour who was a tiler and would often ask him to help out when the apprentice was away. Whilst busy working in a tile store, David realised that he could help do repairs and handyman work for customers that other tilers didn’t want to do. Going back to study and obtaining his licence, David now has his own tiling business called, Q Tile Rite. "The commitment shown by all competitors has been amazing”, said Andrew. “They’ve each sacrificed a day’s wages to earn a spot in the national final. Davco has always been committed to the tiling industry and development of skills. We are proud to give David the opportunity to represent Australia in the world championship event in China.”

(l&r) Peter Steinweiss and David Snodgrass with the Davco mascot in China

International competitors in Guangzhou, China

Basins in living colour The Allure basin range from Beaumont Tiles is a nod to the emergent trend of pastel shades in bathroomware. The basins in any selected shade is set to become a must watch style for Spring 2019 interiors trends, according to strategic designer Christie Wood. They come in a 360 x 360 x 120mm size and in a matte finish. “Coloured basins are the path less

travelled when it comes to spicing up a bathroom; most people opt for a vibrant wall or statement tiles. The Allure range lets you experiment with colour in ways far beyond the ordinary,” said Christie. “When playing with colourful hues in the range, let the basin be the focal point with all other features being merely complementary.” Beaumonts told Tile Today the

strategic design team is focused on forecasting and sourcing exceptional products from around Australia and the world. The Allure basin forms part of this curation and is sourced from a high-quality ceramics manufacturer based in China. The company has been offering bathroom ware and accessories for more than a decade. This includes everything from tapware and vanities, right through to baths, toilets, showers, and even mirrors. The Allure basin has been stocked in stores since May 2019. For the majority of Beaumonts’ stores, bathroomware accounts for around 20% of their revenue. The inclusion of its full bathroom packages in 2018 has contributed to the growth of this category; along with simplifying the renovation process for many Australians. “It is something we look forward to expanding further as we move into 2020,” said Beaumonts.

Rethinking the built environment In recognition of the changing needs and challenges of the building industry, DesignBUILD 2020 will look towards the future of Australia’s built environment with a renewed focus. Now entering its 34th year, the annual industry event is one of Australia’s longest running trade show that brings together architects, commercial builders and property developers with manufacturers and suppliers in the commercial design and construction industry. Building on this foundation, DesignBUILD is implementing several changes for its 2020 event. A renewed focus for DesignBUILD 2020

These include the launch of a new Digital Building Zone, to capitalise on the digitisation opportunity in the AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Owner-operated) sector. It will offer an immersive experience for major players to showcase solutions in construction technology and smart buildings. DesignBUILD will also work closely with UK sister event Digital Construction Week, to deliver the latest thinking in the construction industry including cloud-based design collaboration, artificial intelligence and sensor technology. Newly appointed event director James Laing is eager for the 2020 event to demonstrate the continuing innovations happening throughout the entire build process in Australia. “There are a number of profound changes that have rapidly affected the construction industry over the past year, including issues around cladding and defective materials,” he said.

“Through our renewed 2020 focus, we hope to offer visitors a forum where they can connect with trustworthy brands representing the entire build spectrum, learn about practical solutions, and engage with cutting-edge technology. “In response to extensive visitor and exhibitor research, we have created a standalone event for our Chinese exhibitors that will sit outside of DesignBUILD to deliver a better experience for attendees.” In taking a more holistic view of the future built environment, the event will be co-located with Total Facilities for the first time, supporting the need for high-performing facilities, intelligent living and work spaces. This will make DesignBUILD 2020 the largest destination for Australia’s built environment. Interested parties are invited to experience the next DesignBUILD, which is returning to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 21-23 April 2020.

Bathroom trends from Houzz Houzz Australia and New Zealand editor, Vanessa Walker, looked into the bathroom photos users saved to their Houzz ideabooks from January through May 2019 to find out which photos were the most saved this year. Here are her trend-based tile tips based on community findings from Houzz: Add texture – Fish-scale tiles are growing in appeal as homeowners on Houzz seek to enhance the texture in their bathroom. The modern bathroom uses these tiles with touches of brass for sophistication and a floating vanity to maximise the space. Dabble with designs – Chevron and herringbone patterns have been gaining popularity on Houzz over the longer term. Perhaps it’s because they have the ability to make a room look higher when the tiles are applied correctly, as the arrow-like shape draws eyes up. Bigger is better – Large-scale tiles

continue to capture the attention of Houzz homeowners with biggersized bathrooms, particularly in neutral colours. In fact, according to the Houzz AU Bathroom Trends study, grey was the most popular bathroom floor colour (44 per cent). Find more tile professionals at

The professionals who worked on this project Studio Black Interiors) used a concrete-like tile on the floors and furthest wall, leading people deeper into the bathroom

Fish scales tiles from Smart Style Bathrooms

IF ONLY THEY KNEW... Meet Ed and Sarah. They love their home and recently retiled their balcony. The job was perfect and they were thrilled. But 1 month later, they started to get leaching so they had their tiles professionally cleaned. The efflorescence returned so they cleaned it again. And again, and again.



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Underlay system for tile projects In a bid to help tilers minimise costs and maximise efficiencies during the pre-Christmas rush, Beaumont Tiles, has partnered with Gripset to introduce a tile underlay system – BT InstaLay CTU. The high-strength, lightweight sheeting system is the thinnest of its kind, and a smarter alternative to traditional cement sheeting. It allows tilers to complete projects with less manpower, in just a fraction of the usual time. Beaumont Tiles chief executive officer, Danny Casey says at a time when productivity and lower costs are paramount, InstaLay reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to meeting the growing demands of the tiling industry. “As the industry continuously evolves, so too do the requirements of our tradies. Tilers are now looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve and level up the products they use,” he said. “In a nutshell, InstaLay allows projects to begin more quickly, and also increases the speed of application, keeping installation time and costs down. “Whether it’s to cover timber floors or conceal worn vinyl, InstaLay can be applied directly on top of a variety of existing surfaces, acting as a sturdy blank canvas for both commercial and residential tiling projects.” Complete with reinforced PVC, the system can also be applied to surfaces where movement is expected, quickly making way for a fresh, long-lasting tile installation. Once applied, the system can be immediately tiled over to help shed hours off the application process and allow other elements of the project to commence, such as painting, carpentry and electrical. “Mistakes are common when trying to meet tight project deadlines. That’s why it was important to us to ensure that InstaLay’s self-adhesive properties are simple and streamlined to help omit unnecessary risk,” Danny said. “The system can be removed and repositioned as required without damage or compromise to adhesion, 16 | TILE TODAY #103 |

saving both time and stress in the event of an error in the application process – great for a variety of situations that tilers face daily. “These advanced qualities also mean floor finishes can be removed over time without damaging the existing floor substrates, considerably cutting the cost of recurring floor repairs.” When compared to traditional cement sheeting, InstaLay is kinder to the body, with no noise, no odour, no heavy lifting and no nailing required. Weighing just 800 grams a square metre, the system is easier to cut. It also reduces exposure to silica dust, which is associated with lung disease. Gripset managing director Phil Scardigno said, “With this product our aim was to not only make life easier for tilers, but also to enable floor tiles to be the preferred finish in situations previously not possible.” “After a few minutes of chatting

with Bob Beaumont and the broader team, we knew that the collaboration was going to enable us to deliver optimum value to market with an unparalleled tile underlay system.” Danny added:“The development of BT InstaLay CTU is a clear indication of where the industry is headed, and how companies like Beaumonts and Gripset can help support growth and efficiencies with truly game-changing products.” Other key features of the Australian made and owned BT InstaLay CTU include: • No ‘drummy’ effects to tiled floor finishes • Allows immediate fixing of tiles and screeds, no waiting for drying • Efficient tile adhesive consumption • Prevents risk of efflorescence into tiled floor finishes



The grout revolution is in technicolour Grout was once viewed as a very prosaic product, simply used to fill the spaces between tiles – grey for floors, white for walls. But today’s grouts have a more pronounced role in successful tile installations. Joe Simpson reports.


hile the main purposes of tiling grout – to seal the joints and protect them from dirt or stains, and to withstand any expansion and contraction of the tile – have not changed, coloured grout can radically change the look of any installation. Traditionally white or grey, grout it is now produced in a large range of colours which can contrast with, or complement, the colour of the tiles, or even match the tile so closely that the grout joints are difficult to discern. Bright yellow, red, and sparkly grouts have fallen out of favour and many have been discontinued as grout shades follow interior colour trends that favour more subtle tones.

Kerakoll has taken grout design one step further by commissioning designer and architect, Piero Lissoni to curate the colours for its new grout collection, Fugabella Color. The result is a range of 50 colours, from delicate neutrals and gentle pastels through to rich, intense shades that can either be used to create the illusion of a continuous surface or as an integral part of the design, notably in mosaic installations. Of course, coloured grouts must be fit for purpose, with colours that do not fade, or stain. Without the correct formulation, UV light can bleach colours. In the past, some cementitious grouts have been prone to Portlandite, the unsightly salt and lime efflorescence caused by the

There are 50 colours in the Fugabella colour wheel

18 | TILE TODAY #103 |

inclusion of Portland cement. Recent product developments have resulted in products that do not have these problems. For instance, Kerakoll’s Fugabella Color is a resin-cement hybrid formulated with a new mix of pure, natural binders that have been hybridised with resin binders and other additives. The particles used in the grout allow it to be produced in a wide range of rich intense colours. These particles have a defined shape and an optimised size distribution to deliver an even colour disbursement that remains stable over time. It is an advanced cementitious grout with enhanced water-resistance and antibacterial properties As a resin-cement grout, Fugabella Color does not contain Portland cement so it is not affected by Portlandite. The resin hybrid formulation remains workable without changing consistency in the bucket, so there is no need to add water. This is something that can lead to colour inconsistency in traditional cementitious grouts. Traditional grouts can be divided into two main classes. The first is cementitious grout: a powdered mix of cement binder and aggregate to which water is added. Advanced cementitious grout formulations feature additional components, such as polymers or biocides, to provide enhanced characteristics such as mould and bacteria resistance, or faster setting times. The second main class is reactive resin grouts, typically an epoxy resin mixed with a filler. 20


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The market has been complicated by the emergence of products like Fugabella Color. The formulation of this resin-cement hybrid means that its performance values regarding abrasion resistance, colour uniformity, colour durability, water-repellence, stain resistance, and ease of maintenance are similar to those achieved by reactive resin grouts, but without the additional cost and difficulty of application.

Epoxy grouts Epoxy grouts tend to be more expensive than conventional cement-based grouts. They can also be more difficult to use and can cause allergic reactions in the people applying them. However, they set harder and do not break down as easily as cementitious formulations. This gives them advantages in specific environments such as areas where hygiene is important. Many specialist tiling contractors remain firm advocates of epoxy (reactive resin) grouts. One reason is the impermeable characteristics of epoxy that makes it ideal for applications where hygiene is of the utmost importance, such as hospitals and food production facilities. For example, Mapei Kerapoxy is resistant to animal fats, oils, and

grease, so it is an ideal grouting choice for meat processing plants and commercial kitchens. Mapei epoxy grouts also emit extremely low levels of VOC, and provide impressive mechanical and compressive strength characteristics. At the other end of the scale, highly decorative products like Mapei Kerapoxy Design can add to a surface aesthetic, and dry to a translucent finish that is effective when used with glass tiles or mosaics. These impervious grouts are available in a spectrum of designer shades and can be enhanced by the addition of 23 colour options in Mapeglitter, making the grout joint a design statement. Epoxy grouts can also be used in domestic applications as their durability, aesthetically pleasing appearance, and easy cleanability are all valued attributes. Over a long period of service, cementbased grout can discolour, stain, and soften with harsh cleaning products, but epoxy grouts offer years of efficient service without these common problems. One reason why epoxy grouts are not used by more installers is their reputation for being hard to use, and for setting extremely quickly. This is changing because the latest generation of epoxy

grouts are easier to install, with certain products. Mapei’s Kerapoxy CQ has been specifically designed with ease of application in mind. This is achieved through the use of specially graded coloured quartz. In traditional epoxy grouts, the colour is derived from the resin, often leaving a coloured smudgelike residue over the surface of the tile that can be difficult to remove without a suitable cleaner. With Mapei’s Kerapoxy CQ, the colour comes from the quartz which simplifies the cleaning off process. And, with an average pot life of approximately 45 to 60 minutes, the rapid setting issue has been largely overcome. The finishing process with epoxy grouts has also been improved. Most manufacturers will recommend a suitable cleaning product to help remove the slight haze left on the surface of the tile after installation. For instance, Mapei Kerapoxy Cleaner is designed to be used with the Mapei Kerapoxy grout range, and available in an easy-to-use spray bottle applicator. There are now epoxy grout formulations that can be cleaned off without fuss just using water, white felt, and a cellulose sponge. Some products challenge traditional definitions of grout. For

Kerakoll’s Fugalite Bio is a water-based hypo-allergenic resin for waterproof, stain-proof, silk-effect grouting of porcelain tiles, natural stones and glass mosaic

Fugalite Eco Invisible grout is being marketed as the solution to maintain the beauty of artistic glass mosaics and blends

Mapei Kerapoxy Design is a two-component, decorative, acid resistant epoxy grout (available in 32 different colours). It can also be used as an adhesive.

instance, Litokol Starlike (which has been available for more than a decade now) resolves three different requirements: bonding, sealing, and smoothing. In effect, it is an epoxy grout that can also be used as an adhesive and levelling product for wall applications. Starlike, a UV-resistant epoxy sealant for both indoor and outdoor use, is billed as a new way of designing surfaces where colour variation is an essential element of the design. As well as a vast colour choice, divided into three families, Starlite has built-in antibacterial qualities and is thus suitable for healthcare facilities, laboratories, public swimming pools, commercial kitchens, and other hygiene-sensitive locations. But it is the aesthetic appeal that really define the range. Starlike Crystal is designed for grouting glass and artistic mosaics. It is formulated to absorb the colour of transparent glass tiles and to change depending on the host tile’s colour. The neutralcoloured translucent joints are ideal for artistic mosaics because they highlight the colours and do not interfere with the overall look. Joe Simpson is the international correspondent for Tile Today

Fusion Pro Premixed grout This is a ready-to use grout that has “unsurpassed performance” in stain resistance and colour consistency that “never needs sealing”, according to ACT Australia. Suitable for grout joints 1mm – 13mm, Fusion Pro offers the same stain resistance performance as 100% solids epoxy grout. No mixing is required, users can simply open the lid and start grouting. Fusion Pro is easy to apply and clean off, leaving full grout joints with no shade variation or efflorescence issues, and no waste. It is available in a range of 10 popular colours.



AUDACIOUS DESIGNS AND CLEVER TECHNOLOGY If Cersaie 2019 had one lesson – it was that bold and beautiful is the way forward in tiles, according to international correspondent Joe Simpson

22 | TILE TODAY #103 |


ersaie never disappoints when it comes to innovation and trends — and 2019 was no different. In fact, this year’s exhibition was the most “out there” show for several years, with colour, textures and patterns really grabbing the attention. While greys of all types, white marbles, and woodeffect tiles were still prominent, it was colour and pattern, in varying forms, that really caught the eye. Perhaps the main stylistic direction was the growing use of colour on smaller format tiles, whether repeating patterns, plain, or the latest glazing effect: Zellige. This is a fresh take on the traditional Moroccan terracotta tile, boasting non-uniform, worn-out colours and enticing surface variations. Overall, Cersaie 2019 offered a plethora of ideas to stimulate creativity and inspire imaginative design thinking, with many original and evocative exhibits. Encaustic tiles and ceramic versions of the everpopular hydraulic cement tiles remain significant. In 2019, it appeared to lean towards Art Deco inspired decorative tiles, with a distinctly French feel. It is this season’s interpretation on 20th Century modernism with a cool, contemporary feel. Decoration is central with tiles providing the primary decorative element in the interior, both on walls and floors, instead of serving as an adjunct to wallpaper, fabric, or furniture. Sober urban style remains an enduring theme. At Cersaie, much of the burden in this area was carried by neutral stone-effect tiles, recalling French limestone, or soft cement-effects that played down the industrial aesthetic. It was interesting to see many manufacturers offering broad ranging stone portfolios. Large format wall tiles had timeless neutrality, complemented by small 3D formats, geometric forms, raised metallic glazed patterns, and matte-satin/gloss contrasts.

Many factories also paired these stone effects, even marble looks, with wood-effect tiles. This resulted in many material mix fusions: a look that is likely to grow in influence over the next few years. The resurgence of small format wall tiles has led to a string of designs that highlight tiles as ornamental jewels, with striking colours, rich metallic glazes, dramatic inclusions, and borders all adding visual impact. Here, the small format becomes a playful companion to larger tiles, whether for feature panels, decorative stripes, dramatic inserts or contrasting borders. It reflects the steady growth of maximalism in the tile design world, a heady trend for tile enthusiasts after many years when minimalism held sway. And many of these jewel tiles have clear historical references. As manufacturers explore the outer limits of the creative potential of inkjet printing, digital glues, metallic glazes, and green cutting of unfired tiles, ceramic tile designers seem to have found more ways to be inspired. The result is a period of unprecedented creativity for the ceramic tile sector. Botanical designs were a common sight, particularly bold leaf and flower prints. Available in a rich variety of patterns and prints, these designs offer an excellent way to introduce bright colours and patterns into any interior. 24



While facsimiles of natural materials, notably wood and marble, remain dominant in current tile portfolios, they can be softened and made more intriguing by these vibrant botanical designs, particularly those inspired by tropical flora and fauna. Five years ago, such designs were the preserve of a handful of avant garde manufacturers, Cersaie 2019 provided ample evidence that this has gone mainstream.

Shibusa from Isla Tiles is an elegant rendition of wood

Maximalist design has seen ceramic tiles evolve from cold, modern hues to warmer, stronger colour choices. From yellows, to greens and blues, adding colour to interiors with porcelain and ceramic tiles can influence the entire space and uplift the mood. The emergence of different options, such as Aparici’s wonderful red metallic glazes, offer fresh designs. It was interesting that these colour palettes draw on divergent period references, from Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture, right through to the postwar palettes of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. So Cersaie had examples of tiles that would seem right at home in a heritage property through to designs that could have come straight from an American post-war diner, or one of the first wave of European espresso bars.

mic slabs, I Filati di Rex Florim launched a collection of cera company Rubelli with Italian textiles and furniture

Radical references to the 1960s and 70s were plentiful, with psychedelic colours, playful geometries, and trippy patterns galore. A trip down memory lane means following Tonino Lamborghini’s Interlagos, Imola Ceramica’s Let It Bee, Ce.Vi.’s Oro di Napoli, Bardelli’s Fleurs, Caesar’s Join, Emilceramica’s Dimore, Marca Corona’s Paprica, Ornamenta’s Décor, or Target Group’s Icon.

TALK ABOUT TEXTURE Texture could be seen in an increasing number of ranges, particularly plain stone and neutral wall tiles, are now produced with tactile 3D surfaces. This subtly enhances the neutral, adding texture and interest to any space, particularly as the direction and angle of sunlight changes through the day, or when artificially lit at night.

Hike from Caesar cap tures the essence of wooden planks in de shades. An extra-larg licate e size 300 by 2,400 mm opens up new options. installatio


Geometric tiles and pattern were enduring at Cersaie. It saw the introduction of new shapes and variations on established favourites like hexagons and chevrons. Using patterned tiles within an interior scheme draws the viewer’s eye and can be used to make a powerful statement.

Arcana Cerámica’s La Mine collection is inspired by oxidized metal and cem ent

Manufacturers were keen to show how it is possible to create infinite tile designs by combining different sizes and colours, or using tiles with geometric lines. With so many sizes, formats, and colours to choose from, Australian tile retailers can leverage this trend to inspire customers on how geometric tiles can be used to liven up otherwise characterless spaces. Over the past year, one particular shape, the hexagon, has ruled the roost. At Cersaie 2019, many factories combined same-size hexagons with different designs – marble-effect, wood-effect, stone-effect – to create additional decorative choices. But single design hexagonal were shown in a multitude of sizes, colours,

24 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Freehand wall tiles from Iris Ceramica celebrates “imperfection”

and textures, especially on floors, where they offer almost limitless design potential.

also some very appealing blue and green tinged marbles. This could well be a design direction for the future.

This year’s event proved that terrazzo has not run out of steam. Perhaps this is not surprising as this is a quintessential Italian look, and the event is the main showcase for Italian floor tile manufacturers.


At the show, terrazzo came in a vast number of designs. The stands had terrazzo with micro inclusions in very neutral palettes right through to macro inclusions in bright primary colours. There was even a terrazzo formed using reclaimed terrazzo: an ingenious way to repurpose old floors without any loss of quality or design impact. Some of the latest iterations included dazzling speckled colours, while retaining all the age-old virtues of this hard-wearing and long-lasting surface. Micro and macro fragments, technicolour dots, and playful interpretations of terrazzo all played a starring role. Great examples included Casalgrande Padana’s Macro, Refin’s Risseu, Leonardo’s Overcome, and Marca Corona’s Foyer. Cersaie was awash with stone-effect collections deserving of attention. As ever, marble-effects were dominant. There were many timeless grey and white shades all featuring excellent marbling effects created using digital printing on porcelain. Gold hues and black and white marble effects caught the eye, but there were

The event saw subtle upgrades to many of the more established design directions. Overall, the dominant trends remain white marbles, sophisticated wood-effects, industrial concrete-effects, burnished metallics, terrazzo, and encaustic-inspired patterned floor tiles. In wall tiles, there were more traditional small formats such as 100 by 100mm, 200 by 200mm, 100 by 300mm etc., plus thin format rectangular designs in plain, patterned, and coloured alternatives. Worktops and fabricated tiles in many different guises, were shown alongside ventilated tiled façades and, notably, 20mm exterior grade floor tiles. Cersaie 2019 also saw many more photographic panels displaying how the high definition digital facsimiles of almost any image or surface can now be reproduced on tile using the latest digital decorating techniques. Colours included saturated pastels, especially greens, blues, and green-blues, with warm pinks or subtle purples 26



adding contrast. One innovation that got noticed was luxe metallics. Aparici’s Cherry was an outstanding example, but it was in good company with many manufacturers experimenting with subtle coloured and aged metallic glazes. Super-exaggerated decors based on natural inspirations, first seen as colour-washed wood-effects with black veins, have emerged. Notably white marbles with heavy black veining. Another key word this year was melange. Manufacturers threw different together patterned tiles of the same format to create a patchwork quilt effects. But there were also many unusual material mixes such as terrazzo tiles with timber inclusions, or parquet floors with marble inserts. To get a feel for this style, take a look at Provenza’s Alter, Piemme’s Materia, Del Conca’s Timeline, Fioranese’s Sfrido, Emilceramica’s Millelegni Remake, Sant’Agostino’s Timewood, or Vallelunga’s Nolita. For sheer visual impact, massive floral panels, especially tropical leaves, were the clear winners. Rambling roses, large Chinese vases, and even Japanese manga cartoons could all be found as decorative devices. Designers know that a touch of greenery can add comfort or whimsy to any space – not to mention the psychological benefits of biophilia. This year’s tile collections offer florals from hyper-realistic green walls to playful palm prints. Perhaps the standout collections came from 41Zero42, but there were many examples such as Colli di Sassuolo’s Extra, Florim’s I Filati di Rex, Francesco de Maio’s Verde Verticale, Casalgrande Padana’s Limpha, Emilceramica’s Tele di Marmo Revolution, Fap’s Nux, Ragno’s Maiora, and Vallelunga’s I-Sense. So, in 2019, tiles were full of compelling patterns, saturated colour, and interesting surface effects made possible by new technologies and collaborations with famous design studios and fashion houses such as Mendini, Lissoni, Versace, Valentino, and Rubelli. Relief is a centuries-old sculptural technique, and this year’s collections were full of relief, from ridges and creases to more sculptural surfaces, like boiserie. Great examples include Fioranese’s Fio.Block, Valelunga’s Soffio, Made+39’s Drapes, and Atlas Concorde’s Aix. From designs emulating rare marbles and semiprecious stones to tiles with an iridescent finish reminiscent of Akoya pearls, preciousness was a theme picked up by manufacturers. This gives interior designers a chance to source rare and precious materials without depleting the Earth’s natural resources. Some of the best examples included Valentino by Ceramiche Piemme’s Opulence, Naxos’s Rhapsody, and LaFaenza’s Oro; but it is worth checking out ABK’s Sensi Gems, Blustyle’s Elite, Casa Dolce Casa’s Onyx & More, Coem’s Moon Stone, Decoratori Bassanesi’s Luci di Venezia, Del Conca’s Boutique, Fondovalle’s Infinito, Mirage’s Cosmopolitan, Refin’s Vietri-Lux, Sant’Agostino’s Akoya, and Vallelunga’s Nolita, to name but a few. 26 | TILE TODAY #103 |

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CERSAIE FORECAST: BEAUMONT TILES Beaumont Tiles has forecast some major trends set for the Australian market in 2020 based on its learnings from Cersaie. It predicts 2020 styling will draw influence from ecology and organics with colour palettes evolving from the aqueous patinas dominant in 2019 towards deep greens. Strategic designer, Christie Wood said: “The environment and the world around us are at the forefront of many people’s minds, and this in a design sense has translated into the colours and materials predicted to trend as we migrate into the new year. 2020 speaks to our connection with nature and explores the playful movement of foliage and greenery. “The Cersaie forecast has alluded to big, bold and multidimensional tiles that make hero-statements as opposed to supporting acts. “This evolutionary tile application is changing the way that tradespeople see and utilise tiles in their projects. Terrazzo, concrete and emulated stone are featured widely in these grand sizes.” The “bigger is better” mantra continues next year with the slab tiles gaining momentum and providing no hint of slowing down. Early adopters over the past 18-months have embraced these giants, and the industry has responded with this demand with even more combinations and sizes on offer at this year’s event. "Rustrial – a rustic, less structured variation of the much-loved industrial look – made its debut at Cersaie. From this, expect to see much finer concrete slab looks, which are much softer and more delicate than their ancestors,” explains Christie. “Slab tile hues are warming to greige – a style which combines grey and beige Earthy tones of tan, taupe and brown also made a strong appearance. “Expect to see pulpis, ceppo di gre, slate and granite looks start to add their pages to the natural slab stone narrative. These gentle giants are hygienic, durable and delightful, and mean a streamlined look with less grout lines “Slabs tiles are one to watch in 2020 and well worth taking specialist tools and training required, as they have a multitude of applications across both commercial and residential projects.”

FACTS, FIGURES AND FINAL VERDICT Cersaie 2019 attracted a total of 112,340 visitors over five days: a modest increase (0.2%) compared to 2018. This included 52,997 international visitors, while the number of Italian visitors grew by 2.2% to 59,343. Cersaie 2019 saw a significant improvement in the quality and variety of products, as well as a rise in the number of exhibitors, increasing to 889 stands from 40 countries. There were 458 ceramic tile companies and 214 from the bathroom furnishing sector. Campani’s Divinae is a marble-ef fect collection

As Cersaie was such a diverse and vibrant show it is hard to sum it up succinctly. There was the return to smaller square tiles based on the old Imperial four and six-inch standard. These petite tiles, now being used in tandem with modern printing and production techniques, have been given a whole new lease of life. 28

Terrazzo is here and is not going anywhere. Its designs and tones have grown and developed over the past 24 months into such a broad range ensuring that no matter what your previous conceptions were, in 2020 you are bound to become a fan. “Developments in glazing technology have allowed manufacturers to develop the most visually appealing variations of terrazzo that we’ve seen to-date,” said Christie.

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“The new style of glaze manufacturing accentuates random aggregate chips with a gloss finish. This means that the tiles sparkle and shine as you move around and are perfect for open plan areas.” As styles migrate from the waves to the rainforest, vibrant greens and tropical patinas are the shades to watch take dominance in summer 2020. Pastels were still out in force, with pastel pink moving to the forefront of the colour story. “Palette direction is most certainly bringing a broader social consciousness around the environment to the fore, with green and organic variations taking the leading cue at Cersaie,” said Christie. “From tropical palm prints, through to leaves and even birds reflect a broader social desire for connection to the natural environment – these are great styles to recommend to clients who are unsure of where to take their renovation’s look for 2020.”

Casalgrande Padana’s Macro is a playful interpretation of terrazzo

Soft pinks, tonal blues and rustic oranges were other colours predominately used to bring spaces to life in lieu of green. Shades of warming brown neutrals balanced the colour palette for those who prefer understated elegance. “Moroccan and Bedouin decorative styles in 200x200 again referenced nature with symmetrical leaf designs and abstract floral patterns, tying into the organic forecast again,” she adds. chtal is a mosaic

Karl by Agrob Bu

collection | TILE TODAY #103 | 27


CERSAIE Progetto porcelain stoneware surfaces from Campani come in four colours

At the other end of sizing scale, ‘artwork’ tiles – from 600 by 1,200mm through to 1,600 by 2,800mm and beyond – x 2.8 metres – are offering patterns more usually found on wallpaper, from tropical prints, to abstract shapes, classical motifs, and panelling effects. Sartoria, a brand Italian manufacturer Terratinta, was one of a few manufacturers to describe its collections as “ceramic wallpaper”. Designs from the Scenari line included a stunning flamingo print, one featuring parrots, and an array of exotic plants and foliage. Another good example is Casalgrande Padana which continued its foray into ceramic wallpaper with an expanded collectionthat had Coral Roses and another that perfectly replicates the bark of a tree. But Cersaie was not all about aesthetics. Marazzi used the show to launch its latest technology – StepWise – which can create tiles with high anti-slip ratings that are also very easy to clean. This technology can be used on a wide variety of designs and applications; something that is becoming increasingly important in this age of personal liability and aggressive litigation.

Ceramica Del Conca’s Ony x Bagno collection made its debut at Cersaie 2019

Finally, it seems that, for the next year at least, blue is the colour. From pale through to vibrant shades, blue was the standout colour of the show in all areas, closely followed by green, with petal pinks and subtle purples were also in evidence.

Terrazzo Maximini from and maxi fragments”

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The Stracciatella range es from Arcana Tiles com in an 800 by 800mm rectified format. The matte finish provides homogeneity to the surface.

28 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Isla Tiles used cutting -edge production technolog ies to create Pietra Mediterranea, a stoneeffect range

nese Ghiaia, the latest collection for Fiora stone turns little pebbles into slivers of

Blaze from Iris Ceramica presented in the classic 10x30 cm brick shape

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Vertical up-stands around decks or balconies Wind-driven rainwater poses a particular problem when it comes to the waterproofing around the edges of external structures such as decks and balconies, according to Barry Schafer The height required to prevent water breaching over the termination of waterproofing around the edge of decks or balconies is often not high enough to stop water entry from wind driven rainwater. Australian Standard AS4654 – 2012 “Waterproofing membranes systems for exterior use – Above ground level Part 2: Design and installation” offers a helpful guide in Table A1 of Appendix A — but it is a guide, rather than a requirement. It provides guidance for the height needed to prevent breaching, with heights ranging from 40mm to 180mm, depending on the velocity of the winds to which the structure will be exposed. The height required really depends on an assessment of the exposure to wind driven rain at a local level. In making that assessment, it is important to consider that exposure will be affected by other buildings around the deck or balcony. Wind conditions also vary widely: a situation where conditions are "mostly calm" might still experience more extreme conditions on a regular basis. Designs are often not optimised to make waterproofing easier. For example, there is a general reluctance to have steps at the door threshold onto a deck. What can happen when this is the case, and there is exposure to high winds, is shown in Figure 1. The carpet has been damaged from moisture which has penetrated the waterproofing. The lack of sufficient stand-up is shown in the outdoor angle of the same situation in Figure 2. 32 30 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Figure 1: Carpet damage behind the doorway

Figure 2: Windowsill located directly onto the level of the deck

Figure 3: Low up-stands under the window

In this case, the deck in question was located on the other side of a roadway adjacent to a sea front. Additionally, the deck faced to the south-west, which meant it was exposed to major wind-driven rain from the west to the south. The Table in AS 4654 part 2 would require a minimum upstand of 100 mm — not with, as in this case, the sill of the door frame sitting flush with the deck surface. With this installation there is also an issue with the door frame having the drainage hole in the frame flush with the sill. Wind would most likely push water flowing down the fixed windowpane back into this drainage hole. Australian Standard AS2047 – 1999 “Windows in buildings – Selection and installation” gives guidance for the design of windows for various exposure conditions. With the lack of up-stand for the drainage onto the sill, it is highly unlikely that the window installed in this location would pass the design requirement of the Standard. That said, even in relatively sheltered situations, water leakage can still occur if the even the minimum standards are not met. For example, Figure 3 shows an example where the up-stand under the windowsill is less than the 40mm minimum given in AS 4654.2. The up-stands in this situation are only about 15mm in height. Even though this deck was in a sheltered position, water still entered the dwelling behind the window doorway. Preventing water leakage into buildings in a vulnerable exposure condition goes beyond the design of the waterproofing system itself. If there is a need to achieve a level floor between the deck and the inside of the building, while still maintaining good waterproofing, this could be achieved by installing a grate drain across the doorway, as shown in Figure 4. There are two obstacles to the installation of these drains, as effective as they can be. The first is simply that they are expensive to install. That is in part a consequence of the second obstacle, which is that they can be difficult to install on cantilever decks as they require to be recessed into the 32 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Using the pink for tiles WP-1 “The Pink One” is a Class III waterborne flexible SBR under tile membrane. In most cases, priming is not required as WP-1 has Infused Primer Technology (IPT). WP-1 is a two-coat system for both floor and wall applications with the second coat being applied after only 2hrs. WP-1 is ready to tile over or apply screed over after only 24hrs of application of the second coat. This product can be used directly to Scyon sheeting and is extremely durable with strong adhesion. It will not be easily damaged even if other trades are working on top of the finished floor surface before it’s tiled over. Both Neutral Cure

top of the cantilever at the maximum stress zone of the cantilever. One way to reduce the structural problem is to lift the flow rate of the drain, so that they do not need to be as deep. In these situations, it may be worthwhile looking at a syphon drainage system. Syphon systems suck the water out of drains below atmospheric pressure which results in much lower water levels in the drains, delivering a faster flow rate. With all decks and balconies, it is important that consideration is given

Figure 4: A grate drain installed across a doorway

silicone or PU sealant are the recommended bond breaking systems for WP-1 applications. Available in 4-litre, 12-litre and 20-litre drums, WP-1 will cover 1sqm per litre after two coats.

to the exposure to wind driven rain is made so an appropriate up-stand can be designed to prevent water entry into the building behind the deck. AS 4654.2 Table A1 in the appendix of the Standard is a useful guide in determining the required amount of up-stand. Written by Barry Schafer, member of the Australian Institute of Waterproofing and chairman of the Standards Australia Committee of Internal and External Above Ground Waterproofing

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Improve the effects of a recovering market Bryan Vadas suggests ways to mitigate or avoid the impact of a market contraction for tile businesses


he most recent figures released from the HIA reflected what many of us already know and experience firsthand every day: things are tough out there at the moment. Nationally, housing starts are down around 20% from last year, and if that wasn’t bad enough, our biggest markets (NSW and Victoria) are forecast to decrease further in the new year. Whilst some states are forecast to achieve double-digit growth in terms of percentages, recovery will be a tough grind. Typically, in a period of decline, foot traffic decreases, conversions drop, and dollars per sale decrease. Small decreases in each of these areas work together to deliver a multiplier effect, delivering a considerable drop in turnover and profit. Many of the costs in a tile business are fixed, so a drop in turnover coupled with a drop in margin shifts a profitable business into one that quickly struggles to pay its bills. But it’s not all furrowed brows and agony. Recovery can be accelerated if tile businesses address three key variables in a period of decline and perhaps during growth. Being aware of these variables, measuring them, and putting into play as strategies and actions can yield positive results in the new year and beyond.

Traffic Regardless of whether it be is a retail or a wholesale operation, sales success starts with a numbers game. The greater the traffic flow or the amount of enquiries, the greater the base from which to grow. The key, as always, is how does one attract customers? Discounting isn’t necessarily the answer. If you are making 40% gross margin and you discount by 20%, you have to double your sales to make the same dollars profit. However, doing double the 34 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Housing starts are down around 20% from last year but there are ways for tile businesses to overcome the challenges of a slow market

volume usually comes with increased costs so even if you do manage to double your turnover, you’re often going backwards due to increased costs. Traffic flow is best addressed by not necessarily being better or cheaper, but being different, broadening your offer, and creating interest in the minds of the consumers. Find new customers in new areas, new markets, or source new products, and the store traffic starts to increase.

Conversion Every customer who comes through the doors, rings the phone, or makes enquiries has cost your business a greater dollar value than most owners or managers appreciate or realise. The value has to be maximised every time, and converting these interactions into sales must be the focus of every business. Conversion starts a long time before the customer calls or walks through your doors. Knowing your opposition and really understanding them is the first step to know what you are up against and how to differentiate the offer. Understanding their needs and motivation to purchase helps you align your offer to their “frequency”. Honing the sales skills of your

organisation, whether that is through external sales training or an in-house focus on improving the ability of staff to recognise buying signals and close the sale, then making sure sales staff is constantly vigilant and attentive with potential customers will make your business more able to convert these enquiries into sales. And creating an environment in which the customers want to buy are some of the soft skills that will ease them into a sale.

Dollars per sale Once the enquiry is converted into a sale, it’s important to maximise the “spend” on every occasion. It’s not a matter of over-servicing but understanding the “why” rather than the “what”, ensuring that in the sales process you discover why the customer wants to purchase rather than what they want to purchase. In this way, it is possible to do more with the same customer if you can satisfy their ancillary or other requirements rather than the ones in their immediate purchase. Selling add-ons or upselling, satisfying a broader range of needs, and uncovering other opportunities through effective probing will always result in a higher yield for every sale. This is not about making considerable change to what you

do. Small increases to the Traffic - C o nv e r s i o n - D o l l a r s - p e r- s a l e multiplier can make a significant difference to the bottom line even if small uplifts are made in each area. If your business currently gets 10 customers through the doors each day, you convert 20%, and they each buy $100, you have sold $200. But if you increase each variable by a small amount, the uplift can be much larger overall. By boosting your store traffic by just 20%, you can increase conversions from 20% to 25%, and can get customers to spend 10% more then sales will increase by 65%. And with costs being fixed, the uplift flows straight to your bottom line. Sounds over-simplified and unrealistic given the struggles of 2019 and the frustrations of the daily grind to make a dollar in a declining market. However, in the angst to make a dollar in a tough market, price

is generally manipulated to address falling sales volumes. Prices tumble, and it is usually at the expense of margin. Reduced margins on a lower volume… well, do the maths and it probably explains why many of us complain of working harder for less. The seasonal break is a great time to plan ahead and form strategies for the coming year. Use the down time to plan out how you can do things differently to get customers in the door rather than simply dropping price. Woolies promote their Collectables, IKEA promotes their meatballs – come up with how you can get customers in the door and take the focus off beating your competitors on price. During this time of year when the top footy clubs hone the skills of their players to be fit, fast and capable when the season resumes, tile businesses should be making sure staff are fit to

Conversion starts way before the customer calls or walks through the doors of a tile business

play once the game kicks off again in the new year. Taking a breath, implement strategies other than simply dropping price, and making small changes in a number of related areas can see your business get through a tough year. Bryan Vadas is from the Tile Agencies Group

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THE MAGIC OF MOROCCO Two new exotic patterns have been added to Beaumont Tiles’ range of Majorca decorative tiles. Majorca Antique pays homage to a vintage aesthetic while Majorca Chariot has vibrant shades of blue.

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36 | TILE TODAY #103 |

Tiles and building in Indonesia

Returning for its ninth edition in 2020, Keramika continues to be a dedicated marketplace for the ceramics industry to congregate in the largest ceramic producing country in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Located at the Jakarta Convention Center, the Indonesian Ceramic Industry Association (ASAKI) will showcase top Indonesian ceramic manufacturers and feature the latest designs and technologies from ceramic manufacturers. For attendees, Keramika can present more business opportunities,

conference sessions, learning programs and activities. Exhibitors can meet with the right potential buyers, and benefit from the event’s 360-degree marketing outreach. In 2019, there were 31.867 visitors from 20 countries and they rated the event a high satisfaction level of 93.21%. Keramika 2020 will bring in local and international manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials, equipment, and machinery, to a large customer base of ceramic tiles and sanitaryware in Indonesia. Keramika is co-located with the 19th edition of the architecture,

interior design and building exhibition and conference, MegaBuild 2020. It is the only event endorsed by architects, interior designers, and contractors. MegaBuild Indonesia is expected to have the most comprehensive showing of the latest technology, solutions, materials and design trends from the country’s building and construction industry. Exhibitors will feature roofing products, flooring, doors, windows, bathrooms, kitchens, lighting, HVAC, security, landscape and interior furnishing.

High performance, high quality and exclusive range. Contact CDK Stone for your nearest stockist.


CeramBath shows industry progress in China

index ACT Australia

20, 21

B.A.T. Trims


CDK Stone


Clear Software



5, 7

Distinctive Tile Imports


Efflock 17 Elite Importers


Europe Imports


Freelance Tile and Stone Outside Back Cover Laser Measure


The 34th Foshan International Ceramic & Bathroom Fair (CeramBath) attracted over 800 brands from ceramic, bathroom, engineering, software, ceramic auxiliary materials and machinery suppliers. There were more than 191,589 visitors from 172 countries, an increase of 1.3% compared to the previous event. However international visitors numbered 17,626, a decline of 11%. The top 20 countries of origin include India, Pakistan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Malaysia, West Asia, Indonesia, Egypt, USA, Singapore, UAE, Sri Lanka, UK and Japan. According to the show’s statistics, distributors remain the largest group of buyers (53%), while 27% are decoration companies and designers, 13% import and export companies, and 3% real estate developers. There has been a constant rise in buyers from décor and real estate firms. This suggests

that they will become the main markets for ceramic and bathroom products in the near future. In the 34th CeramBath, the largest proportion were Asian buyers (67.42%), followed by Europe (12.97%), Africa (7.86%) and South America (4.81%). Smaller numbers came from North America and Oceania. In addition to domestic suppliers, there were overseas exhibitors from Italy, USA, German, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, India and South Korea. International brands include ICC Ceramics, Antway, K-Gress, Element Ceramics, Duravit, CK, Slender Stone, Uscer, Hansgrohe, TOTO, Kohler, Grohe, Panasonic Space and Bravat. Organisers believe CeramBath continues to make breakthroughs in product innovation, visitor experience, expanded distribution channels and improved services. It promotes the transformation and advancement of China’s building ceramic and bathroom industry. The 35th CeramBath event will be held from April 18 to 21, 2020.

Mapei 15 National Ceramic Industries Qualicer


Inside Back Cover

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38 | TILE TODAY #103 |




International Fair of Ceramic Tiles and Bathroom Furnishings 3 - 7 February 2020 - Valencia (Spain)

XVI WORLD CONGRESS ON CERAMIC TILE QUALITY 10 - 11 February 2020 · Castelló (Spain)

Further information:


Congress Secretary


Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation Avda. Hnos. Bou, 79 12003 Castelló (España) Tel. (+34) 964 356 500 Fax (+34) 964 356 510

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Technical Advice:



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Tile Today Issue 103 | Dec 2019  

Fully endorsed by the Australian Tile Council, it is the only dedicated publication for the tiling industry, specifiers and allied trades in...

Tile Today Issue 103 | Dec 2019  

Fully endorsed by the Australian Tile Council, it is the only dedicated publication for the tiling industry, specifiers and allied trades in...