Coverings 2015: Contractors, Installers to Benefit from Various Training Sessions

Coverings 2015 to offer tile and stone installers vast training opportunities.
Coverings 2015 to offer tile and stone installers vast training opportunities.

Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, offers an extraordinarily vast conference program comprised of more than 75 free sessions, many of which focus on topics of particular interest to tile and stone installers. Coverings returns to Orlando, April 14-17, at the Orange County Convention Center, with the education program beginning on April 13.

Along with the more than 1,000 global exhibitors showing an unrivaled range of innovative products and technologies, the free conference sessions are a primary reason installers attend the leading tile and stone exhibition.

In addition to the Keynote Speakers previously announced – including Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA); Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design Magazine; Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts; and Joey Shimoda, Chief Creative Officer of The Shimoda Design Group – other conference topics relevant to the contractor and installer segment include an industry update on the latest tile standards and specification issues; best practices for working with other building professionals and consumers; guidance on working with specific materials, such as wood construction and thinset tiles; and a review of the NTCA Reference Manual.

Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

  • Questionable Substrates? Jobs I Would Not Do Unless the Situation Changed. NTCA Five Star Contractor and recognized industry consultant, Frank Canto, has encountered every substrate imaginable in his lengthy career. Canto will discuss jobsite conditions, suitable substrates, questionable substrates in which significant preparation needs to be considered, and projects that should not be accepted in their current condition. Monday, April 13, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
  • Stone & Tile Care Strategies – Issues & Opportunities. Custom Building Products’ Rod Sigman will address the issues that come with incorporating sealers and cleaners into normal installation methods. Attendees will gain knowledge and understanding of these products that can set them apart from competition and earn repeat business. Tuesday, April 14, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Residential Estimating and Sales Strategies. Buck and Dana Collins from Collins Tile and Stone will share their unique approach to working with building professionals and consumers. The NTCA Five Star Contractor, Buck, will share insight into his detailed sales strategy and industry knowledge. Tuesday, April 14, 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
  • Panel Discussion: The Tile Contractor/Tile Distributor Relationship – Challenges and Solutions. Led by Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association, Bart Bettiga, this forum will highlight how important the independent distributor and contractor relationship is to the success of tile and stone projects. Speakers Dennis McLennand of D&B Tile Distributors, John Zolman of Miles Distributors, Dan Welch of Welch Tile and Marble and Nyle Wadford of Neuse Tile Service will focus on proper communication, pricing protection, negotiated payments, and all parts of this vital vendor/customer relationship, distributors and contractors will discuss their real world challenges and successes in open and frank discussion. Tuesday, April 14, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Installations over Wood Substrates. Tom Plaskota, TEC/H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., will share guidelines to help choose the proper system and appropriate products to ensure successful installations for wood frame construction. With many different industry approved methods for wood frame construction, including installing tile or stone tile over two layers of wood or on single layer construction substrates, attendees will be armed with better knowledge of wood frame construction.Wednesday, April 15, 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
  • Selecting the Appropriate Thinset for Tile or Stone Installation. This session, hosted by William White of Custom Building Products, will identify the different types of cement and epoxy mortars for ceramic and natural stone installation and discuss the ANSI and TCNA standards for the various tile and stone bonding mortars. This session will review the physical properties of the mortars and what is important to the installation, as well as discuss the areas of use and any limitations that should be observed when installing tile. Thursday, April 16, 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
  • Contractor Roundtable Discussions. As part of the annual Contractor Days at Coverings, National Tile Contractors Association leaders will lead lively roundtable discussions on membranes, backerboards, thinset tiles and grouts and more over lunch in the Contractor Lounge. The leaders will share their tables’ summaries at the end of the discussion to all contractors in the Lounge. Wednesday, April 15 and Thursday, April 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Managing a Project with Owner Supplied Materials. Tommy Conner of Superior Tile and Stone will discuss how tile contractors can navigate the challenges of projects in which the project owner negotiates materials selections and purchases directly. The session will take a close look at case studies exploring the many challenges that can occur with owner-supplied projects will help prepare contractors for the future. Thursday, April 16, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed. The designers and NTCA Five Star Contractors of the Installation Design Showcase will present on the planning and on-site work dedicated towards bringing their vignettes to life in just five days. The one-hour interactive session will include a tour of all four spaces, provide insight into the thought processes behind the designs, and shed light on the installation techniques used. Thursday, April 16, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • The NTCA Reference Manual: How to Use to Your Advantage. Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler, both of the National Tile Contractors Association, will discuss how tile contractors, distributors and manufacturers can all benefit from learning how to use the NTCA Reference Manual. The session will review the problem-solving guide that addresses the most common industry installation challenges, featuring prevention and cure strategies, along with white papers, letter templates. The NTCA Reference Manual is essential to industry professionals who are asked to inspect questionable installations in the field.Friday, April 17, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

To learn more about conferences, programs, exhibitors and special events planned for Coverings 2015, visit

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