The Tile Today team hit the ground running at TISE 2018. It was impressed with the energy and positive sentiments at the show.

Sweeping into Las Vegas at night in an airplane, one thing seems certain: energy conservation and light pollution are not two of the most important issues for this community.

Where Los Angeles at night looks like some animated illustration of circulation in living tissue, the long freeways traced by a seemingly endless procession of moving red taillights, and San Francisco resembles nothing so much as a printed circuit board, with its tall skyscrapers plugged into the flatland of the financial district like so many massive capacitors, Las Vegas really does look like a combination pinball/video game/jukebox.

That’s especially so when it comes to what the locals (and experienced visitors) refer to as “The Strip”, a nearly seven kilometre stretch of city street where virtually all the city’s most famous resorts and casinos are located. It’s a proximity that makes it easy for a tourist to wander from what seems like one fairy-like extravaganza to the next, ablaze in lights, all about entertainment — and the omnipresent slot-machines, never more than five metres away from any particular point.

The well-known Mandalay Bay hotel (named after a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling) sits at one end of the strip. First opened in March 1999, the hotel was expanded with a second hotel tower, which opened in December 2003.
Most importantly, a convention centre was added to the hotel, which opened in January 2003. With 140,000 square metres of space, it is, on its own, the fifth largest convention centre in the US.

This vast convention centre is the annual location of the The International Surface Event (TISE). This year the event comprised three world-class tradeshows: SURFACES, StonExpo/Marmomac, and Tile Expo. It’s a four-day extravaganza of everything to do with coverings and facades for just about any horizontal or vertical surface.

Frequently used as an event to launch new products, it is also heavy on information about upcoming trends. Every major North American manufacturer is represented, along with most major global suppliers as well. It’s one of the few conventions of this type that offers solid opportunities to study and learn what really is going on in the world of surfaces. Some of the educational events included: State of the Industry Report in the Residential and Commercial Markets, presented by the well-regarded Farnsworth Group; Ageing in Place: Surfaces for Seniors; and multiple talks on subjects such as new flooring types, stone restoration, employee management, and style/design issues.

In case all of that seems a little stuffy and formal — don’t worry, stuffy and formal might actually be the only thing that is illegal in Vegas! For example, it is the first convention we’ve been to that had its own DJ grinding out tunes to keep the attendees’ feet tapping. And if the convention did get a little overwhelming, you had only to step outside into the waiting wonderland of Las Vegas for a half-hour or so to rediscover your sense of enthusiasm.

According to event organiser, informa, attendance at TISE 2018 was up 12% from the previous year. Over the past three years, attendance has increased 30%.
Amie Gilmour, CEM, Director of TISE, said, “The TISE team has been truly honoured by the influx of emails from the industry…with how impressive the event was this year…It is our goal to create a marketplace for the industry to gather, do business, and build relationships. We’ll continue to listen and strive to fill the needs of the industry.”

There is simply too much for Tile Today to cover comprehensively, but in what follows we’ve picked out some of the more significant events, people and products that really caught our attention.

DTA Australia

Australian company, DTA has been in the North American market for about five years.

Currently, sales of DTA’s floor drains are experiencing sharp growth, says managing director Phillip Cozens. The Hayman Collection is made using high grade 316 stainless steel and is watermark compliant. DTA saw an opportunity to improve standard drains for showers and bathrooms, and then watched the category grow.

Phillip was essential to the development of the modern tile industry in Australia. He has parlayed his natural entrepreneurial talent into developing DTA as a major international enterprise.

Phillip also founded Kincrome, tool company that has a strong presence across most major hardware stores in Australia.

DTA has expanded from its base in Livermore, California in the US to satellite warehousing in Atlanta.

The business has grown, along with awareness for the brand. Phillips says using sales reps and displays has helped to expand the market for the brand.

Custom Building Products

The start of Colin Morrow’s (ACT Australia) relationship with Custom Building Products, a major producer of tile-setting grout and adhesives, began on a “wing and a prayer”.

Around the same time last year, Colin said he “just rocked up to the stand” without an official invitation. There he met up again with one of its founders, Tom Peck, and said, “How are you going?”

This simple introduction and the inevitable pitch for the business was met with an enthusiastic response.

It eventually led to Colin bringing into the Australian market a specialist colour range. “The higher end stuff”, he explains.

“So we are trying to re-introduce Custom. We have about 10 new product lines and we are looking at doing more in the future. They are products that complement my existing lines.

“There is one product that is called ProLite® which is a lightweight tile adhesive that went really well for us at CTA. We are bringing in the concentrate then manufacturing the actual product in Australia.”

According to its brochure, ProLite has excellent handling characteristics for a wide variety of floor and wall tile installations. Ideal for setting large format tile (LFT), heavy tile or stone, it will not sag or slip on walls and offers non-slump performance for floor installations. Capable of thin-set or medium bed application up to 3/4” (19mm) thick on horizontal surfaces after beat-in. It is 40% lighter than traditional mortars, and a 13.6kg bag covers the same area as a 22.68kg bag of traditional mortar. Formulated with post-consumer recycled material, it contributes to LEED® certification. ProLite contains up to 22% recycled content by weight and 48% recycled content by volume. Exceeds ANSI A118.4TE, A118.15TE and A118.11 without the need for additives. It is also available in a rapid setting formula.

All the other products Colin is bringing in are finished goods such as coloured grouts. He said, “Fusion Pro is one of these products and it is a premixed grout.
“You just basically open the lid and start spreading the grout, and put the excess back in the bucket. Then you put the lid back on and you ready for the next job. So there is no mixing, and there is literally no waste. And it is as stain resistant as epoxy grout which can be much more difficult to use and more expensive.
“For domestic applications where someone just wants stain resistance, not chemical resistance, Fusion Pro is ideal.”

Another product from Custom that is being imported by ACT Australia is RedGard SpeedCoat®. Colin said: “The beauty of this product is that it is premixed and you can use it on a damp substrate. So if you are repairing a shower recess, and it is still damp, normally you would have to let it dry out. That’s when you’d be using a normal membrane.

“With SpeedCoat, you can put straight on a damp substrate. You can re-coat it within an hour and you can tile over it within an hour. Using standard products, it could take over 24 hours. And you can even flood test it. So you can waterproof the bathroom … it can be flood tested before you even get to tiling it, to make sure it’s not leaking. They are having a bit of success with it here in America because it brings down the building timeframe and therefore the cost of building.”

Intermac (Biesse Group)

The Master Series 38.3 CNC, Donatoni Jet 625 CNC Bridge Saw and Montresor Vela 7.2 Vertical Edge Polisher were all on display at the Intermac stand.
The Master 38.3 and ICAM3D CAD/CAM is what the company refers to as the number one selling CNC machine in the world. This machine takes professional end-users from concept to production in a few simple clicks. Designed for businesses looking to optimise production, the Master 38 is reliable and delivers “excellent quality to price ratio”. With a useable bed size of 63” x 127” it is ideal for most stone and glass fabrication.

Bostik USA

Dimension® RapidCure™ glass-filled, pre-mixed, urethane grout was one of the many products highlighted at the Bostik stand.

It is a patented, water-based formula that contains reflective, micro-glass beads, and a translucent, urethane binder that reflects light and allows it to pass through grout joints and into the tile itself. This can add an elegant sparkle and/or blend naturally with tile and stone. It can create a unique three dimensional effect within clear glass tile installations.

Dimension RapidCure offers HXD™ Technology that enables Bostik to offer the highest performance resin system of any pre-mixed grout available. The resin system is the most important factor in grout performance. This breakthrough in polymer chemistry allows the company to offer unmatched toughness, water and stain resistance in its pre-mixed grouts.

Ardex Americas

Showcased at the stand was Ardex S 1-K, a one-component waterproofing and crack isolation membrane. This compound is easy to use and produces a flexible waterproof coating for use in showers, bathrooms, and other wet areas. Recommended for use over a wide range of substrates and finishes, the consistency helps to minimise drips and splatters.

S 1-K provides crack isolation up to 3mm and comes in two sizes (large 3.5 and small 0.7 gallons) or (13.2 and 2.6 litres).

Mapei USA

At the stand, Mapei’s Flexcolor 3D translucent grout and sealer was used with lighting technology from Backlit Tile Kit.

Mapei Flexcolor 3D is a professional-grade, ready-to-use translucent specialty grout with an “iridescent effect” finish, providing a complementary look for a tile project. The product is offered in 10 different designs with translucent characteristics that not only reflect but also refract light. This allows the grout to transition in colour to complement the tile colour.

It is formulated for commercial and residential installations with porcelain, ceramic, glass and natural-stone tiles. Flexcolor 3D can be used to grout interior tile. And the dense surface structure helps to prevent water-based stains on the grout surface.

This product is formulated with the latest innovation in recycled glass bead aggregate, which ensures colour consistency, ease of cleanability and improved workability. In addition, it can be used on sensitive tile surfaces once tested, requires no sealer and cures naturally from evaporation.

Comparison testing of MapeI Flexcolor 3D versus traditional Portland-cement grout has verified that it requires 65% less time to install than powder grouts.
Diane Choate, Mapei’s PR/corporate communications specialist, said the company is focusing on technology driven mortars. It is working on creating a new awareness of mortars for consumers and professional end-users.


All wedi waterproof shower systems offer reliable, cost efficient solutions for constructing 100% waterproof and mould proof showers. They have an XPS extruded polystyrene foam core, and are easy to clean and install due to its prefab, modular style. They open up new design possibilities for showers, wet areas and baths.

wedi shower systems blend design flexibility and robustness previously only experienced with mortar bed installations. It uses state-of-the-art material and manufacturing technologies.

Every detail of the assembly is part of the specific wedi waterproofing approach, down to the factory integrated drain parts. The shower system’s water management is based on a true “water out“ performance.

According to Bastian Lohmann, director of sales at wedi Americas, the products have opened up new markets for the company such as showers for disabled end-users and ageing in place residences.

He said, “Easy to use modular, barrier free entry showers eliminates a lot of steps. The system is focused on setting tile on a beautiful substrate.”


Claire Legrain demonstrated the company’s MB Redline product, a 2-component, rapid curing, solvent free, low viscosity, epoxy moisture control system for use with all flooring systems that require protection from subfloor moisture.

It cures in three hours for fast turnaround jobs. The product can be used with carpet, resilient flooring, wood flooring, floating floors and all types of floor that require subfloor moisture protection.

MB Redline is solvent-free (100% solids), has low viscosity and comes in an easy to mix packaging. It has excellent penetration and stabilisation of the substrate. There is a reduction of adhesive consumption and suitable for use on floors with radiant heating.

Sika’s stand also highlighted Level-425, a one-component, durable and versatile cementitious underlayment for interior concrete and cementitious substrates. It can be applied manually or by pump to produce a self-smoothing, rapid-setting, and flat substrate prior to the application of a final floor finish. Typical application thickness is 1/16” to 1/2” (1.5 to 12.7mm), or up to 1” with aggregate.

H.B. Fuller

Jerry Squier from H.B. Fuller discussed the Royal Vinyl Flooring Adhesive during our visit to the stand.

The product is designed to be used for multiple types of resilient flooring. Royal Vinyl Flooring Adhesive is releasable, non-flammable, non-hazardous and water resistant. It provides a tough, long lasting bond, and is designed for the installation of dimensionally stable vinyl-backed carpet tiles, VCT, vinyl sheet and vinyl tile and plank in a releasable application. This adhesive can also be used to install cushions to recommended substrates in double glue down applications. Due to its pressure sensitive characteristics, it eliminates concern about installing a non-porous backed floor covering over a non-porous substrate.
Royal Vinyl Flooring Adhesive was developed by Royal Adhesives & Sealants, a company recently acquired by H.B. Fuller.