Education on Laminam by Crossville Lands Major Restroom Project in Weston
Ivan Herrera, president of The Miami Floors, began his tile career at 17. His willingness to learn about new products and techniques and his interest in networking resulted in a contract to install Laminam products in 30 public restrooms in the Weston complex.
D&B Tile is the exclusive distributor for Crossville Tiles. As its exclusive U.S. distributor, Crossville partners with Laminam, a consolidated System Group company out of Modena Italy, to bring a dramatic new dimension of porcelain tile to American design. Laminam by Crossville’s technologically advanced, aesthetically innovative panels are the largest, thinnest porcelain slabs in production anywhere in the world, allowing them to effortlessly skin both floors and walls to dress spaces in ways previously unthinkable in architectural design. The company is headquartered in Tennessee and is the industry’s largest net consumer of tile waste materials which are recycled. This means that Crossville recycles more than they produce.
“I learned about Laminam during one of the presentations at D&B Tile made by Robert Sutnick and the Crossville team. I was intrigued by the tile and its appeal. I had an opportunity to recommend it to an owner shortly afterwards and it turned out well. In addition, I aggressively pursued training with this product and just recently completed my second course at Crossville. The first was more of an orientation and the second was a specific training session on Laminam.
“I recommend this tile to a lot of my clients. It is often a difficult product to describe so I ask them to visit any of the D&B Tile nine showrooms to see it firsthand.
“I started in this industry when I was 17. In 2010, I took training at Hopkins Technical School in Miami. There I met Harold Yarborough and others from D&B Tile. Harold told the instructor that he wanted to sponsor one of the students for the tile program and the teacher selected me. That is how I became a certified tile installer. D&B Tile has become my main source of business. I also get a lot of business from referrals.
“I attend most of the continuing education opportunities and events presented by D&B Tile, including those for Laticrete, Schluter, Crossville and any other program they offer. I take advantage of these and it has paid off for me. It has allowed me to network with others in the industry and to learn about the latest tools and products.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in large format tiles and especially Laminam. I see great opportunities with Laminam for our company. I always bring my customers to the showroom to see it in person. I tell them the more they learn about the variety of tiles, colors and sizes, the better choices they will make. Most of my commercial customers are brand conscious; not so much with residential customers.
“This project in Weston designed by Saltz Michelson Architects firm should be finished by June 2016. We had a total of 30 restrooms in the Weston complex and we are about halfway completed. We had a few holdups on the plumbing side but we are working through that. The Laminam is ideal for this application and we have had a lot of compliments on how it looks. Almost everyone who has seen this is surprised to find out that tile actually comes in that size.
“We used the Vortex leveling system for all of these bathrooms. This system works very well for these large format tiles and we use it on most every job. Lt’s easy to use and very effective. The system is very easy to use and easy to adjust. No tools are required.
“We have seen a resurgence in the industry in the past two years. In addition, we are seeing more jobs that specify certified installers. I highly recommend that anyone serious about being successful in the business to go through the program and become certified. The tile industry in general doesn’t necessarily get the respect it deserves. The certification program adds a level of professionalism to our company and is a great asset when we price the jobs.
“It is more than just setting tiles. It takes me about a year to train an installer. My apprentices need to understand the entire process and how and why to recommend different tiles, textures and colors. We’re using tile in all sorts of applications. It is so much more than putting down 4×4 white tiles. Laminam is a perfect example of this. I find that when I get in front of a customer and describe what this tile can do for their project, they want to see it firsthand. Once they see it installed, they are generally sold.
“I met Robert Sutnick from Crossville at the Laminam launch at the D&B Doral store. I asked him if he could do a one-inch cut. It came out well. I needed to see the limits of the product. Also, when I went to Crossville for additional training, I wanted to learn everything I could about the product. It can be a challenge to handle it properly, but when you learn the breaking point of this tile, you can handle it with more confidence and with less breakage.
“I owe my success to hard work, determination and the support and training provided to me and my company by D&B Tile Distributors.”