NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Laticrete International Inc. recently launched its "New European Technology" Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive at CoveringsR 2001, held in New Orleans from May 21 to 23. This revolutionary new adhesive was introduced via a high-profile, nation-wide advertising promotion with the "spokesperson" being none other than the infamous "Jack."

"Jack" is Jack Westervelt, a Technical Representative for Laticrete in California, who demonstrated the product's capabilities by hanging onto a marble slab that was installed with Latapoxy 310 Rapid Stone Adhesive 15 minutes earlier. His actions were captured by secret camera, and the rest is history.

To let the product speak for itself, Kathleen Scranton, marketing manager for Laticrete, put together a comprehensive booth event for Coverings 2001 that featured an actual 12-foot climbing wall. Latapoxy 310 Rapid Stone Adhesive was used to install all the hand and toe holds - which had no bolts or screws whatsoever. These off-the-shelf hand and toe holds were directly adhered to Eliane "Cairo Blue" porcelain tiles supplied by Eliane USA of Dallas, TX.

Demonstrating confidence in the 310 product, Scranton developed a climbing contest to emphasize the strength of the adhesive. At Coverings, more than 100 climbers in both the Men's and Women's Divisions climbed the "310 Wall" for prizes which included $500 cash, a NorthFace backpack and the fastest-climber trophy.

The Men's Division was won by Andreas Kalt, general manager of Precision H2O, with a climb of 1.7 seconds. Not far behind in second place was Stephen Morrison, of Washington, VT, with a time of 1.9 seconds; followed by Danny Swish with 2.2 seconds for third place. The hotly contested Women's Division was won by Dion Knudston of Lawrenceville, GA, with a climb of 4.3 seconds; second was Caitlin Hiller of Pawcutuck, CT, timed at 5.4 seconds and Christina Elliot of Mead, WA, took third with a time of 6.3 seconds.

Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive, both the standard and the rapid versions, acts as a chemical anchor that saves time and labor by "spot bonding" the tile or stone to the substrate. Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive was engineered as an economical solution to mechanical anchors, which tend to be slow to install and have a high waste factor due to cracked or broken stone, according to the company. The product is formulated for installing granite, marble, stone slabs and large-format tile to walls, ceilings and soffits. "We have developed an outstanding CD-ROM with an instructional installation video and brochure, along with project photos, to help installers learn more about Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive," Scranton said. "We also have heavily promoted a free hat offer to installers who purchase one 10-liter unit of our epoxy adhesive. We really want to get the message across that this product will save time and energy, and build confidence in our 'new' product. In fact, we have included Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive in our 10-Year Systems Warranty DS230.12."

The "Climb the 310 Wall and Capture the Flag" theme for Laticrete's Coverings booth turned out to be a success. Laticrete was awarded one of just a handful of Coverings'R Special Recognition Awards for Excellence in Exhibiting. "Kathleen Scranton has proven that installation products can be presented in an entertaining, interactive forum that is also informative," stated David Rothberg, President of Laticrete International Inc. "In addition, she knows how to draw crowds. Our entire presence at Coverings is targeted to informing the global community about our installation systems. She showcases new and existing products in a dynamic booth with actual installations with real installers. And she invites attendees to participate in entertaining adventures, such as playing miniature golf on a ceramic tile course or climbing a porcelain wall with hand holds installed with epoxy," Rothberg added.

The Laticrete booth featured many other interactive demonstrations besides the Climbing Wall. A highly prominent 12-foot waterfall was installed in a sfumature pattern that graduated from light to dark shades of blue Bisazza 3/4-inch glass mosaics from Bisazza North America of Miami, FL. Charlton Girard, an award-winning mosaicist from Brooklyn, NY, led the crew in installing these mosaics. Girard waterproofed the staircased waterfall with Laticrete 9235 Waterproofing Membrane and grouted it with 708 Indigo Latapoxy SP-100 Stainless Epoxy Grout. "I have installed a great number of wet areas in Manhattan over the past few years, and [the product] protects these installations from unwanted water damage," stated Girard. "And of course, I prefer to work with epoxy grouts because they are easy to use and have a smooth finish. Not only is Latapoxy SP-100 Stainless Epoxy Grout available in over 40 colors, but it is stainless, which adds to the long-lasting beauty of the mosaic installation."

Girard began his career in tile setting in his native St. Lucia. Upon moving to New York, he developed a business relationship with Bisazza that has helped him personally as well as professionally. Girard credits Raphael Schuppe, former Technical Director for Bisazza North America, with continually placing confidence in his potential abilities. Bisazza also brought Levio, a mosaic tile master from Italy, to the Bisazza facility to help increase the mosaics skills of tile installers utilizing Bisazza Glass mosaics.

In addition to creating the 12-foot waterfall, Scranton, working with the expert skills and advice of Girard, designed intricate mosaic patterns on either side of the Waterfall/Climbing wall structure. On one side of the floor space were 1/2-inch iridescent glass mosaics from Sicis, the Italian mosaic tile company that produced the mosaics which were also used in the Burj El Arab, (the tallest hotel in the world, located in Dubai) on a man-made pier jutting out into the Mediterranean. Sicis glass mosaics once again teamed with Laticrete installation products to produce an outstanding visual display. The mosaic pattern was framed with American Marazzi porcelain stone-look, large-format tiles. Concurrently, American Marazzi used the new LaticreteR 253 Gold Rapid Multipurpose Thin-Set Mortar to install all of the tile in its Coverings 2001 booth, and that of Monarch Tile's as well. It was a successful venture in joint marketing for both companies.

The wall space of Laticrete's exhibit featured a colorful offering of 12-inch glass tiles from Euro Tile of Ft. Meyers, FL. In bright Prussian Blue and translucent Lemon Yellow, the tile complemented the overall color scheme and provided yet another opportunity for Laticrete to show off its variety of installation systems .

On the opposite side of the floor space, Girard and Scranton teamed up to create an unusual floor pattern using lilac 4-inch glazed ceramic tiles and ceramic mosaic tiles from Appiani Industrie Ceramiche Riunite S.p.A., of Italy. These ceramic mosaics were larger and thicker than the glass mosaics, and afforded an opportunity to mix and match large and small tiles together, providing a stimulating installation. Once again, American Marazzi tiles were used, this time to frame the lilac mosaic pattern with a dark gray, porcelain, stone-look, 18-inch tile.

Additional wall space was the scene for yet another design. This space was designed with glazed quarry tile from Quarry Tile Co. of Spokane, WA, utilizing a geometric Mondrian pattern with a three-step repeat. Painstakingly installed by Girard in shades of ruby, gray and black, the 3-inch square and 3- x 6-inch rectangular quarry tiles provided a dynamic visual backdrop for the whimsical "hanging wall."

Using Latapoxy 310 Rapid Stone Adhesive, Girard and his crew installed concrete and brick lawn edgings, bricks, pavers and marble slabs on the wall. After 15 minutes or so, attendees were invited to hang for themselves and experience the incredible holding power of the adhesive first-hand. "The resulting display was not only interactive and informative, but created quite a stir," said Calvin McGee, director of technical services for Laticrete.

Adjoining the Laticrete booth event was MK Diamond from Torrance, CA. Laticrete used the MK Diamond 100 Wet Saw throughout the show, demonstrating the cutting of porcelain, ceramic and glass tile. MK Diamond was able to bring their potential clients over to the Laticrete booth to demonstrate the versatility of their saw line. And Laticrete utilized a state-of-the-art MK wet saw to complete its installation.

"Marketing a product, and in doing so, building corporate awareness is an expedition in research, planning, development, publicity and overall good communications. You can only control so much. The results are evaluated when you monitor the responses. When it all comes to together as well as the 'Climb the 310 Wall & Capture the Flag' did, you know you've done your job," Scranton said. "And just to prove that the Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive is amazing, we hammered off a couple of the hand and toe holds as a field trial after the show. Not only did the Latapoxy 310 Stone Adhesive tear out the porcelain bodied tile, mirroring the exact shape of the hold, but the Laticrete 333 Super Flexible Additive - mixed with Laticrete 317 Floor N' Wall Thin-Set Mortar - delaminated the tongue-and-groove Douglas Fir 3/4-inch plywood beneath it. I brought the holds back to our R & D department as a trophy to all the hard work."

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