Over the past 20 years, D&J Tile Co., Inc. of San Carlos, CA, has grown to become one of the largest tile and stone contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has continually invested in the latest stoneworking technology.


Established in 1989, D&J Tile Co., Inc. of San Carlos, CA, has grown to become one of the largest tile and stone contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area. And over the past few years, the company has made significant investments in machinery to ensure it holds its leading position well into the future.

Company owner David Newman said that he became involved in the industry as a summer job out of high school, and he has stayed with it for nearly two decades. “Back in those days, the dot-comers weren’t here [in Northern California,] so a lot of people got into the trades,” he said.

Recently, the company added a dual-table Park Fusion 6200 combination bridge saw/waterjet from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN.

D&J Tile specializes in commercial work such as condominium complexes, hotels and office buildings. “We don’t do any tract housing. It’s all multiple-story buildings in areas like downtown San Francisco and San Jose. We do cut-to-size interior work, kitchens, vanities and tilework in individual units as well as common areas. In addition to the lobbies, health clubs are a big part of condominiums in the Bay Area. In addition to everything associated with interiors, we also do a lot of facades. We do all of our own installations as part of the tile union and marble masons union.”

“We’re really happy with that machine,” company owner David Newman said of the Park Fusion 6200, adding that the machine was easy for the staff to implement into the company’s overall production.

Shop Machinery

Over the years, D&J Tile has invested in a broad range of machinery, and the company’s lineup of technology is continually being updated. Most recently, the company added a dual-table Park Fusion 6200 combination bridge saw/waterjet from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. “We’re really happy with that machine,” Newman said, adding that the machine was easy for the staff to implement into the company’s overall production. “We’re very computer oriented here. The whole slab shop is CAD-compatible. When you’re already running CNC and waterjet, the Fusion is as cookie cutter as everything else.”

Precision work is also done with the help of a waterjet unit from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA.

Additionally, D&J Tile invested in the new Pathfinder Laser Template Station from Park Industries. This system projects electronic template files (.dxf) onto a slab to improve manual layout efficiency. Also, this system allows fabricators to nest parts for optimum utilization of the material. “It locates parts of the slab that you might not want to use, and it also matches the graining,” Newman said. “You use every part of the slab that you possibly can. With a stone like Ubatuba, it might not matter as much, but with Calacatta or something with graining that changes from slab to slab, it is really helpful.”

Other equipment from Park Industries includes the Fastback for backsplash production, a Pro Edge edging machine and a Jaguar bridge saw.

Additionally, D&J Tile invested in the new Pathfinder Laser Template Station from Park Industries (an example of which is pictured). This system projects electronic template files (.dxf) onto a slab to improve manual layout efficiency.

Additionally, the company operates two waterjets - one from Flow and one from Omax - and an Intermac 4000 CNC stoneworking center and a radial arm polisher from Sawing Systems. “We’ve come up with different surfaces, such as leather and bushhammered finish, and the polisher works well for this,” Newman said. “It’s not something we do on a huge basis, but we might do it for 10 slabs in a day. This way, you can offer different finishes without making an investment [in materials], only to find that a particular finish is not selling well anymore.”

To maximize the company’s water usage efficiency, D&J Tile invested in a custom-made EnviroSystem water recycling system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH. “It is a large one, and we’ve been thrilled with it,” Newman said. “They came out and hooked us up with a very good system.”

An Omax 80160 waterjet is also in place at D&J Tile.

The company’s tooling comes from a range of sources, such as Continental Abrasives, Keystone, National Abrasives and Alpha Professional Tools, among others. “We’re not looking for the cheapest, but the highest quality,” he said. “Each one has its own niche.”

Despite being in the West Coast market, where much of the work remains 2 cm in thickness, D&J Tile does most of its work in 3-cm material. “We try to use as much 3-cm stone as we possibly can,” Newman said. “The CNC is running very fast on 3-cm material, and we’re doing a lot of marble now, so 3-cm is where we want to be from a technical standpoint. We are not doing a lot of lamination right now. It pays off, because when you’re not doing lamination, you skip what is a tedious process. There’s no machine that glues the pieces together, so by using 3-cm material, we can use the equipment as much as possible.”

One of the company’s first investments in computerized technology was an Intermac Master Stone 4000 CNC stoneworking center.

Material is maneuvered throughout the shop using multiple boom cranes located at the various machine locations, and they are equipped with vacuum lifters from Anver Corp. “We have seven 2,000-pound jib cranes with Anver hydraulic vacuum lifters,” Newman explained. “No forklifts come into the shop except to drop off onto an A-frame. The waterjets don’t have a tilting table, so we spent a lot of money making sure the slabs get onto the tables without using three guys. Plus, we don’t have to leave paths open for forklifts to get through.” In the slab storage area, overhead cranes are used for material handling.

To further enhance workplace safety, each Friday morning at D&J Tile begins with a “Safety Seminar” lasting 30 minutes. It covers everything from proper lifting techniques to evaluating power cords daily.

The company works primarily in 3-cm-thick material, which is somewhat unique for the West Coast market.

Technological Advances

When asked about the greatest advance in the fabrication sector over the past few years, Newman is quick to point out that technology has quickly developed in all areas of the process. “The biggest breakthrough right now is the templating systems,” he said. “We went to the Prodim Proliner [from Blick Industries] two years ago, and my guys can template seven or eight kitchens in three hours, and program them in another hour. We have two Proliners. Luan templates might be fine, but you’re taking a half day just to do one kitchen.”

Material is maneuvered throughout the shop using multiple boom cranes located at the various machine locations, and they are equipped with vacuum lifters from Anver Corp. of Hudson, MA.

Given the level of technology in place at D&J Tile, the company has worked to efficiently network the various systems. “We are all integrated, so the computer is programmed in the office, and [data] downloads into the Omax and Flow waterjets as well as the Park Fusion,” Newman said. “The guys in the shop pull it up on the computer and hit ‘go.’ [Data] used to be transmitted on a disc, but it is all networked now.”

In the slab storage area, overhead cranes are used for material handling.

Company Staffing

D&J Tile has a total of 30 employees in the fabrication department, and about 130 in the field. There is also a support staff of 20 employees working in the office. “Most of the workers are specialized,” Newman explained. “We have one guy per machine running the Omax, the Fusion, the CNC, the Fastback, and so on. I’m not saying that they couldn’t diversify, but there is a safety factor when a machine is being run by the guy who is most familiar with the equipment. That helps quality control as well. Each person is responsible for a specific machine, so we’re not [looking at an error and] saying, ‘Who ran the Omax yesterday?’ Also, when a person knows the machine, he knows exactly what it is capable of and how fast it can run on different materials.”

D&J Tile also has space for outdoor material storage.

Overall, D&J Tile has retained much of its workforce over the years. “We haven’t had much turnover,” Newman said. “Our guys have been with us for multiple years. Right now, you don’t have any trouble finding employees. Our field installers are all union, and they have a training program with a four-year apprenticeship. The office personnel and computer programmers come from local colleges - some from the architectural departments, depending on the position.”

Templating is done using one of two Prodim Proliner units from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA (an example of which is pictured).

Discussing some of the challenges the company faces in its sector, Newman said that the devaluation of the U.S. dollar is “making stone very expensive” when it is imported into the country. “We’re also trying to teach the general public that every piece is not the same,” he said. “On some of our big projects, it could take two months to get submittals through, and then you have to translate that [to the stone suppliers] in Europe and limit it to a range, and they’re not used to that.”

In terms of production, D&J Tile fabricated material for approximately 2,000 kitchens over the past year, and around 3,500 vanities - primarily for its multi-unit commercial work. It also fabricated an additional 500 to 700 specialty countertops in office buildings, and it processed and installed seven or eight cut-to-size projects such as lobbies and facades.

Sidebar: D&J Tile Co., Inc.

San Carlos, CA

Type of work: commercial work for multi-unit housing projects, including kitchen countertops and vanities; commercial lobby spaces and facades

Machinery: a Park Fusion 6200 combination bridge saw/waterjet, a Pathfinder Laser Template Station, a Fastback backsplash machine, a Pro Edge edging machine and a Jaguar bridge saw, all from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; waterjets from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA and Omax Corp. of Kent, WA; an Intermac 4000 CNC stoneworking center; a Radial arm polisher from Sawing Systems of Knoxville, TN; an EnviroSystem water recycling system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH; pneumatic vacuum lifters from Anver Corp. of Hudson, MA; tooling from Continental Abrasives, Keystone, National Abrasives and Alpha Professional Tools; two Prodim Proliner digital templating units from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA

Number of Employees: 30 in the fabrication department, 130 installers in the field and 20 in the office. There is also a support staff of 20 employees working in the office