Coverings 2010 is set to take place from April 27 to 30 in Orlando, FL, featuring a large-scale exhibit of stone and tile and an in-depth seminar program.

Coverings, the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing ceramic tile and stone, has grown to be the largest show of its kind in the U.S., featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries and attracting thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors and specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers. This year’s event will take place from April 27 to 30 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Coverings is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world. For the stone industry, Coverings offers a product lineup that includes a range of stone tiles and slabs, including exotic materials from around the world. National pavilions of stone-producing companies have also typically been a staple of Coverings, including groupings of companies from Italy, Brazil, Spain, Turkey, China and other nations.

Many stone suppliers at Coverings use the event as a platform to introduce new materials to the marketplace, including varieties of stone never seen before. Stone can be found in slab and tile format as well as intricate mosaics, waterjet-cut designs and complex, cut-to-size pieces.

On the machinery side, stone fabricators can find a full spectrum of equipment such as bridge saws, polishing machines, CNC stoneworking centers, laser-etching equipment, waterjets, air and water treatment systems, material handling equipment, digital/electronic templating systems, software and more. Many manufacturers and representatives of these machines rely on Coverings for new equipment introductions. This is also true in the tooling and accessories sector, as many suppliers of blades, bits, cupwheels and other tooling will be present at Coverings.

Also related to the stone industry, major manufacturers and suppliers of stone installation, cleaning and maintenance products will be present at Coverings, with many companies offering hands-on demonstrations on the show floor.

The event will showcase varieties of stone from around the world, and many international companies were organized in national pavilions. 

A vast seminar program

In addition to the exposition, Coverings also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees - with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge.

This year’s featured session, scheduled for April 30, is “Stone in Green Building: Moving the Stone Industry Towards Sustainability.” It is a three-hour workshop offering a “crash course” in this critical subject. Led by Jack Giebig of the Center for Clean Products at the University of Tennessee, it will examine the use of stone materials in building applications, as well as the industry’s ongoing effort to assess the sustainability of natural stone.

“We’re proud of the reputation Coverings has earned over the years for quality educational programming, and are excited to offer another stellar lineup of sessions in 2010,” said Jennifer Hoff, President of Client Events for National Trade Productions (NTP), which manages and produces Coverings. “The professional development opportunities presented by the seminar sessions, coupled with the broad array of cutting-edge products to be found on the show floor, make Coverings a trade show like no other.”

Also of note, outstanding and visionary use of tile and stone in sustainable projects will be recognized at Coverings 2010 with a brand new program, PROJECT: Green.

Coverings is sponsored by ASCER (Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association of Spain), Confindustria Ceramica (Italian Association of Ceramics), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA).

For more information on attending or exhibiting at Coverings 2010, visit or contact NTP at 1-703-683-8500. 

Selected Conference

Sessions at Coverings 2010

(Editor’s Note: The full lineup of Coverings 2010 seminars can be found at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Going Digital - New Operational Metrics Gained for Natural Stone Business Owners

You have taken portions (or all) of your shop into the digital age: digital templating, inventory management and accounting systems are now in place. Now, how do you use this technology to quantify, measure and analyze better information about the costs of doing business? This session is geared directly to business owners, and will explain how to produce better cash flow, yield and a host of other financial benchmarks which are now possible by “going digital.”

Speaker: Paul Menninger, Capitol Granite & Marble

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Challenges to Natural Stone Tile Installations

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is partnering with the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) to publish a supplement to the TCA Handbook on Natural Stone Tile Installations. In this very important session, MIA Technical Director Chuck Muehlbauer will present key takeaways.

Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer, Marble Institute of America

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Safety and Profitability: How Safety Can Raise Your Bottom Line

Many contractors diligently strive to maintain a profitable business during these troubled economic times. Unlicensed competitors, bidding wars, rising material costs and price-conscious consumers all exert pressure on profits that were more easily gained in years past. Cost-cutting measures such as minimizing material waste, reducing transportation costs and utilizing time-saving practices and tools all help bolster the bottom line. One other beneficial practice that should not be overlooked is an effective safety program. Accidents, injuries and illnesses reduce production and employee morale and increase insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. This session will discuss the importance of an effective safety program and provide a guide to recognizing the hazards, evaluating exposure to them and controlling their impact through training, mitigation and leadership.

Speaker: Juan F. Garcia, Redrock Tile & Stone

Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers For Natural Stone

Want to expand your outreach to architects and interior designers? Consider providing CEUs (continuing education units) to the design community. This session will showcase how the CEU program works and how to position your company as the leading expert on natural stone in your marketplace. It will also provide an overview of the various CEU programs (AIA, ASID, IDC, IDEC, IIDA and others) and explain how to get started on giving presentations, putting you squarely on the CEU-provider path.

Speaker: James Hieb, Marble Institute of America

Inventory Management and Pricing Strategies

Increasing your personal wealth was one of your goals when you became a business owner. Achieving a higher return on investment (ROI) from your floor covering business is the fastest way to improve your personal wealth. In this program, Bob Langdon, CPA and author of Managing Your Business for Profit, will show you proven techniques to increase gross margin, cash flow and ROI, all while retaining your best customers. The session covers:

• Ascertaining price sensitivity for your products.

• Improving your ROI with better inventory control.

• Evaluating when to buy additional inventory to receive a quantity discount.

• Selectively increasing prices, while retaining your best customers.

• Differentiating your product and service in the marketplace.

Speaker: Robert Langdon, CPA

Less Chaos, More Cash - Reducing Confusion and Improving Profits in Your Business

Many small businesses struggle to deliver their products and services on time. Owners spend their time putting out fires instead of growing the business, and they are plagued by costly mistakes. These businesses are in chaos. Chaos exists when important work and critical tasks fall through the cracks as they are either performed incorrectly, at the wrong time or simply not at all. This happens for two reasons: “The Fatal Assumption” or “The Change Chain Phenomenon.” Join Aaron Crowley as he introduces you to these two common mistakes and the simple solution you can implement in your small business to reduce confusion and avoid costly errors.

Speaker: Aaron Crowley, Crowley’s Granite Concepts, Inc.

Digital Templating & Much More

What are the three most common reasons why fabricators fail in today’s market? Hear from the perspective of a supplier who has worked with thousands of fabricators over the years. Learn about digital templating (non-vendor specific) and gain insight into best and worst practices through several case studies.

Speaker: Dan Louis, Laser Products

On the machinery side, stone fabricators can find a full spectrum of equipment at Coverings.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

The Forensics of Tile Failures

When it comes to what went wrong on a job, everyone seems to have an opinion. Some are based on assumed facts, others based on time-honored (sometimes inaccurate) theories. When the facts need to be established beyond a reasonable doubt, forensic investigation is often used to establish a quantitative basis of opinion relative to the cause of failure. There is no hiding facts when you use the means, methods and equipment afforded us by the world of standards and science. This seminar will review five typical installation failures and demonstrate how scientific methodology firmly establishes their cause.

Speaker: David Gobis, CTC, CSI, Ceramic Tile Consultant; other speakers TBA

Proper Use and Understanding of Medium-Bed Mortars

When do you need to use a medium-bed mortar instead of a thinset mortar? What are the differences between the two? What is the new standard regarding medium-bed mortars and large-format tile installations? Join this session to get the answers to these questions and more.

Speaker: Representative of the Materials Methods and Standards Association

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Super Charge Your Web site: Being in the Right Place When Customers Look for a Stone Contractor

How are consumers finding you online? During this fast-paced seminar, you’ll pick up tips to help you maximize your marketing presence, including demonstrations of proper keyword and tag usage and critical insight on how to target your audience to increase Web site traffic and obtain customers via search engine rankings. Gain new insight into online search capabilities and what you should be discussing with your Web master. You’ll be better prepared to make sure you’re in the right place on the Web when customers are looking for a stone contractor in your market.

Speaker: Marty Gould, Focalize Now

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Smart Growth Strategies: Becoming a Fully Digital Fabrication Shop

The buzz in the industry is focused on digital technology. What does it mean to be a fully digital shop? Is now the right time to adopt this technology? What impact will digital technology have on your operations and how will it affect your bottom line? This seminar will define what digital technology is in the countertop industry and will provide you with a methodology for analyzing whether or not you should take the fully digital leap in fabrication. In addition, the seminar will help you identify any pitfalls that may arise as a fully digital shop, so that they can be side-stepped to ensure profitability and succes.

Speaker: Stuart Young, The Granite Shop; Rob Bromley, Park Industries

Transition from Countertop-Oriented Work to Light Commercial

This session will focus primarily on natural stone veneer installations and will help you obtain useful information for making the transition from countertop-oriented work to light commercial stone work. Case studies of actual installation failures with MIA- recommended typical installation details, ASTM guidelines and Building Code requirements will be examined. This session will also discuss the causes of failures and help you understand the recommended remediation anchorage and techniques. Finally, several alternate details that can be used in lieu of failed anchorages will be examined.

Speaker: Rodney Harvey, Curtain Wall Design

Linear Drain Shower Systems/ADA Compliant Showers

This seminar will address safe, design-oriented and ADA-compliant specification and the selling and installing of linear/trench drain shower systems. Waterproofing methods and products for sustainable installations will also be discussed. Bring your questions.

Speaker: Mitchell B. Louch, wedi Corporation

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Natural Stone: Protection, Maintenance, & Restoration

This fast-paced session will cover stone origins and processing; coatings versus impregnators; stone installations and various protection/maintenance challenges; and restoration. Gain insight from an industry veteran into a subject that is critical long after the initial stone installation.

Speaker: Joe Salvo, Miracle Sealants

Introducing Social Media into Your Stone Company’s Marketing Plan

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools are engulfing the world of communication today, and user demographics show that it’s not just the 20-something age group taking advantage of these networking tools. This session will cover some “easy to implement” strategies to propel your stone business into the social media world. Several case studies will be presented to showcase “best practices” that will demonstrate how to get started and manage existing and new relationships through social media.

Speaker: Garen Distelhorst, Marble Institute of America

Coverings also serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all categories of attendees - with informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions conducted throughout the four days and all free of charge.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Ultimate Waterproofing Techniques

This session will describe the methods used by master installer Michael Byrne to provide maximum waterproofing and crack isolation protection for residential and light commercial tile installations. It will cover all types of waterproofing membranes.

Speakers: Michael Byrne, MB&A; David Gobis, CTC, CSI, Ceramic Tile Consultant

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Stone Trends 2010

Gain a valuable overview of the market and market trends by attending this 11th annual “State of the Industry” presentation on the dimensional stone market in America. This session will cover information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year, including examples of award-winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone. It’s especially recommended for companies that hold or aspire to obtain Marble Institute of America (MIA) Accreditation.

Speaker: Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates

Fabricators Forum

This open forum is designed to provide fabricators with answers to questions or problems they may have in regard to operating successfully in today’s business economy. In the present economic climate, diversification is a critical step many fabricators are taking. This panel is well versed in both the residential and commercial arenas and what it takes to excel in both. Costs, stone supplier relationships, collections, employee development and meeting customer expectations are just a few of the business-related topics that will be addressed.

Moderator: GK Naquin, Stone Interiors

Speakers: Rafael Bernal, Great Lakes Granite & Marble; Michael Twiss, Columbia Stone, Inc.; Brett Rugo, Rugo Stone LLC, Natural Stone & Mosaic Contractors; and Guido Gliori, Grazzini Brothers & Co.

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.

Exterior Stone Adhered Veneer Standards - An Industry Update

This session will provide an industry update on adhered natural stone veneer systems. As various groups debate the merits of engineered design versus empirical design, industry-wide consensus doesn’t appear to be in the near future. This session will offer an overview of a number of the contentious topics that are currently stalling development of standards for this widely used system of stone attachment. Substrate rigidities, adhesive contact, stone varieties and known paths to failure will be addressed.

Speaker: Chuck Muehlbauer, Marble Institute of America

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Wholesale/Slab Distributors Forum

Back by popular demand, this will be the third annual discussion of strategic issues critical to running successful wholesale/slab distribution companies. This open discussion will cover a host of operational issues, including building strong fabricator relationships, networking with the design community, freight issues and many more. An update on how distributors are supporting the granite industry on the radon/radiation front will also be included.

Moderator: Scott Lardner, Rocky Mountain Stone

Speakers: Jonathan Zanger, Walker Zanger; Saket Hans, OHM International; Rup Shah, MS International

Fabrication - Do You Know Your Cost?

As a fabricator, do you know your true cost of doing business? How much are you making on each job? Can you analyze your cost by each component of your business (template, fabrication, install, overhead, etc.)? How does a new piece of equipment affect your ultimate profit? It isn’t rocket science, but if you haven’t taken a course on this subject, this is a seminar you can’t miss. Learn how to get started so that you can get a handle on the factors affecting your bottom line.

Speaker:GK Naquin, Stone Interiors

The Science of Sealing: What to Know, What to Use and Why

This seminar focuses on the science behind stone and tile types and the compatibility of different sealers and their overall performance. Different stones and tile have varying densities, porosities, mineralogy and finishes that exaggerate these differences. Learn how to select which sealer types to use for optimum sealing performance, explore the advantages of water-based versus solvent-based sealers and discover what sealers do and what they don’t do.

Speaker: Rod Sigman, Aqua Mix

Friday, April 30, 2010

8:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Stone in Green Building: Moving the Stone Industry Towards Sustainability

This three-hour workshop should be on every natural stone professional’s list of business critical sessions to attend. During the presentation portion of this workshop, you will explore the use of stone materials in building applications, learn more about the activities of the industry’s effort to assess the sustainability of stone, obtain information about environmental profiles for stone materials as compared to other material alternatives (pre-cast concrete, aluminum, etc.) and learn more about the results of life-cycle assessment that compares common materials used for external cladding.

During the panel discussion portion of this workshop, you will gain perspectives on why the work on natural stone sustainability is critical to the evolution of building codes around the world, ask questions and provide input into the ongoing effort and share perspectives from projects you have worked on.

After this session, you will be better positioned to speak with clients about sustainability, get involved with this vital industry initiative and position your company to be at the forefront of this effort.

Speakers: Jack Giebig, Center for Clean Products at the University of Tennessee; and several members of the Natural Stone Industry’s Sustainability Committee

9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Trends in the Use of Tile and Stone in the Landscape:  A Showcase of Various Landscape Works Across the Globe that Embrace Culture, Theme and Sustainability

This seminar will address the applications of stone and tile in landscape architecture, from hotels and resorts to campuses and urban settings. Pools and water features, sculptures, porte cocheres, walls and columns and custom works are just some of the applications in which tile and stone will be showcased via case studies during this presentation. Sustainability and applications related to sustainable design, the use of local materials in projects and the use of recycled materials in projects will also be addressed.

Speaker: Rob Hutcheson, ASLA, EDSA

Commencing at 10 a.m.

Your Fabrication Shop - Nuts & Bolts Fabricators Forum

This workshop blends three aspects important to every fabricator and concludes with a traditional fabricator’s forum of your industry peers responding to questions. The presentation will focus on:

Being OSHA-compliant and operating a safe shop environment. You’ll learn more about the steps necessary to bring your shop into compliance today, as well as find out how many thousands of dollars of potential fines may be sitting in your shop. A safer workplace - the goal of every fabricator.

Identifying the right infrastructure for water recycling. Hear about the differences in the various water recycling systems that are currently available and learn how you can benefit from using the best water cycling system that fits the needs of your shop, from a fabricator’s perspective.

Learn how important it is to have the right compressed air system and infrastructure for your fabrication shop. See why so many shops are going “all wet,” and why the right air system enables fabricators to be more efficient and save money on tool repairs and energy costs.

Moderator: Kevin Padden, AZ School of Rock

Speakers: Scott Lardner, Rocky Mountain Stone Co.; other speakers TBA