The Tile Contractors' Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) recently announced a major initiative that will take place immediately. In an attempt to raise the level of integrity and professionalism in the tile trade -- and to present project owners, builders, architects and design professionals an opportunity to demand installation excellence -- the two associations have agreed to mutually promote and market their company recognition programs. This partnership is unprecedented in the tile trade, and as such, carries with it historical significance.

The TCAA "Trowel of Excellence" and the NTCA "Five-Star Contractor" programs have separately been acknowledged in the tile industry as worthy efforts to recognize companies that demonstrate a proven track record of success and ethical business practices. By promoting the two programs together, the top companies in each association that successfully complete the criteria for acceptance into these exclusive groups will be presented with unique opportunities for marketing and business development. 

"The word quality just shouts out," said John Trendel, President of the TCAA. "The only two nationally-recognized ceramic tile trade organizations joining forces to offer building owners and architects rigorous certification of member companies cannot help but raise the level of quality for their ceramic tile installations. Building owners and architects will have an unsurpassed level of comfort that their projects will have the highest levels of quality at the national, regional and local level."

"I'm excited and energized by our partnership with NTCA to jointly promote these two outstanding programs," said TCAA Executive Director Carole Damon. "By working together to increase the professionalism and expertise of tile-installation companies and giving architects and project owners a road map for selecting the right tile contractors for their projects, we take a giant step toward ensuring quality craftsmanship in every installation and increasing consumer confidence in the durability, beauty and value of tile. It's a win-win for everyone in the industry, and we're proud to be part of this effort."

Leaders of both the NTCA and TCAA have been working on this initiative for several months, and have established several goals and objectives they hope to accomplish. To be clear about the strategy, the group has included several representatives from some of the top tile- and installation-material manufacturers in the U.S. industry. 

"I am excited about what has been accomplished to date and I’m looking forward to where this leads in both our associations' efforts to acquire work for our membership," said NTCA President Nyle Wadford. "The synergy produced from the allegiance of labor and manufacturing for the benefit of both, once again demonstrates the power of unifying for similar goals within the industry."

Perhaps the most important goal currently set forth to be accomplished is to create an opportunity for those individuals involved in the specification of tile and stone to demand installation excellence.  Language is currently being developed for consideration in several important standards that will provide them with this quality option. 

"For far too long, we have heard the complaints about the quality of installation on certain projects in our trade," said NTCA Executive Director Bart Bettiga. "In our current economical times, we have seen the emergence of unqualified companies being hired and performing work that they were incapable of successfully completing. By presenting this option for excellence to architects, design professionals, and residential and commercial project owners, we are elevating our trade to the level it deserves."

The associations will continue to grow and develop this initiative. Currently, there are approximately 50 companies in the two programs that have been approved in the recognition process. This number is expected to increase as the awareness of this effort becomes clearer.  Additional goals underway include the specification on national accounts, incentive programs from manufacturers who recognize the groups efforts, and jointly-promoted educational efforts to the architectural and design community. The leaders of both associations will continue to work closely to further develop these plans in 2012. 

For more information on the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program, visit:

For more information on the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program, visit: