Coverings 2013, the international tile and stone exhibition, will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from April 29 to May 2, 2013, and it is on track to have more than 900 exhibitors from more than 50 different countries.

Online registration for the show has been open since October 2012 at, and there is no fee to visit Coverings. Moreover, there is no charge to attend the educational sessions, of which there are more than 70. “Coverings offers an incredible value,” said Show Director Karin Fendrich of National Trade Productions, the show management company for Coverings. “There is no other place where every segment of the tile and stone industry — including architects, designers and other specifiers, tile and stone showrooms and retailers, wholesalers, installers and contractors, and builders and developers — can see the latest products and installation techniques and, at the same time, attend valuable CEU sessions, workshops and demonstrations.”

Another first for the tile and stone exhibition is the creation of an honorary Attendee Advisory Council. The hand-selected council of nine represents the various constituencies of the tile and stone world — architects, designers, distributors, fabricators, retailers and contractors as well as the press. All are veterans of the show and are committed to serving up invaluable insight and guidance on how Coverings can offer the most to attendees and exhibitors leading up to and when it convenes in Atlanta.

“Atlanta is an exciting new turf for Coverings, and it makes sense to tap into the resources of such seasoned authorities,” said Fendrich. “They have experienced our event, share the mindset of our diverse corps of attendees, and live, breathe and know the Atlanta marketplace best. We appreciate their involvement and are confident their ideas and perspective will help us produce and deliver a 2013 Coverings that is beyond expectations.”

The full spectrum of stone

Over the years, Coverings has been a forum 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 stone tiles and slabs, including exotic materials from around the world. National pavilions of stone-producing companies can be found throughout the Coverings exhibition floor, 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 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.

Demonstration of stone fabricating technology — along with instruction — can also be found at “The Cage,” which is run by the Stone Fabricators Alliance.

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.

An extensive program

The extensive educational program at Coverings 2013 will offer something for everyone, including distributors, installers, fabricators and architects/designers. Headlining the conference program are five featured speakers announced to date: noted author and design writer Jen Renzi, Pantone color guru Leatrice Eiseman, successful marketer and dieter Marty Gould., Lieutenant General John F. Sattler (USMC ret.) and healthcare reform expert Gene Marks.

In addition to the exhibits and conference program, Coverings will once again present its PROJECT: Green and the Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards. PROJECT: Green recognizes sustainable new and remodeled commercial, institutional and residential projects featuring tile and stone. The program, now in its fourth year, is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and installers. Coverings will feature the winning project on its Web site, in social media, on its blog and in a press release. In addition, the project will be showcased on the show floor and in a conference session held during the show.

The CID Awards celebrate creativity and technical know-how in the use of tile and stone in residential and commercial projects. These materials offer designers, architects, installers and contractors endless and timeless design styles to choose from to create character and beauty for their residential and commercial projects. Winners will be honored during the CID Awards Reception and Ceremony, being held on Monday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m.

“With these two programs, Coverings is proud to recognize excellence in the entire tile and stone community by saluting professionals for their design creativity, craftsmanship and environmental stewardship,” said Fendrich. “Recognition of the projects selected for PROJECT: Green and winners for CID Awards has become a much-anticipated highlight of the show.”

Another highlight of Coverings 2013 will be the Installation Design Showcase, where  NTCA Five Star contractors and Atlanta-area design firms are partnered together and collaborate to showcase the synergy between beautiful design and great installation. The displays will include a bar/lounge, hotel lobby, inpatient room in a women’s birthing center and a master bathroom being created from inception to completion right on the show floor. Each space will highlight a different design aesthetic and feature tile and stone in a live installation.

Additional attractions at the exhibition will include Coverings Central — an interactive and vibrant area on the show floor that is home to social media educational sessions, the Internet Cafe, a bar with daily events and the PROJECT: Green display — as well as live “how-to” demonstrations, which offer an up-close look at how top contracting pros handle a variety of challenging tile installations.

Coverings has teamed up with the Interior Design Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to create a 10-week student design tiling course for the 2013 winter/spring semester. The students will learn how to design and tile four to six benches that will be displayed at Coverings 2013 and, after the show, be permanently located on the SCAD campus.

Stone-specific seminars at Coverings 2013

Among the 70-plus education sessions at Coverings 2013 during April 29 to May in Atlanta, GA, there are dozens of stone-specific presentations — covering everything from fabrication, installation and distribution to specific marketing  techniques for natural stone. The following is a look at some of the key stone-related sessions taking place in Atlanta.


Monday, April 29

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers About Natural Stone

Speakers: Sarah Kelly, Marble Institute of America; Vincent Moiso, Quarry Collection

Experience Level: Mid-Level

Want to expand your outreach to architects and interior designers? Have you ever had difficulty getting an appointment at a large firm in your area? Consider providing CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to the design community. This session will showcase how to position your company as the leading expert on natural stone in your marketplace, how the various CEU programs work (AIA, ASID, IDC, IDEC, IIDA, NKBA and others) and how to get started giving presentations. This “how-to” explanation will help you get started down the CEU provider path.


Monday, April 29

1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Why Epoxy Grout and Bonding Mortars Are Essential to the Tile and Stone Industry

Speaker: Alan Kin, Tex Rite

Experience Level: New to Profession/Mid-Level

Get the most from your epoxy grout and bonding mortars. Attendees will achieve an easy-to-understand knowledge for epoxy resin without having a chemistry background. This lecture is based on an easy-to-follow format, offering an understanding for epoxy usage and jobsite conditions for epoxy grouts and mortars to excel. Whether you have no installation experience, low experience or high experience, individuals can gain more knowledge about epoxies that make them user friendly. Get updated on product usage and improved installation techniques.


Monday, April 29

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Sealing Natural Stone, Tile & Grout - Fact & Fiction

Speaker: Joe Salvo, Miracle Sealants

Experience Level: All

Everyone in the stone and tile industry needs to know the basics, as well as how advances in product development impact the industry. Information abounds, but is it the right information? Join this session to learn the facts as to which surfaces benefit from being sealed; the difference between sealers, finishes and waxes; solvent versus water; the different protection sources used in most sealers and impregnators; how most impregnators work; how to determine effectiveness; and how to determine costs.


Monday, April 29

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Marble Use in the Kitchen

Speakers: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile; Todd Robertson, Vermont Quarries

Experience Level: All

Specific to natural stone, many may think that you can only use granite on a kitchen countertop. This session will focus on the use of marble in the kitchen, which is on the rise in the U.S. (Note: marble has been used in kitchens for hundreds of years, especially in Europe). With the increasing trend in marble use in kitchens, attendees will learn the different protective treatments required; obtain unique design elements of using marble for a countertop surface; and expand their ability to set the proper consumer expectations.


Monday, April 29

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Managing a Successful Small Business Forum

Speakers: To be determined

Experience Level: Leader

Most companies in the stone and tile industry are small businesses. This session brings together a panel of business leaders who have weathered the economic storm, planned for the future and run successful small businesses. Listen to their stories and be prepared to take notes about “best practices.” Plan on joining this robust Q&A session. Note: Attendees who attend this session and work in a family business environment are also encouraged to attend “Managing a Successful Family Business” on Wednesday afternoon.


Tuesday, April 30

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Installing Tile and Stone in Remodeling Projects: Panel Discussion

Speakers:  John Cox, Cox Tile, Inc.; Jan Hohn, Hohn & Hohn Tile;
Joe Kerber, Kerber Tile, Marble
and Stone

Experience Level: All

Remodeling projects account for a significant amount of tile and stone consumption, and are very different from new construction and commercial projects in many ways. Many tile contractors who specialize in this type of work must be knowledgeable and proficient in other trades, and know how to put a team together to meet the customer’s expectations  NTCA Five Star Contractors who perform this type of work will share their field experience with attendees and answer questions. 


Tuesday, April 30

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Natural Stone Tile: An Overview

Speaker: Joshua Levinson, Artistic Tile

Experience Level: New to Profession/Mid-Level

This one-hour course will familiarize design professionals with the resources available for installation methods and specifying standards for natural stone tile. The session will review the characteristics of natural stone in order to understand how they might affect your project. See examples of common stone tile failures and discuss the best practices to ensure a successful installation.


Tuesday, April 30

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Fabricators Forum

Moderator: Tony Malisani, Malisani Inc.

Panelists: Dustin Braudway, Bluewater Surfaces; Marco Duran, Atlas Marble and Granite

Experience Level: All

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