The tile industry continues to evolve, and one thing in particular that is noticeable is tile sizes are getting larger and thicknesses are getting thinner. There have been several tile manufacturers who have been at the forefront of these latest product developments, but others are now catching up. With tile pieces now as large as 5 x 10 feet and 3 to 6 mm thicknesses, they are offering architects and designers alternatives to stone slabs.

Since the rise in popularity of these large tile pieces, it became clear to industry leaders that standards need to be set. There were even debates as to what to call these new large panels. It has finally been decided that they will be referred to as "Thin Porcelain Tile" — TPT for short.

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"Standards for this product category are still being developed," said Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing of Crossville, Inc. "The Tile Council of North America (TCNA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) do not yet have a product standard for manufacturing by which the quality of materials will be evaluated. In the meanwhile, professional organizations are coming together to offer stated guidelines for best practices."

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature beginning on page 16. You can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

"I'm seeing a lot of excitement by architects and designers in the tremendous potential for these tiles, which will translate to more of them being used," said San Diego-based Certified Kitchen Designer and author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work, Jamie Gold, of Jamie Gold Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC.

Because TPT is relatively new, there still is a lack of standards when it comes to installing the product. As a result, certified tile contractors that have experience using the material have recommended some installation guidelines, according to Waldrep. "In recent months, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Contractors' Association of America (TCAA) and The International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC) came together to provide the recommendation that tile contractors not install thin porcelain tile panels in any thickness less than 5.5 mm for floor installations," she said.

It is good that industry organizations are working together to provide educational resources about new product developments such as TPT. In addition to the tile associations, there is also the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Natural Stone Council (NSC) who can offer valuable information about the stone sector. These associations are all out there to share their knowledge and expertise, so utilize them when you can.