As 2014 comes to a close, I look back on the busy year it has been. Our TILE staff attended many trade shows worldwide. We were introduced to an assortment of new products and learned of new standards and certification tests that have been put in place — all to offer the highest level of quality for inspiring designs.

At the time I am writing this, I had just returned from two back-to-back industry events. In October, Hanley Wood launched The International Surface Event (TISE) East in Miami, FL. The intention of starting a new show was to offer tile, stone and flooring professionals an arena on the East Coast where they could network and reach new markets that they otherwise wouldn’t with the Las Vegas exhibition. More can be learned about the exhibition in the article on page 33 of this issue of TILE.Jennifer Adams

Right after Miami, I headed to San Antonio, TX, for Total Solutions Plus. This is the fourth year I attended the conference, and each year it continues to grow and pick up momentum. The 2014 event hit a recorded number with approximately 600 attendees. There was an energy in the air, and everyone seemed happy to network and share ideas and experiences with each other.

Looking back at all the events I attended in 2014, I see a common thread. There is a positive vibe among tile industry members. Most people I spoke with have said how busy they are, which is a positive sign of recovery.

Additionally, the tile industry continues to evolve. In particular, tile manufacturers are producing tile sizes that are larger and thicknesses that are 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.

And 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. In the Technical Focus, which begins on page 18, Scott Carothers, Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), addresses this topic and explains that a new TPT test has been added to the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program. The test covers several different installation components that are necessary to obtain a quality installation. The debut of the ACT TPT — as well as new Grouts — testing will be held at Coverings this coming spring.

So there have been some exciting new developments in the recent months, and I am sure there will be more to come. I look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.