News & Info to Share

Material Bank has proven itself to be a tremendous resource for the design community, and you can count me among those that are impressed.  I have, however, noticed a few issues that may be worth discussing with colleagues… particularly newer designers.

  1. Not everything is commercial
  • Just because its on Material Bank, does not mean that you can use it for commercial projects.   An example of this is a drapery memo I saw on a commercial palette that was NOT fire-rated. 
  1. Local Sources
  • Stone and quartz surfaces can be quite expensive to ship.  Particularly with quartz I have come across samples from groups that do not have local warehouses.  So, if you end up specifying a single private-label quartz slab from a group based in Arizona, you might end up needing to find a local alternative once the shipping costs are included.
  1. Representation
  • You don’t need a rep… until you do.  Someone that might warn you about stock or lead-time issues on a product specific basis, or will work on your behalf to solve such problems.  From experience I can attest to the fact that the rep contacts listed on Material Bank aren’t always responsive.
  1. Don’t Assume Pricing
  • In many cases, pricing guidance on Material Bank is based on a scale that is probably relative to the vendor’s other lines.  In one case I noticed a beautiful silk-wool blend rug sample on a project that did not have the budget to cover that type of product.  Out of curiosity, I checked the Material Bank listing and saw three-dollar signs “$$$”.  I then checked out one of the more expensive carpets from one of the well-known commercial groups, and noticed that it also had three-dollar signs “$$$”, yet the difference in actual cost was around $100 per yard.

Designers that have been at this for a while intuitively evaluate products on Material Bank with these and other issues in mind.  However, younger designers don’t seem to be doing so, and it might be worth communicating these sort of issues with your team members.


Experts Corner

Rectified tiles continue to increase in popularity, particularly in the commercial arena. For years, the industry and Dal-Tile have recommended that Rectified tiles can be installed with a 1/16" grout joint. However, from the contractor’s perspective, installations have become more time consuming and difficult to ensure compliant installations when attempting to install a Rectified tile with a 1/16" grout joint. In response, the new TCNA (Tile Council of North America) Handbook addresses this issue by recommending that the width of the grout joint used be determined by the ANSI A108.02 specification which states that the actual grout joint size shall be at least 3 times the actual variation of facial dimensions of the tile. To simplify: Rectified tiles, regardless of size, shall have a grout joint width no less than 1/8". As a result, Dal-Tile is changing its recommended grout joint width to be 1/8" for all of its Rectified tiles.

Provided By : Jeff Eassa (

In the past several years there have been an increasing number of requests by building owners for more privacy in their public washrooms, especially in Class A and Trophy office buildings. Most manufacturers of toilet partitions can now offer stalls with no gaps between the components and taller doors and divider panels. These extended doors and divider panels reduce the gap at the floor to 6” and in some cases 4”.