History and Heritage
100 Countries, 3 Generations, 1 Mission
For over 60 years, LATICRETE has been leading the construction market by manufacturing innovative construction materials. Through three generations, the family-owned, customer focused, world-wide manufacturer provides materials to over one hundred countries. All this began in a basement in New Haven, CT with one innovator, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg.
During the late 1940’s, while working in his family’s floor covering installation business in South Carolina, a young Chemical Engineer, Dr. Henry M. Rothberg realized that there must be a better way to install ceramic tile than the traditional “full mortar bed” method. He decided to dedicate himself to research alternative methods of installing ceramic tile and stone to bring improvements of chemistry to the normal Portland cement-based installation systems for tile and stone.
Dr. Rothberg began development work with Uniroyal Chemical at their Naugatuck, CT research facility where he investigated synthetic latex technologies that had been applied to the concrete industry. After much effort and time – LATICRETE® 4237 Latex Thin-Set Additive was developed and taken to market. For the first time a strong, weather and shock-resistant “thin-bed” mortar could be mixed on-site using equal parts of sand and cement, gauged to a workable consistency with LATICRETE 4237. In 1956, not realizing the potential of what would soon prove to be a revolutionary product; Uniroyal sold the LATICRETE brand to Dr. Rothberg, and LATICRETE International, Inc. was born.
Dr. Rothberg took his samples and product literature and departed for overseas markets where tile and stone were already much more common finishes. Large installations and long-term relationships followed successful presentations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. LATICRETE remained primarily export-focused in its early years. Slowly, North American tile installation firms began to realize the labor-savings benefits afforded by this new and innovative installation system. Learning from his international experience, Dr. Rothberg focused his efforts on the Architectural community, which could appreciate the significant savings in other aspects of building construction – less steel, less concrete, no depressed slabs – when thick, heavy mortar beds could be eliminated. As LATICRETE grew, the thin-bed method took hold as a typical means of installation. Consumption of ceramic tile grew steadily and rapidly in North America with 2015 estimates of close to 3 billion square feet.
LATICRETE® became one of the most prominent product lines available as tile distribution developed around the world in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As distribution increased, so did the availability of LATICRETE. More and more products were added to the LATICRETE product line that allowed installation of ceramic tile in residential and remodel applications as well as in industrial and commercial construction. LATICRETE became a brand preferred by many types of installers, not just large installation firms focusing on large projects. Demand for LATICRETE products is fulfilled through distribution supported by 8 plants in North America, and a network of factories, distributors and partners around the world. In the 1990’s LATICRETE sharpened its focus on the international market to create and cultivate efficient local production in expanding markets. This successful strategy has resulted in worldwide local availability of LATICRETE installation materials.