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New CERAMIC TILE TECHNOLOGIES Promises and Problems Ceramic tile has had a glorious past, and predictions for the future are even more rosy. The total U.S. ceramic tile market in 1975 was, in round figures, $214 million. In 1986 it topped $900 million and by 1995 that figure is expected to double. While the rapid growth was good news for the tile industry, it caused problems for old-line craftsmen, who had a difficult time keeping pace with demand. In response, the industry began developing innovative "thinbed" methods and materials as alternatives to the traditional "thick-bed" installation. Thin-bed installations, including mastics and dry-set mortars, now command over 90 percent of the market. (Thin-bed mortars are called "dry-set" because the tiles don't need