Five Star Contractor Spotlight – Klaser Tile


Klaser Tile Company, Inc.
5starlogocustom-sponsor

Chula Vista, Calif.

Since: 1974

Specialty: Commercial tile and stone,
adhered veneer, and industrial flooring installations

Employees: 40

Website: www.klasertile.com

klaserlogoKlaser Tile has been family owned and operated for 39 years. Bill and Merrily Klaser started the company in 1974 and still actively manage the business along with their son Kent. Having installed millions of square feet of adhered-veneer stone, tile and brick, Klaser Tile is considered an expert at commercial flooring, exterior veneers, and industrial flooring.

klaserfamilyLearning from the masters

Founder Bill Klaser started the company in 1974 with his wife Merrily after attending the University of Southern California (USC). Bill, being a very quality-minded person, was persistent in learning every aspect of the trade. He became a Ceramic Tile Consultant (CTC), certified by the Ceramic Tile Institute in 1979. Bill did a short apprenticeship with Herman Schock, a CTI Perpetual Trophy-winning industry installer, and learned how to install Venetian glass mosaics in Roman bathtubs. He later traveled to Germany to briefly work with German master installers to learn some European methods of ceramic tile installation. Bill is currently a Technical Committee member of Ceramic Tile Institute of America (CTIOA) and chairs the Exterior Veneer Technical Committee.

Certified Women’s Business Enterprise

Merrily started working right away with the company, even early on as Bill’s helper. As the company grew over the years, Merrily performed all of the administrative and accounting operations. To this day, she still loves her work and actively manages the business full time. Since Merrily retains 51% of the ownership, Klaser Tile is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).

The next generation

Bill’s son Kent has followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a CTC, serving on the NTCA Board of Directors, and now sitting on the NTCA Technical Committee. Kent, vice-president of operations, has a business management degree and actively oversees all operations, project management, and estimating.

History and specialties

klaser-petcoKlaser Tile began by specializing in custom residential installations (1974-1983) which included Roman bathtubs and other complex projects requiring tile expertise. In 1983 the company’s focus shifted to commercial work, which included shopping malls, restaurants, and some thin-brick and ceramic tile exterior veneers. These were the years in which Klaser Tile became known as an expert installer of epoxy thin-set and epoxy grouting systems. In 1993, Klaser Tile started specializing in exterior veneers, including dome-tiled roofs largely done in Venetian glass mosaics. Since the mid-1990s, Klaser Tile has installed over 3 million square feet of exterior veneers, including San Diego’s PETCO Ballpark, where 160,000 square feet of Indian Sandstone was installed.

klaser-holycrossInstalling exterior veneers – and particularly tiled domes – is a very complex job, and it is critical that they are done correctly. There are only a few installers capable of doing this type of work, which is another indication of Klaser Tile’s capabilities and commitment to quality. Klaser Tile has installed many fully-tiled swimming pools – another expertise Klaser Tile possesses.

klaser-biogenKlaser Tile now has an Industrial Division which focuses on Industrial Flooring Installations where corrosion-resistant flooring is critical, such as in the food, dairy, pharmaceutical, and chemical process industries. Klaser Tile recently completed a two-phase project in Colorado where it installed over 250,000 square feet of acid-resistant tile.

Today there are few installation companies that can claim expertise in so many types of stone, tile and brick applications. And, likewise, there are few that stand behind their work with the integrity and commitment of Klaser Tile. It is the mission of Klaser Tile Company to maintain the highest quality standards for the installation of ceramic tile and stone. Maintaining industry standards of the ceramic tile, stone and brick trade is also a top priority of Klaser Tile.

Case Study – Hand made tile

1handmadetileHandmade tile mural invigorates library patio

By Lesley Goddin

The Fallbrook Public Library is part of the San Diego Public Library System – indeed, it was the very first branch in the system, originally established in 1913 by the Saturday Afternoon Club (which later became the Fallbrook Woman’s Club) in Hardy’s Drug Store.

The library has evolved and changed locations over the years, eventually taking up residence as a 4,300-square-foot building at its current location in 1969. In 1987, it rose out of the ashes of a destructive fire as an 8,100-square-foot structure. Now it is among the top 8 of the 32 county libraries in terms of usage.

This library is more than a repository for books – it has grown into a central gathering place for the community – with a meeting room that seats up to 200 – home to the arts, in a building crafted and created by local artists and artisans. It circulates nearly a quarter of a million items per year, serving as a backbone of education, entertainment, information and inspiration for the community.

2handmadeSo when it came time to install a durable floor in the well-trafficked Poet’s Patio at the library, organizers turned to Robin Vojak of CRStudio4 in Temecula, Calif. CRStudio4 creates handcrafted ceramic stoneware and poured bronze medallions that are works of art in themselves.

The objective of The Art of Knowledge mural, according to Vojak, was to create “an environment that is welcoming and relaxing, working to offset the sterile concrete walls and floors.” Rusty brown and golden yellow hues mixed with deep aqua greens and blues along with cast bronze inserts added warmth and drew from the colors of nature, complementing the building and permanent artwork.

A number of challenges had to be addressed in the project, Vojak said. These included:

  • Mural materials had to be durable to withstand high foot traffic and environmental conditions
  • The surface had to withstand harsh cleaners needed to remove gum, graffiti and food spills
  • The design needed to “read” from all angles – and not have a top or bottom
  • The design needed to incorporate colors in nature and have a whimsical, organic shape
  • Handmade tiles had to be completely flat with no raised edges or domed or warped areas
  • The mural had to conform to county building codes

Vojak’s husband, Cyril, did the extensive prep work for the mural. This included removing concrete in the mural area with a jackhammer, cutting the existing concrete on a curve as dictated by the design, and installing rebar for proper support. The thickness of the mural was measured and concrete was poured into the form, leaving just enough height for the Custom ProLite® medium-bed mortar and the tile.

A template was created of the mosaic area and calculations for shrinkage and firing of the durable, dense stoneware pieces was done, so they would fit snugly and perfectly into the cut-out area, like a puzzle. The tile pieces were made in a painstaking process to ensure the accurate ratio of water and clay to minimize shrinkage, and custom-formulated matte and gloss glazes created interest and depth in the design.

Once the tile was set, the bronze inserts were poured, polished, patinated and placed into the mural by Robin, Cy and several of her kids, all of whom are employed in the business. The mural was grouted with Custom grout and a stone enhancer was applied to the entire surface.

The resulting mural is an arresting centerpiece for the Poet’s Patio, that will – like the fine literature it celebrates – endure the test of time.

3handmade

Tools of the Trade – September 2013

0913-ToT-measuringtoolsBy Lesley Goddin

The importance of the correct measurements on a job cannot be overstated. That’s why it’s key to have reliable tools and instruments to measure correctly – the first time! Following are some recommendations from contractors and some products for your consideration.

THE COMMENTS

I found my Leica laser measuring tool was an extreme help to me. I used it not only to measure jobs onsite, but also to verify that structures were built to plan dimensions when I had to bid from plans only. Funny how seldom I was alerted when room sizes had changed (generally larger) by the GC.

– Michael Whistler, NTCA presenter

A 16´ tape measure and a 2mm mechanical pencil hooked to the collar of my shirt are my best measuring tools.

– Joe Lenner, Infinite Ceramic 

With all of the technically advanced measuring devices out there today we still rely on the basic 25’ Stanley measuring tape. Old fashioned, I know, but it has limited parts to break, doesn’t need batteries and I don’t get massively upset if it gets lost. If we are measuring larger areas we use the Stanley rolling type.

– Scott Heron, Precision Tile Company

We like to use the Stanley Fat Max measuring tape for layouts and marking cuts.

We use the Magic Mark It for a lot of diagonal work. Magic Mark It speeds up the marking process and eliminates mistakes that could be made by reading the tape measure incorrectly.

My personal favorite measuring device when it comes to estimating is the Bosch DLR130 distance measurer. It calculates the distance with a laser. It’s accurate and a lot easier to use than dealing with the hassle of a tape measure. Sometimes the ceiling is high and a tape measure is impractical or hard to read. Measuring around furniture can be a chore with a tape measure. The DLR130 saves time and it doesn’t hurt that it makes an impression of professionalism with the customer as well!

– Michael Weaver, Trendsetter Tile & Stone

THE TOOLS

pacificlaser-tot

Pacific Laser Systems offers the PLS HVL 100 multiple beam laser, a bright, fully-automatic laser layout tool ideal for tile contractors working with complicated layout patterns on floors, walls and even ceilings. Laser beams project 360-degree horizontal level and vertical assist with right angle configuration for square on floors and walls. Powered by four AA rechargeable batteries, the HVL 100 is compact and durable with an accuracy of 1/8” at 60’ maximum error. www.plslaser.com

The DeWALT 3-Spot Laser DW083K projects three spot beams – one up, one down and one horizontal. The working range is 30 meters, with best-in-class accuracy of +/- 0.2mm/n. With a raised down beam, locking pendulum and magnetic pivoting base, the 3-Spot Laser provides dot visibility and clearance for wall track layout. DeWALT has a comprehensive range of spot, line and combination lasers in its line.

www.stanleyblackanddecker.com

dewalt-tot

Tech Talk – September 2013

TEC-sponsorRainfall in my house: the shower environment

The most “rainfall” a home sees each year is NOT on the roof — it’s in the shower– so plan waterproofing for your projects accordingly

halvorsonBy Don Halvorson, CTA, CTC, CMRS, Forensic Tile Consultants

Forensic Tile Consultants has performed thousands of site inspections and intrusive tests over the past several years as an expert witness for construction-defect investigations. After many years of bathroom inspections, it has become vividly clear that residential showers are a major source of water entry into the structure, due to type of wall construction, improper construction practices and availability of proper construction details.

While the typical homeowner complaint that drives a construction-defect lawsuit tends to be roof and window leaks, a major source of water entry into the structure is located in the bathroom or bathrooms of the home. This specific area of water intrusion leads to structural damage, mold growth and health issues. While architects and contractors are aware of the weather issues associated with roof and window installations, very little emphasis is placed on properly constructing a shower to eliminate water leaks into the building envelope.

Two feet of rain falls for every shower

In 1997, Cecil Hunt, owner of Hunt For Tile, a tile contractor in Chula Vista, Calif., performed a basic test to determine how much moisture was occurring inside the shower during a typical personal shower. He simply placed a glass inside the shower, on the receptor in the water spray pattern, and tracked the amount of time required to fill the glass with 6” of water. This occurred in three minutes. Using 12 minutes as a typical shower time, Mr. Hunt calculated that 24” of rain fell during that shower, which amounted to 8,760” of “rain” in a one-year time frame. This figure has been used for several years in the industry by tile experts.

In an effort to justify this figure, or provide a more realistic figure, a review of the shower environment with respect to water or moisture is required. Currently, much emphasis has been placed on water conservation with reduced water-flow showerheads. This is due to The Energy Policy Act of 1992, a Federal law that placed requirements on the manufacturers of showerheads after January 1, 1994. This law established the National Water Efficiency Standard at 2.5-gallons per minute, at a water flowing pressure of 80 PSI, plus meeting the requirements of ANSI A112.18, 1M-1989, 7.4.3a for all showerheads except a safety shower showerhead.

Obviously, the water flow is going to vary with showerhead design and water pressure, plus the fact that there are probably more residential houses with water pressures around 60 PSI, than 80 PSI. That reduction in pressure would reduce the showerhead water flow to about two gallons per minute.

Expert opinions vary on how long a “normal” shower lasts and how much water is actually used. In August 2000, the GAO (United States General Accounting Office) published a report to Congressional Requesters on “Water-Efficient Plumbing Fixtures Reduce Water Consumption and Wastewater Flows.” In this report, reference is made to a comprehensive study conducted by the American Water Works Association’s Research Foundation where 1,200 homes were studied to determine the end use of water in residential homes. That study reports the Mean Daily Residential Water Use for a shower is 11.6 gallons per person.

A showerhead sprays water in a constant pattern; in other words, it does not fall in a random pattern like natural rain. This fact does not lend itself to using a rain gauge to measure the water amount. The actual shower size also varies, along with the spray zone and splash effect of a moving body.

Therefore, a base line flow rate would simplify any analysis undertaken and give a standard by which to judge the results. For this analysis, the showerhead flow rate used in the calculations will be 2.5-gallons per minute as depicted by the National Water Efficiency Standards.

The only other item that is constant and can be utilized in this analysis is the size, or footprint, of the shower unit. The analysis will compare the typical shower sizes found in residential houses. The water flow rate, calculated for a 12-minute shower, will be figured as covering the floor surface without draining away. This amount will then be added up for a one-year time frame.

The following standardized units will be used:

rainfall-graph

Conclusion

Assuming the annual rainfall in Southern California in 2001 was 6” and other areas of the world receive over 200” of rain per year; we can compare the highest and lowest figures from the above chart (1,098/2,482) with those rainfalls (6/200) and quickly realize that the moisture inside a shower can be from 5.5 to 414 times more “rain” than on the roof.

If we use the 2-gallon per minute flow rate, the moisture inside the shower changes to 4.4 to 329 times more than on the roof.

If we use the Mean Daily Residential Use Per Capita” figure of 11.6 gallons, the moisture inside the shower changes to 2.2 to 156 times more than on the roof.

From all the studies and variables reviewed, the range of moisture in the shower environment varies from 2.2 to 414 times the annual rainfall experienced on the structure’s roof.

The calculations and conclusions shown here are strictly meant to point out the fact that we have more moisture occurring inside a shower during normal use than on the roof during rainstorms. It is, therefore, necessary to design and construct a shower with equal or better care than the roof of a house.

Common sense tells us that any water occurring inside the shower area must go to the drain, not into the structure.

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This article was printed with permission from Don Halvorson, CTC, CTA, CMRS, CRMI, Forensic Tile Consultant; email: [email protected]; cell 818-606-8431, office 805-492-5552.

Case Study – September 2013

1tec-casestudyComplete TEC® system transforms school into a work of art

TEC products provide solutions for both interior and exterior challenges

A fine arts building addition at Pathfinder and Navigator Schools in Pinckney, Mich., contains more than 16,000 square feet of tile, all installed with TEC® products.

The building addition houses fine and performing arts space, including a new band and orchestra suite, choir and music rooms, art rooms, a fine arts integration studio and conference room.

More than 15,000 square feet of terrazzo, ceramic and porcelain tile are featured inside the facility. Terrazzo tile outfits the floor, ceramic adorns interior columns and porcelain creates unique interior benches.

Outside, the Fine Arts Connector makes an especially creative statement. An additional 1,000 square feet of tile are featured on seven piers that are curved, designed to resemble the profile of a cello. Installing glass tile on the undulating piers created many challenges for the project team, so they turned to TEC brand products.

2tec-casestudy“We were presented with several unique challenges on this project,” said Jennifer Panning, president of Artisan Tile, Inc., who served as tile subcontractor. “The combination of a 30-feet-high exterior application, using glass tile, various radiuses and a vertical substrate meant we needed products that could stand up to these challenges. We chose the TEC brand for this very reason – quality products and technical support.”

Artisan Tile’s firsthand experience and past successes with TEC products and technical support made their choice easy. The construction manager, architect and H.B. Fuller Construction Products representatives were involved early on to consult and help navigate the complexities of the job. Everyone worked together to determine the solution. According to Panning, the team agreed that the most important part of the tile installation was beneath the surface. As a result, Artisan Tile spent 80% of its time focusing on substrate preparation.

Artisan Tile utilized several TEC products that all meet or exceed ANSI specifications: Xtra Flex™ Acrylic Latex Additive, HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane, Super Flex™ Mortar, AccuColor® Premium Unsanded Grout and TEC® Acrylic Grout Additive.

On the scratch coat and mud set, XtraFlex Acrylic Latex Additive was used at a 1:1 ratio, providing additional bond strength. For waterproofing, HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane was used. It is flexible, mold and mildew resistant and has crack isolation properties.

3tec-casestudySuper Flex™ Mortar was used to set the tile and has the highest bond strength of any TEC mortar. AccuColor® Premium Unsanded Grout was mixed with TEC® Acrylic Grout Additive in place of water. Together they form joints that are less susceptible to water penetration, which is necessary for exterior use in Michigan’s freeze/thaw climate.

Combined, the TEC products worked to overcome the unique set of installation challenges the project team encountered. The result is a striking external aesthetic that sustains the seasonal elements of Michigan’s weather, and a beautiful interior that endures high traffic and heavy use by students.

“We are happy with the results TEC products brought to the Fine Arts Connector,” said Panning. “H.B. Fuller Construction Products provided the technical support and products we needed to provide a smooth installation that meets the unique challenges of the project.”

4tec-casestudyThe Fine Arts Connector was completed in August 2012. The Michigan-based project team included Artisan Tile, Inc., Wold Architects and Engineers, and construction manager, George W. Auch Company.

For more information on the TEC brand offered by H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., visit www.hbfuller-cp.com.

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XtraFlex™, HydraFlex™ and Super Flex™ are trademarks of H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc.
TEC® and AccuColor® are registered trademarks of H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc. in the U.S.A.

Feature Story: Schluter Systems – September 2013

Schluter products bring historical accuracy and modern efficiency to shower and bathroom renovations at the University of South Carolina/Preston Residential College

By Sean Gerolimatos, technical director, Schluter Systems L.P.

1schluterThe University of South Carolina was founded in 1805 in Columbia, S.C., and has grown from a single building to offer over 300 degree programs to its 30,000-plus student body. Within the university, Preston Residential College provides a unique housing experience. The college is modeled after traditional residential colleges such as Oxford and Cambridge, with students, a live-in principal, and faculty advisors sharing living space, dining, educational and recreational activities.

2schluterProject overview

Preston Residential College was built in 1939 and accommodates 232 residents, with student living spaces organized in suites. Each four-student suite is comprised of two 12’ X 18’ bedrooms, which share a bathroom, including a shower stall. Renovations, spearheaded by Compass 5 Partners, LLC (see sidebar) included replacing the tiled showers, floors, and walls in each of the 80 student bathrooms.

Educational facilities have specific requirements with respect to renovations. In general, student housing must provide a clean and healthy environment. Ceramic tile is the ideal surface covering for these applications, particularly in bathrooms. However, it is essential that applications are properly designed and executed to ensure that the benefits of using tile are fully realized. Furthermore, scheduling and performing renovations can be difficult since the housing is typically occupied during all but the summer months. Therefore, this project required a reliable, durable, and fast installation method, which was found in the Schluter®-Shower System.

3schluter5schluterApplication

The Schluter®-Shower System is a family of bonded waterproofing components that together form a completely-sealed system directly behind the tile covering to manage water in both its liquid and vapor forms. The integrated system eliminates leaks, reduces the potential for efflorescence and mold growth, and reduces installation time.

4schluter

The existing showers, constructed using the traditional pan-liner method – including floated mortar over masonry walls – were torn out and replaced. Floating walls with mortar offers tile setters great control over the final surface to be tiled. However, this skill is not commonly held by today’s tile setters. Furthermore, it can be time-consuming and requires the additional step of waterproofing the surface if a sealed system is desired.

The Schluter®-KERDI-BOARD XPS foam waterproof building panel was chosen as an alternative to floating the walls. The panels were spot-bonded to the masonry walls to allow for adjustment during installation to achieve plumb wall surfaces and square corners. Once the panels were installed, seams were sealed with Schluter®-KERDI-BAND waterproofing strips to create fully waterproof walls. Using this process enabled Watford Tile of Chapin, S.C. to bridge the gap between traditional mortar methods and modern bonded-waterproofing applications and meet the strict time constraints of the project.

Shower bases were constructed using either the Schluter®-KERDI-DRAIN point drain or the Schluter®-KERDI-LINE linear drain and corresponding prefabricated EPS foam shower trays. Both drains feature an integrated bonding flange to allow for connection to the waterproofing membrane at the top of the assembly. The linear drain allows for the shower base to be sloped on single plane, thus enabling the use of large-format tile.

A unique feature of the shower bases was the use of the KERDI-BOARD building panel to fabricate custom footrests and curbs. The shower compartments were relatively small and could not reasonably accommodate a full shower seat. However, a small corner foot rest (8” x 8” x 20”) was designed to provide utility without taking undue space. The shower footprint was also maximized by using a 3” – wide curb. The panels were pre-cut offsite in controlled conditions to ensure consistency and minimize installation time.

The floors surrounding showers are routinely subjected to water exposure. The rest of the bathroom floor may also be exposed to significant amounts of water in the event of overflowed toilets or ruptured sink supplies. As a result, the Schluter®-KERDI membrane was continued from the shower compartment throughout the bathroom floors and walls to provide comprehensive waterproofing.

Once the waterproofing system was installed, the showers were finished with porcelain tile. The Schluter®-SCHIENE profile with satin anodized aluminum finish was used to provide a clean edging for tile at outside corners in lieu of ceramic trim. In addition, Schluter®-DILEX profiles were used at all inside corners to provide maintenance-free movement joints instead of using sealant.

architect-schluterConclusions

“Preston College proved to be challenging, with the infusion of the new Schluter products and large format porcelain tiles in a historic structure,” said Steve Baker, Watford Tile Inc., a family-owned and operated business ([email protected]). “With a great team on this project – from Maryellyn with Compass 5 partners, Chris with Penn Contracting, and Steve and Darryl with Schluter Systems – the project was completed with ease.”

The Preston Residential College bathroom renovation project is an excellent example of how ceramic tile can meet the specific requirements of an educational facility when installed with the right system. The comprehensive moisture management of the Schluter®-Shower System, combined with the customization and control of KERDI-BOARD, and clean finishing achieved with profiles, enabled this project to be successful in terms of both time and quality.

Business Tip – September 2013

mapei_sponsorNeed business support and advice?

Join NTCA – it’s what wise contractors do. 

One of the great values of being a member in NTCA is the trusted camaraderie that exists between members. Need some help? Your fellow members – located throughout the country – are willing to lend a hand and answer a question.

Last month, one of our State Directors, Isaac Homza (Hawaii) reached out via email to his fellow directors for some guidance and advice in finding quality help. His question — and answers from other members, directors and NTCA staff — gave Homza some direction and may be helpful to you, dear reader, as well.

Subject: Re: Tips on finding Quality Help?

Aloha Regional and State Directors,

Hope everyone is doing well.

Looking for advice on the best way to find quality help.

We are a small company: myself, another setter and a helper/apprentice.

Both my guys are great but my helper just had an opportunity come up in another line of work.

I prefer a young person that has the potential to learn the trade. We are based on Maui, where there are plenty of distractions and at times a relaxed attitude towards work.

What sources have you used to find quality applicants and how do you handle the interview/application process to find the best?

Isaac Homza, Higher Standard Tile, Maui, Hawaii

Within hours, Homza had responses from several fellow directors:

Isaac,

We are a smaller company and don’t play in the big arena. I have had my key employees for over 10 years and one from almost the start. I pay them well, give them vacations, and make sure they are trained well and attend seminars on my dime.

I believe their confidence to do challenging installations has improved ten-fold since being CTEF Certified Installers. They are the backbone of my business. We have hired their family members and friends; some have worked out and some have not. We weed them out quickly.

We don’t want every job – just the rewarding ones, both financially and aesthetically. I would encourage you to pick out your key guy – paid accordingly – who is involved with choosing his workforce and fellow laborers. This will leave you more freedom to focus on your business.

I worked in Maui many years ago, so I fully understand the challenges you face with a transient workforce – and when surf’s up, no one shows.

Good luck, and make sure they attend the NTCA Workshops.

Martin Brookes, Heritage Marble & Tile Inc., Mill Valley, Calif. 

I will sometimes stop at construction sites when it is evident that tile work is going on. I have found several good tile setters that just do not like running a business.

This keeps my training investment down and lessens the risk of training my competition.

Scott Heron, Precision Tile, West Columbia, S.C.

I actually had some luck by paying attention at fast food restaurants that I frequented. I watched to see who was a hard worker and had a good attitude (this sometimes took a little time) and would ask if they might be interested in a different line of work with a future, and gave them a card to call me. This also worked in a grocery store for me once, though that is a better job than restaurant work.

Michael Whistler, NTCA trainer/presenter

Ask the Experts – September 2013

SponsoredbyLaticrete

 

QUESTION

I have been in a newly-built home for the last year. Upon possession of the home, air bubbles were noted in the grout. The tiler mixed new grout and applied it over the top of existing grout. After almost a year, cracks were discovered in the grout. Water presumably penetrated the grout cracks and allowed moisture behind the tiles and onto the mortar.

AtE_septThere was a secondary issue where only plywood was used and tiled over without a waterproof membrane. When attempting to rectify the cracks, the builder indicated that the cracks were due to the movement in the exterior wall from the settling of the home. Most of the grout was removed with a utility knife (therefore not completely removed). A couple of days later, a white crystal substance could be seen growing out of the grout lines. Thinking back, this was observed prior to the grout removal and was seen growing on the surface of the grout.

I wonder if you can provide any insight as to the cause of this growth, which I can only assume is efflorescence. As the manufacturer of similar products, I would be very interested in your opinion as to how to remedy the situation, and advice if you have ever heard of or seen such a reaction. It has been seven weeks since the grout was removed and it continued to produce this growth.

ANSWER

After looking at the pictures you sent, it appears that the tile was bonded directly to plywood walls with an organic adhesive (mastic). This is not an approved method according to The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or The Tile Council of North America (TCNA)  for installing tile in a wet area such as a shower stall.

No tile or grout should be considered waterproof – even if a tile and grout sealer has been used. While some tiles such as porcelain are impervious and only absorb a small amount of water other ceramic tiles may absorb much more water – up to 30% of their weight. This absorption allows the water to transfer through to the back side of the tile, thereby requiring  a water management issue to be addressed. 100% waterproofing behind the tile is not required in all cases, but for a successful tile installation, a water-management system is required along with appropriate use of products.

For instance, a house with a shingled roof doesn’t have a waterproof roof. But if the appropriate shingled products are used, and a skilled professional properly installs these products according to ANSI standards or the product manufacturer’s written directions, a successful long-lasting installation will be achieved.

I’m sorry, but it appears necessary to remove all tile work in the wet areas and replace tiles using any of the several methods found in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation for tile installation in shower receptors. Plywood and wet tile don’t mix well and will most likely continue to be problematic. This combination will most likely produce cracking grout joints and cracked or loose tile and also offers a perfect opportunity for mold and other bio-organic growth.

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) web site offers a list of NTCA tile contractor members that are located all across the nation (www.tile-assn.com – click on Find a Tile Contractor or Consultant). I highly recommend a tile contractor that is a member of the NTCA, because members are well-informed on standards and updates in our industry.

– Gerald Sloan, NTCA presenter/consultant

 

Ask the Experts – September 2013

 

QUESTION

I have been in a newly-built home for the last year. Upon possession of the home, air bubbles were noted in the grout. The tiler mixed new grout and applied it over the top of existing grout. After almost a year, cracks were discovered in the grout. Water presumably penetrated the grout cracks and allowed moisture behind the tiles and onto the mortar.

There was a secondary issue where only plywood was used and tiled over without a waterproof membrane. When attempting to rectify the cracks, the builder indicated that the cracks were due to the movement in the exterior wall from the settling of the home. Most of the grout was removed with a utility knife (therefore not completely removed). A couple of days later, a white crystal substance could be seen growing out of the grout lines. Thinking back, this was observed prior to the grout removal and was seen growing on the surface of the grout.

I wonder if you can provide any insight as to the cause of this growth, which I can only assume is efflorescence. As the manufacturer of similar products, I would be very interested in your opinion as to how to remedy the situation, and advice if you have ever heard of or seen such a reaction. It has been seven weeks since the grout was removed and it continued to produce this growth.

 

ANSWER

After looking at the pictures you sent, it appears that the tile was bonded directly to plywood walls with an organic adhesive (mastic). This is not an approved method according to The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or The Tile Council of North America (TCNA)  for installing tile in a wet area such as a shower stall.

No tile or grout should be considered waterproof – even if a tile and grout sealer has been used. While some tiles such as porcelain are impervious and only absorb a small amount of water other ceramic tiles may absorb much more water – up to 30% of their weight. This absorption allows the water to transfer through to the back side of the tile, thereby requiring  a water management issue to be addressed. 100% waterproofing behind the tile is not required in all cases, but for a successful tile installation, a water-management system is required along with appropriate use of products.

For instance, a house with a shingled roof doesn’t have a waterproof roof. But if the appropriate shingled products are used, and a skilled professional properly installs these products according to ANSI standards or the product manufacturer’s written directions, a successful long-lasting installation will be achieved.

I’m sorry, but it appears necessary to remove all tile work in the wet areas and replace tiles using any of the several methods found in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation for tile installation in shower receptors. Plywood and wet tile don’t mix well and will most likely continue to be problematic. This combination will most likely produce cracking grout joints and cracked or loose tile and also offers a perfect opportunity for mold and other bio-organic growth.

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) web site offers a list of NTCA tile contractor members that are located all across the nation (www.tile-assn.com – click on Find a Tile Contractor or Consultant). I highly recommend a tile contractor that is a member of the NTCA, because members are well-informed on standards and updates in our industry.

– Gerald Sloan, 

NTCA presenter/consultant

Hilton Times Square: the quickest method to replace hospitality bathrooms can also be the greenest

Daltile SlimLite Porcelain Panels
and LATICRETE® setting materials team
up to streamline busy hotel project
– without demoliton

0813-feature-coverTile Contractors: How much collective time have you spent demolishing walls and removing the older, existing tiles which must be replaced, knowing that those soon-to-be former tiles and walls will ultimately end up alongside scores of non-biodegradable materials in some landfill?

What if you had a project consisting of over 500 rooms in one of the busiest hotels in the world, and because this specific hotel always had at least a 95% occupancy rate, management required the project to be done as quickly and competently and cost-efficiently as possible? What would be the best and greenest ways in which to take on a challenging assignment such as this?

These were exactly the job requirements for the recently-renovated Hilton Times Square in New York City. This project was successfully completed due to a well-thought-out construction plan involving open-minded owners, visionary designers, cutting-edge tile and installation systems and a tile contractor ready to utilize tomorrow’s technologies today.

Sunstone Hotel Investors, the owner of the Hilton Times Square, contracted Flick-Mars, a Dallas-based design firm. “We like to tell a story of the place,” stated Matt Mars, architect/partner, “so guests will experience some of the locality’s visuals and some of its history right in their rooms. With so much energy and activity outside of the Hilton Times Square, the guestrooms should be a respite. We wanted their room experience more like living in New York than visiting New York. As a result, we specified certain Daltile products so guests could see and feel a true palette of New York City.”

Fast track project benefits from green tile-over-tile install

Kathy Moran, senior associate at Flick-Mars, was lead designer on this project. “We were all set on selecting a porcelain floor tile made in Italy for the guest bathrooms,” she said. “But, we were concerned about the high cost of renovation in Manhattan, so we decided to look for a replacement material that also would aid in a ‘greener’ installation. This hotel is always at near full capacity; we needed tile to be installed with a dependable installation system that would ultimately save time, energy and money for our client.”

02-0813-featureJohn Hall, Daltile’s Hospitality National Account manager, stated, “I was at a mixer in Palm Springs with BITACTM (Buyer Interactive Trade Alliance & Conference), and was able to sit face-to-face with Kathy Moran for exactly 15 minutes. She told me about the Hilton Times Square project and how it was progressing. I mentioned our brand new, cost-effective Daltile Florentine™ series, which emulates the look of polished Crema Marfil. I also inquired about the tub surrounds. We talked about high labor and shipping costs and how best to address these.

03-0813-feature“One logical solution was the possibility of doing a ‘tile over tile installation,’ which up until now really wasn’t feasible for a project of this magnitude,” Hall continued. “I brought up our Daltile SlimLite™ 1/8” thick Porcelain Panels. These panels can be cut to the designer’s specification from a 3’ x 10’ sheet. The advantages offered are numerous, from ease of installation, minimum grout joints and endless design possibilities.”

01-0813_featureAvoid demolition, install 22 floors in 30 days

“Quite possibly the greatest advantage is the ability to avoid demolition,” Hall added. “Coupled with the LATICRETE® System, Daltile’s SlimLite™ Porcelain Panels could be installed over existing tub surrounds by tiling over the original surface. Kathy was interested, but hesitant, due to the model room installation slated to start in two weeks.

04-0813_feature“We were asked if a room mock-up with our products could be produced,” said Hall. “We collaborated with Larry Rich, project executive at Humphrey Rich Construction, the general contractor for this project, and it was quickly built and subsequently put into a model room at the hotel. It was quickly evident that our thin tile-over-tile system allowed the project to be completed within a very aggressive timeline and budget, while also maintaining a high occupancy rate for Hilton. Daltile SlimLite™ was the answer. What happened in just thirty days sometimes takes as long as two years!”

Daltile SlimLite™ Porcelain Panels are made of 100% natural products, and the environmentally-friendly thin panel design not only uses less energy during production, it reduces carbon emissions by lowering shipping weight.

“We really liked the Daltile SlimLite™ material because of the monolithic look we could achieve,” Moran said. “We also knew that this product would be easy to clean and maintain, keeping housekeeping prices down while conserving on energy and cleaning materials. We knew, of course, that we had to specify a high-performance installation system that would meet the stringent demands of this project, while keeping in line with budget and timeline. So we met with our client, George Hensen of Sunstone Hotel Investors, to discuss this.”

05-0813_bathPremium setting materials for thin-tile installation

“We knew the LATICRETE® System quite well,” explained Hensen. “We had just used it very successfully at another one of our projects, the Renaissance DC. We knew that with an innovative product such as Daltile’s SlimLite™, we’d want to work with a tried-and-tested product. So LATICRETE got our collective thumbs up.”

The overall renovation started on floor 44 and moved downward floor by floor to the lowest level, the 22nd floor. Whereas the goal of avoiding demolition to save time, money and maintain occupancy rates was achieved with Daltile SlimLite™ thin tile-over-tile system and LATICRETE installation materials, the last piece of the puzzle was still to be addressed.

“This was not an ordinary tile installation,” stated Tom McKeon, LATICRETE technical representative. “If the large-format Daltile porcelain wall panels weren’t installed correctly and were to break off at the corners, for example, it would be much more difficult to replace them than just removing a 6” x 12” tub-surround wall tile and replacing it. This installation had to be as close to perfect as possible.”

The tile installation firm chosen was Del Turco Bros., Inc. of nearby Newark, New Jersey. “We were working under strong deadlines,” stated Paul Del Turco, who guided this project from start to finish. “We actually were asked to complete half of one floor per day. That was challenging. But the products were great to work with, and we were able to meet these time demands.”

Del Turco’s craftsmen installed both the SlimLiteTM and FlorentineTM material using LATICRETE 254 Platinum thinset. LATICRETE PERMACOLOR® Grout was used for the floors, while LATICRETE 1600 Unsanded Grout was called on for the tub surrounds. All these products are GREENGUARD Certified which helps manufacturers offer – and buyers identify – interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the building  air quality while promoting global sustainability, environmental health, and safety. These materials all come with a 30-Year System Warranty when installed with Daltile products, as well.

By the end of April 2013, this major renovation was completed. “It’s a good feeling to know that very professional suppliers are there at all times to support our creative efforts,” Moran said. “This is definitely a portfolio project for all involved. It was a beautiful project that saved time and energy.  In particular because of the tile-over-tile process, this also was a very green job.”

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