Gauging Savings: USI Porcelain Panel Project Saves Time & Money

More than three decades ago, global tile manufacturers introduced through-body porcelain tile, and it quickly and seemingly became the industry’s cure-all. Being more molecularly compact than typical glazed ceramic tile, it offered the same durability and resistance to moisture, as did solid granite… and, at a lesser price-point. 

Over the years, porcelain formats morphed into gargantuan tile sizes as large as 36” x 48.” And these tiles were no longer just “through-body” versions. Advanced inkjet printing processes were developed that actually gave the tiles both “looks” and textures resulting in it being almost impossible to discern whether or not they were true natural materials. And, this printing procedure was no flimsy topcoat. Airports around the globe, for example, which have tens of thousands of people racing across their terminal floors pulling wheeled luggage on a daily basis, have been successful with their specification of HD printed, porcelain flooring. 

So what was next in the world of porcellanato? In the last few years, a new phenomenon has appeared, now termed “gauged porcelain panels.” These are extremely large tile slabs, produced with fine porcelain clay, manufactured to minimal tile thickness without compromising the performance levels inherent to porcelain tile. Visionary architects are specifying this material for a myriad of applications, including to be installed directly over existing tile (which means the arduous, messy, time-consuming and disruptive process of removing ceramic tile can be eliminated), as monolithic-appearing wall applications… and, even to perform as exterior cladding. Relative to vertical installations, one of the few disadvantages of “regular” porcelain tile is weight. Gauged porcelain panels have become the ideal alternative, because when installed correctly, due to having much lighter weight, various structural components can be reduced… saving a great deal of installation time and out-of-pocket money. A good example of this took place recently at the University of Southern Indiana’s Health & Professions Building. 

Crossville’s Laminam gauged porcelain panels were specified for this interior project, which consisted of 2,500 square feet of wall space for a commercial kitchen classroom. “Originally, we bid the job to be tiled using a traditional mortar system. Adam Abell, our Bostik representative, came in and asked if we would consider an alternative installation system that offered a host of benefits,” stated Danny Fulton, Vice President of Evansville, IN-based Fulton Tile & Stone. “We were ready to begin the project, but because of our strong rapport with Adam, we granted him some presentation time that included having our Crossville representative, Tony Davis attending along with our team. I had no idea of what Bosti-Set™ was… or, what it could do. But in retrospect, granting Adam time to showcase his new product proved be one of the best decisions we’ve made in a long time!” 

Abell demonstrated how projects calling for gauged porcelain panels could be installed in roughly half the time, even with a smaller crew. He showed how Bosti-Set™ immediately grabbed porcelain tile panels in a single coat, did not allow any sag, yet made it possible for these panels to be “reposition-able” for at least 30 minutes. “As a business owner, I’m always looking for efficiencies that are timesaving and ultimately, cost saving,” added Fulton. “So ultimately, we decided to work with this newer product. 

“We had a lot to learn,” Fulton continued, “as the panels basically had to be ‘picked up’ using suction cups with aluminum spines, not unlike the way glass panels are installed. A single layer of adhesive is troweled only onto the back of the panel, cutting the square footage necessary to trowel in half. This also cuts down on weight… and, deadline stress on our installers.”

Fulton went on to state that he was so captivated by this project… he actually put on his accountant’s hat and followed every single step to measure the overall savings. “There is no mixing needed with this system,” he mentioned. “It’s just ‘open and go.’ Other systems require a 50 lb. bag of thin-set per panel. This project had 70 panels to install, and I estimated that without mixing, we could roughly save 30 minutes per panel on the installation alone, not to mention the mixing time and chasing water that was completely eliminated. Ultimately, for this 2,500 square foot project, even though Bosti-Set™ is a bit more costly than other products, we may have saved close to $5,000 just by using it. “And, that number is very conservative!” Fulton beamed.

He added that the project worked out so well, “Fulton Tile & Stone has begun to use Bosti-Set™ on a regular basis for other projects we have in the queue, including ‘phase two’ at the USI facility.”

Gauged porcelain panels have certainly become the rage. According to Martin Howard, Executive Vice President of David Allen Company and current President of the National Tile Contractors Association, “This newer product offering has been accepted in the marketplace because, in particular, architects and designers see the advantages offered by a large panel format that is much lighter in weight than other high-performance surfacing options. And due to their expansive size, there are less grout joints visible. That means a wall application, for example, can give the appearance of stone veneer at a lower price point, because single slab appearance is now possible.” 

“You can’t learn how to use the system overnight,” declared Fulton. “So, we decided to have all of our installers take as much time to learn this system as they needed. Both Bostik and Crossville helped us with educating our team at optimal levels. Generally in our business, some of the more seasoned installers want to stick with methods they’ve used in the past. I thoroughly understand that. But when we were able to prove to all our installers that not only was Bosti-Set™ easier to use… it allowed them to finish projects earlier and the move on to the next one…  I think they were all very much sold!”

Fulton Tile & Stone depends upon its major distributor, Louisville Tile for the great percentage of tile and sundry materials used in the many installations for which the firm is engaged. Don Kincaid, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Louisville Tile, believes gauged porcelain tile panels have a very, very bright future. “In particular for the commercial sector, these materials are gaining more and more acceptance. Designs calling for gauged porcelain, at this early stage of its existence, most likely are coming from savvy architectural designers who understand it doesn’t just add a monolithic look due to having minimal grout lines. It offers many more solutions, one being because it is so much lighter in weight than natural stone… it can be directly installed on vertical surfaces as a viable alternative. And, because of the realism generated by today’s amazing high-definition inkjet printing processes, very few people will not know the product isn’t an actual stone slab. 

“We also believe,” continued Kincaid, “that gauged panels will soon be specified on a regular basis for residential applications, one example being shower walls. Forward-minded installation professionals such as those at Fulton Tile & Stone, understand how glass panels are adhered to walls, and will continue to embrace the best ways in which to install these products.  Now that there is a product such as Bosti-Set™, which offers so many installation performance benefits, we at Louisville Tile are even more positive about this product category.”

Kincaid was also extremely positive about the University of Southern Indiana gauged porcelain panel project. “And why not?” he declared. “That’s my alma mater!”

 

 

 

MAPEI helps restore Hugh L. Carey/Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel

The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, officially known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, is a toll road in New York City that crosses under the East River to connect the Borough of Manhattan with the Borough of Brooklyn. At 9,117 feet (2,779 m) in length, it is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America.

The New York City Tunnel Authority began construction on the tunnel back in 1940, to help relieve traffic on the three East River bridges. In the original installation, 799,000 wall and ceiling tiles were installed in the structure. The job extended a full decade, partially due to a

three-year delay caused by material shortages during World War II*. The

The tunnel after the storm caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Hugh L. Carey Tunnel officially opened in 1950 and consists of twin tubes, capable of carrying thousands of automobiles along four traffic lanes. In December 2010, the tunnel was officially named after former New York Governor Hugh L. Carey.

On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States – near Atlantic City, N.J. – with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour and driving rain. The Category 1 storm breached the seawalls in New Jersey and New York, causing massive flooding in streets, subways and tunnels. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel itself was flooded with 60 million gallons (227 million liters) of salt water that needed to be removed from its two tubes. The damage done to the walls of the tunnel and the removal process required extensive repairs including 800,000 tile replacements and additional enhancements to prevent future disaster.

MAPEI solutions help repair and restore the tunnel

Preparing the installation bed with MAPEI’s Modified Mortar Bed.

Gibraltar Contracting, the tile contractor on the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel project, was asked to float a new mortar bed and install 400,000 sq. ft. (37 161 m2) of 6˝ x 6˝ (15 x 15 cm) Agrob Buchtal “Chroma” façade tiles across walls 15 feet high (4,57 m) of the 1.73 miles (2,78 km) of the Manhattan-to-Brooklyn side of the tunnel in the first phase of the restoration work. The Chroma tiles offer easier cleaning, as well as diffuse light for motorists. These tiles also act as a fire-retardant, providing a protective coating for the tunnel in the event of a fire.

Installing tiles with MAPEI’s Ultraflex 3.

The biggest challenge for the Gibraltar crew came in preparing the mud bed for the setting of the tiles. After the tunnel flooded, the removal of the original tiles left an extreme profile on the surface of the concrete walls. This profile had to be completely filled and leveled with a non-sagging mortar in order for the tiles to properly set. Further, engineers from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), operator of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, required the most efficient system for reconstructing the tunnel and specified very stringent requirements for restoration of the walls and the application of new tiles. The Gibraltar crew turned to MAPEI tile installation products for the high-quality durability the job specified.

View of the exterior entrances of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in New York.

The Gibraltar Contracting crew applied two lifts (float coats) of MAPEI’s Modified Mortar Bed, a premixed, cement-based, polymer-modified, thick-bed and render mortar that includes a blend of select aggregates. This was a great solution because, rather than requiring the use of a latex additive, Modified Mortar Bed only requires mixing with water to produce a high-performance bond. This mortar was applied to the damaged tunnel walls providing a smooth, curved substrate for the setting of the tiles.

With that challenge well met, the Gibraltar crew moved on to setting the nearly 800,000 white and

The maintenance access areas are designated with mint-green tiles.

blue tiles with yellow accents. Around the tunnel’s periodic maintenance access areas, they installed mint-green tiles to make these areas easily visible. Regardless of color, all of the tiles were set with Ultraflex™ 3, the strongest mortar in MAPEI’s Ultraflex series. The crew then grouted all the joints with Ultracolor® Plus FA, MAPEI’s fine-aggregate, fast-setting, efflorescence-free grout. Ultracolor Plus FA’s built-in DropEffect™ technology reduces surface absorption, helping to repel water, dirt and grime from penetrating grout joints.

Work on the Manhattan-to-Brooklyn tube of the

The Chroma tiles grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.

tunnel was completed in March 2017. During the 2017-2018 timeframe, the Gibraltar crew repeated the entire process, heading through the other tube of the tunnel, from Brooklyn back to Manhattan. To ensure future protection from flooding, 44,600 pound bronze flood gates were also installed at either entrance of the tunnel. The 22˝ thick, 29´ x 14´ gates were made by Walz & Krenner, Inc., of Oxford, Connecticut, a marine-based-company specializing in the design and supply of custom watertight closures. MAPEI was honored to help in the restoration of one of New York City’s most historic tunnels. 

*According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website.

Source: http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/brooklyn-battery/#HFtSZKQUkU0zI7P6.99

The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is a 9,117-foot tunnel under the East River that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan.

 

 

LATICRETE International, Inc. Acquires Remaining Interest in LATICRETE SUPERCAP, LLC

Acquisition will boost business to more effectively promote LATICRETE® SUPERCAP® concrete remediation solutions across North America

 

August 21, 2018, Bethany, Conn. — LATICRETE International, Inc., a leading manufacturer of globally-proven construction solutions for the building industry, has acquired the remaining interest in the LATICRETE SUPERCAP, LLC joint venture to fully integrate the businesses under one umbrella and invest additional resources to accelerate growth momentum.

“The LATICRETE SUPERCAP joint venture between LATICRETE and SUPERCAP was originally formed in 2012 to bring to a broader market revolutionary products and technology first introduced to the northeastern United States. Since its formation, the company has experienced excellent growth, has expanded internationally and has built an outstanding reputation for quality, speed and innovation,” said Edward Metcalf, LATICRETE North America President and COO.

The acquisition enables LATICRETE SUPERCAP to have a more concentrated and effective sales and marketing structure to spread the SUPERCAP message and promote other powerful concrete remediation products of the company across all of North America.

“As the construction industry continues to evolve and slowly transitions away from traditional and inefficient construction practices, we are well positioned to deliver value-added solutions that address the serious challenges of rising freight expense, declining labor availability and ever-tightening construction schedules,” added Metcalf.

LATICRETE® SUPERCAP® self-leveling underlayments are pumped into a building using a patented mobile blending unit, eliminating any dry material from entering the interior of the jobsite and the need for workers to haul and manually open hundreds of individual bags and pumping equipment. Additionally, SUPERCAP offers self-leveling underlayment Ready-Mix Delivery Service, a turnkey service that saves significant costs associated with purchasing, operating and maintaining one’s own pump truck.

LATICRETE will integrate all functions of LATICRETE SUPERCAP throughout the second half of 2018 with no disruption or changes to the products or customers’ transactions.

Since 1956, LATICRETE has aimed to improve the durability of buildings and create lasting customer relationships by manufacturing safe, innovative building materials and by treating customers, employees and partners like family. With approximately 1,600 team members worldwide, LATICRETE operates in more than 100 countries and distributes to every continent.

 

Green Risks and Rewards: Managing Legal Issues on Sustainable Projects

Defining the green project

There are four main steps to successfully managing legal issues that often arise in sustainable projects. The first step is establishing a clear understanding among all project participants of the owner’s green project goals and how they will be obtained. These may include energy and water consumption reduction, LEED® certification, tax credits, marketing purposes, or “greening” required by law. Understanding how specific goals will affect design professionals, general contractors, or specific trade contractors is critical to contractually defining a green project. But perhaps even more important is first asking: Are the goals attainable? The answer to that question is a key component to defining the project scope. 

Next, defining the scope requires identifying and taking inventory of the details in four areas:  design, materials, construction, and commissioning. The parties in each area should ensure that project participants (whether the design professional or the sub-trade) clearly understand their role and responsibility to meet green objectives. This includes implementing best practices such as contractually assigning risks based on who best can manage those risks. For example, one could allocate responsibility for third party certification submission to the owner’s agent, or, rather than guaranteeing a certification level, agreeing to use best efforts in designing or building towards a certification requirement. The third step is equally important: Getting buy-in from the owner – and all project participants – early and often as to the project’s sustainable objectives and how they will be achieved.

Managing green risk

Liability concerns arise with inexperienced teams, heightened standard of care, unachievable warranties, product failures, delays, insurance/bonding concerns, and handling of claims. The fourth step revolves around how well these risks are managed in green projects.

To avert the problems with inexperienced green construction teams, parties can assist owners in verifying credentials of all project participants – including subcontractors and consultants – and build a team with the requisite green design and construction experience. (This may not always be the lowest bidder.) But project participants may also want to avoid representing themselves as “green experts” as doing so could inadvertently increase standards of care and in turn impact insurability (as most insurers will not cover a heightened standard of care). In other words, the standard of care should be consistent with prevailing industry standards and those responsible for maintaining that standard must also be prepared to address continuously evolving green standards. Even with the right team in place it’s important to recognize that the contracting parties cannot make “green guarantees” in part because it’s impossible to control third parties. Consequently many sustainable project contracts are made to perform to green certification i.e., without warranting that certification will be met. 

Delays are an inherent risk in any type of project and can occur due to the unavailability of required products or because the work takes longer than anticipated. Risks also arise from green product failures or from implementing products not yet tested or insufficiently tested. Such delays can result in not meeting substantial completion or certification, or in the owner not obtaining the desired tax credits. Therefore, it’s imperative to proactively take responsibility for the risks of delays that each project participant can control. For example, participants may draft force majeure clauses that specifically identify “excusable delays” and include language underscoring that substantial completion will not equate to achievement of a certification level (as such certification will generally not be completed at the time the project is completed). 

When addressing insurance and bonding matters each project participant must evaluate and determine which policy will best cover “green” claims. Each of the types of policies available to the project team have their limitations or advantages:

Errors and Omission policies, procured by design professionals, generally will not provide coverage for warranties or guarantees, nor provide coverage for “green experts.” 

Builders’ Risk policies, procured by owners, generally will not include construction defects coverage. 

A Commercial General Liability policy, generally procured by contractors, presents coverage issues turning on questions such as: Is failing to meet a sustainable objective an “occurrence” that caused “property damage”? Does obtaining to meet green certification level equate to performing professional service? What about the mold and EFIS endorsement exclusions? 

When reviewing these types of policies, therefore, it’s important to bear in mind that obtaining a “green” endorsement will not cover guarantees to meet certain sustainable third party certification. 

Claims

When claims in green projects arise, they generally allege breach of contract, negligence, and misrepresentation (“Greenwashing”). These claims generally allege failure to meet or diligently pursue a green certification (such as failure to meet a LEED certification), failure of a product to provide the desired result (such as a bamboo roof that leaks), or failure to timely construct the green project (due to green products/materials delays).

Parties seeking to limit damages may try to contractually limit the timing of when claims can be filed and thus help to mitigate the unknown long-term performance risks. Parties may also seek to limit liability up to the level of insurance coverage or to the level of fees.  Furthermore parties may also agree to mutually waive consequential damages resulting from, e.g., termination of leases, breach of loan agreements, or the loss of tax credits, profits or reputation. 

Experienced teams support successful sustainable projects

Finally, what can parties do to reduce and manage the risks discussed above? Certainly educating the key players early and often is paramount as it helps to secure the owner’s buy in and maintains the project team engagement. Carefully choosing the best project delivery method, the proper allocation of risks, selecting the appropriate certification consultant and the commissioning and re-commissioning avenue are all necessary. Lastly, parties can also reduce their risks by ensuring timely notice and opportunities to cure and properly document issues that arise.  In the end retaining the right team experienced in executing a well-integrated approach to every aspect of the green project can often prove to be the most critical factor in a successful sustainable project.

––––––––––

Daniel A. Dorfman is Chair of the Construction Law Practice at Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll LLP, a full-service boutique business law firm based in Chicago, Ill. Daniel has a national practice representing owners/developers, design professionals, general contractors, subcontractors, specialty trades, and construction suppliers on their most important construction projects – both on the front end in drafting and negotiating complex construction agreements, and on the back end litigating and trying to verdict (when necessary) commercial construction disputes of all kinds when they arise. Daniel, a LEED® Green Associate, also has a focus in sustainable (“green”) building and the renewable energy markets. Daniel can be reached by email at [email protected]. 

Lasting art installations help transform new Northern California Children’s Hospital

Gary Drostle, uses LATICRETE products to adorn floor in Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

After more than a decade in the making, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford recently opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art building. At 521,000 sq. ft. (48,402 sm), the new building depicts California’s diverse ecosystem and natural beauty, with each floor representing a native eco-region. 

In a press release announcing the opening, the hospital describes the new 149-bed facility as being designed to transform the patient and family experience through nature and play. Its founder, the late Lucile Salter Packard was a known advocate for treating both the patient and their family, not just the illness. With this in mind, lead architect Robin Guenther, a principal with the architectural firm Perkins + Will in association with Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. and Mazzetti, set out to fulfill Packard’s vision by designing one of the country’s most sustainable children’s hospitals.

The new 149-bed facility as being designed to transform the patient and family experience through nature and play.

To bring to life two mosaic tile themes representative of California’s seashore and the Redwood Forest, international award-winning mosaic artist Gary Drostle and his company, UK-based Drostle Public Arts, created and installed 19 hand-cut mosaics using Winckelman Unglazed Porcelain, a set of bronze medallions and 700 hand-cast glass leaves to be set in a specially-designed terrazzo floor. After nearly two years of craftsmanship, Drostle’s designs were installed in the ground floor lobby area of the hospital and first-floor central corridor using LATICRETE® products.

International award-winning mosaic artist Gary Drostle and his company, UK-based Drostle Public Arts, created and installed 19 hand-cut mosaics using Winckelman Unglazed Porcelain, a set of bronze medallions and 700 hand-cast glass leaves to be set in a specially designed terrazzo floor.

“For each portion of our mosaic tile work, there was an appropriate LATICRETE product to ensure a lasting installation and bring the ‘wow’ factor with a pop of color in the grout,” Drostle said. “More importantly than that, each of the products chosen has received multiple certifications and declarations, including Health Product Declarations (HPD), Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions for sustainable living. Over the years, our company has had great success using LATICRETE and their full range of quality products. We knew this time would be no different.” 

The new hospital features mosaic tile designs representative of California’s seashore and the Redwood Forest.

As the former president of the British Association for Modern Mosaic and a regular teacher and juror at the Society of American Mosaic Artists, Gary Drostle brought more than 30 years of experience of creating large-scale public mosaics for floors with him to the jobsite.

After nearly two years of craftsmanship, Drostle’s designs were installed in the ground floor lobby area of the hospital and first-floor central corridor using LATICRETE® products.

The challenges 

Installation
Interference
: Installing fine hand-cut mosaic is always a challenge due to the tolerance required in the setting of the work. To make this installation possible, Drostle and his team needed the specified LATICRETE products to deliver superb bond strength that would hold the adhesive bond between the mosaic sheet, while retaining a good open time for the slow and precise mosaic tile adjustments. 

Tight
Timeline
: The tile work for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford needed to be completed speedily on a jobsite with many other contractors demanding the same workspace. Products used needed to be formulated with rapid-curing properties to meet efficient timelines.

Once on site to begin the mosaic panel installation, Drostle Public Arts’ installation crew applied NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates, on the ground floor lobby area and first-floor central corridor.

A LATICRETE solution: 

Once on site to begin the mosaic panel installation, Drostle Public Arts’ installation crew applied NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates, on the ground floor lobby area and first-floor central corridor. This product was selected to produce a flat, smooth and hard surface for the finished mosaic tile installation. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible, non-sensitive to moisture and maintenance-free, making it optimal for use in a healthcare facility. 

To adhere the 19 mosaic panels to their respective flooring areas, 254 Platinum was specified for its superior strength and bond.

To adhere the 19 mosaic panels to their respective flooring areas, 254 Platinum was specified for its superior strength and bond. Designed for a simple install, the one-step, polymer-fortified mortar only requires water for mixture and has a long open time for enhanced workability. 

PERMACOLOR® Select, an advanced high-performance cement grout that offers the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution, was used to grout all of the mosaic tile installations. With PERMACOLOR Select, Drostle Public Arts gained increased productivity and time savings on the jobsite, thanks to a faster time-to-grout and foot traffic permitted in as little as three hours. To add a pop of color, the team opted to use a PERMACOLOR Color Kit for a glossy Raven tint. 

PERMACOLOR® Select, an advanced high-performance cement grout that offers the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution, was used to grout all of the mosaic tile installations.

Outcome: 

“Dale Foster, the local LATICRETE representative, was invaluable to the success of this project. As an international team traveling in for the installation, Dale quickly became the ‘go-to guy’ for any technical or logistical inquiries,” added Drostle. “Dale was on hand for any issues and continuously supplied help as the job progressed.”

In April of this year, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford announced that its new main building was awarded LEED Platinum status, the highest designation for sustainability recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. Thanks to the architectural prowess of the Perkins + Will, Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. and Mazzetti team and leadership from the hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is one of just five hospitals in the world – and only the second children’s hospital – to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is one of just five hospitals in the world — and only the second children’s hospital — to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

 

“For each portion of our mosaic tile work, there was an appropriate LATICRETE product to ensure a lasting installation and bring the ‘wow’ factor with a pop of color in the grout,” said mosaic artist Gary Drostle.

Merkrete Systems in Hotel Bennett, Charleston, S.C.

After years in the making, the Hotel Bennett perfectly blends unparalleled luxury with an unmatched setting. Fittingly located on King Street, one of Charleston’s most famous addresses, this hotel will be among the most significant lodging developments built in the Holy City and the State of South Carolina.

Prominently located on Marion Square, the hotel’s historic site formerly housed the original west wing of The Citadel, South Carolina’s Military Academy. Most recently, it was home to the Charleston Library. Today, Marion Square, the most celebrated green space in the city, serves as a central gathering location for world-class events, including the Charleston Wine & Food Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition and the popular Charleston Farmer’s Market.

Hotel Bennett features 179 lavish guestrooms and suites, a signature restaurant with stunning views of Charleston’s famed park, and a stylish bar and lounge. The hotel will also include a spectacular rooftop pool with cabanas and bar, a luxury spa, a French patisserie, and a variety of grand event and flexible meeting spaces.

Classic elegance and timeless design

The impressive interior style combines sophisticated, inspired design reminiscent of the city’s rich heritage with a modern perspective. Designed by Fairfax and Sammons Architects, the Hotel Bennett sets the standard for the melding of both new and vintage styles. The tile and stone installations throughout the building perfectly match this high-class, world-traveler aesthetic, as each piece was masterfully chosen and strategically placed for an extra touch of glamour and ensured functionality.

When NTCA Five Star Contractor David Allen Company was approached by Balfour Beatty Construction to supply the cost-efficient, high-performing materials they wanted from around the world, David Allen Company Project Manager Clovis LaCour knew they’d need a trusted and top-quality waterproofing system to ensure a job well done. Upon reviewing the scope of the project, all answers pointed definitively to Merkrete, a leader in waterproofing, crack isolation and underlayment technology. To prevent any potential moisture issues in highly utilized areas such as the hotel’s exterior balconies, Merkrete’s trusted system is a critical component to the installation. 

Since 1920, David Allen Company has been one of the nation’s most recognized and respected tile, terrazzo, marble, and granite contractors.

 

An impermeable solution seals the deal

When it comes to the critical waterproofing under tile on the exterior balconies and surrounding areas, Merkrete’s BFP waterproofing membrane system was the only solution. Durable and long lasting, this membrane system is designed for heavy-duty applications, promising zero leaks or cracks, even with severe exposure and high amounts of traffic. 

Merkrete’s BFP Membrane System is a three-layer system designed to mimic a three-ply roofing membrane. As most architects are familiar with this type of roofing product, BFP is composed of three distinct layers: first, the primer is applied in a liquid state and allowed to cure for several hours followed by the liquid membrane itself. The workhorse latex membrane is an asphaltic liquid latex compound reinforced with a hefty fabric allowing for 40 wet mils. After curing, the third and final layer is applied and it acts as a protective wear surface to guard against construction traffic. All three layers are fully waterproofed within themselves and all act as a crack isolation membrane as well. Merkrete’s BFP Membrane system has been in existence since 1974 and provided millions of square feet of protection over occupied space.

Because of the size of the pool deck and vast number of exterior balconies, LaCour needed a versatile product that could address several specific needs at the same time: a pre-mixed product that could be used to screed and slope the pool deck and exterior balconies to the various area drains while also repairing imperfections in the floors. 

Merkrete’s Sales Representative on the job, Brandan Chastine, said, “I immediately knew that Merkrete’s Underlay C was the perfect product for these requirements. Its versatility allows you to build up to 3” and spread to almost a feather edge (1/8”). You don’t usually get that in a single product.” 

Underlay C is a blend of carefully-selected polymers, Portland cement and graded aggregates that do not require the use of latex admix or jobsite blending. The pre-mixed product is versatile and economical, which helped David Allen Company save time and money by allowing a faster installation.

Bond strength; fast-setting grout

Merkrete proved the perfect match for another specific challenge, considering the strength of the mortar required. “We used very large and heavy natural stone, which requires a mortar with a super-high bondability that can handle the weight of the stone,” said LaCour. Merkrete 820 Merlite is a one-step, polymer-modified, lightweight setting adhesive for installing extra-large-format porcelain, ceramic tile and natural stone for both floors and walls, and can be used as thin- or medium-bed setting adhesive for stone. Merkrete proved it could hold its weight.

In addition to the waterproofing membrane system the hotel required, Merkrete was the trusted source yet again in providing high-performance, sustainable grout throughout the exterior installations. “Merkrete’s ProGrout is a fast-setting, polymer-modified, color-consistent and efflorescence-free high performance grout that exceeds ANSI A118.7 for all types of ceramic and dimensional stone tiles on walls and floors,” said Chastine. “It works for grout joint widths of 1/16” up to 1/2” wide, eliminating the need for different grout products and allowing the versatility required on the job.”

Convenient sourcing speeds project completion

As with all installations, timelines are always important and the Hotel Bennett was on a fast pace, so it was critical that LaCour chose a company who would be able to get the products delivered and the job completed on time. Merkrete is a brand of Parex USA, one of the largest companies and a worldwide leader in tile-setting materials, façade finishes and technical mortars, established in 22 countries with 68 manufacturing plants and over 4,100 employees. “Merkrete was perfect for this project’s requirements, because we have plants and distribution centers all over the country, so our turnaround time and ability to get our products to the jobsite on a timely basis were no problem,” said Chastine. 

Over the past decade, Charleston’s popularity as a travel destination has soared. In 2016, it was ranked as the top city in the world to visit by readers of Travel + Leisure, one of many accolades recently awarded to the Holy City. With the Hotel Bennett set to open in the Fall 2018, the guests will flood in to experience the fine culinary offerings and embrace the tranquil setting and incredible architecture. In the years to come, more renovations may take place, but thanks to Merkrete, you can be sure the stone tiles will be standing strong. 

1 2 3 23