New offerings come to Coverings

Every year Coverings gets bigger and better and offers more inspiration, education and opportunity for those in the tile industry. In addition to the massive free educational program, there are products, installation demonstrations, and events to attend. Here’s a brief rundown of the event that will take place at the Orange County Convention Center – be on the lookout for the Coverings issue of TileLetter coming to your mailbox in March for more information:

  • Art Tile Courtyard – Tile Council of North American Pavilion – Come by and see an amazing array of imaginative dog houses, tiled to perfection by TCNA member companies, and some perky pooches to pet as well. 
  • Coverings Connect – Relax, charge personal devices, and network in the Coverings Connect Lounge; enjoy 15-minute “Byte” sessions that address growth through social media and online channels. Coverings Connect is located right on the show floor.
  • Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards – celebrate outstanding achievements in the design and installation of tile & stone in both residential and commercial projects. Attend the CID Awards Reception on Wednesday, April 10.
  • Coverings Rock Stars – Emerging Leaders – This program recognizes and engages the best and brightest young talent in the tile and stone industry.
  • Live Installation Demonstration Stage – One of the most popular features at Coverings, these live “how-to” classes offer attendees an up-close look at how top contracting pros handle a variety of challenging tile installations. Attendees will see exactly how to install a wide variety of new products and learn techniques to make tile & stone installation more successful.
  • Online Pre-Event Planner – Attendees can now create a personalized event planner for Coverings 2019 using their registration confirmation. In the planner, attendees can favorite exhibitors and products and build and education and events schedule ahead of time. 
  • Mobile App – Info on Coverings is as close as your fingertips with this app. For 2019, it will once again include an online new product showcase and a way to coordinate meetings through your profile. 
  • New Product Showcase: Don’t miss the New Product Showcase, available on the Coverings website and mobile app. Discover the new products and trends exhibitors are bringing to Coverings 2019. Mark favorites and visit those booths on the show floor.
  • SFA & the Stone Zone – The Stone Fabricators Alliance presents demonstrations and sessions for fabricators and installers as well as products designed by fabricators FOR fabricators. 
  • Quickfire sessions – These 15-minute sessions that give quick insights into the highlights of the Why Tile campaign take place right on the show floor in the Coverings Connect lounge. 

Updated for 2019 Installation & Design Experience 

Coverings has expanded The Installation & Design Experience with more demonstrations, cutting-edge vignettes, and interactive learning features. This space will also serve as a networking hub on the show floor for those interested in installation best practices as well as a chance to view specially designed vignettes showcasing the synergy between great design and installation.

NTCA highlights

There are several highlights for contractors in the educational program as well. The Installation & Design Experience area will include the NTCA Contractors Lounge – a place to learn, network, grab a snack and take part in educational games, contests and drawings. Learn more about NTCA and its role in the industry, and about the CTEF and ACT tests. In addition, consider some of these features, geared towards the contractor community.

  •  Installation Track Seminars – This seminar series focuses on topics important to contractors. Two of note are: 

º 15 Year Cycle Analysis, featuring Ryan Fasan, Design and Technical Consultant, who will discuss the lifecycles of flooring products and why ceramic tile comes out light years ahead of the competition. Thursday, April 11, 8:00 am – 9:00 am

º Transparency Trilogy Part III: Artistry and Creativity: A Timeless Component of Tile and Stone Installations. The session will take a close look at unique individuals who possess the passion, drive, discipline and skills necessary to install, train, and supervise projects that require the craftsmanship to create lasting masterpieces. Thursday, April 11, 9:30 am – 11:00 a.m. 

  • NTCA booth tours – There are a LOT of installation and setting material exhibitors at Coverings, so how to see them all? Sign up for a NTCA booth tour, and visit at least 10 exhibitors in one hour on a well-paced informative tour. 
  • NTCA Awards night – Join NTCA for its annual Awards Night on Thursday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. Being announced this year is the brand new “Tile Setter Craftsperson of the Year” member award that will be unveiled at Coverings, and the winner determined before Total Solution Plus. 

2018 annual report: looking back, looking ahead

NTCA annual report header

NTCA rolls out new strategies at Total Solutions Plus

At Total Solutions Plus, NTCA leaders presented a 2018 annual report for its members, coupled with new initiatives for 2019. Highlights included shifting strategic emphasis from new member recruitment towards a stronger effort to providing value for existing members. Examples of new value-added options for members include a Multiple Employer 401(k) Plan for NTCA members, paired up with a payroll service option to complement this important retention tool. NTCA hopes to add a healthcare option for members in 2019. 

Perhaps the most important shift in strategy for NTCA will begin to take place in the second part of 2019, as the association begins to develop plans to promote its members aggressively to designers, architects, general contractors and remodelers. 

At Total Solutions Plus, NTCA leaders presented a 2018 Annual Report for its members, coupled with new initiatives for 2019.

We are committed to investing our resources in the best way we know how; by adding additional professional staff in key areas of need in our association. In 2018, we filled two such needs with the hiring of Stephanie Samulski as Director of Technical Services, and Avia Haynes as director of Marketing and Communications. Stephanie will take a leadership role in NTCA efforts to provide contractor perspective and input in the development and revision of industry standards and methods. Avia Haynes’ main focus in 2019 will center on improving NTCA brand image in all aspects of the tile industry. 

Marketing goals for 2019

NTCA’s 2019 marketing goals are part of an aggressive plan that will lay the foundation for the next two years of initiatives. Our main objectives for 2019 are to strengthen the NTCA and TileLetter brands; to execute an integrated communications process that will enable our email, web, print and social communications to work together; and to put infrastructure in place as the groundwork for future endeavors, like promoting NTCA members in the construction industry. 

NTCA’s big focus will be to generate more engagement between the association and its current members. We are hoping to hear more from our members and learn more about them. During 2019, there will be two main initiatives to help with this. The first, which has a target launch for early 2019, will give the members an opportunity to show off the fantastic work they do. The second, which has a target launch for Q2 in 2019, will help us learn more about our members and allow us to create targeted messages and programs based on the demographics of our membership. 

There will be a concentrated focus in 2019 on overhauling the TileLetter website at Tileletter.com. Starting in the first quarter, visitors will start to notice changes in the site. We plan to reorganize and refresh the site throughout the year to create a better experience for users and our supporters. We are intent on creating a site that will attract more views by year’s end. While we know our 2019 plan is very ambitious, we are confident that with the support of our board, committees and members, we will be able to reach all of our goals. 

Working together to solve the skilled labor shortage

The serious lack of skilled tile craftspeople entering the market was a key concern for all sectors of the trade during the tile industry panel discussion at Total Solutions Plus.

At the state of the tile industry panel discussion at Total Solutions Plus, one of the most important concerns that all sectors of our trade commented on was the serious lack of skilled tile craftspeople entering the market. Despite quality efforts to recruit capable and qualified individuals into the tile industry that have taken place at the grass roots level, everyone agreed that the industry needs to collectively work together in this arena. NTCA and other organizations will look to play a leading role in helping to spark new ideas and in outlining strategies that will work. This was identified as a key NTCA strategic objective for 2019. 

In addition to needing new workers to enter the trade, NTCA leaders acknowledge an additional challenge: the need for additional training and education for the existing skilled workforce, to keep up with changing technology in manufacturing. In 2018, NTCA trainers began offering regional education for our members, and we will expand this effort in 2019. NTCA University, an online training school intended to help foster apprenticeship development and support company training efforts, will continue to expand its offerings. In 2018, over 5,000 courses were completed by people taking advantage of this important educational support tool. 

NTCA: 1,500+ members strong

NTCA now has over 1,500 members, representing thousands of tile and stone installers and industry professionals. Our staff now consists of over 15 full and part time professionals, and we are committed to being accessible, supportive and attentive to our members. We take pride in being the Voice of the Tile Contractor, and we look forward to the challenges we have identified to help our industry to continue to thrive and gain market share. 

Daltile creates visually-immersive experience in North Dallas café

Special countertop solutions and wall tile add stunning functionality and panache

Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces™Elemental Selection Statuario matte graces the countertop and Multitude™Origami White wave adorns the back wall.

Hidden amongst the restaurants and night life in Dallas lies the understated Civil Pour café. While Civil Pour may look like a typical coffee shop on the outside, this spot is serving its customers more than just the standard latté. To the guests entering the establishment, the menu instantly reveals what makes this place so special – a vast array of brews of both coffee and craft beer.

Founded by the creators of the Big Texas Beer Fest, Civil Pour is the ultimate Dallas destination to drink quality coffee, experience local beer and savor baked goods made fresh daily. Starting at 6 a.m., guests line up outside the doors to get their hands on a steaming coffee and toasted breakfast pastry. This rush continues until lunchtime as guests begin to place orders for the shop’s famous paninis. As the sun sets, the spot welcomes its final crowd – all eagerly thirsting for a craft beer from one of the 30 signature taps. 

While the Dallas community is familiar with Civil Pour and its iconic offerings, few know the story behind the brand. After seven years of running beer festivals, co-founder Nellie Montgomery and her husband Chad were encouraged to open their own shop. Civil Pour provided Montgomery with the perfect opportunity to not only spread her love for great beer and coffee, but also share her passion for design. 

Determined to create an immersive experience for guests, Montgomery reached out to Daltile early in the design process. Since a space serving both beer and coffee presented design challenges to ensure the surfaces could withstand the inevitable spills, Montgomery knew the space would require a special countertop solution.

A special countertop solution

“I loved working with Daltile,” said Montgomery. “The fact that I could drive down and grab samples to take to the shop was invaluable and helped put my mind at ease before construction even began. I had Daltile reps checking in on me throughout construction, and any questions I had, they were either able to [answer] or refer me to someone that could help.”

Jennifer Voss, owner of Stone Craft of Dallas, installed Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces™Elemental Selection Statuario matte on the countertop and Multitude™Origami White wave on the back wall.

Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces™Elemental Selection Statuario matte on the countertop.

Two of the most crucial aspects of the project were the large countertops central to the design and daily function of the shop. During construction, it was clear that the café needed a counter big enough to serve customers as well as provide a workspace for baristas crafting the coffee drinks and beer orders from the taps. Daltile slabs would not only fulfill the need for large surfaces, but also resist scratches, heat and stains in the long run. 

After reviewing a variety of Daltile slab products for the space, Montgomery ultimately selected Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces for the main coffee bar, and she chose ONE Quartz Surfaces® for the beer tap area. Jennifer Voss, owner of Stone Craft of Dallas, was brought onto the project in June 2018 and tasked with installing these distinct materials. 

“Large-format porcelain slab is relatively new to the Dallas market,” said Voss. “We were working with a short timeline and Daltile was willing to partner with us every step of the way. [Daltile] is the most giving and understanding company to work with in the business.”

ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks Morning Frost glossy is featured on the countertop.

In order to complete the main coffee bar, the project required eight slabs of Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces to ensure full coverage. Within the collection, Daltile provides an exclusive program called FlexFitSize Solutions, which offers seven stocked sizes and custom cut-to-size requests. Voss and her six-person crew were thrilled to find that the Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces slabs were seamless to work with during the installation and that each of the pieces worked with each other beautifully.

“This project is a testament to these great products,” added Voss. “They really demonstrate their worth since they are used all day, every day. Overall, these materials were more manageable to work with and it is a joy to see the end result.”

Wall tile adds extra panache

Opulence™Diamond 3/8” x random linear mosaic decorates the wall.

In addition to the stunning bar counter and surfaces, Civil Pour is filled with bold Daltile wall coverings that distinguish the shop from others in the area. Obsessed with creating unusual scenes, the Montgomery duo features the Multitude collection on the back wall and Opulence mosaic tile behind the painting of Frida Kahlo. 

“I love the Daltile collections that we chose because they have all become an important focal point in our shop,” continued Montgomery. “From the vertical diamond finish of the Opulence glass tile that symbolically cascades over the water station to the Multitude Wave Origami White tile that dances in the shadows of the backlights, Daltile finds a way to retain a sleek modernity to their finishes, while still providing personality through their materials.”

The public response has been overwhelmingly positive since the shop opened in August 2018. Serving up coffee, beer and light fare seven days a week, this spot has quickly become a neighborhood favorite and the Civil Pour team has been delighted with their Daltile experience and the end result. Looking ahead, Montgomery hopes to expand the business in the years to come and is excited to see what the future has in store. 

Opulence™Diamond 3/8” x random linear mosaic creates a stunning effect on the wall.

“Swimmin’ with the Fishes” at Hacienda Mosaico

LATICRETE products bring student mosaic projects to life at Mexican resort

Every artist was first an amateur,” said American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. 

While Emerson’s craft was words, deep in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, an artist-owned and operated resort called Hacienda Mosaico celebrates creativity through its hands. Designed to offer accessible art and inspirational workshops to students in a non-competitive setting, the resort boasts an exotic and tropical backdrop to fuel ideas in a fun, group atmosphere. 

Virginia-based artist, author and educator Bonnie Fitzgerald has been an in-house instructor at Hacienda Mosaico for six years, where she annually leads five-day workshops. As the founder and owner of Maverick Mosaics, she has gained notoriety in North America as an expert in mosaic artwork. Each year, Fitzgerald’s workshop at the resort allows students to create and install pieces to be displayed throughout the expansive property, including mosaic tables and fused glass tableware.

Along with 12 students, Fitzgerald recently designed and completed an art installation in the lush garden area surrounding the resort pool called “Swimmin’ with the Fishes.” Using LATICRETE® products, Fitzgerald’s pupils learned installation techniques, how to best choose appropriate substrates and tips to avoid substandard products that can lead to weak, crumbling outdoor mosaics. 

“LATICRETE is known for delivering the highest-quality products and value, which allowed me to focus on my art and not the integrity of my installation materials,” Fitzgerald said. “With the support of LATICRETE co-owner and Senior Vice President of Training Henry Rothberg, I received all materials needed to completely transform the pool area of Hacienda Mosaico with my students. The research and development of the products, as well as the customer and technical service, are all top shelf. From the beginning, LATICRETE was just a call away if help was ever needed.”

The challenges: keeping it simple and lightweight

Simplicity: Maverick Mosaics’ workshops at Hacienda Mosaico are open to all levels of artists, including those who have zero experience with mosaics. To ensure a successful installation, the materials needed to be easy to handle for a professional or a complete beginner. 

Weight: Fitzgerald would be tasked with flying materials from Virginia to the resort in Mexico. It was important all products selected be light, as heavyweight products would cause an additional undertaking when traveling. 

A LATICRETE Solution 

While at her home studio, Fitzgerald and her team of professionals cut the 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) HYDRO BAN® Board with a jigsaw into the desired shapes, including turtles, seaweed and an octopus. Students attending the workshop would install the board along with mosaic tiles at Hacienda Resort. Due to the light weight of the products, Fitzgerald was able to travel to the Mexican resort with the pre-engineered pieces in checked suitcases. 

Thanks to its waterproof high-density extruded polystyrene core and waterproof membrane on both sides, HYDRO BAN Board offers triple protection from water and vapor intrusion. The product benefits are ideal for outdoor installations, such as what Fitzgerald was creating at the resort pool. 

“In the past, I have used locally sourced thinset and found it was more difficult to work with, given the ratio of sand to Portland cement affects the consistency of the product,” added Fitzgerald. “I know I can count on easy-to-use LATICRETE products for a lasting installation.”

To adhere the mosaic designs to the exterior wall overlooking the resort pool, 254 Platinum was chosen thanks to its superior strength and bond. Designed for a simple install, the high-performance, polymer-fortified mortar only requires mixing with water. This makes it easier for the students to work with, compared to a product with a more complicated mixing process. 254 Platinum also has a long open time for enhanced workability that allowed students to work at their own pace without having to rush. 

All raw edges were covered with alkali-resistant fiberglass mesh tape and a skim coat of 254 Platinum that the students colored black with concrete colorants. A few of the pieces, including the octopus’s tentacles, were installed with mosaic tiles around the edges to enhance their aesthetic appeal. 

The 12 students who attended the workshop was hands-on throughout the entire creative and fabrication process, which Fitzgerald made as simple as possible with the installation materials chosen and her techniques. Each of the elements was built on the substrate, grouted in the studio onsite and then screwed and glued to the plaster lathe wall. 254 Platinum was used on the backs of the elements as well for added security to ensure a lifelong mosaic tile installation. 

A resounding result

“We are thrilled with the final result of ‘Swimmin’ with the Fishes’ and intend to keep the project as a permanent installation at Hacienda Mosaico,” said resort owner Sam Leonard. “The work Bonnie has done to enhance Hacienda Mosaico through her workshops and use of LATICRETE products is immeasurable and makes this place live up to its name.” 

Fitzgerald’s seventh trip to Hacienda Mosaico is scheduled for January 2019. 

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.

 

 

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. 

Feature Story – June 2018 – Custom Building Products

Irvine, Calif. is a high-tech economic powerhouse sometimes referred to as “Silicon Valley South.” This fast-growing city’s skyline was transformed by a pair of distinctive glass office towers located at Irvine’s Spectrum Center, an open-air retail and dining district. Each 323-foot tower creates a vertical business campus offering impressive 360-degree views of coastal Orange County and showcasing large-format tile and stone on every floor. Both tile contractors on this project used a Build Green® Emerald System™ of products from CUSTOM to prep, set, grout and seal the assemblies and contribute to expected LEED Gold certification. 

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the architecture firm behind the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid, designed the Spectrum Center’s new glass-walled, 426,000-sq.-ft. towers. Curtain wall construction creates an open, contemporary lobby to welcome employees and visitors to the many corporate offices headquartered here, including Mazda’s North American Operations. This effect is enhanced by the luxurious expanse of oversized natural stone on floors, walls and even inside the elevator cabs. 

Setting large-format tile and stone

Two long-time, family-owned, Southern California firms executed the tile and stone work at the Spectrum Towers. A team from NTCA member company Charles McCandless Tile of Santa Ana set 30,000 sq. ft. of porcelain and Carnevale and Lohr of Bell Gardens installed 20,000 sq. ft. of 3/4” thick quartzite pavers.

Prior to beginning work, samples of the very dense natural stone were submitted to CUSTOM’s laboratory for product testing. Based on their findings, the technicians recommended using ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar, which was then selected to install all tile and stone materials throughout the project. ProLite is a versatile, polymer-modified, dry-set mortar for large-and-heavy tiles that provides excellent bond strength. This mortar exceeds ANSI A118.15 TE and will not slump on floors or sag on walls. ProLite is formulated with lightweight, recycled aggregate, so it weighs 40% less than other mortars. Environmentally sustainable content delivers superior handling characteristics and also makes ProLite easier to carry and mix on the jobsite. A 30 lb. bag of ProLite typically covers the same area as 50 lbs. of traditional mortar. 

“ProLite is a game changer,” said Mark McCandless, president of Charles McCandless Tile. “The guys really like the way it comes out of the bucket on the trowel. It spreads easy, the non-sag is extremely good and its consistency is light and fluffy with very good workability. ProLite pays for itself in increased production,” he offered. 

Craftsmen from Carnevale and Lohr fabricated and set 30” x 30” Taj Mahal quartzite pavers in the ground floor lobby using a dry-pack method including ProLite® as the bonding mortar. Matching material measuring 2.5’ x 5’ was mechanically anchored on lobby walls and 20 stories of tower lobby floors were set with the quartzite in a 24” x 24” format. 

“ProLite is our number one choice,” said Jim Lunn, foreman at Carnevale and Lohr. “The guys in the field really like using it, especially for walls. The workability without sag is phenomenal. The pot life of ProLite is great and being lightweight is also a big plus,” he added. 

Protecting the tile assemblies

Core restrooms on all floors and the parking garage were treated with RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. A ready-to-use elastomeric membrane that creates a continuous waterproof barrier, RedGard has outstanding adhesion and bonds directly to a variety of drain assemblies. RedGard exceeds both ANSI A118.10 and A118.12 for dual protection against moisture intrusion and in-plane crack transmission. Third-party laboratory testing has shown that RedGard outperforms other liquid-applied membranes for key performance attributes as well as actual coverage rate. 

After application of RedGard, bathroom floors were set with 12” x 12” Spec Ceramics Space Taupe matte tile. The porcelain tile installed on the walls was 12” x 24” Pure White matte supplied by Emser. Soft joints at changes of plane were filled with PolyBlend® Ceramic Tile Caulk which is suitable for use in interior, intermittently wet areas like these commercial buildings’ restrooms.

All porcelain and natural stone tile throughout both towers was grouted with Prism® Ultimate Performance Grout in shades to complement the materials for a modern, monolithic look. Fast-setting, lightweight Prism sets a new standard in grout technology. This calcium aluminate-based formula meets ANSI A118.17 high performance standards and will not contribute to efflorescence.  Prism demonstrates uniform, consistent color without mottling or shading, regardless of tile type or variable weather conditions such as humidity. These reliable results were important based on fluctuating environmental conditions at the jobsite due to the height of the towers and the effect of all-glass walls. Recycled aggregate content makes Prism 30% lighter than other grouts and delivers superior, smooth handling in grout joints as narrow as 1/16”. 

“Prism is more colorfast than other cement grouts and we do not see any mottling, which makes everyone happy,” said McCandless.

Aqua Mix® Sealer’s Choice® Gold was applied to protect both tile and grout from staining during and after installation. Premium quality Sealer’s Choice Gold is a water-based formula with low VOCs. This is important for enclosed installation areas like restrooms as well as compliance with California’s environmental regulations. This no-sheen, natural-look sealer maintains the color and character of stone while allowing moisture vapor transmission.

“We like to use Sealer’s Choice to prevent damage by other trades during construction. It’s used as a protectant on about 90% of our jobs and those have fewer callbacks,” offered McCandless. “Sealing per the contract documents is a big benefit.” 

Sustainable building with the Emerald System™

Custom Building Products is committed to environmental responsibility in both product development and manufacturing practices. Over 100 CUSTOM Build Green® products contribute to LEED certification with low VOCs, recycled content and regionally sourced materials. CUSTOM’s Emerald System™ goes a step further, with products that are guaranteed to comply with environmental agency regulations. The Emerald System is also the first line of tile installation products to include Carbon Offset Credits that help reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. 

ProLite mortar and Prism grout are cornerstones of the Emerald System™ and met the environmental standards of the Spectrum Towers’ builders with contributions to LEED® certification and Carbon Offset Credits. In addition, all of the CUSTOM products that were installed – plus the help of the Technical Services team – exceeded the performance expectations of the tile contractors. 

1 2 3 17