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.

M-D PRO

M-D PRO, a subsidiary of M-D Building Products, has an immediate opening for an energetic
salesperson to manage the North Eastern U.S. territory consisting of Washington, D.C, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Virginia, Eastern Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  This qualified person will be selling to Floor Covering, Ceramic and Sundry Distribution representing all product lines within the M-D PRO offering including PROVA Ceramic & Stone Installation Accessories. Significant travel within this territory is mandatory. Floor covering and ceramic tile industry experience is required. Please detail your experience in your cover letter.
 
Expenses, 401K, insurance, wages commensurate to experience. Please send resume to:  [email protected]

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. 

Schluter Systems – Tile brings warmth and quiet to oceanfront condominium – Feature Story May 2018

Tile brings warmth and quiet to oceanfront condominium

By Sean Gerolimatos, Director of Research & Development, Schluter Systems, LLP

With the range of tile membrane types growing, we are now beginning to see a new trend developing toward multi-functional products. This type of “Swiss Army” membrane can be the go-to product for almost any tile installer, and the Gateway Grand project led by Dobri Michev provided the perfect occasion. 

The luxurious Gateway Grand

The Gateway Grand is a luxury condominium residence in Ocean City, Md., with views of the ocean, the bay, and Ocean City itself. Developed by the Trammell Crow Company, it consists of a 16-story, nearly 500,000-sq.-ft. landmark building and 250 linear feet of direct ocean frontage. Other features include a resort-style, 4,000-sq.-ft. lobby, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, parking structure and surface lot, and a 4,500-sq.-ft. freestanding restaurant.

The project

Dobri Michev is the owner of DM Signature Remodeling Inc., and an exceptionally talented Certified Tile Installer (CTI) who specializes in high-end custom bathroom design and construction. He was engaged to perform the renovation of an existing condominium at the Gateway Grand. The current floors were to be replaced primarily for aesthetic reasons, but there were a number of other problems too – mainly cracks and even some delaminated tiles, due at least in part to a lack of movement joints. 

In addition to providing beautiful new floors in the interconnected bathrooms, hallways, kitchen, and living and dining areas, there were four primary requirements to fulfill. First and foremost, the floors simply needed to last. Second, the owners wished to have warm floors in both bathrooms for added comfort. Third, since there was another condominium directly below, impact sound through the floor needed to be managed to comply with the Gateway Grand sound abatement requirements. Finally, since this was a renovation, there was limited height available, meaning the floor covering assembly needed to be kept as thin as possible.

One membrane, multiple requirements

Dobri selected Schluter®-Systems’ DITRA-HEAT-DUO membrane to meet the multiple requirements of the project. The one membrane combines uncoupling to prevent future tile cracking, floor warming with thermal break, and impact sound control – all in a single layer. The product choice was primarily driven by the sound-control requirement. Laboratory testing documented in the product technical literature demonstrated the benefits of the membrane in reducing impact sound transfer to the space below. When tested according to ASTM E2179, a porcelain tile assembly including the membrane reduced the impact insulation class (IIC) of a bare concrete slab with no ceiling underneath by 20. When tested according to ASTM E492, the IIC of an 8˝-thick concrete slab with a porcelain tile assembly including the membrane was found to be 50. As those conditions very closely reflected the actual environment for this project, this membrane was a logical choice. It was clear that the membrane would also meet the other project requirements in an elegant way. 

Reduced heat loss, increased sound control

Use of an uncoupling membrane throughout the tiled areas provided protection against stresses caused by movement of the suspended concrete floor. From there, heating cables were quickly and easily secured between the studs on top of the membrane in the bathrooms. This didn’t create height differences between the bathrooms and hallways since self-leveling compounds are not required to encapsulate the cables. The tile could also be installed immediately after the cable was placed. 

The thicker bonding fleece on the underside of the membrane performs two functions. It acts as a thermal break to reduce heat loss to the concrete subfloor for faster warm-ups, and it reduces impact sound transfer to the condominium below. “The thermal break was so beneficial,” said Dobri, who has previous experience with other floor warming systems with the sound control element. “There is nothing out there that could do that with a 5/16˝-thick product.” 

The installation

In order to ensure a high-quality installation, Dobri meticulously followed the manufacturer’s instructions and industry standard guidelines from start to finish. He began the installation by securing a self-adhesive polyethylene foam gasket to all the walls the tile would abut. This simple act ensured that a perimeter movement joint was present at all restraining surfaces from the bottom of the tile assembly, right to the top. This joint was essential to allow the tile assembly to expand unimpeded and to prevent the transfer of impact sound between the floor and walls. 

The next step taken was to level the floor before installing the membrane, which greatly simplified the tile installation by making it easier to keep any lippage between the 24˝ x 24˝ porcelain tiles to a minimum and within industry standards. The membrane was adhered to the floor with a suitable thin-set mortar, heating cables were snapped in, and tile installation began. 

A lippage tuning system was used to further minimize elevation changes between tiles. These systems are becoming more and more popular all the time, in large part due to the consumer demand for large-format tiles. Surface movement joints were provided every 16˝ to 20˝ within the tile covering. Prefabricated movement joint profiles were used to eliminate the need for any associated maintenance going forward. The visible surface of the profiles was relatively narrow and selecting the color to match the grout made them blend seamlessly into the decor.

New possibilities

By selecting a membrane that was uniquely suited to meet the requirements of the application and paying close attention to the technical and aesthetic details, Dobri Michev was able to provide the owners of this luxury condominium with tiled floors truly befitting the space. Beautiful, durable, and comfortable tiled floors that reduce impact sound transfer to the downstairs neighbors are now within reach. They can be achieved with an assembly that is compatible with surrounding floors and does not compromise other homeowner objectives.

COVERINGS 2018 and THE INSTALLATION EXPERIENCE

The Installation Experience, booth 8401, allows Coverings 2018 attendees to experience firsthand numerous types of tile installations implemented by qualified, trained and certified tile installers. These interactive sessions will showcase today’s best practices relative to a multitude of different tile installations.

Live, interactive installations will be taking place in a fully functioning kitchen; a bathroom with heated tile floor, vintage fireplace upgrade and grand installation of a contemporary shower system. These state-of-the-art projects will involve glass tile, porcelain, gauged porcelain panels, natural stone and other cutting edge tile products and breakthrough technology installation systems.

Entering via a self-guided, designated pathway, attendees will journey through room-after-room of fully interactive installations with top representatives posted along the way to answer any and all questions.  They’ll have the opportunity to speak with industry experts regarding key processes, learning new strategies and experiencing hands-on demonstrations of the most modern of technologies.

Other highlights include “photographic retrospectives”… the Hall of Failures & the Hall of Excellence.  Here, attendees will see firsthand the difference between the right and wrong way to perform a tile installation, and in the Hall of Excellence installers who have mastered the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installation (ACT) courses will be available to discuss the program.

Don’t forget about the Construction Zone, where visitors can return throughout the week to experience the progression of the CTI Challenge. The CTI Challenge is an exciting, live event slated to take place between rival teams of NTCA members and qualified labor contractors. It has been designed and will be judged by CTEF Director, Scott Carothers. Clearly, this will be the tile industry’s “Fight of the Century!”

And, as part of the Installation Experience, all attendees will garner new insights on how to become a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). Advanced CTI officials will be onsite to define, discuss and demonstrate just what it takes to be a member of this elite tile contractor organization.

The first-time Installation Experience will come to a conclusion with “At Home, With Tile.” It will be the final installation area… complete with an expansive seating area and large TV screen offering viewers a time-lapsed progress video, highlighting the various construction stages of the various projects slated to take place.

Lynnette Bloomberg retires from 33 years with the Noble Company

After more than 33 years at the Noble Company, Lynnette Bloomberg, Chief Operating Officer, will retire on May 31st of this year. 

Bloomberg began her career at the Noble Company fresh out of business college as secretary/sales support for Harvey Powell, then Vice President of Marketing.  According to the “Women in Tile” story published in October 2015 TileLetter, Bloomberg always knew she was destined for a career in business, and this opportunity allowed her to learn from Powell’s passion for teaching “people about the importance of, and proper methods for, protecting and waterproofing tile installations,” she said. She learned about the industry as she typed Powell’s letters, memos and other documents, and built relationships with customers and reps through processing sales invoices and reports.

The company was supportive of Bloomberg continuing her education. She achieved a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with dual minors in accounting and computer information systems via evening classes while working at Noble full time during the day.

The Noble team at Coverings ’16 (l. To r.):  Dave Wormmeester, Nelson Wilner, Richard Maurer, Lynnette Bloomberg, Pat Delahanty, Dean Moilanen, Jon Outcalt, Jr.

“It was fun because I often completed required assignments by researching subjects that we would ultimately implement at Noble,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to have gained the confidence and support of (then) company owners, Harvey Powell and Ben and Louise Lowell, for them to allow me this opportunity.”

Ultimately, she and Paul Kik purchased the company from Louise Lowell in 2004. In 2016, Noble Company was purchased by Federal Process Corporation, based in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Lynnette is leaving a lasting legacy on the industry and the people of the Noble Company,” said Dave Wormmeester, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Noble. “Her welcoming nature and concern for all will be missed. We wish you well, Lynnette, and hit ‘em straight!” 

Other colleagues and industry members also took a moment to wish Bloomberg well. 

It has been a pleasure working with Lynnette the last two years,” said Jon Outcalt, Jr., President of Federal Process Corporation, which acquired The Noble Company in 2016. “She has been a true advocate for the Noble Company and the tile industry. Her passion and leadership will leave a lasting legacy at Noble and Federal Process Corporation. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement.”

At the Noble Smoker during Coverings ’17 (l. To r.): John Turner, Sr., Crossville’s Tim Bolby, Lynnette Bloomberg,and Rich Goldberg.

Eric Edelmayer, Director of Division 9 Sales & Technical Service for the Noble Company, added his accolades. “I have had the pleasure of working with Lynnette since the ’80s, working with her from the early days when she was a secretary and watching her grow to an owner of the company. I thank her for always looking out for the best interest of fellow employees regardless of her position with the company. I have some great memories of the old days working shows when many of the current Noble Company product lines were being introduced.” 

“People talk about working for a ‘family-owned’ company; well, that was the Noble Company I went to work for – 19 years ago,” said Dean Moilanen, Noble’s Director of Architectural Services. “When Paul and Lynnette bought the company, with all of the employees, a ‘family-owned company’ ethos prevailed. The sheer number of employees with 20+ years working for Noble boggles the mind.  It is testimony to the support and stability the owners offered to their ‘family’ through the years.

“Lynnette would tell you – in many ways, she was like the sister I never had – albeit a stern sister who cared about you, but might just have to set you straight (for your own good…of course). Lynnette has given so much of herself for the good of others. Sometimes those sacrifices went unnoticed. So, now it is time for her to step back and tend to her own garden, and enjoy the fruits of her labor,” Moilanen concluded.

Toni Perfect, Executive Assistant, Noble Company, said, “Working under Lynnette’s strong leadership and guidance for 24 years has been truly an honor. She has been an inspirational role model and someone I really look up to professionally and personally. Lynnette’s kindness, energy, and humor will be missed in the office. Cheers to a hard-earned and well-deserved retirement!”

Noble hosted the NTCA Five Star Summer Meeting 2017 in Spring Lake, Mich.

Fellow Michigander Dan Welch, President of Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Mich., and a NTCA past president, said, “Lynnette’s hard work, ambition, and dedication to Noble Company’s success during her career is an inspiration to the men and women at Welch Tile & Marble. It is always great partnering with companies built on strong values, quality products, and long-standing relationships. You have crafted a vision of honest dealings with a strong like-minded team dedicated to providing high-quality products. I look forward to working together on whatever your next journey will be! Thank you.”

Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director added, “The Noble Company has been a strong supporter of the NTCA for many many years. Under the leadership of Lynnette Bloomberg, the relationship continued to strengthen. When they were given the opportunity to sponsor our Five Star Summer Meeting near their hometown of Grand Rapids in 2017, they quickly accepted the challenge. What was most impressive was the passion and professionalism that every single one of their employees demonstrated when we spent a couple of days with them at their corporate headquarters. It was clear that Lynnette had played a key role in helping develop an atmosphere where everyone felt valued and appreciated. This same appreciation was always evident in the way Lynnette and her team at Noble Company treated the NTCA staff, our employees and our contractor members. Congratulations, Lynnette on your outstanding career and thank you for your friendship and support for the past several years.”

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