Sky-high office building undergoes dramatic front lobby makeover

TileLetter August CoverAt 18 stories high, Atlanta’s 7000 Central Park office tower occupies a prominent position in the city’s central perimeter skyline. 

To reposition the tower as a top-tier office building, former building owner CBRE Global Investors revealed ambitious renovation plans in June 2017 for the 30-year old tower. The plans included a front lobby renovation, a full-service and high-tech fitness center, a collaborative co-working space and conference center, an expanded café area, a meeting space and a trendy outdoor “living room” to provide a gathering space for tenants to socialize.

With architect tvsdesign leading the way on the front lobby design, which included 2,000 sq. ft. (approximately 186 sq. m.) of large-format gauged porcelain panels climbing 30 feet (9 meters) up the walls, general contractor Hitt Contracting Inc. enlisted the help of installing contractor David Allen Company to get the job done. With green and sustainable construction currently an industry wide practice, NTCA Five-Star Contractor David Allen Company chose to utilize products that not only benefit the environment, but are top quality and aesthetically enhanced. 

Close-up of the 5’x10' panels David Allen Company extended 30’ high on the walls.

Close-up of the 5’x10′ panels David Allen Company extended 30’ high on the walls.

“Immediately when we landed 7000 Central Park, we decided to use LATICRETE® products for the installations,” said David Allen Company Project Manager Eric Knight. “We’ve worked with LATICRETE for years and can always rely on their quality of product and high-end customer service. The products we used were instrumental in making sure the large-and-heavy gauged porcelain panels specified for the walls of the lobby would hold up.” 

The challenges 

Defying gravity: Not only did the large-format panels extend 30 feet (9 meters) up the walls, the enormous panels themselves were 5 feet (1.5 meters) by 10 feet (3 meters) in size. To make this installation possible, David Allen Company needed the specified LATICRETE products to deliver superb bond strength. 

Installation interference: During the renovation process, 7000 Central Park remained open for tenants to conduct business, requiring David Allen Company to work during the night. Products used needed to be formulated with fast return-to-service properties to be able to withstand the high traffic of the office building within hours, rather than days, for public use. 

After installing floor tiles, David Allen Company prepped the walls for the large-format gauged panel installation.

After installing floor tiles, David Allen Company prepped the walls for the large-format gauged panel installation.

A LATICRETE solution 

To adhere the large-format gauged porcelain panels to the wall in the front lobby, David Allen Company chose 257 TITANIUM™. Selected for its strong bond and ease of use to work out air pockets, 257 TITANIUM exceeds ANSI A118.15, the industry’s highest performance standard for a cementitious-based adhesive mortar, providing durable, worry-free installations. 257 TITANIUM is also silica sand-free, which both reduces exposure to respirable silica and contributes to the easy-to-spread creamy consistency. For added security to ensure the installation would cure in time, 257 TITANIUM utilizes LATICRETE HYDROMATIC CURE CHEMISTRY™ that accelerates the hydration process to rapidly consume water in the system – allowing the material to cure in a predictable manner and providing peace of mind for David Allen Company. 

The steel stairs used LATAPOXY® 300 Adhesive, a chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive that is easily spread and cleaned with water while fresh, and tenaciously bonds to challenging substrate types. The floors utilized 4-XLT, a multi-use, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar. 4-XLT boasts a smooth and creamy consistency, making tile installation applications of this product faster and easier. 

Prepping the floors in the lobby for installation.

Prepping the floors in the lobby for installation.

Customer-favorite PERMACOLOR® Select was used to grout tiles throughout the lobby. This advanced high-performance cement grout offers the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution and offered David Allen Company increased productivity and time savings on the jobsite, thanks to a faster time-to-grout, with foot traffic permitted in as little as three hours.

All of the products used received UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions for sustainable building. Additionally, each of the LATICRETE products used has a Health Product Declaration (HPD), with the exception of LATAPOXY 300, which has Product-Specific (Type III), and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), which help manufacturers create – and helps buyers identify – tile and flooring installation materials’ impact on the environment. 

 

 

Architect tvsdesign led the way on the front lobby design, which included 2,000 sq. ft. of large-format gauged porcelain panels.

Architect tvsdesign led the way on the front lobby design, which included 2,000 sq. ft. of large-format gauged porcelain panels.

Outcome 

Close-up of the completed 7000 Central Park office tower lobby installations.

Close-up of the completed lobby installations.

“Just as expected, the LATICRETE products selected for the 7000 Central Park lobby renovation worked like a charm,” added Knight. “Adam Marks, the local LATICRETE representative, was with us every step of the way. At any given time, we were able to meet with Adam onsite, resulting in yet another job well done for both our company and LATICRETE.”

7000 Central Park was recognized as Georgia’s 2018 Outstanding Building of the Year. 

 

The floors utilized 4-XLT, a multi-use, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar.

The floors utilized 4-XLT, a multi-use, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar. 4-XLT boasts a smooth and creamy consistency, making tile installation applications of this product faster and easier.

 

Merkrete Systems provide installation innovation

It’s hip to be at Santa Clara Square 


After years in the making, Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara Square combines innovative office space, vibrant dining, shopping and modernized living all in one integrated community. Santa Clara Square occupies a strategic location in the heart Silicon Valley, with convenient access to a range of air, road, light rail and public transportation, as well as a variety of dining and retail options at Santa Clara Square Marketplace. One can walk the pathways of this dynamic community and find places to explore, connect and recharge including such amenities as resort-style

Merkrete 820 Merlite mortar used for installing coping and LHT natural stone throughout the pool and exterior patio areas.

pools and spas, and state-of-the-art fitness offerings. The community is designed with innovative social, work and meeting spaces with easy walking to everyday conveniences. 

Silicon Valley is known for being the epicenter of the world’s most forward-thinking companies, attracting a highly skilled, knowledge-based workforce dedicated to helping businesses prosper. This region is home to headquarters of Intel, Applied Materials, NVIDIA, Agilent Technologies, and many other high-tech companies.

Befitting its prestigious location, the Irvine Company created this community to include 1.7 million sq. ft. feet of office space, and 1,800 apartments. The retail’s first phase, Santa Clara Square Marketplace, totals 125,000 sq. ft., including the 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods. The second phase of the retail will total 40,000 sq. ft. and serve as a town center for the complex. 

Showers installed using Merkrete’s Hydro Guard SP-1 Waterproofing Membrane and 820 Merlite Mortar.

The community contains LEED®-certified design standards to improve air quality, support conservation efforts and provide a fresh, healthy workplace. It also has electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to respond to the demand for alternative energy vehicles.

Modern high tech and timeless design

The remarkable style combines a refined, inspired design reminiscent of the city’s high-tech culture with a modern perspective. Designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, Inc. Architects, Santa Clara Square sets the standard for the blending of both new and innovative styles. The tile and stone installations throughout the complex perfectly match this modern, high-class, innovative aesthetic, as each piece was carefully chosen and strategically placed for an extra touch of charm and guaranteed functionality.

Contractors Flooring Service of California, based in Santa Ana, is one of the state’s most trusted and respected tile, stone, marble, and granite contractors. So, when Joe Ott, President of Contractors Flooring Service of California, was approached by Hathaway Dinwiddie to supply the cost-efficient, innovative, high-performing materials they desired, Contractors

Showers installed using Merkrete’s Hydro Guard SP-1 Waterproofing Membrane and 820 Merlite Mortar.

Flooring Service of California Project Manager David Corona knew they’d need a trusted and top-quality installation system to ensure a job well done. Upon reviewing the scope of the 680,000-sq.-ft. installation project, all answers pointed definitively to Merkrete, a leader in waterproofing, crack-isolation and DUSTLESS setting materials technology.

A flexible solution 

When it comes to the critical waterproofing under tile in both interior showers, pool areas and surrounding areas, Merkrete’s Hydro Guard SP-1 waterproofing membrane system was a key solution. Fast drying, durable and long lasting, this waterproofing membrane system is designed for fast applications, promising zero leaks or cracks, even with severe exposure and high amounts of traffic. 

Merkrete sales and technical team Heather Campiotti and Sergio Flores worked directly with Contractors Flooring Service of California to provide the right products and ensure they were applied correctly to meet the project’s specifications. 

Since the specifications called for crack isolation and waterproofing in nearly all of the exterior parts of installation combined with an aggressive project schedule, work began using Merkrete Hydro Guard SP-1. A liquid-applied, fast-drying product, Hydro Guard SP-1 combines crack isolation up to 1/8” and a waterproof system to enable crews to prepare the substrate for setting tile at a faster pace. Hydro Guard SP-1 contains excellent elongation, adhesion and high strength properties providing a 100% waterproof membrane that prevents the transfer of substrate cracks to the finished ceramic or stone tile surface. 

Interior backsplashes installed with Merkrete’s patented DLT Technology, 705 DUSTLESS Pro Set Plus Mortar.

“Merkrete’s liquid membranes have been a staple in the industry and contractors rely on its performance,” said Flores.

Also used was Merkrete’s Fracture Guard FD, a low-VOC, fast-drying, crack-isolation membrane for same-day tile installations. Fracture Guard FD provides a thin protection layer to inhibit substrate crack transfers up to 1/8” in interior and exterior applications.

Versatile mortar supports large tiles

Because of the size of the tiles for the pool decks and coping – as well as the vast number of exterior patio decks and walkways –Corona needed a versatile product that could address several specific needs at the same time. Merkrete demonstrated the perfect match for a specific challenge again considering the strength of the mortar it called for. 

“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 Corona. 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. Merkrete proved it could hold its weight. 

In addition to the exterior installations throughout the complex, Merkrete was the reliable source in providing innovative and high-performance setting materials throughout the interior installations. Interior shower areas and common spaces contained large-and-heavy porcelain tile and planks. These types of materials can present their fair share of installation challenges. Planks in particular demand tighter tolerances to maintain the beauty of the tile and overall aesthetic of the installation.  

Cleaner jobsite with DUSTLESS technology

Porcelain tile in common hallways and walkway areas installed using Fracture Guard FD and 720 DUSTLESS LHT Mortar.

Selection of the proper setting material is critical, especially when installing large-and-heavy tile (LHT). LHT mortars are not for leveling or truing the substrate; instead they are intended to help fill the irregular space between the tile and the underlayment providing a strong bond. 

Vincente Acosta of Contractors Flooring Service of California immediately preferred MERKRETE’s new and innovative 720 DUSTLESS™ LHT Mortar. Merkrete’s 720 DUSTLESS LHT Mortar, features new, innovative and patented DUSTLESS™ Technology (DLT) producing approximately 80% less dust than ordinary thinsets and is designed to promote cleaner working conditions and reduce mess. It uses less water and is creamier and easy to spread. 

“Not only does this mortar emit less dust, the smooth and creamy material makes for easy spreading, especially when speed is a factor,” said Acosta. 720 DUSTLESS LHT Mortar works great for both floors and walls and offers high strength, flexibility and a cleaner work environment.

Interior areas and backsplashes were installed using 705 DUSTLESS Pro Set Mortar. “The DUSTLESS feature is a tremendous advantage especially in interior applications,” said Corona.

As with most installations, timelines are always important, and Santa Clara Square was no different. It was critical that Ott chose a company that 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 Campiotti. 

Silicon Valley’s unique appeal is further enhanced by the striking Northern California Coast, lush Napa Valley wine country and downtown San Francisco – all within driving distance. With the opening of Santa Clara Square in the Fall 2018, new tenants and guests now enjoy the experience of shopping, fine dining, luxurious pools and resort-like living accommodations, and embrace the modern setting and innovative architecture. Santa Clara Square combines the best elements of a lively cultural center and a sophisticated technology hub – creating a forward-thinking community unlike anywhere else. The Square is the place to be.

Customized parking garage completes shopping center makeover

Close up image of EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL beginning work in the La Plaia Shopping Center parking garage. They were allotted less than two weeks to install the SPARTACOTE flooring system throughout the entire space.

On the island of Sardinia, Italy, in the heart of Cagliari, tourists and locals alike are subject to anything one could ever want in a vacation or life of leisure: history, art, views of the Mediterranean, fine cuisine, and of course, shopping. 

While highlights of the city include 13th-century architecture, La Plaia – Centro Commerciale, a prominent shopping center in the middle of town, was seeking restoration to update and modernize, after not having any renovations since the shopping center was built in 1983.

To kick off the nearly two-year construction project, which began in 2016, the eponymous architectural firm Mario Dal Molin and general contractor SIGEF SRL set out to renovate and expand the shopping center by 13,993 sq. ft. (1,300 square meters). The goal behind the changes would be to offer customers a vaster selection of retail options, and provide the community with areas for socialization, such as a new on-site bar. In addition to the interior shopping center updates, 64,583 sq. ft. (6,000 square meters) of parking garage space would need to be reconstructed since the concrete screed in place had been completely destroyed. 

The installing contractor, EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL, using measuring tape to ensure straight line work.

“After briefly meeting Mario Dal Molin at an industry event, we were quickly able to convince him that the LATICRETE® SPARTACOTE™ product line was the top choice to repair the garage,” said Antonella Mura, the LATICRETE Sales Area Manager for Sardinia. “We educated his firm on the product lines’ technical features and demonstrated how the resinous flooring could enhance the parking garage experience by extending the overall design of the building to an unlikely place. Ultimately, the parking garage would be a huge part of elevating the entire shopping experience at La Plaia – Centro Commerciale.” 

Utilizing resinous flooring in projects is increasing in popularity with tile contractors, due to the ease of install and variety this type of floor coating offers to customers as an alternative to large-format or more traditional tile or stone floors.

The Challenges 

White lines of SPARTACOTE FLEX SB to guide traffic.

Customized design: In the past, aesthetics were often not considered when selecting floor coatings for parking areas. However, studies show that floors can elevate the overall shopping experience and boost morale. To liven up the space more than a standard concrete floor could, the design team was able to customize the look and finish of the floors with a pop of color using the LATICRETE products – allowing them to pull the shopping center’s desired experience through the entire development, from arrival to departure. 

Tight time frame: Although the shopping center would undergo a multi-year renovation process, the installing contractor EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL was allotted less than two weeks to install the SPARTACOTE flooring system throughout the entire parking garage before the grand re-opening. To ensure a successful installation within the desired time frame, the execution needed to be exceptional and the product performance needed to hold up the first time around. 

A LATICRETE solution 

To maintain the desired appearance of the yellow safety lines and deter any color fading or peeling, SPARTACOTE FLEX SB was used.

To maintain the desired appearance of the yellow safety lines and deter any color fading or peeling, SPARTACOTE FLEX SB was used.

One of the unique benefits that piqued the architect’s interest in installing resinous flooring in the parking garage is the product’s ability to customize the look and finish of any environment. The SPARTACOTE line of resinous flooring also offers reduced floor maintenance, which is beneficial in high-traffic areas, and superior chemical and stain resistance, making this system an excellent choice to uphold a fresh-looking appearance. 

With a team of six, EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL used LATAPOXY® 309, a two-component epoxy adhesive, to close several joints throughout the parking garage. LATAPOXY 309 is solvent-free and possesses high adhesion and anti-slip agents, ideal for this type of environment. Additionally, this product can cure in difficult conditions, such as those with a high presence of moisture, which can be typical for garages. 

To coat the floors, EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL applied SPARTACOTE FLEX SB™ across the entire 64,583-sq.-ft. (6,000-square meter) garage in a light blue finish. On top of the coating, the team also applied white lane dividers and yellow safety lines to guide traffic. To maintain the desired appearance, SPARTACOTE FLEX SB is UV-resistant, which will help to deter any color fading or peeling in the sunlight. 

Thanks to the products’ rapid cure rates and user-friendly working times, EFFE.ESSE COSTRUZIONI SRL’s team of six efficiently finished nearly 4,305 sq. ft. (400-square meters) per hour – allowing the garage surface to be completed in only 11 days! 

Outcome 

La Plaia - Centro Commerciale opened its doors for a grand re-opening celebration in March of 2018.

La Plaia – Centro Commerciale opened its doors for a grand re-opening celebration in March of 2018.

“Everyone involved in the La Plaia – Centro Commerciale renovation was pleased with the high-quality result of the LATICRETE products used in the parking garage,” said Roberta Marchi, LATICRETE Regional Director Europe Assistant. “The new garage floor is a showstopper, and something memorable for visitors to see when they first visit. Our team received many thanks for the support provided on the jobsite. Whether it was outlining product features or providing installation tips, LATICRETE was there to lend a helping hand every step of the way.” 

Completed in 2018, La Plaia – Centro Commerciale opened its doors for a grand re-opening celebration on March 27 and to the public on March 28. 

The completed La Plaia Shopping Center parking garage.

The completed La Plaia Shopping Center parking garage.

Latest tile design and installation innovations from TCNA

Tile Council of North America (TCNA) is an international trade association representing North American manufacturers of ceramic tile, installation materials, glazes and raw materials, tools, and related products. This year, over 120 TCNA members will showcase their latest offerings at Coverings in Orlando. In addition to the latest tile designs and installation innovations, you’ll discover what’s new in the world of tools, machinery, and installation materials, all in the TCNA North American Pavilion. 

TCNA logoBooth #3219

The TCNA booth (#3219) is in the center of it all as your information and hospitality hub throughout the week. TCNA will offer complimentary lunch (no wristband required) and afternoon happy hour (cash, credit, and drink tickets accepted). So stop by, refuel, and network with the leading industry associations co-exhibiting with TCNA: the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), the International Masonry Institute

TCNA booth

Complimentary lunch is served daily, with happy hours each afternoon.

(IMI), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), and the Tile Heritage Foundation (THF). Discounts on TCNA literature will be available for those of you looking to round out your technical library. Additionally, TCNA’s Lab Services team will be on hand to discuss the research and testing offered at TCNA’s state-of-the-art Product Performance Testing Laboratory – North America’s largest tile-and-stone-specific facility for independent testing and research. To get a glimpse of “a day in the life” of the TCNA Lab, catch the session “Tile Testing 101: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Products are Tested for Quality and Performance” (Thursday, 8:00 -9:00 am). 

Leading associations are co-located with TCNA in booth

Leading associations are co-located with TCNA in booth

“Why Tile” Quickfire Sessions

Eric of TCNA

20-minute mini-sessions are packed with information on the benefits offered by tile.

Put these 20-minute mini-sessions on your agenda! Running Tuesday through Friday, these bite-sized sessions are packed with information on the inherent benefits tile has to offer: “Healthy, WELL, and Wise with Tile,” “Tile’s Greenhouse Wheelhouse,” “Tile’s Unrivaled Time-Tested Durability,” “Peace of Mind Under Your Feet,” and “How Smart Phones are Changing the Way We Think and Approach Design.” Check the Coverings app or Show Directory for times and locations.

Building green

TCNA and TCNA members are synonymous with leadership in building green with tile. For example, the UL-certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for North American tile, tile mortars and tile grouts provide unrivaled transparency on the environmental impact of a full tile installation. These EPDs make it easier for green builders, designers and specifiers to make informed decisions that satisfy the requirements in top green building rating systems including LEED, Green Globes, 2018 IgCC-ASHREA 189.1, and ICC 700. Additionally, those seeking LEED building certification can also look to Green Squared Certified products, which contribute toward the LEED Pilot Credit for “Certified Multi-Attribute Products and Materials.” For the latest on tile sustainability, be sure to catch TCNA’s Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, Bill Griese, in the session “Transparency Trilogy Part I: Transparency in Materials” where he’ll review ongoing industry initiatives to provide transparency and health-related information to satisfy supply chain demands (Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.). 

Installation Demonstration Stage, #3138

The Coverings Installation Demonstration stage #3138 shows products and methods in action, from the pros.

The Coverings Installation Demonstration stage shows products and methods in action.

The North American Pavilion offers you a first look at the newest installation materials, technologies and tools. Throughout the show, TCNA exhibitors and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will provide live product demos at the Coverings Installation Demonstration Stage (#3138). Get an up-close look at the latest products in action and tips from pros on how to navigate common challenges. While you’re there, enter to win one of the many drawings between demonstrations.

Installation & Design Experience, #3538

New in 2019 is the Installation & Design Experience (#3538), which is sure to be a main attraction. This multi-faceted feature will include a lounge as well as hospitality vignettes by top designers. Also included is an area focused on installation and education, with the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) onsite providing information for installers looking to advance their careers. Additionally, guided tours of the Installation Materials District will leave from the lounge at 11:00 am (Tuesday – Thursday) with lunch to follow at noon, and happy hour in the lounge beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Canine creations featured in the Art Tile Village

One-of-a-kind tiled doghouses will be displayed in the courtyard of the Art Tile Village in the North American Pavilion.

One-of-a-kind tiled doghouses will be displayed in the courtyard of the Art Tile Village in the North American Pavilion.

The Art Tile Village – the largest assembly of decorative tile artisans under one roof – has become a favorite destination for show-goers. Beautiful and unique offerings from boutique tile makers across the continent are on display. In the courtyard (#4209), you’ll also see one-of-a-kind tiled dog houses created by TCNA members. These artful abodes will be donated to an Orlando-area pet charity, which will be onsite during the show with some furry, four-legged companions. Be sure to stop by – you may just make a new friend! 

Whether your main objective at Coverings is to network with colleagues, find design inspiration from the newest trends, or learn about the latest advancements in tile technology, exciting discoveries await you in the TCNA North American Pavilion.

MAPEI goes to Yale School of Management

MAPEI gets straight As for crack isolation, large-format tile installation and waterproofing solutions

A private institution founded in 1701, Yale University resides on 315 urban acres in New Haven, Conn. Its graduate business programs are part of the Yale School of Management, and follow an integrated MBA curriculum in which students study “raw” cases and analyze a wide array of materials. 

The English tiles from Royal Mosa, predominantly the 12” x 24” (30 x 61 cm) size, were installed in the lobby with Ultraflex LFT and grouted with Ultracolor Plus.

The school conducts education and research in leadership, economics, operations management, marketing, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and other areas; at this time, its most acclaimed programs are finance, strategic management, and organizational behavior. The school offers a wide range of graduate-level academic programs and concentrations, and is known for its finance faculty, emphasis on ethics, and International Center for Finance. In addition, the school has an Executive MBA degree program with opportunities for focused study in healthcare, asset management or sustainability. The school also offers student exchange programs with HEC Paris, IESE, the London School of Economics, and Tsinghua University.

Mapeguard 2 was used in many of the large-format tile areas to protect it from cracking.

Edward P. Evans Hall houses the Yale School of Management. The 242,000-sq.-ft. campus opened in January 2014. The building is situated at the northern end of the Yale University campus at 165 Whitney Avenue. The building was designed by Foster + Partners, Design Architect with Gruzen Samton, Architect of Record. Foster + Partners is the prominent firm chaired by Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Lord Norman Foster (1962 graduate of Yale School of Architecture). 

Edward P. Evans Hall is home to state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty offices, academic centers, and student and meeting spaces organized around an enclosed courtyard. The design is intended to create a teaching and learning environment that will support the school’s integrated MBA curriculum and connect the Yale School of Management (SOM) community.

Atlantic Masonry does the majority of the tile installation work at Yale University, and they were called in to work with general contractor Dimeo Construction on this project.

The crews installed quarry tile in the kitchens, porcelain tile from Daltile in the bathrooms, and a large-format English porcelain tile from Royal Mosa in the first-floor lobby surrounding the courtyard.

MAPEI products at work on the jobsite

Ultraflex LFT, Ultracolor Plus with the Mapesil 100% silicone sealant were also used for the quarry tiles in the kitchens and the black-and-white porcelain tiles in the bathrooms.

Various large-format tiles from England were used throughout this project. Mapeguard 2 was used in many of the large-format tile areas to protect it from cracking. Tile sizes include 24” x 24” (61 x 61 cm), 18” x 18” (46 x 46 cm), 12” x 18” (30 x 46 cm) and 12” x 24” (30 x 61 cm). Smaller sizes were also used on walls and floors in the bathroom installations. 

Atlantic Masonry does the majority of the tile installation work at Yale University, and they were called in to work with general contractor Dimeo Construction on this project. The crews installed quarry tile in the kitchens, porcelain tile from Daltile in the bathrooms, and a large-format English porcelain tile from Royal Mosa in the first-floor lobby surrounding the courtyard.

Wall tiles in bathrooms were grouted with Keracolor U unsanded grout.

The work began with the application of a pre-screed composed of sand and cement fortified with Planicrete AC. This mixture was used in a mud-set application to cover the tubing of an underfloor radiant-heating system. The most important aspect of this step was to ensure that the installers did not break any of the heating tubes; so, when the installers were pre-screeding, they continually tested the tubing to make sure nothing was damaged.

Over top of the pre-screed, the Atlantic Masonry crews applied Mapeguard 2 premium crack-isolation and sound-reduction membrane to protect the large-format tiles from cracking – “issues that are becoming too common with the increase in tile dimensions in educational facilities, such as this Yale project, ” said Atlantic Masonry Project Manager Mike Coassin. Atlantic Masonry prefers Mapeguard 2 because it is thicker and denser than competitive products, and the installers think it does a better job in the long run.

Over top of the pre-screed, the Atlantic Masonry crews applied Mapeguard 2 premium crack-isolation and sound-reduction membrane to protect the large-format tiles from cracking.

The English tiles from Royal Mosa, predominantly the 12” x 24” (30 x 61 cm) size, were installed in the lobby with Ultraflex LFT and grouted with Ultracolor Plus. Mapesil 100% silicone sealant was used at the soft joints in the lobby – approximately every 15 to 20 ft. (4,57 to 6,10 m).

These setting materials were also used for the quarry tiles in the kitchens and the black-and-white porcelain tiles in the bathrooms. The joints in the wall tiles of the bathrooms were grouted with Keracolor U unsanded grout. The bathrooms were also waterproofed with Mapelastic AquaDefense.

Coassin commented on the project: 

Atlantic Masonry Project Manager Mike Coassin said cracking issues are becoming too common with the increase in tile dimensions in educational facilities, like the Yale project. Mapeguard 2 was utilized to prevent this.

“This was a pretty standard project for Atlantic Masonry,” Coassin said. “We have installed tile in most of the renovated and new buildings on the Yale campus, and we are very satisfied with the way the MAPEI products work for us.”

Technical data:

Project Category: Institutional – University
MAPEI Sales Rep: Mike Shay
Project Owner: Yale University
MAPEI Distributor: Daltile – North Haven, Conn.
General Contractor: Dimeo Construction
Installer Company: Atlantic Masonry
Architects: Gruzen Samton of New York, NY, and Foster + Partners Architects
Photographer: Philip Handler, AIA
Project Size: 51,000 sq. ft.

MAPEI products used:

Planicrete AC
Mapeguard 2
Ultraflex LFT
Mapelastic AquaDefense
Mapesil
Keracolor U
Ultracolor Plus

Bargain Mansions host Tamara Day breathes new life into Kansas City-area mansions

Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions on DIY Network

Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions on DIY Network

Returning neglected estates to their former glory is not for the faint of heart. Protecting the charm of the old home, while adding modern conveniences expected by today’s homeowner, is a daunting task on its own. Add pressing timelines and the hectic production schedules of a hit DIY Network show, and you have a glimpse into the daily challenges facing Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions.

Growing up in the construction trade, Day first became involved in restoration work by helping her father, Ward Schrader, maintain and repair her family’s Kansas farm building structures. Now, as an experienced design and construction expert, Day travels around the Kansas City area dramatically revamping historic homes with the latest modern amenities, while preserving character and authentic features such as exposed brick walls and original staircases. Just like old times, Day’s father can be seen by her side, but this time as her mentor. 

Bathroom of the “Farm House.”In one of the first episodes of the show’s second season, Day enlisted the help of contractor Centric Homes to overhaul the laundry room, kitchen, master bathroom, basement and bunkhouse of the “Farm House.” The new designs feature various Daltile product offerings like mosaic tile and are installed using LATICRETE® materials. 

Bathroom of the “Farm House.”“After speaking with LATICRETE, it was a no-brainer to incorporate their products throughout the entire home. They have installation materials for just about every kind of installation, allowing me the freedom to focus on creating fabulous designs for each space and not worry about how I was going to execute them,” said Day.

The Challenges 

Production deadlines: When working on a production timeline, the importance of hitting deadlines is elevated, especially when following trades need installations to be completed before they can begin their portion of the restoration. It was important that the LATICRETE products chosen be able to be installed with ease in a timely fashion.

Products for multiple applications: Not only does renovating an old home take a team of installers, but it also takes a team of products that are up to the task. From installing large-format tiles in showers around the home to leveling the concrete substrate in the basement for a flat floor, LATICRETE had a product for every design application.

Design flexibility: The Kansas City area is no stranger to the cold. When planning the “Farm House” improvements, Day mapped out two key areas where heat was a must – the large basement and master bathroom. It was vital the LATICRETE electric radiant floor heating system offer design flexibility to accommodate the unique floor plans of each space.

A LATICRETE Solution 

In recent years, interior designers have increasingly incorporated large-and-heavy tiles into their projects, which has not only presented new design possibilities but has also created new requirements and challenges. To install Daltile tiles that were 12”x24” (50.8mmx609.6mm) and larger in areas like the master bathroom shower, 257 TITANIUM™, a lightweight thin-set mortar was selected. This product features an easy-to-spread, creamy consistency for ease of use and exceeds ANSI A118.15, the industry’s highest performance standard for a cementitious- based adhesive mortar, for a long-lasting worry-free installation. 

STRATA_HEAT™ electric radiant floor heating system“The large-format tiles, installed with 257 TITANIUM, trick your eye into thinking the bathrooms are actually much roomier than they actually are,” added Day. “The tile’s large size allows for far fewer grout lines, creating an easy-to-clean, uninterrupted finish.” 

Grout colors featured in areas like the shower walls in the master bathroom and basement and the walls behind the mirror in the bunkhouse bathroom include Light Pewter, Sterling Silver, Marble Beige, Bright White and Twilight Blue. PERMACOLOR® Select Grout – the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment grout solution – was used to achieve these looks. With PERMACOLOR Select, contractors gain increased productivity and time savings on the
jobsite, with a faster time-to-grout, and foot traffic permitted in as little as three hours. 

Radiant floor heating is a high-end design feature that is growing in popularity in both new homes and renovations that focus on clean, comfortable living. To prepare the basement floors for the installation of STRATA_HEAT™ electric radiant floor heating system and the following floor covering, NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates was chosen. Centric Homes used this product to produce a flat, smooth and hard surface. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible, non-sensitive to moisture and maintenance-free. 

Unlike most other systems, the STRATA_HEAT Wire used to heat the floors in the basement and master bathroom does not have a minimum on straight-run lengths and will not interfere with other electronics in the vicinity. For added design flexibility, this product is highly customizable with multiple spacing options for variability in heat output, making it easy to work in the uniquely shaped rooms. 

As the world becomes more focused on smart home technology, the tile and flooring industry has been tasked to develop products like the STRATA_HEAT electric radiant floor heating system that keeps up with and adapts to a new way of living. To control the system, the homeowners will use the STRATA_HEAT Wi-Fi Thermostat, a smart-focused thermostat that is compatible with home automation devices and can learn homeowner routines to reduce heat usage by up to 25%. 

Outcome 

“The pictures speak for themselves. The Farm House went from unruly to an absolute knockout! Thanks to the wide array of LATICRETE products, we were able to make the vision for this home possible,” said Day. “Being able to bring a home back to life is why I love what I do, and working with companies like LATICRETE makes it easy.” 

Full episodes of the dramatic Bargain Mansions makeovers can be seen on DIY Network. The show can also be streamed via the network app, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU and Google Play.

LATICRETE products will be featured throughout the entire second season. 

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.

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