As we look to close out 2019 and look forward to a new decade starting in 2020, I would like to use one word to express how I feel as NTCA Executive Director about our industry and our association – GRATITUDE. There is so much to be thankful for, and it starts with a dedicated board of directors and executive committee and ends with enthusiastic support from members around the country and a dedicated staff of association and industry leaders. Thanks to all of your efforts, NTCA continues to make a positive impact on the ceramic tile industry.
NTCA’s formal acceptance into the National Apprenticeship System from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Highlighting NTCA’s 2019 year was the announcement that the U.S. Department of Labor approved our application for Federal Apprenticeship Guidelines, allowing us to assist our members in training and recruiting new workers. These same guidelines can potentially enable members to apply for workforce development funding assistance in their state. To help in recruitment efforts, NTCA introduced several new videos and promotional materials to support members to promote the ceramic tile trade in their community.
The biggest impact NTCA makes in our industry usually centers around the training programs we provide for our members. In 2019, we embarked on our most ambitious effort in our association’s history, adding multiple regional training events and roundtable membership meetings, in addition to continuing our traditional workshop seminars. The trainers at NTCA do an incredible job in educating installers and industry professionals, and in 2019, NTCA pledged to help grow the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer (CTI) and Advanced Certified Tile Installer (ACT) programs.
Membership growth continues to be a focal point of our association. NTCA Training Director Mark Heinlein with new member Gabriel Hanceri at a NTCA workshop in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
2019 was not without challenges. Leading the way this year is a growing concern that plastic-based materials, like LVT and others, are taking industry market share. Rising tariff costs, concerns that economic growth is slowing down, and the continued lack of trained and certified tile installers are still at the forefront of challenges our industry faces. NTCA is committed to addressing these concerns but is additionally forging ahead to promote new opportunities that will help our members continue to thrive in the years ahead. We see the ceramic tile market as one with endless potential, with products helping us to grow per capita consumption for walls and floors and in interior and exterior applications.
Membership continues to grow thanks to strong support from an active board of directors who helps to spread the word about the value of NTCA to their peers in their region. We will continue to add value by introducing new programs and benefits, and we hope to continue on our path towards 2,000 members in the next few years.
In an effort to increase value for membership and serve our industry, NTCA added benefits programs for health, life and supplemental insurance, dental and vision plans, 401(k) plans, and more. We urge you to check out the NTCA website for detailed information on all of these programs.
As NTCA Executive Director since 2002, I am honored to continue to serve this vibrant and growing association.
NTCA Board Advisor Dan Welch in Michigan taking part in recruitment and training efforts to high school students.
NTCA has committed to a stronger level of support to the CTEF. NTCA and CTEF staff with CTI test takers.
In the greater New York area, more than eight million people use the subways, commuter trains and buses of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) each day to navigate the busy city.
The founders of the New York City subway believed that every design element in the system should show respect to its customers and enhance the experience. Continuing that tradition during a massive rebuilding of the system, MTA launched an Arts & Design division in the 1980s. This division oversees the selection of artists and installations that are permanently installed throughout the MTA system, “creating a first-rate museum filled with more than 300 works by world famous, mid-career and emerging artists,” and connecting commuters with people, sites and surrounding neighborhoods.
As part of major renovations to nine stations along the Sea Beach Line (N) in Brooklyn, artists were selected to create permanent artwork for inclusion in the station renovations. The nine stations under construction were originally opened in 1915, and the now-completed capital construction included improvements to each station’s platforms, overpasses, stairways, canopies and columns, in addition to permanent artwork.
For the 86th Street station, artist Karen Margolis created “Cerebration,” a glass mosaic artwork that connects people and place by transcribing destinations of the surrounding area into the mosaic work.
Four of the artists selected for the Sea Beach Line projects – Sally Gil, Karen Margolis, Eamon Ore-Giron and Emilio Perez – selected Mosaicos Venecianos De México, a member of TCNA Mexico, to translate their designs into smalti (enamel glass mosaics). The pieces were fabricated with LATICRETE® products and shipped to New York for their installation along the platforms at MTA New York City Transit Authority’s 86th Street, Avenue U, 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway stations.
“Given the architectural requirements of these stations, we pre-mounted and grouted the designs on aluminum panels using products from LATICRETE, a prestigious brand leader in installation systems that we knew were tested and guaranteed for high-performance and ideal for exterior applications,” said Malena Perdomo of Mosaicos Venecianos De México.
Margolis used local area maps in her mosaic panels design to represent the thought patterns of daily commuters.
High-traffic and extreme temperature challenges
High-traffic installation: Just like New York City, the MTA stations never sleep. Even though the company pre-mounted and grouted the artwork on aluminum panels ready for mounting to each station’s platform walls, the installations needed to be done quickly to minimize interruption to MTA customers.
Extreme temperatures: New York City can range in temperatures from -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 Celsius) to upwards of 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius), so it was important that the installation products chosen would be able to thrive in extreme climates to resist fractures and possible humidity issues.
A LATICRETE solution
Artists Karen Margolis and Sally Gil focused their artwork on pieces that reflect the local landscape. At the Avenue U station, artist Sally Gil’s work was recreated in a series of 14 mosaic panels titled “Edges of a South Brooklyn Sky.” Each of the pieces she created reflects the surrounding Gravesend neighborhood. For the 86th Street station, artist Karen Margolis created “Cerebration,” a glass mosaic artwork that similarly connects people and place by transcribing destinations of the surrounding area into the mosaic work.
Gil’s work commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and recreated by Mosaicos Venecianos De México is displayed prominently and permanently at its respective station. Gil’s work was adhered to fourteen mosaic panels with LATAPOXY® 300 Adhesive, a chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive.
Artist Eamon Ore-Giron created an expansive mosaic project entitled “People’s Instinctive Travels: Homage to The Tribe” that was based on six, original oil-on-linen paintings that were translated into 24 glass mosaic panels at the Bay Parkway station.
At the 18th Avenue station, artist Emilio Perez’s work was made into 22 abstract mosaic murals called “Fluxus/Rhythmus.” In an email conversation with Cuban Art News, Perez credited this installation as the first of his works to be translated into mosaic panels.
“It was important for the mosaic to reflect the variations of color in a brushstroke to create the sense of movement,” said Perez. “What I discovered is that the process used for making the different color glass creates variations of tone much like a brushstroke. This made for a seamless transition of materials.”
Each of the art installations was adhered to aluminum panels with LATAPOXY® 300 Adhesive, a chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive that is easily spread and tenaciously bonds to challenging substrate types. With this adhesive, the mosaic panels stayed perfectly in place while on their excursion to New York, as well as during the fast installations that took place once onsite at the stations.
SPECTRALOCK® PRO Grout, a patented, high-performance epoxy grout, was used to finish off the pieces. SPECTRALOCK PRO Grout is designed for use on glass tile applications and is great for exterior installations like those at the stations. This product also offers superb color uniformity, durability and stain resistance that will stand the test of time. Additionally, the grout is crack resistant and ideal for installation in areas with a wide range in temperatures – perfect for outdoors.
Close-up of one of Gil’s Avenue U station mosaic panels, featuring the Masjid Al-Iman Islamic Center to the right.
Each of the products used received UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions for sustainable building and Health Product Declaration (HPD). This open standard provides complete, transparent disclosure of the potential chemicals of concern by analyzing and comparing all product raw materials to authoritative chemical hazard lists from around the world.
“Mosaicos Venecianos De México is a talented fabricator that brought the artists’ work alive,” said LATICRETE Strategic Innovation Manager Samantha Rothberg. “More than eight million people will get the privilege to enjoy the mosaic panel designs daily and LATICRETE products helped make that possible.”
The work of Sally Gil, Karen Margolis, Eamon Ore-Giron and Emilio Perez, commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and recreated by Mosaicos Venecianos De México is displayed prominently and permanently at their respective stations.
Ore-Giron’s expansive mosaic project, “People’s Instinctive Travels: Homage to The Tribe,” visualizes the world as abstract forms and shapes and their interplay as a reflection of the ways in which people of different communities interact.
Humility, homework, determination, and documentation lead to success for women in the industry
According to a March 2019 story on Construction Dive (https://bit.ly/2HhWLkN), women comprise approximately 9.9% of construction jobs, including administrative, office and executive positions, but only 3.4% of construction field positions. Women are on the rise as construction managers with numbers growing from 5.9% in 2003 to 7.7% in 2018.
In our tile industry, women are seen at every level, from administrators and owners to tile setters and representatives for tile-related suppliers. This month, we take a look at three extraordinary women in our industry and explore how they have carved out a niche for their own careers and contributed to the good of the industry as a whole: Shannon Huffstickler, Schluter Systems; Heidi Cronin, CTEF; and Janet Kozey, Stuart Tile Company.
Shannon Huffstickler The Tile Girl/Schluter Systems
Shannon Huffstickler has made a name for herself in the tile industry over the last 20 years, from her days of doing hands-on labor for her dad’s tile installation business, to her work as Territory Manager for Schluter after 13 years of running The Tile Girl business, to a recent upgrade as Schluter Liaison to the Social Media Community, grounded in her love of being part of online communities and helping people in any way she can.
The opportunity to leave her tile setting business and join Schluter felt like the right thing to do for the right reasons.
Working for her dad, she discovered her enthusiasm for being on a jobsite, “where both my head and my hands could be fully engaged and challenged.” In 2012, she was initially reluctant to walk away from her business and make the leap from tile setting to being a rep when her beloved Schluter rep Dan Wagner let her know about an opportunity. For Huffstickler, it was an opportunity that “just felt like the right thing to do for the right reasons.” Her rep position – and her territory – changed this past spring to Liaison to the Social Media Community, where she meets the demand for fast, reliable access through social media to information about Schluter products. Now her territory encompasses the internet and face-to-face meetings with customers.
A raft of skills and talents set the stage for her career path – “Late nights on the John Bridge Forum, reading hand-me-down TileLetters, trips to the classes available at Coverings, being mentored by a successful builder-friend about time management, knowing my value/pricing and scheduling, and good old-fashioned, on-the-job training with my dad and uncle,” she said. Having a degree in English/writing also has come in handy to “convey technical knowledge in a way that’s understandable to people from any background or skill/experience level.”
Huffstickler’s territory encompasses the internet and face-to-face meetings with customers.
Huffstickler credits her work ethic with her success. “Because I’ve always worked hard and done my homework, it’s been relatively easy to dispel anyone’s questioning of my credibility,” she said. “I never had a chip on my shoulder or was too quick to respond to anyone’s doubt in my abilities in any way other than to let my work or my knowledge prove itself valuable. I just show up, do good work and let those in the peanut gallery sort themselves out.” Some preconceptions about keeping a neater jobsite or being a more sympathetic listener as a woman did work in her favor as a tile setter. And at Schluter, the perception that Huffstickler will be “helpful and nurturing” makes it easier for customers – especially men – to reach out when there’s a gap in “their knowledge base.”
Her advice for women considering a tile career? “Don’t get distracted by people who try to make your gender into a big deal,” she said. “Be about the work. Do your homework, learn your lessons, take your lumps and stay humble. Just keep showing up and doing your honest best at whatever role you’re in – and if things get tough, reach out to someone who’s been there before you and ask for help; we’re out here.”
Tile projects from Huffstickler’s Tile Girl days.
Heidi Cronin CTEF Industry Liaison and Promotions Director
Heidi Cronin entered the tile industry 26 years ago, working from the ground up in the family business of distributing tile and setting material. She’s also installed tile but said, “Did I do it well? NO! I started making ceramic tile sample boards after crashing the car when I was 15 to pay off the debt. I have worked every aspect of a company: customer service, warehouse, purchasing, sales, accounting, truck driver and management in numerous areas.”
Part of her education has been her involvement in industry associations. “I surrounded myself with people who know more than me,” she said. “I listen, learn, and let them mentor me.”
Cronin takes the wheel at the Cronin Company.
While she acknowledged that “flooring and tile have been a male-dominated field, in reality we women are the consumers you are selling to.” So, speaking the same language and being a woman is a plus. “I know what influences us, I see and pay attention to surroundings, I ask questions. I don’t sugar coat anything. I am blunt and to the point.”
She recognized that “women will always have to prove themselves. Growing up in male-dominated industry and as the boss’s daughter, there has been a constant proving of self. Can we be respected? Of course! But if we push for change or challenge a male counterpart we are considered irrational, unapproachable and too emotional.” Sadly, she noted that for women, “it is easier to influence change if you make it look as if it is someone else’s idea.” And yet, she said, “The definition of insanity by Albert Einstein says it all: ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ Life and technology are moving at an excessive rate; better keep up or you will be left behind.”
Cronin speaking about the Certified Tile Installer credential and CTEF at a gauged porcelain panel training in Portland, Ore.
Many mentors and friends in the industry provided valuable input and support when Cronin faced challenges. “You learn who those people are in good times and bad,” she said. “In this industry there is plenty of support no matter where you look.”
Cronin encourages women to pursue a career in tile, half-joking that a “thick skin” is an essential quality for working in this industry. “Tile is timeless,” she said. “It has been around for thousands of years. I am amazed at how advanced technology has become, whether it is manufacturing tile or advancements in setting materials. The knowledge needed to properly prep and install these advancements is huge. I support anyone going into the trade. Qualified labor is what will keep the industry strong.”
She added, “You can do whatever you set your mind to; nothing anyone states can take away your ability, determination and worth.”
Janet Kozey Stuart Tile Company
Janet Kozey, owner of Macomb, Mich.-based Stuart Tile Company, credits organization, professionalism, and listening – to the customer and one’s inner voice – among the essentials to succeed in this world of tile. That combination of skills has served her well since 1975 when she quit her job to go into the tile business with her husband.
She got her start being precise and organized in her dad’s business. All eight children were trained from the age of four how to speak on the phone professionally. “My dad was kind of an army sergeant with all of us. Mom was ill. So we were very organized, had to get things done.” These skills translated well into her tile business, especially when it comes to collections.
Palace of Auburn Hills – home to the Detroit Pistons.
“My main suppliers told me if I ever retire, they want to hire me to be a collector,” she said. “I do my homework way ahead: look and see who the architect is, the principals and the owners of the project. I don’t take some jobs if principals, etc. had a bad reputation or had problems in the past.” She also relies on a “gut feeling” she gets about the jobs, sometimes a “weird or bad feeling” she’s learned to listen to about a contract that helps her avoid trouble. And her excellent long term memory is an asset, too – recently she recalled the address of a troublesome builder her company did business with years ago. They started up again with a new name, but the same address.
She advised being personable and a good listener – even to topics unrelated to the job – to build a rapport with customers. If action is needed collecting money, she said, it’s “sugar across the telephone – all sweet” – until she takes legal action once the invoice goes unpaid 35 days. This includes having her supplier put a lien on the building. Within three to four days, she gets a response.
Kozey said dedication and sacrifice are key, too, sometimes forgoing vacations because you need to be there for the work. Equally important is keeping up with technology and training. “My guys went through training with Laminam panels,” she said, resulting in the smooth running of subsequent jobs. “We are a finish trade – the type of tile company that wants perfection,” she said. “You’ve got to know your math, pay attention and listen.”
Kozey copiously documents EVERYTHING and is keeping a journal for son Philip to refer to 15-20 years down the road. She feels documentation is the foundation for troubleshooting, so this journal is a way to pass on wisdom to the next generation.
Pool project for Lifetime Fitness.
Getting support from other women is important too. Years ago she was a member of Women in Construction and met with about 30 women monthly to exchange ideas.
In the beginning of her time with Stuart Tile Company, she said she “got a lot of disrespect. People didn’t want to talk to me – they wanted to talk to my husband; like I was a dummy, because I was a girl,” she said. But that has changed, especially in the last five to seven years, where being a woman works to her advantage. “We got jobs in the past due to being woman owned,” she explained.
As for women interested in a tile career, Kozey cautions, “You can be great at design and color – but you have to be organized, and serious. If you give it 110%, you’ll still be around in years to come.”
The year was 1925. Bathtub gin, the Charleston and a new form of entertainment called “motion pictures” were all the rage. Money and people were flowing into California in search of a new gold rush – Hollywood fame. Those newly minted movie stars, as well as their wannabes, made the trek down the coast from Los Angeles to a sleepy little seaside town called San Diego in search of rest and relaxation. The unspoiled waters offered fishing. The mountains provided hiking. And San Diego’s Mission Beach featured the West Coast’s version of Coney Island, The Mission Beach Amusement Center.
Built on the sands of Mission Beach by one of San Diego’s leading developers, sugar magnate John D. Spreckels, The Mission Beach Amusement Center was designed to draw tourists to San Diego. The center promoted the city and – not so coincidentally – Spreckels’ real estate ventures. It featured the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, a 2,600-ft.-long wooden thrill ride with two 18-passenger trains.
Showers and bathrooms after large panel installation.
The center’s other main attraction was The Natatorium, an indoor swimming pool constructed from stucco and steel in Spanish Renaissance style as the centerpiece of the park. Later renamed The Plunge, the pool measured 60’x175’ with a capacity of 400,000 U.S. gallons, making it the world’s largest saltwater pool for its time.
By 1940, however, the saltwater had begun to damage The Plunge’s filtration system. So with a few modifications, it became the largest indoor, heated freshwater pool in Southern California. The center was sold to private owners in 1955 and renamed Belmont Park. Over the years, due to outdated safety codes, The Plunge closed and then was revamped in 1988 with modern safety codes. Although much of the original tile work was removed, some historic features were left intact, including steps leading into the pool and a pedestal at the bottom of the steps. But in 2014, the waters of The Plunge once again, became troubled, and the historic public pool was closed for “unexpected repairs.”
Large-format tiles installed using MAPEI Ultralite S2.
MAPEI products onthe jobsite
Pacifica Enterprises (a San Diego-based development company) owned the property since 2012 and used the closure as an opportunity to completely renovate the natatorium literally from the ground up, or rather from the roof down. Pacifica spokesman Chris Wahl said that initially the company believed that they could simply repair the building and the pool, but deeper inspection revealed other issues besides the leaking roof, such as corrosion in the structure’s steel columns and beams.
As the inspections progressed, it was determined that all 21,000 sq. ft. of the building had to be demolished, leaving only girders surrounding the historic pool. The new natatorium features a glass facade instead of the original Spanish Renaissance stucco walls that did not withstand the constant buffeting from saltwater spray. The historic pool was also given a facelift and returned to the splendor of the past – courtesy of Lusardi Construction and NTCA Five-Star Contractor Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, working with MAPEI.
Steam rooms waterproofed with Mapelastic AquaDefense.
“From the beginning, Pacifica and the general contractor, Lusardi Construction, knew that they wanted a period-correct feel for the tiling in the pool and the surrounding rooms,” said Dennis Sandell, MAPEI’s TSIS sales representative for San Diego and Palm Springs. “They contacted Mark Columbus at Christian Brothers to act as the consultant and installing contractor. It was Mark who brought MAPEI on board early on. In fact, he and I helped to put the specification together.” Columbus and Sandell proposed using MAPEI for a full system that would allow the pool to be filled with water 72 hours after the tile was installed.
“The pool’s surface was shotcrete,” Sandell continued. “It was in bad shape. The Christian Brothers crew had to float the substrate with a dry pack of Mapelastic 315 with Planicrete AC in the mix to adhere to the surface, as well as to add flexibility to the mortar bed.”
Finished tiling grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.
The spec from architect Fredrick Clemeshaw called for period-correct 3/4” x 3/4” (19 x 19 mm) tiles, which were installed using MAPEI’s Granirapid System. The rapid-setting, flexible tile mortar allowed for the “quick” installation of 1,700 sq. ft. of mosaics in the Olympic-sized pool. The tiles were grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA. The pool’s perimeter was caulked with Mapesil T. “The tiles mark the water line, they mark the depth, they decorate the historic pedestal, in addition to tiling the pool,” Sandell explained.
The Plunge at Fit in San Diego, CA, USA.
In the showers, steam rooms, bathrooms, pool area and a gym rechristened with the name “Fit,” the Christian Brothers crew first roller-applied Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing membrane. They then installed large-format tiles with Ultraflex LFT mortar and grouted them with Ultracolor Plus FA. For the exterior cladding, the large panel tiles were installed with MAPEI Ultralite S2 mortar and grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.
The tile installation portion of the sprawling renovation took one year from start to finish, beginning in 2018 and ending in 2019.
“The biggest problem actually gave us a great opportunity to provide a solution,” Sandell said. “After the tile contractor waterproofed the pool, the GC had to cut out several holes in the pool walls to raise the drains. We specified Planitop 330 Fast for the vertical repair. This product allowed them to achieve a quick cure so that they could quickly turn around and re-waterproof these areas.”
The Plunge at Fit is now open to the public in all its former splendor, thanks in large part to MAPEI products, the Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors installers and Lusardi Construction.
Period-correct 3/4”x3/4” (19×19 mm) tiles decoratively mark the water line, the depth and the historic pedestal.
At 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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. 4-XLT boasts a smooth and creamy consistency, making tile installation applications of this product faster and easier.
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 andtimeless 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 mortarsupports 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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: ABehind-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
“Why Tile” Quickfire Sessions
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.
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 DemonstrationStage, #3138
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 demosat 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 & DesignExperience, #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.
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 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 LFTand grouted with Ultracolor Plus. Mapesil100% 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.”
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: