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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.

“Swimmin’ with the Fishes” at Hacienda Mosaico

LATICRETE products bring student mosaic projects to life at Mexican resort

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

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

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

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

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

The challenges: keeping it simple and lightweight

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

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

A LATICRETE Solution 

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

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

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

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

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

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

A resounding result

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

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

Gauging Savings: USI Porcelain Panel Project Saves Time & Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

The tunnel after the storm caused by Superstorm Sandy.

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

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

MAPEI solutions help repair and restore the tunnel

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

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

Installing tiles with MAPEI’s Ultraflex 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work on the Manhattan-to-Brooklyn tube of the

The Chroma tiles grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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