Coverings 2018 Feature – MAPEI: A Tour of Atlanta

 

Atlanta’s culture, architecture and urban design have come together to produce a city on the cutting edge. With Coverings 2018 set here, it’s a good time to “take a tour” of some of the newest residential and commercial projects in the South’s hottest city. MAPEI’s full system of products were used to waterproof, level, strengthen and add elegant finishes to five fabulous new projects shown here. 

The Arbor at BridgeMill
Canton, Ga.

The Arbor at BridgeMill is a luxurious new senior living community. The expansive campus offers state-of-the-art residences totaling 28 private cottages, 130 resort-style apartments and an exciting range of on-site amenities. Aspire Development Partners designed the community to accommodate retiring baby boomers, empty-nesters and previous homeowners who would like the assistance senior facilities provide without losing independence. 

Each of the spacious cottages features an open-concept floor plan, resort-style living rooms, walk-in closets, walk-in showers, and supportive carpet in the bedrooms. The multi-entryway bathrooms feature barrier free, zero-entry, walk-in showers to eliminate incidence of falls or slips. 

The installation team used Mapelastic AquaDefense to waterproof showers along with Mapelastic CI for crack isolation. To set the sand-colored 13” x 13” Daltile Cove Creek tiles in the showers, Ultraflex LHT provided premium performance for a non-sag, non-slump installation. To grout the shower walls, Pro Floors installers used Ultracolor Plus FA in Pewter for its efflorescence-free application. 

The serene glass tile backsplash was set with Adesilex P10 in each cottage kitchen. Commercial kitchens were set with 8,000 sq. ft. of 8” x 8” Quarry textured tiles from Daltile, using Ultraflex LHT and grouted with Kerapoxy CQ. Moisture issues were solved by using Planiseal MSP, a moisture-control membrane and self-leveling primer with fast track technology. Differentials with foundation walls in pool areas were resolved with Mapecem Quickpatch.

Hanover Buckhead Village
Atlanta, Ga.

Hanover Buckhead Village is uniquely located in the most prestigious residential location in metro Atlanta for affluent singles and city dwellers. It rises 21 stories, with 350+ units including penthouse suites, a state-of-the-art fitness center and many premier amenities. The luxuriously curved tower was developed by the Houston-based Hanover Company and designed by architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz of Chicago. 

Installers used Ultraflex LHT to set large 24” x 48” white and gray marbled Calacatta Thorntree tile on walls, floors and the grand staircase in the impressive lobby. The installation crew first prepared the subfloor with Mapeguard UM. Large format 12” x 24” EuroMarmo Calacatta porcelain tiles were set with Ultraflex LHT, and grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA in Frost on bathroom walls, floors and the kitchen backsplash. In a unique and unconventional move, the entire complex utilized Ultraflex LHT mortar to set the condo number markers outside of each residence.

Piedmont House
Atlanta, Ga. 

A full system of MAPEI products were used to construct this impressive new high-rise tower in Midtown Atlanta. The living area begins on the seventh floor, sitting atop a six-story parking garage, giving all units a spectacular view of Piedmont Park and the surrounding areas of midtown Atlanta. The complex, designed by Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, LLC, includes premium amenities on the seventh floor and a second amenity space on the 22nd floor rooftop.

All the tile and wood flooring was installed with MAPEI products. In the urban-inspired lobby, Ultraflex LHT was used to set contemporary 12” x 36” Borneo blue tiles on the entry walls as well as large-format Concreteback Lappato black and Lappato white floor and wall tiles flown in from Spain. Strada Mist Ultraflex LHT was the mortar of choice to set the Veincut Marble polished mosaic tiles; they were grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA. Bathrooms floors and walls were tiled with 12” x 24” Interceramic Porcelain Pewter tiles, using the same products.

A big draw to utilizing MAPEI products was the full system offerings of mortars, grouts, adhesives and self-levelers. “The floors had several flaws when poured, so we used MAPEI products to level them out,” said contractor Sam Munsi. “I’m a big proponent of using all the materials on the job from one brand. When [there is an issue], I want to be able to call one person. This is why I look for full systems like MAPEI.”

Mercedes-Benz USA Headquarters
Atlanta, Ga. 

The three-story, 200,000-sq.-ft. Mercedes-Benz USA Headquarters under construction will house all corporate functions. MBUSA President and CEO Dietmar Exler explained that “the idea of the building is cooperation and working together.” The emphasis on creating communal work areas led the architect Gensler to design exposed offices and collaborative workspaces in multi-functional rooms.

Installers chose Planipatch and Ultraplan 1 Plus to flatten the substrate and level the floors. Keracolor S in Avalanche was used to grout white 6” x 36” Starker Porcelain tiles by Unicom in the building atrium, which doubles as a cafeteria and informal meeting area, as well as the area leading to the adjoining commercial kitchen. Keracolor S was also applied to marbled floors, walls, mosaic tiles in showers and the backsplashes in break rooms. 

Nine15 Midtown
Atlanta, Ga. 

As part of the revitalization of downtown Atlanta, the historic city is seeing a resurgence of new shops and luxe residential communities. Nine15 Midtown apartments fit right into the walkable landscape of the area’s mixed-use developments, with a design that emphasizes green living (the complex is on track to becoming LEED Certified).

As part of the green vision, interior walls were limited, allowing the kitchen to seamlessly merge into the living room. Floor-to-ceiling windows, airy cloud-colored walls, wood-look tile in Pepe Root hues and glass mosaic backsplashes transform the combined space into a breathable indoor-outdoor experience.

For surface preparation, MAPEI’s 4-to-1 Mud Bed Mix was used in the showers in conjunction with Mapelastic AquaDefense to waterproof the tub surrounds and showers. Ultraflex 2 anchored tiles from Shaw Floors’ Elegance collection, resulting in a glossy and sleek finish. Installers used Adesilex P10 to set the translucent Random linear mosaic tiles by Elysium in the kitchens and bathrooms. For the finishing touch, UltraCare Grout Sealer provided protection against common stains without altering the color of the grout joint. 

 

Coverings Ambassador – Coverings 2018

New and old combine for exciting show in Atlanta

By Alena Capra, CKD, CBD

I’m looking forward to another great Coverings this year in Atlanta! Not only am I excited to see all of the new products and amazing tile displays, but there are a lot of exciting events to check out on the show floor! 

New this year is the Installation Experience, where you will be able to learn about installation best practices, tips to make your projects shine, find out what you need to get certified, and watch an installation competition in this beautiful and dynamic exhibit. 

This year also will include extended show hours on Tuesday May 8th (with some fun networking opportunities as well), and the Orientation Theatre, which will help you get the info you need and make the most of your time at the show, as well as suggestions for tackling the show floor. 

The Coverings mobile app will also include a new feature: what “new products” are available to see on the show floor. 

In addition to so many exciting new things, there are some Coverings favorites returning this year, like the Installation & Design Showcase, where we will see three Tiny Homes built live at the show! There will also be Audio Tours, the Coverings Connect lounge, Live Installation Demos, and the Stone Zone. 

I’m so excited for the show’s return to Atlanta, one of my favorite cities for sourcing design products for my projects. There’s so much to see and do in Atlanta, including the Coverings Celebration, tailgate style, at the College Football Hall of Fame! Get your tickets and have some fun celebrating at the end of this year’s Coverings, in your favorite sports team attire!

Looking forward to seeing you at this year’s show!

– Alena

Feature Story – LATICRETE International – March 2018

Texas Motor Speedway boasts
first-of-its-kind concrete coatings

LATICRETE SPARTACOTE™ brings a professional
polish to NASCAR® track

The Texas Motor Speedway, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is home to several popular NASCAR®events each year. With the ability to fit four Dallas Cowboys’ football stadiums inside the track, the Speedway can fit over 190,000 screaming fans and holds the largest outdoor high-definition digital display board in the country, amongst other features.

In the fall of 2016, Texas Motor Speedway management partnered with LATICRETE to bring high-performance SPARTACOTE™ concrete coating systems to the legendary raceway’s massive garages – a first at any NASCAR track. Texas-based Intertech Flooring was awarded the project as the installer due to its excellent reputation in flooring solutions and experience in specialty, high-profile projects.

“This was a big project with a lot of planning involved,” said Richard Garcia, Director of Concrete Operations from Intertech Flooring. “My team and I really enjoy working with the SPARTACOTE product and appreciate the support LATICRETE brings to the table. We look forward to doing another coatings project like this soon.”

The garages at Texas Motor Speedway

Design professionals initiated the garage floor concept, which included custom colors, textures, logos and specified a moisture-mitigation primer coat spanning the concrete surface to minimize any excess moisture found within the existing concrete slab.

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

The challenges 

High-Profile Customization: The owners were not looking for just any old epoxy coatings as a replacement for the existing thin-film epoxy floor surface that was failing and had exceeded its service life. They demanded a professional, unique concrete coating system, which only SPARTACOTE offers.

Timely Preparation: Floor preparation is often the most time-consuming part of a professional SPARTACOTE coatings project, but this is a necessary step to achieve the desired results.


The Intertech Flooring crew mixing LATICRETE NXT Vapor Reduction Coating before application.

A LATICRETE solution

The Intertech crew began surface preparation procedures by shot blasting and grinding the existing concrete to CSP 3 for proper adhesion. After grinding, the floor was repaired using SPARTACOTE FAST FIX™ to treat the joints and areas of the concrete that scaled and spalled.

The crew then began to mix and apply NXT Vapor Reduction Coating, a single-coat, low-odor, epoxy coating specifically designed for controlling the moisture vapor emission rate from new or existing concrete slabs. This particular moisture mitigator is unique in that Intertech Flooring was able to pigment the resin a grey color for it to act as the base-colored primer, saving the installer a step in the SPARTACOTE coatings process. The crew rolled out

Intertech Flooring pigmented the resin of this moisture mitigator a grey color so it could act as the base-colored primer, saving the installer a step in the SPARTACOTE coatings process.

the pigmentedcolor across all 22,000 sq. ft. (2,044 m2) of prepared concrete at 12 mils thickness and allowed it to cure for 12 hours.

Applying the logo at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Upon full cure, the crew buffed the surface using a swing machine with 100 grit screens and began mixing and rolling out a solid black base coat and cherry-red Metallic mid-coats of SPARTACOTE material that served as the outline for the rectangle leading to the massive, 90 ft. (27.4 m) Texas Motor Speedway logo in the middle of the garage. In phase two of the garage installation, a cobalt blue SPARTACOTE Metallic color was used instead. The mid-coats had SPARTACOTE Grip added to the coating for additional foot traction.

Adding the clear SPARTACOTE topcoat to the TMS logos.

The monstrous-sized Texas Motor Speedway logo was applied over the Metallic coatings using a stencil to ensure exact placement. Once the team applied, tamped-down, and carefully removed the backing adhesive, they applied a final clear SPARTACOTE topcoat over all 22,000 sq. ft. (2,044 m2) of garage space to lock in all colors, textures and logos, and to ensure a seamless, durable finish.

Designed to withstand aircraft hydraulic grade oils, such as Skydrol®, SPARTACOTE coatings are resistant to other common garage chemicals and three times more abrasion resistant than traditional epoxy.

Outcome 

“With these floors, Texas Motor Speedway has once again raised the bar for NASCAR race tracks,” said Mat Stolley, Vice President of Operations for Texas Motor Speedway. “Not only do they convey our image as a first-class facility for our professional racing, they also provide a safe, high-traction floor for the race teams and NASCAR inspectors. With more than 40 high-performance cars being worked on at any given time on race days, our garage floors need to be able to withstand hot tires, hazardous fluids and the regular use of heavy equipment – and LATICRETE delivered exactly that.”

The Intertech team completed and turned over Phase 1 of the Texas Motor Speedway north commercial garage project in October 2016 in time for the Texas 500 NASCAR event in November. Phase two in the south race car garages was completed in February 2017.

Metallic cobalt blue TMS logo completed.

Completed cherry-red metallic logo at TMS.

Phase 1 of the 22,000-sq.-ft. project is complete, along with custom logo.

Construction Wages: skilled workers command higher pay

 Contributors: Sasha David, BuildZoom; and Bart Bettiga and Lesley Goddin, NTCAIn a recent study published on BuildZoom (buildzoom.com), author Sasha David analyzed wage data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to determine which construction jobs pay the most – and the least. (The full BuildZoom story can be found at http://bit.ly/2osxF8B.)

The study looks at the diversity of jobs that exist in construction, and also identifies broad patterns that identify higher-paid workers as well as “certain cities that offer better pay across the board for all construction jobs,” David said.

Median_National_Incomes_In_Construction_2016

It’s important to note that cement, concrete and terrazzo workers in this study are shown to make $35,000/year and brickmasons, block masons and stone masons as well as carpet, floor and tile installers and finishers make $30,000/year – a far cry from elevator installers and repairers at $80,000 annually, or construction and building inspectors at $55, 000.

David’s analysis indicates that higher wages are often commanded by supervisors, engineers and inspectors, but skilled “blue collar” positions also can bring in more robust salaries.

“People tend to associate white-collar or office jobs with higher salaries compared to blue-collar or manual labor, but the rankings show that this is not necessarily the case,” she said. “Working with elevators or boilers requires physical work, but these are among the highest paid jobs in the industry.”

 

Skilled labor = higher wages

An important factor in this wage analysis, David said, is level of skill required. “Occupations that require more training or technical expertise consistently pay higher than those with lower barriers to entry,” says BuildZoom’s Chief Economist, Dr. Issi Romem.

David added, “The highest-paying occupations often require specialized apprenticeships, licenses or certifications that demonstrate an understanding of the trade and command a premium in the market, such as a grounding in mechanics for elevator technicians, circuitry for electricians, or water systems for boilermakers. Of course, licensing can also serve as a means for controlling the number of people practicing and by reducing the supply of those tradesmen, increase their wages.

“Towards the bottom of the list are trades that generally have lower barriers to entry. Floor installers, construction laborers, drywall installers, painters and roofers are listed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics as having ‘no formal education credentials’ required, while professions with average pay including pipelayers, sheet metal workers, glaziers, insulation workers, and carpenters typically require ‘a high school diploma or equivalent.’

“There are people in our industry and outside of our trade who contest that tile installation costs are already too high,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “But I believe that the overall cost of installation will come down if we have more highly skilled people installing tile and stone.  These products are not meant to be put in by an untrained workforce.  Tile and stone are most often selected because they are considered to be a permanent finish.  For this to be the case, we need to have a highly trained and a highly compensated workforce.”

This finding that correlates higher wages with a skilled workforce is of particular interest to NTCA, which has its core mission to educate and train installers and raise their skill level.

“For the past several years, the NTCA has been developing its online apprenticeship curriculum,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director.  “We have worked with several of our members to help them use this educational tool to recruit new people into the trade and to train their current staff.  It is our hope that this program can be integrated with supervised and field-related training.

“The reason this is so important is that we believe that tile installation is a highly skilled craft that takes several years to master,” Bettiga added. “Why is this important?  Because we have a big job to do, and it is perfectly illustrated in this paper.  We must raise the wages of our trained tile installers if we are going to recruit talented young people into our trade.  We cannot continue to be grouped with other flooring trades that quite frankly are not as complex, nor do they take as long to master.  Tile installers should be making wages like other trades that are considered to be highly skilled.”

6_trades_in_10_largest_citiesLocation impacts wages

David’s analysis also shows “ordering of occupations from highest-paid to lowest-paid at the national level,” and “within individual metro areas. Within any given city, supervisors are paid the most and painters the least, with an overall downward slope.”

Some cities are more generous with construction wages. For instance, carpet and flooring workers earn more than the national average in both the San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland region and the New York/Newark /Pennsylvania/Connecticut regions than Dallas/Fort Worth or Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

 

Cities with Higher Wages in Construction Occupations: San Jose, San Francisco , Oakland, Calif.

Cities with Higher Wages in Construction Occupations – New York-Newark, NJ, NY, CT, PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The higher incomes in San Jose and New York suggest they may be related to how expensive it is to live in those cities,” David said. “The Cost of Living Index measures the difference in the price levels of goods, services, and rent across the US, where 100 is set as the average national cost of living. San Jose and New York have Cost of Living Indexes of 124 and 121, which are respectively the second and fifth most expensive cities in the US.”

“Wages are consistently higher across all construction occupations in certain cities, in line with the cost of living,” summarized Romem.

On the other hand, cost of living is lower in Dallas and Miami, with indices of 100 and 106 respectively, David pointed out. These lower costs of living  give“people greater purchasing power than expensive cities like San Francisco or New York,” she said.

<Cities with lower wages charts – 2>

Cities with lower wages in construction- Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, FL

Cities with lower wages in construction – Dallas, Ft. Worth, Texas; Oklahoma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how do construction occupations rank in your city? Use the dropdown at http://bit.ly/2osxF8B  to display the rankings for your city.

The above rankings and spider charts for large cities are available for download in the links below.

See the BuildZoom story at http://bit.ly/2osxF8B for notes and methodology and downloads for Occupation Rankings by Metro Area and Metro Area Comparisons to National Median.

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Raised in Tokyo and Honolulu, Sasha has implemented international marketing campaigns on five continents. She is fascinated by the intersection of technology and socioeconomic development, and is a street food enthusiast.

 

70-year old Flamingo hits the jackpot with Bostik – Feature Story – February 2018

ForrestPerkins’ renovations keep true to the property’s character and charisma

The third gambling establishment to open on the soon-to-become famous Las Vegas Strip, today The Flamingo is the Strip’s oldest resort. In the mid-‘40s, businessman extraordinaire William “Billy” Wilkerson envisioned a grand hotel/resort with an energized casino, pool, spas and golf course drawing gamblers and celebrities from across the globe. At that time, almost all casinos already in Las Vegas were extremely rustic and followed a Western theme.

That was about to change – enter architect George Vernon Russell, who brought his vision of a European-styled hotel/casino to reality. Clearly, The Flamingo was eons ahead of its time and via its luxury, major glitz and non-stop publicity campaign, created a bona fide blueprint for future resort/casinos in Las Vegas.

The Flamingo recently celebrated its 70th birthday, continuing to give visitors an authentic Vegas experience. The resort offers more than 3,500 guest rooms and suites, and features a sprawling 15-acre pool and wildlife habitat complete with waterfalls, island-like vegetation and tropical wildlife.

In 2016, and as part of an extensive renovation plan from its owner Caesars Entertainment Corporation, a major $90 million complete guestroom renovation project was launched. Led by design firm ForrestPerkins, the process began in late August. Some rooms were opened to guests in November; final completion is expected for the second quarter of 2018. Long-time aficionados of the hotel needn’t worry, as the newly renovated rooms continue using the property’s well-known pink theme.

“Flamingo Las Vegas is an iconic resort filled with 70 years of rich history and unforgettable experiences,” said Bob Morse, President of Hospitality for Caesars Entertainment. “The renovated rooms pay homage to the property’s past, while also giving it a fresh and modern new look.”

This new design program not only updates the guestrooms; it clearly brings the bathrooms up to today’s standards. All fully renovated rooms feature unique, contemporary and retro-chic designs with accents that celebrate The Flamingo’s rich history as a centerpiece of the Las Vegas Strip. ForrestPerkins’ rooms were tasked to “sparkle like glitter and shine like champagne, with vibrant hues of gold and bright pops of flamingo pink, keeping true to the property’s character and charisma.” Without question, the heralded design firm did not disappoint.

Gibson Tile, Daltile + Bostik make bathrooms shine

This renovation included the previously mentioned 3,500 guest rooms, of which about a third were completed at press time. Getting the guest baths up to the designers’ stringent standards and making very, very tight deadlines overall, was a major undertaking for all trades contracted for this project.

Mark A. Dopudja, Vice President of Gibson Tile Company, Las Vegas, Nev., stated, “We were contracted to handle the tile installation. The bathroom design called for a very high-quality, white Dal-Tile 3” x 6” product. We wanted a premium installation system, so we selected three Bostik materials: Hydroment Vivid Grout; D-2001 Ultra-Premium Mastic and Bostik GoldPlus for waterproofing.

“Our reasons for choosing these materials were very basic,” continued Dopudja. “Vivid was chosen for time constraints. It is a rapid curing grout that offers ease of installation; a superior color-consistent grout joint and non-sag properties, which are ideal for wall tile projects. We did not have time to wait for an epoxy product, which takes considerably longer to cure, so Vivid was the ideal selection. The time frame was so tight, once furniture was in place, fixtures installers were right behind them. This was the procedure, floor-by-floor, throughout the entire hotel.

“We needed a quick-cure system, one that allowed for full foot traffic in rooms after just four hours from being installed,” he added. “That’s why we decided upon a total Bostik system. And in particular, we knew their waterproofing system was ideal for the bathrooms,” stated Dopudja. “And frankly, using one full system from one single manufacturer, we believe helps to ensure an even more successful install.”

Bostik Hydroment® Vivid™ is a rapid curing, premium grade, stain resistant cementitious grout for demanding commercial and residential projects. It offers consistent color technology with enhanced stain and efflorescence protection. And Vivid™ is exceptionally ease to clean up. This greatly contributes to the speed at which installers can perform their overall project work.

Bostik D-2001® Ultra-Premium™ Mastic is a high performance adhesive for the interior installation of all types of ceramic and stone tile (except moisture sensitive marble). Ideal for fast and highly professional installations, it provides excellent vertical grab.

Lastly, Bostik GoldPlus™ is a ready-to-use, roller-applied, latex waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane for use beneath thinset ceramic tile installations on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.

“A few years ago,” concluded Scott Banda, Bostik’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, “Bostik made a focused commitment to become a major source for tile and stone installation systems to high-end Las Vegas hospitality establishments. Our recent work at The Flamingo represents another cornerstone to that pledge. As the need for high-quality, easy-to-use and high-performance tile and stone installation systems increases, Bostik will continue to have the products, the experience and the wherewithal to more than meet this demand.” 

Educational Feature – Teamwork and collaboration with associations and government programs address manpower issues

By Steve Coates, COO of Welch Tile and Marble

Leveraging association benefits, networking, and being able to anticipate the future business outlook is more important than I’ve ever imagined.

As a matter of confession, the earlier years of career #2 were spent with my nose down to the grindstone, working long hours as if enslaved to budgets and schedules.

Transitioning from project management to a division director, becoming part of the larger community and interacting with others has proven invaluable.

Working with organizations and associations

At the local level, we are members of several organizations – ASAM (American Subcontractors Association), CWDA (Construction Workforce Development Alliance), ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) and CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association). Across the board, each association is talking about the lack of human capital/manpower. Many business owners and individuals are wondering if there will ever be positive traction on this crucial topic. We are all talking about it; when will we see results?

Here in Michigan, we are starting to see strategic efforts on several fronts, working to the same end, though not yet in unison. Associations such as CWDA, community foundations, manpower temp agencies, individual companies and governmental departments have continued to push the topic forward to various degrees. While the water is still muddy, let’s see if we can bring some clarity to the topic.

While individual groups are competing for manpower, we are starting to see some trends emerge and movements in this arena. CWDA (founded by ABC, ASAM and The Home Builders Association – HBA) is one of the key leading groups supporting this effort.

CWDA has been in existence for four years, with a goal of bringing awareness to construction job opportunities and training the next generation for the growth of our businesses.

Recently I had the privilege of sharing CWDA success stories at a monthly ASAM meeting. Because of the following CWDA team efforts, we have seen the needle move on the part of high school students, teachers, and counselors related to construction manpower:

  • Long-term strategies include MiCareer Quest, whose construction exhibit booths show off construction trades to over 9,000 kids in our region.
  • Short-term strategies include high school outreach – we share career paths for all trades.
  • Teachers are now open to integrating curriculum with construction story problems or scenarios for practical learning.
  • Providing jumpstarts into construction program and construction summer camps, where students are hired after completion. Tuition is funded by CWDA.
  • Marketing efforts are re-branding construction as a viable profession rather than a dirty, second-rate job.
  • High school counselors are challenged to realistically guide kids into the right career path, rather than 100% into college, because we know the dropout rate is over 50%.
  • Gearing up to team with state-led initiatives to get folks back to work, with Michigan Works Association (MiWorks) as our government partner.
  • Our local community college is partnered with us to supplement trades without apprenticeship programs or help jump start their skills.

Exciting news from the state level has pushed manpower and training to the forefront. Our business- minded governor instructed our state education leaders and business economic leaders to outline specific strategies to get kids better positioned for the real jobs.

The draft directives on this list open the doors and mandate that schools in the future will need to advance kids’ exposure to careers and prepare them for the real world.

In addition to transforming school agendas, the state has tagged 29 million grant dollars to be utilized in the training of new hires and advancement of existing employees. With the help of MiWorks, Welch Tile was successfully awarded $20,000 in training pending completion by each individual.

Recruiting at Welch Tile

On the company level, Welch Tile’s culture transition journey has already proven successful in terms of recruiting. Internal staff members are starting to recommend friends to the business because they feel we care about people, train people, and provide career advancement.

Defying the stats, while the national growth rate is around 3%, and West Michigan’s average growth rate is 5.8%, in the last three months our crew grew by over 15%.

What can you do about the manpower shortage? Team with key associations to collectively push the needle, band together and influence governmental policy and budgets, and create a company that is considered the employer of choice.

January 2018 Feature Story – MAPEI

Anaha® (which means “reflection of light” in Hawaiian) is a magnificent new condominium complex on the island of Oahu. Made of concrete, glass and steel, it is part of the Ward Village master-planned community near Kewalo Harbor in Honolulu. This new luxury high-rise was planned by Howard Hughes Corporation and designed by architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz of Chicago and Ben Woo Architects of Honolulu. The interiors were designed by global design leader Woods Bagot Interiors.

The complex is composed of the Anaha Tower, housing eight residences per floor plus penthouses on Levels 36-38, as well as the Podium townhouses and flats, which occupy the first six floors and extend from the tower. The roof of the Podium (adjacent to the seventh floor of the tower) hosts an amazing selection of indoor and outdoor activity areas, including a cantilevered pool that extends 13 feet beyond the building’s edge and features a glass bottom.

The LEED Platinum building was designed with the environment in mind – harmonizing with sea, sky and mountains. The exterior of the entrance area sports a “living wall” of plants and water elements framed with lava stone veneer that surround tile walkways forming the signature “W” for Ward Village. The interior of Anaha is just as awe-inspiring, with floor-to-ceiling windows that open every residence to views of the Pacific Ocean or the Honolulu skyline. Some expanses even look out toward the historic Diamond Head landmark.

Floor and wall coverings received all manner of treatments, including stone and stone veneer in public areas indoors and out; (at the owner’s option) carpet, wood and tile in living spaces; stone and tile in bathrooms of the residences; and resilient floor coverings in service areas.

The Hawaii branch of A-American Custom
Flooring, Inc. (a member of the Tile Contractors Association of Hawaii), was in charge of all aspects of the tile installations for interior and exterior walls, floors and specialty elements with the exception of the interior tile walls of the pool on the amenities deck. Their installers also handled moisture mitigation work and installation of wood, carpet and resilient floor coverings. A-American worked closely with General Contractor A. C. Kobayashi, Inc., to complete all the aspects of the installations on schedule, including the mega-challenge of zero tolerance in transitions between flooring types.

Zero tolerance transitions moisture mitigation and waterproofing

Anaha’s 236-unit residence tower and 81 townhomes and flats were architecturally designed with a zero tolerance scheme for all finishes in the flooring landscape of the building. From interior to exterior, zero tolerance requirements meant that all transitions could hold no change in height from tile to wood to carpet to resilients, to respect accessibility for disabled persons according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This zero tolerance created building and flooring challenges that were met by a wide variety of MAPEI’s concrete repair and flooring installation systems products for construction, surface preparation and floor-covering solutions. The fast-track schedule of the 38-story tower and the six-story podium required coordination and solutions for arising jobsite problems involving moisture mitigation and slab deformation involving post-tension concrete pours.

A-American used MAPEI’s Planiseal VS alkali-resistant, epoxy moisture-reduction barrier for moisture mitigation throughout the complex. Planiseal VS expedites floor-covering installations by eliminating the traditional wait time required for new concrete slabs to reach moisture levels suitable for installations. After the concrete surface was properly profiled, the Planiseal VS was poured to cover each level in the building.

After moisture mitigation, the floors were primed with one of three primers – Primer L, Primer T or ECO Prim Grip – where appropriate. Then the installers selected two MAPEI self-leveling underlayments – Novoplan® 2 Plus and Ultraplan® 1 Plus – to use in appropriate areas in order to produce a smooth, level surface for installing tiles and stone. Both of these products are quick-setting, self-leveling underlayments and repair mixes for interior concrete and engineer-approved floors.

MAPEI’s Mapelastic cementitious membrane was used for waterproofing and protecting exterior horizontal and vertical concrete spaces, while Mapelastic AquaDefense with Reinforcing Fabric, an advanced liquid-rubber, extremely quick-drying waterproofing and crack-isolation membrane, was used on interior surfaces before the tile and stone installations. Mapelastic AquaDefense dries after about 30 to 50 minutes and is then ready to receive any MAPEI polymer or epoxy mortar.

Range of mortars and grouts meet varying project demands

Installation of exterior and interior tile and stone also used a variety of MAPEI’s mortars and grouts. For the ultimate bond, Lava Stone Veneer pavers and curbs surrounding the building were installed with MAPEI’s two-part Kerabond/Keralastic system – a premium dry-set mortar that is combined with a flexible acrylic latex additive.

Where there was a need for speed, the A-American crews used the Granirapid® fast-curing system. Outdoor walls and benches that used Lava Stone Veneer and Cremino Stone Veneer in all sizes from mosaics to large-format tile were also installed with these two systems. All of these installations were grouted with MAPEI’s powerful Ultracolor® Plus FA – an ultra-premium, fine aggregate, fast-setting, polymer-modified, color-consistent, non-shrinking, efflorescence-free grout that can fill joint widths from 1/16” to 3/4”.

In the residences and townhouses, tile and stone played a dramatic role as field tile and accents on floors and walls. Types and brands included Caesarstone for countertops; Atlas Concorde floor tile in Seastone Greige and floor, wall and door accent tiles in Black for residences and public areas; Marmi porcelain wall tile in “Thassos”; Natural Stone Design’s porcelain floor and wall tile in Dark, Basaltina, plus mosaic tiles of the same material for residences and public spaces; Daltile’s quarry tile in Arid Gray for laundry rooms in residences; “Luce Glass” glass wall tile from North Shore for public restrooms; Ann Sacks’ 2” x 8” “INCA” brushed aluminum tiles for kitchen backsplashes; stone tiles in travertine, basalt, tundra stone and granite; “Nublado Light” and “Walnut Brown” wall base tiles from Stone Source; and many additional tile and stone selections that were optional for residents at time of purchase.

All interior tile and stone was installed with MAPEI’s thixotropic mortar, Ultraflex™ LFT. This mortar has a high content of unique dry polymer, resulting in excellent adhesion to the substrate and tile and is formulated with Easy Glide Technology™ for ease of application. Both wall and floor tiles were grouted with Keracolor® S (sanded) and Keracolor U (unsanded) grouts from MAPEI’s grout color collections. The quarry tiles in laundry rooms and in the kitchen and prep rooms on the Amenities level were grouted with Kerapoxy CQ. This grout uses a proprietary aggregate to achieve its durable color, making it excellent for countertops, high-traffic areas, and areas needing stain and chemical resistance. Easy to maintain, Kerapoxy CQ will clean to the original color and contains BioBlock® technology to help protect against mold and mildew.

High anxiety?

The A-American installers performed exceptionally well with the many different types of installations in many different parts of the project, but they truly excelled on the installation of the tile on the inside and outside of the cantilevered leisure/lap pool extension on the Amenities level. Working on a crane that lifted them seven stories into the air, the crew set sheets of black glass mosaic tiles on the interior and exterior sides of the glass-bottomed portion of the pool that extends 13 feet out from the building. They used MAPEI’s Adesilex P10 bright white, multipurpose thin-set mortar formulated with non-sag properties to set the tiles. The Adesilex P10 was mixed with Keraply for increased performance in a submerged installation. After removing the protective cover sheets, the tiles were grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.

A total of 40 different products supplied by MAPEI – from substrate preparation to installation of all types of finished flooring – allowed the owners, architects, general contractors and installers, the peace of mind of sourcing all their needs from a single manufacturer to create a true island beauty.

Marazzi USA – Feature Story – December 2017

The Kingston Bay Senior Living Center is designed to promote independence for its residents, ensuring they have safe and comfortable surroundings.

Kingston Bay Senior Living Center uses Marazzi porcelains to create a comfortable, stimulating environment for residents

Located in Fresno, Calif., the Kingston Bay Senior Living Community provides residents with all of the comforts of home, while redefining retirement in a resort-like environment. The community, which opened its doors in July 2016, is designed to promote independence for its residents, while ensuring they have safe and comfortable surroundings.

While the adjacent area houses a large population of young families, the region was lacking a community designated for the older generations. In order to fit into the established neighborhood, it was vital that the center be captivating, while also accommodating the unique needs of its residents.

The Kingston Bay Senior Living Community provides residents with all of the comforts of home.

When construction first kicked off in spring 2015, it was important to find an architectural and design firm that could create a comfortable setting while still meeting the stringent requirements for senior living environments. Jeffrey DeMure + Associates Architects Planners, Inc. was selected for the project, taking the lead on the design, inspired by the relaxing atmosphere found on a cruise.

Cruise ship-inspired design

Marazzi Harmony™ created a vibrant cruise line feel throughout the entry area, café and first floor corridors.

“The inspiration for the design was a cruise ship on land,” said Steven Balliet, director of project development. “It’s all in the fun details of the exterior, from the Bermuda shutters to the coastal-inspired siding. It was designed with the residents in mind and the experience that they could have when they reached this destination.”

While creating a lively area was an important aspect of the design, the building also needed to function effectively as a safe area where tenants could engage and interact. The goal was to establish a campus-style environment that broke the stereotypes associated with senior living. “Safety, durability, comfort and fun were all requirements kept in mind when choosing products for the construction,” added Balliet. “We wanted products to tie into the overall theme and encourage visits from friends and family.”

The bold colors and textures of Marazzi tile enabled the design team to achieve their desired aesthetic.

Once the project kicked off, Balliet and his team were faced with a new set of challenges, especially in selection of materials. The project began with an assessment of regulations, mandates and rooms included. Choosing tile that could integrate style with functionality for residents was fundamental to the project. Marazzi readily fulfilled safety needs without sacrificing the intended design. The material-selection process was key for the architecture and design team, who firmly believe in designing charismatic communities as opposed to institutions.

“For our team, it was vital that the environment be one that provided a hospitality-inspired ambiance for residents, with everything at their fingertips,” said Balliet. “When it came to interior design and decorating, Studio Six5 chose materials that complemented the exterior and addressed the different uses of rooms.”

The design incorporated a variety of spaces, including a theatre, fitness room, salon, restaurants, common areas and sunrooms. Each space presented an opportunity to incorporate contemporary products that would still be practical given the requirements of the residents.

Featured in the main lobby, Marazzi Harmony™ was selected for its durability and bold first impression.

Marazzi materials provide style and safety

Known for its commitment to quality, Marazzi Harmony™ Colorbody Porcelain was selected for the main lobby. Since this area would receive a large amount of foot traffic from visitors and residents, it was crucial that the flooring met regulations, possessed durable performance qualities and made a bold first impression.

“We have been working with Marazzi for years,” said Justin Hickey, foreman and tile setter for Visalia Ceramic Tile, in Visalia, Calif., a NTCA Five Star Contractor. “Marazzi tile has always been highly durable, with a unique look. Our shop especially enjoyed working with the chevron pattern for this project.”

Marazzi Harmony, specifically in Chord, was also incorporated into the larger spaces. Fitting into the resort theme, the wood-look tile, in its linear plank design, created a vibrant cruise line feel throughout the lobby, café, and first floor corridors, without sacrificing the hospitality-driven mentality.

Both residents and visitors alike have been captivated by the fashion-forward details of the luxury destination.

“We wanted to get the job done efficiently, but still deliver a superior, quality finish,” added Visalia’s Hickey. “The installation was tricky due to the concrete flooring, and it took quite a bit of grinding and backfilling to get our surface perfectly flat. Once we were finished with our prep, all of the planks were set perfectly, and with ease.”

“The tile was a huge aspect of the design,” said Anna Manahan, Studio Six5 designer. “The subtle pattern sets the tone for large spaces and makes the area more lively. The only area with no tile was in the memory care unit to ensure the residents’ safety.”

Since opening in July 2016, the community has received positive feedback. Both residents and visitors alike have been captivated by the fashion-forward details and how every aspect transports them to a luxury destination. The textures and colors of the Marazzi tile enabled the design team to achieve their desired aesthetic.

The Kingston Bay Senior Living Community raises the bar for senior living. Kingston Bay proves that the feeling of home can be achieved through thoughtful design choices and the drive to provide the best quality of life for all residents.

The Floor Heat before Christmas, a tile-themed holiday poem by Phil Green

Phil Green, inventor of The Back Butter Buddy, and owner of P.G.C. Construction, and Design in Gilberts, Ill., recently penned this poem to celebrate the wonders of “warm toes” due to electric heated floors. Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

It was the month before Christmas and all through the house,
I installed floor heat for one happy spouse
Two bathrooms, the kitchen, and where we do our clothes,
Now in ALL of those places we have “warm toes.”
The comfort of floor heat under our tile
Feels so good, makes everyone smile.
So easy to do and glad it was done,
The warmth of our floors feels just like the sun.
So, if you are thinking of changing your floor,
Check in with your dealer online or in-store,
For specials this season to save you some money,
And get your reward “Thank-you so much Honey.”
For your next job or for your next bid,
Include in it floor heat — you’ll be glad that you did.

CUSTOM® tile installation sets standard of care at San Diego hospital

Critical care was taken with the design of Jacobs Medical Center, a 500,000-sq.-ft. specialty hospital in La Jolla, Calif. Construction specifications for this landmark project included a full system of CUSTOM® tile installation and flooring preparation products on all 12 floors. This cutting-edge medical center focuses on innovating complex procedures such as brain surgery and marrow transplants. To support its medical advances, the healing environment is filled with a cheering array of ceramic and glass tile precisely installed in patient bathrooms, public and staff areas, the kitchen and a welcoming cafeteria.

Tile installation 

Floors were leveled using a CustomTech™ system including premium quality TechLevel™ 150 Self-Leveling Underlayment.

The tile installation at Jacobs Medical Center began with surface preparation in accordance with industry standards. Wet areas, such as patient bathrooms and showers, were treated with liquid-applied RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane, which meets the requirements of ANSI A118.10 and A118.12. RedGard is a ready-to-use elastomeric membrane that creates an effective, continuous waterproofing barrier with outstanding adhesion to drain assemblies. A single coat of RedGard was also applied on floors in dry tiled areas to provide crack isolation up to 1/8”.

A perfectly flat floor reflects the summer sky immediately following application of CustomTech™ TechLevel™ 150, a premium quality self-leveling underlayment.

Two polymer-modified, cementitious mortars from CUSTOM’s established VersaBond family were used. VersaBond®-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar was selected to install large format tile throughout the project. This includes 12” x 24” porcelain in patient bathrooms on all floors, plus 9” x 36” and 6” x 36” wood-look planks in the hospital cafeteria. VersaBond-LFT is a non-slumping mortar that can be applied as thick as 3/4” on horizontal applications to help prevent lippage issues common with large format tile. Kitchen quarry tile and 2” tile on shower floors were set with VersaBond® Flex Professional Thin-Set Mortar. VersaBond Flex is formulated for high bond strength and extended open time to allow for tile adjustment.

All wet areas were treated with liquid-applied RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. RedGard exceeds ANSI A118.10, A118.12, IAPMO shower pan liner and TCNA low perm barrier standards.

Patient bathrooms and nursing stations on each floor received one of three different color schemes with 3/4” x 3/4” glass mosaic wall tile in shades of green, blue and peach. Public restrooms were tiled in a dramatic black-and-white pattern with 1/2” by 1/2” ceramic mosaics. Specifications designated wall tile installation throughout the project with ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar. ProLite offers non-sag performance on walls along with excellent handling characteristics, making it an installer favorite. This versatile mortar also exceeds ANSI A118.4TE, A118.15TE and A118.11 standards for demanding installations. ProLite is formulated with lightweight, recycled aggregate, so it weighs 40% less than other mortars. This makes ProLite easier to carry, mix and apply than other mortars while also making projects eligible for LEED points.

VersaBond®-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar was selected to install large format tile throughout the project. VersaBond-LFT is a non-slumping mortar that can be applied as thick as 3/4″ on horizontal applications to help prevent lippage issues common with large-format tile.

“Out of all the mortars we have used over the years, our installers like CUSTOM’s ProLite the best,” said Gary Rodocker, superintendant at Inland Pacific Tile.

CEG-Lite™ 100% Solids Commercial Epoxy Grout was specified on all floors and walls for chemical and stain resistance in a clinical environment.

For chemical and stain resistance in a clinical environment, CEG-Lite™ 100% Solids Commercial Epoxy Grout was specified for use on all floor and wall tile. CEG-Lite is easier to spread than typical epoxy grouts, cleans up with only water and contributes towards LEED certification. This grout exceeds the performance requirements of ANSI A118.3 and is suitable for vertical grout joints without an additive. Movement joints were treated with CUSTOM’s Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant to remain flexible and protect the assembly in accordance with TCNA Handbook detail EJ 171.

CUSTOM manufactures all of its grouts and sealants in an array of 40 designer-inspired colors and many of the shades were used to match the nuanced tile palette at Jacobs Medical Center. The extensive ceramic, glass and large format porcelain tile set throughout the hospital was supplied by Daltile.

Wall tile throughout the project was installed with ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar. ProLite offers superior handling and non-sag, thixotropic performance. It’s ideal for hard-to-bond tile like glass.

“We are very satisfied with the performance of the products and the support of the staff at CUSTOM,” said Dann Salinas, senior estimator and project manager at Premier Tile & Marble. “The Technical Services team was very responsive and attentive to our needs during all phases of the project.”

Flooring preparation

Prior to installation of floor coverings, substrates at Jacobs Medical Center were prepared with a CustomTech™ underlayment system. The Rouse Company addressed floor flatness on 330,000 sq. ft. of concrete slabs including corridors, laboratories and patient care areas.

TechPrime™ A Advanced Acrylic Primer was used to seal the surface and improve the bond of the calcium aluminate-based underlayment. After just an hour of dry time for the primer, the installation team poured TechLevel™ 150 Self-Leveling Underlayment up to 1-1/2” deep. Premium quality TechLevel 150 achieves greater than 4,300 psi compressive strength to resist point load, which is important given the weight of hospital equipment.

Many of the patient room showers feature curbless access, highlighting the importance of using RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane, a liquid barrier offering seamless, monolithic coverage.

“TechLevel 150 is my go-to leveler if I have a choice,” said Josh Reed, concrete division manager at the Rouse Company. “We definitely prefer it over any other product and use it on all of our jobs. The entire CustomTech flooring prep system is easy to use and works great. We love it!”

CUSTOM tile installation and flooring preparation systems were selected on the basis of rigorous product standards, unparalleled technical support and quality backed by an extended warranty. The high-use, high-traffic tile assemblies at Jacobs Medical Center qualified for a 15-year installation system warranty. Two lightweight Emerald Systems™ formulas included in the installation, ProLite and CEG-Lite, can also earn carbon offset credits for any project where they are installed.

1/2” mosaics in various black and white patterns give a dramatic yet timeless look to the public restrooms. Tile throughout the hospital was supplied by Daltile.

A project of this scope and scale called for a team with extensive expertise in hospital construction, led by architects Cannon Design and executed by general contractor Kitchell Contractors. Commercial flooring specialist, The Rouse Company applied a CustomTech™ flooring-preparation system. Tile contractors on the job included Premier Tile & Marble, who set the tile on floors B1, lower level and 1-3, and Inland Pacific Tile, installers for floors 4-10. Architectural and technical representatives from CUSTOM assisted the designers and contractors during each phase of the construction.

Kitchen quarry tile was set with VersaBond® Flex Professional Thin-Set Mortar, which is formulated for high bond strength and extended adjustment time.

“Jacobs Medical Center is a showcase facility that joins the rapidly-growing ranks of impressive projects specifying Custom Building Products,” said John Diaz, commercial architectural coordinator with CUSTOM. Jacobs Medical Center is owned and operated by UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, Calif.

9″ x 36″ and 6″ x 36″ porcelain wood-look planks were set in the hospital cafeteria and dining room using non-slumping VersaBond®-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar.

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