Marazzi Tile

Design with Influence™

Introducing Influence™, an innovative new series exhibiting a contemporary linear metal graphic.  Influence™ ventures into an unparalleled design inspired by metallic colors in steel, silver, iron, brass and copper.  View the full collection online and experience the power of Influence™.

 

Feature Story – July 2018 – Merkrete Systems

After years in the making, the Hotel Bennett perfectly blends unparalleled luxury with an unmatched setting. Fittingly located on King Street, one of Charleston’s most famous addresses, this hotel will be among the most significant lodging developments built in the Holy City and the State of South Carolina.

Prominently located on Marion Square, the hotel’s historic site formerly housed the original west wing of The Citadel, South Carolina’s Military Academy. Most recently, it was home to the Charleston Library. Today, Marion Square, the most celebrated green space in the city, serves as a central gathering location for world-class events, including the Charleston Wine & Food Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition and the popular Charleston Farmer’s Market.

Hotel Bennett features 179 lavish guestrooms and suites, a signature restaurant with stunning views of Charleston’s famed park, and a stylish bar and lounge. The hotel will also include a spectacular rooftop pool with cabanas and bar, a luxury spa, a French patisserie, and a variety of grand event and flexible meeting spaces.

Classic elegance and timeless design

The impressive interior style combines sophisticated, inspired design reminiscent of the city’s rich heritage with a modern perspective. Designed by Fairfax and Sammons Architects, the Hotel Bennett sets the standard for the melding of both new and vintage styles. The tile and stone installations throughout the building perfectly match this high-class, world-traveler aesthetic, as each piece was masterfully chosen and strategically placed for an extra touch of glamour and ensured functionality.

When NTCA Five Star Contractor David Allen Company was approached by Balfour Beatty Construction to supply the cost-efficient, high-performing materials they wanted from around the world, David Allen Company Project Manager Clovis LaCour knew they’d need a trusted and top-quality waterproofing system to ensure a job well done. Upon reviewing the scope of the project, all answers pointed definitively to Merkrete, a leader in waterproofing, crack isolation and underlayment technology. To prevent any potential moisture issues in highly utilized areas such as the hotel’s exterior balconies, Merkrete’s trusted system is a critical component to the installation. 

Since 1920, David Allen Company has been one of the nation’s most recognized and respected tile, terrazzo, marble, and granite contractors.

 

An impermeable solution seals the deal

When it comes to the critical waterproofing under tile on the exterior balconies and surrounding areas, Merkrete’s BFP waterproofing membrane system was the only solution. Durable and long lasting, this membrane system is designed for heavy-duty applications, promising zero leaks or cracks, even with severe exposure and high amounts of traffic. 

Merkrete’s BFP Membrane System is a three-layer system designed to mimic a three-ply roofing membrane. As most architects are familiar with this type of roofing product, BFP is composed of three distinct layers: first, the primer is applied in a liquid state and allowed to cure for several hours followed by the liquid membrane itself. The workhorse latex membrane is an asphaltic liquid latex compound reinforced with a hefty fabric allowing for 40 wet mils. After curing, the third and final layer is applied and it acts as a protective wear surface to guard against construction traffic. All three layers are fully waterproofed within themselves and all act as a crack isolation membrane as well. Merkrete’s BFP Membrane system has been in existence since 1974 and provided millions of square feet of protection over occupied space.

Because of the size of the pool deck and vast number of exterior balconies, LaCour needed a versatile product that could address several specific needs at the same time: a pre-mixed product that could be used to screed and slope the pool deck and exterior balconies to the various area drains while also repairing imperfections in the floors. 

Merkrete’s Sales Representative on the job, Brandan Chastine, said, “I immediately knew that Merkrete’s Underlay C was the perfect product for these requirements. Its versatility allows you to build up to 3” and spread to almost a feather edge (1/8”). You don’t usually get that in a single product.” 

Underlay C is a blend of carefully-selected polymers, Portland cement and graded aggregates that do not require the use of latex admix or jobsite blending. The pre-mixed product is versatile and economical, which helped David Allen Company save time and money by allowing a faster installation.

Bond strength; fast-setting grout

Merkrete proved the perfect match for another specific challenge, considering the strength of the mortar required. “We used very large and heavy natural stone, which requires a mortar with a super-high bondability that can handle the weight of the stone,” said LaCour. Merkrete 820 Merlite is a one-step, polymer-modified, lightweight setting adhesive for installing extra-large-format porcelain, ceramic tile and natural stone for both floors and walls, and can be used as thin- or medium-bed setting adhesive for stone. Merkrete proved it could hold its weight.

In addition to the waterproofing membrane system the hotel required, Merkrete was the trusted source yet again in providing high-performance, sustainable grout throughout the exterior installations. “Merkrete’s ProGrout is a fast-setting, polymer-modified, color-consistent and efflorescence-free high performance grout that exceeds ANSI A118.7 for all types of ceramic and dimensional stone tiles on walls and floors,” said Chastine. “It works for grout joint widths of 1/16” up to 1/2” wide, eliminating the need for different grout products and allowing the versatility required on the job.”

Convenient sourcing speeds project completion

As with all installations, timelines are always important and the Hotel Bennett was on a fast pace, so it was critical that LaCour chose a company who would be able to get the products delivered and the job completed on time. Merkrete is a brand of Parex USA, one of the largest companies and a worldwide leader in tile-setting materials, façade finishes and technical mortars, established in 22 countries with 68 manufacturing plants and over 4,100 employees. “Merkrete was perfect for this project’s requirements, because we have plants and distribution centers all over the country, so our turnaround time and ability to get our products to the jobsite on a timely basis were no problem,” said Chastine. 

Over the past decade, Charleston’s popularity as a travel destination has soared. In 2016, it was ranked as the top city in the world to visit by readers of Travel + Leisure, one of many accolades recently awarded to the Holy City. With the Hotel Bennett set to open in the Fall 2018, the guests will flood in to experience the fine culinary offerings and embrace the tranquil setting and incredible architecture. In the years to come, more renovations may take place, but thanks to Merkrete, you can be sure the stone tiles will be standing strong. 

Riding Shotgun: two weeks on the NTCA Workshop trail

An occasional series by Connie Heinlein

This month, we launch a new section: Training & Education. The intent of this section is to let you know about the ongoing efforts in the industry towards bringing the trade to a new generation of tile setters, recaps or announcements of workshops and regional trainings and how some contractors are devising their own apprenticeship programs, often using materials from NTCA. Are you teaching a class or developing a program or supporting the trade in some way with outside-the-box training, education or outreach? Contact me at [email protected] to let me know!


April 2018 was a busy month for the NTCA van that carries Mark and Connie Heinlein along the workshop trail. Here Connie shares her insider view on workshops and regional training that month. – Ed.


Connie Heinlein

We left home in Michigan’s U.P. on April 10th for a 2,300-mile round trip to New York and New Jersey for workshops and regional training. A trip like that brings many challenges: packing all the necessary equipment from trowels to tablecloths, finding comfortable and affordable hotels, eating healthy, performing a great training even when we are road weary, and discovering some fun along the way. On this particular trip the fun involved Broadway tickets and a birthday celebration. 

Another thing that keeps things fun and exciting is that each workshop is different and has its own unique personality and atmosphere. Location, season, attendance, topic, even the dinner menu affect the individuality of an NTCA workshop.

Here is a sampling of just a few of our many amazing NTCA workshop experiences, and a view of a Regional Training Program. 

Daltile, Albany, NY

The first event of this trip was at Daltile in Albany, NY. Manager Tom Drucker and his staff did a tremendous job of planning and putting on an excellent event. Seventy-plus attendees that included representatives of all tile-related professions – architects, designers, general contractors, and of course, tile contractors, project managers, installers, mechanics and finishers – participated in the event, not to mention the Daltile staff and the manufacturer representatives who supported the effort. More than 20 people took advantage of the CEUs available for the two presentations that Mark performed – Failures: Could It Be Me? and Tile Industry Standards.

The workshop was lively and vibrant, fueled by the celebratory atmosphere that comes with a dozen product vendors, a delicious barbecue buffet, enthusiastic learners, a great Daltile support staff, the vision that our host Tom Drucker had for the evening and our tremendous state ambassadors John Mendenhall and Eric Tetreault. 

At the conclusion of the night we celebrated with several new NTCA members, reviewed plenty of standards-based installation questions, and enjoyed the awarding of gift card prizes donated by the manufacturers and vendors. It was amusing to watch Mark run off his barbecue and corn bread calories delivering the prizes to the winners.

Nemo Tile, Red Bank, NJ

Another stop on this trip was Nemo Tile in Red Bank, New Jersey. We had no idea what a tremendous day we had ahead of us as the staff came out to greet us and guide us to our specially reserved parking spot.

The staff at Nemo Tile, led by manager Carrie Bocci and owner Matt Karlin, planned for a full-day event of training for their customers. The early part of the day involved training from manufacturers including Schluter, Bostik LATICRETE, and Alpha Tools. In the comfort and beauty of Nemo’s showroom the attendees learned, networked, and were treated to a delicious breakfast and lunch buffet. They even had a professional technician to make sure that the audio and video ran perfectly, without any glitches.

Mark greatly enjoyed the surprise honor of being introduced by none other than Phil Woodruff of Schluter Systems, who trained Mark as a tile contractor and influenced him to become a Certified Tile Installer and NTCA member contractor.

In attendance were architects, designers, general contractors, distributors, product representatives, and tile installers, including a few true blue NTCA members. Quite a few people were able to earn a CEU for attending an AIA-accredited program. We also had some wise attendees who decided to join the NTCA by the end of the day.

The specifics of the NTCA training for the event included Failures: Could It Be Me?, Introduction to Standards, and the hands-on demonstration segment of the new Tile Matters program. There was genuine excitement for learning how to use ASTM C920 sealant in expansion joints, proper troweling techniques, and the importance of substrate flatness. There were also lively discussion and questions about everything from grout joint sizes to troweling direction for tile set in a herringbone pattern. All in all, many topics were covered, plenty of ideas were shared, and everyone went away with some new learning.

The Tile Shop, Scarsdale and Westbury, NY

And those were only two of the workshops we had on this trip! We also had great workshop events at The Tile Shops in Westbury and Scarsdale, NY with managers Larry Pennica and Krista Van Valkenberg-Green and regional manager Zoe Stewart along with other impressive
professionals.

Daltile Stone Center, Moonachie, NJ

I certainly cannot forget to mention the tremendous member-only regional training at the Daltile Stone Center in Moonachie, NJ. Daltile’s Vinnie Sgro and Rocko Gallotta, along with Jerry Joyce, facilitated an excellent gauged thin porcelain tile training event. The NTCA and its corporate sponsors – Will White and crew of Custom Building Products and tool provider Ben Szell of European Tile Masters – trained 20 NTCA member installers in both classroom theory and practical application that brought together standards-based tile knowledge and this new product that is gauged porcelain tile and slabs.

It was a busy and productive couple of weeks on the road. Stay tuned for more reports from the workshop trail!

Feature Story – June 2018 – Custom Building Products

Irvine, Calif. is a high-tech economic powerhouse sometimes referred to as “Silicon Valley South.” This fast-growing city’s skyline was transformed by a pair of distinctive glass office towers located at Irvine’s Spectrum Center, an open-air retail and dining district. Each 323-foot tower creates a vertical business campus offering impressive 360-degree views of coastal Orange County and showcasing large-format tile and stone on every floor. Both tile contractors on this project used a Build Green® Emerald System™ of products from CUSTOM to prep, set, grout and seal the assemblies and contribute to expected LEED Gold certification. 

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the architecture firm behind the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid, designed the Spectrum Center’s new glass-walled, 426,000-sq.-ft. towers. Curtain wall construction creates an open, contemporary lobby to welcome employees and visitors to the many corporate offices headquartered here, including Mazda’s North American Operations. This effect is enhanced by the luxurious expanse of oversized natural stone on floors, walls and even inside the elevator cabs. 

Setting large-format tile and stone

Two long-time, family-owned, Southern California firms executed the tile and stone work at the Spectrum Towers. A team from NTCA member company Charles McCandless Tile of Santa Ana set 30,000 sq. ft. of porcelain and Carnevale and Lohr of Bell Gardens installed 20,000 sq. ft. of 3/4” thick quartzite pavers.

Prior to beginning work, samples of the very dense natural stone were submitted to CUSTOM’s laboratory for product testing. Based on their findings, the technicians recommended using ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar, which was then selected to install all tile and stone materials throughout the project. ProLite is a versatile, polymer-modified, dry-set mortar for large-and-heavy tiles that provides excellent bond strength. This mortar exceeds ANSI A118.15 TE and will not slump on floors or sag on walls. ProLite is formulated with lightweight, recycled aggregate, so it weighs 40% less than other mortars. Environmentally sustainable content delivers superior handling characteristics and also makes ProLite easier to carry and mix on the jobsite. A 30 lb. bag of ProLite typically covers the same area as 50 lbs. of traditional mortar. 

“ProLite is a game changer,” said Mark McCandless, president of Charles McCandless Tile. “The guys really like the way it comes out of the bucket on the trowel. It spreads easy, the non-sag is extremely good and its consistency is light and fluffy with very good workability. ProLite pays for itself in increased production,” he offered. 

Craftsmen from Carnevale and Lohr fabricated and set 30” x 30” Taj Mahal quartzite pavers in the ground floor lobby using a dry-pack method including ProLite® as the bonding mortar. Matching material measuring 2.5’ x 5’ was mechanically anchored on lobby walls and 20 stories of tower lobby floors were set with the quartzite in a 24” x 24” format. 

“ProLite is our number one choice,” said Jim Lunn, foreman at Carnevale and Lohr. “The guys in the field really like using it, especially for walls. The workability without sag is phenomenal. The pot life of ProLite is great and being lightweight is also a big plus,” he added. 

Protecting the tile assemblies

Core restrooms on all floors and the parking garage were treated with RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. A ready-to-use elastomeric membrane that creates a continuous waterproof barrier, RedGard has outstanding adhesion and bonds directly to a variety of drain assemblies. RedGard exceeds both ANSI A118.10 and A118.12 for dual protection against moisture intrusion and in-plane crack transmission. Third-party laboratory testing has shown that RedGard outperforms other liquid-applied membranes for key performance attributes as well as actual coverage rate. 

After application of RedGard, bathroom floors were set with 12” x 12” Spec Ceramics Space Taupe matte tile. The porcelain tile installed on the walls was 12” x 24” Pure White matte supplied by Emser. Soft joints at changes of plane were filled with PolyBlend® Ceramic Tile Caulk which is suitable for use in interior, intermittently wet areas like these commercial buildings’ restrooms.

All porcelain and natural stone tile throughout both towers was grouted with Prism® Ultimate Performance Grout in shades to complement the materials for a modern, monolithic look. Fast-setting, lightweight Prism sets a new standard in grout technology. This calcium aluminate-based formula meets ANSI A118.17 high performance standards and will not contribute to efflorescence.  Prism demonstrates uniform, consistent color without mottling or shading, regardless of tile type or variable weather conditions such as humidity. These reliable results were important based on fluctuating environmental conditions at the jobsite due to the height of the towers and the effect of all-glass walls. Recycled aggregate content makes Prism 30% lighter than other grouts and delivers superior, smooth handling in grout joints as narrow as 1/16”. 

“Prism is more colorfast than other cement grouts and we do not see any mottling, which makes everyone happy,” said McCandless.

Aqua Mix® Sealer’s Choice® Gold was applied to protect both tile and grout from staining during and after installation. Premium quality Sealer’s Choice Gold is a water-based formula with low VOCs. This is important for enclosed installation areas like restrooms as well as compliance with California’s environmental regulations. This no-sheen, natural-look sealer maintains the color and character of stone while allowing moisture vapor transmission.

“We like to use Sealer’s Choice to prevent damage by other trades during construction. It’s used as a protectant on about 90% of our jobs and those have fewer callbacks,” offered McCandless. “Sealing per the contract documents is a big benefit.” 

Sustainable building with the Emerald System™

Custom Building Products is committed to environmental responsibility in both product development and manufacturing practices. Over 100 CUSTOM Build Green® products contribute to LEED certification with low VOCs, recycled content and regionally sourced materials. CUSTOM’s Emerald System™ goes a step further, with products that are guaranteed to comply with environmental agency regulations. The Emerald System is also the first line of tile installation products to include Carbon Offset Credits that help reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. 

ProLite mortar and Prism grout are cornerstones of the Emerald System™ and met the environmental standards of the Spectrum Towers’ builders with contributions to LEED® certification and Carbon Offset Credits. In addition, all of the CUSTOM products that were installed – plus the help of the Technical Services team – exceeded the performance expectations of the tile contractors. 

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

Tile brings warmth and quiet to oceanfront condominium

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

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

The luxurious Gateway Grand

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

The project

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

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

One membrane, multiple requirements

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

Reduced heat loss, increased sound control

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

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

The installation

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

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

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

New possibilities

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

April 2018 Feature – Merkrete Systems

Theatre is considered a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before an audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance.

In a project where collaboration is the name of the game, each and every detail, no matter how large or small, makes all the difference in the final presentation – or the final act. The Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre in Cedar City, Utah, celebrated its opening night on July 7, 2016 and the collaborative efforts of all involved shaped the debut into a resounding success.

An open-air space, The Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre is reminiscent of Elizabethan theaters but with modern amenities and technology. As the symbolic home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF), it features plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights whose works are appropriate for its outdoor Elizabethan-inspired architecture.  It is also used for educational programming for Southern Utah University. 

The new outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre is the centerpiece of Southern Utah University’s $39 million Beverley Center for the Arts (named for the late philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson), which also houses USF’s new 200-seat Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre and the $8 million Southern Utah Museum of Art.  The arts complex, built around the existing Randall L. Jones Theatre, spreads across two city blocks. Theater company facilities include a new ticket office, administrators’ offices, costume and scenic shops and rehearsal halls, as well as company dressing rooms and a multiplicity of patron restrooms.

Developed in collaboration between Big D Construction, NTCA Five Star Contractor Superior Tile & Marble, and Blalock & Partners, the theater seats approximately 921 and is named for the Ralph J. and Betty Engelstad family, which was a major donor toward the building.  

Vision and functionality come together

Blalock and Partners teamed with Brooks + Scarpa, and Coen + Partners to create the new arts campus, which includes the new USF facility, the new Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), and the existing Randall Jones Theater. The three buildings are connected by an intricate landscape design inspired by medieval gardens of England and France. The new Engelstad theater pays respect to the old Adams Theatre in its overall configuration, yet adds a touch of refinement and modernism in its execution.

The exterior tile and stone installations throughout the building perfectly match this high-class, theatrical aesthetic, as each piece was masterfully chosen and strategically placed for an extra touch of glamour and ensured functionality.

When Superior Tile & Marble was approached by Big D Construction to supply the high-performing materials they required, Superior knew they’d need a trusted and top-quality installation system to ensure a job well done. Upon reviewing the scope of the project, all answers pointed definitively to Merkrete, a leader in waterproofing, crack-isolation and setting-materials technology. 

Superior’s work on the exterior of SUU’s Shakespeare Theatre consisted of over 15,000 sq.ft. of bush-hammered granite, 2,000 sq. ft. of 6” thick cubic granite, and almost 1,800 sq.ft. of mechanically anchored granite. Due to the exceptionally harsh weather, Superior partnered with Merkrete for versatile and high-performing installation products they can trust.

A versatile solution fastens the deal

The stone cladding provided elegance and durability on the walls and entryway to the building. “For those types of exterior installations, we generally use Merkrete’s 200/211 System,” said Casey Stewart, Superior Project Manager. “This easy-to-use, two-part system has excellent physical properties in adhesion, resiliency, water resistance, and shock and weather resistance.” 

Operations Manager Todd Robinson added, “The 200/211 System from Merkrete has excellent results when used in challenging exterior facade installations. For many projects, particularly this one, we relied on Merkrete for their technical expertise.”

Because of the size and thickness of the stone (up to 24” x 36” x 1” thick), Superior needed a versatile product that could address several specific needs at the same time: a high-performing adhesive product that will stand up to the extreme weather conditions and also double as a grout. Since both Robinson and Stewart have experience with Merkrete’s Integra, an all-in-one thinset and grout product, he knew Merkrete could assist with a solution.

Merkrete’s Sales Representative on the job, Railin Hunt, said, “I immediately knew that Merkrete’s 200/211 System could be modified in color and would be the perfect product for these requirements. Its flexibility allows it to perform as a grout and the color could be matched to the jobsite requirements. You don’t usually get that in a single product.” 

This solution was tested and perfected prior in another Superior Tile & Marble installation when the term, “The Lombard Method” was coined because the walls were spread with the adhesive, then mortar was placed on two sides of each tile and set, similar to the methods of striking brick. 

Merkrete proved the perfect match for a specific challenge again, considering the strength of the mortar it called for. “We used large and heavy natural stone, which requires a mortar with a super-high bondability that can handle the weight of the panels,” said Robinson. Hunt added, “Merkrete 200/211 System is a two-component, multi-purpose, polymer-modified setting adhesive for installing extra-large-format porcelain, ceramic tile and natural stone for both floors and walls, and can be used as thin- or medium-bed setting adhesive for stone. Merkrete proved it could hold its weight, eliminating the need for different grout products and allowing Superior the versatility it required.”

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…

Part of the challenge in this project involved extreme weather. It was critical that Superior chose a company who would be able to get the products delivered when required and the job completed on time. Merkrete is a member of ParexGroup, one of the largest companies and a worldwide leader in tile setting materials, façade finishes and technical mortars, established in 22 countries with 68 manufacturing plants and over 4,100 employees. “Merkrete was perfect for this project’s requirements, because we have plants and distribution centers all over the country, so our turnaround time and ability to get customized products there quickly were no problem,” said Hunt. 

The Festival now plays to over 110,000 patrons who view nearly 300 plays each year in three theaters over a 16-week season. Each year the Festival produces eight or nine professional plays. In keeping with its mission to entertain, enrich, and educate its audiences, the Festival also offers a variety of activities such as orientations, literary and production seminars, classes, workshops, and backstage tours – making it a true destination theater, and one of Utah’s cultural treasures.

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. 

 

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