Mock-ups eliminate miscommunication and reduce install failure risk

Mock-ups are great tools for managing customers’ expectations, which in turn can reduce risk and lead to successful installation. Today, we’ll define what a mock-up is, and explain the many advantages of using them. 

Mock-up module.

A mock-up can be either a partial or full-size structural model using exact construction materials, specifications and techniques. They allow all those involved to evaluate an actual three-dimensional representation of a project. They also allow us to experience at full scale what could only be hinted at with drawings or small architectural models. Mock-ups allow us to access the functionality, aesthetic and quality of the actual products down to the smallest details. If the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true, a mock-up must be worth a considerable amount more. 

Oftentimes, mock-ups are required in commercial projects. It may seem that the additional expense associated with doing a mock-up is unnecessary but, in the end, it allows the team to foresee problems and solve them before they develop on a larger scale.

Jobsite conditions, shade variation and grout joints

Mock-ups get you involved early and allow you to access jobsite conditions such as: does the site have power, water, correct temperature, and lighting? It gives us the opportunity to establish the needs for a successful installation. With tiles transitioning to larger and larger sizes, mock-ups help installers set a standard for how flat surfaces must be to install tile. If we run into a problem with poorly-done concrete or framing, we can explain our needs for flat surfaces before they pour the next series of slabs, or frame the next group of rooms. 

Mock-ups help installers set a standard for how flat surfaces must be to install tile.

It seems we are continually pushed by faster and more demanding schedules to complete projects. Timing the installation of a mock-up can be extremely beneficial in determining the amount of total time a project will take, as well as the amount of manpower necessary to reach a desired deadline.

Many of us have probably had issues with showroom samples not actually matching the delivered material, especially with stone. Sometimes, a stone sample could have been quarried months or possibly years before the actual stone is selected and ordered. A mock-up shows you the actual current material appearance. Also, when some tiles have highly varied shading, it’s difficult to appreciate the overall look apart from an on-site mock-up with the actual material. Our industry has Aesthetic Classifications for shade variations that range from V0 to V4. The V0 are the most uniform in shade, while the V3 and V4 are the most varied. When using the more highly varied tiles it takes a larger area of tile to truly appreciate the overall appearance.

Shade variation courtesy of Architectural Ceramics.

The last few years, the trend has been for smaller and smaller grout joints. It seems everyone loves tile but hates grout. Mock-ups can set an agreed-upon grout joint size. Our industry addresses minimum grout joint size. It states that we should never have a grout joint less than 1/16˝. It also explains that a grout joint should not be any smaller than three times the facial variation of the tile itself. Normally with a calibrated tile that would be around 3/16˝, and with rectified tile it would be 1/8˝. Most of our customers have difficulty visualizing what a 3/16˝ grout joint looks like. A mock-up eliminates that problem and allows the customer to better communicate their desires.

Outsmarting lippage before it happens

Plank and other rectangular shape tiles have grown dramatically in popularity. When tiles are manufactured, they are fired in a kiln. This process can warp the tile or make them bow. When plank or rectangular shape tile are set in an offset or brick pattern, the warpage in those tiles can create lippage in an installation. Lippage is basically when two tiles don’t meet on the same plane. Our industry has addressed this situation and says we should have no more than a 33% offset with tiles over 18˝ in length. It goes on to say if a stagger of more than 33% is called for, a mock-up should be done and approved.

One of the many benefits of being a member of the NTCA is technical support. One of the most prevalent calls we receive is about wash wall lighting. The design community has embraced this lighting that is located in the ceiling close to the wall and casts light down the wall and creates an undesirable shadowing effect. The lighting reveals inconsistencies in the wall, tile, and the work. In a large commercial project where this type of lighting is used, a mock-up can be a great asset. Finding out early the effects that light will have on the installation can save a lot of headaches and money. Moving the lights out from the wall can make a huge difference. Discovering this information early from a mock-up makes the process quicker, easier, and cheaper.

Setting expectations with your mock-ups

One thing to consider when doing your mock-up is to be mindful of who you are selecting for that installation and to create the mock-up. If you have a large crew with several installers, there is a tendency to pick your best people to do your mock-up. Remember, this is an example of what the owner will expect throughout the project. Inevitably, we have different employees that work at different speeds with different skill sets. It would be best to pick someone of average skill and speed for your group. This will give a more realistic expectation of what you can deliver. It’s said that it’s better to undersell and over deliver, than oversell and under deliver.

Once the mock-up is complete, communicate potential problems, and get a formal acceptance of the installation for the standard on the remainder of the project.

In conclusion, I hope you understand how mock-ups can:

Allow you to evaluate environmental conditions on the jobsite

  • Access substrate flatness
  • Define roles and responsibilities of each trade
  • Give a good indication of the time it will take to complete a project
  • Allow for evaluation of actual tile and grout color and shading
  • Set an agreed upon tile pattern and grout joint size
  • Help eliminate issues with critical lighting
  • Manage customers’ expectations and reduce risk.

Bostik Promotes Adam Abell

Bostik, Inc., a world leader in adhesives and installation systems for building construction, recently announced that Adam Abell has been promoted to the position of Market Manager, Tile & Stone Installation Systems.

Since joining the Bostik team in 2012, Abell has been a Territory Sales Manager, offering the firm’s comprehensive ranges of tile installation and surface preparation products to customers throughout the Ohio Valley.

Abell, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, learned the tile business from ground up, working at Mees Tile & Marble in Lexington, Kentucky. There, he started off in the warehouse, then moved on to contractor sales, A&D sales … ultimately becoming branch manager. He will be relocating from Indianapolis to the Milwaukee area, soon to be working out of Bostik Americas Technology & Business Center headquarters.

“I’m excited about my new position within the organization,” exclaimed Abell. “Put simply, my job will be to ensure that we’re driving the ‘innovation’ factor of all Bostik products. We’ve brought so many ‘firsts’ to the industry, including Bostik’s BEST®, TruColor ® RapidCure™ Grout and most recently, Bosti-Set™… and we plan on bringing even more. We are on a quest to build our marketshare and we have the product pipeline and team to do it.”

 

ARDEX Americas Launches New Website

Aliquippa, PA, August 28, 2018 – ARDEX Americas, a market leader in the development, manufacture and distribution of high-performance specialty building products, announced today the launch of its newly revamped website. Offering intuitive navigation to product information, the new website is also mobile-friendly, and features engaging images and consolidated video content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new website features a clean design, improved functionality and enhanced content – all designed to better serve its customers. It is located at the same address, https://www.ardexamericas.com/.

“We are excited to launch this new website and offer these enhanced capabilities to our customers,” Ben Mack, ARDEX Americas Director of Marketing, stated. “We believe the mobile- compatibility in particular will improve our visitor experience dramatically, allowing them to find the information and answers they need more quickly and easily, no matter what device they are using.”

ARDEX Americas Marketing Communications Manager Annika Oeing added, “To serve our diverse audiences, the website is available in English and Spanish. We plan on adding French content in the next few months. We’re committed to making our information accessible to everyone in the North and South Americas.”

 

Lasting art installations help transform new Northern California Children’s Hospital

Gary Drostle, uses LATICRETE products to adorn floor in Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

After more than a decade in the making, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford recently opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art building. At 521,000 sq. ft. (48,402 sm), the new building depicts California’s diverse ecosystem and natural beauty, with each floor representing a native eco-region. 

In a press release announcing the opening, the hospital describes the new 149-bed facility as being designed to transform the patient and family experience through nature and play. Its founder, the late Lucile Salter Packard was a known advocate for treating both the patient and their family, not just the illness. With this in mind, lead architect Robin Guenther, a principal with the architectural firm Perkins + Will in association with Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. and Mazzetti, set out to fulfill Packard’s vision by designing one of the country’s most sustainable children’s hospitals.

The new 149-bed facility as being designed to transform the patient and family experience through nature and play.

To bring to life two mosaic tile themes representative of California’s seashore and the Redwood Forest, international award-winning mosaic artist Gary Drostle and his company, UK-based Drostle Public Arts, created and installed 19 hand-cut mosaics using Winckelman Unglazed Porcelain, a set of bronze medallions and 700 hand-cast glass leaves to be set in a specially-designed terrazzo floor. After nearly two years of craftsmanship, Drostle’s designs were installed in the ground floor lobby area of the hospital and first-floor central corridor using LATICRETE® products.

International award-winning mosaic artist Gary Drostle and his company, UK-based Drostle Public Arts, created and installed 19 hand-cut mosaics using Winckelman Unglazed Porcelain, a set of bronze medallions and 700 hand-cast glass leaves to be set in a specially designed terrazzo floor.

“For each portion of our mosaic tile work, there was an appropriate LATICRETE product to ensure a lasting installation and bring the ‘wow’ factor with a pop of color in the grout,” Drostle said. “More importantly than that, each of the products chosen has received multiple certifications and declarations, including Health Product Declarations (HPD), Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and UL GREENGUARD Gold Certifications for low chemical emissions for sustainable living. Over the years, our company has had great success using LATICRETE and their full range of quality products. We knew this time would be no different.” 

The new hospital features mosaic tile designs representative of California’s seashore and the Redwood Forest.

As the former president of the British Association for Modern Mosaic and a regular teacher and juror at the Society of American Mosaic Artists, Gary Drostle brought more than 30 years of experience of creating large-scale public mosaics for floors with him to the jobsite.

After nearly two years of craftsmanship, Drostle’s designs were installed in the ground floor lobby area of the hospital and first-floor central corridor using LATICRETE® products.

The challenges 

Installation
Interference
: Installing fine hand-cut mosaic is always a challenge due to the tolerance required in the setting of the work. To make this installation possible, Drostle and his team needed the specified LATICRETE products to deliver superb bond strength that would hold the adhesive bond between the mosaic sheet, while retaining a good open time for the slow and precise mosaic tile adjustments. 

Tight
Timeline
: The tile work for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford needed to be completed speedily on a jobsite with many other contractors demanding the same workspace. Products used needed to be formulated with rapid-curing properties to meet efficient timelines.

Once on site to begin the mosaic panel installation, Drostle Public Arts’ installation crew applied NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates, on the ground floor lobby area and first-floor central corridor.

A LATICRETE solution: 

Once on site to begin the mosaic panel installation, Drostle Public Arts’ installation crew applied NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates, on the ground floor lobby area and first-floor central corridor. This product was selected to produce a flat, smooth and hard surface for the finished mosaic tile installation. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible, non-sensitive to moisture and maintenance-free, making it optimal for use in a healthcare facility. 

To adhere the 19 mosaic panels to their respective flooring areas, 254 Platinum was specified for its superior strength and bond.

To adhere the 19 mosaic panels to their respective flooring areas, 254 Platinum was specified for its superior strength and bond. Designed for a simple install, the one-step, polymer-fortified mortar only requires water for mixture and has a long open time for enhanced workability. 

PERMACOLOR® Select, an advanced high-performance cement grout that offers the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution, was used to grout all of the mosaic tile installations. With PERMACOLOR Select, Drostle Public Arts gained increased productivity and time savings on the jobsite, thanks to a faster time-to-grout and foot traffic permitted in as little as three hours. To add a pop of color, the team opted to use a PERMACOLOR Color Kit for a glossy Raven tint. 

PERMACOLOR® Select, an advanced high-performance cement grout that offers the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution, was used to grout all of the mosaic tile installations.

Outcome: 

“Dale Foster, the local LATICRETE representative, was invaluable to the success of this project. As an international team traveling in for the installation, Dale quickly became the ‘go-to guy’ for any technical or logistical inquiries,” added Drostle. “Dale was on hand for any issues and continuously supplied help as the job progressed.”

In April of this year, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford announced that its new main building was awarded LEED Platinum status, the highest designation for sustainability recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. Thanks to the architectural prowess of the Perkins + Will, Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. and Mazzetti team and leadership from the hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is one of just five hospitals in the world – and only the second children’s hospital – to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is one of just five hospitals in the world — and only the second children’s hospital — to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

 

“For each portion of our mosaic tile work, there was an appropriate LATICRETE product to ensure a lasting installation and bring the ‘wow’ factor with a pop of color in the grout,” said mosaic artist Gary Drostle.