Taking The Plunge with MAPEI solutions to resuscitate a historic swimming pool

The year was 1925. Bathtub gin, the Charleston and a new form of entertainment called “motion pictures” were all the rage. Money and people were flowing into California in search of a new gold rush – Hollywood fame. Those newly minted movie stars, as well as their wannabes, made the trek down the coast from Los Angeles to a sleepy little seaside town called San Diego in search of rest and relaxation. The unspoiled waters offered fishing. The mountains provided hiking. And San Diego’s Mission Beach featured the West Coast’s version of Coney Island, The Mission Beach Amusement Center.

Built on the sands of Mission Beach by one of San Diego’s leading developers, sugar magnate John D. Spreckels, The Mission Beach Amusement Center was designed to draw tourists to San Diego. The center promoted the city and – not so coincidentally – Spreckels’ real estate ventures. It featured the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, a 2,600-ft.-long wooden thrill ride with two 18-passenger trains. 

Showers and bathrooms after large panel installation.

The center’s other main attraction was The Natatorium, an indoor swimming pool constructed from stucco and steel in Spanish Renaissance style as the centerpiece of the park. Later renamed The Plunge, the pool measured 60’x175’ with a capacity of 400,000 U.S. gallons, making it the world’s largest saltwater pool for its time. 

By 1940, however, the saltwater had begun to damage The Plunge’s filtration system. So with a few modifications, it became the largest indoor, heated freshwater pool in Southern California. The center was sold to private owners in 1955 and renamed Belmont Park. Over the years, due to outdated safety codes, The Plunge closed and then was revamped in 1988 with modern safety codes. Although much of the original tile work was removed, some historic features were left intact, including steps leading into the pool and a pedestal at the bottom of the steps. But in 2014, the waters of The Plunge once again, became troubled, and the historic public pool was closed for “unexpected repairs.”

Large-format tiles installed using MAPEI Ultralite S2.

MAPEI products on the jobsite

Pacifica Enterprises (a San Diego-based development company) owned the property since 2012 and used the closure as an opportunity to completely renovate the natatorium literally from the ground up, or rather from the roof down. Pacifica spokesman Chris Wahl said that initially the company believed that they could simply repair the building and the pool, but deeper inspection revealed other issues besides the leaking roof, such as corrosion in the structure’s steel columns and beams. 

As the inspections progressed, it was determined that all 21,000 sq. ft. of the building had to be demolished, leaving only girders surrounding the historic pool. The new natatorium features a glass facade instead of the original Spanish Renaissance stucco walls that did not withstand the constant buffeting from saltwater spray. The historic pool was also given a facelift and returned to the splendor of the past – courtesy of Lusardi Construction and NTCA Five-Star Contractor Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, working with MAPEI. 

Steam rooms waterproofed with Mapelastic AquaDefense.

“From the beginning, Pacifica and the general contractor, Lusardi Construction, knew that they wanted a period-correct feel for the tiling in the pool and the surrounding rooms,” said Dennis Sandell, MAPEI’s TSIS sales representative for San Diego and Palm Springs. “They contacted Mark Columbus at Christian Brothers to act as the consultant and installing contractor. It was Mark who brought MAPEI on board early on. In fact, he and I helped to put the specification together.” Columbus and Sandell proposed using MAPEI for a full system that would allow the pool to be filled with water 72 hours after the tile was installed.

“The pool’s surface was shotcrete,” Sandell continued. “It was in bad shape. The Christian Brothers crew had to float the substrate with a dry pack of Mapelastic 315 with Planicrete AC in the mix to adhere to the surface, as well as to add flexibility to the mortar bed.” 

Finished tiling grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.

The spec from architect Fredrick Clemeshaw called for period-correct 3/4” x 3/4” (19 x 19 mm) tiles, which were installed using MAPEI’s Granirapid System. The rapid-setting, flexible tile mortar allowed for the “quick” installation of 1,700 sq. ft. of mosaics in the Olympic-sized pool. The tiles were grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA. The pool’s perimeter was caulked with Mapesil T. “The tiles mark the water line, they mark the depth, they decorate the historic pedestal, in addition to tiling the pool,” Sandell explained. 

The Plunge at Fit in San Diego, CA, USA.

In the showers, steam rooms, bathrooms, pool area and a gym rechristened with the name “Fit,” the Christian Brothers crew first roller-applied Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing membrane. They then installed large-format tiles with Ultraflex LFT mortar and grouted them with Ultracolor Plus FA. For the exterior cladding, the large panel tiles were installed with MAPEI Ultralite S2 mortar and grouted with Ultracolor Plus FA.

The tile installation portion of the sprawling renovation took one year from start to finish, beginning in 2018 and ending in 2019. 

“The biggest problem actually gave us a great opportunity to provide a solution,” Sandell said. “After the tile contractor waterproofed the pool, the GC had to cut out several holes in the pool walls to raise the drains. We specified Planitop 330 Fast for the vertical repair. This product allowed them to achieve a quick cure so that they could quickly turn around and re-waterproof these areas.” 

The Plunge at Fit is now open to the public in all its former splendor, thanks in large part to MAPEI products, the Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors installers and Lusardi Construction.

Period-correct 3/4”x3/4” (19×19 mm) tiles decoratively mark the water line, the depth and the historic pedestal.

UltraCare™ Cement Grout Haze Remover awarded “Best in Technologyˮ at TISE

MAPEI was awarded “Best in Technology” for its UltraCare Cement Grout Haze Remover as part of the “Best of TISE Event” awards during The International Surface Event (TISE), which was held in Las Vegas from January 23-25.

David Mowery, MAPEI’s Business Manager

MAPEI’s UltraCare Cement Grout Haze Remover is a commercially available, professional-strength product that helps to quickly and effectively remove cement grout haze from tile, concrete and stone surfaces. The water-based formula is low-odor, easy to use and meets all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

David Mowery, MAPEI’s Business Manager for Color Products and UltraCare, was pleased with the recognition. “MAPEI’s UltraCare Cement Grout Haze Remover is part of our ‘problem-solver’ category. Formation of haze film on tile surface after grouting is common,” Mowery said. “Haze removal and restoration of the tile surface to its natural beauty is successfully completed with this performance product.”

An annual event to recognize the innovation and excellence of exhibiting companies, the “Best of TISE Event” awards are sponsored by Stone World, Tile Magazine, Floor Covering News, and Contemporary Stone & Tile Design. The awards are given to companies whose products are deemed to be “best” in their class by a panel of judges appointed by the sponsoring publications.

To learn more about UltraCare Cement Grout Haze Remover, visit www.mapei.com or call (800) 426-2734 for help in locating the nearest retail store or distributor.

About MAPEI

Established in 1937, MAPEI Group is globally headquartered in Italy with 85 subsidiaries, including 80 plants in 34 countries. MAPEI is the world-leading manufacturer of mortars, grouts, adhesives and complementary products for installing all types of flooring and wall coverings. The company specializes in developing chemical products for every aspect of construction, from waterproofing and structural strengthening to concrete repairs and tunnel building.

Headquartered in Deerfield Beach (Florida), MAPEI North America consists of the subsidiaries MAPEI Corporation (for the USA), MAPEI Inc. (for Canada) and MAPEI Caribe (for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands), whose 18 facilities collectively have a

workforce of more than 1,700 employees. MAPEI facilities have been certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards. An environmentally conscious manufacturer that reinvests 5% of its revenue into R&D, MAPEI offers training for architects, contractors, installers and distributors through the MAPEI Technical Institute. For more about MAPEI, visit www.mapei.com or call 1-800-42-MAPEI (1-800-426-2734).

New high-performance coatings from MAPEI / Elastocolor de MAPEI

MAPEI recently extended its Elastocolor product line of coatings to include Elastocolor Primer AR, an alkaline-resistant primer, and Elastocolor Texture, a high-build, textured coating. These two products offer high performance for a variety of cementitious substrates.

Elastocolor Primer AR is a highly flexible, water-based, alkaline-resistant primer specially designed for use on exterior, above-grade, new and previously coated concrete and masonry surfaces. It protects against the damaging effects of high pH levels, offers excellent filling and adhesion on prepared substrates, and is designed for use on stucco, concrete, concrete masonry units and a variety of other building materials.

Elastocolor Texture is a water-based, high-build, acrylic, textured coating for use on exterior, above-grade, new and previously coated concrete and masonry surfaces. It is specially designed with a unique blend of aggregates to produce an attractive, uniform textured finish, making it ideal for reducing the appearance of surface imperfections and irregular substrates.

 

 

About MAPEI

Established in 1937, MAPEI Group is globally headquartered in Italy with 87 subsidiaries, including 81 plants in 35 countries. MAPEI is the world-leading manufacturer of mortars, grouts, adhesives and complementary products for installing all types of flooring and wall coverings. The company specializes in developing chemical products for every aspect of construction, from waterproofing and structural strengthening to concrete repairs and tunnel building.

Headquartered in Deerfield Beach (Florida), MAPEI North America consists of the subsidiaries MAPEI Corporation (for the USA), MAPEI Inc. (for Canada) and MAPEI Caribe (for Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands), whose 18 facilities collectively have a workforce of more than 1,600 employees. MAPEI facilities have been certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality standards. An environmentally conscious manufacturer that reinvests 5% of its revenue into R&D, MAPEI offers training for architects, contractors, installers and distributors through the MAPEI Technical Institute. For more about MAPEI, visit www.mapei.com or call 1-800-42-MAPEI (1-800-426-2734).

TILE INDUSTRY PARTNERS WITH SASHA BRUCE YOUTHWORK TO TILE HOME FOR HOMELESS YOUTH

Five manufacturers and contractors in the tile industry banded together to tile the kitchen, bathrooms and basement in Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s RE*Generation House, which will provide transitional housing for at-risk youth in Washington, DC who might otherwise be homeless.

Sasha Bruce Youthwork welcomed donations of tile from Dal-Tile, setting and floor preparation materials from MAPEI, and Ditra underlayment and floor edging strips from Schluter Systems. NTCA Five-Star Contractors Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company completed the installation in the kitchen and three bathrooms. Sasha Bruce Youthwork is a well-recognized nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that provides shelter and needed support for vulnerable youth. (http://sashabruce.org)

MAPEI invited Tile Partners for Humanity, the partnership of tile industry members working to support nonprofit partners like Habitat for Humanity and community outreach centers through donations of tile materials and labor, to coordinate the project.

The RE*Generation House was also part of an outreach program by ProjectAEC Cares, a group of architects, engineers and contractors working in partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual meeting as well as Reed Construction Data and Hanley Wood. Project AEC Cares coordinated a one-day service project in May to bring donors, volunteers, and media representatives together to work on the home renovation. Representatives of Collins Tile & Stone, David Allen Company, MAPEI, Schluter Systems, and TPFH were on hand to participate. Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company finished the installation in October once the house renovation was complete.

Larry Fullerton, Board Member of the Sasha Bruce Youthwork, thanked the industry donors for the beautiful finished product.

“We’re so grateful for the installation expertise and material donations from the tile industry. Not only is the finished product stunning, but in a house filled with kids it’s crucial to have floors that will stand up to heavy foot traffic. We also appreciate the time that everyone spent on site completing the project. It was great to meet the donors who made it possible!”

This marked the second year that MAPEI has contributed to the ProjectAEC Cares program and Michael Granatowski, MAPEI’s National Manager of Architectural and Commercial Projects, recently joined the program’s Advisory Board as a representative of the manufacturing community. Granatowski and Steven Day, Marketing Manager for MAPEI, participated in the service event in May.

“MAPEI finds that the Project AEC Cares program is an exciting and uplifting way to become a part of the communities where the AIA convention takes place each year. Our Sales, Technical and Marketing people who get a chance to participate in the renovations look forward to the next city and the next opportunity to help improve buildings for groups like Sasha Bruce Youthwork.”

Joey Miles, Territory Manager for Schluter Systems, also spent time volunteering at the service day event in May along with representatives of Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company.

“It was such an enormous pleasure to be part of the housing project at Sasha Bruce,” said Miles. “This was an opportunity for us to get involved in something we feel passionately about. Through this project we were able to take a hands-on approach in helping to create reliable housing for youth who may otherwise be homeless, and use our products and experience towards creating a home that we know will last, and will make a continuing impact on this community.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, Senior Marketing Director for Dal-Tile Corporation, said that Dal-Tile was proud to participate in the project.

“At Dal-Tile, we strive to enrich the lives of others and positively impact our communities when we can. We’re pleased to be able to extend our support to the Sasha Bruce RE*Generation House and the well-deserving children they serve.”

Herb Miller, Executive Director of TPFH and its parent organization, Mountain Re-Source Center, echoed Fullerton’s gratitude. “It’s only through generous partners like Dal-Tile, MAPEI, Schluter Systems, Collins Tile & Stone and David Allen Company that we’re able to support important projects like the RE*Generation House. We had the best of the best – great materials and installation by two NTCA Five-Star Contractors. We truly appreciate their partnership and support!”

About Mountain Re-Source Center

MRC welcomes donations of all types of building materials as well as disaster relief supplies, educational resources, household necessities, and medical supplies. To donate or for more information on MRC or Tile Partners for Humanity, contact MRC Executive Director Herb Miller at 304-678-4229/ [email protected] or Networking Director Ally Venugopal at 425-429-6188/ [email protected]. MRC provides a donation receipt for tax purposes. For more information, visit www.mountainre-source.org or www.tpfh.com.

MAPEI Introduces Next-Generation Sound-Reduction Membrane

Researchers at MAPEI have delivered a new, patent-pending sound-reduction membrane for use in both residential (homes, apartments, condominiums) and light commercial (office buildings) environments. Mapesonic 2 provides reduced transmission of both impact sound (footsteps, dropped objects, etc.) and airborne sound (voice, TV, etc.) through floors. The membrane also helps prevent movement up to 3/8″ (10 mm) wide from transmitting through flooring assemblies.

Mapesonic 2’snext-generation technology combines sound reduction and crack isolation in a thin, flexible, lightweight, load-bearing, fabric-reinforced “peel-and-stick” membrane approved for use under ceramic tile, stone and wood flooring. The challenge for MAPEI’s R&D group was to meet or exceed a rating of 50 for both STC (airborne sound) and IIC (impact sound) standards on a 6″ (15 cm) concrete slab with no ceiling. Mapesonic 2 met both of those challenges head-on, bringing to the marketplace an easier-to-use membrane that compares favorably with thicker membranes currently on the market.

Brian Pistulka, Business Manager for MAPEI America’s Tile & Stone Installation Systems product line, commented enthusiastically on Mapesonic 2: “This patent-pending membrane is the most significant development in the industry that I have seen in my career. The MAPEI Group did in-depth research into understanding sound, how it travels, and how various  materials and the dynamics of components work together to reduce that sound. Mapesonic 2 is truly a product innovation – delivering better sound-performance results with a thinner membrane than existing contenders, because of its material composition and design format. The result is technology you can build on.”

Mapesonic 2 is available from MAPEI distributors throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America. For details about product performance, visit www.mapei.com to view the Technical Data Sheet.

About MAPEI

MAPEI Group, with 68 subsidiaries including 59 plants in 28 countries, is today the world leader in the manufacturing of adhesives and complementary products for the installation of all types of floor and wall coverings. The company also specializes in manufacturing other chemical products for building, including waterproofing products, special mortars and admixtures for concrete, products for the restoration of ancient buildings, and special decorative and protective coatings for walls.

Eighteen MAPEI manufacturing facilities are located in the Americas, with headquarters in Deerfield Beach, Florida. MAPEI is an environmentally conscious manufacturer – the company has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council since 2001 and a member of the Canadian Green Building Council since 2008. MAPEI Americas is a registered provider to the AIA/CES program and also offers training related to ceramic and stone tile, floor coverings and concrete repair through the MAPEI Technical Institute. The Quality Management Systems of the majority of MAPEI Americas facilities are ISO 9001 certified. Visit www.mapei.com for technical data or call 1-800-42-MAPEI (1-800-426-2734) for the nearest location.