Feature – Custom Building Products – November 2016
With nearly a million square feet of enclosed retail space, The Shops at South Town in Sandy, Utah, is one of the state’s largest malls. New owners at the shopping center have made a significant investment to renovate the property, including installation of over 100,000 sq. ft. of large-format porcelain tile in the main concourses on both levels, in all restrooms and at a newly expanded food court. CUSTOM’s Fusion Pro® Single Component® Grout was selected to provide stain protection from heavy traffic, spills and stains throughout this busy suburban mall.
“We recommend Fusion Pro grout for many different projects, but especially on a job like this,” said Russ Moore, president of Westech Tile, the Salt Lake City firm that performed the tile installations. “Fusion Pro is the best because it doesn’t stain, the color is uniform, and there is no mixing or waste.”
Fusion Pro is stain proof and color perfect, plus it’s ready to use and easy to spread and clean. Unlike typical epoxy alternatives, Fusion Pro’s patented formula will not discolor when exposed to sunlight through the atrium roof of the shopping center. Because Fusion Pro is applied and then cleaned immediately – with no need for sealing – crews grouted continuously through the night to keep retailers open for business during the remodel.
“Fusion Pro is everything that a tile guy wants in a grout,” added Moore. “This product performs – it really does what they say it does.”
Tile with natural finishes, from different sources or even within the same lot, can present a range of coatings and textures that may affect grout installations. Contractors at South Town began the grouting process by applying Aqua Mix® Grout Release to ease cleanup over the variety of tile surface textures present on the project.
The teamwork grouting process
Grouting with Fusion Pro was completed through a teamwork process due to the size and speed of the job. With this method, one installer spreads grout across the joints, one shapes the joints with a sponge, and one cleans the tile with a microfiber towel. The installers continue moving across the area applying and cleaning the grout very efficiently. Because Fusion Pro is spread and then cleaned up in a matter of minutes, a team approach works well on any large expanse of tile or fast-track project.
“We have found that is it less expensive to use Fusion Pro since the need to return and apply sealer is eliminated,” said Aaron Colledge, project manager at Westech. “This also helps to maintain accelerated construction schedules.”
South Town’s design inspiration is described as “mountain meets urban” in an area of Utah known for its outdoor lifestyle and located only minutes from world-class mountain resorts. Tile of literally every shape and size re-
creates the kind of material juxtapositions seen in nature, such as mountains, forests and bodies of water. A rugged but warm look of weathered timber and stone was achieved by utilizing multi-colored wood-look planks. The layout complements the wilderness surroundings and is right on trend. CUSTOM’s nature-inspired, 40-color grout palette offers Fusion Pro in shades to match this broad spectrum of tile.
The large-format tile chosen for the project ranged from 12” x 24” and 24” x 24” squares to 36” and 48” long planks – even 16” x 68” tile. Planks were placed in a running bond pattern with a one-third offset to help prevent lippage and achieve a flat tiled surface. Other square and rectangular tiles were installed in a modified hopscotch pattern, with planks included as
accents in some areas. Tile craftsman Jesus Villalobos created the elaborate, sweeping cuts that mimic river and rock formations.
Gensler chooses Stone Source, SpecCeramics and Crossville porcelain
Gensler’s interior design team composed the patterns using porcelain tile from Stone Source, SpecCeramics and Crossville. “Our design intent was to bring the natural forms into the interior space adding warmth and a fluid floor pattern,” said Sean Park, project architect with Gensler. “On the practical end, the porcelain tiles are an excellent choice as they are durable for high-traffic commercial use and meet the slip coefficient.”
All the tile on this fast-track project was set with a rapid-setting polymer-modified mortar from
CUSTOM that allowed grouting in as little as two hours. Installers used 1/2” x 1/2” by 1/2” square notch trowels and back buttering to achieve a minimum 90% mortar coverage to the back of the tiles. Fusion Pro was applied with SuperiorBilt® ProBiltSeries™ Stone Grout Floats, which are ideal for use with textured tile. After grouting was completed in each area, movement joints were filled with permanently flexible CUSTOM Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant.
“Fusion Pro has been perfect for this project since day one,” offered Moore. “The ease of cleaning is going to be great for the owners and it should perform well for this mall for many years to come.”