Bostik Inc. – February 2017 Feature

To many, Snowbird, Utah is known as a multi-facility resort community. 150 years ago, it was known for its adjacent silver mines, but the shining draw today is top-shelf winter powder skiing and snowboarding.

One major magnet, The Cliff Lodge and Spa, not only enjoys an outstanding Snowbird location near loads of Utah’s finest ski resorts, golf clubs, and other attractions, it also boasts some of the most unique and progressive architectural and design treatments one could imagine. Featuring wall-to-wall windows with awe-inspiring mountain or canyon views, Cliff Lodge vistas are modern, spacious, and sumptuously well equipped. Cliff Lodge owners wanted some new indoor visuals, which resulted in two very large mosaic murals installed, designed by Edge ID.

Kari Bennett is principal/interior designer at Edge ID, a full-service hospitality design company, located in Salt Lake City. Bennett prides her firm on “researching, planning, designing, involving and orchestrating all projects to the last detail.” Such was the case for this highly innovative mosaic mural installation at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

Close up of the individual vitreous glass mosaics used to create the aspen tree mural, incorporating Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Glass-Filled, Pre-Mixed, Urethane Grout. The custom mosaic was designed by Artaic Innovative Mosaic.

Creating an aspen tree “wow factor” for the interior

“We wanted in some way to bring the outdoors indoors,” declared Bennett. “There are so many beautiful vistas surrounding The Cliff Lodge. In particular, there are exquisite aspen trees indigenous to this part of the country, which look good year-round. So we made the collective decision to create an amazing aspen tree ‘wow factor’ motif on two large walls, one being in the ballroom lobby, and the other in the ballroom mezzanine. These were to be very large murals, each thirty feet wide by four feet high… 120 sq. ft.… each consisting of over 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces.

“We knew a bit about Artaic, and how the firm offered a unique, space-age service of creating mosaic murals using computer-driven robots,” she added. “Artaic provided us with its mosaic depiction of an aspen tree motif. We immediately liked it, but wanted to change the color of the trees from black-grey to more of a sepia tone, which was more relevant to the Snowbird landscape’s colors. Artaic had no trouble whatsoever accommodating our request. The people there were without question, very professional and a joy to work with.”

The Cliff Lodge and Spa, Snowbird, Utah, 30’ x 4’ mosaic utilizing 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces creates an aspen tree motif in colors that more perfectly fit the sepia-toned interior design scheme.

Inventor and scientist, Artaic’s Dr. Ted Acworth, added, “When Artaic was asked to design a beautiful custom mosaic for the Cliff Lodge renovation, we learned the designer was looking for a custom mosaic that really reflected the beautiful natural environment of the Utah landscape. We were provided with a photograph of a stand of aspen trees… loaded that image into our proprietary design software, and subsequently designed a beautiful custom mural out of glass tile from that image. This was not hard to do, especially when working with clients who knew what they wanted and understood our process.”

NTCA member Katwyk Tile handles the installation

Bennett went on to say that the tile installation contractor, NTCA member Rod Katwyk, owner of Katwyk Tile, was quite stoked about using Bostik materials for this massive mural project. “We believe we were hired because of the ‘touch and finesse’ we offer,” he said. “The people at Artaic highly recommended, Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Grout, which we had used previously and were confident would be ideal for this project. To begin with, we used exterior grade plywood, perfectly fitting it on the walls. Once it was glued and screwed in, we used Bostik’s GoldPlus™ crack isolation product, (ready-to-use, roller-applied latex waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane for use beneath thinset ceramic tile installations) which also served as a good primer and bonding agent to the plywood. After applying two coats, we started installing the Artaic mosaic sheets from the center of each mural. To do so, the thinset we chose was Bostik’s Glass-Mate™, using it one bag at a time. We were very happy how the material ‘stayed active’ in the bucket, which gave us time to adjust each sheet if need be. By far, this is my favorite glass tile thinset!”

The installation crew from Katwyk Tile use Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Glass-Filled, Pre-Mixed, Urethane Grout to grout the glass mosaic mural.

Bostik Glass-Mate is a premium, polymer-modified, thin-set mortar that exhibits superior bond strength, durability, non-sag properties and workability. Its bright white color and high polymer content make it ideal for installations such as that at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

Katwyk added that grouting was accomplished with Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout, which his company knew well. “We reached out to Bostik for advice, and Bostik came through,” he said. “All their products are easy to use, their customer service is great!”

Bostik grout offers “another light source” to the project

Acworth added, “Our relationship with Bostik began when we started using Dimension RapidCure Grout – their unique formulation that contains 60% recycled glass content – in our productions. The product is easy to apply, highly durable and most of all, actually adds more luminosity to mosaic productions. For example, if a project contains glass mosaics, imagine another light source being incorporated: that’s what Dimension RapidCure offers.”

Designer Bennett remarked, “We believe great design should be simple, so our process is one of honesty and communication throughout. Not only do we think it’s the right way to do business, but it does wonders for keeping efficiency up and costs down. Working with great suppliers such as Bostik, Artaic and Katwyk Tile, we were able to once again implement our philosophy for the mosaic murals at The Cliff Lodge.”

Scott Banda, Bostik’s director of Marketing and Business Development, summed it all up. “Along with our strategic partner, Artaic, Bostik is on a mission to resurrect the ancient art of mosaic design,” he said. “We’re bringing it back worldwide. The two murals at The Cliff Lodge and Spa are perfect examples of how mosaic masterpieces can once again be specified by the architectural and design community. We are proud and pleased to be an active participant in this ongoing, successful global quest.”

A video has been produced of this world-class project by Bostik. You may view it by clicking on
bit.ly/SnowbirdVideo.

Kari Bennett, principal/interior designer at Edge ID, a full-service Salt Lake City hospitality design firm wanted to bring the outdoors indoors, drawing on the beauty of the stunning vistas surrounding the lodge. The indigenous aspen trees in the area inspired the “wow factor” mosaic.

MAPEI Corporation – January 2017 Feature

1-featureA small building has accomplished a monumental goal. The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre (FSEC), located in the regional municipality of York, Ontario, was built to meet the Living Building Challenge.

The Living Building Challenge is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute (LFI). LFI describes the Living Building Challenge as “the built environment‘s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature‘s architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.”

The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas, called ‘Petals.’ The petals are:

  • Place – relationship to natural environment
  • Water – respecting a natural resource
  • Energy – renewable and pollution-free
  • Health & Happiness – environments that optimize well-being
  • Materials – non-toxic, ecologically restorative, transparent, and socially equitable construction
  • Equity – supporting a just, equitable world
  • Beauty – design that uplifts the human spirit
A small building has accomplished a monumental goal. The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Center (FSEC), located in the regional municipality of York, Ontario, was built to meet the Living Building Challenge.

A small building has accomplished a monumental goal. The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Center (FSEC), located in the regional municipality of York, Ontario, was built to meet the Living Building Challenge.

Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on prescriptive or performance-based goals that contribute to the overarching goals of sustainability, equity and regeneration.

Dialog, the architecture and design firm selected to design the Bill Fisch FSEC recognized that “Many common building materials have some toxicity and none can be present in a Full Petal LBC building. As a result of extensive research, huge commitment and exceptional collaboration from the entire team to meet the LBC criteria, the new centre not only looks beautiful, but feels healthier.”

To meet the Materials Petal requirements, Dialog and the regional municipality of York asked for sustainability and transparency in the products that were used to construct the building. According to one

A trio of MAPEI products was used to infill the slight depression in the floor necessary to accommodate the floor to ceiling windows. All three products met the environmental requirements for the Living Building Challenge.

A trio of MAPEI products was used to infill the slight depression in the floor necessary to accommodate the floor to ceiling windows. All three products met the environmental requirements for the Living Building Challenge.

of the engineers on the projects, “…one of the biggest challenges of the project was working with the ‘Red List,’ trying to get particular information from suppliers about the materials’ ingredients and find alternatives to the materials/products that were not permitted under LBC guidelines.”

MAPEI was able to provide Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and/or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for each of its products that were selected for use in the centre.

MAPEI products at work on the jobsite

MAPEI’s Technical Services Department has been proactive in developing HPDs and EPDs for its flooring installation products and surface preparation materials. Rigorous testing and results analysis have produced reliable results that MAPEI has been able to publish along with its Technical Data Sheets on the MAPEI web site.

MAPEI Ultralite Mortar was then used to install 12” x 24” custom concrete tiles on the walls in the bathrooms. The tiles were manufactured locally by Mondo Pietra Ltd. of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON.

MAPEI Ultralite Mortar was then used to install 12” x 24” custom concrete tiles on the walls in the bathrooms. The tiles were manufactured locally by Mondo Pietra Ltd. of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON.

For the Bill Fisch FSEC project, MAPEI products were used in a number of areas:

As part of the surface preparation before the installation of tiles in the bathroom areas, Mapelastic, an all-climate, flexible, cementitious membrane was used for waterproofing. The membrane waterproofs and protects concrete and masonry. Mapelastic can also be used for applications on new concrete structures with hairline cracks, as well as any cementitious surface that may be subject to vibrations and subsequent cracking.

MAPEI Ultralite Mortar was then used to install 12” x 24” custom concrete tiles on the walls in the bathrooms. The tiles were manufactured locally by Mondo Pietra Ltd. of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON. In addition to its HPD pedigree and certification by the Tile Council of North America’s Green Squared program, Ultralite has many qualities that recommend it for use by installers. These include its light-weight technology, excellent vertical application with large-format tiles, and a creamy consistency that promotes ease of use.

Ultracolor Plus grout was used to fill the joints between the concrete tiles. Ultracolor Plus demonstrated that it met the environmental requirements of the designers, and its ease of use was a real benefit to the installers.

Ultracolor Plus grout was used to fill the joints between the concrete tiles. Ultracolor Plus demonstrated that it met the environmental requirements of the designers, and its ease of use was a real benefit to the installers.

Ultracolor Plus grout was used to fill the joints between the concrete tiles. Ultracolor Plus with DropEffect™ technology is a fast-setting, color-consistent, grout that eliminates the efflorescence often seen in Portland cement grouts. DropEffect technology reduces surface absorption to help repel water, dirt and grime from penetrating grout joints. Ultracolor Plus demonstrated that it met the environmental requirements of the designers, and its ease of use was a real benefit to the installers.

In order to accommodate the floor-to-ceiling windows in the center, the contractor poured the floor with a slight depressed area where the windows were installed. This necessarily created a trough between the window area and the rest of the floor. The contractor needed a product to infill that area, and he wanted something that had the look of natural concrete to flow with the rest of the area. MAPEI’s Ultratop was the solution. Plainbond EBA was used as the bonding agent between the concrete and the

MAPEI was able to provide Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and/or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for each of its products that were selected for use in the center, meeting its material requirements.

MAPEI was able to provide Health Product Declarations (HPDs) and/or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for each of its products that were selected for use in the center, meeting its material requirements.

Ultratop. Planiseal HG, solvent-free, moisture-tolerant, 100%-solids, clear, high-gloss epoxy sealer was used over the Ultratop. All three products met the environmental requirements for the Living Building Challenge.

The regional municipality of York has made great strides in restoring the York Regional Forest, and the construction of the Bill Fisch FSEC adds that exemplary environmental effort. The building shows the world how construction should be for the future, and MAPEI is proud to have had a part in the project.

 

The regional municipality of York has made great strides in restoring the York Regional Forest, and the construction of the Bill Fisch FSEC adds that that exemplary environmental effort.

The regional municipality of York has made great strides in restoring the York Regional Forest, and the construction of the Bill Fisch FSEC adds that that exemplary environmental effort.

Daltile – December 2016 Feature

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Nestled among rocket ships and high-tech shuttle launch simulators is Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Astronaut Encounter Theater. Once guests are through the doors of the building, the renovated lobby and theater transport them to an area that resembles a space ship – complete with astronauts.

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The Kennedy Space Center wanted the project completed by the late-November holiday rush – but didn’t begin until November 8.

Originally built in the 1970s, the Astronaut Encounter Theater has played a vital role in educating visitors. This exciting presentation features a veteran NASA astronaut each day, providing them with a stage to share a first-hand account of their missions and experiences. Guests gather in the theater where the astronaut of the day provides a presentation about their experience, followed by a question and answer session. The lobby serves as a meet-and-greet area, where guests can take pictures with the astronaut.

Prior to the renovation, both the lobby and theater needed updating. The work of designer Michael Rainey of DesignShop and its team, the new building design was inspired by the rich history of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and its ongoing drive for innovation. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex hoped to create a design that was functional and durable, all while presenting a space that provides a dazzling backdrop for astronauts to take photos with guests.

Eight days from launch to touchdown
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The lobby was intended to look high tech with the LED lighting mimicking the inside of electronic devices

Even though the renovation seemed simple, the project was limited to a tight window of time. Slated for early November 2015, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex requested to have the renovation finished prior to the holiday rush, which begins in late November. Because of the firm completion date, the renovation team worked on an eight-day schedule to complete demos, preparations, and installation. Kicking off on November 8, the team removed the vinyl tile from the lobby areas and created a blank canvas to create a futuristic look.

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To integrate the LED lights into the tile, every light on the channel had to be intricately cut, manipulated, and soldered to each side of the hexagonal tile.

While the actual theater was limited in its design, the architectural team was able to be creative with the lobby area, crafting a space that would be ideal for guest photos. The focus of the lobby design was the flooring, which was designed using hexagon-shaped tile and LED lighting. Based on the renderings, Rainey sought carpeting and hexagonal tile that would bring the perfect balance of drama and neutrality to the active foyer. To select the appropriate tile, Rainey worked with Bob Moore of Mr. David’s Flooring International, LLC, located out of the company’s St. Augustine, Fla., office.

“The lobby was intended to look high tech with the LED lighting mimicking the inside of electronic devices,” said Rainey. “We decided to use Daltile’s Beehive™ hexagon porcelain tile, knowing that it would be a reliable and withstand the test of time. We added the LED lighting alongside the tile to create a futuristic element.”

Due to the durability and low maintenance benefits of tile, it was decided to switch from vinyl to ceramic tile, particularly with the lobby being such a high-traffic area, seeing over a million visitors each year. Daltile was selected based on prior experience – the team knew that Daltile had a tile that could bring the design vision to reality.

This subtle-yet-dramatic tile design complemented the network of LED lights that were installed into the floor surface. To install the LED lights into the flooring, the project members worked with a team of engineers. In order to integrate the light into the tile, every light on the channel had to be intricately cut, manipulated, and soldered to each side of the hexagonal tile. “We had to be very precise with how we cut the lights, as well as the tile, to ensure that the design could be brought to life. The end result was spectacular,” added Moore.

Daltile’s Beehive™ hexagon porcelain tile was chosen for aesthetics and durability, and won out over the original vinyl tile specified.

Daltile’s Beehive™ hexagon porcelain tile was chosen for aesthetics and durability, and won out over the original vinyl tile specified.

In the theater area, the project team removed the wall panels and replaced them with wall carpeting. The carpets of the theater floor, stage and green rooms were also replaced, updating the areas with a neutral carpet tile to place emphasis on the painted ceiling and stage area. The simple updates to the theatre, in addition to the overhaul of the lobby area, revamped the entire space, providing a modern area for guests to enjoy.

The project was completed on November 15, 2015 – just in time for the holiday rush. With the new design, the theater reflects the modern aesthetic of the surrounding technology and innovations. The new space offers the perfect location to meet an astronaut. Additionally, the Daltile Beehive tile provided the ideal solution for the high-traffic area.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was pleased with the final result, combining function and space-age design. The Daltile Beehive tile provided the ideal solution for the design, ensuring that the flooring will withstand the thousands of guests that will visit the Astronaut Encounter Theater for years to come.

Challenging Lakefront Mural Features 2,500 Pieces of Mosaic

Fitting the crab and turtle shapes into the Marazzi Archeology field tile accounted for “the craziest cuts in my 22 years,” Lamoreaux said.

Fitting the crab and turtle shapes into the Marazzi Archeology field tile accounted for “the craziest cuts in my 22 years,” Lamoreaux said.

Tile Geek Brian Lamoreaux, Southtowns Tile foreman, installs 40-ft. mural

by Lesley Goddin

For over 10 years, foreman Brian Lamoreaux and Southtowns Tile, based in Orchard Park, N.Y. near Buffalo, have been working on various areas of a $10 million Buffalo residence.

The most recent project in this home, which has been featured in Buffalo Spree and DesignNY magazines, is a $10,000 mural to adorn the floor of what’s called The Viewing Room: with a 90 ft. wall of glass not more than 20 ft. away from Lake Erie. The Viewing Room is actually an underground setting, connected to the main structure by tunnels. Carol Shaper, president and interior designer of Shaper Interiors, Hamburg, N.Y., has been leading the design and decorating direction of the home for a decade.

This 40-ft. mural features over 2,500 pieces of handmade ceramic tile in the shape of water and aquatic creatures crafted from scratch by Sheila Gavazzi, artist and designer at Tile by Gavazzi (tilesbygavazzi.com), Niagra Falls, N.Y.

This 40-ft. mural features over 2,500 pieces of handmade ceramic tile in the shape of water and aquatic creatures crafted from scratch by Sheila Gavazzi, artist and designer at Tile by Gavazzi (tilesbygavazzi.com), Niagra Falls, N.Y.

This 40-ft. mural features over 2,500 pieces of handmade ceramic tile in the shape of water and aquatic creatures like turtles and crabs crafted from scratch by Sheila Gavazzi, artist and designer at Tile by Gavazzi (tilesbygavazzi.com), Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Lamoreaux said the mural was covered over in clear plastic and mounted on boards to transport. Once at the site, Lamoureaux used Schluter-DITRA XL and regular to help adjust the substrate to accommodate the varying thicknesses of the handmade pieces and 19” x 19” Marazzi Archeology glazed porcelain field tile onto which the aquatic creatures crept and crawled. Lamoreaux had to cut the field tile to accept the irregular shapes of the ceramic creatures, and flowing water pieces. He declared them to be “the craziest cuts in my 22 years!” Five rolls of DITRA were used in the project, as well as ARDEX 77 mortar and LATICRETE Permacolor Select grout.

The finished mural is part of The Viewing Room, a section of this Buffalo, N.Y., residence, not more than 20 feet away from Lake Erie.

The finished mural is part of The Viewing Room, a section of this Buffalo, N.Y., residence, not more than 20 feet away from Lake Erie.

“PermaColor Select has a sealer built into it, is easy to work with, and dries hard,” Lamoreaux said. The company’s all-time favorite grout is LATICRETE SpectraLock grout, but he said “For a cement-based [PermaColor Select] is better than anything.”

A further challenge came in shaping the mural to match the 3-4 ft. curve of the 90 ft. arced window.

Southtowns Tile, owned by Doug Marchioli, has been responsible for many other areas of the home, including a $70,000, and an $80,000 bathroom, the latter of which features a heron mural of stained glass that Lamoreaux installed with Ardex 77.
In addition, one of the highlights of the residence is a limestone path that features reclaimed mosaic heads imported from Florence, Italy, cut into the limestone brick pathway. For this part of the project, the mortar of choice was LATICRETE Platinum.

This project came to TileLetter’s attention courtesy of Lamoreaux’s posts on Tile Geeks, a Facebook group dedicated to all things tile. Never underestimate the power of social media!

In another area of the home, an $80,000 bathroom features a heron mural of stained glass that Lamoreaux installed with Ardex 77.

In another area of the home, an $80,000 bathroom features a heron mural of stained glass that Lamoreaux installed with Ardex 77.

One of the highlights of the residence is a limestone path that features reclaimed mosaic heads imported from Florence, Italy, cut into the limestone brick pathway.

One of the highlights of the residence is a limestone path that features reclaimed mosaic heads imported from Florence, Italy, cut into the limestone brick pathway.

Feature – Custom Building Products – November 2016

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1-feature-column-infoWith 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.”

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After grouting was completed in each area, movement joints were filled with permanently flexible CUSTOM Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant.

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.”

Gensler’s design intent was to bring the natural forms into the interior space, adding warmth and a fluid floor pattern. Porcelain tiles are durable for high-traffic commercial use and meet the slip coefficient.

Gensler’s design intent was to bring the natural forms into the interior space, adding warmth and a fluid floor pattern. Porcelain tiles are durable for high-traffic commercial use and meet the slip coefficient.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

5-feature-1116The 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.

Tile craftsman Jesus Villalobos created the elaborate, sweeping cuts that mimic river and rock formations.

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

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.

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.

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.”

With a teamwork grouting method, one installer spreads grout across the joints, one shapes the joints with a sponge and one cleans the tile with a microfiber towel.

With a teamwork grouting method, one installer spreads grout across the joints, one shapes the joints with a sponge and one cleans the tile with a microfiber towel.

 

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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.

October Feature: Crossroads Business Park

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The Crossroads Business Park is a modern, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. (139,354 m2) office and retail space in sunny Southern California.

Temperature fluctuations, large-format stone tile and high elevations pose installation challenge

By Arthur Mintie CSI, CDT, LATICRETE senior technical services director

The Crossroads Business Park is a modern, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. (139,354 m2) office and retail space in sunny Southern California. It features a host of modern amenities and a progressive design that includes large-format travertine natural stone tile on the façade of the building.

The developers were committed to a sustainable building process and employed a number of innovative approaches in the construction that posed several challenges. The building is four stories tall and was built using concrete, tilt-up walls, meaning that the walls were poured horizontally and then hoisted into place and tied together.

LATICRETE was brought in early in the process to identify the best materials and implementation to achieve the desired results for the exterior tiling.

“With more than 80,000 sq. ft. (7,432 m2) of stone tile on the exterior, reaching up four stories, proper installation with reliable materials was critical,” said Brett Spencer, LATICRETE regional sales manager. “LATICRETE was able to deliver not only the best adhesives and grouts, but also help the clients achieve their sustainability goals.”

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A host of modern amenities and a progressive design was planned for the project, including large-format travertine natural stone tile on the façade of the building.

Challenges

Builders faced two major challenges with this project:

DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT – Surface temperatures on buildings in Southern California vary widely throughout the day, often swinging from as low as 60°F (15.5°C) overnight to 120°F (48.8°C) degrees in the heat of the day. Because of these dramatic shifts, expansion joints need to be larger than normal to avoid thermal shock and ensure consistent performance. In addition, the building is often exposed to wind-driven rain and must remain completely protected from that moisture.

SIZE OF THE TILE AND HEIGHT OF INSTALLATION – The 12” x 36” (30.5 x 91.4 cm) large-format travertine natural stone tiles used on the building façade are quite heavy, posing additional liability issues on a four-story building with walkways below. Permanent, dependable adhesion is absolutely required to avoid any potential issues with tiles falling from the building.

A LATICRETE solution

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LATICRETE 254 Platinum thin-set mortar was chosen for certain adhesion of the large-format tiles, installed as high as four stories up.

Van Nuys, Calif.-based Certified Tile, Inc. chose LATICRETE for its proven solutions in these kinds of applications.

To address the location’s difficult elements, Certified Tile, Inc. used the right waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane and grout to ensure the installation would stand for years to come.

To waterproof the entire installation from rain, moisture and the elements and to provide anti-fracture protection from the substrate, Certified Tile, Inc. used LATICRETE HYDRO BAN®.

HYDRO BAN is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane. This single-component, self-curing liquid rubber polymer forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane and bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates.

To accommodate the larger-than-normal expansion joints necessary to avoid thermal shock created by extreme temperature variations, Certified Tile, Inc. used LATASIL™ silicone sealant to treat the movement joints. The sealant was color-matched to PERMACOLOR® Grout, offering a seamless transition to the movement joints that allows for expansion and contraction.

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The building is four stories tall and was built using concrete, tilt-up walls, meaning that the walls were poured horizontally and then hoisted into place and tied together.

PERMACOLOR Grout is a high-performance, fast-setting grout that provides a grout joint that is dense and hard. It also provides outstanding color consistency and improved stain resistance.

LATASIL™ is a high-performance, one component, neutral-cure, 100% silicone sealant designed for ceramic tile and stone applications.

Addressing the size and height of the project required use of another LATICRETE product. To ensure the project’s large-format tiles stayed in place, Certified Tile, Inc. used 254 Platinum to adhere the tiles to the structure.

254 Platinum, the ultimate one-step, polymer fortified, thin-set mortar for interior and exterior installation of ceramic tile, stone, quarry tile, pavers, and brick was used to adhere the tiles to the building. 254 Platinum, designed to just mix with water, has a long open time with unsurpassed adhesion and workability and contains antimicrobial protection to inhibit the growth of stain-causing mold and mildew in the substrate.

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The heavy 12” x 36” large-format travertine natural stone tiles used on the building façade required permanent, dependable adhesion to avoid potential issues with tiles falling from the building.

“The stone tile is the highlight of the building as visitors approach, so we needed the best possible installation that will hold up over time,” remarked John R. Burroughs, LEED AP Commerce Construction Co., L.P. “LATICRETE products give us the performance we need and give the project’s owners peace of mind.”

Outcome

The installation took a little more than three months to complete and the materials come with a 25-year warranty. With the right products, Commerce Construction was able to achieve the elegant look the client wanted while attaining an installation that will hold up well to the constant heat and occasional rain of the area. The building is a success and is a centerpiece of the business park, helping to draw a variety of tenants who appreciate the outstanding construction quality.

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The installation took a little more than three months to complete and the setting materials come with a 25-year warranty.

In Memoriam: Kenneth Williams

kenwilliamsKenneth Williams, past president of STCA, predecessor of NTCA

February 11, 1925 – June 10, 2016

Kenneth Williams passed away June 10, 2016, in a hospice facility near Atlanta, Ga. He was born February 11, 1925, in Atlanta, and attended Boys High and the Darlington School (Rome, Ga). He was a World War II veteran, serving in the Army Air Corps. Upon returning from the war, he went to the University of Georgia and graduated in just 2-1/2 years!

In 1950, he and his college roommate, Whit Sweetin, formed Williams Tile and Terrazzo, which survives today as Williams Tile and Marble. He served as a trustee on the Bricklayers #8 Board, director of the Atlanta Builders Exchange, director of TCAA, and president of the Georgia Tile and Terrazzo Contractors Association. In addition, he was president of the Southern Tile Contractors Association, the predecessor of NTCA.

Joe Tarver, NTCA executive director emeritus, recalled, “The association was a small 13-southern-states regional group at the time of Ken’s presidency, going through some tough times financially and growth-wise. Ken’s contributions, before, during, and after his presidency helped immensely in keeping the association afloat. Ken was a consummate professional in every respect during a period when that was not always the case. His appearance, speaking ability, business acumen, and organizational skills helped control a struggling association during some difficult times. Ken was instrumental in consulting with Forrest Attaway, Brannon Murray, and Bob Roberson – names I’m sure you are familiar with – in hiring me, working tirelessly to grow what is now NTCA, and promoting unity within a fragmented industry. Ken was a class act in every respect.

“Not only was Ken president of (STCA) before my tenure, he was also my customer while I was with Misceramic Tile during the late 50s and 60s,” Tarver added. “I was an exhibitor at the association trade show during his presidency. I have fond memories of Ken, Whit Sweeten and all the Atlanta tile community. Ken’s involvement with STCA and TCAA marked the beginning of serious efforts toward unity in a seriously fragmented tile industry in the U. S. at that time. He will be remembered and missed.”

He was very proud of his legacy as a man, husband, father, and teacher. He is loved by those who knew him, and will be missed.

Total Solutions Plus 2016: Industry Unity Evident at Annual Management Conference

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The golf tournament and opening reception officially kick off the event, starting Sunday night, October 22.

by Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director

Total Solutions Plus takes place this year from October 22nd-25th, at the Hyatt Indian Wells Resort in Palm Springs, Calif. This is the second time we have brought Total Solutions Plus (TSP) to Palm Springs. The desert weather is absolutely fabulous in the fall, and the golf, shopping and outdoor excursions are an added plus. But make no mistake about it, Total Solutions Plus has become a place where business gets done.

This is our seventh year of creating this conference, managed by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association, Tile Council of North America, Tile Contractors Association of America and the National Tile Contractors Association. It has taken us a few years to get the format just right, but the event seems to really be working, and attendance and conference support continues to grow. We expect to have over 600 industry leaders in attendance at Total Solutions Plus 2016.

Approximately 100 companies will take advantage of the tabletop networking event on opening night of the conference, bringing everyone together into one room for a special evening of networking.

Approximately 100 companies will take advantage of the tabletop networking event on opening night of the conference, bringing everyone together into one room for a special evening of networking.

Years ago, our industry at times felt very fragmented. I am happy to say it no longer feels this way to me. When you step back and observe what is happening all around you at TSP, you see an industry working together on many levels. Before the conference takes place, on Monday and Tuesday, October 24th and 25th, significant work is being done in standards development. Over the weekend, dedicated volunteers and association staff will continue to make progress in finalizing product and installation standards for large-format tile and reduced-thickness tiles (a.k.a gauged porcelain tile panels). A presentation on these products will also be offered during the conference, with representatives from manufacturing, distribution and contracting all taking part.

Over 600 industry leaders are expected to attend Total Solutions Plus 2016.

Over 600 industry leaders are expected to attend Total Solutions Plus 2016.

During the conference, it is not unusual to see contractors, manufacturers and distributors having private meetings, sharing lunch or dinner, and making valuable business contacts. Independent representatives and agents often use this event to meet with distributor customers, and to secure new product lines to add to their offerings. Approximately 100 companies will take advantage of the tabletop networking event on opening night of the conference, bringing everyone together into one room for a special evening of networking.

The conference program is carefully developed by a committee of representatives from each of the associations. Keynote speakers are selected to ensure their program content is applicable to all attendees. In addition to selecting professional speakers on business and leadership, this year the committee has secured Ken Simonson, lead economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), to offer an outlook on the construction industry. Another example of a business-focused session includes a breakout discussing the importance of electronic document and data management, with cloud-based solutions.

The conference program is carefully developed by a committee of representatives from each of the associations.

The conference program is carefully developed by a committee of representatives from each of the associations.

In addition to the panel presentation addressing large-format and thin-porcelain tile installations, the committee has asked Noah Chitty of Crossville Inc., and Mark Heinlein of the NTCA to offer a presentation explaining the relationship between manufacturing guidelines in ANSI A137.1 and acceptable installation standards related to lippage tolerances. This is a very important session for manufacturers, distributors and contractors, as all parties are often thrown into disputes where lippage of tile edges is a concern.

Have fun networking with friends; learn a new skill

Have fun networking with friends; learn a new skill

The golf tournament and the opening night reception officially kick off the conference on Sunday evening, October 23rd. Several spouse and guest tours are offered during the conference dates as well. Sponsors of the program and events can be found on the Total Solutions website at www.ctdahome.org/tsp/2016/, as well as a complete conference program, tabletop exhibitor list, and conference and hotel registration.

Speaking of the hotel, the Hyatt Indian Wells resort is a spectacular venue. The Indian Wells golf course is one of the best in the desert, having been part of the Bob Hope Desert Classic rotation for many years. If you are planning on attending TSP and have not reserved your hotel, you need to do so as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about the value of Total Solutions Plus, feel free to drop me an email at [email protected] We hope to see you in Palm Springs this fall.

 

September Feature: San Francisco’s Hotel Grace

Old hotel gets trendy new look with MAPEI ShowerPerfect

(Ed. Note: Shortly before press time, Pineapple Hospitality made the decision to change the name of Hotel Grace to The Alise. Find more information on the hotel here: thealise.com.)

In a press release touting the opening of Hotel Grace in San Francisco, the owners reported, “Hotel Grace is the embodiment of Pineapple Hospitality’s vision for what a refined, urban, classic yet modern hotel should be. Located at 580 Geary Street, Hotel Grace is just steps from Union Square, the Theater District, Nob Hill, The Wharf, cable cars, and more. Designed by Glenn Texeira and San Francisco-based architecture firm Stanton Architecture with a deep respect for the building’s impressive 103-year-old history, the fully renovated and reimagined property has been entirely modernized from top to bottom with thoughtful design details at every turn.

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ShowerPerfect installation underway.

“The 93-room Hotel Grace provides distinctive accommodations unlikely to be found anywhere else in San Francisco,” the release continued. “Each king and queen guestroom has a cheerful color palette of vibrant yellow against muted gray. Custom fabrics and finishes lend an air of subtle sophistication. The décor includes a graceful blend of modern touches like ultra-high-speed WiFi, air conditioning, upgraded sound proofing, and thoughtful lighting, with traditional touches of dark wood floors, elegant lamps, and a closet complete with black wallpaper embossed with golden pineapples. One large black and white vintage scene is artfully framed in gold in every room, while custom-designed bedroom furniture and exquisite marble and tile bathrooms maximize utility and evoke an easy, residential-style experience with a nod to the property’s original design elements.”

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Shower installation finished.

The Hotel Grace – formerly known as the Hotel California, and only five blocks away from Grace Cathedral — brings a sense of home to its guests with its “pets welcome” policy. Up to two canine companions (unlimited weight) are allowed to stay in select guest rooms, and the hotel provides a whole set of doggie delights, including a dog bed for the four-legged guests.

Another perk of the hotel for adventure-loving visitors are the Pineapple cruisers. A pineapple-yellow bicycle, complete with helmet and bike lock, is available free of charge to each guest. The front desk staff will even help hotel guests plan their cycling tour around the city.

Especially important in today’s world, Pineapple Hotels are dedicated to being stewards of the environment. In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Hotel Grace uses environmentally conscious cleaning products, recycles, saves water, and supports local businesses. The hotel also makes it easy for guests to be earth friendly during their stay.

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Marble tile installed on bathroom walls with Ultralite Mortar Pro and Ultracolor Plus grout.

All these amenities were part of the planned transformation of the former Hotel California into the Hotel Grace. Under the firm and practiced management of general contractor CCI, the insides of each floor in the building were gutted and new guest rooms with a modern touch went up at a well-scheduled pace.

MAPEI at work on the jobsite

The renovation of the bathrooms and the floor spaces in the hallways, lobby and bar were the work of Rubenstein’s of Seattle, members of NTCA, StarNet and Marble Institute of America. After the CCI crew had demolished old forms and fixtures, the former tub space in each guest bathroom was converted into a luxurious new shower using MAPEI’s ShowerPerfect LM system with liquid waterproofing membrane. The owner of Rubenstein’s had seen ShowerPerfect at The International Surface Event trade show; after a demonstration and mockup of the system, he convinced the property owners that this would be the best solution for modernizing the bathrooms. The system warranty provided by MAPEI added the final motivation for the selection of the system.

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Close-up of ShowerPerfect Drain.

Before the ShowerPerfect installation could begin, the Rubenstein’s crews had to deal with the very old, uneven floors. They first used Mapecem Quickpatch and Planipatch to patch areas where plumbing had been shifted and where there were divots and/or trenches in the substrate. Next they poured Novopolan 2 Plus to level the uneven floors.

The ShowerPerfect systems were installed using Mapelastic AquaDefense as the liquid waterproofing membrane over the pre-sloped panels and walls of the showers. Mapelastic AquaDefense is a premixed, advanced liquid-rubber, extremely quick-drying waterproofing and crack-isolation membrane for installation under ceramic tile or stone in residential, commercial and industrial environments. Mapelastic AquaDefense provides a thin, continuous barrier to protect adjacent rooms and floors below from water damage. For common problem areas like coves, corners, cracks and drains, it can be combined with MAPEI’s optional Reinforcing Fabricor Mapeband™ accessories (cove roll and drain flash) to provide additional protection. Mapelastic AquaDefense dries after about 30 to 50 minutes and is then ready to receive any MAPEI polymer or epoxy mortar. Mapelastic AquaDefense can be flood tested after 12 hours of drying time, is IAPMO-listed for use as a shower pan liner, and exceeds ANSI A118.10 and ANSI A118.12 standards.

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Installing tile in the lobby with Ultralite Mortar Pro and Ultracolor Plus grout.

MAPEI’s ShowerPerfect Linear Drain Assembly Kit was installed, allowing the crews to adjust the drains for a perfect fit in each shower. Rubenstein’s project manager, Michael Bradford, said that his company was on a very rigorous schedule to complete all the shower conversions, and he felt that ShowerPerfect helped them achieve their goals.
The showers walls and floor, plus the walls and floors in the rest of the bathroom were tiled with white, veined marble. The tiles were set with Ultralite Mortar Pro and grouted with efflorescence-free Ultracolor Plus grout. The backs of the tiles were sealed with MAPEI’s ECO Prim Grip.

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Lobby tile completed.

Reducing cracks and sound in the lobby and bar

In the hotel lobby and bar area, an elegant design of black and white tiles was installed over Mapeguard 2 crack-isolation and sound-reduction membrane. Mapeguard 2 is a next-generation, flexible, thin, 40-mil (1-mm) lightweight, load-bearing, fabric-reinforced “peel-and-stick” crack-isolation membrane. After application, ceramic tile or stone can be installed immediately with any polymer-modified cement-based mortar. Mapeguard 2 helps to prevent existing or future in-plane floor cracks (with movement up to 3/8″ [10 mm] wide) from transmitting through grout, ceramic tile or natural stone. It also reduces the transmission of impact sound from footsteps, dropped objects, etc. and airborne sound from sources like voices and TV through floors when installed under ceramic tile and stone.

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Tile on the lobby’s main staircase, installed with Ultralite Mortar Pro and Ultracolor Plus grout.

Mapelastic AquaDefense was used in certain areas in the lobby and bar for waterproofing. Ultralite Mortar Pro and Ultracolor Plus grout were also used for the installation of these tiles and the large-format tiles on the lobby stairs.

In hallways and common areas on the guest floors, carpet was installed using Ultrabond ECO 120 carpet adhesive from MAPEI.

MAPEI’s complete portfolio of surface preparation and flooring installation systems allowed the installer to meet all challenges that arose during the installations and to obtain a warranty to cover the project.

Project information

  • Project category: Hospitality – Hotel
  • Period of construction: 1913
  • Year of MAPEI involvement: 2015-2016
  • MAPEI coordinator: Chris Anderson
  • Project owner: Pineapple Hospitality
  • MAPEI distributor: Systematic Supply
  • Architect: Glenn Texeira, Stanton Architecture
  • General contractor: CCI General Contractors
  • Surface preparation contractor: Rubenstein’s
  • Tile and stone installers: Rubenstein’s
  • Floorcovering installers: Rubenstein’s
  • Project manager: Michael Bradford – Rubenstein’s
  • Photographer: Michael Bradford, Raul Ballester
  • Project size: 25,000 sq. ft.MAPEI products used
  • Mapecem Quickpatch
  • Novoplan 2 Plus
  • Planipatch
  • ECO Prim Grip
  • Mapeguard 2
  • Shower Perfect LM
  • Mapelastic AquaDefense
  • Ultralite Mortar Pro
  • Ultracolor Plus
  • Ultrabond ECO 120

August 2016 Feature: Achieving LEED Gold in Chicago

By Arthur Mintie CSI, CDT
LATICRETE Sr. Technical Services Director

Virgin Hotels launched its brand in the U.S. in 2010, and recently opened its first location – on the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago, the site of the Old Dearborn Bank Building in Chicago’s downtown area and business heartland. During the construction phase that lasted for several years, the original building was gutted and completely renovated into 250 rooms that occupy 45,000 sq. ft. (4,181 square meters) with a number of unique features and amenities. Common areas, which include event and meeting areas for groups of up to 150 people, were added and take up between 15,000 – 25,000 sq. ft. (1,394-2,323 square meters) of space.

feat-02feat-03Bourbon Tile and Marble of Buffalo Grove, Ill., a longtime MVP partner of LATICRETE and one of its top 10 tile contractors in the country, was contracted to install all the tiles for the project. Architects and designers worked diligently to preserve as much of the character of the original building as possible, and the new facility is now both Green Seal and LEED Gold certified. The company plans to have hotels in 20 U.S. locations by 2025.
Bourbon Tile and Marble faced three major challenges with this project:

Unproven materials – A number of stones and tiles used on this project had not been used on any previous project and it was not known how well they would perform once installed.

Warranty preservation – The installer needed to come up with a new, high-quality installation process to ensure that all work carried out did not void any warranties on the stone and tiles used in the project.

Sound dampening – Because Chicago is a busy city with lots of street noise and the building would be housing hundreds of guests at any given time, the hotel needed effective sound dampening that was compatible with the tile installation materials in all locations including common areas and guest rooms.

“This was an exciting project because of the new materials that were involved and the historical significance of the building,” said Eddie Bourbon of Bourbon Tile and Marble. “We’ve had such great experiences with LATICRETE® products so we had no doubt that the process would run smoothly and produce the results the customer wanted.”

feat-04LATICRETE solutions used in the Virgin Hotel Chicago project include:

NXT™ Level was used throughout all floor areas including the guest rooms, café and bar to level, flatten and make the floor areas smooth. NXT Level is a high-performance self leveler that allows tiling in as few as three to four hours and membranes in 72 hours. 9235 Waterproofing Membrane was used to waterproof all shower and bathroom floor areas. The 9235 Waterproofing Membrane is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing designed specifically for the special requirements of ceramic tile, stone and brick installations, which was perfect for the hotel. Bourbon Tile applied a self-curing liquid rubber polymer and a reinforcing fabric, which quickly formed a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane that bonded to substrates in the bathroom.

254 Platinum was used to install 30” (76.2 cm) by 3/4” (1.9 cm) thick concrete tiles in the bar area and the 4” (10.2 cm) hex by 3/4” (1.9 cm) thick concrete hex tiles in the café. 254 Platinum is a high-performance, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar.

feat-05LATICRETE Glass Tile Adhesive was used to install the glass tile on backsplashes. Glass Tile Adhesive is a water-mixed, non-sag, polymer-fortified adhesive mortar that is specifically formulated for use in glass tile applications. Glass Tile Adhesive has great workability and produces an ultra-white finish that enhances the look of glass mosaics, glass tile, and most any translucent tile or stone. In addition to containing antimicrobial protection, Glass Tile Adhesive is GREENGUARD certified for low VOC. Glass Tile Adhesive Mortar can also be used with porcelain or ceramic tile.

253 Gold was used to install 1” (2.5 cm) penny round tiles as well as the 3” x 6” (7.6 cm x 15.2 cm) floor and wall tile. 253 Gold is a superior polymer-fortified, bagged, cementitious thin-set powder that Bourbon mixed with water to install ceramic tiles using the thin-set method of installation. It is designed for interior and exterior floor and wall installations of all types of ceramic tiles, porcelain tile and stone over concrete, exterior glue plywood and a variety of substrates. It proved perfect for the hotel.

feat-06Able to handle various sized grout joints and available in 40 colors, PERMACOLOR® Grout was used to grout all areas, tiles, and stone. PERMACOLOR Grout provided a high-performance joint between tiles that was fast-setting, dense and hard. It was color consistent with the tiles and contains an anti-microbial additive that inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. PERMACOLOR Grout can also be used in joint sizes ranging from 1/16” (1.6 mm) to 1/2” (13 mm).

The hotel opened in early 2015 to rave reviews and is proving to be an excellent launch for the Virgin Hotel brand in the United States. Guests love the many features that were preserved from the original building, including a 1920s cigar bar that serves as the hotel’s front desk and the restored brass elevator doors.

The entire project was a success for a number of reasons. Bourbon Tile and Marble, a Trowel of Excellence award winner, completed the installation to meet the high-quality demands of the Virgin brand while also finishing the project well within an aggressively scheduled grand opening finish date. It also provided an excellent opportunity to get American products into the international mix and show how they could not only compete with the best, but also exceed expectations.

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