Collins Tile and Stone, David Allen Company collaborate on commercial fabrication showroom install
When Marble & Granite Express, a Cosentino Loyalty fabricator in Chantilly, Va., decided to completely redesign and remodel its DC-area customer showroom and design center, only a beautiful floor that would perform under the most extreme foot-traffic conditions would do. Because this customer is a Cosentino Dekton Certified fabricator – working daily with Dekton for countertops, fireplaces, exterior kitchens, showers, facades and other interior and exterior applications – it knew that Dekton, of course would be the perfect solution for the 2,000 sq. ft. showroom floor.
Dekton is a breed of surfacing material unto itself. The website (www.dekton.com/usa) explains that Dekton “employs exclusive Sinterized Particle Technology, a high-tech process which represents an accelerated version of the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years.” The material has zero porosity and is super strong, lacking micro-defects in other materials that can cause tension or weak spots and it resists heat, frost and thawing. It’s also super flat, with 1/4000th of an inch tolerance.
To best show the value of Dekton, Cosentino has chosen to partner with highly-skilled NTCA Five Star Contractors. These contractors have a proven ability to expertly handle Dekton’s hardness and its size with specialized techniques and equipment necessary to work with the material. That’s why Larry Mazzola, who runs Cosentino DC, turned to Collins Tile and Stone in Ashburn, Va., and David Allen Company (DAC) in Raleigh, N.C.
Stellar collaboration from Five Star Contractors
Both NTCA Five Star Contractors – an industry-recognized measure of excellence and accomplishment — Collins and DAC have had a long professional and personal friendship, born of mutual membership in the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA). Buck Collins, president of Collins Tile and Stone is dedicated to employing installers with Certified Tile Installer (CTI) credentials, an industry-recognized measure of validating tile setting skills. Buck, along with wife Dana, has a superior reputation for performing high-end
residential installations with unrivaled customer-satisfaction. In addition, the company is involved in serving the industry and always learning more. Buck was the NTCA Region #2 director until last year, and was the first Northern Virginia NTCA Five Star Contractor. He also is a member of the NTCA Technical Committee.
Chris Walker is vice president of the David Allen Company, NTCA vice president , and chairman of ANSI A-108 and the new A-108.19 gauged thin tile panel installation standard. And it turns out that both Collins Tile and Stone, and the David Allen Company are inaugural members of the Cosentino-Dekton family.
The project got started when Collins Tile and Stone was contacted by Mazzola because of Collins’ regional reputation for high quality installations and commitment to customer service. After evaluating the needs of the project, Buck decided to call on Chris and DAC for collaborating on the job. David Allen Company – one of the nation’s largest contractors — brought experience with installing several gauged thin porcelain tile and large panel projects to the table. Since these sintered ultra-compact Dekton Zenith materials on floors were 56” x 56” x 8 mm thick, DAC’s experience was invaluable in ensuring a smooth installation process.
Good thing too – “The biggest challenges…were the size of the tile,” Collins said. “While the tools we used made that easier, we were still setting 21.77 square foot per tile!”
Another key member of the team was LATICRETE’s Kurt Webber, who worked with Collins’ Concrete Coatings crew to facilitate self-leveling necessary for the project.
“Since a perfectly flat floor is instrumental to successful tile installations — particularly large panel installations — significant floor preparation was required,” Walker said.
“The prep work took three days and the tile installation itself was eight days,” Collins said. Collins Concrete Coatings personnel used diamond-
wheel concrete grinding equipment in concert with a survey by DAC to identify areas that needed grinding or filling, Walker added. After grinding, crews installed LATICRETE NXT Primer and leveled the floor using LATICRETE NXT Level. In addition, two coats of LATICRETE Hydro Ban were installed for its crack isolation properties.
To facilitate moving and handling of the Dekton, European Tile Masters’ Brian Runkle reviewed the latest installation techniques and equipment with the installation crews.
The installation crews featured three Certified Tile Installers: Collins Tile and Stone’s Oscar Cardenas, CTI # 1007, along with two from David Allen Company: superintendent Marcos Castillo, CTI #552, and Edgar Martinez, CTI #1257.
Crews used LATICRETE 4-XLT large-format mortar to bond the Dekton and LATICRETE SPECTRALock Pro Premium to grout it.
In addition, Collins Tiles and Stone’s experienced finisher Arpad Bereczki (who is on track to take his CTI exam soon) and DAC’s Hugo Gonzalez also assisted with the installation (Hugo is enrolledin the NTCA University’s Apprentice training program). Buck Collins noted that the Marble & Granite Express was “absolutely thrilled” with the installation.
And the added benefit for Collins Tile and Stone and nearby David Allen Company is that there is now a “2,000 sq. ft. showroom in our backyard.” A true win-win for everyone involved.