Corso Atlanta is a new luxury senior living community in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Sited on nine acres of parkland, Corso’s architecture invokes Parisian style with tapered mansard roofs and plenty of dormer windows. Interiors showcase highly-patterned and botanical designs that add French flair to the public areas of the property. A number of shops, dining venues and lounges are available to residents along with a personal level of service in traditional, timeless surroundings.
Over 40 different types of tile – from arabesques and faience to large-format tile (LFT) – were installed here with systems from Custom Building Products. These products were selected by Spectra Contract Flooring, the largest flooring installation contractor in the U.S. One of the first considerations for the team at Spectra was a highly-accelerated construction schedule.
Accelerated schedule demand quick-curing products
CUSTOM’s Rapid Setting Shower System was crucial to meeting very ambitious deadlines in 300 residential units. These two products work together synergistically, allowing rapid prep of tiled showers in fast-track, multi-family and hospitality projects. Installers were able to float, waterproof and flood test shower pans in just a day.
SpeedSlope Rapid Setting Sloping Mortar was used to create a variety of low entry showers. SpeedSlope is a rapid-hardening, polymer-modified, pre-blended cement mortar for leveling and ramping. Formulated for dimensional stability and exceptional strength, SpeedSlope is ideal for pre-sloping or creating mortar beds to receive waterproofing membranes. Crews mixed a slurry coat and then applied a dry pack mortar bed in the shower receptors. This mortar cures exothermically, generating heat to set up quickly and allowed application of the membrane in just 60 minutes. Its exceptionally fine surface finish required less membrane than rougher surfaces.
The cured shower pans were treated with the second product in the rapid-setting shower system. RedGard SpeedCoat Waterproofing Membrane is a fast-curing, ready-to-use, liquid-applied waterproofing membrane that creates a continuous barrier with outstanding adhesion. SpeedCoat’s revolutionary cross-linking moisture cure technology delivers an exceptionally-fast cure time. One coat dries in as little as an hour, and this product actually improves its performance in humid or damp conditions. SpeedCoat excels on freshly-installed mortar beds like the SpeedSlope at Corso.
“Our crews could not believe how quickly these products cured,” said Bobby Roan, VP of Sales at Spectra. “SpeedSlope and SpeedCoat were fast drying for a quick installation and we needed that speed.”
The homes’ shower walls and bathroom floors were prepped for tiling with applications of RedGard Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. RedGard is an easy-to-use, liquid-applied product that exceeds both ANSI A108.10 and A108.12 as well as ASTM E96 for low vapor permeability in commercial steam showers. This elastomeric membrane creates a durable, monolithic waterproof barrier that can accommodate any size or shape. RedGard achieves an Extra Heavy Duty service rating to protect tile and stone from traffic and impact as well as in-plane substrate movement. It also cured quickly to allow timely tile installation in the 300 bathrooms completed during Phase 1 of construction.
Lightweight mortars make light work of LFT
Much of the tile installed at Corso was a 12″x24″ format from Interceramic’s Durabody collection. This material was used on floors and walls in residential bathrooms, in addition to many of the common areas. Beyond that, eclectic tile designs included crackle glass, basketweaves and rustic-looking ceramics, juxtaposing modern and traditional styles. Floral mosaic patterns required a practiced hand to set properly and the bistro manages to have an aged-looking wall just like a Parisian bakery.
On large-format tile, the installers used NTCA- and TCNA-approved straight mortar ridges and flat back troweling techniques to maximize wet mortar transfer. Two high-performance, lightweight mortars were specified to install all porcelain and ceramic tile. Both are formulated to weigh 40% less than traditional mortars, so a 30 lb. bag has the same coverage as a standard 50 lb. bag. These mortars exceed A118.15HET for non-sag performance on walls and will not slump under the weight of large-and-heavy tiles on floors.
Tile in residential bathrooms and tile on walls throughout the project was set with ProLite Premium Large Format Tile Mortar in white. This mortar offers exceptional handling and is ideal for all but the most demanding installation challenges. Its lightweight, smooth and creamy formula is especially appreciated when setting tiles on walls. These are some of the reasons that ProLite is the most popular lightweight product in the CUSTOM line up.
Floors in the community’s common areas were set with MegaLite Crack Prevention Large Format Tile Mortar in gray. MegaLite is the highest bond strength, most flexible mortar that CUSTOM offers. Its superior strength makes it perfect for assemblies that will be exposed to heavy or wheeled traffic, such as hospitality-type facilities like Corso, or even exposed exterior tile. ProLite and MegaLite can both be applied up to 3/4″ thick on horizontal surfaces, exceeding the ANSI standard.
“The installers’ favorite products – as usual – were ProLite and MegaLite,” reported Roan. “They really like the handling and how easy these mortars are to carry and use.”
Prism Ultimate Performance Cement Grout was chosen for its versatility, color consistency and unique formulation. Calcium aluminate-based Prism is rapid setting, does not effloresce, and will not shade or mottle during installation, regardless of the environmental conditions. This was an important consideration in the high-humidity environment of Atlanta. Fine, rounded aggregates including lightweight glass beads make this ANSI A108.7 grout easy to spread and clean. Color-matched soft movement joints were filled with CUSTOM’s Sanded Ceramic Tile Caulk.
ProLite, MegaLite and Prism include recycled content that reduces weight, improves handling and performance, and contributes to LEED certification. All are part of CUSTOM’s extensive Build Green Emerald System of sustainable tile installation products.
Corso’s designers have recreated a piece of the City of Lights in the middle of Georgia where residents will enjoy beautiful and durable tiled surroundings for many years to come.