Sika goes beyond the expected on Florida’s Gold Coast
The Miami metropolitan area is in the middle of a massive facelift. Properties large and small are undergoing substantial changes that satisfy practical needs and aesthetic whims. When planning new exterior finished surfaces, the local mindset has shifted beyond simply undoing the effects of the severe Florida climate. Property owners are investing more in appealing installations that last. This means durable surfaces, high-performance setting materials and strict adherence to industry standards.
Fort Lauderdale’s new face is overwhelmingly porcelain. Owners of large commercial properties are drawn to its low-maintenance beauty. Its appeal has carried over to the residential market, as the availability of products designed to set large-format porcelain has never been greater.
Some residences, however, because of their value and/or placement, demand solutions developed for commercial construction projects. The residence on NE 20th Court, with its seven-figure price tag and 180-degree exposure to the picturesque but punishing intracoastal waterway, is one such property.
Exceptional residences need commercial solutions
Sika is one of several construction-materials companies trusted to provide product solutions and expertise to remedy structural issues in commercial and large residential buildings that bear the brunt of Florida’s extreme weather patterns. The Switzerland-based company’s solutions have been trusted to fill and epoxy cracks, protect structural surfaces from corrosion and water intrusion, reinforce concrete, and level and slope surfaces to render these megastructures safer and more secure. To complement the structural work, SikaTile® setting materials deliver reliable finishing work for high-traffic, high-rigor tile and stone installations.
In the Fort Lauderdale’s close-knit construction community, contractors who work on larger commercial projects can easily identify residential projects that require full construction material solutions. The crews at JL Building Concepts and LS Tile Design recognized that the renovation of the patio, pool deck and dock space at the NE 20th Court address needed a commercial system to repair structures deteriorated by hurricanes, tropical storms and everyday exposure to the waterway. The team also sought to deliver modern, lasting finished surfaces that would enhance the property’s beauty while further protecting structures underneath.
By the time JL Building Concepts set the stage for the tilework on the residence’s dock last August, they had corrected wear from lapping waves, seasonal storms and moored-vessel impacts. The crew treated metal structures with Sika® FerroGard®-903 before using SikaTop® Seal-107 to waterproof. When it came time to set exterior tile at the residence, JL Building Concepts worked closely with LS Tile Design and Sika to develop the proper solution system and ensure all work adhered to industry standards, found in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation.
“We’ve seen a lot of failures in the Florida market where incorrect systems have been put together,” said Sika Technical Sales Manager Ken Johnson. “That was one of the things that Jackson [Castilho of JL Building Concepts] really wanted: to make sure that he was doing everything 100-percent-by-the-book correctly. They wanted to build this according to TCNA. It’s a tried-and true method for a reason.”
Fixing slope; battling efflorescence
Johnson continued, “We wanted to address proper slope. If you don’t have proper slope, you’re going to end up with efflorescence. If you don’t grout correctly and use the right expansion joints, you could have buckling and all kinds of issues. There’s really no way someone can shortchange it.”
The team used Merkrete Underlay C to correct the property’s slope deficiency. On top of this, SikaTile®-100 Moisture Guard was applied for waterproofing and to combat efflorescence. Johnson explained the choice of product and technique. “This is TCNA F101, which is the standard that we followed for exterior installations,” he said. “Not everybody follows the TCNA standard. Typically what would have been done in this situation, and typically what we see a lot of in Florida, is that this would be a ‘Miami sandwich,’ which is an incorrect, false mudset done externally. With this, slope’s not followed correctly. And one of the biggest challenges we see in Florida is efflorescence based. There are a lot of big projects down here that have efflorescence cascading over the side of it because they use the ‘Miami sandwich’ to set it.”
Johnson continued, “Even take the system that we put together: Underlay C has the Portland-cement material in it, so it has the potential to effloresce. So, we put the Moisture Guard 100 on top of it, which keeps water from getting down and emulsifying the soluble materials, allowing them to dry and come to the surface. So, we are mitigating the effects with that layer.”
With the waterproofing membrane applied, LS Tile Design then used SikaTile®-475 LHT Premium Set for the 2cm porcelain pavers. SikaTile®-825 Epoxy Grout was worked between the pavers to further combat efflorescence, while SikaSil® N Plus provided the needed expansion joints.
SikaTile®-475 LHT Premium Set was used to bond all horizontal and vertical stone and ceramic tile surfaces. The team chose high-performance SikaTile®-815 Secure Grout for bright white color around the tiled fire pit and for the compass rose mosaic at the southwest corner of the property. All the elements of the Sika system restored the form and functionality of the outdoor space.
Adding grace to the Gold Coast
Florida coastal properties, whether residential or commercial, continually face the challenges of aggressive weather, a high water table and a history of incorrect tile work. In the middle of the push to fortify structures and find more permanent exterior finished structures, residences with extraordinary needs are turning to products developed for large-scale projects. With the right team and products, the property at NE 20th Court has become the latest feature transformed in the Fort Lauderdale facelift.
Phillip Hall is Sika's marketing communications manager, dedicating his efforts to the SikaTile® brand of tile-setting systems. His time as a decorated, award-winning Navy journalist launched his career as a public relations, communications and marketing leader. Before Sika, Hall led many successful marketing teams in the fields of surveillance, cybersecurity and industrial computing.