Stone applications revitalize historic ballpark

November 1, 2007
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A recent renovation to specific areas of Fenway Park in Boston, MA, included adding 26 new luxury suites. The floors in the kitchen and bathroom of each space feature 12- x 12-inch Absolute Black granite tiles in a honed finish, which were supplied by Marble and Granite Inc. of Westwood, MA. The stone countertops were fabricated by Cumar, Inc. of Everett, MA.

A renovation to selected spaces at Fenway Park - home of the Boston Red Sox and perhaps the “the crown jewel of our national pastime” - recently took place. Improvements to the stadium included adding 26 new luxury suites, which feature natural stone in their kitchens and bathrooms, as well as dressing up one of the concourse areas.

The ancient ballyard on Yawkey Way opened its doors on April 20, 1912 - just five days after the sinking of the Titanic - and on that historic day, the local nine outlasted the New York Highlanders 7 to 6 in 11 innings. Now, 96 years later, the Red Sox are still battling that old nemesis from the Bronx - only now they are called the Yankees - and Fenway Park remains the pride of America’s first city.

It is the oldest and smallest ballpark in the Major Leagues, and it remained relatively unchanged for some 90 summers of baseball. But all that began to change in 2002, when new ownership took over and looked to the park for ways to raise revenue and compete in the age of “big market, free agency.”

In fact, after just one day on the job, new ownership hired architect and urban planner Janet Marie Smith, who played a major role in the design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD, setting in motion a series of new projects aimed at improving the capacity and amenities of the stadium, all while preserving its historic value. Smith was also hired by the Red Sox to fill the position of Vice President of Planning and Development.

In one example, new ownership decided it was time to appease higher-end clientele, as well as themselves, and 26 new luxury suites were targeted for completion in time for the new season. Now, all three owners have their own private luxury suite, as does General Manager Theo Epstein, complete with panoramic views of the playing field, large-screen plasma televisions, comfortable sitting areas and private kitchens and bathrooms complete with natural stone floors.

Fenway officials chose 12- x 12-inch Absolute Black granite tiles in a honed finish, which were supplied by Marble and Granite Inc. of Westwood, MA, for the kitchens and bathrooms of the luxury suites. The stone countertops were fabricated by Cumar, Inc. of Everett, MA. Stone also forms a 6,500-square-foot concourse that runs along the back side of the Fenway facade, and provides access to the luxury suites. While the walls of the concourse are clad in 16- x 25-inch Kirkstone Sea Green slate tiles, Kirkstone River Bed Gray slate with a flamed finish was specified in a 12- x 24-inch format for the floor. The same stone was “tipped on edge” to provide a base that runs the length of the concourse.

All of the stone was installed using setting materials and grout from Laticrete International, Inc. of Bethany, CT. The installation products were supplied through Dal-Tile in Woburn, MA.

The granite floor tiles were grouted with Laticrete PermaColor™ Grout in the color Midnight Black, which includes Microban® protection to resist stain-causing mold and mildew.

The installation process

According to Al Rolli of Rolli Marble and Tile in Stoneham, MA, a crew of 26 installed the tile over an exterior glue plywood substrate. The first step in the installation process was to prepare the substrate with Laticrete® 9235 Waterproofing Membrane by roller-applying the GreenGuard-certified membrane over the substrate. The installers snapped lines to account for 1/16-inch grout joints, and Laticrete 317 thinset mixed with Laticrete® 333 Super Flexible Additive was used as the adhesive, according to Rolli.

The thinset mortar was troweled firmly onto the surface, and then combed over with the notched side to ensure the full bedding of the granite tiles in the luxury suites. The floor tiles were grouted with Laticrete PermaColor™ Grout in the color Midnight Black, which includes Microban® protection to resist stain-causing mold and mildew.

For the slate floor of the concourse, Rolli Marble and Tile used a similar Laticrete System, but switched latex additives to account for the exterior installation over concrete slabs, according to the contractor. Laticrete 3701 Mortar Admix, which is water resistant and better suited for exterior applications, was used. Laticrete 9235 Waterproofing Membrane, rated TCA “Extra Heavy,” was applied to the substrate, then brushed on 6 inches up the wall to protect the installation of the stone base. Laticrete 317 with 3701 Mortar Admix was troweled on, and the large-format tiles were grouted with Laticrete PermaColor grout in the color of Natural Gray.

For the 4,600-square-foot stone wall installation, which is set back and protected from the elements, Laticrete 317 with 3701 Mortar Admix was troweled on over a cement backerboard, and the Kirkstone Sea Green slate tiles were set with â…›-inch grout joints and grouted with Laticrete PermaColor grout in the same color of Natural Gray.

“We are so pleased to have found a product that can be used outdoors that gives our premium customer the look and feel of luxury that is expected in the foyer leading to the private suites at Fenway,” said Smith. “The stone installed with Laticrete is durable, withstands the sun and snow, and yet is as fine a finish as you would expect and hope to find on a club concourse. The palette of colors available gave us perfect choices to complement the historical character of Fenway Park - the oldest park in the Major Leagues.”

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