Interior Design / Hospitality/Commercial Design / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Unique hospital design presents installation challenge

January 8, 2013

After a two-year construction project, the Palomar Medical Center West in Escondido, CA, has brought a breath of fresh air to the medical facility. Situated on a 52-acre site, the 11-story, state-of-the-art healthcare facility is designed to accommodate 360 patient beds, 12 operating rooms, a trauma center and a nursing tower with a diagnostic and treatment wing.

The new hospital is notable for its sustainable design. It was built with recycled and renewable materials, and it uses a minimal amount of water and electricity. Special features are designed to enhance a healing environment, including a 1.5-acre “living roof” and terrace of drought-resistant native plants located above the surgery, cardiology and interventional radiology suites. The green roof is also designed to deflect light and heat to provide a natural cooling system for the facility.

Wirtz Quality Installations, Inc. of San Diego was awarded the contract to handle all internal and external tile and stone installation. “This was certainly a high-profile opportunity for us — and one of the largest and most intricate we’ve undertaken,” said Amber Fox, president of Wirtz, “The project required more than 70 people working five days a week, plus many Saturdays. Logging more than 87,000 man-hours over 15 months took a well-coordinated team.”

The overall project incorporated 20 different types of finish material, including three types of glass tile, nine different porcelains, four types of stone tiles and over 165 tons of natural stone. The 45,000 square feet of lobby and corridor flooring consists of a porcelain tile with three different sizes that creates an intricate pattern that only repeats every 153 square feet.

“The biggest part of the job was the 288 patient toilet/shower rooms that rival most of the finest resorts,” explained Fox. “The rooms measure 8 x 9 feet with a radius wall, bench and shower floor without any curbs. The complete room was tiled, with the exception of the ceiling. We took on this job starting at the studs, created the very critical pitch to the drains and then waterproofed the floors using Custom Building Product’s RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. All floors had to pass a 24-hour flood test before we could continue. There were a total of five inspections that every patient bathroom had to pass before any tile could be installed.”

“Finding the right combination of products that factored in all the variables was essential,” said Devin Dickey, Custom Building Products’ Territory Manager. “We worked closely with Wirtz to determine the best and most efficient way to install the variety of different items that were required for the job.”

A broad range of Custom products were selected, including CEG-Lite™ 100% Solids Commercial Epoxy Grout, which was chosen for all patient rooms and the kitchen and cafeteria areas because of its 100% stain resistance and its recycled content, which contributes to LEED® Certification. Among other products used in the installation are RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane, Prism® SureColor® Grout, ProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar and Commercial 100% Silicone Caulk.

“The scope of this project was massive,” said Dickey. “It’s one of the largest privately funded construction projects we’ve seen in a long time. And it has required the involvement of virtually every department at our company — from our research lab to product and technical support to marketing and sales. Custom has been integrally involved with every phase of this project, including product recommendations, technical specifications, LEED® Certification and on-site job visits.”

Palomar Medical Center West 

Job Conditions:

• Variety of materials to install — three types of glass tile, nine different porcelains, four types of stone tile and over 165 tons of natural stone

• Green building — project had to meet LEED standards

• Complete construction of bathrooms — pitch of drains had to be built in and floors needed to be waterproofed

Products used:

• Custom RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane

• Custom CEG-Lite™ 100% Solids Commercial Epoxy Grout (with recycled content)

• Custom Prism® SureColor® Grout

• Custom ProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar

• Custom Commercial 100% Silicone Caulk

Installer: Wirtz Quality Installations, Inc., San Diego, CA

Architect: Anshen+Allen Architects, San Francisco, CA

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