In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we have a focus on “Architectural Products.” While this can apply to a range of components of a design, we chose to take a look at the installation and maintenance products used for various projects.

As you know, no two designs are alike. Whether residential or commercial, indoor or outdoor, there are many factors to consider before starting a new job. Once the parameters are set, then it can be determined what installation and maintenance products best suit the application.

And because manufacturers of these products realize this too, they are continually investing in research and development to offer something to meet the demand of every design scenario.

In today’s market, grouts are now available in a spectrum of shades so that they seamlessly blend with the many color varieties of tile or stone. Also, there is now a selection of mortars formulated to handle the requirements of various-sized tiles — from glass mosaics to large formats.  

In the feature beginning on page 14, you will read how a grout with a glass bead filler achieved an illuminous result for the granite and Caesarstone tile floor in a Brownstone in Toronto, Canada. “The overall effect of bringing these two materials together at first glance was outstanding,” said the design architect. “But, I wanted something even more — in particular to show depth.” The specialty grout was able to create the desired aesthetic.

The Torre Arcobaleno (page 18) — affectionately called the “Rainbow Tower” by Italian locals — is a city landmark that was desperately in need of repair. Specific cleaners were chosen to remove the dirt and grime that had built up over the years as well as the graffiti that had marred the structure. Afterwards, a dirt-repellant and anti-graffiti cleaner was applied to prevent future damage.

A renovation of the SAN Terminal 2 East at the San Diego Airport (page 24) presented its own unique set of challenges. When choosing the flooring material, the tight installation time frame, as well as the high volume of foot traffic, had to be considered. The mortar selected for the job contained light-weight aggregate specially designed to resist sagging, which was necessary for the heavy terrazzo floor tiles. Additionally, a quick-drying grout was chosen so that it was ready for travelers in the morning. For this particular project, the installation product manufacturer collaborated with the terrazzo manufacturer to ensure a successful job.

Each year, technology continues to advance and products become more sophisticated and specialized. Installation products are critical for a winning design. Take the time to learn about all the options available, and don’t hesitate to contact a manufacturer if you have a unique project — more often than not they will be willing to assist you.