The Hollywood Casino Jamul, near San Diego, CA., brings the classic style and glamour of 1930s art deco to life. With 40 different kinds of natural stone, porcelain and glass tiles setting the stage, visitors are instantly immersed in the Golden Age of Hollywood. High-performance installation products from Custom Building Products were carefully selected to ensure lasting performance of the extensive tile and stone throughout the venue.

Tile contractor, FA International Stone Company (FAI), and general contractor, C.W. Driver, both have a background building high-end gaming and hospitality projects. FAI recommended the use of a full Custom installation system for preparing the subfloor, providing crack isolation, bonding tile and grouting.

“We only use what works, so we’ve been using Custom for over 20 years. We requested a full system to ensure quality and a system warranty,” said Shawn Smedley, project manager with FAI. “Custom offers the perfect products for any condition.”

Large and Heavy Tile and Stone

Luxurious looking large-format porcelain and natural stone tile abounds, as you might expect in these elegant surroundings. As casino guests enter the valet lobby, they will encounter the craftsmanship of intricately patterned, inlaid marble and granite slab medallions that evoke a more sophisticated era. Apart from the extensive inlay work, the majority of the natural stone and porcelain tile was installed in 18- x 18- and 24- x 24-inch formats.

Flattening the subfloor

Before any of this large-format tile and stone was installed, FAI had to ensure an extremely flat subfloor. When unexpectedly high levels of moisture were discovered in the concrete slab, the project also required moisture mitigation prior to application of any leveler. FAI chose to use a CustomTech flooring preparation system. Because of CustomTech’s strength, durability and ease of use, CustomTech products were the best choice for FAI to use for this large commercial installation.

Subfloor Preparation

Rouse Company was engaged to bead-blast the surface and install the initial CustomTech preparation products. TechMVC Moisture Vapor and Alkalinity Barrier was used to control moisture vapor transmission from the slab. This is a solvent-free, 100% solids epoxy that can be used on slabs measuring up to 100% RH. TechMVC covers concrete with a single coat and dries in about five hours.

Subfloors were then treated with TechPrime, an Advanced Acrylic Multi-Surface Primer to prepare the surface for installation of self-leveling underlayment. TechPrime A seals both porous and non-porous surfaces, including the TechMVC coating, and improves the bond of the underlayment to the subsurface.

TechLevel 150 Premium Calcium Aluminate-Based Self-Leveling Underlayment was chosen for its strength, durability and superior surface qualities. This quick setting underlayment can be applied up to
1 ½ inches thick in a single pour and seeks its own level in minutes. Formulated to have excellent compressive strength, TechLevel 150 achieves greater than 4,300 Psi for high traffic commercial applications such as a busy casino.

“The system worked great,” said Smedley. “We are very happy with the TechMVC moisture control. Custom’s team is super helpful and makes it easy to achieve project necessities.”

Crack Isolation, Tile Setting and Grouting

To help protect these large and heavy tile assemblies, the leveled floors were treated with Custom’s ready-to-use, liquid-applied crack isolation solutions. FractureFree Crack Prevention Membrane was roller-applied to meet ANSI A118.12 for crack isolation and was ready for tile setting in only two hours. Intermittently wet areas like bathrooms received waterproofing treatment with RedGard Liquid Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane. Elastomeric RedGard exceeds ANSI A118.10, provides monolithic moisture protection, bonds directly to drain assemblies and achieves an extra heavy duty service rating. Both FractureFree and RedGard liquid membranes isolate cracks from horizontal substrate movement up to 1/8 inches.

MegaLite Ultimate Crack Prevention Large Format Tile Mortar was used for setting the casino’s signature ¾-inch natural stone slab medallions as well as stylish 2- x 8-and 2- x 4-inch glass tiles on walls and ceilings. This lightweight mortar delivers exceptional non-slump, non-sag performance and exceeds ANSI A118.5TE for installing large-format tile on walls.

Other natural stone tiles and porcelain of all sizes were set with the VersaBond family of mortars. VersaBond-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar was used for all of the large-format material. Versabond-LFT is a polymer-modified medium bed mortar designed for use with large and heavy tiles. This is a non-slumping formula designed to help prevent lippage, and can be applied to ¾ inch thick on horizontal applications.

A majority of the tile at the Hollywood Casino was grouted with Fusion Pro Single Component Grout. Fusion Pro is the patented stain proof and color perfect grout that requires no sealing. Its unique formula is ready to use and the smooth, creamy texture proved easy for FAI’s installers to spread and clean. On a big project like this, the finishers speed grouting by working in teams since Fusion Pro is applied, then cleaned immediately.

“Fusion Pro was chosen for its stain resistance as well as the cost savings over installing epoxy grout,” explained Smedley.

To protect tiled surfaces from greasy spills, the food court was grouted with CEG-IG 100% Solids Industrial Grade Epoxy Grout. Custom’s industrial epoxy formula delivers high chemical and temperature resistance for use in harsh environments, such as commercial kitchens. Lightweight Prism Ultimate Performance Cement Grout was applied to bathroom tile because it cures quickly and does not contribute to efflorescence. Prism is designed to control the hydration process and will not mottle or shade in the grout joints regardless of humidity.

Soft movement joints throughout the project were filled with Custom’s permanently flexible Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant. Aqua Mix Penetrating Sealer was applied to natural stone materials to help prevent staining without changing the appearance or character.

Numerous leading tile and stone vendors supplied material from massive slabs to 1-inch mosaics. M S International sourced most of the marble, granite and travertine; Spec Ceramics was the primary provider of porcelain; and glass tile in a number of different formats was supplied by Ann Sacks. Each marble and granite slab was hand selected to create the intricately patterned signature medallions in the lobby. The designs were then re-proportioned for seamlessness to enhance their finished appearance.