American Tile and Marble of Shreveport, Louisiana chose not to gamble on a tile installation system at their latest demanding casino project. They simply called Custom Building Products.
Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Wetumpka, Alabama is the second luxury casino hotel completed by American Tile for PCI Gaming Authority. Not surprisingly, it is also the second PCI casino built using a complete system of CUSTOM installation products. With a compressed construction schedule and a round-the-clock, high traffic business model to support, the specification team was taking no chances on this job. CUSTOM’s professional-quality underlayments, membranes, mortars and grouts were chosen to set a wide array of glass and ceramic tile throughout the project.
The Wind Creek complex totals 512,000 square feet with over 110,000 square feet of tiled surfaces. This property is the largest casino in Alabama and is owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally recognized tribe in the state. The casino offers a Las Vegas-style atmosphere with dramatic lighting, over 2,500 gaming machines and a raised center bar that boasts a 16,000 gallon shark tank.
Finishes range from beautiful imported glass mosaics to large format porcelain tile and quarry tile in the kitchens of the five on-site restaurants. A 20-story hotel towers over the casino and all 283 guest rooms and suites include tiled bathroom floors, oversized showers and soaking tub surrounds.
This fast track job offered many challenging elements for any tile contractor. Luckily, American Tile is not just any contractor. They also installed the tile at the original Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore and knew precisely which products would make this even larger and more ambitious project a success.
After winning the Wetumpka job, Jeff Blanchard, project manager with American Tile, contacted CUSTOM’s architectural services team. Together, they reviewed the product specifications and jobsite conditions against the variety of materials to be installed. At the tile contractor’s request based on past casino and hospitality construction experience, all tile setting materials were standardized to CUSTOM brand products.
“Everyone at Custom has been extremely helpful, knowledgeable and sincere in their efforts to make this project successful,” said Blanchard. “I cannot say enough about the team.”
Surface preparation began with application of LevelQuik® Advanced Acrylic Primer over concrete, followed by bucket pouring LevelQuik® Rapid Setting Self-Leveling Underlayment. Formulated using Controlled Cure Technology®, LevelQuik RS helps eliminate installation problems such as bond failure, crumbling and staining of resilient flooring caused by the free moisture found in traditional cementitious underlayments. LevelQuik meets the needs of ANSI A108.01 and A108.02, seeks its own level in minutes and can be poured up to 1-1/2″ deep to achieve the true flatness required for large format tile and an extra heavy service rating. Its fast cure rate and early high strength allowed tiling to begin in only four hours.
CrackBuster® Pro Crack Prevention Mat Underlayment was specified to help protect the 12″ x 24″ and larger format tiles. This self-bonding, fabric reinforced, asphaltic membrane isolates ceramic and natural stone tile from cracks in the substrate. CrackBuster Pro exceeds the requirements of ANSI A118.12 and protects tile from in-plane movement up to 3/8″. It is also suitable for both TCNA F125 full and partial coverage applications. Floor surfaces were pre-treated with Peel & Stick Primer for proper adhesion and optimal bond. CrackBuster Pro also helps reduce sound transmission through the tile assembly, adding value in multi-story construction.
Tile size also dictated the choice of mortars. Marble, Granite & Travertine Premium Medium Bed Mortar (now known as Natural Stone & Large Tile Premium Mortar) is a non-slumping formula meeting ANSI A118.4 for use with large and heavy tiles longer than 15″ on any side. Installers were able to apply it up to 3/4″ thick to minimize lippage in the extensive plank tile assemblies throughout the property. Large format tile was back buttered to ensure full coverage.
Prior to spreading mortar, RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane was applied in all bathrooms and kitchens. RedGard is a ready to use, quick drying, elastomeric membrane that creates a continuous waterproofing and moisture vapor barrier. Applying two coats exceeded ANSI A118.10 requirements and qualifies with IAPMO for use as a shower pan liner. The application of RedGard ensured a waterproof tile installation system in all intermittently wet areas of the casino and hotel. RedGard also exceeds ANSI A118.12, isolates cracks up to 1/8″ and is rated for extra heavy duty commercial service conditions.
The tile installation materials used at Wind Creek included three different solutions from CUSTOM’s Emerald System™ of lightweight and environmentally-friendly products. ProLite®, Prism® and CEG®-Lite are all formulated with CustomLite® Technology for both ease of use and contribution towards LEED® certification. These products are part of CUSTOM’s Build Green® program, which simplified the selection of environmentally responsible construction materials. Use of an Emerald System qualified the Wind Creek Wetumpka project for over 38,000 carbon offset credits.
ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar was used to install large format tile, primarily on walls and for setting the extensive glass tile throughout the casino. ProLite exceeds the requirements for ANSI A118.15TE and its excellent handling and non-slip characteristics were especially appreciated by the tile installers. Due to its recycled lightweight aggregate, ProLite is also 40% lighter than traditional mortars, making the bags much easier to move around the job site.
Hotel bathrooms and common areas were grouted with Prism® Color Consistent Grout. Prism is a unique, fast setting, polymer-modified cement-based grout offering high performance to meet ANSI A118.7. Its signature smooth texture provided superior handling in grout joints from 1/16″ to 1/2″ on a job with 40 different types of tile. Prism offered more stain resistance compared to typical cement grouts and delivers consistent color without shading or mottling – regardless of tile porosity or humidity during installation. This is an important consideration in most of the country, including Alabama where the casino is located.
“We love Prism’s color consistency and it is super easy to use,” offered Blanchard.
Select spaces with quarry tile including kitchens and bartending areas were grouted with CEG-Lite™ Commercial Grade 100% Solids Epoxy Grout. “CEG-Lite is a great product and cleans up much easier than other epoxy grouts,” said Blanchard. CEG-Lite provided exceptional stain resistance and the fast cure time permitted other trades to resume their own work quickly. Recycled lightweight components make CEG-Lite easier to spread than other epoxy grouts and the first epoxy grout that contributes to LEED® certification.
Once again, the team at American Tile and Marble was thrilled with the results. “All of the products performed wonderfully,” reported Blanchard. The entire installation qualified for a 25-year system warranty by using a complete system of qualifying CUSTOM products. This quality assurance provides long-term peace of mind for the tile contractor as well as the casino’s owners. In fact, at press time, the team has also completed the latest Wind Creek Hotel & B.B. King’s Blues Club in Montgomery, AL with a system from CUSTOM.
Wetumpka, ALYear Completed:
Hnedak Bobo Group, Memphis, TNContractor:
Flintco Constructive Solutions, Tulsa, OKTile Contractor:
American Tile and Marble, Shreveport, LACBP Architectural Consultant:
Chip O’Rear, CSI, CCPR, CTC, CCSMTT, LEED APCBP Regional Technical Representative: