New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling Challenges

New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling Challenges

New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling ChallengesAfter a two-year long construction project, which began in April 2010, the home of Palomar Medical Center West in Escondido, Calif., was completed and open for business in 2012. 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 total budget for the construction project, the second largest building project recently completed west of the Mississippi, is in excess of $956 million.


The new hospital is notable for its sustainable design. It is being built with recycled and renewable materials, and once completed, will use a reduced 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. Even the waiting areas will have access to fresh air and two-story courtyards on each floor to bring the calming power of nature to patients and families.

New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling ChallengesA UNIQUE DESIGN PRESENTED MAJOR INSTALLATION CHALLENGES

Following an extensive bidding process, Wirtz Quality Installations, Inc., of San Diego was awarded the contract to handle all internal and external tile and stone installation. “We partnered with Custom Building Products for the entire construction project. Not only did Custom provide support and information to guide us to which products should be included in the project, they also created complete installation systems and warranties,” said John Wirtz, vice president of Wirtz.

“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 rock. The 45,000 square feet of lobby and corridor flooring used a porcelain tile with three different sizes that created an intricate pattern that only repeated every 153 square feet.

“The biggest part of the job was the 288 patient toilet/shower rooms that are on par with a fine resort,” explained Fox. “The rooms measure 8′ x 9′ with a radius wall, bench and shower floor without any curbs. These rooms were 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 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.”

New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling ChallengesPERFORMANCE-DRIVEN INSTALLATION SYSTEMS AND SUPPORT

“Custom’s products offer excellent quality and ease of application and we specify them for our projects. We’ve gotten to know and trust their brands,” said Fox. “But it goes deeper than that. The people at Custom are always here for us, to support us throughout the installation process. Not only did they ensure the proper materials were specified, but at our request, they were there to observe us during the application of their products to ensure we were applying them correctly from beginning to end. It is a true partnership.”


“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. The scope of this project was massive. It’s one of the largest privately-funded construction projects we’ve seen in a long time,” continued Dickey. “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.”

A broad range of Custom products were selected, including CEG-Lite® 100% Solids Commercial Epoxy Grout, which was chosen for all patient rooms, the kitchen and the 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 MembranePrism® SureColor® GroutProLite® Rapid Setting Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar and Commercial 100% Silicone Caulk.

New Medical Center Prescribes Custom to Solve Tiling ChallengesAWARD WINNER

This project won Wirtz Quality Installation and Anshen+Allen Architects each a Commercial Tile Award in the 2012 Coverings Installation Design Awards competition, co-sponsored by TileLetter and TADA magazines.


Escondido, CA

Year Completed:



Anshen+Allen Architects

Tile Contractor:

Wirtz Quality Installations, Inc., San Diego, CA

CBP Regional Technical Representative:

Devin Dickey