The New Miami Marlins Park Is A True Custom Installation For A Florida-Based Contractor

After a two-year long construction project, the home of the Marlins baseball team made its debut opening day April 4, 2012 against the Cardinals. The stadium, which seats 37,000 and has a retractable roof and a natural grass playing field, sits on approximately 17 acres of the historic 42-acre Orange Bowl site in the Little Havana section of Miami.

Following an extensive bidding process, Artisan Tile and Marble of Jupiter, Florida was awarded the contract for tile and stone installation inside and outside the stadium. “This was certainly a high-profile opportunity and everybody wanted in on this project,” said Chris Drehmann, Artisan’s Vice President. “There were four cycles of bidding and then one last round with all the final invitees.”

“This is one of the largest projects our company has ever undertaken — and challenging to say the least,” explained Drehmann. “Opening day was not moving and there were significant financial damages if the ballpark was not ready. There were also tight budget parameters. We were asked to value engineer $500,000 out of a $4-million dollar bid and still maintain the high level of products and provide lengthy warranties.”

Artisan also had numerous Miami-Dade County obligations to meet, as well as CSBE, SBE and community workforce requirements stating that 50% of all workers on the job had to be from Miami-Dade County and half of them had to reside in the city of Miami.

Custom delivered a complete solution to address the critical issues involved in the large tile installation.

Performance-driven Installation Systems & Support

“Every contractor in South Florida wanted this project, so we needed to be very competitive,” said Drehmann. “We partnered with Custom because no other manufacturer can match them when it comes to price per square foot, quality and workability. Custom is also very responsive, a true partner,” he added. “Custom’s factory, technical and sales support are all top notch.”

“Availability of product was also a key issue for us. All orders were available for pick-up within 24 hours. This was an important consideration since we were only allowed to keep a week’s worth of materials on the jobsite,” said Drehmann.

The scope of the project was extensive and included concession stand floors, bathroom floors and walls; locker room showers, walls and floors; executive suite floors, corridors and decorative feature walls. The job required the installation of a broad assortment of materials, including quarry, porcelain, glass and ceramic tile, granite floors and slabs, and glass and porcelain mosaics.

“Finding the right combination of products that factored in all the variables was essential. We worked closely with Patty Velez, Custom’s Territory Manager in South Florida and her team to figure out the best and most efficient way to install the almost 50 different items we needed on the job,” said Drehmann. “Custom’s involvement was critical. Together we came up with a package of installation products that would satisfy both the strict specification and allow us to move forward quickly.” These included LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting Self-leveling underlayment, Medium Bed Mortar, MegaLite® Rapid Setting Crack Prevention Mortar, ProLite® Large Format Tile & Stone Mortar, EBM-LiteTM Epoxy Bonding Mortar – 100% Solids, CEG-LiteTM 100% Commercial Epoxy Grout and Prism® SureColor® Grout.

“All of the concession stands in the stadium have abrasive 6″ x 6″ quarry tiles, which are difficult to grout, and Artisan was under an extremely tight time schedule on this part of the project — what would have normally been an 18-day installation area had to be reduced to 6 days,” said Velez.

Another challenge was when we examined the slabs before beginning the tile work, they were out of tolerance,” said Drehmann. “To maintain the aggressive installation schedule, the concrete was poured 24 hours a day until it was completed. The Artisan team used Custom’s LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting Self-leveling underlayment to bring the floors into tolerance. This fast-setting self leveling allowed them to begin installation 4 hours after application.”

Artisan ran separate leveling and setting crews for the installation of the almost 50,000 square-feet of abrasive quarry tile in the kitchens and concessions. using Custom’s RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane in all the wet areas also helped speed up installation. “We used CuSTOM’s Medium Bed Mortar to install the 12″ x 24″ x 5/8″ white-glass-bonded-porcelain tiles with a 1/16″ joint,” said Drehmann. “And that was an excellent choice — we have yet to change 1 tile for lippage out of the 45,000 square-feet we installed.”

“I always felt that Custom’s team members were an integral part of the success of this project.” said Drehmann. “They were with us every step of the way. And the result is something we can all be proud of. We are all very pleased with the results. The building is beautiful and the tile work is top notch.”