Reference Library : Case Studies : Rapid Setting System from CUSTOM Keeps San Diego Airport on Schedule

Rapid Setting System from CUSTOM Keeps San Diego Airport on Schedule

The San Diego International Airport (SAN) is home to the busiest single-runway commercial airport in the U.S. and second busiest in the world, serving over 17 million passengers per year. Due to this high level of passenger traffic, the SAN Airport authority decided to renovate SAN’s Terminal 2 East.  Terrazzo tiles were chosen because of their durability. Extensive product and tile testing proved this required a premium quality, heavy duty tile installation system that only CUSTOM could provide.

12According to Mike Micalizzi, the senior director of technical services at Custom Building Products, a previous installation at the airport was very problematic and couldn’t stand up to the service conditions. Because of that experience, the Airport Authority was determined to find the best solution possible. San Diego Airport’s primary objectives were speed, strength and durability, and CUSTOM’s installation system met all of these requirements.

A number of manufacturers were invited to present their assembly systems to the SAN management team. CUSTOM had conducted extensive assembly testing with the specified Wausau Terrazzo Tile to support both the weight of the tile and a fast-track installation. 4“Everyone at CUSTOM from sales to customer service partnered with us on this project. Their technical staff met with our installers and ensured that the products were performing perfectly,” said Dan Esqueda, project manager at Christian Brothers Flooring.

The airport’s installation schedule was non-negotiable because concourses needed to open to heavy foot traffic early each morning. “Our biggest challenge was having every night’s work ready for traffic by 5 AM,” said Esqueda. “This required very rapid-curing, high-performance products. CUSTOM solved the installation issues so the airport could maintain operations throughout the project.”

21Rapid setting LevelQuik® RS Self-leveling Underlayment was specified to create a flat surface in preparation for setting the 24" x 24" terrazzo tiles. LevelQuik RS flattened differentials up to 1 1.2" deep and was walkable in less than 4 hours. “The contractors were working under very challenging conditions,” said Micalizzi. “Installers were working off hours with a limited timeframe, moving themselves and materials through a very intensive airport security, having traffic over and around their working areas, mitigating an existing substrate with areas needing repairs and executing an extensive tile pattern and floor pitches.”

After leveling, a protective coat of rapid setting RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane was applied. RedGard creates a continuous barrier with outstanding adhesion and reduces crack transmission in tile and stone floors.  25Both LevelQuik RS and RedGard are rated for use under extra heavy service conditions found in airports.

Due to the weight and size of the terrazzo tiles, ProLite® RS Premium Rapid Setting Large Format Tile Mortar was selected. It contains lightweight, recycled aggregate especially designed to resist slumping and deliver a fast cure time.  Tile flatness was critical to the Airport Authority because they didn’t want to hear luggage wheels clank between tiles or see edges damaged due to lippage.

To ensure correct color, rapid setting Prism Color Consistent Grout was specified.  Prism is formulated to dry evenly without mottling or shading in the grout joint.11 1  “Prism is ready for traffic in just a few hours so the area could be opened to travelers,” said Micalizzi. ProLite and Prism both contribute to LEED certification, which is important as San Diego International Airport is the very first commercial airport to earn Platinum LEED status. Both are also part of CUSTOM’s Emerald System® of products which are guaranteed to comply with all leading environmental agency certifications.

“The success and cost efficiencies of the San Diego Airport renovation have prompted other airport officials to contact CUSTOM about a tile installation system so they can have the same success story,” stated Micalizzi.


Product Used - LevelQuik® RS (Rapid Setting) Self-Leveling Underlayment, RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane, ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar, Prism® Color Consistent Grout, Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant
Location - San Diego, CA
Year Completed - 2014
Tile Contractor - Christian Brothers Flooring, Lakeside, CA
CBP Architectural Consultant - John Diaz, CSI, CTC, national architectural services coordinator; Brian Swann, territory manager
CBP Regional Technical Representative - Chris Vombaur, regional technical sales representative

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