Lettered to Perfection – Little Tile Guy

This 1200 sq. ft. install, using local slate and wood-look porcelain tiles, is in the Factory Point Place in Manchester, Vermont. The building, a historic bank, is being remodeled to accommodate new businesses. Oliver Ledbetter, owner of Little Tile Guy, LLC, designed and installed all of the tile.

There are two inserts in the tile – one with lettering and the other in a geometric shape designed to mimic the ceiling. Each insert measures 5 feet by 6 feet.

“I got to design these inserts in my head and create them as I went – which was fun. We custom-made the letters and then fit the smaller slate around the accents,” Oliver explains.

He started Little Tile Guy in 2012, and he works alongside his wife, Breanna, to complete all the company installations. Oliver’s been in tile for the entirety of his working life, and after years of trying competitor’s products, he’s settled on ARDEX.

“We love our ARDEX products – after many years of trying all the available brands!” Oliver says.

He used ARDEX X 5™ Flexible Tile and Stone Mortar and ARDEX UI 740™ FLEXBONE® Uncoupling Membrane in the featured bank building slate install.

Check out his website www.littletileguy.com or follow @LittleTileGuy on Instagram, for more of his installs.

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Trash Talk: ARDEX Making Big Strides in Recycling

This summer ARDEX Americas’ Dallas, Georgia, plant rolled out an innovative recycling initiative that will effectively eliminate a large portion of waste produced the facility. Michael Deppa, Plant Engineer, spearheaded the effort with the help of Tim Blanchett, Plant Manager.

Michael explains, “Essentially nothing used to produce our products will end up in a landfill – things like cardboard, stretch film and plastic pails.”

The Dallas plant partnered with a local, well-established, industrial recycling company to recycle the material.  Designated plant areas were assigned for each type of material, and employees in each department were individually trained to use, empty and maintain the areas.

“It does require a little bit of coordination to set this up and keep it working,” Deppa said. “Our challenge now is to maintain and motivate everyone to continue the processes we’ve set up.”

Pictured: ARDEX Shipper/Loader Britanya Womack participates in the plant-wide recycling initiative.

Tim believes that, “This is a vital program that underscores ARDEX’ commitment to the environment and sustainability. Every plant employee plays a role in the success of this program.”

“Efforts like this one have the potential to make a huge impact over time,” Michael says in closing, “and as an added bonus, we’re saving money on dumpsters!”


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ARDEX Releases K 521™: A New Self-Leveling Concrete Topping with Aggregate Surface

Aliquippa, Pa., September 11, 2017 – ARDEX Americas is pleased to announce that ARDEX K 521™ Self-Leveling Concrete Topping with Aggregate Surface ​​​​is now available for purchase at all ARDEX authorized polished topping distributors throughout North America.

Like ARDEX K 520™ launched earlier this year, ARDEX K 521 is a self-leveling topping used for fast track resurfacing, smoothing or leveling of various indoor concrete and certain non-porous surfaces. ARDEX K 521 can be installed from 3/8” up to 2”, walked on in 2-3 hours, and polishing can begin in as little as 24 hours!  It is easy to install and typically requires less steps to polish when compared to other toppings.

ARDEX K 521 has a distinctive “aggregate-exposed” surface when polished. It is an extremely durable wear surface with very high compressive strength, and increased scratch and dent resistance.

“ARDEX K 521 has a unique appearance that really adds to our concrete topping product lineup,” said Greg Hunsicker, ARDEX Category Business Manager of Flooring and Finishing. “The polished surface is unlike anything else we offer, and provides an interesting alternative for almost any floor. Because you can begin sealing or polishing in just 24 hours, it’s also a great product for a job with tight deadlines.”

For more information on ARDEX Americas, please visit www.ardexamericas.com or call  1-888-512-7339 to find a distributor near you.

A Global Innovation Leader in High Performance Specialty Building Materials:

Recognized by installation experts, ARDEX is a global leader in the development, manufacturing and distribution of high-performance specialty building products for all aspects of substrate preparation, floor covering, tile and stone installation systems and architectural concrete systems for commercial and residential applications. A family owned company, the ARDEX Group leads through local customer interaction striving for excellence in all that we do.


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It all makes Cents: Rudi’s Tile & Design Construction

Markus Dworowy of Rudi’s Tile & Design Construction, is a second generation German Master Tile Setter and Craftsman. He started in the industry when he was just ten, learning the trade from his father back in Germany. When Markus came to the United States, he brought decades of experience, and his love of ARDEX products, with him.















Dworowy used ARDEX products throughout this small, elegantly-executed bathroom in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He used ARDEX X 77™ MICROTEC® Fiber Reinforced Tile and Stone Mortar​​​​​​, ARDEX FL™ Rapid Set, Flexible, Sanded Grout and ARDEX SX™ 100% Silicone Sealant for Tile and Stone Applications for shower surround. On the floor the products used were: ARDEX Liquid BackerBoard® Self-Leveling Underlayment​ for Interior Wood and Concrete Subfloors, ARDEX X 77™ MICROTEC® Fiber Reinforced Tile and Stone Mortar as well as ARDEX FL™ and ARDEX SX™.

“We have been using all ARDEX products since the 1980s, in Germany.” Markus explains. “We always have fun using ARDEX’ products, because we don’t have to worry about any issues or failures.”

Sometimes Markus gets to step outside the box of his normal tile-setting and try something a little more unique – like this stunning penny wall. How, exactly, did he get all those pennies lined up? Well, let’s just say he relied upon his more than 25 years of experience.

The penny wall, located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was 200 sq. ft. and he used ARDEX X 77™ MICROTEC® Fiber Reinforced Tile and Stone Mortar in gray and ARDEX WA™ High Performance, 100% Solids Epoxy Grout and Adhesive​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ in cast iron. (For non-standard applications, we always recommend contacting ARDEX’ technical experts for guidance.)

“Every job has its challenges,” he says, “but we have a lot of fun in creating something unique. It’s always amazing to see the final results and the reaction of the clients.”

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WEBINAR: Capillary Passive Drainage for Exterior Tiling Installations

Join us on August 22 at 1:00 pm Central Daylight (2:00 pm ET) time for a one-hour educational webinar.

Exterior tile and stone installations are becoming more popular and requiring the use of specialized installation materials to handle the tough demands of tiling outside. With these tougher conditions to overcome such as freeze thaw cycles, water management and proper installation techniques, failures can still occur and result in costly repairs.

This one-hour webinar will examine common failures on balconies and decks, how the use of capillary passive drainage mats can avoid effloresce and failures, and how thresholds should be addressed so that exterior tile and stone installations can be installed properly.







About the Presenter:

Mark Pennine has been involved in the tile and stone industry for over 35 years.  As a third-generation tile installer, Mark owned his own tile contracting business for 25 years. Mark has worked for ARDEX Americas for the past five years, most recently as the Technical Manager of Tile and Stone Installation Systems. He has presented tile and stone installation products and procedures to contractors, architects, manufacturers, and distributors. Mark is active on many industry committees including the ANSI ASC A108 standards committee, NTCA Technical committee, MMSA, and IICRC substrate committee.

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The Art of Putting Pieces Together: Fabulous Mosaics

Self-taught artist Fabrice Allen composes stunning tile and glass mosaics. He started this lion with a statue made from a resin mold.

“All of the mirror glass [pieces] were hand cut from big sheets to the small pieces you see on the finished product,” he explains.

Allen used ARDEX S 48™ Rapid-Set Mortar / Mastic Hybrid​​ to adhere the hand-cut glass pieces. The whole project took about a year, as he worked on other projects at the same time.

“I love using ARDEX,” Allen says, “It is my go to when I want to be confident I am getting a superior bond.”

You can see more of Allen’s work, which includes many portrait mosaics, on his Facebook page, Fabulous Mosaics.

Learn more about ARDEX S 48 here. Call 1-888-512-7339 to reach your friendly local ARDEX Sales Professional.

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Taking a New Shine to an Old Floor: Performance Floor Systems, Inc.

Performance Floor Systems, Inc. (PFSI) recently completed the first phase of a 110,000 square feet warehouse renovation project in Van Nuys, California. PFSI is an ARDEX LevelMaster Elite Installer®, a designation awarded to quality-committed, factory-trained companies specializing in the application of ARDEX® and HENRY® products and installation methods.

The first phase of the project was 30,000 square feet. The owners were so impressed with the results that they awarded the rest of the warehouse – for a total project size of 110,000 square feet.

ARDEX PC-T™ Polished Concrete Topping was used to repair many of the larger patches.  ARDEX SD-M™ Designer Floor Finish™​​​​​​ was used to repair smaller patches. ARDEX ARDIFIX™ Low Viscosity Rigid Polyurethane Crack & Joint Repair​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ was used to repair cracks and spalled joints. ARDEX P 51™ Primer was used to prime many of the patch locations.

PFSI Project Manager Warren Wilson Wilson said, “When I initially walked this project, I thought the floor was so beat-up it was going to be impossible to make it look decent. PFSI has some of the best polishing and flooring crew members in southern California, but even I was really impressed with the workmanship and attention to detail!”

A veteran of the construction industry, Wilson also holds a degree in construction engineering technology and management from the polytechnic university Cal Poly Pomona.

Wilson noted that Terrco grinding machines, Hi-Tech Fasteners, Diamatic, Mike Loken and ProCrete Resources, Inc. all played a crucial role in the project.

Learn more about the ARDEX products used in this project here.

To locate an ARDEX Sales Professional in your area, please call 1-888-512-7339 or email your request to info@ardexamericas.com​​.

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West Coast Style: Icon Tile and Design

Icon Tile and Design recently completed the entire floor and subfloor of a Bellevue Towers condo in Bellevue, Washington. The project was about 1,000 sq. ft. and they used a host of ARDEX products, including: ARDEX P 51™ Primer, ARDEX SKM™ Skimcoat Patch & Finishing Underlayment, ARDEX FEATHER FINISH® Self-Drying, Cement-Based Finish Underlayment​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, ARDEX V 1200™ Self-leveling Underlayment, ARDEX X 5™ Flexible Tile and Stone Mortar, ARDEX X 77™ MICROTEC® Fiber Reinforced Tile and Stone, ARDEX FL™ Rapid Set, Flexible, Sanded Grout, ARDEX DUSTFREE Dust-Reducing Unit for ARDEX Mixing Barrels and ROVER® Rolling Barrel Cart.

Icon Tile & Design co-owner Jamen Matthews said, “This project was very complex and challenging for us. We had to create a new flat subfloor with several transitions and height considerations.”

He continued, “Setting with ARDEX X 77 is a dream – it’s high-yield, creamy consistency and strength give it such versatility.”

Jamen and Co-owner and Operator Chanel Carrizosa have been in the industry for over 20 years.  Chanel was recognized as a 2017 Coverings Rock Star, an emerging leaders program that honors young talent in the tile and stone industry.


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Addressing Lippage in Large Format Tiles

The tile and stone industry is constantly evolving to keep pace with new innovations and trends in the marketplace. One of these recent trends has been the development of large format tiles.

A large format tile is loosely defined as any tile with at least one edge 15” or greater, though the size of tiles currently on the market far exceed these measurements. With minimal grout lines, super format tiles have a unique appeal, especially when used in large spaces.

Installing tile of this size makes innovative tools and installation materials a necessity, as placement, adhesive coverage and lippage concerns all become more difficult.  Suction cups, specialty trowels and lippage tuning systems have evolved to address the installation challenges associated with super format tiles.

In response to this need, several companies have brought their lippage control systems to market. For the sake of simplicity, we will analyze the MLT (mechanical lippage tuning) system, though other available systems may vary slightly in operation.

MLT is designed to be used with regular porcelain, natural stone and gauged (thin) porcelain. One non-reusable strap is provided for tiles sized 12”x24” to 18”x36”. For larger sized tiles, 24”x48” and up, a reusable strap is available.

The straps are designed to address the installation challenges presented by gauged (thin) porcelain tiles and guarantees the removal of the strap below the grout joints. This saves clean up time and limits the potential for tile damage.  The MLT plates are also designed to provide proper support under the tile and prevent voids.

The cap is designed to be disengaged after tensioning to allow for proper cleaning of grout joints, which saves time and possible tile damage due to aggressive cleaning. There are two options for the cap. The first is a rubber feet option which prevents mars and scratches of highly polished materials and is ideal for wall applications. The second is metal stainless steel inserts, which offer extra grip and tuning ability – perfect for a lippage-free install.

The system also comes with a setting tool that has five settings, from 1 to S (S standing for “snap”) to offer the installer different torque settings.

The flexibility of the MLT system addresses many of the challenges installers face when working with large format tiles.  By creating an eco-friendly option for installing the smaller tiles, to providing a setting tool that allows the installer to apply equal torque on all the straps – it’s an innovative solution that addresses the problem of lippage in large format tiles.


Call 1-888-512-7339 to contact your local sales professional today, learn more about ARDEX products, and find out local distributor locations.

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Red Rock Contractors: Making a Splash with Glass Tile

This week’s featured tile install is a stunning pool located in Gilbert, Arizona. It was recently completed by Red Rock Contractors and Red Rock Pools, with the help of installer Alpentile Glass Tile Pools and Spas. The pool has roughly 2500 sq. ft. of Oceanside Glasstile. ARDEX 8+9™ Rapid Waterproofing and Crack Isolation Compound was used as a waterproofing and fracture membrane under the glass tile. They also used ARDEX X 77™ MICROTEC® Fiber Reinforced Tile and Stone Mortar​​​​​​ and ARDEX FL™ Rapid Set, Flexible, Sanded Grout.

Rick Chafey, co-owner of Red Rock Contractors and Red Rock Pools since 1998, is a Master Member of the Society of Watershape Designers, as well as a faculty member and instructor for Genesis 3 Inc.

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