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Dream Pool Project, Staffordshire

Completed by Rob Faulkner from Abstract Pools, this stunning pool room and associated facilities was completed at a domestic property in Staffordshire.

A very labour intensive project, the first problem Rob faced was the very high water table on the land. This meant the pool shell had to be continually pumped and pool walls had to be doubled in thickness from 200mm to 400mm before being screeded with ARDEX A 18 and ARDEX A 38 screed, rendered with and sand:cement render and tanked with a ARDEX S 7 Plus flexible waterproof coating.

Rob also hand build the steam room with cement-coated foam tile backboards and former the showers, massage room and stunning changing rooms in-laid with mosaic features and niches. All designed by Rob in collaboration with the client.

A stand-out element of the project is the amazing 3D effect feature wall of Irish Blue tiles from Rockfort running the length of the pool hall with in-build fountains.

Tiles were randomized in thickness and size – ranging in thickness from 20mm to 50mm to provide the 3D effect. They also feature white in-laid fossils, creating a unique natural element.

An extremely complex fix, it required Rob to re-design the wall so the larger format tiles were fixed so the fountain cuts fell on a full tile. Because of the height and the weight of the tiles, they were mechanically fixed in conjunction with ARDEX X 7 tile adhesive.

Another beautiful element of the project is the steam room, changing rooms and massage room tiled Ezarri Alexander mosaics – a blend of shiny mosaics specially designed for cladding interiors, swimming pools, spas, saunas and wellness.

Fixed with ARDEX X 77 Flexible Standard Set Tile Adhesive, the mosaics were grouted with ARDEX FLEX-FL Flexible Rapid-Set Tile Grout to provide a perfect finish.

Pool surround, massage room, steam room, experience showers, changing room and plant room floors were tiled with 1200x600mm Greenwich Park structured porcelain tiles fixed with ARDEX X7 and grouted with ARDEX FLEX-FS Flexible Standard Set Grout.

As well as the tiling and internally builds, Rob and his team also installed a white stretch ceiling over the pool hall with colour change LED lighting. Stretch ceilings in the steam room, massage room and changing room with colour change LED lighting.

“This was an absolutely dream project to work with, despite the intricacies of the job and the high labour intense elements to bring the project to completion,” said Rob.

“Thankfully the client – a very wealthy private individual – was also delighted with the project which gives him a superb space for entertainment and relaxation.”

For more information on ARDEX adhesives grouts and how they can help your project, get in touch with the ARDEX Specification Team or ARDEX Sales Team.

Coalville Leisure Centre. Leicester

Midlands Floor Screeding demonstrate the versatility of ARDEX A 29 Rapid Drying Floor Screed Cement at the new £22.5m Coalville Leisure Centre.

Councillor Richard Blunt, leader of North West Leicestershire District Council which is building the centre, said:

“This leisure centre is the culmination of years of hard work from both the district council and our partners as we strive to achieve our ambition of providing top-quality health and wellbeing facilities for people in North West Leicestershire. By 2022 Coalville with have one of the best leisure facilities in the country.”

The centre itself includes:

  • An eight-lane 25m main pool and learner pool with moveable flooring,
  • 120 station gym, 25 spin cycles and two exercise studios
  • Café with healthy eating options
  • Eight court sports hall and three squash courts
  • Changing Places facility accessible from the lobby
  • Clip ‘n’ Climb
  • Sauna, steam and spa pool

The original screed specification asked for multiple products to address the varying and challenging substrates across 2500 square metres of flooring across the centre. But after Louis Dewsbury (Managing Director at Midlands Floor Screeding Ltd.) consulted with the ARDEX team it became apparent that a far better solution was possible.

With factors such as strength, workability and cost effectiveness being paramount to provide the client with the best floor possible. The solution came with ARDEX A 29 Rapid Drying Floor Screed and ARDEX A 18 and E 100 as the two ideal bonding agents.

ARDEX A 29 provides a great combination of speed (tile in as little as 24 hours and continue with all other floor coverings after only 7 days), economy (mix as 1 part cement to 7 parts sand!) and performance (great workability with a massive 90 minute working time).

Midlands Floor Screeding are the midlands largest screeding contractor focusing on large commercial projects in the education, leisure, residential sector etc. And what people find is, when ARDEX and Midlands Floor Screeding work together, they get a quality product, one that they use time and time again.” Louis Dewsbury, Managing Director  

For more information on ARDEX screeds and how they can help your project, get in touch with the ARDEX Specification Team or ARDEX Sales Team.

ARDEX Fast Track Screed Team

Click here to see the full range of ARDEX Fast Track Screeding products

Monster Energy Drinks HQ, London

Monster Energy drinks wanted to create the look of a concrete road with tyre marks for their head office main reception area. With the help of The Resin Flooring Co, ARDEX UK and a professional stunt motorbike rider, their idea came to life.

PanDOMO Floor was chosen for this project, PanDOMO Floor is a levelling compound that creates a finished surface with the appearance of polished concrete with unique subtle sweeps and lines, it can also be pigmented to create a colour of your choice for a bespoke look.

Together, The Resin Flooring Co and ARDEX UK tested several ARDEX sealers to ensure the tyre marks created wouldn’t be affected by the floor sealer or the maintenance products.

Jason and Ryan from The Resin Flooring Co installed the floor in just a few days, following the weekend the floor was strong enough to take the weight of the motorbike to create the tyre marks.

Products Used:

  • ARDEX R 5 E Primer
  • PanDOMO Floor K 3
  • PanDOMO Stone Oil
  • PanDOMO SP-MS Matt Sealer

Evolution House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

The Australian House, or Evolution House, as it is now known, opened in 1952, and was a gift from the Australian Government. It was built to house plants from the extremely dry climate of south-west Australia. Since 1995 it has housed the evolution exhibition which charts the evolution of plants.

In summer 2019, Graham Construction were appointed to install a new floor in the Evolution House. The full refit took three weeks, five of those days were spent creating the finished floor with ARDEX products, and with our range of surfaces products Graham Construction were able to create a natural stone effect to mirror a modern-day Australian desert. ARDEX attended the site to consult on the best products to use and to support the team of four installers at each stage of the installation. Due to the type of the floor, it complimented the thermal mass of the concrete slab, supporting the thermal efficiency of the greenhouse.

Products Used:

  • ARDEX K 301 – Levelling & Resurfacing Compound
  • ARDEX R 3 E – Primer
  • Fine Grain Aggregate
  • PanDOMO SP-SL – Stone Oil
  • PanDOMO SP-PS – Satin Sealer

Butlins Bognor Regis Pool Complex

Butlins has been a firm family favourite for holidaymakers since opening its first resort in 1936. At the heart of their facilities are the swimming pools, which have always been one of the biggest draws for parents and children alike. However, at over 30 years old their Bognor Regis site needed modernisation.

In 2017, work started on-site to bring the ambitious plans for the new facility to life, and at 6300m2 it was 30% larger than its predecessor. The new state-of-the-art swimming pool complex was based upon a fun, nostalgic, brightly coloured theme and included several exciting features such as flume rides, an outdoor rapid ride, wave pool and lido. Families of all sizes and ages were at the heart of the new development, with large changing facilities, a toddler play zone with slides, interactive water features and rides suitable for a large range of ages and abilities.

The project Architect was PWP Architects, Kier was the main contractor and Dyson Briggs was the sub-contract tiling specialist. Looking for solutions for substrate preparation and tile fixing, ARDEX was contacted due to their expertise in pool and wet leisure installations. Specifically, ARDEX’s reputation for manufacturing high-performance products and supplying world-class projects such as the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games and Tollcross International Swimming Centre for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Following a full review from ARDEX’s National Business Development Manager, Shaun Howarth, the following specification was provided and worked to.

Submerged Pool Tank Areas

ARDEX’s system for concrete pool shells is tried and tested to perform in this challenging environment. Many of its products are rapid drying to assist with project timings by speeding up the installation process.

Unsubmerged Pool Surround & Changing Areas

ARDEX’s system of high-performance products for wet areas is designed to provide excellent quality and long-lasting installations.

  • ARDEX A 29 Rapid Drying Cement for Internal & External Screeds
  • ARDEX AM 100 Rapid Set One Coat Tile Render
  • ARDEX WPC Flexible Rapid Drying Waterproof Coating for Internal Wet Areas
  • ARDEX X 7 Flexible Standard Set Tile Adhesive
  • ARDEX-FLEX FS Flexible Standard Set Tile Grout for Narrow Joints
  • ARDEX-FLEX FL Flexible Rapid Set Tile Grout for Wide Joints

Other Products Used Throughout

ARDEX provided continued support throughout the entirety of the project, with the Business Development Team always on-hand to provide specification advice, answer questions and perform site visits.

Commenting on ARDEX’s involvement in the project, Kier said, “We needed an experienced and reliable supplier for a bespoke family waterpark for a popular holiday resort, which required 2.4m tiles in total. ARDEX helped in the very early stages of the project, supplying excellent screed and adhesive products for all the tiled areas. With numerous pools and water rides, this complex project had varying curves and differing levels, where ARDEX provided specific products for these areas. They provided excellent support on-site, particularly to the tile-laying company, visiting numerous times throughout the project. With their help, the waterpark successfully opened for the Client’s completion date – Spring 2019, ready for the Easter holidays.”

ARDEX UK is a system solution provider of high-performance speciality building materials and the brand choice for installers and distributors throughout the construction industry. To find out more about ARDEX products, visit www.ardex.co.uk.

The Royal Albert Hall

The leading manufacturer of premium quality flooring systems, ARDEX UK teamed up with East West Flooring to deliver the ideal flooring solution for a refurbishment project at the Royal Albert Hall.

The main ground floor atrium area required a flat, durable and smooth floor, which would receive final floorcoverings at the earliest possible opportunity. Boasting a superb portfolio of successful commercial installations, ARDEX specified the perfect system solution for this prestigious project.

The Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK’s most treasured and distinctive buildings, recognisable the world over. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world’s leading artists from every kind of performance genre have appeared on its stage. This shared experience of the very best of live performance is now enjoyed by well over a million people each year at the Hall and by many millions more around the world through broadcasts, recordings and new media channels.

Once the existing floor had been removed, ARDITEX NA, an ultra rapid setting latex sub floor levelling and smoothing compound was applied to the 400m² area. ARDITEX NA’s rapid setting properties mean that floorcoverings can be applied after just 4 hours, and its adhesion and flexibility mean ARDITEX NA is perfect for levelling concrete, cement/sand screeds, flooring grade asphalt, quarry tiles and even internal steel decks without priming. The ammonia free formulation proved an added bonus, making it perfect for use in such a high trafficked public area.

To complete the system, the Freudenberg rubber floor tiles, which were specifically selected to match the existing tiles, were fixed with ARDEX AF 2300. Ideal for use with rubber floorcoverings, ARDEX AF 2300 is a single part, water-based, low odour and solvent free adhesive. The adhesive offers excellent early and long term adhesive strength, and allows the installation of rubber floorcoverings up to 4mm thick without the need for the adhesive to develop tack. In addition, ARDEX AF 2300 is easy to apply and due to its high yield has a very competitive cost per m².

Commenting on the project, Terry Nevill-Jones of East West Flooring said, “We were delighted to work on this project, and it was of course essential that we assured our client of a totally proven solution. By working with ARDEX things are never ‘left to chance’ – the job is always delivered on time, on budget, and with outstanding results”.

St Andrew Holborn

St Andrew Holborn has stood as a Catholic Church for over 1000 years. Throughout its history it has received several major renovations, but it is most famously known for its late 17th century rebuild by the renowned architect Christopher Wren, who later went on to design one of London’s most recognisable and historic landmarks, St. Paul’s Cathedral. The latest large-scale works date back to the 1950s, and six decades on it was deemed in need of repair again.

Completed at the end of 2018, the latest refurbishments spanned the entire internal area of the church, including some 600m2 of flooring in the main church area and its surrounding rooms, as well as its vestibules and tower. Consisting of old vinyl tiling, it was worn and damaged and was replaced with new Hopton Wood Limestone, which was installed by Chichester Stoneworks. The existing base was also removed and replaced with a high-strength, rapid drying screed that could work within the client’s limited time constraints.

Having used ARDEX products on several other successful projects, Chichester Stoneworks contacted the ARDEX Business Development Team for specification advice. A full site visit helped ARDEX to understand the project and client requirements, who also provided compatibility testing between the limestone and potential fixing solutions. They provided the following specification:

  • ARDEX A 38 Ultra Rapid Drying Cement for Internal and External Screeds
    With RAPIDRY FORMULA Technology, ARDEX Screed Cements can be trafficked in 3 hours and natural stone installed after just 4 hours, regardless of thickness. An ARDEX Screed helps to significantly reduce project downtime in comparison to traditional sand and cement screeds, which can require months of drying before subsequent work can begin.

  • ARDEX A 18 Screed Bonding Cement with Colour Indicator
    Provides a maximum adhesion strength bond between ARDEX Screed Cements and the substrates they are applied to, and a built-in colour indicator ensures screeds aren’t mistakenly applied into dry bonding slurries.

  • ARDEX K 15-HB High Build Raid Drying Levelling Compound
    ARDEX K 15-HB can be applied from 5mm up to 35mm in single layer and is walkable after 2 hours regardless of thickness and provides a quick and flexible levelling solution. Like ARDEX S 28 Tile Adhesive below, it also incorporates RAPIDRY FORMULA Technology, helping to prevent moisture damage in moisture-sensitive natural stones like Limestone.

  • ARDEX S 28 MICROTEC Flexible Rapid Set Semi-Pourable Floor Stone & Tile Adhesive
    Natural stone tiles, including Limestone, are susceptible to moisture damage caused by water migrating into them from the adhesive used to install them, and this can present as unsightly and permanent staining on the face of the tile and even warping of the tile body itself. Incorporating RAPIDRY FORMULA Technology, ARDEX S 28 locks the mix water in to prevent this from happening and helps to ensure a risk-free installation. It is also semi-pourable to help solid bed fix floor tiles with ease.

  • ARDEX-FLEX FS Flexible Standard Set Tile Grout for Narrow Joints
    ARDEX-FLEX Tile Grouts are blended to a uniform consistency to provide consistent, streak-free results; and with 35 colours available, there’s a shade to suit any installation.

Before the tiling commenced, ARDEX also provided guidance on the use of the tiles, with a detailed report to summarise the compatibility testing they completed. For example, the Hopton Wood Limestone was reinforced by a resin mesh backing, and it was advised this be removed in accordance with Stone Federation guidance.

Support continued throughout the project, with the ARDEX Business Development Team always on-hand to provide specification advice and answer questions when required.

The works completed in December. Commenting on ARDEX’s involvement in the project, Chris Gladwell of Chichester Stoneworks said, “St Andrew Holborn has been an interesting and challenging project as we needed to install a new stone floor within the constraints of an existing building. Throughout the process ARDEX gave us technical support and advice on how to overcome some of the challenges we faced and assisted us with formulating a suitable specification for the screed, adhesive and grouts used.”

Where Old Meets New at Thames Lido

Residing alongside the River Thames in Reading is the site of the King’s Meadow swimming pool. It originally opened in 1902 as the Ladies Swimming Baths and is the oldest outdoor public pool from the early Edwardian era in existence. However, over time it fell into a state of disrepair and, following its closure in 1974, has been left unused for over 40 years.

Renewed interest in the site came in 2004 when it was awarded Grade II listed building status, and a £3.5million project began in 2013 to restore it. The new site opened in 2017 as the Thames Lido, and incorporates a new swimming pool, spa, restaurant, bar and event space; and importantly, whilst the facilities have been completely modernised, the design itself has retained the appearance and theme of the old building. According to the Reading Civic Society, “Great care has been taken to restore original features or to replicate them where necessary. The additions to provide the spa treatment rooms at first floor level, and the restaurant areas, have been created in a modern style but in a way which complements the building.”

The main attraction of the site its 25m outdoor heated swimming pool, which was built by BOS Leisure inside the existing pool shell to carry the original shape and features through to the new design; this method also prevented damage to the building’s foundations, which could have been destroyed if the existing pool was removed.

Appointed for the tiling was Profix Ltd, who sought specification advice from ARDEX following a history of successful joint projects including the David Lloyd Leisure Clubs and Hinkley Leisure Centre swimming pools.

A thorough process was followed from start to finish. Firstly, Adam Willmott, Business Development Manager for ARDEX UK, conducted an initial site visit to determine the requirements of the works, including any product performance attributes that would assist the contractors. From this, he produced a detailed product and application specification, recommending a specialist swimming pool tiling system with fast drying properties to assist with the exterior working conditions:

  • ARDEX A 38 Ultra Rapid Drying Internal and External Screed Cement
  • ARDEX E 100 Additive for Bonding Slurry Grouts
  • ARDEX AM 100 Rapid Hardening One Coat Tiling Render
  • ARDEX S 7 PLUS Flexible Waterproof Coating for Swimming Pools
  • ARDEX MICROTEC X 77 Flexible Wall and Floor Tile Adhesive
  • ARDEX S 21 Rapid Hardening Floor Tile Bedding Mortar
  • ARDEX-FLEX FL Rapid Setting Flexible Tile Grout

Following any ARDEX specification, training and demonstrations are available to fixers to ensure they are familiarised with the products before starting the works; however, as Profix Ltd was well acquainted with the system from previous contracts, they could proceed based on the specification alone. Even so, Adam conducted several site visits throughout the project, and after its completion, to ensure the application went as planned and assist with any queries the contractors had.

For the client, the quality of finish was their most important priority, and the combination of the products specified, support provided at all stages of the project and technical capabilities of the contractors, meant the swimming pool was finished to their high standards. In addition, although speed wasn’t a leading factor for the contractors, the fast-drying properties of the tiling system not only meant the works weren’t as susceptible to the adverse effects of weather in the exterior working conditions, but also kept the entire project moving along at a pace acceptable to the customer.

Speaking about the works, Greg Paclawski of Profix Ltd said: “This was a truly unique project, and it gives me immense pride not only to have worked on it, but to have also produced a beautiful end-result for the customer. It was great to be a part of the team that saved this building, especially after it had been closed for such a long time, and create something that will now be used for years to come.

“Quality was of the highest importance and there would have been no cutting back at the expense of the finish. That’s why we chose to work with ARDEX, because you can’t get any better than them; their products, technical advice and site support are unparalleled.

“I’d like to personally thank Adam for his help on this project, as he is great to work with and is always on hand to help; as well as Andrew Grove at Euxton Tiles, whose professionalism and reliability in supplying the fixing products were second-to-none.”

ARDEX Return for V & A Museum Expansion

Two years after being specified for the V & A Museum’s interior flooring refurbishment, ARDEX were back this summer to be a part of its £53.5million expansion. Its largest in 100 years, the project created an extra 6,400m2 of gallery and entrance spacing to serve the 3.3million visitors that the iconic London venue receives every year.

Sitting above this new area is one of the project’s most impressive features, a brand new courtyard for the museum visitors and its café-goers to use, as well as further space to display sculptures and artworks. Covering the 1200m2 area are over 14,000 handmade porcelain tiles, which were installed by Stonewest using the following ARDEX products:

  • ARDEX A 38 Ultra Rapid Drying Cement for Internal & External Screeds
  • ARDEX A 38 MIX Pre-Blended Ultra Rapid Drying Cement for Internal & External Screeds
  • ARDEX MICROTEC X 77 Flexible Wall & Floor Tile Adhesive
  • ARDEX MICROTEC X 78 Flexible Semi-Pourable Floor Tile Adhesive
  • ARDEX DGR Degreaser
  • ARDEX R 3 E Moisture Tolerant Epoxy Primer
  • ARDEX Fine Aggregate

Len Sales, Project Manager from Stonewest, explains why he chose to work with ARDEX for this prestigious development: “Prior to starting the project, it was important for me to understand the products we’d be using, so ARDEX arranged for me to see a demonstration of ARDEX A 38 being laid. This categorically proved that its rapid drying qualities would be the key to us maintaining our programme timings, and would allow the tiling contractor to continue their work as quickly as possible. For fixing the tiles, we chose ARDEX MICROTEC X 77 and ARDEX MICROTEC X 78 due to their 3 hour pot lives; and with its semi-pourable consistency, ARDEX MICROTEC X 78 was particularly effective for solidly bedding the large format porcelain tiles we were installing.”

Commenting on his involvement in the project, Paul Forrester, Business Development Manager for ARDEX, said: “The architects, AL_A, were already aware of our screeding and tiling experience through our work with London Underground and Crossrail, and initially approached us for this project back in 2012.

“Following our meetings, we put forward ARDEX A 38 for the screed because it would meet the demanding requirement of the project, namely its suitability for external use; its shrinkage-compensated formulation which minimises the risk of cracking; its high compressive strength which could bear the expected loadings; and, above all, its ultra-rapid drying characteristics which would allow tilers and other trades access and workability as soon as possible.

“For the next stage, we recommended ARDEX MICROTEC Tile Adhesives. Their long open times and pot lives gave the fixer time to position the tiles in the intricate layout required, whilst avoiding costly waste of unused adhesive.

“With over 30 years’ experience of projects with similarly demanding site requirements, we were able to take our knowledge and proven products to develop a specification that gave all parties confidence from concept through to completion.”

Glasgow Club Scotstoun Refurbishment

Glasgow Club Scotstoun is one of the biggest leisure facilities in the city, and it recently received a £750,000 refurbishment. A key part of the Scotstoun Sport Campus, originally built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is its 25m swimming pool, which is integral to the site and is very popular amongst visitors.

However, damage began to appear over the last 12 months with tiles coming loose and falling off. Underwater repairs were commissioned, but the problems continued and so the pool was deemed beyond economical repair. AquaTilers were contracted in to carry out a complete refurbishment, working with ARDEX for guidance on the correct product specification and application.

Following a site assessment by Andrew Reid, National Business Development Manager for ARDEX UK, the following products were specified and used throughout the project:

  • ARDEX A 38 Ultra Rapid Drying Cement for Internal & External Screeds
  • ARDEX AM 100 Fast Track Tiling Render
  • ARDEX MICROTEC X 77 Flexible Wall & Floor Tile Adhesive
  • ARDEX-FLEX FL Rapid Setting Flexible Tile Grout
  • ARDEX EG 8 PLUS Epoxide Tile Grout & Adhesive

Commenting on the project, Asa Taylor from AquaTilers said, “I’ve been refurbishing swimming pools for 20 years and have always used ARDEX, because the reliability of their products means I can offer a 7 year guarantee on my work, as opposed to the 12 month industry standard.”

Speaking about his involvement in the refurbishment, Andrew Reid added, “ARDEX have been used in countless swimming pools across the country, and our products provide a reliable solution for both contractors and their clients. This project will be yet another example of this reputation, and we were delighted to work with AquaTilers, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council to offer a long-lasting system solution.”