Wynn Hotel and Casino Puts Its Money On Quality Membranes and Thin-Set Mortars
June 1, 2006
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Las Vegas is the one that never stops playing. For people like hotel mogul Steve Wynn, that means there is always room for a glossy new casino hotel in which everything from the ceilings down to the floors is state-of-the-art. For the challenge of the floors, there was a need for strong technical expertise in fracture and water prevention as well as in mold resistance. The floor-setting solution needed to address elements such as heavy foot traffic, water leakage and mildew, stone fragility, uneven elevations and, for outside installations, extreme heat.
For instance, the extra heavy foot traffic and money carts weighing well over a ton made it imperative that the tile be set to withstand a high point load. The 24-hour commercial kitchens would have the added dimension of water and food spills on a daily basis. With these factors in mind, it was necessary to apply an industrial quality waterproof membrane and thin-set mortar that would prevent sub-floors from leaking and cracking. It was also essential to ensure that bacteria would not be an issue and serve as a breeding ground for mold.
As a result, the new $2 billion Wynn Hotel and Casino, the most expensive ever built on the Las Vegas strip, opened triumphantly this past year with floors protected by water-resistant membranes and thin-set mortars from Mer-Krete Systems, of Torrance, California.
Designed by Wynn Design and Development, the hotel utilized Marnell-Carrao Associates as general contractor, who turned to a prominent tile subcontractor named Superior Tile and Marble, Inc. to install the interior floors. Many different marbles were utilized, including both large pieces and mosaics.
Colors included everything from Golden Spider Jura Beige, to Rojo Alicante, black honey onyx and white onyx. In addition, glass mosaics were featured in the lobby area and in many of the restaurants.
Superior was keenly aware of Mer-Krete's comprehensive suite of water and fracture preventing products, as well as their nearly 35 years of experience in the Las Vegas casino construction industry. Consequently, Superior made the decision to use their membranes and adhesives in a wide variety of interior and exterior locations.
The installation required a variety of different membranes, mortars and underlayments since each area of the hotel had its own distinct characteristics. Before laying the marble tile in the high-rise tower shower stalls, Technicoat Waterproofing of Las Vegas applied Mer-Krete's Hydro-Guard 2000 membrane. Mer-Krete's 710 latex modified thin-set was then used as the setting mortar for high strength durability. For the kitchen quarry tile, more than 70,000 square feet of BFP membrane and 710 thin-set mortar were applied. The BFP, a 3-ply, cold liquid applied membrane, is reinforced with a synthetic fabric for enhanced water protecting performance. It installs quickly and cures overnight. As an added benefit, the thin section 40 mil membrane does not have height restrictions as is the case with sheet applied membranes.
Due to problems with uneven floor elevations, the tile installer also used Mer-Krete Underlay-RS to level the floors. The Underlay-RS provides extra heavy-duty protection that cures in as little as two hours, requisite for something as busy as a commercial kitchen that runs 24 hours a day.
Time is also an important factor in new and existing casino construction because every day the casino is down, there are lost opportunities to profit from the gaming tables, restaurants, lodging and entertainment. So the rapid setting quality of Underlay-RS provided one more advantage. The product's compressive strength and resilience were equally important in the casino where both heavy equipment and tens of thousands of guests deliver constant abuse to the floors.
Since many imported stones can be very fragile and veiny, they often require epoxy backing for a high-use area such as a casino floor. For that reason, the installer utilized Mer-Krete 442 Tufflex mortar in some areas because this product adheres aggressively to epoxy-backed stone tiles.
To guard against cracking, it was vital to lay down Mer-Krete Fracture-Guard 5000 coating under casino level installations. Designed specifically to protect tile and stone floors from cracking, Fracture-Guard 5000, featuring 800% elongation, can be applied in an easy one-step application and dries within two hours. The product also utilizes a water-resistant seal and includes an additive that inhibits mold.
Outside, the needs were just as precise. Amazon Masonry, an experienced installer of exterior stone, was contracted to lay the limestone and other materials around the swimming pool and luxury poolside lounging areas. To handle this job with confidence, the installer utilized Mer-Krete 200/211 thin-set mortar because of its high strength, quality and flexible latex additives, especially effective for vertical stone applications.
"The Wynn Hotel and Casino is a good example of not only solving problems, but also enhancing the results with a variety of innovations," said Tim McDonald, president of Mer-Krete Systems. "Steve Wynn is a very ‘hands-on' developer who stays involved in every aspect of the construction process. He does this to ensure that the quality is first class in every way. Because of our casino knowledge and our work at the Bellagio and other Wynn properties, we were able to provide products capable of meeting his high standards."
Clearly, a project of the Wynn Hotel's scope required the cooperation of many experienced, quality flooring installers, tile and stone companies, underlayment experts and engineers. Working hand-in-hand and utilizing some of the industry's newest, most visionary products, together they helped to create an entertainment venue that is spectacular even by Vegas standards. This was one striking example of a casino in which there was no room for gambling.