The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, CA, recently underwent extensive renovations that included resurfacing of the existing mall's interior, and the addition of 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space -- all done without losing a day of regular business.

A basket weave pattern highlights the area surrounding one of the elevators in the mall.

Close-up of the mosaic tiles used on the risers of the steps in the East Tower of the mall.

The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, CA, was originally built in 1978. In 1993, the two-story, enclosed mall was renovated. Beginning in 2007, the interior of the existing mall was resurfaced, and 100,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space was added.

Premier Tile and Marble, Inc., of Monterey Park, CA, was at the center of all the tile work. “The project encompassed an active mall that was open for business seven days a week, 364 days a year,” said Greg Games, president of Premier. “In order to complete the work while the mall was kept open, we were required to start and complete a specific area in the existing mall every night for over 14 months; and we had to disappear by opening time the next morning of each day.” To accomplish this task and keep to the rigorous schedule, Premier Tile and Marble installers used MAPEI’s Granirapid fast-setting mortar system and Ultracolor rapid-setting grout.

As one of four fountains, this fixture surrounds the tiled steps in the open patio of the newly expanded area of The Oaks Mall.

The owner of the mall, the Macerich Company, wanted the revitalized and expanded mall to reflect the Spanish-influenced ambiance of Southern California. The architects from Omniplan of Dallas, TX, designed the new look of the mall to use hand-painted tiles and mosaics from Michael King Designs CA and glass tiles from Bisazza as accents on stairs and fountains. Elliptical designs in the mall floors were carried out with laser-cut limestone and fossil stone from Egypt. Nearly 190,000 square feet of the same stone was used to give a new look to the existing interior and newly expanded exterior of the mall. Most of the stone tile had a honed or flamed finish, giving it depth and dimension. Travertine, granite, terracotta and tumbled natural stone were also incorporated for various accent pieces. Ceramic tiles from Pantheon Tile’s Prado Series and Daltile’s Veranda Series were used in the 12 interior restrooms.

“We utilized every possible installation method recognized in our industry on this project, ranging from thinset over existing or new concrete to wire tie with mortar spots,” Games said. “The majority of the installation was stone tile set over existing terrazzo, ceramic tile and stone tile. Before any tile setting was done, though, we bead-blasted the existing surface in some areas and completely removed the surface in others. These areas then required a mortar infill to provide four-foot transitions out from storefronts. Approximately 95% of all the tiles were installed over crack-isolation and waterproofing membranes.” The tumbled stone and river rocks, as well as the Travertine, had to be sealed during installation. The work called for master craftsmen to set every size of tile from the 1” x 1” glass tiles to the 18” x 18” Travertine and 12” x 24” Marmonil limestone.

NAC’s ECB Membrane was used over the existing terrazzo and slate flooring after the bead-blasting process. Photo courtesy of NAC Products.

Some of the most intricate work involved setting the custom-cut Egyptian limestone slabs for the stair tread handrail bases. The basket-weave design used in the identical ellipses on both levels of the mall required painstaking care to produce the incredibly eye-catching results that seem to enlarge the floor space around the escalators and elevators. The Premier installers used a combination of mosaics, hand-painted tiles and glass tile to detail four unique fountains in the mall. One fountain surrounds the back and sides of the exterior staircase rising to the second level near the new movie theatres. The underside of the stairs form a wave of sparkling blue Bisazza glass tiles. The center court fountain on the lower level includes broken tile mosaics as an extra decorative element. The wall fountain near the food court features stone pebbles in a distinctive star shape, and the long tiled pool at the central entrance to the mall sports fountains of fish rising from more blue Bisazza glass tile.

Turkish and South American Travertine tiles were used extensively for the first and second floors of the exterior expansion area. All exterior tiles were installed with MAPEI’s Kerabond/Keralastic mortar system for durability and grouted with Ultracolor grout to ensure color consistency and prevent efflorescence.

“This was a project that tested our skills, and the results clearly demonstrate the pride our installers take in their work,” Games said.