Spectacular, iconic and inspiring are just some of the words being used to describe the new home of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. Rogers Place expects to be the first LEED Silver National Hockey League arena in Canada — yet another glittering achievement for the five-time Stanley Cup champions. To protect the 130,000 square feet of tile used throughout the new arena and provide comprehensive moisture control for its lifetime, a complete tile installation system from Custom Building Products was specified and installed.

All levels of the indoor sports arena and entertainment venue display highly decorative tile work.  From bathrooms and showers to bars and concessions, different types of tile are featured in all wet and intermittently wet areas of the facility. Large-format porcelain and glass mosaics are prominent in the public, as well as private team spaces. However, tile dimensions reach their pinnacle in the Oilers’ locker room gang showers and steam room. These distinctly designed wet rooms were both set with Ergon Cornerstone porcelain tile in 18- x 36-inch and 12- x 48-inch formats.

Surface prep

During the beginning stages of surface preparation, leveling was required in some areas to attain the completely flat surface required for installation of large-format tile. To improve the bond and seal the surface, LevelQuik® Latex Primer was roller-applied to these floors, followed by LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting Self-Leveling Underlayment, which was poured from a feather edge up to 1 1/2 inches deep. LevelQuik RS achieved an extra heavy-duty service rating for this high-traffic commercial venue and cured in just four hours to allow same-day tiling.

The facility’s many shower floors in the home team, visiting team and other locker rooms were floated with Custom’s Thick Bed Bedding Mortar, a 3:1 pre-blended underlayment, which provided an easy-to-install, high-strength surface. As the shower floors were floated, installers maintained the Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) recommended 1/4 inch per foot slope to drains to ensure proper water management.

Several non-porous substrates on the site were treated with MBP Multi-Surface Bonding Primer before setting tile — formulated with aggregates that improve mechanical adhesion where proper bonding can otherwise be difficult. “MBP worked very well,” said Craig Henkelman, president of Cralan Enterprises, the tile contractor. “It was easy to use and the ‘stick’ was great. We are already using it on other jobsites.”

Waterproofing, low-perm vapor barrier and crack isolation

To help protect the tile by isolating cracks from in-plane substrate movement, RedGard® Liquid Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane was applied on the floors. RedGard liquid is a ready-to-use, elastomeric membrane that creates a continuous waterproof barrier behind tile in addition to reducing transmission of cracks up to 1/8 inch. Structural slabs were treated with RedGard in compliance with TCNA F125 and ANSI A118.12.

This membrane was extensively applied on walls and floors to waterproof all showers and other wet tile assemblies in the facility, including a hydrotherapy room. It exceeds the requirements of ANSI A118.10, is listed with IAPMO as a shower pan liner, and delivers outstanding adhesion to metal and plastic drain assemblies. Liquid application provides monolithic moisture protection over areas of any size or shape and simplifies treatment of plumbing protrusions. Per TCNA detail B421 and Custom’s recommendation, RedGard was applied over the mortar bed in showers to direct the flow of water to drains and prevent saturation of the substrate.

“It was very important to us to have RedGard specified for both crack isolation and waterproofing on this job,” said Henkelman.

RedGard is also the first liquid-applied membrane to exceed industry standards as a low-perm moisture vapor barrier for continuous-use steam showers. The test for moisture vapor transmission, ASTM E96 Method E, allows a rating of 0.50 perms. However, third party testing demonstrates that a 30 mil dry film of RedGard achieves a superior perm rating of 0.36. Proper use of two coats of RedGard ensures the highest level of impermeability in the Oilers’ steam room and gang showers. In accordance with TCNA detail SR613, the steam room ceiling is sloped 2 inches per linear foot towards the back wall to manage condensation.

To ensure the team’s steam room looks great for years to come and to guard against movement from significant thermal cycling, specifiers selected MegaLite® Ultimate Crack Prevention Large Format Tile Mortar. MegaLite’s performance was perfect for these very demanding requirements, including setting the large 12- x 48-inch tiles on the ceiling.

Setting the tile

The high percentage of large-format and heavy or difficult-to-bond tile drove most of the mortars chosen for Rogers Place. ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar was the most frequently and diversely specified. A lightweight formula with excellent handling characteristics, ProLite offers high flexibility and bond strength. It will not slip on walls or slump on floors and can be placed up to 3/4 inch thick to support heavy tile. ProLite was used to install up to 48-inch tiles on walls and for select floor tiles up to 18 x 36 inches. Because of its tenacious bond, ProLite was also specified for installing 20,000 square feet of glass mosaics. Both MegaLite and ProLite meet ANSI A118.15TE for thixotropic and extended open time performance. “ProLite performs especially well on walls,” added Henkelman.

The balance of the ceramic and porcelain tile was set on floors with VersaBond® Flex Professional Thin-Set Mortar and VersaBond®-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar, depending on size and location. This included traditional quarry tile at concessions, dramatic black ceramic tile in washrooms and wood-look planks to add a sauna-like feel to the hydrotherapy room. The tile contractor mandated optimum mortar coverage throughout the installation, which was achieved by back buttering and ensuring that all tile in the extensive wet areas reached 95% coverage.

Four Custom grouts in 12 different colors were used to complement 40 types of tile materials and formats throughout the project. Most of the dry and intermittently wet areas received PolyBlend® Sanded Grout. Non-sanded PolyBlend was chosen to grout the mosaic installations to prevent any scratching of the glass. Prism® Ultimate Performance Cement Grout was applied in some of the high-traffic wet areas like the community ice rink showers and public bathrooms.  CEG-IG 100% Solids Industrial Grade Epoxy Grout was used in spaces such as the steam room for its resistance to high temperatures. Movement joints within the tile assemblies will remain permanently flexible after treatment with color-matching Custom Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant.


Rogers Place, completed in 2016

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Architect: HOK, Calgary, Alberta
General Contractor: PCL Construction Management, Inc., Edmonton, Alberta
Tile Contractor: Cralan Enterprises, Ltd., Spruce Grove, Alberta
Installation Products: Custom Building Products, Seal Beach, CA (LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting Self-Leveling Underlayment; LevelQuik® Latex Primer; Thick Bed Bedding Mortar; MBP Multi-Surface Bonding Primer; RedGard® Waterproofing and Crack Prevention Membrane; MegaLite® Ultimate Crack Prevention Large Format Tile Mortar; ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar; VersaBond®-LFT Professional Large Format Tile Mortar; VersaBond® Flex Professional Thin-Set Mortar; CEG-IG 100% Solids Industrial Grade Epoxy Grout; Prism® Ultimate Performance Cement Grout; PolyBlend® Sanded and Non-Sanded Grout; Commercial 100% Silicone Sealant; Aqua Mix® cleaners)