by Ron Treister
When the Florida Marlins implemented their name change and became the Miami Marlins at the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, the overall goal was clear: a new corporate image, a new stadium, and a new and successful year.
Plans were drawn for a new stadium that would encompass 966,929 square feet with a seating capacity of 37,000. The Miami Marlins Stadium, named Marlins Park, is located on the site previously occupied by the Orange Bowl Stadium in downtown Miami. With a three panel retractable roof (one of only six Major League Baseball stadiums to have such) which protects both the playing field and seating areas, the Marlins Park is right at the top of its class when compared to the other major league baseball fields. The ballpark is more than just a baseball palace; it also has its own entertainment district consisting of 53,000 square feet of retail space, any stadium experience far more than watching the team play. General contractors Moss Construction and architecture firm, Populous, successfully teamed up to build a ballpark that reflected the new, fresh attitude of the professional sports organization that would inhabit and compete within it. To construct a Stadium that was as ambitious as its team’s upcoming aspirations, the finest construction products, including those from LATICRETE® International, Inc., were specified.
As beautiful and contemporary as is the new Marlins Park, the walkway leading up to it is what anybody and everybody first notices. The tiles and installation systems used to construct this walkway had to be the absolute cream of the crop. The importance of a good first impression is crucial when speaking about a project of such grand scale. The exterior walkways leading into Marlins Park have been designed with vibrant tiles that were produced using Miami Marlins’ brilliant colors, arranged in a striped pattern. This design catches the eye immediately, as separate walkways with different destinations have their own unique scheme.
To achieve the flashy, eye-catching finished tile design, there were some obvious difficulties to address. “There were many challenges for us,” stated Ramone Silvestre, President of R & F Flooring, of Lake Worth, Florida, the company that installed tile for all exterior walkways of the stadium. “There was so much going on. In particular, there was a great deal of underground drilling and other water work being done around us. When landscape workers were installing the sod, sprinkler systems and royal palms, it was just too wet for us to be installing tile.” Despite those tough conditions, R&F was able to get the job done on time.
The use of specific LATICRETE® products was instrumental in making the project not only look good and perform at optimal levels, they helped the contractor meet the project’s very important deadline. Ramone Silvestre was emphatic about using LATICRETE Hydro Ban™, a thin, load bearing waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that doesn’t require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. It is a single component self-curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing/crack isolation membrane. “LATICRETE Hydro Ban was of great use as the conditions were so wet, a waterproofing product had to really live up to its reputation not only after the project was complete, but during installation!” exclaimed Silvestre.
LATICRETE 254 Platinum, which is the ultimate one-step, polymer fortified, thin-set mortar for interior and exterior installation of ceramic tile, was also used at the park. “The one-step feature of LATICRETE 254 Platinum lived up to its name, because we were backed up due to conditions, so it allowed up to keep on schedule and save time,” Silvestre added.
“The LATICRETE System really helped us. Battling restraints because of the site conditions and having a good, solid, reliable products to use made it much easier to work within the time we had,” concluded Silvestre. “The final production and ‘look’ ended up being flat and smooth, and the design was just very cool.”
Despite the delays, however, there were no problems with the installation thanks to quality materials the focused determination of R&F.
“R&F Flooring deserves a huge amount of credit for the job they did at the stadium,” Blackburn said. “They dealt with a lot of setbacks that were completely out of their control, but still managed to do a world-class job.”
The Miami Marlins opened their season in Marlins Park against the St. Louis Cardinals, on April 4th 2012. All involved felt the excitement of a new stadium and a new season, and this clearly made their participation in the final tile installation like hitting a game-winning grand slam home run.