HyCOMB USA and Laminam by D&B Tile Give New Look to Miami Beach Renovation
Like many successful entrepreneurs, John Bartos of Imperial Stone saw a problem, devised a solution and started a company that now has customers throughout North America. HyCOMB USA is the leading manufacturer and distributor of superior quality, lightweight stone composite and stone veneer panel cladding systems for the Architecture, Design, and Construction Industries. The many advantages and creative applications of their panels provide the industry with cost effective solutions to realize their projects’ vision.
Most industry professionals recognize the unique style and appeal of Crossville’s exclusive Laminam line. Their large format porcelain tile panels measure 1M x 3M and bring uninterrupted, flawless beauty to space and form. They can be used on walls or floors indoors or outdoors. When the Bhojwani Tower, on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, was scheduled for a renovation, the architectural firm of Kobi Karp designed an exterior that called for large format panels to cover the exterior walls of the tower.
Built in the late 1950’s, the building, designed by Albert Anis, known for his Art Deco architecture, was originally a bank. According to Daniel Slain, with HyCOMB USA, the owners and code officials were advised that Laminam, mounted with their unique cladding system, could meet the stringent building codes of Miami-Dade County, and the Historic Preservation Board and bring it in on budget.
According to Slain, “We have a honeycomb backer which is .75” thick. We bond Laminam to our core. Due to hurricanes, South Florida’s coastal areas fall into the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. Miami-Dade found that it wasn’t wind and rain that caused the most damage it was pieces that came loose and become projectiles. To comply with this code HyCOMB panels were tested by shooting a 2×4 at 50 fps at our panels while sustaining minimal damage, but remained intact.”
The architect wanted 1M x 3M panel to be bonded to the building. That required a flattening of the substrate to 1/8 inch every 10 feet, which turned out to be a very expensive option. In addition, the International Building Code would not allow anything larger than 3 sq/f to be attached to the outside of a building. When you go above the 1M x 3M panels and go above the first floor of a building, because of the adhesives used especially in warm climate, the materials would cure before the panels were properly placed.
According to Slain, “That’s when HyCOMB came in. We can safely install panels that are 2M x 4M. We prefer using Laminam for these installations for a number of reasons. Porcelain tile panels are easy to work with and we can produce more square footage in less time. We only have to laminate and cut to size. Porcelain tile is easy to use and consistent in its appearance; natural stone is not.”
Another major advantage of using porcelain and specifically Laminam is the fact that it is lighter and can be handled by fewer workers. This building is located on a busy street corner in the heart of the tourist district. If we had used stone, it would have been more time-consuming and would have increased our safety issues. The stone would have to be offloaded and stored then lifted into position with a mobile crane, which would have caused a traffic nightmare. These panels were lifted through the scaffolding by our three-man crew and put in place using our unique fastening system.
“To direct bond, it would require more time because each row would have to set for a day. Our panels are independent of each other and held in place by mechanical fasteners. They do not rest on the layer below. On normal size stone panels we would need a five-man crew. With Laminam we use three people and produce twice the square footage each day.”
According to Slain, “In the past year this technology has exploded as more design professionals and contractors become aware of what can be accomplished. The concept has been around for awhile but the technology of working with porcelain has improved greatly. We are now able to achieve the look we want with the impact resistance. We’re working with some of the largest quarries in America. They have come to us because they can see where this is going. Costs are lower than with natural products. Imagine this as a single piece in a bathroom shower. Easy to install and completely waterproof.”
Laminam by Crossville is available in 5.6 mm thickness for interior flooring or interior or exterior walls and 3 mm thickness for interior and exterior walls in both residential and commercial applications, including new installations and fast renovations when installed over existing surfaces including tile. More than 50 designer-inspired colors and finishes extend its versatility to elevate the look of virtually any interior space.
Laminam by Crossville offers chemical resistance as well as frost resistance. It does not contain organic pigments and is resistant to UV rays. In addition, it is highly scratchproof and resistant to deep abrasion. Also, Laminam is Eco-Friendly and recyclable. It is a totally natural product and does not release elements into the environment.
Laminam by Crossville is offered exclusively in South Florida by D&B Tile Distributors. Architect on the job is Kobi-Karp from Miami. Installation Contractor was Carolina Correa with Stoneworks, USA. Mechanical fastening system provided by HyCOMB, USA, Hallandale Beach, FL. Crossville Representative on the project is Robert Sutnick, Senior Architectural Rep and Regional Manager Caribbean.
See many selections of versatile Laminam by Crossville and other beautiful tile, stone and marble selections at our nine conveniently located stores in South Florida. Remember, the first step to beautiful design is stepping into D&B Tile.
Photographs and article by G. Richard Booth