Tile Installation at the Dean Smith Center at UNC
University of North Carolina Tar Heels’ locker room renovation turns heads and tile installation at the Dean Smith Center was a prominent part of the overall project.
For the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels men’s basketball team, the Dean Smith Center isn’t just an arena where games are played. The venue, and its locker rooms, are an important motivator for players and an invaluable recruitment tool for impressing potential recruits.
Having been 15 years since the locker rooms were last updated, the elite team decided it was time for an upgrade that matched their reputation as a breeding ground for many of the sport’s top athletes, including NBA legend Michael Jordan.
The goal of the $5 million locker room renovation was not only to modernize the space, but also to rival those found in top NCAA programs, serving as a point of pride for the athletes as one of the best off-the-court spaces in college basketball.
In addition to expected upgrades to showers and toilets, the extensive renovation also included spaces that maximized the locker room’s use. These spaces include a nutrition and beverage station, therapy areas, media room for press conferences and interviews, team meeting and video space, a players’ lounge and separate locker areas for players, coaches and staff.
“With so many wet areas and surfaces that require frequent cleaning, tile installation at the Dean Smith Center was a prominent part of the overall project,” says Nyle Wadford, president of Neuse Tile Service, the NTCA Five-Star Contractor chosen for the project. “It was crucial for our team to be able to rely on the performance of LATICRETE products when dealing with so many different installations on such a multi-faceted project.”
Nearly 6,000 square feet of large format, glass and mosaic tiles were installed by Neuse Tile during the locker room renovation, each with associated waterproofing and substrate preparation.
LATICRETE products were used in conjunction with various TCNA tile installation methods to resolve many issues during the construction process. Products were chosen not only for their specific performance such as LATICRETE 4-XLT being the ideal large and heavy tile mortar solution due to its non-sag performance and its shear bond strength, but for how well they worked cohesively to solve the problems at hand. Due to the combination of LATICRETE products chosen, Neuse Tile was able to guarantee work done would prove durable and require low maintenance for years to come.
Thanks to the rapid curing formula of the HYDRO BAN waterproofing product, multiple phases of the work were able to proceed simultaneously with careful coordination. Completed and often concurrent installations included mud-set installations, the use of various membranes, thin-set installations on concrete, large format glass wall tile, extensive waterproofing, the use of linear drains and preformed niches, and tile installations in the construction of therapy pools. TCNA Methods F113-16, F112-16, F125-Full-16, F115-16, W2021-16, W243-16, W245-16, B420-16 and P602-16 were used.
Since multiple tile types were used throughout the tile installation at the Dean Smith Center, almost every area required different products for installation. Installations ranged from extremely simple, such as adhering the tile to drywall, to the much more difficult mud-set tile in the pools.
Unique uses of conventional products also were creatively applied to allow design concepts come to life from sketches and ideas. Multiple uses of decorative and functional profile edgings for everything from floor transitions, bullnose substitutes, mirror trims and channels for low-voltage lighting, added to the creativity this project required as well as to its complexity.
“Our many years of experience, technical knowledge and craftsmanship as an NTCA Five Star Contractor were called upon during this process,” Wadford adds. “That, and a great deal of collaboration from the entire construction team, as well as the product solutions from LATICRETE, made this tightly scheduled project a huge success.”
The UNC’s men’s basketball locker room is now considered among the best locker rooms nationwide and continues to be a talking point for the school at large.
Premier image: The entrance granite tiles were installed with LATICRETE 4-XLT mortar over NXT Patch with HYDRO BAN as a crack isolation membrane. They were grouted with SPECTRALOCK and caulked with LATASIL. Photo by Jim Sink Photography