Mapei waterproofing and ceramic systems used for American school swimming pool

Mapei systems have been installed for the construction of a swimming pool at the American School in London, St John’s Wood. Complete waterproofing and ceramic tiling solutions were installed over a nine month period to areas in the pool tank and changing room interiors and exteriors.

The American School in London was founded in 1951 and currently educates 1,350 pupils. The new swimming pool is part of a £10m development comprising underground sports centre with fitness studio, multipurpose room, and changing facilities along with a 25m swimming pool where Mapei’s involvement in the project was focused. As the 1,430m2 sports centre is below ground level, curved changing rooms with brightly tiled walls reflect the available light, while voids allow natural light to flood the space.

The project was completed whilst the school remained open, which meant materials had to be installed quickly and with as little disruption as possible, without compromising on quality. EP Ceramics installed Mapei’s Planitop Fast 330, a quick-setting, fibre reinforced cementitious mortar to smooth out surface irregularities for the pool area. The waterproofing system was then installed, comprising of Mapei’s Mapelastic to protect the concrete structure against cracking and to provide a waterproof barrier. The alkali-resistant fibre glass mesh Mapenet 150 was specified to reinforce the waterproof membrane. Mapelastic was again installed on top of the Topcem screed and Mapetex anti-fracture membrane before installing tiles. Eporip solvent-free epoxy adhesive was used to seal any cracks in the screed before laying ceramic tiles which were fixed with Mapei Keraflex and grouted with Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 112 Medium Grey in the pool tank.

Matt Dudley from EP Ceramics commented:

“The installation was made easier by the early involvement of the Mapei team working alongside ourselves and the architect to produce an M40 with the correct products for each stage of the works. Fixers working on the job commented on how high the standard of products being used were, not only for ease of use, but for workability and drying times allowing each stage of the process to progress smoothly. Going forward on future projects we will be pushing the architects and designers to use Mapei products and technical expertise.”

Orms architects oversaw the project and specified Mapei’s system. Rosie Bard from Orms Architects commented:

“Mapei was the obvious choice for a high end swimming pool environment such as this. The quality of the design, finishes and fit out meant that a product was required that met both the technical and aesthetic requirements “

The Mapelastic waterproofing system was specified for the changing room areas to the walls before fixing tiles. Again the complete Mapei ceramic system was specified, with high performance adhesives used to fix the tiles. Keraflex Maxi was specified for the tiles to the stair risers and Keraquick together with Latex Plus were used to install porcelain, stone, ceramic and glass tiles. Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 114 (Anthracite) was used on tiles in the pool surround an changing room floors, and Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 112 (Medium Grey) for the changing room walls and glass mosaic. To finish the project, Mapei’s Primer FD adhesion promoter was used to prime the edges of the movement joints subject to prolonged water immersion, before the Mapesil AC sealant was applied in matching shades to the Ultracolor Plus Grout.

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