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The Emser Tile Cleveland showroom project is an exciting project to be a part of. We send clients up to the Cleveland area all the time to pick out tile from our favorite distributors that we partner with. But to be able to actually tile one of these showrooms ourselves is an amazing privilege. When clients want to see examples of our work, now all they have to do is visit the Emser Tile Cleveland showroom and they will be surrounded by it. It’s cool. Very cool!


Floor Preparation

This project took place in the summer of 2015 and was officially our largest commercial project to date. The General Contractor who was awarded the Emser Tile Cleveland project was Metis Construction out of Kent, Ohio, whom we have worked with before on several other commercial projects. 

The building was huge and empty. I’m not sure what it was beforehand. It had polished concrete floors with yellow painted striping, kind of like a parking lot, in the inside. Of course, all this needed grinded off, which you can see our team member Drew operating the floor grinder in the picture.

Emser Tile Showroom floor grinding
Emser Tile EZ Flex 40

Besides grinding the polished concrete, another issue that had to be addressed was all the relief cuts that were in this floor. There were reliefe cuts every 10-12 feet, and we certainly didn’t want our polished porcelain tile floors to crack where each of these control joints were.

Emser Tile provided a product called EZ Flex 40 to remedy this. It’s a crack supression membrane that is basically a sheet of rubber with some fabric on the top side. You simply apply primer to the floor, and then you peel and stick this membrane over the control joints signficantly in each direction of the cut.

Now the floor naturally heaved a bit upward where each relief cut was, and then sagged a little bit inbetween the custs across the face of the slab. Since we want a perfectly flat floor before we even set our first piece of tile, we floated these minor dips with white VersaBond LFT from Custom Building Products. We chose to do this rather than use self-leveler because we got a great deal on several pallets of this mortar. Plus, you can build LFT up to 3/4″ which was enough to flatten most of the floor. You can see fellow contractors Mark Combs, Tim Dryhurst, and Matt Catalano assisting in the prep work in these photos.

Emser Tile EZ Flex 40
Emser Tile Fusion Pro Grout

Interestingly, we got to choose what materials we wanted to use. The only 2 specifications for this project were that Emser insisted that we use Fusion Pro grout by Custom Building Products. We’re not big fans of this particular product, but this was not an option. You can see former team member Rich Bembenic working for Mark in this photo. He did most of the grouting. He was new at the time so learning to grout with 5000 square feet of one of the nastiest grouts to work with was definitely baptism by fire, lol.

Apparently Emser and Mapei were having a little spat in 2015, because we were absolutely forbidden to use any Mapei products on this project.


All in all, we were on this project for about a month. I brought in my regular subcontractors plus one from North Carolina. They brought their helpers with them. Together we had 4 installers and 3 helpers (Benny wasn’t mentioned yet) over the course of a month. Not all of them worked the entire month. Some of them could only offer themselves for a few days or a week. I even managed to squeeze in my family’s summer vacation while all this was going on. We definitely had a great team and everybody worked together very well.

Emser Tile Construction Project
Emser Tile Showroom Cleveland

Emser Tile had wonderful things to say about this new tile showroom as well. They even asked if we would travel to do other showrooms of theirs. However, that’s not really our thing so we respectfull declined. I’m not sure if this is our largest commercial project. If not, it’s definitely a contender and hits the number two spot for sure. 

Since then, we’ve developed a great relationship with the business. Classic Tileworks has since became an all Laticrete company, and Emser is the largest local supplier of Laticrete Products.

Emser Tile isn’t just another tile distributor. Emser is a manufacturer of their own unique products. They have showrooms all over the country, but our work is on the one in Brooklyn Heights, Ohio at 850 Resource Drive. The Staff there is very friendly, and the showroom is open to walk-ins without the need for an appointment, so stop on in and check them out.


See more finished photos on our Emser Tile Showroom Project page in our Portfolio!