SPLASH Magazine
SPLASH! Online
Your industry media.
One audience, every channel.


February 5th, 2016

The situation

Penn State’s men’s and women’s swimming teams compete against the best athletes in the NCAA’s Division 1 and, to compete against the best, the school needs the best facilities.

The McCoy Natatorium, Penn State’s main swimming facility, features a 1960s-era Olympic-size pool that began to show its age in early 2014.

Tiles were loose and cracking in the pool and throughout the decking. The grout between tiles was deteriorating, and water was reaching the underlying concrete.

When Penn State put the job out to bid, the bid package required a firm that could deliver the highest quality and warranty its work.

JP Phillips, Inc., a LATICRETE MVP firm, won the job in no small part due to their ability to deliver the coveted LATICRETE 25-year warranty.


Once JP Phillips, Inc., won the job, they needed to overcome three challenges specific to this project:

Time Frame—The Penn State pool could not be inaccessible for long stretches of time. The swim teams rely on it throughout the academic year, and work needed to be completed over the summer break. JP Phillips, Inc., could only access the space between July and mid-August.

Harsh Conditions—The job required products that can withstand some of the toughest conditions imaginable. This includes chlorine and the constant presence of water.

A Significant Change in Scope—After the initial job consultation, JP Phillips, Inc., found additional problems that required immediate attention. For example, once the concrete was exposed, the team found areas requiring patching and new plumbing. This additional work needed to be completed within the same tight timeline.


JP Phillips, Inc., worked with the LATICRETE Technical Services team to design correct procedures for the repair of the Penn State pool.

This included a specifically sequenced suite of LATICRETE products:

254 Platinum was applied first in the form of a slurry.

254 Platinum is a one-step, polymer-fortified, ANSI A118.15-compliant, high-performance, thin-set mortar which is used for demanding installations of ceramic tile and stone. It is designed to mix with water, has a long open time and high shear bond strength, which results in an adhesive mortar with unsurpassed adhesion and workability.

3701 Fortified Mortar was then applied while the 254 Platinum slurry was still wet. This combination of materials was left to dry for five days.

3701 Fortified Mortar is a factory-prepared fortified blend of carefully selected polymers, Portland cement and graded aggregates. Its advantage on the project was that it did not require the use of a latex admix or any mixing of sand and cement. The contractors simply added water to the bagged mortar to produce a thick bed mortar with exceptional strength onto which the tiles were placed.

HYDRO BAN® was applied once the five days had passed. HYDRO BAN is a thin, load-bearing, waterproofing/crack isolation membrane that does not require the use of fabric in the field, coves or corners. This single-component, self-curing liquid rubber polymer forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane. HYDRO BAN bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates.

SPECTRALOCK® Pro Premium Grout was then used to adhere and grout the pool and decking tiles.

SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Grout is a patented, high-performance epoxy grout which offers excellent color uniformity, durability, stain protection, and beautiful, full grout joints in an easy-to-use, non-sag formula. Designed for use on ceramic tile, glass tile and stone applications, both residential and commercial, SPECTRALOCK can be used on both interior and exterior floors and walls. Ideal for regrouting applications, SPECTRALOCK PRO Premium Grout is perfect for swimming pools, fountains and other wet-area applications.

With the tiles and LATICRETE products installed, the pool and decking needed 14 days to cure before the pool was filled.

Once this two-week period ended, the pool was then filled slowly at a rate of one inch per hour.

The Outcome

Through a combination of JP Phillips, Inc.’s professionalism and the support of the LATICRETE Technical Services team, Penn State University got the pool its swim teams deserved and the LATICRETE 25-year system warranty the university requested.

The results speak for themselves. In the spring of 2015, the Penn State women’s swimming team set a new record for the 800-yard freestyle relay.

LATICRETE Pty Ltd - 29 Telford Street - Virginia, QLD 4014 Australia

Tel. 07 3865 1599 


By The Splash Team
SPLASH! Magazine
New Issue Out Now
Subscribe Today
Get the latest industry news & free magazine direct to your inbox.