For a huge multifamily development project like The Avalyn in Chula Vista, Calif., there’s no shortage of challenges for builders to deal with. Many of these vary from unit to unit, since this eight-building, 480-unit, 528,000-square-foot complex contains everything from one-bedroom flats to three-story town homes. But no matter the layout, every unit is going to share one thing — a shower and/or tub enclosure, each of which takes a whole lot of time, precise finishing work and several assorted materials to finish.
Traditionally, crews like Southern California Interiors, Inc. (who were responsible for the framing, drywalling and finishing on two mixed-use buildings within the luxury apartment complex, totaling 168 units) would finish around showers by filling the gap between the enclosure and the drywall with caulk, then mesh-taping over it.
This was time-consuming, messy and inconsistent, however, leading the Southern California Interiors team to search for a cleaner, faster way. And they found it in Trim-Tex’s solution to conquering tub enclosures once and for all: Shower Bead.
‘We've got to do something different with the next one.’
For Southern California Interiors President/CEO Jesse Rodriguez, the problem with the conventional methods of finishing around shower enclosures wasn’t just that it was costing him in time and material. It was also nearly impossible to achieve a uniformity in the finish across an entire multifamily project. And consistency is key here, especially for a large complex like The Avalyn, which itself is just one section of the massive, 210-acre “master-planned” community development called Millennia, covering 80 city blocks of land.
“There's the edge on the tub, and when the hangers come through, they hang right alongside the edge,” Jesse Rodriguez told us. “What we've done in the past is, we’ve flat-taped it to try to get it nice and finished around the tub. But it just doesn't look that well. It doesn't at all. You're able to really see the inconsistency. Not only that, when the taper goes back and tries to apply mud, every hand is different, so it's not going to be consistent. I think that's where the problems come in.
“Then, we come back and spray texture over it. Sometimes when we do tape on top of it, we probably run the tape long, and then we have to go back and try to cut it, and then caulk it, and try to make a nice, finished product for the owner. It doesn't work out, it hasn't worked out, and we have problems going back and forth fixing that … That's where we learned our lesson. ‘You know what? We've got to do something different with the next one.’ Luckily, that's when [Trim-Tex] came in and you showed us this new product, the Shower Bead. So far, here at Millennia with [General Contractor] Ryan Companies — they loved it.”
A ‘Quicker, Cleaner’ Game-Changer for Shower & Tub Enclosures
Why is Shower Bead such a game changer for finishing around tub enclosures? It comes down to speed, cutting down on material costs and a cleaner, more consistent finish.
Shower Bead eliminates many of the steps involved with finishing around tub enclosures like the ones located in every unit of The Avalyn, with an extra-wide vinyl flange that bridges the gap between the enclosure and the drywall. Instead of relying on each finisher to apply the same exact dosage of caulk infill, mud and mesh tape to every side of every shower flange, every time, you get a pristine and predictable finish you can repeat across the entire project. Then the bead’s built-in tear-off strip both acts as a guide for the finisher’s taping knife and as a protective mask for their mud, so no more spilling compound onto the adjoining surfaces. Once the mud’s dried, just rip off that tear-off strip, and you’re left with a clean, crisp finished edge.
Additionally, because this bead is vinyl, it won’t rust or serve as a food source for mold — problems that frequently occur with metal beads and paper tape, respectively, in moisture-rich environments like these. It’s an all-in-one solution built to save on labor and material, and stand the test of time.
“It's always been in the back of my mind there's got to be a better way to do it,” says Southern California Interiors Estimator/Project Manager Anthony Anderson. “The caulking infill is just a lot dirtier. We've always been looking for a cleaner, faster way to infill those tub flanges, and when Raul [Medina] showed us this, my superintendent, it's just quicker, cleaner installation all around.
“We've been jamming through, as opposed to the standard infill, mesh tape, and all that. I think, in the long run, it'll be better because we don't have the contraction with the building itself and with the moisture in the air being in the restroom. I think, in the long run, it will overall just be a better product at that application … You have a stiffer substrate, less likely to bend or whatever over time, especially being constantly wet.”
The Avalyn is now preleasing its luxury apartments. You can check out its final look, browse floorplans and apply for a unit of your own on its website.
In addition to Shower Bead, the Southern California Interiors, Inc., crew used several Trim-Tex solutions to finish this project (see how they used our Sound Gasket to upgrade their soundproofing abilities here), so stay tuned for more from our visit to Chula Vista. Our thanks to Jesse Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and Taping Superintendent Raul Medina for being so accommodating to our team when we came to tour the facilities there. If you're in the Southern California area and require top-notch interior work, give them a call at (619) 454-7958.
Want to get a closer look at Shower Bead for yourself? Hit the button below to request a free sample!