The Burlington Mall, located in the northern area of the greater Boston region, is one of the busiest shopping centers in New England, Mass. With more than 150 specialty stores and anchors that include Filenes, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, it is an upscale center built in the early 1970s. Like most centers of that vintage, the mall was in clear need of an aesthetic update to continue attracting preferred customers.

Renovation of the Burlington Mall Flooring

The second floor and food court area had been recently renovated; however, the first floor still projected an image from 30 years ago with smoked brick pavers and old, drab 8-inch by 8-inch ceramic tiles. Owner, Simon Property Group, recognized the need to bring the first floor up to the same aesthetic standards to complement the previous renovation efforts and showcase high-end retailers such as Ann Taylor and Coach.

Porcelain in a Mall

To accomplish this, a warm, neutral palette of unpolished porcelain tile with sandstone and marble accents was selected. This monochromatic scheme was intentional, both to brighten the 80,000-square-foot space and to accentuate the colorful storefronts that line the concourse.

Burlington Mall 2

The team assembled to bring the first floor of the Burlington Mall up to date was led by general contractor, Whiting-Turner, Baltimore, Md., with well-known tile contractor, ProFast Commercial Flooring, Ijamsville, Md. ProFast used a complete tile installation system from Custom® Building Products for the project, and Custom provided consulting expertise to determine job specifications and help ensure the desired results.

“We always prefer to use installation products from Custom because we know from experience that they perform to our standards. We also know that Custom will provide support unlike any other manufacturer,” said Kevin Killian, owner, ProFast. “In this case, Custom’s lifetime warranty also played into our decision. It gives Simon Property peace of mind to know the installation is covered for life against failure.”

Tile Installation for a Mall

According to Killian, the greatest challenge his team of tile installation professionals faced with the Burlington Mall project was surface preparation. “When we began the demolition phase, it was more like an archeological dig. Beneath the old ceramic tile, we found sections of 4-inch mud bed, extensive flash patching and some original brick and concrete that dated back decades,” he said.

Burlington Mall 3

ProFast professionals removed the mud bed and the brick, ground down the flash patching and reached the original concrete substrate. LevelQuik® RS (Rapid Setting) Self-Leveling Underlayment from Custom was applied generously throughout the entire space to fill gaps, correct slopes and create a level, even surface. “We used truckloads of LevelQuik because of the condition of the substrate,” said Killian. “All those years of repair and patching left a real mess, but LevelQuik gave us a clean, fresh, level place to start the new installation.”

Once the arduous preparation phase was complete, the entire first floor concourse was tiled with unpolished porcelain in neutral beige with subtle gold shadings and streaks. The area is bordered with polished sandstone in Aztec gold and marble in a medium shade of taupe. The marble is also used for the elevator housings, support columns and planters found throughout the mall, giving the center a clean, upscale look that does not compete for attention with the retail locations.