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North Hills Preparatory outdoor classroom
North Hills Preparatory outdoor classroom
December 21, 2012 7:00 AM CST

LATICRETE One-Step Method

Texas outdoor classroom to receive strong education with LATICRETE’s One-Step Method


LATICRETE will be teaming up with Julie Richey, a Texas mosaic artist, and her student daughter to optimize an upcoming outdoor classroom at a local school.

This unique project will take place at North Hills Preparatory, a K-12 charter school in Irving, Texas. "There is an outdoor classroom area that will consist of a 20-foot-wide central concrete medallion and semi-circular rows of concrete benches,” says Julie Richey, the mosaic artist responsible for spearheading this project. “We'll be adhering the mosaic to the circle. In subsequent years, we may try to clad the benches with mosaics, as well.

“I've been wanting to mosaic those bare concrete forms for some time,” Richey continues. “The opportunity to design the mosaic was initiated by my daughter, Claire, who had to design a personal project for her coursework.”

As part of her project, Richey’s daughter had to seek approval from the head administrator, the school board and the Las Colinas Association architectural control committee. After her samples and drawings were submitted, she received approval from all to proceed. Richey's involvement was to be in gathering resources, funds and arranging for mosaic artist volunteers to complete the fabrication and installation.

A budget was reached, based on past experience with local public art projects. In March, a fundraiser cocktail party was hosted, which, with the help of sponsors, raised the needed funds for the tile and pattern expenses.

"Henry B. Rothberg of LATICRETE soon got involved, pledging to generously donate the necessary LATICRETE materials,” she says. “This was exciting for me, as I've worked with LATICRETE products before, with great results. For example, I participated in the award-winning ‘River of Life’ mosaic project at the University of Iowa, which exclusively used LATICRETE products. Last month, I finished an installation at the University of Texas/Austin, Holland Family Student Center at the Jackson School of Geosciences. We used the LATICRETE One-Step Method, which worked extremely well.”

The LATICRETE One-Step Method is a process that entails latex admix being combined with grouting material, resulting in basically an ironclad “grout adhesive.”

“I love the consistency and innovation of LATICRETE products," Richey says. “The One-Step Method is such a time saver for mosaic installations, where the grout joints often are very difficult to keep clean. Before I discovered the One-Step Method, I spent a lot of time carving thinset out of joints in preparation for grouting. Happily, that's in the past. We'll be using this process for the outdoor classroom, as well.”

The forthcoming plan for the outdoor classroom is to begin installation of the mosaics this month, when the temperature in Texas generally drops down to below 80 degrees.

For more information, visit

Originally published in Masonry magazine.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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