A Project Close to Home
Back in 2012, we were asked if we had any flooring solutions that might work for the new Mechanicsburg Area School District’s Environmental Learning Center building. We had recently worked with the main contractor, Farinelli Construction, on a polished concrete project and they wanted to know if we could do the same flooring solution in this new facility.
So we drove over to see this new building; a trip that took all of 4 minutes from our Mechanicsburg, PA operations. Given the use, desired look and maintenance needs, we determined that a coatings system would be a better option. Working with the architectural firm, we narrowed it down to about 6 different Metallic Epoxy colors. Samples were made to display the general color and also the different topcoat options.
After review with the school staff, they decided upon a pigment color with a semi-gloss, High Wear Urethane topcoat. This special topcoat has a tabular aluminum oxide additive that makes the floor extremely scratch resistant. At this point, it was a matter of waiting until the other construction trades completed their work and turned the building over to us. We would be coating the lobby, main classroom areas and closets. In addition, we donated solid color, epoxy coatings for their mechanicals room and storage room. The entry and offices were already completed in a decorative tile.
Applying the Coatings
Before applying any coatings, our crew went in to clean and fill all of the saw cuts (control joints) in the floor. Applying our own blend of epoxy joint filler, we filled all of the saw cuts and later ground them flush to the concrete surface to create a monolithic slab and allow us to have truly seamless coatings.
For the mechanicals room and storage room, we utilized a gray based epoxy coating to protect the concrete floors in these two rooms. Two coats of 100% solids epoxies made these two rooms brighter and much easier to keep clean.
For all other areas, we began with a metallic pigment added to 100% solids, clear epoxy. This first coat sealed the floor and created the canvas for the second, more artistic layer. The 2nd layer was metallic epoxy again, but this time we applied various techniques to cause the surface to take on a streaked and modelled appearance. Finally, we applied the special urethane topcoat.
Unfortunately, the high wear additive caused the project to look very inconsistent under their lighting and at different views. The metallic epoxy was applied to around 2,500 square feet and from some views; the urethane caused a hazy, inconsistent look.
To remedy the situation, we had to sand heavily into the floor to remove the high wear system (which was no easy task). We reapplied a metallic pigment layer and then protected it with a UV resistant, 100% solids epoxy topcoat. This gave the school district the look it wanted and also the feel to the floor.
Due to the rough usage of this floor, including dragging of tables and chairs, these coatings will require more maintenance efforts than a typical commercial coating in this type of facility. They utilize a special polymer wax designed for these epoxy coatings, which can be coupled with their high speed buffers to create a shiny, protective wear surface.
Learn More about This Project
We also have a project portfolio on our website that includes more description and project pictures. Please visit the Metallics in Environmental Center portfolio.
We have also applied these metallic epoxy coatings in other commercial settings, such as frozen yogurt shops, offices, lobbies, hallways, cafeterias and bathrooms. These coatings have been very popular with homeowners as well for basement floors – especially after we debuted them at the 2012 Home-A-Rama.