The coated floors were starting to show wear and tear at a manufacturing facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with fork lift traffic leaving the old quartz system looking dull and used. According to Titan Floor Surface Technologies, the local coating contractor company called in to update the floors, the client — which wishes to remain unnamed — was ready for a change. That solution? A new polyaspartic coating system.
But there was a catch: Titan Floor only had two days to complete the turnaround and at a working facility, to boot. It would take another hometown player to bring the 4,500-square-foot (418.1 m2) facility back to snuff, with local coating manufacturer, FLEXMAR Coatings, also on the job. That makes all three legs of the project stool coming from the Steel City! Could they bring it home for the black and gold?
The entire job had to be completed over one full weekend. From Friday night to Sunday afternoon, the six-person crew worked diligently to get all of the work completed.
“The challenge is we had to do essentially a five-coat system in addition to the prep so we had to take care of all of that through the course of the weekend, which is why the only product that could be used on that is a polyaspartic technology,” Titan Floor owner Paul Prevade said. Polyaspartics are, by nature, quick curing.
Luckily, although the existing quartz system had experienced wear and tear, the concrete itself was in good condition. And the system also had a good bond to the substrate. That meant that the Titan Floor crew didn’t have to remove the old system completely. Instead, they worked to take off the top layer and create a rough profile for the new coatings to grab onto.
Before they could get to that all-important first step, though, they had to create a containment area to work within. As this was an active facility with expensive equipment, it was imperative that no dust or other contaminants exit the crew’s workspace. Titan Floor worked with the client to come up with the mobile solution, which was built in house with visqueen, 2x4s (5.1 by 10.2 cm), and an affixed tube to hook up to the client’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system). That “filters everything out,” according to Prevade. There were always two people inside the containment when prepping: one to run the grinder, and the other to move the hoses and electrical connections around. And a third crew member moved the containment unit around the open floor as the crew inside progressed.
Because of the constraining dimensions of the containment, surface prep was limited. “We were confined to one machine,” Prevade said. “It was time consuming. The prep that normally would have taken us two hours essentially took us six hours to do. It was challenging because we had to make sure everything followed in line with the containment unit.”
On the open areas, that one machine was a LAVINA NX20, and on the edges they relied on Metabo hand grinders. They wore dust masks while prepping, as well as gloves when grinding. And they followed the grinding with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums.
The Titan Floor crew also completed safety checks before stepping on site. “It wasn’t a formal safety training, but there were certain steps that we had to follow to make sure that everybody was equipped properly,” Prevade explained. “And that included hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs, and the correct footwear. Even though we were there in off hours, you still have to follow the safety guidelines.”
Titan Floor uses FLEXMAR products exclusively. They’re familiar with them, to say the least, which certainly helped to meet this tight time frame. On Friday, after prepping, the crew laid down the two basecoats. The next day, they came in to roll out the safety yellow lines and the clear topcoats.
Thankfully, not only is the team well versed in the product line, but many of Titan Floor’s members on this crew have worked at the company and, therefore, with the products for decades. “I personally, and I’m a little bit biased, think they’re the best crew ever,” Prevade said. “But I will tell you the crew that we have and had on site there had over 25 years’ experience putting down product and combined probably close to 20 years just putting down FLEXMAR.” This is one well-oiled machine!
Each layer of the dolphin gray basecoat, called NextGen Self-Prime, went down at an average of 8 mils (203.2 microns). The yellow safety lines were taped off and rolled on to achieve an average of 5 mils (127.0 microns). That step required attention to detail. “So after it’s taped and we pour out the safety yellow, we follow that with a 4-inch [10.2 cm] roller,” Prevade explained. “But two people are following behind and pulling up the tape because with the polyaspartic, it sets up very quickly, and if you don’t do that, when you try to do it later, you’ll pull some of the safety yellow line up. So essentially you have to pull the tape up while the line is still wet.”
After the safety lines, the crew applied the two layers of the topcoat, NextGen Clear, which went down at an average of 6 mils (152.4 microns) each. Titan Floor gave the client three anti-skid options to choose from — heavy, light, and no non-skid — and they chose none. According to Prevade, this NextGen coating system by itself meets the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for sloped surfaces. That and the lack of any concerns for spillages or moisture inside the facility meant extra skid didn’t seem necessary.
The crew applied the base and top coats by squeegee and backrollers. All six crew members worked in tandem during this stage of the process by trading off roles of mixing, running materials, etc. “It sets up very quickly, so you have to be very aware of where you are in the process, making sure you’re switching out rollers, and all that other good stuff,” Prevade explained.
This was the second project that the Titan Floor crew worked on with this client. “It’s a good working relationship,” Prevade said. The first project had been completed a year earlier, and clearly they were happy with Titan Floor’s initial work to call them back for round two. “We worked really well with the client. They were on site the entire time we were there. We always had somebody, at least one if not two people to go to, whether we were talking about electrical requirements and where we needed to do those things,” Prevade continued.
By 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, the client had fork lifts back up and running on the floor — all thanks to a quick-set system and a dedicated crew. Go, team, go!