The Minnesota State Fair (MNSF) is one of the largest state fairs in the country, and it is a point of pride for many Minnesotans. A long-time vendor and absolute staple of the MNSF is the Turkey to Go stand, serving up heaping turkey sandwiches and turkey legs as big as your arm near the corner of Judson Ave. and Clough St. (They also have a food truck and brick and mortar eateries at Target Field and in downtown Minneapolis.)
After offering ridiculous portions of turkey to hungry fair-goers for almost six decades, the stand was in need of an update. The flooring was cracked and damaged, in addition to being greasy and dangerous to work on. There was a lot of pitting and cracking in the concrete, according to Jason Ripley, owner of Garage Floor Coating of Minnesota who was the contractor hired for the rehab.
If you’ve ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner, imagine that mess on steroids. Not a pretty picture!
Time to Upgrade
Turkey to Go, which is supplied, owned, and operated by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, has occupied several different stands since it began serving in 1958. But just because the current stand is leaps and bounds better than the canvas-covered stand Turkey to Go started with didn’t change the fact that the condition of the concrete was unsafe.
“It was not a very sanitary situation for them because it was a food stand,” explained Ripley. Once the decision was made to update the floor, the call was placed to Ripley. “We’ve been in the industry for about 26 years,” Ripley said of Garage Floor Coating of Minnesota (GFC). “We initially started with garage floors and now we’ve expanded to any hard surfaces — any alternative to carpet or tile.” The company works on both residential and commercial jobs, including mechanical rooms, office buildings, restaurants, and kitchens. As far as Ripley is concerned, they’ll do “pretty much any kind of area that would require a seamless, easy-to-clean floor.” And that’s exactly what the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association needed at the Turkey to Go stand.
Because of the level of damage and deterioration in the existing concrete, cleaning and maintenance efforts were extremely ineffective, leading up to the need for a new floor. This prompted Ripley to push for a gold system floor coating, which is especially effective when dealing with high-traffic areas and the presence of rather slick materials, helping to maintaining proper traction throughout the stand.
Break a Leg
GFC’s three-person crew began with what Ripley called “miner” masking: putting tape and plastic on any equipment that they didn’t want to be coated. Then, they washed the roughly 40-foot by 50-foot (12.2 m x 15.2 m) floor with ammonia to remove any contaminants or grease. That was followed by prepping the area with Lavina diamond grinders and 30-grit diamonds. “We really wanted to get through that initial cream layer of the concrete and get to a profile that the coating would really soak into and bond to at a molecular level of the concrete,” Ripley explained. It took about two hours for the crew to get that profile, and the crew wore 3M respirators, as well as safety glasses, gloves, and vests while doing so.
Once the debris was vacuumed up, the GFC team got to work sealing small divots and cracks to ensure a completely flat surface. There were a couple hundred linear feet of cracks to fill, and they used a polyurea joint filler from VersaFlex to accomplish that. They also used VersaFlex’s Quick Mender Repair Polymer “to fill all the crater damage areas,” Ripley said.
With that, the area was ready to go. Next up: apply the coating system. It started with two layers of Eco-Corflex’s three-component poly-hybrid coating system, which were brush- and roller-applied at approximately 15 mils (381.0 microns) wet film thickness (WFT) per coat. It took about 45 minutes to apply each layer. Into the topmost layer, they broadcast black and white ultraviolet (UV)-protected vinyl chips from Chips Unlimited. These were broadcast at 20 percent into the gray coating mostly for aesthetic reasons.
Once the coating cured, the team sanded the surface to achieve a mechanical etch to receive the final clear topcoat. That coat, which was also applied at approximately 15 mils (381.0 microns) WFT with brushes and rollers, received coverage of aluminum oxide at about 10 percent. This time, though, the aggregate was for anti-slip properties to help maintain a safe work environment for all of those turkey-selling stand operators during those 12 glorious days of excess that is the Minnesota State Fair.
Overall, the project went pretty smoothly, according to Ripley. Because it was on the fairgrounds, they did have to go through security to get to the jobsite and they also had to work around other vendors that were working nearby. But they experienced “no issues or problems on the project,” he said. “Weather cooperated with us. It actually went pretty smooth.”
The Big Get-Together
Over the course of a week, the 2,000-square-foot (185.8 m²) turkey stand was completely transformed. “They love the system,” Ripley said of the client. “It’s made the floor a lot easier to clean, to maintain. Cosmetically it looks a lot better. They had raw concrete there before, so it’s a lot more attractive. It’s night and day different to what they had before, so they’re very happy with it.”
For the GFC crew, this job can be counted as another project that begot more work; they received this opportunity from a past client and have since worked with the Turkey to Go folks on more coating-related jobs.
The state fair has since closed for the summer season, but it opened with the Turkey to Go stand ready to dole out copious amounts of delicious poultry. With the addition of the upgraded flooring, workers were able to enjoy sure-footing and reduced cleanup, making the experience better for everyone involved. Trot on, Turkey to Go!