It would have been Homer Simpson’s dream coatings job — if the beer-guzzling cartoon star were actually qualified and didn’t exist in an animated world. In reality, Life Deck Coating Installations, a leading concrete coating company in San Diego with more than 30 years of industry experience, landed the contract to resurface the floors at Modern Times Beer. This hopping brewery has a super-stylish, 2,000-square-foot (185.8 m²) tasting room where patrons can sample its aroma-driven, flavored-focused craft beers. But in the meantime, they’d need to cook up a newly coated floor for the bottling/canning room!
System on Tap
Life Deck was hired by the three-year-old brewery, located in the Point Loma section of San Diego, first to coat the floor of its bottling/canning area and then a couple months later to do the floor of its second, newly installed cellar pad, where it houses 2,400-bbl (286,177.1 L) fermenters.
Chris Sarette, Modern Times Beer’s COO, said he and founder Jacob McKean were eager to try a new flooring solution after they already had to have another contractor return and perform warranty work on the initial urethane floors.
As Sarette explained, “In breweries, floors are subjected to a whole host of unfavorable conditions. Cellar floors specifically are almost always wet and are also constantly doused with beer and cleaning chemicals. We needed a flooring solution that would stand the test of time and not have to be replaced a couple years later.”
So what was the solution? Selecting just the right system for the job.
Brian Oberman, general manager of Life Deck, said the best product, hands down, for this project was Westcoat Temper-Crete, a high-build, fast-drying, self-leveling urethane product. Because of its excellent chemical-, heat-, and steam-resistant qualities, Temper-Crete is an ideal fit for commercial kitchens, restaurants, wineries, and — yup, you guessed it — breweries. Oberman added that it is a durable product that holds up well against the acid in beer and should last for many years to come.
Another advantage of Temper-Crete is its moisture-tolerance, an essential quality to battle against the constant slop on the floor of Modern Times Beer’s cellar pad.
According to Oberman, the process for coating both the bottling/canning area and new cellar pad was essentially the same, and they each took three days to complete.
On day one, donning eye masks, heavy-duty gloves and boots, and 3M face respirators, Oberman and his crew went in and prepped the area. First they ground the existing, newly installed concrete surface using Diamatic’s 780PRO, an electrical-driven planetary grinder, and then they shotblast that surface with Blastrac’s 1-10DLP. This gave them the desired profile, International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI)’s Concrete Surface Profile (CSP) 4–6, before they applied the Temper-Crete product.
At this time, the crew also cut ¼-inch by ¼-inch (0.6 cm x 0.6 cm) keyways, 6 inches (15.2 cm) from all walls and drains and at regular intervals throughout the surface.
On the second day, the installers applied the Temper-Crete — the color selected was carbon — and gauge raked it to get it to the desired thickness of 3/16ths of an inch (0.5 cm). A heavy hand was not necessary.
“Because it [Temper-Crete] is a self-leveling material, you simply apply it at your desired thickness and let it do its thing,” Oberman said.
To finish it off, the crew employed a loop roller to backroll the entire area.
Hop to It
Another perk of going with Temper-Crete: the fast drying time. With typical cement products, 28 days is the minimum time to cure.
That simply was not time Modern Times Beer had. The cellar pad specifically, Sarette pointed out, was very much in operation when Life Deck commenced its work. With the brewery offering twice-weekly tours and continuing to grow its business by leaps and bounds — including recently expanding into coffee — the bustling operation needed to have that cellar pad back up and running as fast as possible. Fortunately, a day after the Life Deck crew had completed the project, the floor of the cellar pad was set and it was back to business as usual at Modern Times.
Because of the quick-setting nature of Temper-Crete, Oberman noted that the application can be a little tricky. Instead of the typical hours to move other systems around, “with this, you have just minutes to get it down on the ground,” he said.
“You have to be trained and have the experience,” Oberman noted, since “the material, it takes off on you.” And once it starts drying, you can’t work with it anymore.
To combat this potential issue, Oberman said it was imperative to have enough manpower to keep the momentum and pace going.
Though the area of the bottling/canning floor and cellar pad together was not a very large space — it totals 2,176 square feet (202.2 m²) — Oberman brought in a four-man crew for the job. They would mix up 3- to 5-gallon (11.4–18.9 L) batches of Temper-Crete at a time and immediately set about applying it.
“As fast as you are mixing it, you are putting it down and then constantly moving to the next area,” Oberman explained.
On the third day, the team applied another thin coat to the surface to get the desired texture. Oberman explained that the client did not want too smooth of a surface since the area often gets wet from spills, nor did they want a too-bumpy texture since the floors get dirty rather quickly and regularly need to be cleaned. In the end, they went with a texture similar to an orange peel. No sealer was necessary — another benefit of Temper-Crete.
A Sweet Payment
All in all, Sarette has been extremely satisfied with the results. “Throughout each project — from bidding to implementation — Brian and the Life Deck Crew have been first class,” he said.
And incidentally, it’s not just Homer Simpson who would get a kick out of working at a brewery. Oberman, a beer enthusiast himself, easily admitted that the gig at Modern Times Beer has been one of the more fun ones he and his crew have had. When they returned to the jobsite to ensure the quality of their work, they took some time afterward to sit in the tasting room and try the tasty libations and celebrate their fantastic work. Cheers to that!
To see a video on this project, click here.