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Home | Spray Foam Industry | Polyurea Gym Workout: Beauty and Brawn
People go to the gym to work on their appearance. But what happens when the gym’s appearance is lacking? That was the problem at a popular gym located in a major mall in Southern California.

Polyurea Gym Workout: Beauty and Brawn

People go to the gym to work on their appearance. But what happens when the gym’s appearance is lacking? That was the problem at a popular gym located in a major mall in Southern California.

The operators of the MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, California knew that they needed to upgrade the outdoor pool deck (located on the second floor roof deck) and exterior sport court (located on the third floor) in order to accommodate one of their anchor tenants, 24-Hour Fitness. And it all had to be accomplished without disrupting gym members or shoppers. The mall is a popular destination for local shoppers and tourists, and the gym is constantly busy. For this project, safety and speed were of great importance. No matter which contactor won the bid, they would have to submit a plan for preventing “unauthorized public intrusions” into the jobsite, as well as attend daily safety meetings with the mall’s representatives. The gym needed a crew to do heavy lifting at a fast pace. They found a match in Joe Rodriguez and the coatings crew from J.P. Rodriguez. “It was a busy jobsite,” says Rodriguez, “But Westfield was very proactive in helping to police the area. They had a dedicated safety officer on site every day. They were very involved. Not only did we sign off on our own daily safety forms, we had to sign off on Westfield’s safety forms too.”

A WORKOUT BEFORE THE WORKOUT

Before the job even began, the J.P. Rodriguez crew was on-site measuring the dimensions and estimating coordination and timing. The pool deck was roughly 15,000 square feet of new concrete. The sport court was approximately 20,000 square feet of new concrete. And both jobs had tight timeframes due to scheduling with the gym, with the mall, and with other trades.

“Since we knew that it would be a busy site with no time to spare, we went out ahead of time before the final bid to measure and get a sense of the exact size and scope of the job,” Rodriguez states. “We dropped a 500-foot tape down from the sport court roof to determine the length of hose that we would need to use. In the end, we wound up running 315 feet of hose from the staging area to the sport court. In fact, coating the sport court ultimately required two moves. We started on the south side of the building with hoses that reached up 215 feet, but then we had to remobilize and set up on the north side. Running anything longer just wasn’t practical.” But that’s racing ahead. Even on a fast-paced job. How did this project start? Which came first, the sport court or the pool deck? Or were they worked simultaneously?

Rodriguez laughs, “No. We didn’t work them simultaneously. That would have been too much going on. The pool deck came first. We had four days to complete the work from beginning to end. It was fast-tracked because other trades were coming in to do work right behind us.”

DIVING IN

The Rodriguez crew featured a seven-man team, with six on the deck the entire time and one at the staging area below, monitoring the equipment. After setting up a perimeter to keep the public away from the site, the crew affixed heavy plastic sheeting to pillars surrounding the pool deck to prevent dust and overspray from escaping the jobsite.

Then, suited up in Tyvek coveralls, U-Line performance gloves, 3M safety glasses, and 3M half-face respirators, they used an eight-inch Blastrac shot blasting system equipped with a dust collector to prep the concrete pool deck. Once all of the dust had been vacuumed, the crew used rollers to apply 10 mils of Freedom Chemical Corporation’s Freedomtuff® 6160 epoxy primer. The 100 percent solids, zero-VOCs, plural component primer features LEED Compliance and high strength. Following the primer application, two crewmembers wearing backpack blower hoppers broadcast 20-mesh silica sand onto the wet epoxy to create a non-skid surface.

The next day, the crew used Graco E-XP2 Elite plural component proportioners and Fusion guns to spray apply 120 mils of Freedom Chemical Corporation’s Freedomtuff® SealFlex™ polyurea. SealFlex is a two-component, elastomeric, spray-applied, aromatic polyurea that is flexible, as well as adhesion- and impact-resistant. The epoxy and polyurea were applied around the pool and in the pit of the pool itself, prior to the application of the pool liner. “There was no top coat applied over the polyurea as it was covered with tile,” Rodriguez says. In fact, the other trades were fast on their heels. The Rodriguez crew had just finished the 15,000 square foot job in four days as the next crew came on site. “We had a few weeks of down time while other trades worked and then we could begin the sport court,” explains Rodriguez.

A SLAM DUNK

Located on the third level, directly over an Ashley Furniture Store Showroom, the sport court was in need of serious waterproof protection. All of the same safety concerns that had existed for the pool deck project existed for this job, and it was further compounded by the weather.

“The delay of several weeks meant that we were now up against the rainy season,” Rodriguez says. “A forecast of ‘night and morning low clouds and fog’ meant that we would have to wait until 10 am to begin spraying.” Not only did they have a tight timeframe from the mall – Mother Nature herself was also rushing them. But, for a crew that plans ahead, a little moisture wasn’t going to get in the way of finishing their project.

“When it came time for the epoxy primer to cure overnight, we brought in DeWalt space heaters to make sure that there was enough heat for it to cure properly,” continues Rodriguez. After shot blasting the new concrete surface, they followed the same specifications as on the pool deck, applying 10 mils of Freedomtuff® 6160 epoxy primer with silica sand broadcast. This was followed by 120 mils of Freedomtuff® SealFlex™ polyurea.

“It took us three passes to build up the 120 mils,” Rodriguez recalls. “As we were spraying we had the rest of the crew following immediately behind, rolling out the polyurethane top coat.” There was an addition of a topcoat for the sport court; however, as unlike on the pool deck, there would be no tile installed on the sport court – just protective coatings. For a topcoat, they used Freedom Chemical Corporation’s Freedomtuff® 4300 Polyurethane in grey. The 100 percent solids, Zero-VOCs, aromatic, elastomeric provides excellent abrasion and impact resistance. “We rolled it on at a thickness of 24 mils,” says Rodriguez. “And then we finished with another broadcast of silica sand.”

“The weather was becoming increasingly ominous during the job,” Rodriguez says. “After seven days, we finished the sport court, and the very next day, there were massive rains. There was an Ashley Furniture Super Store located directly underneath the sport court. The timing could not have been more perfect. We got the waterproofing completed just in time.”

FLEXING THEIR MUSCLES – AND THEIR EXPERIENCE

The crew from J.P. Rodriguez not only got both projects completed on time, but the mall and the gym-operators were so happy with the results that the Rodriguez crew have gotten further work at the site. “We have been back since the job finished at the end of 2015,” says Rodriguez. (Note: It is March 2016 as this is being written.) “In addition to industrial coatings, we also have a painting division. We were awarded the contract to paint the exterior of the building itself.”

As anyone who has ever pulled the trigger on an industrial coatings (or spray foam) gun will tell you, there is an art to the application process. What separates the professionals from the amateurs is a combination of brains and brawn – art and muscle. Much like the perfect gym routine, coatings success comes through dedication. Rodriguez concurs. There’s more to it than just slapping paint down. There’s a thought process behind it that comes with years of experience, training, and hard work.”