For Accurate Technologies Inc., which makes devices for Ford Motor Company and Shaurya Racing, a new facility at their worldwide headquarters outside Detroit, Michigan, meant an opportunity for a new look. The powers that be wanted a system for the floors, walls, and ceilings that would not only be functional but also attractive.
In fact, according to Kevin Fitchett, vice president of MSC Floors, the chosen system was more about aesthetics than anything else. “They bring a lot of their clients there and do plant tours, so for them, presentation is key,” he said. But they did have durability in mind and also liked the idea of a seamless floor to make it easier to clean. “It’s their world headquarters, so they were looking for something that was unique, different, and stood out — just like their brand,” he continued.
The client chose a system that included epoxy-based flooring with quartz and vinyl broadcast systems applied to a total of 80,000 square feet (7,432.2 m²). And with three substrates, MSC Floors had to deal with three strategies throughout the job.
A Good Fit
On new construction, other trades working nearby on the jobsite can be expected. It was no different for MSC Floors on this one. “We had a lot of other trades working in there that we were having to coordinate with and kinda work together to get through the whole project cohesively,” Fitchett said. They met with the general contractor weekly to discuss the product’s production, and the MSC Floors project manager, Joel Ferguson, relayed that information about the schedule and timelines to the crew that rotated up to 20 people.
That was especially important because there were many mobilizations on this jobsite, located about two hours away from the MSC Floors headquarters. Luckily, the client gave MSC Floors a designated area for their equipment and materials on site in a warehouse so they were able to stage the area and leave everything there.
What wasn’t lucky was the tight fit between the scaffolding around the hallways and the walls. “That was a bit of a challenge,” Fitchett said succinctly. “You’re working with a fast cure product, so you had to take your time to make sure that you had a consistent finish, but at the same time, you had to keep it moving as quickly as you could just so the product didn’t set up because you have a limited work time with a fast-cure product.”
Once on site, the crew covered the floors with plastic before starting with the walls and ceilings. Gravity, after all, is hard to fight!
After an 8-mil (203.2 microns) primer coat of Tennant Coatings Eco-MPE (Multi-Purpose Epoxy), walls that were made out of concrete block, such as in the stairwells, received two coats of the 100 percent solids epoxy with broadcasted decorative ceramic quartz, shot with a hopper gun. Those layers were also applied at an average of 8 mils (203.2 microns) using a 3/8th-inch (1.0 cm) nap roller. The crew laid the chip flat by spike rolling the materials before locking them down with three coats of clear polyaspartic, called TCU (Thick Coat Urethane), at 8‒10 mils (203.2‒254.0 microns) each. That ultraviolet (UV) resistant topcoat doesn’t cloud from a high build, which lets the colorful quartz shine through.
To the ceilings and walls, such as in the bathrooms, that were made of drywall, the crew again applied an epoxy primer layer followed by the broadcast system, this time with broadcasted chips. “We achieved the chip coverage required as we were broadcasting it,” Fitchett said. The crew spike rolled the chip to lay flat, and then again that layer was lightly sanded and covered by three coats of the polyaspartic at the same thicknesses as before.
After each stage, the crew closed off the area from traffic using tape and signs showing when the other trades could reenter. “We communicated with all the on-site trades just not to enter in those areas,” Fitchett said.
The crew left the concrete floors until last to avoid any issues with the finish from the coatings above. Wearing Kevlar gloves, the crew started with the open areas with Diamatic grinders and SPE shotblasters and around the edges with Metabo hand grinders. These were hooked up to Husqvarna S-26 high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums, and the goal was to give the concrete a Concrete Surface Profile (CSP) 4‒5 finish. According to Fitchett, the concrete was given to them in good condition.
The crew cleaned and vacuumed all joints before installing VersaFlex SL/75 polyurea joint filler. They used a razor scraper on a pole to shave those flat. Then the surface received an 8- to 10-mil (203.2‒254.0 microns) prime coat of the Eco-MPE. “And then we broadcasted the decorative blend of ceramic quartz to refusal. We allowed that to cure, we swept that up, and then we applied a second broadcast coat,” Fitchett said. Those layers and the next grout coat, Eco-TCP (Thick Coat Polyaspartic), were each laid down at 12‒16 mils (304.8‒406.4 microns). The clear topcoat was again Eco-TCP and laid down at 4‒5 mils (101.6‒127.0 microns). And because this is a floor, the crew wanted a little grip, so they didn’t need to knock the chip flat or sand the area.
MSC Floors sets up 5- and 3-person full-time teams right now, usually with a #1 guy, who is the supervisor, a #2 guy, who is the foreman, a #3 guy, manning the mix station, and two laborers. “Our supervisors work with the same crew day in and day out to maintain consistency, continuity, and teamwork to achieve the best possible outcome on all projects,” Fitchett said.
They also have a program set up for growth within the company, so someone who started out as a laborer can potentially end up running his or her own team down the line.
On jobs with this many mobilizations, those 5-person teams combine to fill up the 20 people needed to complete the work.
Another thing that’s a company-wide policy is following safety protocols. In addition to daily toolbox talks, the crew wore personal protective equipment (PPE), including eyewear, 3M dust masks, and steel-toed boots, which came from a local boot distributor called Michigan Industrial Shoe. “We supply them with uniforms, PPE, and tools so when they show up on jobsites, they’ve got everything they need,” Fitchett explained.
Success All Around
In the end, the client loved the finished product. “They absolutely love it. They love the way it looks, they like the way it cleans, it’s easy to maintain for them. There are no grout lines to contend with versus tile. The walls are easy to clean and maintain. So overall, they love the appearance, and they love how durable it is as well,” Fitchett said.
The company has found success in other areas, too. The crew won second place for the commercial concrete category in CoatingsPro’s 2018 Contractor Awards Program for this project, which means they can say that not only was the system functional and aesthetically pleasing but award-winning, too!
Editor's note: This article was originally published in CoatingsPro's 2018 Equipment supplement.