Universities all over the United States are heeding the requests of student-athletes by offering better fitness facilities that represent a vast improvement over the dank, poorly lit gymnasia of the past. Designers are therefore keen to select building materials that are aesthetically pleasing, but just as important, hold up well years after they are put in service.
These requirements were top-of-mind for The University of Alabama – Birmingham’s student recreation center, so when it came time to select a flooring material for the bathrooms and locker rooms, the architects chose a decorative flake system from Tnemec’s StrataShield flooring line.
Fluid-applied floor coating systems utilizing decorative colored flake have become very popular over the past several years because their appearance can be coordinated with that of the room’s overall color scheme yet they are very durable, standing up to foot and wheeled traffic, chemicals and abrasion. These attributes – including the ability to handle wet conditions – made Series 224 Deco-Fleck an ideal choice for Williams Blackstock Architects.
Vulcan Painters first abrasive blasted the concrete in the locker rooms and bathrooms before priming the floor with Series 205 Terra-Tread FC, a fast-cure, pigmented polyamide epoxy. Applying Series 205 first accomplished two things; it achieved a strong bond by penetrating deeply into the concrete, and because it is pigmented, it also provided the floor’s base color that serves as a background for the vinyl flake. Series 224 Deco-Fleck, a high-solids clear polyamine epoxy, was then spread evenly across the floor by notched squeegee. Once applied, decorative colored flakes in a custom blend were then broadcast to refusal into the clear epoxy creating a speckled effect.
An additional coat of Series 224 was applied to lock in the flake after the first coat was allowed to cure, followed by a finish coat of Series 295, a clear polyester polyurethane used to give the floor additional resistance to scuffs, scratches and abrasion. In all, nearly 6,000 sq.ft. of flooring was installed. “The floor turned out great,” Tnemec coating consultant Robert Crumbaugh said. “The university is very pleased with the result.”