Since 1979, the U.S. Mint in New Orleans has been opened to the public as part of the Louisiana State Museum complex, but following Hurricane Katrina, the severely damaged historical landmark required a protective coating system from Tnemec to return the building to “mint” condition. “The project architects were looking for a coating system that would aid in keeping water from seeping into the building,” recalled Tnemec coating consultant, Brandon Lomasney. “They wanted a coating system that was also breathable, that would improve the aesthetics of the building and be very durable. About 10 years earlier, we had used a coating system on the Westin Hotel that provided the performance functionality and aesthetics the architects were after.”
The National Historic Landmark had been scheduled for exterior renovation prior to Hurricane Katrina, which caused severe damage to the building’s roof and interior. “After the storm, the renovation became an emergency project,” Lomasney explained.
The plaster exterior was power-washed prior to receiving a prime coat of Series 151-1051 Elasto-Grip FC, a penetrating waterborne modified polyamine epoxy used for sealing porous substrates and as a tie-coat for specialized finishes over sound existing coatings. The exterior also received two coats of Series 156 Enviro-Crete, a breathable modified waterborne acrylate. Series 156 offers excellent elastomeric protection against driving rain and ultraviolet (UV) light and can also be used as a low cohesive stress overcoat for aged oil or alkyd systems. Approximately 300 gallons of coating were required for the project.
The same coating system had been used previously on The Cabildo and The Presbytere, which are also National Historic Landmarks and part of the Louisiana State Museum historical museum complex. “The applicator liked the coating system and thought it was easy to apply,” Lomasney noted. “The architect liked the way the coating system held up at The Cabildo during Hurricane Katrina. It has really performed well on these historical landmarks.”
Constructed in 1835 in a style typical of the Greek Revival era, the U.S. Mint began producing coins in 1838. In 1861, when Louisiana seceded from the union, the facility was used to mint Confederate currency until New Orleans was occupied by federal forces. Minting of U.S. coins resumed following the Civil War and continued until 1909. The building served a variety of purposes until 1966 when the landmark was transferred to the state, later to become part of the state museum complex.