Attendees at the World of Concrete (WOC) 2012 were in for a special treat when they saw the unveiling of the Las Vegas Co-op project. After 4 months of planning, five companies—Ameripolish, Metzger McGuire, CTS Rapid Set, Ermator, and Runyon Surface Prep—began to contemplate a project that would show how to overlay a distressed slab and turn over a completed 1000-square-foot project in 4 days.
We were developing new systems and processes and needed a platform to show people how to implement them on jobsites. We came together and worked out a plan. But we soon realized that the plan needed some adjustment. This is how we turned a nightmare into a finished product!
Day 1: The Thursday before the show started, Dan Markwood of Runyon, Joe Zingale of CTS Rapid Set, Clemet Jones of Jones Tile, and I met together and discovered that the area for our display had about 13 inches of fall to a central drain for the parking lot and contained 30 tons of fill. Our process has always been to place an overlay over concrete, so this immediately posed a challenge. The WOC staff provided the material and manpower to bring the entire area up to a working surface that was acceptable. We had to change the plan to accommodate the amount of material needed and pour a slab first, before we were able to begin the overlay.
Day 2: Prior to coming to the show, we duplicated the process of pouring the overlay several times and in different weather conditions. We had experience pouring in almost every environment from 22-degree-slab temperatures to 90-degree-air temperatures. We also had experience grinding and repairing with products that were designed for topical applications. And although we had done extensive preparation, we had never poured in the desert heat with 45 mph winds! Faced with this new challenge, we decided to wait until the next day to pour.
Day 3: It was colder and windier than the previous day, but we decided to push through. The first lift was 1 1/2 inches with wire mesh overlapped. We used a HTC 650 grinder for our grinding process to protect the overlay from cracking. Next, we needed to extend the Tru Self-Leveling concrete overlay with washed and dried pea gravel because we were about 30 bags short of completing the pour. The team from CTS was very accommodating with providing additional materials when needed, with their network of representatives coming at a moment’s notice. After receiving the extra products, we finished securing mesh and tied up loose ends to prepare for the initial pour of underlay. The crew began mixing the product with a Strong FloorMate.
Day 4: Bright and early on Day 4, we blasted the slab with a 14-inch unit. The process took about 1 1/2 hours to complete. The result was a beautiful profile with just a few areas to mend before cleaning off. Next, we primed the surface in preparation for a 3/8-inch Tru topping for polishing. We were able to get Armor Hard primer down before is began to rain and then come back to clean the slab and prepare to pour the middle 500-foot section. Once again, we encountered high winds, so we created a wind break with plastic sheeting to keep the pour as protected as possible. Next, we fired up the pump again and completed the pour that night around 7:00 pm.
Day 5: We arrived to find the slab in what appeared to be great condition! We were ready to begin grinding as we noticed the slab needed a little more time. After a few hours we came back to work and experienced very few issues grinding to a good polish. We were finally right where we needed to be to finish the project by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. The next step was to prep the rest of the area and leave 250 square feet to do during show hours.
Day 6: It was the first day of the show and most people were very intrigued by our booth. We had several people mention they were happy to see a group display a process in a jobsite setting. The Jones crew was making progress toward turning the center section over to Chris Swanson of Colour, Jason Campbell of Ameripolish, and Rachael Bruce of Floormaps for the layout and design portion of the project. As the day went on, Swanson was ready to begin layout in the center while the rest of us poured the section of Patriot Blue in the end farthest away. We faced yet another obstacle when we realized that there was a mistake with improper amount of water to mix with the the product. The Tru had more of a quicksand consistency than the desired milkshake consistency. We decided to move the product in place and water cure and broadcast the aggregate early. We knew it needed to be grouted and could crack, but we were happy to have an opportunity to show people how to do those things. As we cured the Blue we decided to pour the Caramel to show how to tie the slabs in without bleeding colors together. The team worked the rest of the day grinding, polishing, pouring, and finessing layout.
Day 7: The design team was getting ready to apply dye while the rest were grinding the areas we poured the previous day. We were having consistent traffic around the display and had to place ropes around the perimeter of the tent to keep the work area clear. We finished three of the other areas and prepared the last area to pour. Chris, Rachel, and Jason were masking and dying a 500-square foot stenciled section while Clemet and the guys poured the last section. After the last section was walkable, we moved the ropes in for the spectators to be able to watch Chris work his magic. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Chris and company layout, spray, and remask.
The process was just a little ahead of schedule at that point. Chris had an exceptional talent of being able to see and do things with design that astounded me. He created details in the design that were amazing. Jones Tile began cleaning, burnishing, and helping with all the other details that needed to be done for completion. Clemet and the guys amazed me with their attention to detail and willingness to do whatever necessary to get the job done.
Day 8: It was finally all completed with the exception of the unveiling of the mural. The guys all worked hard! Even though we were met with so many challenges, like having to pour a concrete slab, we completed the project as planned. I don’t remember when we announced that Chris only had to finish the black background, but I remember looking up to quite a crowd! It was absolutely wonderful!
When Chris and I originally discussed the idea, he asked what we wanted and I said plainly, “I’m not sure. I mess up stick figures and you could run with whatever you have in mind.” But I didn’t expect he would create what he did! We—the entire crew involved—spent the rest of the day staring at the Las Vegas mural that was brought to life and explaining what we did to make this project a success.