FLEXMAR Polyaspartic Coatings Hit a Home Run at Penn State Athletic Center
Facility: Penn State New Kensington Athletic Complex
Location: New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Coating System: FLEXMAR Color Flake Polyaspartic Coating System
Coating Applicator: U-Neek Concrete Coatings
Resin Supplier: Bayer MaterialScience
Coating Area: 625 ft2
Project Completed: 2012
Penn State Pride dots the state of Pennsylvania with two-dozen campus locations of varying size. From its massive University Park campus packed with over 45,000 students to its Shenango campus with 578 students, each state-owned university campus offers a full range of degree programs and amenities for students. Nestled outside an industrial community along the Allegheny River in Western Pennsylvania, Penn State’s New Kensington campus is no exception.
With an enrollment of around 700 students, Penn State New Kensington offers thirteen academic majors, supported by a library, computer technology center, engineering and science laboratories, an art gallery, 350-seat theater, multi-purpose conference center, and athletic center.
Varsity Athletics Key to New Kensington
Like most schools, the athletic program is vital to the student body and the school itself. One in seven students participates in varsity sports at New Kensington. It offers men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, wrestling, men’s basketball, softball, co-ed golf, and cheerleading as part of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). Central to these team sports as well as other extracurricular athletic activities for the general body is the 30-year-old athletic center. The facility includes a gymnasium, weight room, fitness room, racquetball courts, and a combination Pilates/wrestling room. A soccer field and activity field lay adjacent.
In an increasingly competitive market, small satellite campuses like Penn State New Kensington always seek an advantage to recruit the best and brightest students. Athletic Director Dave Murray understood that a vibrant, competitive varsity sports program would be central to that recruiting effort, even on the small New Kensington campus. The athletic center itself, including the locker room facilities, would be under constant scrutiny of potential student-athletes.
Existing Floor’s Lackluster Appearance Falls Short
But the athletic center’s locker room facilities, with its bare concrete flooring, fell short when it came to projecting an image of excellence that would attract athletes.
“The appearance of the locker room floor was a standard basement-like floor,” Murray explained. “It was nothing more than a cement floor with your standard cracks in it. It was not appealing to the eye, it looked like a locker room that was unfinished.”
Cleaning the floor did nothing to help improve the appearance. He remarked, “Our janitorial staff would typically clean the floor perhaps once a week, but the floor never looked that clean because it had the finish of a basement floor.”
So the Athletic Department explored the improvements that could be made to the facility to enhance its appearance.
“We elected to renovate the locker rooms in order to help our recruiting efforts. And when we laid out the scope of the project, we thought new lockers without a finished floor would just not look right. It would look half-done. So we elected to not only paint the locker rooms, we also elected to put in new lockers and finish the floor.”
Personal Attention and Coating’s Superior Performance Properties Lead to Slam Dunk
During an extensive search of hard-surface flooring treatments, including epoxy coatings and other conventional commercial-grade flooring systems, Mr. Murray discovered polyaspartic coatings manufactured by FLEXMAR® Coatings, headquartered just a few miles away from campus. Todd Slomka and Kevin Bertocki of Taren-tum-based U-Neek Concrete Coatings, the local FLEXMAR-authorized applicator, visited the athletic center to make the sales call. But the sales process didn’t stop there.
“FLEXMAR went one step further,” Murray recalls. “The owner of FLEXMAR Coatings came out, explained the product, and delineated the installation process in a very systematic way.”
The personal attention given by FLEXMAR Coatings made Murray and the Athletic Department confident that FLEXMAR polyaspartics was the perfect choice.
“After meeting with FLEXMAR Coatings and learning about the polyaspartic floor coating, we were sold immediately.”
They learned that FLEXMAR polyaspartic coatings are up to four times more durable than epoxies and acrylics. They are strong enough to hold up to wear, tear, and abuse from athletes (including sports equipment, metal cleats, and wet towels) for years, and still look like new. They don’t fade or yellow with age or exposure to sunlight or indoor lighting. They won’t bubble, blister, or peel. And most importantly to Murray, the nature of the subtly irregular surface of the vinyl chip polyaspartic system left him convinced that he wouldn’t have slip- and-fall issues on a wet floor:
“There is a texture to the floor that we were quite confident would accommodate our safety needs. We felt like we wouldn’t have any athletes slipping on the floor.”
The U-Neek Concrete Coatings crew wasted no time transforming the locker room facility’s floor. They repaired chipped and cracked concrete with a rapid-set polyurea repair material. Then they diamond-ground the existing concrete to create an optimal profile for the concrete to accept the polyaspartic coating.
Once any residual dust was removed from the floor and any adjacent surfaces, the applicators rolled on a base coat of FLEXMAR® Sand Beige Self-Prime HS Coating and broadcast Saddle Tan color flakes into the still-wet base coat. In about an hour, the base coat was dry, and any excess vinyl chips were removed. Then, an initial coat of FLEXMAR Clear Coat HS sealer was rolled onto the floor. In about an hour, the floor was dry, and the crew from U-Neek Concrete Coatings applied the finish coat of FLEXMAR Clear Coat HS sealer. One hour later, the finished floor was dry and ready to be returned to service.
“I was impressed with the speed and efficiency with which they worked,” Murray remarked. “The entire installation process took approximately eight hours. The process didn’t require that we shut down the gym. In fact, we were able to keep the facility open while they worked in the locker room downstairs.”
During the application, no closure of the athletic center was necessary due to dust or odor created during the project. Like all FLEXMAR Coatings applicators, U-Neek Concrete Coatings took care to minimize disruptions and inconveniences that may have resulted from the floor application process. They were able to collect or swiftly mitigate any dust that was produced during floor preparation. And there were no problems with unpleasant smells since all of FLEXMAR’s polyaspartic coatings, stains, and sealers have virtually no odor to them.
The “Wow” Effect
With the transformation of the unsightly locker room floor complete in under one day, the new lockers were installed and the facility opened for normal use. The reactions were wildly positive.
“The new locker room with the FLEXMAR floor coating created a ‘wow’ effect. All the athletes, all the faculty and staff that came down and saw the new locker room just went, ‘Wow, that looks awesome!’”
The floor doesn’t just look great; it is performing to a standard of excellence only FLEXMAR polyaspartics can meet.
“The floor has held up really well to the soccer team that goes in every day with cleats on. There are no marks, no pieces of flooring coming up. And the color flake system creates a non-slip surface. You could send any child down there with wet floors and not be concerned that they would slip and fall.”
A Big Win
Overall, Penn State New Kensington is pleased with the bright, clean look and superior performance of their FLEXMAR polyaspartic floor.
“I give the FLEXMAR floor coating an A++,” says Murray. “It’s just been outstanding in every way. FLEXMAR guaranteed it would retain its luster for a couple decades, and by all means, after a year, it looks like it will do just that. I highly recommend the product.”
If it isn’t FLEXMAR, it’s just another coating.
- 1 hour between coats
- 1-2 hours return to service after final coat
- Allows for same day or overnight return to service
- 0 VOC
- Virtually no odor
- LEED Approved
FLEXMAR polyaspartic coatings and sealers contribute toward satisfying credits in the Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials and Resources categories under LEED.†
† “USGBC” and related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission. “LEED” is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.
The coating system featured in this application is FLEXMAR Coatings Industrial Resinous Flooring ARCAT specification, FLEXMAR Color Flake Polyaspartic Coating System.*
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Copyright © 2016. FLEXMAR Coatings, Inc. All rights reserved.
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