From Realtà Mapei n° 31 - 2020-11-17
MAPEI’s customized solutions return damaged beauty to historic glory
Overview: When time and Mother Nature took a toll on the iconic structure, the specialty restoration team working on the Ritz-Carlton South Beach turned to MAPEI’s concrete repair products and Elastocolor Coat high-performance coating to return the famed building to her full architectural glory.
The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous for luxury and style, and the famed hotel’s location in Miami Beach, Miami, is among the top of the hotel chain’s iconic international properties. Situated in the historic Art Deco district, the area’s pastel palette has captured the imaginations of artists, authors, tourists and locals alike.
Designed in 1953 as a “postmodern interpretation of art deco” by renowned architect Morris Lapidus, the hotel sits right on the beach – a romantic location, to be sure, but one that also presents quite a few challenges for the structure itself. In fact, like many an aging beauty to be found in Miami, the building was in need of an “intervention” – a spa day of its own, as it were – to halt the ravages of time and tide.
“The effects of the seaside location were found in all areas of the hotel, including the facade,” explained Carlos Hernandez, MAPEI’s coordinator for this project. Just steps away from the sand, the building’s facade was severely deteriorated by the aggressive salt air and sea spray. Unfortunately, its prime beach location also meant that the iconic property had been damaged and patched following Hurricane Irma in 2017.
An extensive stucco repair was in order. The challenge for selecting the coating for this 165,000-square-foot (15 329-m²) “facelift” included finding a coating able to hide the multiple repair areas, while preserving original architectural details.
The owners were specific: The coating must provide waterproofing and protection against the harsh coastal environment, and it must match the exclusive palette of coatings that the Ritz-Carlton specifies for use on all its hotels. “They not only wanted to protect the structure, they wanted to maintain its historic integrity,” Hernandez said. “The original historic architectural details had to remain unchanged.”
The owners turned to MAPEI for help. They needed to protect their building from the elements as well as from the loss of its historic beauty.
MAPEI products on the jobsite
“Working closely with IBA Consultants, the consulting engineer, we were able to demonstrate to the ownership of the Ritz the superior performance of Elastocolor Coat,” Hernandez added. “After doing more than 10 mockup samples on site with different combinations of products of the Elastocolor System (including Mapeflex EMC-1, Elastocolor Texture, Elastocolor Coat Smooth and Elastocolor Coat Fine), the owners decided to use Planitop 200, Mapeflex EMC-1, Elastocolor Primer AR and Elastocolor Coat Fine as the facade coating.”
“The stucco was highly delaminated from all of the chloride exposure, as well as sun exposure and the beating from the storms,” Hernandez said. The contracting crew from Contracting Specialists Inc. (CSI) began by replacing the extensively damaged stucco. Planitop 200 was used to flush the edges of the repaired areas with the surrounding facade.
Minor cracks and imperfections were filled with Mapeflex EMC-1, a smooth, brush-applied, elastomeric patching compound. Larger cracks and any failing joints were repaired or replaced with Mapeflex P1 elastomeric, non-sag, polyurethane sealant.
Next, Elastocolor Primer AR was roller-applied to a wet film thickness (WFT) of 5 mils. Elastocolor Primer AR is alkali-resistant, protecting the new coating from the damaging effects of any high pH present in the concrete substrate. It also creates a uniform porosity across the whole facade, minimizing the appearance of the new stucco repairs.
This primer coat was followed by two coats of Elastocolor Coat Fine, a fine-textured, water-based, high-build, 100%-acrylic coating that provides an effective barrier against chlorides, wind-driven rain and damaging UV. The waterproof coating is available in an unlimited number of custom colors, which is “how we precisely matched the historic stark white for which the Ritz is known,” explained Rankin Jays, MAPEI’s Business Development Leader – Coatings. “And the cleanliness of the building can be ensured due the coating’s unmatched pick-up resistance.”
The Ritz was returned to her former glory. “The hotel’s owners were so happy with the exterior repairs, that they asked MAPEI and CSI to do additional waterproofing and coating works not included in the original scope,” Hernandez said.
And that is how MAPEI quite literally helped the Ritz “put on the ritz.”