From Realtà Mapei n° 36 - 1/16/2023
IKEA Bayamón is a representation of so much more than convenience. In Puerto Rico and in the greater Caribbean, which were ravaged by tropical storms and hurricanes in 2017, this IKEA store is a representation of normalcy. And it was literally constructed in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, as Puerto Rico was recovering from the devastation wrought by these hurricanes.
Building materials were tough to obtain, power had to be reestablished and, at one point, even food and clean water were difficult to find. Therefore, to see an IKEA store open was to see a return to normal life. MAPEI is proud to have played a role in this project.
The IKEA store was built in the Puerto Rican city of Bayamón, which is situated in the northeastern part of the island; it is Puerto Rico’s second-largest city.
The owners of the store rented an existing 150,000-square-foot (13 935-m2) building and began the remodeling process to turn it into the familiar two-story IKEA layout. The two-story building featured concrete floors, and although the building had been constructed in 1964, the floors were in good condition.
The contractor Flooring Consultants & Contractors Inc. had a crew rotating in shifts because there was no air conditioning or ventilation inside the building and the weather was humid and hot. Temperatures outside ranged from 86°F to 91°F (30°C to 33°C), and the humidity averaged 70.3%.
The Swedish IKEA felt more like a Finnish sauna as the crews worked to install the floors. “It was working in extreme weather conditions, in a very hot building with no air conditioner and no ventilation,” said Pablo Cortes, MAPEI sales representative and coordinator on the project.
Because there was a deadline to meet and products to install, the crew from Flooring Consultants continued to work, staying hydrated and taking necessary breaks. And what did the project entail?
“They applied MAPEI products to 134,700 square feet [12 514 m2] of flooring on both floors,” Cortes said. And, although the jobsite conditions were steamy, the application process was a breeze for the experienced crew.
Given that the concrete substrate was in good condition, surface preparation consisted of shotblasting and grinding. Then, the crew primed the substrate with MAPEI’s Primer T low-VOC, water-based acrylic primer that is designed for use with self-leveling underlayments.
Primer T’s single-coat application allowed a faster turnaround and let the crew begin applying Novoplan 2 Plus high-strength self-leveling underlayment (SLU). The SLU was followed by an application of rapid-set, high-performance, fiber-reinforced skimcoating compound Planiprep SC. The skimcoat was used to repair and level any remaining surface defects.
Once the floors were smooth and level, they were topped by a trowel-applied layer of Ultrabond ECO 373 super aggressive, pressure-sensitive adhesive that is designed for the installation of a wide variety of resilient flooring types. For this project, the Sustech crew adhered homogeneous, hot-welded vinyl sheet goods on top of the Ultrabond ECO 373.
From the primer to the adhesive, this is a heavy-duty system that is designed to withstand the feet, rolling loads and spills that come with shoppers. It is without doubt that many feet will step on this floor, as the people who live in the city of Bayamón will certainly pour into this IKEA store for years to come.
In the aftermath of the hurricanes, IKEA represents a return to life; it represents domesticity and home. MAPEI’s system solution will help maintain that for IKEA throughout the calm and the storms of the future.
IKEA Bayamón – Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Project category: Commercial Facilities
Years of construction: 2020-2021
Years of MAPEI involvement: 2020-2021
MAPEI coordinator: Pablo Cortes
Project owner: Starton PR (IKEA Puerto Rico)
Contractor: Flooring Consultants & Contractors, Inc.
General contracter: Sustech LLC
Project manager: Agustin Malpica
Photographer: Jose Perez Cabrera
Project size: 134,700 sq. ft. (12 514 m2)
Challenges: The crew had to install flooring in a two-story building with no electricity and no ventilation. Although the job began during the winter, the heat and humidity soon rose in balmy Puerto Rico and the crew finished the project working in extreme weather conditions.