Weeki Wachee Statue | Spring Hill, FL

(St. Louis, MO, September 20, 2022) The Adagio Fountain, featuring a statue of two mermaids in an adagio pose atop a 25-foot pillar, has greeted visitors to Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs State Park since it was unveiled in 1966. Made of vintage masonry, the 56-year-old sculpture was experiencing cracks, spalling, deterioration, and other damage when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reached out to Western Specialty Contractors – Orlando Branch to resolve the issues.

The iconic fountain's mermaids were created by retired Weeki Wachee “mermaid” Diane Whatt McDonald, 91, of St. Petersburg. McDonald and other women performed as magical mermaids for audiences in the spring's underwater theater – a world-famous roadside attraction that started in 1947 and continues today. The park's spring is one of the deepest natural caverns in the U.S., with approximately 117,000,000 gallons of clear water flowing from it daily.

Western's restoration experts thoroughly evaluated the sculpture before crafting a plan for its restoration. Utilizing boom lifts, workers began the project by thoroughly cleaning the statue and making epoxy patch repairs to all exposed deteriorated locations.

“The extent of deterioration of steel in the mermaid's lower flipper caused crews to treat the steel with caution during the restoration process. Therefore, the statue was barricaded off from pedestrian traffic, and extra care and precaution were taken when we had to completely remove, clean, and re-attach the flipper,”

Taylor Thomas, Western Specialty Contractors Orlando Project Manager

“Western crews worked 480 tedious hours to sculpt and match the art of the original sculptor's work to complete the project and restore the statue to its original glory,” said Western Project Manager Taylor Thomas.

The work also included restoration of the statue's interior steel frame. Workers removed rust from all deteriorated steel, then installed a corrosion inhibitor and a thin set of cementitious epoxy adhesive to align the steel with the curves and details of the mermaids' bodies.

To complete the month-long project, Western applied two coats of a historic protective coating, Neogard Ureprime HS4 Epoxy Urethane Primer (Dual Component Primer), to match the statue's existing color. The clear coat Neogard Acrylithane HS2 Urethane (Dual Component Top Coat) was applied over the primer for exceptional chemical resistance and to protect the statue from future weathering.

Despite any challenges, Western was able to complete the project on time and within budget for the park's visitors to enjoy once again.

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing, and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit https://WesternSpecialtyContractors.com.         

Liquid Applied Roofing

Did you know? A form of liquid roofing was first used in the early 1800s when natural residue from petroleum distillation, called bitumen, was combined with jute, straw, rag felt, and other materials to waterproof roofs. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that liquid roof coatings became commercially manufactured and more widely used.

Today, with so many systems and high-performance coatings available, facility managers may have difficulty knowing which type of liquid applied roofing to use and when and where to use it for the best results.

Liquid applied roofing has many benefits in relation to its cost, performance, and ease of installation. Plus, it is well suited for most roof structures and can be applied over most traditional roofing materials, including concrete, copper, bituminous, metal, tile and PVC/TPO/EPDM. When applied correctly by an experienced specialty roofing contractor, liquid applied roofing can provide up to 25 years or more of solid performance.

Liquid Roofing System vs. Coating System

There is a big difference between a liquid roofing system and a coating. A liquid roofing system is a thicker reinforced membrane (50+ mils) that requires additional application steps and costs more than a traditional roof coating. With a liquid applied roofing system, building owners receive a labor and material warranty similar to a traditional roof. Coatings are typically not reinforced, are a thinner membrane (23-40 mils) and are less expensive, but the warranty typically only covers the materials.

Financial Benefits

Liquid applied roofing systems are typically used to restore an existing roof, although they can be used in new construction. Liquid applied roofing can increase the useful life of an existing roof without having to add an additional layer of roofing on top of a structure. A maximum of two layers is recommended for a traditional roof.

A liquid applied roofing system is categorized as a roof repair and could potentially cover two traditional roofing layers. The cost of a liquid applied roofing system can also be depreciated within the year that it was performed, whereas a traditional roof replacement is depreciated over 29 years. Since liquid applied roofing is considered a roof repair, building owners could potentially charge their tenants for the expense, depending on how their lease is written. 

Sustainability Benefits

Liquid applied roofing is a sustainable option:

  • Saves landfill space from traditional roof tear-off materials
  • Cool and reflective for energy savings
  • Low VOC options are available to reduce air pollution
  • Fewer material quantities are required for installation
  • Maintain and re-coat for the life of the structure

Versatility Benefits

Liquid applied roofing provides a monolithic, seamless roof that can be easily applied around difficult-to-flash areas. While not ideal for every roofing situation, liquid applied roofing is recommended for difficult-to-access and busy roofs with a lot of penetrations, such as hospitals and high-rise buildings.

Additionally, there are many material choices and colors available at varying price points for liquid applied roofing.

Occupant Friendly Benefits

A worker with a bucket and a roller installing a liquid applied roof is much less intrusive and noisy than workers performing a full-roof replacement on a building. A liquid applied roof also takes less time and equipment to install than a traditional roof, the materials typically give off fewer odors, and there is a lower risk of water intrusion – always a major concern on a traditional roofing project.

Liquid membrane roofs are not a one-size solution for every roofing scenario, and not everyone has the expertise to install them properly. In many ways, liquid roof systems require more craftsmanship and expertise than the installation of a traditional roof. With liquid applied roofs, workers are essentially manufacturing a roof on a building and not in a factory. Identifying the substrate and the wetness of the existing roof, performing the proper substrate prep work and determining which system and primer to use are key to a successful project outcome. Liquid applied roofing may not be the cheapest roofing solution, but when applied correctly, liquid roofs, in the long run, are a very good value.

For building owners considering a liquid applied roof, continue to maintain the existing roof and repair any leaks, with the goal to keep good roofs in good shape. Contact a roofing professional, whether that’s a contractor or a consultant, to do an investigation, core sampling and scan of the roof to determine whether it is a viable candidate for a liquid roof system. Owners should also plan ahead to allow adequate time for these projects to be planned and the materials to be ordered and obtained. Finally, account for contingencies. Despite the best planning, in roofing projects, there are always unforeseen delays, particularly with the current material shortages and price escalations. Be sure to provide additional funding in the roofing budget to compensate for the current economic environment.