Auburn University Stadium | Auburn, IL

Western Specialty Contractors Tackles Tough Restoration Project at Auburn University

Western Specialty Contractors – Atlanta Branch recently tackled the job of restoring the stadium at Auburn University.

The iconic stadium was originally dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1939, before the first varsity football game was played. Although known primarily as a venue for football, the stadium has also hosted appearances by evangelist Billy Graham and musicians James Brown, The Beach Boys, Miranda Lambert, and Kenny Chesney, among others, throughout its history.

The concrete stadium seats 87,451 people and is one of the top 15 largest college stadiums in the U.S. Expanded 14 times since its original construction, with significant renovations in 2004 and 2017, the stadium required restoration and maintenance to prepare it for the 2022-23 football season.

Most sports stadiums and arenas in the United States are made of reinforced and precast concrete with steel seating supports and railings. Unfortunately, an even more universal characteristic is their openness and vulnerability to the elements — in addition to the wear and tear they receive from fans — all of these forces take a toll on a stadium’s structural integrity.

Without routine maintenance and protection, these concrete structures are subject to cracking, spalling, and structural damage from movement and reoccurring freeze and thaw cycles.

Western Specialty Contractors worked with Project Engineer Stephen Ward & Associates of Madison, AL, to analyze the type and extent of damage present in the stadium and recommend cost-effective, remedial measures to extend the facility’s life and keep fans safe. Cutting-edge, long-wearing deck coatings are often recommended to restore a stadium and protect it from future damage.

Western switched the primer on the treads to an epoxy primer due to the concrete having a concrete surface profile (CSP) of 8, with the coating manufacturer requiring a CSP of 3-4. The epoxy primer allowed workers to smooth out the overly rough areas before adding sand to the epoxy to give it the correct profile.

Western’s Atlanta team completed the project in August 2022, right on time for the university’s football season to begin.

Nalley Ford

Crews with the Western Specialty Contractors Atlanta, GA Branch recently completed a one-month project to repair, restore and protect a three-level, concrete parking garage used by Nalley Ford of Sandy Springs, GA to store new car inventory.

Western crews surveyed each parking deck individually to determine specific damage for each, then provided the owner with a detailed outline of recommended work needed to restore each level. The dealer worked to sell down inventory and rotate his vehicles to make room in the garage for Western's crews to begin work.

Top Level

Western crews began restoration of the top level, which is most exposed to the elements, by cleaning all concrete surfaces using a high-pressure water blaster (3,000 psi). Once the pressure washing was complete, Western crews heavily saturated the concrete surfaces with an Enviroseal 20 clear penetrating sealer. Approximately 5,580 lineal feet of existing cracks and control joints were routed, then sealed with a urethane sealant. Western crews went on to remove approximately 318 lineal feet of existing sealant around the perimeter joint, then lightly grinded the joint edges to remove any loose residual sealant. A new urethane sealant was then applied.

A total of 1,300 square feet of new pour strips were installed to allow for expansion/contraction of the concrete intersections. Slab areas, perimeter column caps and exterior wall weld plate embeds where deteriorated/cracked concrete was detected were saw cut and chiseled out and replaced with new concrete.

At the exterior wall joints, approximately 550 lineal feet of existing sealant was removed, grinded down and replaced with a new urethane sealant. Oxidation at the exterior wall weld plates was removed and an epoxy chromate primer and urethane top coat applied.

To complete the top level restoration, Western crews applied two coats of Thorolastic elastomeric coating to approximately 8,160 square feet of wall substrate and applied an Autogard FC traffic-deck coating system manufactured by Neogard to the deck.

Intermediate Level

Western crews cleaned all concrete surfaces using a high-pressure water blaster, routed approximately 5,580 lineal feet of existing cracks and control joints, then sealed them with a urethane sealant. Approximately 540 lineal feet of existing sealant around the perimeter joints was removed and replaced with a urethane sealant.  Oxidation on corbal bearing plates and double tee bearing plates was removed and refinished with an alphatic urethane top coat. The precast wall perimeter was also re-sealed and repairs were made to damaged columns, which were resealed with two coats of an anti-corrosion bond inhibitor. Damaged concrete on the slab floor was saw cut and chipped out and replaced with new concrete.

Lower Level

On the lower level, Western crews removed oxidation on the gusseted steel corbeis, spanning plates and double tee bearing plates, then applied an alphatic urethane top coat. Deteriorated concrete around the beams was removed, any damaged steel replaced and the beams patched with new concrete. On areas where steel web was showing as a result of deteriorating concrete, the surrounding concrete was removed, the damaged steel was replaced and the area patched with new concrete.

The techniques and materials used by Western to restore the parking garage will protect it for many years to come.



MLK Federal “Timeline” Building

Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building in downtown Atlanta is a working symbol of our nation’s 20th century storyline.

Designed by legendary Southern architect A. Ten Eyck Brown, the original purpose of the 1933 granite, marble and masonry building was as a central processing facility for the fast-growing U.S. Post Office. The craftsmen who built the “state-of-the-art” structure were employed through the Depression era’s Work Projects Administration (WPA). Some 35 years later, it became the first federal building in the nation to be dedicated to the memory of slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.

Western Specialty Contractors' Atlanta branch recently helped restore the historic structure for 21st century service. Current tenants include an array of federal agencies, including Homeland Security, Immigration and the ICE police force.

Western’s scope of work involved removing existing facade stones at shelf-angle floor lines and other select areas, making certain each stone – some 6,000 across two phases – was tagged and cataloged for exact replacement. Substantial repairs were to be made to backup walls, angle flashing installed, and parapet walls torn down and rebuilt. All windows, inside and out, were to be stripped of lead-based paint and repainted. A total of 106 windows were to be built to match, replaced in their entirety and sealed for protection against the elements.

Like most major projects, this one came with a number of challenges. The existing roof system was to be removed and replaced with a ballast and paver perimeter system. Two elevations had elevated plaza decks that prohibited any weight being transported across. Limited storage at the project meant all materials had to be delivered to the branch and redelivered to the site. Moreover, all work was to be performed with the building fully occupied and stringent noise perimeters in place.

With scaffolding and mast climbers in place, Western’s crews of up to 40 craftsmen have tackled the complex and historic task. The three-year project will see completion by year-end 2008.

First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church is a 100-year-old historic building in downtown Atlanta. The church congregation was first organized in 1848. The present church was dedicated in 1919. Age and exposure to the elements caused deterioration for the exterior facade. A number of groups working in concert made up the restoration team. Western Specialty Contractors was selected as the masonry restoration specialty contractor.

The exterior masonry restoration consisted of sandstone patching throughout the sanctuary, using custom blended M70 Jahn patching mortar. Prior to the project commencement, a mock-up training session was held by Cathedral Stone to properly train and certify all field personnel associated with the project. The process involved chipping out cracked or deteriorated stone to a solid, sound substrate. The face of the stone was then rebuilt to look like the original material. The project included 100% tuckpointing of all the stone-to-stone mortar joints. Also included was miscellaneous brick repointing, caulking of all window and door perimeters, window repairs and painting, lead abatement, pressure washing and the application of a penetrating sealer. Bell Tower louvers were fabricated and installed. The work also included 4,750 patched stones and 31 cubic feet of stone replacement.

The project was completed on time and within the original schedule. Stuart Rogers was the onsite project manager, Brad Tabler was the project superintendent and Mark Owens the lead foreman.


Genuine Parts Company

The Western Specialty Contractors' Atlanta branch was chosen to apply on the genuine parts garage a new waterproof deck coating. The crew removed all eisting coating and caulking mechanically. Before installatin of a new Neogard Auto-gard System all horizontal concrete surfaces were prepared by Blast-tracking, which is a self contained, self propelled, dustless operation that leaves a non contaminated, slightly fractured aggregate profile. The deck coating was dispersed into the coating to provide a wear resistance and a non-slip surface. A dark grey color was selected by the owner with lighter grey on islands and curbs to help prevent tripping and traffic damage. After the coating had cured new stripping and a handicapped symbol was applied. The coating will protect the concrete and occupied area below for years to come.


Lofts at the Park II

The Lofts at the Park II condominiums are located in Downtown Atlanta. The building was constructed about five years ago. Since it’s opening, the Lofts had experienced water related problems. Consultants, Williamson & Associates did a thorough investigation of the masonry exterior and found a number of construction related issues.

The flashing was improperly installed at every shelf angle. This allowed water infiltration into the condo living spaces. A scope of work was developed and Western Specialty Contractors was chosen to complete the exterior repairs.

Western began this project by removing bricks from the exterior of the parapet and then the interior parapet sheathing. New Densglass Gold sheathing was installed on both sides of the parapet. Perm-a-Barrier flashing was then applied to the shelf angles. Felt paper was installed over the Densglass Gold to prevent water from infiltrating the new sheathing. The parapet facade was then rebuilt using the original bricks that had been removed.

Once the parapet was properly waterproofed, Western proceeded with the following five floors below the parapet. The first step in the remaining five floors was to install stainless steel helical pins into the brick facade to prevent it from separating from the exterior wall. Once the pins were installed, Western removed areas of brick approximately 22’ long and 2’ high to access the existing shelf angles and install new Perm-a-Barrier. As the bricks were removed, shoring was installed to prevent vertical settling of the bricks. Once the flashing was completed, Western reinstalled the bricks at all the shelf angle locations by piecing in the bricks around the supports to ensure proper support. Once the mortar cured, the shoring was removed. Horizontal sealant was installed below the shelf angles, as well as, vertical sealant joints spaced at window perimeters.

During the front elevation repairs, Western uncovered differing conditions that would not permit Perm-a-Barrier installation. The crew performed CIM 1000 waterproofing installation in it’s place.

At the base of the building shelf angle, improper support installation was uncovered. Western was directed to remove the deficient, cracked, rolled bricks and fill the void between the bricks and the block beyond. The Perm-a-Barrier flashing was still utilized but it was installed approximately eight inches higher than originally constructed.

Upon the completion of the masonry and waterproofing repairs, Western cleaned the building facade and installed deck coating on the fourth and fifth floor balconies. They applied an elastomeric coating on the cast stone copings as well.

The base bid included replacing two feet of roofing around the entire perimeter of the roof. During the removal, Western found the existing roofing had come loose and there was ponding water underneath the vapor barrier. The solution was total roof replacement. Western removed the roofing and vapor barrier and installed a new Soprema self adhered roofing system in it’s place.