The Westin Tampa Waterside Hotel, on the Gulf of Mexico’s Florida coast, is no stranger to the harsh effects of rain, wind, high humidity, saltwater corrosion, bright sun and soaring temperatures on a building’s façade. Indeed, most owners of commercial and institutional buildings in the area are well-acquainted with the rapid fading and chalking of painted exteriors — problems that can be costly and time-consuming to fix, as well as disruptive to building occupants and visitors.
When the interior of the hotel, located in Tampa Bay’s Harbour Island, was damaged by water penetration of the brick façade, owner/operator HEI Hotels & Resorts chose more than a quick fix. They opted to improve the building’s weatherproofing and give the hotel a fresh look that would stand up to environmental conditions longer than the typical three-to-five-year coating lifecycle in Florida.
The new coating system promotes long-term adhesion and extends the service life of the hotel’s façade by 25 to 30 years.
Research led HEI to select NeverFade Façade Restoration Coatings by APV Engineered Coatings to re-coat the Westin façade and metal window profiles. The topcoat features Arkema’s Kynar Aquatec, a PVDF resin that has been weather-tested for 18 years in Miami and, in an earlier incarnation, for 50 years in harsh, UV-prone environments. HEI chose the system for its resistance to thermal, chemical and UV degradation; chalking; staining; fungal growth and erosion. When applied with a compatible primer, the system is also known to protect against rust, corrosion and efflorescence, and to promote long-term adhesion.
Another deciding factor was the manufacturer’s fully transferable, 15-year color-performance warranty, which would cover the replacement product and labor costs needed to re-coat if the Delta E (ΔE, or total color difference) of the coating shifted by a unit of five or more. According to Mike Couchie, vice president of sales at APV, the coating system is expected to extend the façade’s service life as much as 30 years, eliminating the cost to replace the brick and window profiles and repaint the exterior every few years.
Each batch of topcoat was precision-blended to match the customer’s desired colors. The primer was also tinted to help achieve full opacity with one layer of topcoat. NeverFade Original Topcoat in custom-colored Westin Tan was used on the hotel’s brick surfaces; NeverFade Metal Restoration Topcoat in custom-colored Westin Granite was used for the window profiles. Custom-tinted W-1500 Universal Primer in a different hue than the topcoat colors was used on both the brick and the window profiles.
NeverFade was applied by roller and brush, allowing the coating contractor to eliminate overspray.
Minimizing Guest Inconvenience
Odors are a major complaint for building occupants during this type of renovation. To make sure the project would have minimal impact on room reservations and guest activities, HEI needed assurance that the coating system would be waterborne, low-VOC and low-odor.
“NeverFade does not emit harsh solvents,” said Rob Willis, senior vice president of design & construction at HEI. “Another benefit of applying a water-based system was that it fits our culture to be green-conscious and eco-friendly where we can.”
From Mockup to Surface Prep to Topcoat
Coating contractor Stuart Dean produced three-dimensional mockups of the structure to show the architect’s design on a small scale. This allowed the contractor’s façade restoration experts to conduct adhesion testing and confirm that the finishes and colors met HEI’s expectations. Then mockups were presented to and approved by the community’s architectural review committee.
A job hazard analysis was conducted, and a site-specific safety plan was established and executed. Work was performed from a suspended scaffold, and all coating technicians were certified in its use and operation. A supervisor was onsite 100 percent of the time to ensure all processes and procedures were being followed.
Every technician wore a full-body harness with lanyards fastened to rope grabs, which were connected to independent lifelines secured to independent, certified anchor points at the rooftop. Each of these items was inspected prior to use by the technicians on duty. Barriers were established beneath the work area for pedestrian flow control and safety.
Work on the project was performed from a suspended scaffold.
Prior to coating, all exterior surfaces were pressure-cleaned using a minimum of 2500 psi to remove loose surface contamination, salt deposits and mildew. On areas where mildew was present, it was removed using a bleach-based solution, and then the surface was rinsed with water.
“The proper surface preparation is critical for every project to ensure optimum adhesion of the coating system,” Couchie said. “Some substrates require more preparation than others, so we provide guidance for our contractors on each project in our CSI SectionFormat specification.”
One of the biggest challenges associated with rolling a coating onto a surface in high, ambient temperatures is blending in the roller marks.
“With the NeverFade, we were able to keep a nice wet edge, which can be difficult to do in the hot, humid Florida climate, because coated areas tend to dry too quickly,” said Rex Dean, global director, Façade Restoration, Stuart Dean.
On Time and On Budget
Although the project was briefly interrupted by hurricane Irma, the crew finished the project on schedule, in about five months. It was well-received by the client.
The Westin in Harbour Island now has a fresh, lighter and brighter new look.
“We worked with a strong architect and a knowledgeable owner on this project,” Dean said. “As a result, we delivered the project on time, on budget and with zero interruptions to hotel operations.”
“We had virtually no guest complaints due to either odor or noise,” Willis added. “We are very pleased with the new aesthetic of the exterior.”