Chrysler Technology Center

Chrysler Technology Center

Chrysler Technology Center Auburn Hills, Michigan
Architect:
CRSS Sirrine Houston, Texas
General Contractor:
Walbridge Aldinger
Detroit, Michigan
Approved Contractor:
Roman Mosaic and Tile Company
West Chester, Pennsylvania

One of the largest epoxy terrazzo floors ever installed in North America is at the Chrysler Corporation New Technology Center near Detroit, Michigan. General Polymers Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo was selected for the enormous flooring project because it is aesthetic, lightweight, durable, and it will withstand the weight of automobiles that will be driven through the Center during prototype manufacturing and new car testing. No other flooring material offers the specifier the flexibility of design, uniqueness, and creativity while at the same time, fast installation with a long, low-maintenance service life.

According to General Polymers Approved Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo flooring contractor John Trevisan, Vice President, Roman Mosaic & Tile Company, West Chester, Pennsylvania, “We were able to lay 275,000 square feet of epoxy terrazzo floor with small crews in a fraction of the time that conventional cementitious terrazzo would have required.” In addition, epoxy terrazzo has a non-staining, hard surface finish that provides outstanding strength and long-term endurance in high traffic areas. Installation areas ranged from design studios and entry foyers to the manufacturing engineering and pilot assembly areas. It was also used within the four-story Education Center.

The gray and cream-colored epoxy terrazzo at the Chrysler Technology Center is based on General Polymers Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo #1100 floor system, which utilizes a 100 percent solids epoxy technology. The resin matrix, combined with yellow and brown marble chips and lime, forms a mortar system that was troweled onto the concrete substrate. It was then ground, polished, and sealed to a high gloss to reveal the intricate, octagonal design of the two-toned, decorative floor. Leading architectural firms, such as Architect CRSS, Inc. have chosen General Polymers Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo because it allows them unlimited creative and aesthetic options. Designs can range from simple and unpretentious to the most intricate artistic expression imaginable. This, in turn, challenges the designer’s creativity and inspires the applicator’s artisan capabilities.

At the Chrysler Technology Center project, 12 man Roman Mosaic crews laid approximately 3,000 feet of epoxy terrazzo each day using the following procedure. They started by grinding and vacuuming the concrete substrate. Zinc divider strips were then placed using a two-part epoxy adhesive. Once the dividers were in place, an epoxy primer was applied to the substrate.

Epoxy resin, hardener and aggregate were mixed in a mechanical mixer. Mixing was performed slowly to minimize entrapment of excessive air that may lead to pinholes in the surface. Once mixed, the terrazzo mix was placed onto the substrate and hand troweled to an initial build of 3/8 inch. Roman Mosaic also chose to “close” the terrazzo mix by power troweling the system, obtaining greater density and uniformity.

Chuck Meushaw, Roman Mosaic’s foreman, explains, “We normally install a 1/4 inch system, but because this project was two-toned with many divider strips, we needed a thicker system. General Polymers Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo has an excellent consistency that allows higher marble chip loading and, at the same time, permits easy troweling onto the concrete substrate.” When a terrazzo matrix can accommodate a higher aggregate load, the ultimate savings come in the decreased epoxy resin demand while increasing the percentage of marble aggregate exposed. This in turn gives the floor a visually appealing quality not found in other epoxy terrazzo floors.

After the floor was placed and cured overnight, it was ready for grinding and finishing. To minimize dust generated during grinding, Roman Mosaic used vacuum-equipped grinders. A major benefit of epoxy terrazzo, in contrast to cementitious terrazzo, is that the timetable for grinding is extremely flexible, from right after initial cure to days or even weeks later. This allows epoxy terrazzo to fit the requirements and work schedule of almost any job.

The system was ground to a uniform surface and polished to expose the beauty of the marble and epoxy matrix. The surface was grouted with an epoxy system formulated to harden quickly in a very thin layer. The grout was covered with marble dust and left to cure overnight. The next day, the floor was swept and fine polished using 120-grit stone, producing a high shine. It was sealed with a tough, appearance-enhancing acrylic to protect the beauty of the marble.