Classic Majesty of Pennsylvania Capitol's East Wing Restored
When Pennsylvania’s Capitol opened in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it one of the “handsomest buildings” he had ever seen. Designed in the American Renaissance style, it was an “architectural and artistic treasure” with three magnificent front entrances. In 1987, the Capitol’s East Wing was opened, adding almost 400,000 square feet of functional space to the Capitol for legislative offices, rooms for public hearings, a large public cafeteria and more. On January 17, 1995, Governor Tom Ridge was the first to hold a gubernatorial inauguration on the East Wing Plaza. This tradition has continued with every subsequent inauguration irrespective of the weather.
Sweeping walkways with granite pavers and planting beds complement the majestic structures. Veterans’ Memorial Fountain, located behind the East Wing, generates computerized water displays for visitors and state workers during warm months. A parking garage and Commonwealth offices are located beneath the plaza. After continual exposure to the elements over the years, the sheet-applied waterproofing system below the paver and pedestal system had begun to fail at its numerous seams and moisture had begun infiltrating the occupied spaces
Waterproofing Selection Required Installation Efficiency as Well as Uncompromising Durability
Work was completed on the design for the renovation and upgrade on the project in September of 2013. Daniel Vodzak, regional director of the architecture and engineering firm Vitetta in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wanted to avoid the potential for leaks at seams, so a sheet-applied waterproofing membrane was not a consideration. With the configuration of the plaza including curving walkways and a multitude of planters, the waterproofing needed to be able to conform to any geometry. Another requirement was a 25-year warranty.
Since concrete is naturally porous and fine cracks will occur over time from expansion and contraction due to climate changes, the selection of products for use above inhabited areas is particularly important. The potential for leaks must be eliminated and fluid-applied coatings were the preferred choice for waterproofing due to their ability to provide a seamless water barrier along with the ability to elongate to bridge cracks that develop over the years
The waterproofing that met all the criteria was TREMproof® 250GC Cold Fluid-Applied Elastomeric Waterproofing Membrane from Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing. A rapid-curing, VOC-compliant membrane, TREMproof 250GC is a one-part, moisture-curing elastomer. While other products needed testing and monitoring to ensure moisture content in concrete substrates was within acceptable levels, TREMproof 250GC was designed to enable use on damp and green concrete. This high-solids membrane could also be applied in one pass, which dramatically expedites construction schedules. To compress schedules further, TREMproof 250GC could be catalyzed with water to cure faster.
“By eliminating the multiple stage process, we probably reduced our time and labor by 15% to 20%,” noted Josh McGroarty, Project Manager at D. A. Nolt. “TREMproof 250GC had the elasticity we needed to endure the movement the application required and it also came in a trowel-grade version which facilitated the vertical applications in a single application. Probably 40,000 square feet of the job involved vertical surfaces.”