Completed in December 2019, the renovation of the Asphalt Green exercise and wellness center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was initially faced with unexpected challenges. Penetron crystalline technology – and Penetron Specialty Products’ flooring underlayment – provided the architect and general contractor with a comprehensive solution for their problems.
A nonprofit organization, Asphalt Green promotes sports and fitness as a way of achieving health for its members. Its wellness centers (both in Manhattan) are conceived as community health and exercise centers for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. A familiar sight to New Yorkers, the Asphalt Center on 90th Street, a former asphalt plant landmarked in 1976, looks out on the East River and Brooklyn.
A Not-So-Straightforward Project
The renovation of the 90th Street center originally began as a simple replacement of the aged drainage pipes in the basement, which houses the Asphalt Green facility's locker rooms and showers. The work began by cutting 1’x3'-deep channels into the 5' thick concrete basement slab to enable the planned plumbing repairs.
“However, once work began, it became apparent that damage to the facility’s concrete structure was more significant than anticipated,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “A high volume of water from the East River immediately entered the newly-cut basement channels.”
Looking for a Waterproofing Solution
At this point, the scope of the project was extended to include waterproofing of the whole Asphalt Green basement. Architect Frank Scanlon of CTA Architects was called in to design a solution. Dry Building Solutions, the project’s concrete specialists, recommended the Penetron System as a comprehensive waterproofing solution. After numerous meetings and reviews, both the architect and Preserv, the general contractor, specified Penetron products for the job.
A range of Penetron products were used:
- PENETRON, a topical crystalline material, was applied as a slurry to the plumbing channels cut into the basement slab.
- PENECRETE MORTAR, used to fill cracks, joints and holes in damaged concrete, filled the larger cracks.
- PENEBAR SW, a swellable concrete joint waterstop, was used along the perimeter of the channels.
- PENETRON ADMIX SB, a waterproofing admixture, was added to the new concrete mix (supplied by Jenna Concrete, a division of US Concrete) to fill the channels.
Impermeable Concrete and Flat Floors
The concrete mix used to fill the basement channels was poured at a high water/cement ratio. Despite a concrete mix that was potentially porous, the Penetron System delivered a low moisture content concrete slab with no visible wetness within days after the pour.
“The change was remarkable,” adds Christopher Chen. “Within days, concrete previously covered with standing water was now measured at less than 6% moisture content.”
In a final step, the entire floor was to be covered with expensive, large ceramic tiles. This required an absolutely flat floor. Penetron Specialty Products, a provider of solutions for the installation of floor coverings and the repair and maintenance of concrete floors, supplied LEVELINE 15, a self-leveling underlayment. It was applied over the PENETRON-coated basement slab.
Proven Product for the Pools
After completion of the Asphalt Green basement project, both the design and construction teams were impressed with the performance of the Penetron products. CTA Architects and Preserv continued to specify and use Penetron technology on a number of subsequent projects, including topical repairs (on both the positive and negative sides) of Asphalt Green’s Olympic-size pool and the smaller training pool.
“As the project progressed and the Penetron applications continued to more than meet expectations, the general contractor successively expanded the use of Penetron products to other areas and applications,” adds Christopher Chen. “That’s why we call it ‘Total Concrete Protection.’”