July 7, 2016
In July of 2014, StructureTec was contacted to evaluate the South Wing Exterior walls at the Whirlpool World Headquarters located in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The purpose of the evaluation was to identify needs and provide recommendations to clean and return the exterior wall surfaces to a uniform color and restore the watertight integrity of the facility.
The South Wing of the Whirlpool World Headquarters building was constructed in the early 1970’s. The building has a 22,500 square foot footprint and is three stories tall. The primary exterior wall systems consisted of a structural steel frame supporting a precast concrete architectural panel and strip window wall system. There were also areas of masonry construction. The interior of the South Wing had been gutted as part of a renovation program, which left only the steel frame and exterior precast concrete architectural panels and strip window wall system.
During our evaluation, we learned that the South Wing originally was a uniform flat, white color. High pressure washing had been used incorrectly in a previous attempt to clean the building, resulting in a very non-uniform removal of the color coat. Concrete surface spalls and delamination were observed on many panels at all elevations. Deteriorating areas exhibited exposed embedded reinforcing steel and rust staining. Many window frame joint sealants had failed in various locations, resulting in open gaps in the window framing system. Building sealants at precast concrete panel-to-panel joints and panel-to-window frame joints were also exhibiting surface crazing and cracking at all locations. In addition, sealant adhesive and cohesive failures were found at many joints with higher movement potential.
After presenting our observations and recommendations to restore the exterior of the South Wing, Whirlpool contracted with us to design and manage the restoration work. We began by putting together a plan to implement our recommendations for masonry tuck pointing, restoration, and precast concrete repair. As part of this work, all joint sealants at window units were replaced and glazing perimeters were resealed. Precast Panel to panel joints were replaced and all window lintels were re-flashed.
Whirlpool elected to apply a breathable elastomeric coating on all precast & limestone panels to provide a uniform color across the headquarters building. The owner elected to extend the contract to complete the elastomeric coating for all remaining precast and limestone on the South Wing. The final results were an aesthetically pleasing and watertight exterior that ensures the long term integrity of the world headquarters.
WHAT WE DO
StructureTec is a building envelope, pavement, and roof consultant specializing in the waterproofing and restoration of existing building envelopes, roofs, pavement and concrete structures.
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