PENETRON Helps Preserve Native American History at Ocmulgee
When the Visitor Center at the Ocmulgee National Monument Park in Macon, GA, was renovated earlier this year, Penetron Specialty Products (PSP) became an integral part of the waterproofing treatment to restore and protect the aging courtyard structures.
Located south of Atlanta, the Ocmulgee National Monument Park features earthen mounds erected between 900 and 1000 AD, when Native Americans were hunting large mammals across North America. Unlike other Native American mound sites, the Ocmulgee Mounds were built to raise temples and houses (of the elite) to overlook the surrounding village, rather than burial sites. Even today, some of these mounds are as tall as a five-floor building – put together one bucket of earth after another. Today, the Ocmulgee National Monument has eight Indian mounds, one earth lodge, one Civil War site, and one historical site. The Park’s Visitor Center is housed in an Art Deco building, notable for its rounded edges (rather than squared-off corners). There is an outdoor courtyard, a lobby that adjoins an extensive exhibit area with a display of prehistoric artifacts excavated from the Indian mounds in the park, and a small movie theater. The two-floor structure was originally built in the 1930’s and, over the years, improper sloping led to deteriorated waterproofing of the concrete courtyard. This allowed water and moisture to penetrate farther into the structure. In addition, the sloping was insufficient for the exposed surfaces to drain properly. The existing waterproofing membrane, originally protected by concrete pavers, fell into disrepair. Correcting Improper Sloping “RBL Restoration owner, Bienvenido Leiva, the project's restoration contractor, contacted PSP for advice on a reliable solution,” adds Bob Baumeister, PSP Product Specialist. “The specifications called for the existing concrete pavers and waterproofing membrane to be removed and replaced with a concrete courtyard substrate that sloped away from the building.” Ultimately, the architect selected a combination of the VB 225 moisture mitigation system and SURFIX Screed Set – a polymer-modified sloping material – as the optimal solution for the restoration process. Ease of Use Kept Project on Time Prior to installing the sloping material, two coats of VB 225 were applied; the second coat with a sand broadcast ensured an excellent bond for the cementitious sloping material. The SURFIX Screed Set was then installed – six inches on the high end, all the way down to ½” at the lowest point – across a 30-40-foot span. Following the re-sloping process, a new hot-applied (400° F) roofing membrane was installed to the broom-finished SURFIX Screed Set surface of the courtyard substrate. Once the sloping and roofing membrane were completed, the existing concrete pavers were put back into place as the final cover and adjusted to their proper elevation. “The PSP materials performed exactly as expected,” says Bob Baumeister. “And the ease of use also helped keep the project budget and timeline intact,” adds Bienvenido Leiva.
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