Established in 1945 by the University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank in Cheshire is a deep-space observatory at the cutting-edge of radio astronomy, and is home to the iconic Lovell Telescope.
To welcome its 150,000 annual visitors and help inspire the next generation of astronomers, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was recently looking to open a new discovery centre. It appointed Kier to build the one-storey First Light Pavilion venue, and Kier enlisted WJD Flooring Specialists to install the floor coverings.
The flooring contractor then approached long-term supplier Bostik for its subfloor preparation products and technical advice, before the Bostik technical team visited the site to inspect the subfloor and advise on the best preparation methods ahead of installation.
Observing the subfloor
The Bostik team found that, while the sand/cement screed subfloor was generally in a good condition, plastering had caused surface contamination in some areas. They advised that the contaminated zones should be removed to return the subfloor to a strong, sound base.
Another consideration was that there were several day joints in the subfloor. Again, as these interrupted the smoothness of the surface, Bostik advised that they be filled in to create a continuous surface on which to lay the flooring.
Bostik’s experts then carried out moisture tests using a Tramex meter and hygrometers, with the results showing 81% relative humidity (RH) in the entrance and 91% RH in the rear of the building. Both these readings are well in excess of the British Standards threshold for a wet subfloor (75% RH), which meant it would be necessary to apply a damp-proof membrane (DPM) before any further preparation could take place.
Finally, the team noted that there was a non-commissioned underfloor heating system installed in the entrance area. They advised that, if the flooring was laid and the underfloor heating was then switched on later, this would likely cause cracks in the screed. As a result, the underfloor heating should be commissioned before the subfloor preparation took place.
The star products
Once WJD Flooring Specialists had followed this advice, its floor layers were able to commence with the application of the subfloor preparation products. The first step was to apply Bostik HYTEC E570 ONE COAT to suppress the high levels of moisture in the subfloor. Compatible with underfloor heating systems, the epoxy surface DPM contains the exact quantities of resin and hardener ready for mixing and provides protection up to 97% RH.
“We’ve worked with Bostik over many years, and they are always there when we need their support, from the start to the finish of every project. Their expertise is invaluable [and] this job was no different” James Harford, Director at WJD Flooring Specialists
With the DPM left to cure into a glossy and tack-free film overnight, it was then time to prime the subfloor. For this, the flooring contractor used Bostik GRIP A526 UNIVERSAL PRIMER, the company’s solvent-free, acrylic dispersion primer that offers excellent coverage rates and dries within just one hour, allowing the smoothing compound to be applied sooner.
The installers then applied SL C500 ULTIMATE, Bostik’s two-part smoothing compound that incorporates a blend of cements and aggregates combined with special additives. Its unique formulation means SL C500 ULTIMATE delivers excellent workability and flow, is self-smoothing, and can be trowelled to a feather edge – providing a true all-round solution for a wide range of projects.
Then, with the smoothing compound dry, the floor coverings were ready to be laid. This was achieved using Bostik STIX A740 MULTI BEST, a resin-modified, solvent-free adhesive that offers extremely strong wet bonding and a long open time for greater convenience on site.
Bostik’s expert advice and quality products enabled WJD Flooring Specialists to achieve the perfect flooring installation at Jodrell Bank’s First Light Pavilion – reflecting the prestige of the building and the world-class scientific research that it supports.
James Harford, Director at WJD Flooring Specialists, comments: “We’ve worked with Bostik over many years, and they are always there when we need their support, from the start to the finish of every project. Their expertise is invaluable because it helps us give our clients an understanding of the requirements we need to achieve the perfect finish. This job was no different, and we couldn’t have done the job we did without Bostik.”
Milo Watson, Area Sales Manager at Bostik, adds: “Jodrell Bank is a major tourist attraction that’s visited by many thousands of people every year, so it was fantastic to be involved in the First Light Pavilion project and to know that our work has helped to create the floor they’ll be standing on.
“We’re ready and available to help with all flooring projects, large or small. Just get in touch to discuss how our technical team can help you achieve the perfect flooring finish.”