The surest defense

When the pro soccer players for St. Louis City SC take to the pitch next year to defend their goal inside the new CityPark Major League Soccer stadium in St. Louis, Mo., the exterior of the stadium will be boasting invisible protection of its own.

That’s because crews at All American Painting Co. applied two graffiti management products from PROSOCO this summer to the stadium’s near-white brick as well as specialized concrete block for its surrounding retaining walls.

Image courtesy St. Louis City SC
Image courtesy St. Louis City SC

One of the biggest challenges up front was the architect on the project, HOK, specified special-ordered masonry materials with a vision for a specific aesthetic that could not be compromised. To deliver protection of both substrates without altering their desired appearance, a plethora of tests were conducted by All American Painting and long-time PROSOCO rep Mike Dickey.

“On the stadium itself is very light brick, which is why it was so complicated,” says DJ Bednar, estimating manager for All American Painting. “On something so light, anything for graffiti is going to soak in and seal up. Every sample we put on there kind of changed the mortar joints and the face of the brick. Once we applied Blok-Guard & Graffiti Control WB 15, we couldn’t even tell it was applied on there. The goal with the brick and retaining walls was for it to look like nothing was applied to it. They wanted to keep that aesthetic appearance.”

Image courtesy St. Louis City SC
Image courtesy St. Louis City SC

With Blok-Guard & Graffiti Control WB 15 selected as the winner to treat more than 50,000 square feet of stadium brick, the team put it in the mix of products used in the test panel process to ultimately treat 8,000 square feet of specialized concrete block for the retaining walls as well. But it didn’t end up as the best option for the substrate, illuminating the importance of test sampling a variety of products.

“The architect didn’t like the way it changed the look of the block, so then we moved on to SC-1 (Sacrificial Coating SC-1) for the retaining walls,” Bednar says. “SC-1 didn’t change the appearance at all. It looks like no coating is there, but it’s obviously sacrificial. It’s right under an overpass by the highway right around the practice field. It’ll still be getting graffiti protection, but without changing the look they were going for.”

Another look the architect was not going for but could not have possibly predicted without the expertise of All American Painting was a demarcation of sharp contrast all the way around the brick stadium.

Image courtesy St. Louis City SC
Image courtesy St. Louis City SC

“They only wanted to go up to 10 feet at first around the whole stadium (with Blok-Guard & Graffiti Control WB 15),” Bednar says. “We did a water test sample because I wanted to show that when it rains, you’re going to see a 10-foot line across the whole building. We treated a whole wall 10 feet up and sprayed it down with a hose to show a distinct 10-foot line across the whole building.”

As Bednar hoped and predicted, they won the green light to treat the entire elevation.


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