During a hot summer in northern Texas, a cool dip in a pool or ride down a water slide can be the perfect remedy, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Paradise Springs, a new water park that opened for the 2011 summer season at the Gaylord Texan, a Grapevine, Texas, resort owned by luxury hospitality chain Gaylord Hotels.
Paradise Springs boasts a 27-foot-tall water slide, a 600-foot-long “lazy river” pool, a 6,000-square-foot lagoon — and 65,000 square feet of decorative concrete surfaces designed to ward off heat, earn LEED points and meet the comfort and safety needs of the many bare feet they come in contact with.
To keep the outdoor surfaces as cool as possible and reduce the risk of slipping and falling, project managers chose light-colored concrete with four different types of texture treatments: a hardwood plank stamp, a cleft granite stamp, a broom finish and a troweled-in millet seed finish. Hired for the job was Watauga, Texas-based Lonestar Concrete Systems, a 10-year-old decorative concrete installation company specializing in polishing, stamping, acid staining and countertops.
On 29,000 square feet of Paradise Springs’ patio and pool deck areas, Lonestar workers led by Steve Sanchez and Alvaro Camarillo installed integrally colored concrete in a custom-blended buff shade, troweled in millet seeds to add texture to the concrete and sealed the surfaces with Seal Pro 300, a penetrating acrylic sealer that’s designed to provide UV resistance and was used throughout the project. About 24,000 square feet of concrete was integrally colored in the same shade, stamped to produce the look of cleft granite using Butterfield Color’s River Bottom texture mats and highlighted with white color hardener. To recreate the look of a boardwalk on 8,000 square feet of outdoor surfaces, workers used release powder in a walnut shade and Proline Concrete Tools’ Random Boardwalk 6-inch Wood Plank. The remaining 4,000 square feet of outdoor concrete was broom-finished and broadcast with white color hardener. Lonestar added a unique touch near the park’s entrance by stamping the area with horseshoes in addition to using River Bottom texture mats.
Lonestar also installed epoxy flooring in the park’s 4,500-square-foot food service facility, which included restrooms, locker rooms, kitchens and walk-in freezers, using Tnemec Co.’s Series 222 Deco-Tread Colored Quartz-Filled Modified Polyamine Epoxy, an epoxy and colored quartz floor-topping system.
Finally, installers created two 522-square-foot shuffleboard courts. They poured integrally colored concrete in the park’s uniform buff color, diamond-polished the courts, put down sheets of vinyl as stencils for the courts’ lines and numbers, then filled in the lines and numbers with a black acid stain from Kemiko.
Lonestar landed the job through D.F. Chase, the general contractor hired to complete the water park’s construction, says Lonestar estimator Jason Hardcastle. Lonestar and TBG Partners, the firm hired to design the park, chose materials for the project’s decorative concrete elements. They then worked with Jason Davis, owner of Cement Colors, a Fort Worth, Texas, distributor that supplied many of the materials for the project, to select specific colors.
Aside from choosing light colors, which absorb less heat and keep surfaces cool, and textured finishes, which provide traction and help control heat by casting small shadows, project managers made sure the custom-blended integral color matched the limestone used in many of the park’s buildings and retaining walls.
“The colors that the architects originally chose were much darker than what we ended up using,” Hardcastle says. “We were trying to match it as closely as possible to limestone.”
Davis says decorative concrete provided the sturdiness and color choices project managers were after. He also says they selected mostly Texas-based vendors for availability and to gain local support.
“The designers for Gaylord knew they wanted concrete as the primary material based on its durability, solar reflectance and color options,” Davis says. “With the high summer heat that north Texas experiences, along with rain and occasional ice storms, concrete was the product of choice.”
Color consistency can be an issue while covering such an expansive space with integrally colored concrete, Davis says, but ChemSystems’ integral color product is designed to ensure even distribution of color. Each dose of pigment is packaged in an individual, disintegrating bag, which makes it easy to add an exact dose of color to each batch of concrete.
“With so many batches of colored concrete being poured, slight color variations can become an issue,” Davis says. “ChemSystems’ integral color was selected because of the high standard of quality control used in each batch.”
The creative choice of millet seed, a common birdseed, as a texture agent in 29,000 square feet of concrete required a bit of trial and error. A larger-grained seed the size of a BB was originally chosen, but the smaller millet seed produced the preferred consistency, Hardcastle says. “They didn’t just want broom-finished concrete. They wanted something with texture in it for tracking.”
Hardcastle says the job’s biggest challenges included coordinating schedules with other contractors, such as plumbers and electricians. Weather also threw schedules off a bit. Grapevine saw some days of snow and ice in January, which left workers pressed for time toward the end of the project, Hardcastle says.
And Lonestar, a company that averages 2,500 projects a year, faced a full plate of work during the installation process at Paradise Springs. “Just the large scope of it was unique,” Hardcastle says. “You typically don’t see that much stamped concrete in one setting, so it was a larger project that our guys pulled together. Plus we were doing several other jobs at the same time — we did 19,000 square feet at a Wal-Mart and 20,000 square feet at a school. It all came at the same time.”
Reactions to Lonestar’s work at Paradise Springs have been very positive. The Gaylord Texan is interested in having the decorative concrete contracting company back for additional work. “The relationships we built during this project have been great for us as a company,” Lonestar Concrete Systems owner Brad Walker says.
Project at a Glance
Client: Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas
Decorative Concrete Contractor: Lonestar Concrete Systems, Watauga, Texas | www.lonestarconcretesystems.com
General Contractor: D.F. Chase, Nashville, Tenn. | www.dfchase.com
Architect: TBG Partners, Austin, Texas | www.tbgpartners.com
Scope of project: 65,000 square feet of integrally colored, stamped and textured concrete at Paradise Springs water park, plus 4,500 square feet of epoxy flooring in the water park’s food service facility and two integrally colored, polished and stained 522-square-foot shuffleboard courts
Duration of project: Four months
Material Suppliers: ChemSystems Inc., Kemiko, Concreation Inc., Seal Pro, Tnemec Co. Inc., Gateway Concrete Inc., Proline Concrete Tools, Butterfield Color Inc.
Materials Used: ChemSystems Integral Color and Release Powder, Kemiko Stone Tone Stain, Concreation Color Hardener, Seal Pro 300, Tnemec Series 222 Deco-Tread Colored Quartz-Filled Modified Polyamine Epoxy, Gateway Concrete 3,500-psi concrete mix, Proline Concrete Tools Random Boardwalk 6-inch Wood Plank stamp, Butterfield Color River Bottom texture mat.