Case Study

Installing premium terrazzo for an active international airport

In 2013, Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio needed to upgrade their flooring and create a better environment. The airport’s leadership and design team decided to use terrazzo concrete throughout the facility, a tremendously versatile material that provides great durability and premium aesthetic quality. After their first flooring contractor couldn’t complete the challenging project to satisfactory standards, they searched for one that could. In the process, they asked the leadership of Cincinnati’s airport for a recommendation. As we had recently completed terrazzo flooring installation for them and had done a great job, they recommended us.

The demands of the project

Terrazzo is a tremendously challenging material to work with, demanding the utmost attention to detail and leaving little room for error. It requires the precise use of many divider strips, intricate finishes and challenging processes.

This project, in particular, required thorough demolition and removal of old flooring, testing of the underlying concrete slab, which hadn’t been refinished in many years, and extensive surface preparation and moisture mitigation. In addition, we had to complete elements of the work around massive seismic joint assemblies, which sometimes had to be torn out and built back in. The project spanned a wide variety of areas, including concourses, the ticket lobby, baggage claim, the food court and more. On top of the range of challenges, the airport was occupied and constantly in use over the three-year stretch, requiring us to carefully phase every single section of floor. As a result, we had to work in close coordination with the airport and the project team, with installation crews often having access to only small areas at a given time. As each separate area had to come together into a seamless design, the project team had to meticulously plan each detail. In addition, as it was an airport, the team had to undergo specific and rigorous training to meet strict requirements. As just one example, when material deliveries arrived, we had to follow tight protocols to eliminate foreign object debris (FOD). The reason? If any loose piece of debris got into the airfield, it could get sucked up into the jet engines and cause major damage.

Ultimately, installing terrazzo for the airport was one of the most intricate, challenging projects we’ve ever delivered.

Flooring solutions and results

When we came in, not only were we up against the many challenges of the job, we had to refinish the poor quality work that was delivered by the previous flooring contractor. We quickly demonstrated the quality of our work, improving the previously completed areas and delivering to exceptional quality standards. The owner and general contractor then sought us out for value-added solutions, and throughout the project, we found the owner savings on materials and time. Our crews provided premium quality finishes for the unique artwork on the flooring to deliver the designer’s vision. Over a three-year period, we installed more than $5 million worth of premium terrazzo concrete over a 115,000-square-foot area to create a one-of-a-kind floor. We completed the project under budget and on time, sometimes working nights, weekends and holidays.

A buyer’s guide to commercial flooring

How to get the greatest-value floor and select the right contractor for your project.