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Concrete Floor Restoration Brings Historic Theater To Life

Half the lobby was covered with carpet and the other half with 1" terrazzo installed back in 1934.
“Half the lobby was covered with carpet and the other half with 1" terrazzo installed back in 1934. After we removed the carpet, we scarified the floors to assure good bonding for the new materials, and we noticed that some areas had been filled with 2" of mortar that was not bonded. After removal we used a fast-setting concrete mix to fill back to grade.”
Upon removal of the carpet on the ramps going into the theater, they found that the base was made out of wood, not concrete.
“Upon removal of the carpet on the ramps going into the theater, we found that the base was made out of wood, not concrete. In order to maintain the same look within the project, we installed metal lath, stapled every 6' o.c. and used Miracote repair mortar base.”

When California contractor Julio A. Hallack agreed to renovate the floors in Modesto’s State Theater — once a prime example of art deco architecture — he knew he had a big job ahead of him. Half the lobby consisted of terrazzo installed in 1934 and the other half was covered by filthy carpet that reeked from years of spilled beer and wine.

Many areas under the carpet had been patched with unbonded mortar. These would have to be cleaned out and patched again. Other sections of carpet had been laid over wood. These areas would require additional strengthening, in the form of metal lath, to accommodate an overlay.

Another problem: a one-inch height difference between the terrazzo and carpet. It had been filled with mortar that was now very loose.

Hallack’s challenges were to make the floor both sound and level and then to create a gentle transition between the lobby and the ramp to accommodate wheelchairs. Once that was done, he could get to the fun part — returning the decorative design to its former glory.

Between the line of terrazzo and carpet there was a high difference of 1" that had been filled with mortar. It came loose once they scarified the floor.
“Between the line of terrazzo and carpet we found a high difference of 1" that had been filled with mortar. It came loose once we scarified the floor. We floated these areas with Miracote Repair Mortar in order to bring both floors to even grade. We also repaired cracks using metal lath with membrane and repair mortar.”

Hallack, owner of Concrete Innovations by Hallack, was ready for the challenge. The eye-catching results he achieved are a showcase for his skill and artistry in decorative applications.

Architect’s drawings provide inspiration
Hallack first consulted the architect’s original drawings. With those in hand, he set out to restore the floors.

After the patched areas had been filled with Quikrete and the floor screeded to make it level, Hallack installed Miracote Repair Mortar, a polymer-modified resurfacing compound that can be installed in any thickness from 2" to featheredge. Using the product, he says, allowed him to bring the ramp out at a soft angle so that wheelchairs could easily negotiate the transition.

12' metal screener to help them spread out the Miracote repair mortar for more evenness.
“In order to have an acceptable grade within the floor we used a 12' metal screener to help us spread out the Miracote repair mortar for more evenness.”

After all the repairs were done and the floor was leveled, he installed two base coats of Miracote Protective Coatings with color. Then he applied two thin coats of Miracote smooth protective coatings. These coatings do not have sand in them and create a very, very smooth finish.

Then he sawcut the design and filled the cuts with colored grout to add extra definition to the design. Acid stains were applied, and then the project was sealed. The floor — whose design represents film (going left to right) and a ray of light that projects from outside the theater towards its center — had become a powerful piece of art.

They floated the ramp in order to create an even transition between the wood ramp and concrete lobby.
“We floated the ramp in order to create an even transition between the wood ramp and concrete lobby. This was extremely important in order to comply with the disabilities act for people in wheel chairs.”

Maintenance: an important component
After the project was completed, the theater’s board of directors agreed to monthly maintenance, an essential component to maintaining the floor’s beauty. Once a month, Hallack’s crew goes in at night and strips off the top layer of sealer. Then they remove any major marks from the floor, buff it, and put on a coat of high-gloss sealer. “It looks more beautiful every time we do it,” Hallack says.

After paying his crew, himself and his suppliers, Hallack donated his profits back to the nonprofit theater group. His work has more than paid off, he says, by the free advertising he has received from the project and the satisfaction of having brought the building back to its original grandeur. “We felt motivated to invest back into our community,” he says, “and that has provided our company with unlimited opportunities.”

 

The finished product radiates with bright red and orange colors

There is a lot to look at on this concrete floor, and the lines lead you in different directions

Themed after the old building, the color lends itself to old Hollywood.

An ornate bannister ties the entire concrete project together.

Clean lines and vibrant colors on the concrete bring this historic theater back to its original warmth.

The new floors at Modesto’s State Theater radiate light in more ways than one.

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