Cement-based Underlayment Sets Stage for State-of-the-art Supermarket

cement-based underlayment created this state of the art supermarket in Barbados
The newest Massy Stores supermarket in St. James parish in Barbados features level floors, thanks to NXT Level, a flowable cement-based underlayment. Photo courtesy of Laticrete.

Barbados — an island known for its quaint charm, laid-back atmosphere and white-sand beaches — welcomes about 1 million visitors each year.

While the tourism industry comprises more than half of the country’s economy, one company has become a staple to both tourists and locals alike: Massy Stores. As the region’s largest supermarket, Massy Stores has 47+ locations in the Caribbean and continues to grow.

In early 2017, Massy Stores set its sights on the parish of St. James. There, it planned to open a new 30,000-square-foot (2,787-square-meter) state-of-the-art supermarket to replace an existing one. So first, it secured a general contractor to demolish an outdated mall and extensively renovate the entire property.

To help with the job, GC Moorjani Caribbean Barbados Ltd. hired Trinidad-based Concrete Genius. It was Concrete Genius’s job to ensure the new supermarket’s floor would have 1/8 inch (3 mm) or less tolerance within 10 linear feet (3 meters).

“We needed to be positive that the finished flooring system would be without imperfections. So, we chose to work with Laticrete and their line of surface preparation products. Their reputation for high quality made the decision easy,” says Ryan Ali, Concrete Genius managing director.

a contracter installing the cement-based underlayment by Laticrete
NXT Level produces a flat, smooth and hard surface for the installation of finished flooring. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, noncombustible, nonsensitive to moisture and maintenance-free.
The challenges

The project had its share of challenges:

  • Level floors: Previous floor-leveling methods used to construct other Massy Stores consumed a lot of time and often resulted in imperfections. Concrete Genius had to deliver a flat floor the first time around.
  • Isolation: Because of the island’s remoteness, new technology isn’t always introduced in a timely manner. So the GC brought in Concrete Genius’ Ali and his seasoned experts from Trinidad. The team introduced new flooring solutions to the other construction professionals on site.
Fast hardening and flowable

Concrete Genius began the leveling process by using a floor grinder to remove loose surface concrete and then profile the substrate. The team then swept, vacuumed and pressure washed the concrete to prep the area for Laticrete NXT Primer. The water-based primer is designed to be applied before installing the cement-based underlayment. A must-have for leveling interior surfaces, the product deeply penetrates the substrate and also maximizes bond strength.

Team members mix (above) and use gauge rakes (below) to spread the cement-based NXT Level across the concrete substrate. Workers can distribute the fast-hardening and flowable cement-based underlayment via pour or pump.

Team members mixed and used gauge rakes and porcupine rollers to continuously spread the cement-based NXT Level across the substrate. The entire application process took two days to complete.

Less than 24 hours after the installation, workers used forklifts to unload 14 containers of equipment onto the new floor. These included refrigerators, freezer cases and shelving. Despite immediate heavy traffic, the team didn’t record a single crack or defect in the NXT Level application.

A perfect ending

“The contractors involved in the Barbados Massy Stores project were blown away by the quality of the Laticrete floor-leveling products. They allowed us to install a substrate without imperfections,” says Ali.

The new supermarket opened its doors to the public after a nine-month construction period in November 2017. Overwhelmingly, those in the Caribbean consider it to be among one of the best in the chain of stores.

Because of Concrete Genius’ success, Massy Stores has decided to use Laticrete products in all its upcoming projects.

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