Overlayment Produces a Perfect
Salt-and-Pepper Look for Bank Lobby

salt-and-pepper polished topping overlay on the 15th floor of a Cincinnati skyscraper home to US Bank
Thanks to the flat, dense surface created by TRU SP, images in this bank lobby reflect without wave or distortion. Photos courtesy of Hardig Industrial Services

After the lobby on the 15th floor of the U.S. Bank in Cincinnati was renovated with luxury vinyl plank (LVP), there was one major problem. It didn’t look the way the owners and architect had envisioned.

Although it was exactly what they had chosen to cover the cybersecurity floor, they decided LVP didn’t exude the image they wanted. Turns out what they were after was the look of polished concrete.

The general contractor contacted Kevin Kipp, who co-owns Hardig Industrial Services in Cincinnati along with Greg and Lisa Hardig, to ask for recommendations. Kipp immediately suggested the CTS Rapid Set TRU overlayment line.

Kipp reached out to Joe Zingale, the company’s national flooring group manager, to get samples of the three versions of TRU that achieve both design and performance goals. The line comprises the original TRU SL (self-leveling), TRU PC (polished concrete) and TRU SP (salt and pepper).

“Our fast-track TRU toppings can be ground wet or dry and polished in 24 hours. And they’re available in three different high-quality uniform-aggregate exposures,” Zingale says.

“As the polished topping overlay market continues to grow, aggregate exposure and consistency are being demanded by customers,” he continues. “The TRU SP, our latest topping, is for polished floors requiring a very uniform salt-and-pepper appearance. It has slightly smaller-sized aggregates than our TRU PC.”

“After reviewing the lot, they liked the look of SP the best,” Kipp says.

a close up of the salt-and-pepper polished topping overlay by CTS installed in a US Bank in Ohio
TRU SP salt-and-pepper polished topping overlay features a specialized aggregate that simulates a uniform salt-and-pepper appearance.
TRU prep

In late August, with a crew averaging three to four men, Hardig Industrial Services used a ride-on scraper to remove the LVP and existing cove face. They then ground the substrate and releveled the entire space with Rapid Set LevelFlor, a fast-track self-leveling underlayment that is ready for foot traffic in two to four hours.

Hardig Industrial Services uses a ride-on scraper to remove the LVP and existing cove face from the bank lobby floor.

Following that, the crew ground the floor again to remove imperfections in preparation for an application of Rapid Set TXP Fast, a high-performance, VOC-free epoxy primer. Next, they installed the terminal strips and metals. This was done so the floor could transition to carpet and tile in the surrounding areas. They then placed a ½ inch of TRU SP onto the 4,000-square-foot lobby.

The installation took two weeks from start to finish, with the work done on the second shift. Although no one worked on the 15th floor during the renovation, the bank conducted business as usual on its other floors. Kipp, too, worked his typical day hours. He made site visits at all hours of the night to ensure installation went according to plan.

TRU’s self-leveling characteristic allows the crew to place the polishable topping overlay quickly and evenly. 
TRU confidence

Besides the nighttime schedule, the challenging part of this project involved its downtown location. “Figuring out the logistics of getting our equipment and material in and out of a skyscraper was a task,” Kipp says. “And with money continuously coming in and out, too, the building had to be very secure.”

Kipp says he and his crew installed its first TRU overlayment in January 2017 in Cincinnati Music Hall and many times since then. Subsequently, “We had installed so much TRU in this area that we had a lot of project case histories to reference for this application.”

One of the traits Kipp likes about TRU SP is that it’s a specialized product with great features and benefits. “It takes a skilled crew to install this product,” he says. But once you understand it, “It is user-friendly, and you can get an even aggregate exposure.”

Overall, the workability is great so long as the water mix is right, he continues. “And it has really nice leveling properties.” Not to mention, “You can successfully polish it to get the high reflectivity clients want.”

This all adds up to a solid feeling of confidence. “We know the system and the installation works. TRU will stand up to continued use and be the right floor system for our clients.”


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