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Subtropolis Cave Painting

Project Summary

Most painting contractors have been confronted with the question of whether or not something can be painted, or at the very least sought valuable consultation from one of their manufacturing reps on how to properly coat some unfamiliar substrate. After 30-plus years in the business, we thought we were pretty close to having seen it all. We were wrong. This tale is about painting more than 200,000 ft2 of damp limestone, underground, some covered in shotcrete, with the level of surface prep that would make a product rep stare at his shoes in disbelief.

Getting what would be considered a late invite to the party in most contractors’ worlds, Major Painting had to go to work. Running production and spread rate tests in the 11th hour, we had to get it right. There was no playbook for this substrate, yet.

In less than two weeks we had to deploy a handful of industrial aerial units, bring in high-volume rigs, and ready our people in process, safety, and communication standards to work in this environment. It was a tall task, one that Major Painting was ready for.

Project Highlights

  • Location: North Kansas City, MO

  • Building Type: Limestone Caves

  • Client Type: Corporate

  • Completion Date: November 2022

Project Scope

The project consumed nearly 9,000 gallons of architectural paint, Hilti FireProofing Sealants, DTM industrial finishes, and epoxy floor coatings. All of this product had to  be applied while protecting floors and roadways, other trade equipment, and battling less-than-desirable painting conditions.

 The seasonal conditions outside, coupled with the excavation of the new space caused severe moisture issues inside of the space with the lack of an HVAC system presence. This caused disruption in the production workflow. Adaptive project management was required, no day was the same, it was a giant game of whack-a-mole, our team being the mole and the moisture acting as the mallet. For over two months each day would bring a new challenge, in different areas of the underground unit.

Major pushed through the project, partnered with the GC and Owner to troubleshoot issues, stayed on target and completed the project on time and on budget.

Color Scheme

White paint was chosen to naturally brighten and open up the space while making the cave appear less dreary and appear larger than it is. 

Products Used

  • Sherwin Williams Property Solution Architectural Paint
  • Sherwin Williams DTM Industrial Finishes 
  • Hilti Fire Proofing Sealants
Project Details