Customer Spotlight: Carl Walker Construction
CWC specializes in optimizing customers’ parking solutions; we specialize in helping them do it
As thousands of customers throughout the Northeast would attest, Carl Walker Construction (CWC) “solves parking.” Indeed, since 1996, the name Carl Walker has been synonymous with high quality, long-lasting garage repairs and restorations for a growing number of satisfied owners stretching from Connecticut to CWC’s home base in Pittsburgh and as far west as Ohio and Kentucky. The regional powerhouse has completed hundreds of projects, as well as worked to construct numerous parking garage structures, from modest 50 space facilities to huge 6000 space complexes, and has built a reputation for successfully meeting the special challenges inherent in any parking garage job.
“There aren’t too many types of concrete structures that are under the relentless stresses that parking garages experience,” explained Greg Heddaeus, CWC’s Senior Project Manager of Restorations. “Garages don’t have a complete building envelope, and key components like beams, columns, walls and slabs are often exposed and continually at the mercy of moisture, UV rays, road salt, corrosive chemicals, freezing and thawing cycles and more—not to mention the weight of the vehicles putting constant strain on the decks. The wear and tear these structures have to withstand is significant.”
Indeed, from the purview of Heddaeus and his team, parking garages are under constant assault, with the elements relentlessly exploiting small fissures in the concrete, widening them into bigger cracks through expansion and contraction, exposing reinforcing bars to corrosion, and continually weakening the building both structurally and aesthetically. In this environment, effectively repairing the inevitable cracks—and maintaining the integrity of each repair so that it lasts for years—is a rare and highly specialized skill. And, it is one that is leading more and more garage owners to seek out the distinctive, proven expertise of CWC every year.
“In our business we say that there are only three certainties in life—death, taxes, and concrete cracks,” noted Heddaeus. “We can’t do much about the first two, but it is always our goal to repair cracks so that when we are finished, the area looks brand new—and stays that way for a long, long time.”
Doing so, says Heddaeus, takes careful planning and sequencing of every stage in the concrete repair workflow—as well as a constant drive to seek out and develop experience with and confidence in the highest quality materials possible at every step. And that, he notes, is where long term partner Master Builders Solutions has helped CWC consistently achieve the high quality results that the company demands for itself on every job.
“From helping us repair the damage effectively with no microcracks, to protecting the fix against future water encroachment for the long term, Master Builders Solutions, hands down, has the best products on the market,” said Heddaeus.
Complete line of high performing products
Compatibility, noted Heddaeus, can be a big problem on a job site if a brand only makes one or two products.
“Is the sealant going to stick well to the coating? It can be a toss-up if you have to use different brands,” he explained. “With Master Builders Solutions, they have a full line of products encompassing every aspect of repair and post-repair waterproofing so you know they have tested everything and made sure that, without a doubt, all the materials will live together happily in the same space.”
For Heddaeus, garage repairs often begin with Master Builders Solutions’ MasterEmaco® T 1060 rapid-setting or T 1061 very rapid-setting repair mortar for horizontal full depth or partial depth repairs.
“These products deliver the best combination of fast setting and crack-free performance I have ever seen,” he said. “And the consistency is just amazing. We know that every bag will give us the same outstanding results—and we’ve used thousands and thousands of them. That’s just not the case with a lot of other brands,” he said.
In addition, he finds the flexibility that he gets with Master Builders Solutions two-component sealants—giving him the ability to control cure time to best meet the needs of the job—a very effective capability.
But his biggest praise is reserved for MasterEmaco S440 repair mortar for vertical structures.
“This is the single best product I have ever used in any aspect of construction anywhere,” he said. “It has solved a huge, huge problem for the industry.”
Heddaeus explains that when repairs are being made to an overhead concrete beam, weight is taken off the structure during the work, and then when the weight is placed back on the new repair it can often cause immediate microcracks that “suck in moisture” and eventually widen—in a sense, immediately dooming the new repair for the long term. MasterEmaco S440, pumped up into the form under pressure, is formulated to compensate, and leaves the repair solid and crack-free—even when heavy load is first restored, and on an ongoing basis.
“Master Builders Solutions has made this kind of early onset cracking a thing of the past. When we put S440 into a repair, the owner comes out and says ‘where’s the patch?’ It just disappears!” he explained. “I’ve seen a beam with 14 patches on it look as uniform as the day it was cast. It is the most fantastic repair material that we have ever used. Nothing else compares!”
Great products, supported by great service, make for a great partner
Heddaeus notes that it is not only superior products that make Master Builders Solutions a valuable partner for CWC—it’s the extra effort they make to help them succeed. He notes that his Master Builders Solutions contacts often come out to job sites, “ready to go in jeans and boots,” to observe product performance first hand and offer his guys insider tips on how to tweak processes for even better results.
“One of the things that impresses me most about Master Builders Solutions is their incredible knowledge about their products right down to the molecular level,” said Heddaeus. “They didn’t just acquire these products from someone else and put their names on it, they actually created these products, work with them, sweated over them, tested them, know them inside and out. If I have an issue, they understand the chemistry and they are eager to tell us exactly what to do to solve it.”
That customer-service passion, Heddaeus noted, is evident in the logistics support that Master Builders Solutions provides as well.
“We use a lot of bags and it’s important that we have all the material we need ready to go so we don’t get stuck short-handed mid-job,” he said. “Our Master Builders Solutions guys call us and forecast our needs with us so they can be sure that they have every bag we need on the truck ready to get out to the job site exactly where and when we need it. On the flip side, they have a very robust supply chain so that if we do run into an emergency and need bags very quickly, we know that they can work to get them to us. It’s good to have that level of support in our corner as well.”
The confidence it provides, noted Heddaeus, is extremely valuable to CWC’s ability to keep jobs moving smoothly.
“We want to be the guys who are working on concrete repairs and waterproofing, not the guys who are sitting there worrying about if and when the materials are going to get to the jobsite,” he said. “And, it’s another vital way that Master Builders Solutions supports us and helps us shine for our customers. From products to service and everything in-between, they are a great partner for us.”