Sealants Project

Empire State Plaza – Albany, NY

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Buildings reflect the time period of their construction. Aspects of their architecture and the way they interact with their environment are key to the way we perceive them.

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller was a passionate art collector. His interest in modern art and sculpture is reflected in Empire State Plaza, a collaboration with architect Wallace Harrison. The abstract forms of the Plaza stand in stark contrast to the monolithic ground they are built upon. The intimidating scale and style of the buildings, compared to the old city around them, make them quite hard to miss.

While it’s impressive that monumental buildings like these have stood the test of time, their sealants still become weathered. Sealants on each Plaza building started to fail from constant UV light and extreme weather exposure.

Project Info

Cost: $2 billion

Scope: 8 buildings

Project Start: 1959

Opening Date: 1976

Renovation start: April 30, 2012

Renovation end: April 30, 2015

Next renovation: 2016-2018

Architect: Wallace Harrison/Harrison & Abramovitz, WJE (renovation)                   

Caulking Contractor:  Debrino Caulking – Castleton, NY

Substrates:  Marble - marble (White Danby), aluminum windows - marble

Products used: 890NST

Project Scope

Years of exposure to sunlight and varying weather causes some sealants to lose their elastomeric properties. Although sealant staining is possible under normal conditions, it can also mean the sealant is failing.

In the Plaza’s case, the colossal amount of soft marble on each building was stained - the porous substrate absorbed the original polysulfide and polyurethane sealants.

This wasn’t just an aesthetic issue. There was a chance that the failing sealant reduced the Plaza buildings’ weather-resistance. When a sealant fails, it leaves a building more exposed to the elements. Water enters through the building envelope and joints cannot accommodate movement as easily.

The New York State Office of General Services moved swiftly to find a new sealant. They established two conditions right away: the sealant must have stellar weather-tightness ratings and it must be designed for longevity.

Pecora 890NST and 890FTS silicone sealants were submitted by our trusted partners at Debrino Caulking. Thanks to our sealants’ excellent performance record and non-staining characteristics, they were chosen to protect Empire State Plaza. Our products replaced all  vertical sealants on all eight plaza structures.

Debrino applied Pecora 890 NST on the exterior of each structure. 890NST is a one-part, neutral-curing, ultra-low-modulus silicone sealant that is formulated for substrates like marble and granite - a perfect fit for Empire State Plaza. The weather conditions that degraded the original sealant have little effect on 890 NST, even after years of exposure. Its performance is not limited by rain, sleet, snow, sunlight, or extreme temperatures.

Debrino sealed the aluminum windows on each building with Pecora 890FTS, a field tintable, neutral-curing silicone that does not stain natural stone. It reacts with atmospheric moisture to form a durable, flexible building sealant that resists all types of harsh weather.

Pecora Protects Empire State Plaza

Alan Ingram, Debrino Project Manager for the Plaza, praised our products, calling them the “the main go-to sealant” for many Debrino projects. Debrino workers noticed that Pecora sausages took up less space, making application easier.

Debrino workers had some difficulties accessing the buildings due to the Plaza’s design. Most of the application, however, was successfully completed with the help of swing stages.

Over 6,000 Pecora 890 sausages to date have been used on the Plaza. The contract was renewed for another renovation phase from 2016-2018.

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