The El Dorado Hills Library reopened on Monday, April 30, with new carpet and a new look. It’s been closed since April 14 while the old carpet was removed, and the troublesome slab was skinned, resurfaced, sealed up tight with thick black goo, then primed. The new carpet was installed last week.
Moisture from the slab foundation broke through the sealer, shrinking the original carpet, which puckered up like an elderly aunt at Christmas. Strips of the stubborn slab were exposed in some areas.
A seven-year legal battle over who was responsible for the re-do was settled last fall without assigning any blame. The original contractor, M&H Builders of Sacramento, is now defunct. Capital Commercial Carpeting and local architectural firm Anova Nexus, formerly Murray & Downs, were involved in both the original project and the settlement.
Capital Commercial Flooring entrusted Foster McCaskill’s El Dorado Hills-based Superior Contracting to make it right this time.
In a frank on-sight appraisal of what went wrong, McCaskill said the slab was never sealed properly, and questioned the sealer product used by the original contractor.
Exacerbating the problem, sections of carpet were replaced, then also shrunk over the years, leaving a patchwork of carpet islands in some areas.
Librarian Carolyn Brooks was on hand last week, encouraging McCaskill and his union crew, who first removed the old carpet, then ground the failed adhesive off the slab and, in a final, loud and messy step, blasted the surface of the slab. Tiny abrasive beads shot from a high powered “bead blaster” removed between a quarter- and a half-inch of sealed concrete, enough to dispel the failed sealer.
Despite encompassing the blast area in a plastic tent, Brooks warns library users to expect a little dust over the next few weeks.
To bring it back, the slab surface was first restored with a skim coat of fast drying Portland latex fortified cement, followed by a thick coat of equally impatient ARDEX brand concrete sealer. Brooks described the newly sealed slab as “shiny, black and hard, a perfect dance floor.”
But before she could break out her disco moves, the floor got a coat of ARDEX P 82 primer, then cured for another day.
Early last week Brooks watched crew members Bruce Finishster and Sergi Sokolove smear the adhesive onto the slab in large swaths, followed by McCaskill himself rolling out the carpet, which is greener than its predecessor.
County Facilities Manager Russ Fackrell confirmed that the original carpet, installed in 2006, never passed the final building inspection, and that the county held M&H Building’s final $140,000 payment in an escrow account, which has since gone toward the estimated $150,000 cost to make it right.
Murray & Downs designed the library and Anova Nexus made up most of the shortfall, according to county documents.
Brooks said she was impressed with the efficient slab work, but also commended Sierra Valley Moving, who wedged all the library furniture and shelves into the front meeting room in just three-and-a-half hours with no casualties. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Later in the week they returned to moved it all back in. The front reference desk was placed farther back. “You’ll be able to walk in and stop at the desk without blocking traffic,” said Brooks, who also planned some other changes when the tables, desks and shelves returned.
First Five is creating a “child development center” with a play kitchen, puzzles and books in the kids’ area, which will also get more shelving in some areas and less in others. A shelf structure that blocked view of the computer screens “had to go,” said Brooks, evidencing her librarian’s knowing look.