Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Case Study

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

With a variety of substrates including granite, limestone and a dramatic, 100-foot curved glass entry, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. is an outstanding work of architecture. Completed in 2003, the building features 2.3 million square feet of space and panoramic views of the D.C. skyline.

The Challenge

The project called for restoring a 90-foot-high wood panel wall that has been sun bleached over the 10-year life of the building.

The primary challenge was gaining access to the wall and completing work within the limited time constraints the center offered.

Prior to project kick-off, Stuart Dean management met with scaffolding providers to establish a plan for a “trolley system” utilizing the center’s ceiling-mounted access system, as well as large swing stages that would be required for the project.

With a delivery date determined for the rigging and staging equipment and also a 90-foot “cherry picker” to reach other areas, Stuart Dean briefed the center as to what could be expected during the project.

Stuart Dean began the project with help from two senior foremen from the New York office along with two senior local foremen. In all, Stuart Dean committed a total work force of up to 12 technicians at one time to complete the job. To augment both 40-foot swing stages and the 90-foot cherry picker, the team also utilized two rolling aluminum scaffolds up to 45 feet high.

The Solution

Stuart Dean technicians have a deep understanding of the complete American Woodworkers Institution standards. The company has provided cost-effective methods to touch up, recondition, and refinish wood for more than 80 years.

Assessing the type and degree of damage to wood was an integral part of determining the best courses of action to treat the material. With this in mind, Stuart Dean started with an overall evaluation of the current conditions by testing the surface and completing sample areas.

Whereas a total stripping and re-staining of the panel wall was suggested, Stuart Dean’s solution to recondition the wood was less costly and resulted in a more uniform finish. In addition, the approach enabled Stuart Dean to finish the work within the center’s timeframe.

Reconditioning wood is a technique used when the original finish is intact, but the surface of the wood has a deteriorated appearance. The process of reconditioning involves commercially cleaning all surfaces, toning in light areas, applying two coats of a premium-grade finish, and sanding between each coat of finish.

The Benefits

  • Day-to-day activities of the center were not affected.
  • All events continued as planned.
  • The project was completed safely and efficiently.
  • The newly restored panels give the dramatic entrance of the center’s atrium a completely refreshed look and draw out the beauty of the stained panels.
  • Stuart Dean achieved a uniform look with a finish that has better UV protection than the original installation, saving the center money on future wear.
  • Management was so pleased with Stuart Dean’s work that the company was hired to restore more than 3,000 feet of wooden handrail at the center.
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