A Grade II-listed Victorian building once home to public baths for London’s poor has been transformed into a state-of-the-art leisure centre, with global product supplier Sika providing the anti-corrosive concrete repair system to ensure the safe conversion and long-term conservation of the historic structure.

A landmark building at the heart of the capital’s East End, Poplar Baths has served a variety of purposes since its opening in 1852. Its latest incarnation as a £36m leisure centre required the painstaking restoration of the existing Art Deco building, much of which was in a poor state of repair due to cracks across its entire 1,600m2 surface area.

In conjunction with the English Heritage and the project’s main contractors Guildmore, sub-contractors APA Concrete Repairs Ltd were specified to deliver a long-term concrete repair system with proven anti-corrosive properties. It was imperative the system offered a simple, “non-aggressive” application to maintain the listed building’s interior and exterior façade during renovation. Sika provided all the required restorative, protective qualities.

APA Concrete Repairs Ltd carried out repairs to the interior floor, ceilings and walls of the old public baths area in readiness for its transformation to a leisure centre. APA Concrete Repairs also provided concrete renovation to the building’s exterior façade and installed an impressed current cathodic protection system (ICCPS) to prevent corrosion of the buildings steel frame sections.

poplar-baths-1During initial repairs all surfaces, including the roof’s striking whalebone structure, were rendered using Sika MonoTop-610, a high-performance, one-component, cementitious polymer-modified primer. Spray-applied out of consideration for the listed building’s substrate, Sika MonoTop-610 simply required mixing with water to provide a superb, anti-corrosive bonding in preparation for concrete repair using Sika MonoTop-615.

This high-build concrete repair mortar- which also requires nothing more than simple water mixture for preparation – is the perfect reinforcement mortar for delaminated, weak, damaged and deteriorated concrete.

For further reassurance, Sika Galvashield galvanic, sacrificial anodes were installed to prevent the formation of new corrosion sites adjacent to refurbished concrete areas.

This simple, innovative system involves a small, puck-shaped anode which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed reinforcing steel and then tested for continuity before reinstating the repair. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes preferentially to the surrounding rebar, rather than the refurbished, concreted areas.

Sika MonoTop-620 was then applied to create a cementitious smoothing coat to the repair mortar. Ideal for interior and exterior use, it completely seals any remaining pores within the reapplied mortar. A new generation hardening accelerator for concrete and mortar, SikaRapid-1, was then applied. In comparison with normal Sikament concrete, SikaRapid-1 increases early strengths during the first 24 hours of application of up to 100%.

Sikagard-550 W Elastic, a one component plasto-elastic anti-carbonation coating system provided the provided the final application. Sikagard-550 W is solvent-free, and even at low temperatures offers superb crack-bridging properties in concrete structures.

Sean New, Supervisor at APA Concrete Repairs Ltd, commented: “Sika was ideal for a project of this size and prestige. Poplar Baths is one of the most iconic structures in the East End and is held very dear to the community’s heart. It was therefore vital the greatest care was taken with its restoration.

“A large area of the building’s interior and exterior showed signs of concrete corrosion, therefore a proven repair and protective product was required – Sika offered the best the solution. It applies beautifully and its coating prevents any imperfections such as cracks or imperfections forming on the paintwork.

“We use Sika’s concrete repair system on a regular basis. It’s the quality concrete renovation system you can trust.”

Due to its easy application, Sika’s high-performance concrete repair system ensure that APA Concrete Repairs Ltd, completed renovations at Poplar Baths in June 2016, within the client’s strict deadline.

The building has not only been restored to its full Victorian splendor in readiness for its latest use as a high-tech, multipurpose leisure centre, Sika’s restorative, protective solution will ensure it remains a gloriously-grand beacon of the East End community for many years to come.

For more information, please visit www.sika.co.uk