Polk County Courthouse in the state capital of Des Moines, Iowa, was built in 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo by Kevin Gwinn
As a college student 15 years ago, I got a job at a bustling coffee shop called Java Joe’s in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The gig had its perks — like endless free coffee, and its drawbacks — like hauling overfull bags of wet grounds and other trash out to the alleyway dumpster every night. Thankfully, the clock tower of the nearby Polk County Courthouse illuminated the dark alley. It glowed like the moon on clear nights and always caught my eye as I lugged the trash out over my shoulder.
The courthouse has once again caught my attention. I recently received some photos of the historical limestone structure from PROSOCO rep Kevin Gwinn of Tri-G Products in Minnesota. Kevin had conducted a test panel on the building four years ago with PROSOCO’s Enviro Klean® ReKlaim. “There were five contractors there that day just to see how well it was going to clean,” Kevin recalled.
A close-up reveals before-and-after images of an application of PROSOCO’s Enviro Klean® ReKlaim. Photo by Kevin Gwinn
They, including general contractor Forrest & Associate of Des Moines, were clearly sold. Years of biological stains and pollutants from downtown traffic had built up on the structure’s exterior, and ReKlaim got the nod in a $2.2 million project to perform a restorative cleaning, along with sub-contractor Bob’s Sparkle Wash of Minnesota. Crews also used our Sure Klean® Limestone and Masonry Afterwash as a neutralizer.
The cleaning portion of the project is nearly complete, said Scott Allen, project manager with OPN Architects of Des Moines. He couldn’t have been more pleased with the performance of ReKlaim and the limestone afterwash. “It was really almost night and day in some of the areas that were heavily stained,” he said. “It was pretty amazing how much grime it got off.”
Allen specified the products used on the building, and said he was confident in PROSOCO’s products because he had worked with them before.
Variations in the limestone’s texture caused some differences in how easily the stains were removed. “The smoother the stone, the cleaner we were able to get it with the first pass,” Allen said. “As the building was rougher in texture, it took a little bit more effort, but we were able to get it off.”