Stadium expansion joints by EMSEAL. SJS System at Jets/Giants New Meadowlands Metlife Stadium

New York Jets/New York Giants, New Meadowlands MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford

New Jersey

Date: 2009, 2018

EMSEAL stadium expansion joints installed at NJ Meadowlands Jets Giants MetLife Stadium.

NJ Meadowlands Jets Giants MetLife Stadium EMSEAL stadium expansion joints

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ–As the Meadowlands prepared itself for its biggest day in football—Superbowl XLVIII—one thing was certain—the stadium expansion joints were ready.

In the same way that the Meadowlands ushered in the era of billion dollar stadiums, it also marked a watershed in the structural expansion joint industry. With seismic stadium expansion joints 10-inches (250mm) wide, and a design requirement that they be watertight at the deck surface, through all direction and plane changes, between different deck and wall technologies, and capable of handling rolling point loads in concourses and split-slab conditions on the upper decks, the scope of performance expectations was extraordinary.

With design by HOK (360 Architecture), architectural detailing by Ewing Cole,  and structural engineering by Thornton Tomasetti, all working under a design-build arrangement with SKANSKA USA, bridging and sealing these large (10-inch nominal) seismic expansion joints fell to EMSEAL and installer Schnell Contracting Services.

It’s hard to believe that 7 years have passed since installation began of the 4,200 LF of SJS System and SJS-FP expansion joints in the 83,000 seat, 1.6 billion dollar new Meadowlands  Metlife stadium.  With stainless steel coverplates throughout—on the concourses, treads, and even on the risers—the Jets/Giants really did it right.

Despite 18-inch wide stainless steel cover plates, the finished product in the bowl is nearly unnoticeable to the casual observer.

Despite 18-inch wide stainless steel cover plates, the finished product in the bowl is nearly unnoticeable to the casual observer.

The SJS SYSTEM is unobtrusive and the long-bevel, flint-blasted coverplates provide an accommodating walking surface.

Even close up, the SJS System is unobtrusive and the long-bevel, flint-blasted coverplates provide an accommodating walking surface.

Here’s how it went down…

The new stadium was erected immediately adjacent to the old.

The new stadium was erected immediately adjacent to the old.

Seen through the massive louvre-like facade elements, a pile of seats from the old stadium are staged for disposal.

The massive bowl of MetLife Stadium is 2 miles around in circumference. It is divided into 4 sections by 24-inch wide structural expansion joints.

At it’s center you can just see the crew of Schnell Contracting Services working on one of the expansion joints.  The massive bowl of MetLife Stadium is 2 miles around in circumference.  It is divided into 4 sections by 24-inch wide structural expansion joints.

As seen in the full-scale mockup, these structural openings in the bowl as well as in the concourses, were reduced to 10-inches using cantilevered metal-angle substrates to accommodate the expansion joint sealing system.

The metal angles, were abraded, coated in epoxy and seeded with sand.  This was done to ensure a durable and properly-bonded substrate to which to apply the Emcrete blockout filler material.

The joint gaps were formed with extruded polystyrene, and…

…the epoxy-and-sand-coated blockouts were primed using Emprime.

Using a non-sag additive and Emcrete elastomeric nosing material, the blockouts were trowell-filled in the risers, and…

expansion joints in stadium seating bowl EMSEAL

The Emcrete nosing material serves several purposes.  Firstly, it seals covers and seals all of the joins in the underlying steel-angle substrates; next it seals the back edge of the blockout to the concrete; it absorbs sound from traffic over the coverplates; and…

expansion joints in stadium adjusted for cover plates EMSEAL

…it acts as a leveling bed for the cover plates.  To eliminate all rocking in the plates, they are loosely laid over across the joint gap and rocked by a worker. the high spots are noted, the plates removed, and the nosing material is ground to achieve level.

Factory-fabricated Custom-90 tread/riser assemblies are made to field measurements for each step. Precompressed to less than the joint size, the SJS sits ready for installation into supplied epoxy on the joint faces.

For the mockup, as for the entire project, each tread and riser section of SJS System was custom-fabricated to field measurements made by the contractor.  Each piece was labeled and staged adjacent to its place in the bowl.  Each piece comes precompressed to less than the joint size and with pre-attached hanger bars to aide installation.

EMSEAL-supplied, epoxy is applied to the joint faces and…

…the custom, tread-riser assembly is inserted into the joint, into the the wet epoxy.

At the tread to riser interface of each interlocking section, a bead of EMSEAL-supplied silicone is applied.

Ensuring substrates are in plane across the joint. The Emcrete nosing material is easily adjusted to ensure the plates sit completely flat.

The process is repeated to install all the interlocking tread/riser, foam/spline, custom-90 assemblies of the SJS System.

Before installation of the cover plates, an injected sealant band of supplied silicone seals substrate voids and locks the silicone bellows to the substates

Once the system has self-expanded firmly into the wet epoxy, a silicone sealant band is gunned between the silicone-bellows and substrates. The excess silicone from the sealant band is tooled into a corner bead along the blockout edges.

Continuity of seal from top of stadium to bottom of each seating level is assured with factory-fabricated SJS sections. Plates are seen at right ready for installation

Each coverplate was custom cut to field-measured lengths and labeled for its specific location.  The coverplates are seen, above, leaning adjacent to the installed SJS foam/spline assembly.

Attaching vertical riser cover plates. A factory-installed custom extrusion makes the transition between the tread and riser plates

A unique feature of the SJS System is that the coverplates do not anchor to the concrete.  They anchor to the central spline which is flanked by the pre-compressed, silicone-coated foam. This ensures that there are no invasive anchors into the concrete that will loosen over time under loading and movement.

Attaching vertical riser cover plates. A factory-installed custom extrusion makes the transition between the tread and riser plates

Metlife Stadium features coverplates in the risers as well as in the treads.  This is an option.  While 1/2″ thick stainless steel was used on the treads, 3/8″ stainless steel was used on the risers. As with the tread plates, the riser plates are anchored by self-tapping, heavy stainless steel screws into the central spline of the SJS System.

The design team wanted a protective rubber transition piece to bridge the tread to riser coverplate joins. EMSEAL custom-extruded this piece and factory bonded it to each tread plate.

The design team wanted a protective rubber transition piece to bridge the tread to riser coverplate joins. EMSEAL custom-extruded this piece and factory bonded it to each tread plate.

Cover plate screws are inserted, self-tapped into the SJS center spline below and torqued to their final setting as described in the complete installation instructions.

At the kick-wall at the bottom of each bowl level, the expansion joint needed to be terminated to prevent water draining down onto the fans below.

No detail was spared.  At the kick-wall at the bottom of each bowl level, the expansion joint needed to be terminated to prevent water draining down onto the fans below.  Custom, continuously-coated closure pieces in the SJS System were made for each condition.  Each of these termination pieces runs up, over…

Custom, continuously-coated closure pieces in the SJS SYSTEM were made for each condition. Each of these termination pieces runs up, over down the face of each bowl fascia.

… and down the face of each bowl fascia.

The concourse expansion joints were also sealed and bridged with the SJS SYSTEM. A factory-fabricated upturn transitions was provided on the end of each run of joint that meets a wall expansion joint.

The concourse expansion joints were also sealed and bridged with the SJS System.  A factory-fabricated upturn transitions was provided on the end of each run of joint that meets a wall expansion joint.   The top of the SJS upturn is mitered and silicone coated to receive a corresponding miter on the bottom end of the wall strip seals.

In the bowl, with the seats installed, the expansion joints become almost unnoticeable.

In the bowl, with the seats installed, the expansion joints become almost unnoticeable.

The finished installation is aesthetically compatible, continuity of seal through the changes in plane and direction is assured, and the SJS System is watertight while accommodating joint movement free of tensile stresses within the expansion joint sealants and free of any hard, brittle, noisy, metal-to-concrete anchors or connections.

In the stadium concourses, the SJS System handles the high point loads of small-wheeled delivery carts; ice-filled, food and beverage concession wagons fork lifts, utility lifts and of course the millions of footfall fans per game.

On the upper level concourse, which acts as a roof for the levels below, the deck is of split-slab design.  To ensure watertight  integration with the buried waterproofing membrane, the SJS-FP System was used.  Supplied with side-flashing sheets and metal retainer legs to match the height of the topping slab, the SJS-FP ensures continuity of seal between the waterproofing membrane and the expansion joints.

The entire SJS System is non-invasively anchored.  Because the cover plates are anchored to the foam-suspended central spline of the SJS System, there are no metal contacts into the adjacent concrete.  And, because the cover plates ride on a cushion of EMSEAL’s tough, resilient, but flexible and sound attenuating polyurethane, Emcrete nosing material, the SJS System is not only watertight but arguably the quietest seismic expansion joint available as well.

Revenue loss in affected concession areas, damage to equipment in storage rooms, disgruntled athletes and suite patrons, and exorbitant repair costs are all consequences of leaks at expansion joints.

Elimination of these problems in new sports, assembly, convention and performing arts venue construction as well as in retrofit of existing structures is a central focus of EMSEAL’s.

The company’s unique approach to sports facility expansion joint treatment combines innovative materials technologies with a fresh look at the roles of owners, designers, general contractors, manufacturers and subcontractors, in achieving trouble-free expansion joints.

The approach is grounded in an integrated, collaborative process centered on joint treatment that requires all of these parties to think, design, detail, specify, construct, fabricate, and install three-dimensional solutions.

Regardless of what happens on game day, one this is certain.  The expansion joints at Metlife Stadium are ready for the big show.