Commercial Appeal Healthcare Conversion

Like several commercial facilities across the U.S., the four-story, 140,000 square foot, Commercial Appeal newspaper office and production building was converted for healthcare use in the wake of the COVID epidemic. The Commercial Appeal building’s historic property location has been home to three Memphis newspapers including Commercial Appeal, as well as a Ford Model T factory. The most recent building on the site saw decades of newspaper office and production use with massive printing presses. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spearheaded the initiative with aggressive timelines for all facets of the project. The subfloors throughout the extensive facility required a comprehensive, time-sensitive plan.

Existing Substrate

Existing VCT suspected of asbestos content and residual adhesives were present in a number of areas. The project plan called for Schönox products which could cover these areas rather than remove them. Substrates with years of service reflected the weight and regular use of printing presses and support equipment. The removal of dividing walls and heavy equipment left indentations and voids throughout the building.


The extensive floor space, variety of subfloor issues, and tight project window required a subfloor plan that would result in smooth, sound subfloors ready for floor covering in just three days.

Priming: Schönox VD and SHP

The entire project space was primed using Schönox VD or Schönox SHP based on the porosity of the substrate conditions. Schönox SHP is especially effective in priming diverse substrates with residual floor covering materials.


Given the expanse of the project space, Graco SL340e and MP40 pumps were used with both the cementitious and synthetic gypsum based, Schönox self-leveling compounds. Schönox AP, synthetic gypsum, selfleveling compound, was used to cover several challenging substrates including the tile shown here. Concrete subfloor areas without residual substrate materials or complicating issues were covered with Schönox XM, cementbased, self-leveling compound, which provides a cost-effective application.

Renovated Subfloor

The Schönox Rapid Healthcare Conversion Initiative gave these old newspaper production floors new life as emergency healthcare spaces in record time.