Need To Expand Your Services? Think Vertically!
Some of you may remember reading last month’s mutterings from the frozen North about the advantages of incorporating wall cladding as part of a service to customers. After all, as I pointed out last month, for every floor there are normally four walls and as such, four times the area to get your teeth into - not to mention the extra money to be made.
Many flooring contractors are of course familiar with fixing flooring to walls and ceilings as it has been used for many years in clean rooms and other pharmaceutical situations to provide a hygienic and easily cleanable surface for the most sensitive areas. Some years ago I even did the walls in a chip shop with it for an acquaintance of mine. I never did get paid as every time I called for the money he’d “just gone out”! I did eat a lot of free fish and chips while I was waiting though.
Anyway, around 20 or so years ago, Altro started marketing another walling product far more robust than standard flexible PVC and ideally suited for use in areas where a hygiene surface was needed and impact resistance was crucial. We called it Whiterock.
In the early days it was available in white, hence the name, but today, it comes in a wide variety of colours to suit all tastes. Our ‘Chameleon’ range features 17 bold vibrant colours whilst ‘Pastels’ has nine more subtle colour choices. ‘Illusions’ has a softer cloudy appearance and again comes in a good range of colours, 12 at the last count, and of course we’ve still got white.
The product is 2.5 mm thick although a thicker 3mm option is available on some products if required, and being uPVC construction has excellent fire rating of class 1, or even class 0 if fixed to a none combustible surface.
The material can be fixed direct to a multitude of wall surfaces with a two part PU adhesive, including existing ceramic tiles, brickwork and blockwork without the need for rendering first, wood - including moisture resistant chipboard and plywood, plaster, sand and cement render etc.
The walling products above are in sheet format and sizes are 2500mm or 3000mm x 1220 across the range. This is a fraction over 3metres per sheet, so a lot of wall can be covered very quickly once you get the hang of it.
Also in the range are colour coded transition strips and jointing systems to help create a decorative, seamless and hygienic surface in a wide spectrum of situations.
Corners are normally “thermal bent” on site, in other words heated on a long heating element then bent to the required shape and angle. After the adhesive is applied the preformed section is fixed in place. Hot welding on some of the range is also an option, as is mastic sealing. We also manufacture the system in kit form with pre-bent angles which comes to site ready to install.
Our ‘Quickclad’ range is thicker and more rigid and is fitted into a galvanised metal framework. It can be used where a wall surface is damp or friable and direct fixing is not an option, such as in some food manufacturing areas and pharmaceutical situations.
Some of the main advantages of the system are the incredible impact resistance and ease of fixing to a wide range of substrates with little or no preparation in some cases. Oh and we also do Whiterock ceiling systems too which I haven’t even touched on; perhaps we’ll save that for another day.
As with all Altro products we have a backup second to none and we’re always available to answer your queries on anything in the Altro portfolio. Our Technical Services team, most of who are ex-tradesmen and have experienced the problems first hand, will be only too happy to help. And if you’re really keen, we have an Altro Whiterock training school to help you get started on the right footing.
This article first appeared in the March 2009 edition of the CFJ.