The name Altro is synonymous with flooring, particularly the safety variety. For over 50 years we’ve been making, and in the early day’s installing, what is generally considered to be the best PVC safety flooring on the market.
What is less well known about us is that we also manufacture and market a wide range of associated products such as resins for instance - from coatings which can be 10s of microns thick to the heavy duty 9mm PU screeds capable of taking the weight of a jumbo jet, and everything in between.
But I’ve spoken about resin systems before in this column, and today wanted to talk about another product directly connected to floors – walls. After all, for every floor there are approximately 4 times the number of walls and by definition, 4 times the number of square metres - what a sales opportunity!
Of course fixing PVC to walls and ceilings for that matter is hardly new, I remember at the beginning of the 70s clambering along scaffolding at a well known pharmaceutical company, installing PVC cladding on the ceilings and walls before welding everything together to form a skin inside a room that could be easily cleaned.
In those days, Altro had its own contracts department which specialised in the more challenging installations that no right minded person would touch with a barge pole. The lining of footbaths and swimming pools with PVC safety flooring for instance, hitherto unheard of, became regular practice for us in those heady days.
We were young and confident and more importantly we always had the backing of this great company that had faith in us, and we did our best never to let the company down or show the product in a bad light with a poor installation. Our job was to show what could be done with Altro safety flooring and grow the market. Judging by where we are today, I think we did OK.
And so back to walls, for many years since those humble beginnings, flexible PVC as a wall and ceiling covering has been seen as a viable alternative to paint or ceramic tiles. Many excellent flooring contractors now find themselves fixing vinyl to walls and ceilings and most would admit it’s better than being down on all fours for eight hours a day, gives your knees a break at least.
Vinyl “flooring” as a wall covering has long been the product of choice in many hospital operating theatres and clean rooms, providing a decorative, non shedding, hygienic and seamless surface perfect for areas that have to kept sterile to prevent the risk of cross contamination, in drug manufacture for instance, or to drastically reduce the risk of the spread of infection in the operating theatre.
Twenty or so years ago we developed another wall and ceiling system, still PVC but arguably more durable and unarguably far more robust and impact resistant than the flexible variety.
Originally in white only hence the name ‘Whiterock’ or ‘Rocco Blanca’ as our Mediterranean customers call it, it is now available in many colours and designs. You can even invent your own design with our Digiclad system where any photograph or image can be massively enlarged and encapsulated within the system creating a completely unique effect.
This article first appeared in the February 2009 edition of the CFJ.