This month, keep your buildings young with beautiful skin – products to help your finishes stay cleaner, smoother, safer from fire, and even resistant to the MRSA superbug. Plus, all the latest industry news

Product innovation: Stolotusan Color

Sto has patented a hydrophobic facade paint that imitates the properties of a lotus leaf to repel rain and dirt. Stolotusan was developed by German scientist Dr Wilhelm Barthlott. Its surface comprises a microstructure of tightly compacted peaks and troughs only two namometres apart. Water droplets sit on the peaks so surface contact is minimised, which means that spherical droplets are more likely to form and roll away, carrying dirt with them. Sto claims that the dispersal time for water hitting the surface is one minute, compared with a dispersal time of 7-8 minutes for traditional surfaces. The firm says the faster disposal of water means that algae and moss are less likely to form.

Stolotusan comes in a range of colours and can be applied to mineral, cementitious and concrete surfaces. It takes two days to dry, but Sto has included an additive to protect the surface from algae during that time. This “lotus effect” will be included in exterior renders from next year.
Sto 301

Superbug-resistant surfaces
IGT Industries has introduced a textured polyester film panel with antimicrobial protection to help counter the MRSA superbug in hospitals. The film panels are suitable for use on any surface where infection may be present and spread. The film is a self-adhesive and can be pre-printed and pre-cut to the required size.
IGT Industries 302

Durable matt finish
Paint manufacturer Johnstone’s has expanded its range of acrylic paints with the launch of Acrylic Matt for interior walls and ceilings. Johnstone’s says that the product is washable, and resistant to household stains and yellowing. The paint is available in brilliant white and magnolia and in 2.5- and 5-litre cans.
Johnstone’s 303

Fire-retardant paint
Keim Mineral Paints has introduced MX, a fire-retardant paint system that works over existing multi-layered painted surfaces. Keim says that MX meets British standard BS476 parts 6 and 7 for fire propagation and spread of flame, and the new Euronorm European fire regulations. Keim also claims the product achieves a Class 1 fire protection as a two-coat system and Class 0 performance as a three-coat system.
Keim 304

Solid base for paving
Sika has added a sand-based joint compound Pave Fix to its Builders’ Merchant range. Pave Fix is a ready-to-use, self-setting compound for use between paving slabs, setts and cobbles. Sika says it does not wash out in wet and windy conditions and prevents weeds and ants’ nests.
Sika 305

Fire-retardant sealant
Adshead Ratcliffe has added the fire-retardant sealant Arbo XL 1075 to its Arbo Intu-tec range. When subjected to flame Arbo XL 1075 will expand and block the passage of smoke and fire and offer up to four hours’ fire integrity and insulation, the company says. It says Arbo XL 1075 is suitable for perimeter sealing fire doors and sealing low-movement fire-resistant joints.
Adshead Ratcliffe 306

Anti-wrinkle formula
Cemex, formerly RMC, has launched Wondertex Premier Smooth. The cold mix is designed to create a smooth finish over existing textured walls and ceilings. It sets within two hours. The finish is off-white, which RMC says gives users the option to cover with emulsion paint or leave unfinished. It is available in a 25 kg bag, which covers 12 m2 at a thickness of 1 mm.
RMC 307

Easy-to-sand joint compound
Lafarge Plasterboard has launched a new joint compound called FineForm Mid-Weight. The ready-mixed product replaces Readymix, and according to Lafarge offers improved coverage, better workability and easier sanding. FineForm Mid-Weight can be used for both bedding and finishing joints by hand or machine.
Lafarge 308

Coarse coloured plaster
Natural Building Technology has introduced two ranges of coloured plaster. The MRP and SEP ranges are available in 200 colours and have a coarser texture than traditional plasters. The MRP is the coarser of the two products, which can be used on exteriors and interiors. NBT has also recently added more colours to its range of lime-based plasters. The firm now supplies ultraviolet-resistant, self-coloured and natural plasters based on clay and lime.
Natural Building Technology 309

Movers and makers

  • The Wallcovering Manufacturers Association has decided to merge with the British Coatings Federation, which represents the UK’s paints, industrial coatings and printing inks industries. A Wallcoverings Sector Council has been created within the BCF to cater for the new members.

  • Illbruck Sealant Systems has published a guide to its range of sealing products, movement jointing systems and fire-rated sealants. The 36-page brochure contains product and system details and includes performance specifications and typical applications. Further information is available from

  • Larfarge Cement has produced two guides for housebuilders and renovators. Cement Solutions for Housebuilding and Renovation details the product specifications and application techniques recommended for its cement product range. Guide to Renders explains different rendering practices and gives instructions on product storage, mixing and curing.

  • Falls from height are costing painters and decorators £30m a year in lost earnings, a report has found. Protecting the Fall Guy has been published by Dulux Decorator Centres and the Health and Safety Executive to coincide with the introduction of new Working from Height regulations. It found that two-thirds of work injuries were caused by falls from height and more than 250,000 working days were lost as a result. The report surveyed 500 painters and decorators. Further information is available from

  • The HSE is running a series of briefing sessions for decorating firm bosses on the Working From Height regulations. The HSE says that fall injuries can be minimised by using safer access equipment. It says that the cost of hiring towers, lifts and small cherry pickers is dropping considerably and using the equipment allows work to be completed much more quickly.

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