Armourcoat has led the world developing polished plaster and high performance surface finishes.
Polished plaster finishes are ideal for residential use, providing a natural, hard-wearing and original design statement. The finishes can be used to create a wide range of decorative effects, either standard or custom, to suit your contemporary or traditional interior style.
Proving incredibly durable and hardwearing, a hand-applied polished plaster wall finish is effectively compressed reconstituted stone – with some quality recipes including up to 60% recycled marble. The surfaces produced by polished plaster are suitable for areas of hygiene in the home such as bathrooms and kitchens; the only real limitation is the shower cubicle itself. The finishes are also increasingly used on walls and ceilings surrounding swimming pools and in spa areas, with natural anti-mould and bacterial properties.
These types of finishes are also used in restoration projects for historic properties as they allow the walls to breathe, and have an ageless appeal. Even children’s bedrooms and playrooms will benefit, as most polished plasters offer low or zero VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) creating a non-toxic environment immediately after application. Fun original design elements can be incorporated seamlessly into the wall finish – using raised or recessed stencil designs – to add further interest and a unique twist to your interior.
Here, House of Coco goes behind the brand and spends some time with Daniel Nevitt, Group Group Marketing Director to find out more…
When was the brand launched and what was the reason behind it?
Armourcoat actually started life as a manufacturer of specialist racket sports plaster over thirty years ago, producing the hard impact plaster back wall for racquet, squash or real tennis courts. The company still holds an 80% global market share in these high quality products, and oversees a network of thirty agents around the world. Whilst the racket sports plaster is now a smaller part of a much broader product portfolio, it created the basis for the exacting technical performance of our finishes we see today.
We recognized a growing demand for hand-applied artisan plaster finishes – both in the residential and commercial markets. As a result, we concentrate much more now on our decorative wall finishes, with a UK contracting division and a separate network of fifty trained agents representing eighty countries. In addition, we created a subsidiary company in Las Vegas to manage the North American market directly, and operate production facilities (for our pre-cast panels) in Las Vegas, Dubai, Moscow and Shenzhen in China.
What’s your background?
I joined Armourcoat 12 years ago, having worked in a variety of B2B marketing roles for European brands. I enjoy travel so the move to Armourcoat was tremendous, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some really interesting countries and meet wonderful people as passionate about the brand as we are!
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
We have an international team in the UK and the USA of 50, plus specialist applicators. We also work hand-in-hand with eighty agents around the world.
As a fairly unique business, where do you recruit your workforce from and/or is there a training programme needed?
This is an artisan craft, and is perfected over many years. In the UK, we have a small team of highly skilled trainers who impart their knowledge and oversee our contract projects. The same team travels the world to work with our international agents on training and on local projects requiring specialist application skills. We also operate an apprenticeship scheme, taking individuals with limited plastering skills but with the right mindset and attitude, to join the training team.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
During college I spent a year in America working for the US Forest Service at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. A stunning area, rich in cultural and geographical significant – and I expect started my love of travel!
2016 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Company founder and Creative Director Duncan MacKellar is the driving force of the Armourcoat business, and fundamental to the introduction of new products. At the moment, we are close to launch of new plaster finishes and a new external render. Watch this space!
How do customers begin the process of selecting a specific finish?
The most important aspect for a good installation is correct substrate preparation. Our finishes are generally a final decorative layer, and therefore will not disguise any bumps, flares or imperfections in the wall surface. However, we offer expert advice and instructions to assist.
Our core decorative product line is polished (often referred to as ‘Venetian’) and textured plaster finishes. These are applied seamlessly to the wall surface with traditional plastering techniques – with a hawk and trowel. We also have a range of high performance architectural coatings for back-of-house areas, corridors, kitchens and public areas. In addition, we can create 3D sculptural effects – seamlessly or with an expressed joint – with pre-cast panels.
We offer a wide range of finishes and effects, and again our specification sales team can provide advice on options including large-scale samples, on-site mock-ups and custom colour matching and finishes.
Many companies today use the sustainability tag in their marketing: can you justify your sustainability credentials?
We have been very fortunate to have developed a ‘green’ product from the outset. Our core product lines include Italian pre-consumer recycled marble, using the off-cuts from the slab industry. Rather than heading to landfill, we refine and grade, and use within our plaster recipes – up to 60% depending on the product. Each year we recycle close to 250 tonnes of marble. The products have low or zero VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and are zero fire rated.
When considering lifetime costs, Armourcoat finishes are extremely tough and durable. With the right preparation, the finish should last the life of the building – important when reviewing the cost of repainting or redecorating programmes. Our technical documents provide a wide range of test data to compare against other decorative products for surface hardness and scrub resistance.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
The launch of the new external render is going to propel Armourcoat into a new market – but one in which we can offer some unique and client focused. We’ll be bringing our understanding of decorative effects to the outside of buildings – expect some stunning results!
Where can people find out more?