Groundbreaking new Altro Flexiflow resin flooring is proving popular with players at the Welsh Rugby Union’s Vale Resort centre of excellence, by delivering a high level of warmth and comfort underfoot in a high-tech training environment.
Opened in 2009, the £4 million Vale Resort boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including three full-size outdoor pitches, gyms and hi-tech medical and training equipment. All Welsh international players selected to represent their country at any level train at the site.
The Vale Resort is one of the first sites in the UK to have Altro Flexiflow installed, and this has come about as a direct result of the WRU’s excellent relationship with GR & RG Finishers and Altro.
Gary Lucas, from GR & RG Finishers, who installed the Altro Flexiflow flooring, explains the background. “I have worked with the WRU for many years and carried out a number of installations of Altro products on the site – including vinyl and resin flooring, Altro Whiterock wall cladding and ceilings. Altro has always been the WRU’s manufacturer of choice, specifically because of the success of these products.
“More recently, I knew there was an area of flooring that the club wanted to improve on – 65m2 in the Welsh players’ changing rooms just outside the cryotherapy chamber. It was hard, worn tiles, which were old and very cold and uncomfortable underfoot for the players. Not pleasant to walk on at all.
“I knew about new Altro Flexiflow and I was confident that it would be a huge improvement, being much warmer and softer underfoot and less noisy as well. I spoke to Alan Phillips of the WRU and Gareth Skeet, the Buildings Development Manager at the Vale Resort, and explained to them the benefits of the new product. They agreed to go ahead and we selected the Altro Flexiflow 6mm acoustic version to give maximum comfort levels underfoot.”
Introduced as the ultimate in flexible resin flooring, Altro Flexiflow boasts good indentation recovery and high impact resistance, which is ideal for protecting a wide range of environments.
Altro Flexiflow comes in three product options, giving customers, designers and specifiers a broad choice of solutions within a wide spectrum of environments.
The standard version of Altro Flexiflow combines flexibility and toughness and is available in 2mm thickness. It is ideal for medium-duty industrial premises with rolling loads, for example corridors, workshops, production areas and mezzanine decks.
Other suitable applications include pharmaceutical sites, mortuaries and clean rooms, craft design and technology areas, circulations areas, atria, high traffic display areas, exhibition halls, museums, markets and heavy commercial areas.
The Altro Flexiflow comfort version also offers robustness and flexibility, but with added comfort underfoot. Available in 2mm thickness, this product is great to walk and stand on and is perfect where people are on their feet all day.
Applications include light production areas and laboratories, mental health seclusion rooms and low stimulus rooms, aged care facilities, retail, museums, galleries, atria and operating theatres.
Altro Flexiflow flooring also has an acoustic option – which was installed at the Vale Resort - available in 6mm thickness. This has good noise reduction properties and an enhanced level of comfort underfoot, reducing the fatigue caused by long periods of standing on hard floors in areas such as music rooms, libraries, school classrooms and assembly rooms.
Altro Flexiflow is available in 26 standard pastel, solid and bright colours, with the option of bespoke shades, giving complete design freedom. There is minimal requirement for joints, and the product is self-smoothing, which means a perfect, seamless and uniform finish with uninterrupted lines.
In addition, its matt surface is mark resistant, so it will stay looking good for longer. Altro Flexiflow features a PUR top coat for UV colour stability, durability and ease of cleaning.
Gary Lucas continues: “This is a trouble-free product to install. It will go easily over areas of flooring that other products wouldn’t be suitable for, it dries quickly, is self-levelling, seamless with no welds and its appearance is better than rubberised flooring – a lovely matt finish resin and spongy and comfortable underfoot.
“It was so fast to put down – day one was grinding and priming, day two we installed the acoustic base layer, day three was the comfort layer followed by two coats of Altro Flexiflow top coat. It took two of us four days.
“Everyone was delighted with the result – players, coaches, estates team – and they loved the colour, too, which was Flint Grey.
“Personally, I am hugely impressed with Altro Flexiflow – I have never seen anything quite like it before. I will certainly be recommending it to other customers who require comfort and toughness.”
Following on from the success of the first installation, Alan Phillips, Team Manager for Wales requested a further 40m2 of Altro Flexiflow, this time in the stretching gym in the high altitude training area, which is used to help players prepare for games in South Africa, for example. He said: “It’s essential any flooring meets the needs of the players. I liked the matt finish of the flooring and the performance it delivers providing a cushioned feel underfoot. I was also really impressed that Altro worked with us to colour match our team colour.”
Gareth Skeet, Business Development Manager at the Vale Resort, commented, “The new Altro flooring is already making a huge difference in terms of comfort, warmth and overall wellbeing for players. The old tile flooring outside the cryotherapy chamber was very uncomfortable, hard and cold underfoot, and it became a priority to raise comfort levels here because temperatures within the cryotherapy chamber can get as low as -1600C – so ensuring players are warm and comfortable as they dress and undress is key.
“I have seen the new flooring and spoken to players and the feedback is very positive indeed – much warmer, softer and more comfortable. Everyone is very pleased. The feedback about the flooring in the stretching gym in the high altitude area has also been very good, the new floors are softer underfoot, which in high impact areas is very important for players’ health and comfort.
“The colour is great too, perfectly matching the team red. We couldn’t be happier with the result – we have some very high-tech equipment here to help us train and develop the best possible players, and having high-tech flooring is a very important part of that process.
“Gary and his team from GR & RG Finishers have done a great job for us over the years. They have also created some fantastic graphics of the WRU feathers logo in reception and outside the cryotherapy chambers using different coloured Altro flooring. Very skilfully done, it looks superb.”
Altro Flexiflow has superb green credentials – it contains very few Volatile Organic Compounds and has more than 50 per cent renewable natural oil content, making it much kinder to the environment. It can easily be refreshed by applying a new topcoat dressing to replace only the wear layer. This means there is no need to uplift and replace the main body of the floor, thereby extending its lifecycle.