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October 2016

Altro Atlas 40 covers up failing epoxy

Altro Atlas 40 covers up failing epoxy at East Central International School District

James Cosper doesn’t specify flooring, but that didn’t stop Altro Regional Representative Kelli Weiblen from scoring an entire San Antonio school district’s kitchen flooring project.

Mid-June 2015, after receiving Cosper’s contact information from a foodservice consultant’s website, Weiblen set up an appointment at his home office. Here Weiblen learned he didn’t specify flooring, but San Antonio-area architects and interior designers often ask him for alternatives to epoxy or quarry tile flooring. Perfect.

Sending him everything but the kitchen sink (though the flooring could be used under one), Cosper was soon the proud owner of Altro commercial kitchen binders and brochures detailing our expertise in the area, and several of our safety flooring samples.

Half a year went by until Weiblen heard anything back. Early January 2016, she received a phone call from Barry Sturrock of San Antonio-based Piwonka-Sturrock Architects regarding a project at East Central International School District (ECISD). At last, a lead from her meeting with Cosper.

The two convened on January 19, and after looking through our products and installation procedures, Sturrock grew interested in the robust and hard-wearing Altro Atlas 40 sheet vinyl safety flooring. Four different schools in the San Antonio school district had failing epoxy floors, so the firm sought a strong and resilient alternative. Altro safety flooring’s ability to be installed right over existing floors was enticing.

Both Piwonka-Sturrock and the school district elected to move forward with Altro Atlas 40, color Quarry Red.

On June 2, the initial order was shipped and the installation process began at the first school - Salado Middle School. Larry McLaughlin, Altro Technical Representative, joined Weiblen at the job site on June 20, meeting with the architect, general contractor and flooring contractor to review any questions to ensure a successful installation. McLaughlin stayed on site the rest of the week with the flooring contractor.

The remaining Altro Atlas 40 was delivered on July 11, and the other three schools were completed in time for the start of the school year on August 22.

Our customer service doesn’t quit after successful material delivery, however. Altro Technical Services Manager Skip Johnson, McLaughlin and Weiblen conducted a cleaning webinar on August 19, and Weiblen held an in-person cleaning and maintenance seminar at two ECISD locations.

The end user and kitchen staff had nothing but positive comments for our technical support, customer service and, of course, the flooring.

Posted: 10/5/2016 7:03:27 PM by Lea Charnley | with 0 comments

Bright yellow: 2016 Color Trends in Interior Design

Looking for the best colors to add to your interior? Maybe you’re designing your space for the first time or maybe you’re looking to refresh – either way, one of the best places to start is with color! 

This article is part two in our three-part series describing three popular interior design color trends for fall 2016.   

Trend 2: Bright Yellow

Clear, cool and crisp, bright yellow is a bold trend that will energize any interior. When used sparingly as an accent color, bright yellow encourages energy, creativity and a clear mind. Bright yellow pairs well with cool grays, whites and with its complementary hue: bright blue.
Bright yellow color trend color card
Kristen Racamato, Graphic Designer

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Posted: 10/18/2016 5:09:28 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Microbeads & AltroBead Technology: Understand the difference

Microbeads have come under some scrutiny lately for their potential harmful impact to the environment to aquatic life.  Here is a quick overview of what they are, why they are controversial, and why Altrobead technology should not be confused with microbeads.  

What are Microbeads

Microbeads is the term given to the little bits of plastic that are sometimes added to products for their abrasive properties.  For example, in shower gels these tiny plastic pieces - which tend to be less than 5mm in size - are designed to exfoliate dry cells from the surface of the skin.

Why are Microbeads controversial?

While offering beneficial properties, Microbeads can cause plastic particle water pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in freshwater and ocean water.  A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean. 

Microbeads are bioaccumulative and may pass up the food chain.  From worms, to fish, to seabirds, all are affected. They may even be in the fish we eat.  

In large amounts, Microbeads are toxic. In the USA, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 phases out microbeads in rinse off cosmetics by July 2017.  In August of this year, the Environmental Audit Committee called for a worldwide ban of the tiny particles.  

What is Altrobead technology?

Found in the new colors of Altro Aquarius, Altrobead is an innovative way of creating a more domestic look to sheet vinyl.  Tiny beads in three carefully selected hues are blended and evenly distributed into the flooring on top of the base color. The result is the consistent, soft appearance that you would expect and want from domestic interiors. The subtle blend of four colors in each shade makes matching or choosing walls and fixtures much easier and allows a different, and more personal touch.

Altrobead Technology is not a Microbead

While they sound similar they are nothing alike. The Altrobead particles that Altro use in the manufacture of the new Altro Aquarius product are fully incorporated into the product and cannot be separated so it is impossible for them to be washed away. There are no “free/loose” Altrobeads in the flooring.

Richard Finnegan, Marketing Manager | LEED Green Associate

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Posted: 10/25/2016 5:21:46 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Pale Coral: 2016 Color Trends in Interior Design

Looking for the best colors to add to your interior? Maybe you’re designing your space for the first time or maybe you’re looking to refresh –either way, one of the best places to start is with color! This article series will tell you about three popular interior design color trends, of fall 2016.  

Trend 1: Pale Coral
Pale coral is a soft and sophisticated interior design trend that creates a calming environment. This works well covering a large space on a wall or as an accent color matched with a warm mint green. Pale coral goes well with soft wood tones and beiges; compliments a mint green, and contrasts well with a dark, warm charcoal.

Kristen Racamato, Graphic Designer

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Posted: 10/7/2016 6:43:14 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Above the code: Fire testing for walls

Most wall cladding products in the United States are tested to the ASTM E84 standard.  This standard is referenced in building code by the NFPA (National Fire protection agency) and has been an accepted standard for many years.  

The test measures for two things: Flame Spread (how fast the fire travels) and Smoke Generation (how much smoke is created).  Both are very important when determining the fire safety of a product.  

How the test works

This test method measures flame growth and smoke development of a test specimen as it is suspended in a cement tunnel chamber. The flame source appears below the material and the test looks to measure how quickly flame spreads along the specimen and how much smoke is generated in the chamber.  

The flame spread is measured by eye, smoke development is measured by a photometer.  A product is given a rating based on its performance. 


Not all results are apples to apples

The classification determines which areas the product can be installed in and provide a good idea of a product’s fire performance. Class 1 or A are used interchangeably depending on the specific building code.

There are a few deficiencies with the test method. This ASTM method does not require a specific substrate be used in the test. Because of this, some manufacturers will test on gypsum board, cement, or even calcium carbonate (an extremely fire resistant, chalk like material). Some manufacturers will not use any substrate at all (in this case they suspend the samples with chicken wire), this has an effect on the results and means that without the actual test report it’s not easy to get an apples to apples comparison. However, while the ASTM standard doesn’t require a substrate, the building code does. The building code requires that the material be tested on the substrate that will be used in the field, in most cases this is gypsum board/drywall. 

What to look for?

To be safe, choose products that have a Class 1 or A Rating on gypsum board/drywall. This is the most common substrate used in the field and represents a worst-case scenario. Any passing result on this substrate should also pass on cement board.  If the test substrate is not clear, specifiers should ask manufacturers for a copy of their test reports.  This is the best way to determine if a product will actually perform as a Class 1 or A product in the field.  

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Posted: 10/10/2016 6:49:28 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Building Information Modeling: Who, what, when, where and Altro

What is BIM? Building Information Modeling image

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process which enables you to create and manage 3D digital representations of a facility.

The resulting building information modeling provides you with a single, current and fully interactive 3D model and detailed information not only on the facilities functions but also its physical properties.

A BIM object contains:

  • The information that defines a product as well as a visual representation   
  • Product properties and physical characteristics 
  • Functional data, such as detection zones, that enables the object to be positioned and behave in the same manner as the product itself

Who uses BIM?

Each party involved in a project can use BIM, from initial concept and design through construction and extending throughout the entire life cycle of a product. It becomes a collaborative resource that can support decision-making from initial concept and design, through the construction phase and the subsequent life of the building. 

The BIM model also serves as a database to assist in the production of detailed schedules and listings of the components and quantities in any project.

What are the benefits of BIM?

  • It provides a single 3D model, with one central version of the true project, however complex
  • It is a mechanism to enable change control. More design options may be explored early in the design process and changes may be made even late in the project with much greater ease, having anticipated and resolved any issues
  • It facilitates cost and schedule control through software and technology efficiency
  • It enables room planning so that all fixtures, fittings and equipment are product/color referenced and can be viewed individually in "real life" form, with all corresponding detail and from different angles, to allow more control over the placement of joints etc
  • It provides greater, up-front analysis of building information and design for all those involved in the project's design and construction, including providing accessible information for all stakeholders
  • All BIM information comes from a single, up-to-date and co-ordinated model/database. For example, if you change a window in one place, that change is replicated in every space that window appears
  • BIM can be developed to provide information about on-going maintenance and energy use, etc.

Why does BIM matter?

According to a McGraw Hill Construction 2014 Smart Market Report, BIM adoption by contractors in North America expanded from 17% in 2007 to more than 70% in 2012 and is expected to be more than 80 percent this year.

The use of BIM goes beyond the planning and design phase of the project, extending throughout the building life cycle, supporting processes including cost, construction and project management, and facility operation.

Altro and BIM

We currently have 16 of our products available as BIM objects, providing you with up to date accurate information, designed to save you time searching for technical data, sample cards and colors!

View our BIM components here and at

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Posted: 10/13/2016 7:09:28 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments