A revolutionary glass fleece proved that the writing is on the wall for lining paper when it helped decorators to get a multi-million pound refurbishment project at one of Bournemouth’s most famous hotels back on schedule.
The VPP200 Glass Lining Fleece, which is available from The Glass Fabric Company, the UK’s leading supplier of textile glass wall coverings, was used extensively during the refurbishment of the entire second floor of the Norfolk Royale Hotel Bournemouth.
The hotel, which was built in the 19th Century and is owned by English Rose Hotels, has introduced its “Club Room” concept across 33 rooms and five suites, which have been transformed to offer luxury four star accommodation.
When decorators from Horsham-based contractors DK Beer arrived to carry out their part of the renovation, they were greeted with walls that were not only showing their age, but were uneven after electricians had chased through wiring and plastered over the top.
By then, the work had fallen behind schedule, meaning that DK Beers’ foreman decorator Neil Lilley was facing a race against time to complete their phase of the work on time.
In his search for a solution, he discovered VPP200, a wall lining which is made by creating a textile of interwoven glass yarns and then compressing it. Of more immediate concern to Neil was that it comes in 1m-wide rolls, but when his team started using it, he realised why it is being tipped as the natural successor to traditional lining paper.
“We’d ordered 55 rolls, which would cover 3,000 square metres, and got to work,” he said. “We soon found that we were doing the job really quickly. It was just eating up the walls.
“What was surprising was that the fleece behaved so well. In each room, one of the walls had to be papered and lining paper can often bubble and pop at the seams. It didn’t do that at all.
“When you are doing a big renovation job, you can easily get particles of dirt trapped under the lining. With paper lining, that’s a real pain. With this, we could sand it down without any problems and it wouldn’t show.”
Each of the rooms at the hotel is 16ft square and 8ft high but the glass fleece has a host of properties besides its width. Unlike with lining paper, it is the wall, not the fleece, which is covered with a layer of adhesive – doing away with the need for a pasting table – and the fleece retains its structural integrity during hanging, meaning it is easy to slide around when butting up.
Pigment is also added to the VPP200 fleece in the manufacturing process, providing a first coat of paint before anybody need open a tin, while its firm structure allows it to mask uneven surfaces.
Where Neil would have normally expected to take five hours to paper each room, he and his three-strong team took just two. This meant that they were able to line 10 rooms in two days, before covering the VPP200 with a layer of emulsion or, on selected walls, wallpaper.
“We use a lot of lining paper throughout the year, but from now on we are only going to use glass fleece lining,” Neil said.
“In 30 years I have tried lots of different products and I have never come across anything whose speed, quality and performance are so impressive.”
The Grade II-listed hotel started life in the 1840s as two buildings, one of which was a summer retreat for the 14th Duke of Norfolk, Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, and the Club Rooms has been designed to reflect the hotel’s history, with classically styled furniture and soft furnishings.
Hotel manager Clive Moss said: “The hotel is famed for its Edwardian grandeur, but the Club Rooms concept will set it a class apart from its competitors.
“This will only happen if the finish is absolutely perfect, which is why we are delighted that, in searching for a solution, Neil and his team were able to find a product that allowed them to finish their work on time and to such a high standard.”
More than 85 per cent of the cost of a typical refurbishment project is spent on labour, so its performance allows VPP200 to offer huge savings.
It provides genuine reinforcement to the wall substrate, preventing new hairline cracks from forming, and when a coat of paint is applied, it can be washed, scrubbed and disinfected without fear of damage. It is also fire rated to Class “O” standard.
Its strength also means that it lasts intact for 20 years, requiring just an occasional coat of paint – cutting costs both in terms of future labour and materials and also lost revenue from talking rooms out of action.