Cutting waste – and costs – with architectural films

by Laura

As 2023 begins, sustainability – be that environmental or financial – remains at the top of the agenda.

Waste is discouraged and thrift is once again on the rise – but what does that mean for households and businesses planning refurbishments?

No matter how thrifty you are, there will come a point where your home or premises needs updating, either to keep up with trends or to deal with the effects of wear and tear.

With the mantra of ‘wrap, don’t scrap’, leading architectural films supplier Architextural has the answer, offering the prospect of a whole new look at a fraction of the cost – or waste.

Marketing manager Lindsay Appleton says: “Architectural films allow owners and designers to make the most of their existing furniture and fittings, which may still be structurally sound, and give them a new lease of life.

“A huge 32 per cent of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings, so reusing what already exists has immediate benefits for both the environment and budgets.

“Reinventing furniture for example, by wrapping it with an architectural film not only helps to reduce negative environmental impact, but it may also mean that otherwise sound surfaces aren’t being sacrificed for the sake of modernisation – we like to think of it as a secret weapon for sustainable designers.”

Architectural films can mimic the look and feel of all sorts of materials, both natural and synthetic, at a fraction of the usual price, and are also far less time-consuming or disruptive.

In fact, they are so easy for a qualified installer to fit that premises will generally remain open throughout – perfect for businesses that, particularly in the current climate, can’t afford any downtime.

What’s more, they’re created to be long-lasting and durable, making wrapping the perfect choice for high traffic areas in the home, or in commercial premises.

Lindsay says: “Not only can they extend the life of structurally sound surfaces, but they can also be used as an alternative to real wood, which protects the natural world through recreating the natural look and feel of wood grain without having to cut down trees.

“We’re all more aware than ever before that our planet has finite resources, and so it is particularly important that we take steps to conserve them when and where possible.”

Material benefits

Of course, it can’t be ignored that architectural films are mainly made from PVC. It’s what gives them their amazing flexible and adhesive properties. However, in and of itself, PVC isn’t the most sustainable product on the market.

For Lindsay, the benefits far outweigh the negatives…

“PVC gets bad press for not being the greenest choice out there; it is manmade, and involves a complex, chemical-heavy production process.

“However, it is long-lasting which, for use in homes and buildings, means it is far more sustainable on that basis than more natural wood, marble or finite substrates. It also helps to reduce waste, by giving a new lease of life to existing furniture that may otherwise end up in landfill.

“And lastly, if people are creating the look and feel of real wood with architectural finishes, it means trees are being left in their natural habitat instead. Interior design doesn’t have to have to contribute to wider environmental issues such as deforestation.”

However, there are also a limited number of non-PVC films on the market, and, as appetite grows, there’ll no doubt be more joining them.

In June last year, Architextural announced a partnership with Decal, introducing its PVC-free All Decor 2d range.

The range includes 15 natural and realistic finishes made from a textured non-PVC architectural film, free of halogen, plasticizers and formaldehyde components, making it ideal for applications where sustainability is key.

The lack of PVC doesn’t lead to any loss in functionality; in common with its PVC counterparts, Decal All Decor 2d is suitable for application onto interior flat and simple curved surfaces such as ceilings, walls, doors and furniture, with guaranteed 10-year minimum durability for interior applications.

Lindsay adds: “While PVC-free options are great, they’re the icing on the cake really. Any project undertaken with architectural films is, by its very nature, sustainable, perfectly encapsulating the reuse and recycle ethos.

“We’ve been talking about the environmental benefits of wrapping, and refurbs with film, for years now and it’s great to see the idea becoming more and more mainstream.

“As the cost of living crisis continues to hit homes and businesses, architectural films offer the perfect solution to cutting costs as well as waste – the best of both worlds.”

For more information about Architextural’s market-leading range of architectural films, visit the website at Architextural.

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