All posts by Sarah Instarmac


Eliminate your waste to landfill

In 2005, it was estimated that the Utility sector generates approximately 4.8 million tonnes of excavation waste, over half of which is sent to landfill. Just 5 years later, The Independent reported that in less than 10 years, Britain would run out of landfill sites – a date  that is getting closer and closer.

With these alarming statistics in mind, WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) developed the Utility Contractor Agreement, an initiative which aims to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2020.

Whether you are a utility company, contractor, local authority or manufacturer, we all have a role to play in reducing the environmental impact of trench excavations and UltraCrete Perma-Soil has been developed to do just that!

Ideal for small utility repairs, Perma-Soil is a soil stabiliser which turns excavated spoil into usable backfill within minutes, eliminating the need for virgin aggregates and vastly reducing the amount of materials that would traditionally be sent to landfill – a fundamental requirement set out in the Utility WRAP Agreement.

It goes without saying that the impact Perma-Soil has on reducing waste to landfill is significant, but let’s not forget the cost savings Perma-Soil can provide too!

Since Perma-Soil eliminates the need to haul away spoil, all the associated costs, such as purchasing expensive backfill material, running extra vehicles and disposing of spoil, are all eradicated.

What’s more, downtime is significantly reduced as contractors no longer need to wait for spoil to be removed from the repair site and Type 1 stone to be delivered, meaning repairs can be carried out a faster rate allowing contractors to move on to another project quickly resulting in increased productivity.

Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at what some of the UK’s leading Utility Companies had to say about Perma-Soil.

“Kier are always looking to reduce their carbon foot print, help the environment and save money at the same time. Perma-Soil fits perfectly into this category as it reduces the amount of waste to go to landfill, this saves us money and time.” Steve Pound, General Foreman, Kier.

“Northern Powergrid have used Perma-Soil as a ground stabilising material for over 20 years. We feel it’s a cost effective solution saving us time and money returning to wood poles that may have otherwise become unstable in strong and wind conditions.” Steve Salkeld, Northern Powergrid.

“Perma-Soil has helped us to reduce our environmental impact. We have fewer vehicles on site, we send less waste to landfill and have realised significant cost savings because of this.” Wayne Gardiner, Complete Utilities.

Quick and easy to use in-situ, Perma-Soil is A9 approved and is available in 25kg and 12.5kg units – the perfect size for most utility excavations. For further information on Perma-Soil and any of the other highway maintenance materials available from UltraCrete, please contact their team of experts by email or by calling 01827 254402.

Minimising Risk. Maximising Performance. Delivering Confidence.


A guide to cold weather working

At Instarmac, it’s our priority to ensure that you always have the information and support that you need to help you make the best use of our products. Cold weather and freezing temperatures can have an effect on storage, handling and the preparation of construction materials. Keep reading for some handy cold weather working tips to ensure an uninterrupted workflow over the next few months.

The industry advises that cement based products should only be used in temperatures of 5°C and rising. This is to prevent the water in the cement from freezing before the product has had chance to cure, causing potential failures once it has thawed out – it is better to take precautions before any work is carried out rather than having to visit the site again to carry out further repair work.

UltraCrete Cementitious Bedding Mortars

All cementitious products are effected by temperature, particularly standard set products. The cooler it is, the slower the setting time. So in the winter months, why not upgrade to a higher performing mortar that are less affected by low temperatures? We provide a number of different grades and our Technical Team are always available to advise you on the best material for your project.

UltraCrete Cold Lay Asphalts

We manufacture all our cold asphalts on a ‘just in time basis’ to provide you with the freshest material every time. However, during the colder months, you may experience a slight firming of the product. This is very easily remedied by applying slight pressure to the side of the bag, which will restore the material to its normal consistency. UltraCrete’s range of world renowned cold lay asphalts have been used all around the world in varying temperatures. Find out more.

UltraScape Cementitious Mortars

UltraScape bedding mortars can be affected by low temperatures, however, if the following conditions are met, they can be used in temperatures below 5°C.

  • The ground to be laid upon is not frozen
  • The temperature is 2°C and rising
  • The products are protected from frost

Cement Based Tile Adhesives and Levelling Compounds

You may be surprised to hear, that even when used internally, cementitious tile adhesives and levelling compounds can be affected by colder temperatures resulting in extended working times.

When using cement based tile adhesives and levelling compounds, we recommend a minimum air temperature of 5°C. Where conditions fall below this temperature, it is common place, and advisable to use room heaters to raise and maintain air and substrate temperatures whilst work is progressed and until products cured. If using a heater, it is important to direct the heat into the air and not directly at the freshly applied material.

It is important to protect all cement-based products from wind, rain and moisture by storing them in dry, frost-free conditions. We recommend that you cover all products with a waterproof sheet and stack any bags or buckets on a pallet to prevent them coming in to contact with cold or damp floors.

For further clarification on any of the hints mentioned above, or for information on how to use a specific product during the winter months, please contact our team of Technical experts by email or by calling 01827 254402.

Download a free copy of Instarmac’s Guide to Cold Weather Working.


Learn in your own time with UltraScape’s NEW online CPD

UltraScape’s RIBA Approved CPD ‘Paving the Way’ has been educating the industry on the benefits of using BS 7533 compliant materials for over 10 years. The needs of the industry have changed dramatically over the last 10 years and with our lives being busier than ever, it was important to UltraScape to develop their CPD offering to make learning even easier.

With this in mind, UltraScape are delighted to announce their latest CPD offering – a free RIBA Approved online CPD.

Ideal for the busy professional that needs to stay ahead, their new online CPD allows you to learn in your own time and at your own pace and because it can be accessed from any device, you can even learn during your daily commute.

‘Paving the Way: The Benefits of BS 7533: Reducing the risk of costly failure in the public realm’ covers a number of interesting topics including:

  • Urban regeneration
  • British Standard 7533
  • Rigid and flexible pavement construction
  • Reasons for pavement failure
  • How to avoid pavement failure
  • Material performance
  • Material application

Don’t delay, complete your RIBA Approved online CPD today!

UltraScape have created a package of options so that you can complete your CPD using the most convenient method for your needs. Their offering includes a ‘Traditional’ CPD which can be hosted on-site or at UltraScape’s state-of-the-art facilities in Tamworth and includes 1 hour core curriculum CPD and complimentary lunch.

Why not make a day of it and book their ‘Explore Our Factory: Full’ CPD which includes 1 hour core curriculum CPD, lunch, factory tour and product demonstration session – have a go yourself!

If you have already completed UltraScape’s RIBA Approved CPD and would like to refresh your knowledge, why not take advantage of their Bitesize Download CPD article?

Find the perfect CPD package for you.

To find out more about UltraScape’s BS 7533 compliant Mortar Paving System, or to book your CPD, please contact their team of Technical experts by emailing or calling 01827 254402.


The perfect grout for your mosaic

The Basilica in Italy, ‘The Great Pavement’ in Westminster Abbey in London and La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona all have one thing in common – mosaic tiles. Whilst you may not be asked to re-create the Basilica any time soon, mosaic tiles are as popular as ever and are a common feature in homes, restaurants and hotels.

With so many options available on the market, choosing the perfect shade of grout to complement your mosaic can be difficult. At Instarmac, we have listened to the requests of our customers and the industry – giving you the perfect mosaic tile grout for every type of project.

Choose our crisp white grout for creating seamless mosaic tiling and opening up small spaces for hygienic environments.

Jasmine is a soft, delicate neutral tone which compliments natural stone and works well with both light and dark coloured mosaic tiles.

Limestone is a hugely popular grout for finishing natural stone mosaic tile applications – it has a nude finish with a slight cream tinge.

The latest colour to join our grout collection is Taupe – an elegant light brown with a hint of grey (it’s also perfect for most wood-effect tiles!)

Rich like everyone’s favourite treat! Instarmac’s Chocolate grout is ideal for creating a striking contrast or for use in rustic decors.

Looking to create a tranquil atmosphere? Titanium, a subtle light blue/grey shade is the grout for you!

Mid-Grey is our sterling silver inspired grout for creating enchanting modern looks.

Our original Grey shade boasts universal appeal that translates to both town and country properties and schemes.

Charcoal is a deep grey, slate inspired grout which is beneficial for use in stain-prone areas including bust entranceways.

Anthracite, the darkest shade in our grout range, is ideal for constructing timeless monochrome dream rooms. We can picture the dreamy Instagram posts already!

To receive a free grout colour swatch please email For more information on Instarmac’s range of grouts, please contact their team of experts by calling 01827 254402.


Park your repair worries with UltraCrete’s Car Park Maintenance range

With an estimated 17,000 parking facilities and 11.3 million parking spaces across the UK, car park safety and maintenance is an important subject that affects most of the population. Potholes and other surface defects compromise the safe passage of vehicles and pedestrians as well as professional indemnity insurance.

UltraCrete’s range of world renowned cold lay asphalt concretes offer a proven repair solution that is durable and instantly trafficable. Their fast set concretes are ideal for installing car park safety signs and lighting to help drivers and pedestrians navigate safely and securely around your facility reducing damages and accidents which can result in compensation and personal injury claims.

Potholes giving you a headache? For a first time permanent repair use UltraCrete Permanent Pothole Repair. Available in resealable, contractor friendly 25kg tubs, Permanent Pothole Repair can be applied in all weathers and is trafficked instantly causing very minimal disruption to motorists.

Is your car park on a gradient? Recurring potholes in wheel turning locations? Tough Patch® Rapid hybrid pothole repair solution offers a permanent and hard wearing repair perfect for both of these locations. See Tough Patch® Rapid in action.

Do you need to refresh or reinstate any line markings? UltraCrete Instaline thermoplastic road marking offers the ideal solution. Instaline boasts excellent UV resistance and is the only line that provides a skid resistance value in excess of 55 straight from the box and because you only cut what is required, there isn’t any wasted product leftover.

Also available from UltraCrete’s Car Park Safety and Maintenance range is QC6 surface reinstatement concrete. Ideal for a variety of repairs including patch repairs to concrete floors and surface repairs around vehicle access barriers and safety railings, QC6 sets in just 15 minutes leaving no time for the area to be vandalised or damaged.

For repairing damaged kerbs and steps, UltraCrete recommend using Kerb and Patch Repair. Pre-blended, eliminating on-site mixing errors, Kerb and Patch Repair is polymer modified for increased adhesion and will set in just 25 minutes, allowing contractors to move on to another project quickly.

UltraCrete has been providing asphalt and concrete repair solutions for planned and reactive repairs for over 40 years. For further information on their Car Park Safety and Maintenance range, please call their team of Technical experts on 01827 254402.

Minimising Risk. Maximising Performance. Delivering Confidence.

Source: British Parking Association


UltraFloor ‘works out’ at new fitness centre

Experienced floor contractor, NRN Flooring, have used UltraFloor Prime IT Multi-surface Primer and Level IT Two to complete subfloor preparation at The Gym Group’s latest fitness centre.

Founded in 2008 by former England Squash player, John Treharne, The Gym Group has gone from strength to strength over the last 8 years and has been recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing companies in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

With over 120 gyms and thousands of members across the UK, The Gym Group are expanding their Midlands portfolio with the addition of a new fitness centre in Sutton Coldfield, opening in January 2018.

NRN Flooring, the chosen contractor for this project, used Prime IT Multi-surface Primer and Level IT Two high flow two component smoothing underlayment to complete subfloor preparation at this exciting location.

Part of the project required Level IT Two to be applied to an anhydrite screed. When working with anhydrite screeds it is crucial they are dry (less than 75%RH), have had any laitance removed and are primed before any smoothing underlayments are laid.

Prime IT Multi-surface Primer was used to prime the anhydrite screed at a ratio of 3:1 and left overnight to dry. A second concentrated coat, at a ratio of 1:1 was then applied to the screed and left to dry for a further 1-2 hours before Level IT Two was applied.

Prime IT Multi-surface Primer is a moisture tolerant, water based acrylic primer, sealer and bonding aid. Formulated to promote adhesion to all UltraFloor smoothing underlayments, Prime IT Multi-surface Primer reduces pinholing, minimising the risk of costly failures.

With a coverage rate of 200m² at 3:1 dilution, Prime IT Multi-surface Primer is a must-have product for all flooring installation projects. Watch an application video of Prime IT Multi-surface Primer.

There are many reasons why Level IT Two has become UltraFloor’s most popular floor leveller. Its exceptional flow characteristics make it a very easy material to apply to a variety of subfloors in both commercial and domestic flooring projects and due to its low odour formulation it is equally suited to confined areas proving particularly popular in the education, health and hospitality sectors.

What’s more, because Level IT Two is available as a two component system, it  takes the guesswork out of mixing, reducing site errors and guaranteeing a perfect application every time.

Find further information on Prime IT Multi-surface Primer, Level IT Two and the other materials in UltraFloor’s subfloor preparation range.

For pricing enquiries or to place an order, please contact the UltraFloor sales team by emailing or calling 01827 254402.


How the perfect ancillary can transform your project

With a number of ancillary products available on the market, choosing the perfect material for your project can be confusing. Picking the wrong product can be disastrous but selecting the correct material will not only enhance the performance of your smoothing underlayment but will also guarantee a stress-free installation.

Construction moisture a problem?

UltraFloor’s Moisture Protection range has been designed to provide protection against subfloor moisture. The range includes DPM IT rapid curing primer membrane and Suppress IT moisture vapour suppressant.

DPM IT is a two component, solvent free epoxy resin system for use as a surface damp proof membrane. Designed to provide protection against subfloor moisture, DPM IT has a pot life of 45-75 minutes, a cure time of 5 hours and boasts a 98% RH floor moisture tolerance. Want to see DPM IT in action? Watch our application video.

Designed to suppress residual construction moisture, Suppress IT is a ready to use single component rapid drying moisture suppressant primer membrane. Applied in two coats, Suppress IT provides up to 98% RH protection, removes the need to prime and is available in a resealable 5 litre bottle so you can pop the lid back on and use the rest another day.

What’s more, Suppress IT is pigmented orange so you can see exactly where you have applied it.

Need to repair small cracks? Filling in gouges or depressions?

UltraFloor’s range of Repair and Finishing Compounds are rapid setting and drying and complement their smoothing underlayments perfectly.

For repairing small cracks in wall and floors, concrete stair edges and for creating coves and ramps, UltraFloor recommends using a rapid drying repair mortar like Patch IT. With a slump free formulation, Patch IT is smooth to trowel and maintains its profile – both important features for a speedy application.

Also available is Feather IT a rapid drying finishing compound. Feather IT is ideal for use on flooring grade mechanically fixed plywood as well as for filling in gouges and depressions. With a coverage of 22m² when used as a feather edge and a walk on time of just 30 minutes, Feather IT is a must have for all repair work.

Completing the range of Fill IT a flowable bulking concrete designed to eliminate the on-site bulking of underlayments with aggregates in deep section repairs.

Want to enhance the adhesion of your smoothing underlayment?

UltraFloor’s Prime IT Multi-surface Primer has been designed to do just that on both porous and non-porous substrates. Interested in finding out more about this moisture tolerant, water based acrylic primer, sealer and bonding aid? Watch our application video.

For further information on UltraFloor’s ancillary products please contact their team of technical experts by emailing or calling +44 (0) 1827 254402.


A Lookback on 2017

The beginning of a New Year is often a time of reflection. We spend time thinking about the previous year as we make plans and resolutions for the months ahead. 2017 was a fantastic year for Instarmac – we welcomed 21 new colleagues to the team, invested £148,500 in new machinery and added to our fleet of vehicles – and it doesn’t stop here! Keep reading to find out some of our 2017 highlights.

Our awards are something we are very proud of as it recognises the commitment and dedication of our workforce. In 2017 we received a record number of awards which included a place in the prestigious ‘Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For‘ for the eighth year, a RoSPA Gold Award for our safety procedures, we were ranked number one in the Insider Magazine Mid Market 300, won an ‘Excellence in Marketing‘ Award from The Tiling Association, achieved new ISO accreditations (one of the first to do so) and was ranked as a ‘Low-Risk Operator‘ by the DVSA.

Listening to the needs of the market has always been important to us and is something we pride ourselves on. With this in mind, during 2017 we launched four new products to the market – Level IT Super Flex 30 fibre reinforced flexible smoothing finishing compound, prem mix light ready mixed jointing compound, ProPrime IT enhanced acrylic primer and YouFix flexible tile adhesive.

We also attended a number of industry events throughout 2017. We love exhibiting as it gives us the opportunity to present our world-renowned services and products to new audiences. Some of the events we attended included Traffex, Road Expo, Scottish Painting and Decorating Show plus a number of HAUC events, RIBA CPD and Specifi Landscapes Roadshows. We have a number of events already in the calendar for 2018 so watch this space for more information on those.

Finally, we finished the year by announcing our latest acquisition – Aztec Aerosols. On the acquisition, John Holcroft, Managing Director at Instarmac, commented: “Instarmac and Aztec Aerosols Ltd share many common goals. The team here at Aztec have a vast amount of experience. We look forward to working together on product development and driving improvement to our customers.”

So what’s planned for 2018? Well for the time being our plans are top secret but keep your eyes peeled for some exciting developments coming soon.

Keep up to date with all the latest news from Instarmac HQ by following us on Twitter @InstarmacGroup.


Shopper’s paradise created with Flowpoint after devastating earthquake

Flowpoint, part of the UltraScape Mortar Paving System, has been used to install a vehicle laneway at BNZ Retail Precinct – Christchurch’s latest shopping experience.

Located in the heart of the CBD in New Zealand, BNZ Retail Precinct is the first permanent shopping centre to open since the devastating 2011 earthquake. Created in two stages, the BNZ Centre features six-storey and five-storey buildings, each including their own mezzanine car park.

Over 47,000m² in size, the whole complex centres around a 1,000m² courtyard which provides an attractive, sheltered and sunny spot for visitors to enjoy.

Part of the development at The BNZ Centre included the installation of a vehicle laneway. Landscape Architects, Beca Christchurch, required a stylish and aesthetically pleasing grout which would be able to withstand the constant and heavy trafficking of the laneway.

Flowpoint, supplied by Instarmac’s partner in New Zealand, Horizon International, was used by Leighs Construction to install the Granite and Bluestone Paving on the busy vehicle laneway.

Part of the UltraScape Mortar Paving System, Flowpoint has been independently tested to British Standard 7533 and has been developed over a number of years to provide a durable finish which will not crack or stain – even in temperatures as high as 50°C.

Flowpoint is a flowable grout which allows for large areas of paving to be grouted quickly. The flowable properties of Flowpoint mean it is equally suited to grouting small cobbles as it is large tiles – ideal for projects where a combination of paving stones will be used.

What’s more, Flowpoint can be walked over in 1 hour and driven over in just 4 hours, which makes it the perfect grout for projects where minimal disruption and early trafficking are essential.

Flowpoint is available in 3 varieties including ECO and Smooth and 2 colours – Charcoal and Natural Grey, providing a stylish yet durable finish for every type of project.

BNZ Retail Precinct is the latest in a long line of prestigious projects for Flowpoint. UltraScape’s Mortar Paving System has been specified and used at Tallinn Old Town in Estonia, MBR City, City Walk and Opera House in Dubai, Roxy Cinema in Wellington and MediaCity, Savoy Hotel and the Bullring Shopping Centre in the YK.

Flowpoint is available throughout New Zealand through Horizon International. To contact Horizon International please visit

For more information on Flowpoint and the other materials that make up UltraScape’s Mortar Paving System please contact Instarmac’s team of technical experts by email or by calling +44 (0) 1827 254402.


Stavanger: 5 Years Later

In Autumn 2012, Flowpoint rapid set flowable grout was used to install a new roundabout and pedestrian crossing in Stavanger, and following a recent visit to the same site, Instarmac are pleased to announce the paving still looks as good as the day it was finished.

A previous European Capital of Culture Winner, Stavanger, is a small and intimate city located on the south western coast of Norway. Over recent years, this beautiful town has seen a huge influx of tourists and has become one of Europe’s fastest growing ports of call for cruise ships. The increase in motorists and additional tourists all added to the extra traffic load of Stavanger’s notoriously narrow roads.

To ease congestion and to make travelling around the town safer for pedestrians, the local municipality installed an extra roundabout and pedestrian crossing and used Flowpoint rapid set flowable grout to install the paving.

5 years later, Instarmac’s Norwegian partner Betomur AS, re-visited the roundabout and crossing and are pleased to announce that both areas show no signs of deterioration and have remained as good as the day they were installed – proving that UltraScape’s Mortar Paving System really is built to last.

Independently tested and approved, Flowpoint is proven to be compliant to British Standard 7533. This standard confirms Flowpoint has a minimum construction life 40 years and guarantees its performance in areas of heavy traffic, turning and braking – a key feature for any areas of paving where vehicles will travel over it.

Available in 2 colours – Natural Grey and Charcoal – and in 3 varieties including Smooth and ECO, Flowpoint is a flowable grout which allows for large areas of paving to be grouted quickly. Supplied in 25kg bags, Flowpoint can be used to grout joints from 3mm to 50mm and as deep as 200mm in one application – ideal for applications where a number of different sized stones will be used or on uneven areas, such as this project.

What’s more, Flowpoint can receive foot traffic in 1 hour and vehicle traffic in 4 hours keeping disruption to motorists and pedestrians to a minimum and allows contractors to move on to their next project quickly.

Flowpoint is available throughout Norway via Betomur AS. To contact Betomur please call +47 55 59 44 50 or visit

For more information on Flowpoint and the other materials that make up UltraScape’s Mortar Paving System please contact Instarmac’s team of experts by emailing or by calling +44 (0) 1827 254402.