Making what the company refers to as ‘Smart Repairs’ to baths, basins and other fittings found in the UK’s bathrooms has been part of the routine workload for Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers ever since the firm was established more than 20 years ago.
There is though, a major difference between filling, smoothing and finally colour matching a chipped lip to a ceramic basin and being confronted by a foot long split in the bottom of a lightweight GRP bath or shower tray. And because as the UK’s only national cosmetic repair specialist Plastic Surgeon strives to give its customers value for money, there used to be times when the sales managers would just have to admit the damage was too severe for saving some items to be viable.
Thanks, however, to the company’s continuing programme of research and development, as well as the inventive nature of Andy Keenagh who heads up the work, a systemised approach to mending splits, cracks and holes has been found.
Now every Finisher’s van stock includes a kit which enables them to tackle a badly cracked bath repair and seemingly terminal damage in everything from a one-piece shower pod in a caravan to an eight person hot tub; without needing to access the rear of the moulding.
Andy Keenagh explains: “We used to get sent photos from our Finishers in the field or calls from the likes of hotel operators where there would be a serious split in a GRP bath or a shower tray – asking what we could do about it. The answer used to be nothing unless the whole thing could be taken out to put a patch over the back surface, and then you might as well fit a replacement. For a hotel, fitting a new bath or shower, then retiling and redecorating could put a room out of use for a week.
“We therefore set about developing a system solution, trialling existing products available on the market and trying to develop some means of reinforcing or bridging the damage. What we have now is an advanced two-pack resin system that incorporates a mixing nozzle for injecting into the crack; together with specially designed splints which are inserted into the split and the turned through 90 degrees.
“They are pulled back up against the underside of the moulding and held by the resin which sets quickly enough to be sanded in just 10 minutes. After this we use carbon filler to finish restoring the shape of the bath or tray and colour match the repair as normal. The worst damage it has been used on so far was a split almost a metre long which ran across several contours to the moulding, but it held successfully.”
Plastic Surgeon’s R&D department continues to respond to the challenges posed by clients from across a wide range of sectors and the bath repair process is now in use by the company’s 110 plus Finishers working in social housing, hotels, student accommodation providers, facilities management customers and a number of the UK’s big insurance companies.