National Trust Specifies Flexigloss X-Tra at Penrhyn Castle and Plas Newydd

Following successful field trials the National Trust is to specify Sandtex Trade Flexigloss X-tra for the redecoration of exterior joinery and metalwork at two of North Wales’ most stunning historic buildings.

The high performance flexible gloss system will be used to protect and decorate wood, metal window frames and doors at the elegant Plas Newydd Country House on Anglesey overlooking the Menai Strait. It will also be used at the imposing neo-Norman Penrhyn Castle located just a few miles away on the mainland in Bangor.

Building surveyor Clive Parkinson oversees all maintenance work at Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle and also has responsibility for thirty National Trust country cottages and farmhouses in the region. He said: “As guardians of the nation’s heritage we’re not just interested in making our properties look as attractive as possible for visitors, we are primarily concerned with protecting the fabric of the buildings in order to preserve them for the future. Although we are a charity, and therefore subject to considerable financial constraints, we believe that we deliver the maximum long term value by using the best materials for the job and employing craftspeople who are able to carry out this important work to the highest possible standard.”

He added: “We’re totally dependent on membership fees, donations, legacies and the revenue we generate from our commercial operations, and we have to make that money work very hard indeed. This is why we are currently striving to extend all our maintenance cycles to at least five years at these two properties and one of the main reasons why we are changing our exterior paint specification.

“We’ve tried various different exterior gloss systems over the years and haven’t been completely satisfied with their performance. In this demanding climate they just don’t seem to deliver the durability, colour retention and long-lasting sheen that the manufacturers claim and we’ve had to redecorate more often than we would like.

“At our decorating contractor’s recommendation we’ve been trialling Flexigloss X-tra at Plas Newydd on some fairly challenging substrates and in areas exposed to glaring direct sunlight. Given the conditions and the coastal location with its salty air, the Flexigloss X-tra system has performed very well indeed so far. There’s no cracking or flaking of the paint film and it’s maintained its full colour and sheen, even on our famous southwest facing Gothic doors where most paints tend to fade, crack or go very flat pretty rapidly.”

The contractor concerned, who handles all the exterior decorating work at Penrhyn Castle and Plas Newydd, is Merfyn Williams of J Merfyn Williams Painting & Decorating in Anglesey. He said: “In this current ‘cut-throat’ environment clients are frequently so concerned with reducing costs that they set unrealistic timescales and force contractors to cut corners. That’s why it is an absolute delight to work for the National Trust. They expect top quality workmanship but they allow sufficient time for us to carry out very thorough preparatory work on every substrate and they’re keen for us to use premium quality coatings in order to achieve the results and durability they want.”

He added: “I’ve used Flexigloss X-tra a lot and I know from experience that it really does offer superior durability. You can feel from the way it flows off the brush that it’s a cut above ordinary gloss paint and you can tell that you’re creating a very opaque and protective high gloss finish that will help to preserve the underlying substrate for many years to come.”

His client Clive Parkinson concluded: “By making the switch to Flexigloss Xtra we should be able to extend our exterior redecoration cycles considerably and reduce our costs over the long term. It will make quite a difference considering that we have almost 200 windows at Plas Newydd and over 300 at Penrhyn Castle to keep beautifully maintained, not to mention a host of other additional external wood and metal features that require a high sheen gloss finish.”

Specially formulated for the long term protection of exterior joinery Sandtex Trade Flexigloss X-tra is a high performance solvent-borne flexible alkyd gloss system incorporating a premium quality combined Flexible Primer Undercoat. The paint system, which can also be used on suitably primed metal and PVC-u, provides superior resistance to cracking and flaking than traditional gloss paints and has been awarded a British Board of Agrément Certificate for up to eight years durability.

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