Everyone loves the appearance of natural stone. It is a favourite material when designing buildings with aesthetic considerations to the fore – but not always for those within the construction industry who have to work with it.
The sheer weight of stone makes it difficult to handle and inherently raises health and safety issues. It can be hard to find the required consistency for each project, and the stone itself is easily damaged both during installation and through wear and tear once in place.
These were the problems faced by one construction company that came to Coes of Derby looking for a solution. Traditional stone lintels were an integral part of the buildings they were working on, but as well as the increased labour and potential for accidents and injury associated with handling such large, heavy pieces, the company was experiencing a frustrating, time-wasting and costly 30% breakage rate.
Fortunately, the team at Coes was able to draw on its extensive experience with GRP to create window and arch lintels that perfectly replicated the outward appearance of stone whilst addressing all the concerns with using the natural material. The resulting product is a fraction of the weight of stone, making it quicker and less labour-intensive to handle and install, and eliminating much of the health and safety risk. The look of each piece is totally consistent, and the lintels are far more resilient, cutting the additional costs and man-hours required to repair or replace damaged stone.
The ultimate test
While other materials on the market could have been employed to give the practical benefits such as being lighter and more durable than stone, the unique and critical advantage offered by the Coes GRP product is its authentic aesthetic appeal. This was obviously vital to the success of the project and the clients were delighted – and a little surprised – to find that after trials, they were simply unable to tell the GRP and stone versions apart, and were actually convinced that the GRP lintel was in fact the stone original!