British-born civil engineer Anton Loraine arrived in New Zealand with his Australian partner Annie in 2013 “with a couple of suitcases and a blow-up bed” and soon founded Inseal Coatings having secured the exclusive rights to a state-of-the-art, revolutionary waterproof membrane used to line food factory floors, roofs, pools, decks, water tanks, and even reservoirs.
“The product is pure polyurea,” says Anton. “It has the highest level of certification and is drinking water safe. It has zero VOCs [volatile organic compounds] which means it’s not harmful to the atmosphere, and won’t ‘leach out’ harmful chemicals, so it’s great for pools.”
Most pools are lined with traditional epoxy resins that have only around 2% elongation and are therefore brittle and prone to cracking, peeling and blistering. “This membrane has 440% elongation which means it can be stretched to four-and-a-half times before it will split,” says Anton, “so it can easily accommodate movement in the pool or decking, and no matter what, it remains permanently elastic.”
The membrane is a pure polyurea which is specially formulated for waterproofing. Though it is relatively new to New Zealand, the technology was derived the late ‘80s, and it’s not just the physical properties of the material that are revolutionary, but the application process is like no other. Processed through specialist plural component equipment and applied via a spray gun, it sets — or ‘goes off’ — in seconds. “I’ve always had a fascination with polyurea,” says the engineer. “It’s a seamless application. There are no weak joints, you simply make multiple passes with the gun to build up the desired thickness and continue throughout the application area. It starts to gel within eight seconds and you can walk on it within a minute. Once a pool is done, it can be filled within a couple of hours, whereas with other products you must wait up to seven days. Plus, polyurea will easily last 15 years — epoxies show signs of breakdown in 18 months, two years max.”
Waiwera Hot Pools have already inquired about lining their entire complex with the membrane and last year Inseal Coatings completed a two-million-litre reservoir for Fletcher Construction in Fiji that supplies the new Marriot five-star resort. “It’s such a versatile product, for example, being food-grade standard,it can be used for commercial flooring applications,” adds Anton. “We recently completed a job for Fonterra where we lined a dairy shed floor that was in terrible condition and non-compliant. Because it goes off so quickly, we managed to do the entire floor between milking sessions, in less than 24 hours.”
As the membrane is so resistant to moisture and humidity, even if it starts raining during application it won’t be affected, whereas with an epoxy, the entire surface would have to be re-grinded back. “We don’t have to worry about the elements once we’ve primed a surface and begun spraying,” says Anton. “This membrane will cure at minus-40 to plus-180 degrees. It’s a fascinating product. I love it when people see the job and they’re hesitant to walk on it because it still looks so wet, but you tell them that it’s fine. They just can’t believe that it can go off so quickly, and I get a real kick from how the technology blows the customers away.”
Anton gets a real kick from the actual work too. “I love travelling all over the country, getting to meet different people, and Kiwis are just great,” says the Brit, who hails from the Wirral on the outskirts of Liverpool. “I’ve never been an office person, I love field-based work and there’s nowhere better to do it than here. I remember not long after we arrived, driving over the crest of the hill down towards Orewa and just being floored by the view across the Hauraki Gulf. It’s paradise here, and I feel blessed every day. It’s home.”
Inseal’s Polyurea and Its Properties at a Glance
• The polyurea membrane has three times more abrasion resistance than steel, and it is permanently elastic.
• It boasts 440% elongation, meaning it will accommodate cracks and movement.
• It is specially formulated for waterproofing and permanent immersion.
• Zero solvents and free of other nasty volatile organic compounds.
• Smooth, glossy finish — effortless to maintain.
• Exhibits excellent resistance to abrasion, puncture and tear.
• It sets within seconds, is chemical resistant — so good with chlorine — and safe with potable water.
• It is manufactured in Australia under the ISO 9001, an internationally recognised quality management system, and hasAS/NZS 4858 building code certification.
• It’s available in a range of finishes — green, blue, black, dark red — depending on your preference for your pool or deck.