Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Using Snow foam for the First Time ?

There seems to be a lot of questions asked on the web about the use of snow foam.
Is it effective ?
Do you need  special equipment ?
Is it better than hand washing ?
Having surfed around the forums a bit I have put together the following comments which may help the newbie.

Firstly I would recommend a good quality product, something that gets a decent review. The general opinion is that you can't beat a bucket and sponge if you want a really good quality clean, but if time is limited and you need to do a quick all over clean, then snow foam is the way to go. The foam clings to the car body, dissolving unwanted oils and soils fairly rapidly. They are generally free rinsing so only a quick blast with fresh water is required afterwards to leave a nice streak free finish. The advantage of snow foam over bucket and sponge is that it will get into even the most awkward of areas for a thorough clean. Some snow foam products contain brightening agents that clean up your alloy wheels too.

A power washer and foaming lance are required to generate that foam. These are readily available from many DIY and automotive outlets. As with everything prices vary depending upon power output, size and quality.

The general advice for using the snow foam product is to  put about 25mm of product in the bottle and top up with warm water.  Turn the dial to maximum then just ease back a little. Ensure the spray nozzle is fully open
You need decent water pressure and not too much hose length.


Monday, 12 May 2014

Asbestos in the Home

Your home has a 50% chance of harbouring asbestos, which could be lethal if disturbed.

The use of asbestos has been common in the industrialised world since the mid-19th century and it was not until 1999 that a total ban was imposed. It has been widely used in residential property. Approximately 50% of private houses are likely to contain some materials containing asbestos

While this may sound alarming, asbestos is likely to be dangerous only if it is released into the air and you breathe it in. Then you could be at long-term risk of developing lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma (a cancer that forms in the lining of the chest or abdomen). Experts say that there should be little or no risk if the asbestos is enclosed and left undisturbed but it must be regularly checked for signs of deterioration.

In older homes, asbestos is often present in ceilings decorated using Artex textured coating. This is because, until the mid-1980s, Artex was made with white asbestos to strengthen it.
Estimates state that 30% of asbestos is found in ceiling coatings, 15% in boiler flue pipes and ducts, and 15% in floor tiles. A further 15% is found in areas such as cold water storage tanks, insulation materials, eaves, gutters and rainwater pipes, while 10% is in cement panel ceilings, 10% in outbuildings and 5% in fire protection materials, for example on the underside of integral garage roofs and in cupboards enclosing boilers.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. It is used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold), has good fire protection properties and protects against corrosion.
Because asbestos is often mixed with another material, it's hard to know if you're working with it or not. But, if you work in a building built before the year 2000, it's likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos.
Asbestos is found in many products used in buildings, including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Special Offers from Biostrip


Throughout the Spring (and maybe even summer) we will be running promotions on our products, to help you on your way with your DIY and maintenance tasks around the home.

Keep an eye on this page for updates

We have two offers at present for our UK customers

2 for 1 on 5 litres of Biostrip 20

Buy 1 Biostrip 20, get a half price cleaner

2 for 1 on Fuze Floor Cleaner

Biostrip 20 and half price cleaner

Friday, 14 February 2014

Refurbishing Alloy Wheels at Home

We are always being asked for advice on refurbishing alloy wheels. Since it's not really our core business, I have trawled the web to see what the “experts” are saying.

Just a little warning though, wheel refurbishment isn't an easy task; it is time consuming and requires a lot of patience. Do NOT dive straight in; if you are unsure seek PROFESSIONAL help.

Before starting, the general advice is to get someone to remove the tyres; it makes things much easier, and allows you to clean the entire wheel. This is not absolutely necessary but certainly makes life easier. All products used can be purchased from stores such as Halfords

Here’s a list of things you will need for the preparation stages:

Bucket and a sponge
Detergent (washing up liquid will do)
Wet and dry paper
Spray filler
Flat head screw driver
Cloths (Microfibre preferably)

The preparation of the job is undoubtedly the hardest and most critical stage, good preparation will ensure a good final result, so take your time.

Step 1: Cleaning
The first thing to do is ensure the wheel is as clean as possible. To do this simply use warm water with washing up liquid. It is easiest if the tyre has been removed as you will be able to clean the inside of the wheel. A screwdriver can be used to prise them off, then use thinners to get rid of any sticky residue. (If you do this however the wheel will have to be re-balanced before fitting back on the car) Don’t forget your centre caps, some cars have small caps with an aluminium backed emblem sticker, this can be prised out with a screw driver.

Step 2: Filing
You may or may not need to do this step. For heavy curbing it is likely that you will, while light curbing may only have scratched the paint. If you do have major damage, take a file and lightly file the curbing until it is flat (feels smooth, no major ups and downs). You only need to use light pressure, don’t try and completely remove the curbing, or this will alter the shape of the wheel, remember the filler will fill in the deep marks.

Step 3: Sanding
To ensure the paint sticks you will have to abrade the entire face of the wheel. Basically you want to achieve a matte finish, it is recommended to use 400 grit sand paper for this part, with plenty of water and detergent to prevent the paper from clogging up (use 600 if you feel it is too aggressive). If your wheels are corroding under the paint causing bubble patches, it is advisable to sand these sections back to bare metal; you may want to use a rougher paper for this. Spend a lot of time on the rim area as this will be the worst affected. If you choose to do the insides as well, don’t forget to sand here also, if the insides are rarely cleaned they are likely to be very dirty.

Step 4: Filler
Before filling, make sure the wheel is clean; also make sure the curbing marks are free from black grime and dirt etc., sand the dirt out if necessary. Clean the whole wheel with warm water and washing up liquid, after this rinse and dry thoroughly with a microfibre cloth. When the wheel is completely dry you can then start filling the curb marks.

Step 5: Sanding
Once the filler is totally dry you should sand it down. You are aiming to sand the filler back to match the shape of the rim. It is recommended to use 400 grit again using plenty of water, you may want to use a rougher paper at first, but be careful. Take you time here; run you thumb over the area regularly until it feels flat, (as if the damage was never there). Don’t worry if you have used too little filler or accidentally sanded too much, just repeat from step 4. 

Step 6: Spray Filler

Before spray filling, make sure the wheel is clean. You can clean the whole wheel with warm water and detergent again, and then rinse and dry thoroughly with a microfiber cloth. Once the wheel is totally dry you can start spraying the spray filler. The aim here is to fill the small imperfections left from sanding the filler so there’s no need to do the whole wheel. Follow the instructions on the can that you have chosen to use. Once you have put on the final coat, the rim should look all one colour, you will soon see if there are any imperfections or deep scratches left. If the imperfections are still visible then you may have to revert back to step 4, alternatively if they are minor they may sand out.

Step 7: Sanding
Before you start to sand let the spray filler dry for at least 24hrs. The aim here is to sand the spray filler flat, so there are no pit holes or scratches left. This basically means sanding back all the spray filler in some areas. Try and do this evenly, (i.e. don’t sand in one place as it will create a low spot and this will show up in the paint). A good way to check your progress is to dry the area and check for the remaining low spots. If you need more spray filler, just repeat from step 6, it may seem tedious but the outcome fully depends on good prep work, painting over imperfections will be much more visible than they are now. 


Here's a list of things you will need for the painting stages:

Grey primer
Your choice of colour coat paint
Clear Lacquer
Bucket and a sponge
Wet and dry paper (800 grit recommended)
Hair dryer

Step 8: Priming
Before spraying the primer ensure the wheel is clean and thoroughly dried. Once the wheel is completely dry, you can start spraying the primer. Follow the instructions on the can trying to get even coverage, especially in the hard to get places.

Step 9: Sanding
Before sanding allow at least 24hrs for the paint to dry. The aim here is to achieve a consistently smooth base to paint over. For this it is recommended that you use 800 grit with plenty of water, its important that the whole wheel is sanded flat, any rough parts will show up in the colour coat, especially if it is metallic. Sand just enough to ensure the surface feels smooth, do your best to get in the tight awkward areas but bear in mind the paint will be thinnest here, be very careful not to burn through the paint, this will also show through the colour coat.

Step 10: Colour coat
Before spraying the colour coat, ensure the wheel is clean and dry. Once the wheel is completely dry, you can start spraying the colour coat. Follow the instructions on the product you are using. Spray the inside of the alloy first and then do the face, like before don’t forget to spray the outer most edge of the rim, also try and get even coverage, especially in the hard to get places. Do not try and make the coats glossy, a matte finish is what you want to achieve here. Once you have sprayed your last coat, make sure the entire wheel looks the same colour, and if it’s not, just keep adding light coats until it is. 

Step 11: Clear Lacquer
Before spraying lacquer allow at least 24hrs for the paint to dry. Do not sand the colour coat, if you do it will reduce the metallic sparkle of the paint, also don’t wash the wheel for this stage, just make sure there is no dust on the surface, you can use a hair dryer to blow any dust off before spraying (don’t touch the wheel as it may put oil onto the surface). Now you can start spraying the lacquer. Follow the instructions on the can. Again do not try and make the coats glossy. During this stage it is the worst thing you can do, as 9 times out of 10 the paint will run and ruin the job (if the paint does run, it will drag the colour coat with it, remember the paint will always dry with some orange peel anyway). Spray the inside of the alloy first and then do the face, like before don’t forget to spray the outer most edge of the rim, also try and cover the awkward places as best as you can

Step 12: Sanding
Before starting the sanding and polishing process, it is advisable to let the paint thoroughly dry for as long as is stated on the paint cans. Once the paint has hardened, you can start to wet sand your wheel. For this it is recommended to use 1500 grit paper, again using plenty of water with detergent. You are aiming to completely remove the orange peel from the lacquer here, be very careful not to burn through the paint, (especially at edges, sides of spokes, anywhere where paint may be thinner). If you have applied 3 coats of lacquer the paint should be thick enough to sand without burning through. When sanding, regularly dry the wheel to see how much paint you are taking off, the aim is to sand the surface until you can no longer see the low points (glossy spots). When you’re finished you should have a totally smooth matte looking finish (for darker colours such as grey and black you may need to repeat the process with a higher grit paper, as scratches may be visible after compounding).

Step 13: Polishing Compound
Before polishing the wheel make sure its clean. Warm water and detergent is all you need to remove any sanding marks. After you have cleaned the wheel ensure you dry thoroughly. It’s up to you what compound you use. Any fine compound or polish will be okay (liquid based with no grit particles). Use a microfibre cloth to work in the compound; you don’t need a lot of pressure, just rub in a circular motion until the compound goes transparent (some may vary, follow the instructions on the bottle). You may or may not need to let the compound dry, depending on what you are using, wipe or buff off with a different clean cloth, you should now notice the paint has a deep gloss to it. Do this until the whole wheel looks shiny, it may take a while, but you will be amazed by the results.

Step 14: Waxing
This is the last stage of the refurb; make sure the wheel is free from compound, wash and dry if necessary. This is a simple step that gives the paint some protection and will ensure a better finish for longer. It is up to you what product you use; any car body wax will be suitable. Following the instructions on the bottle, rub onto the surface of the wheel and then buff off, it may or may not increase the glossy finish, the surface will feel slippery smooth after application. If you have bought new centre stickers you can put these on now. After this you are finally finished, step back and admire your handy work. 

If the tyre has been removed ask the garage to be very careful when putting it back on.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Artex and Asbestos

Asbestos in Artex

Artex is a trade name which was used to describe all thick plaster-like paints that were used to create decorative effects, most commonly on ceilings, but, often on walls too. In the building trade these are referred to as textured coatings and the non-asbestos versions are still being used.
Up until 1984 the manufacturers (or even the ‘Artexers’ themselves) added small amounts (3-5%) of Chrysotile (‘white asbestos’) to their decorative paints. The fibres gave strength and consistency to the compound and made it much easier to apply.
There are no overwhelming safety reasons to remove Artex because its perfectly safe when left in-situ. In fact, the opposite is true because the removal process disturbs the material and causes fibre-release.
Up until 2006 contractors needed a license to remove this material.
There are specialist products available (such as Biostrip Artex Remover) that soak into the paint and turn it into a gel that can be scraped off. This is quite an arduous task and should not be undertaken lightly. Some of the products on the market, unlike the water based Biostrip range, can contain hazardous solvents – always check the label.
More recently new products have become available that allow you to ‘plaster’ over the textured coating and produce a flat surface. These are certainly the cheapest and safest option but presumably the finish isn’t too good (unless you’re a plasterer).

Does my Artex contain asbestos?

There is a very strong chance that your Artex does contain asbestos if your building was built before 1970 and your textured coating appears to have been applied at that time. If it was built in the 70s/early eighties then it is less likely and if it was built after 1984 it is very unlikely.
The only only hard and fast way to find out is to get the material analysed by a specialised laboratory

Monday, 3 February 2014

Artex Removal Made Safe and Easy With Quality Strippers

Summary: Artex removal is a tedious task and it can cause severe health hazards. If the right 
products are selected then the health risk can be minimised.

Though modern houses seldom make use of artex, it was a prominent ingredient in houses built 
during the last three decades of the 20th Century. The owners of such houses are now faced with the 
removal of this coating prior to painting and decorating if it is not to their taste. Artex manufactured 
before 1984 contains small quantities of asbestos, herein lies one of the problems. The affected artex 
must be removed without forming a hazardous asbestos containg dust. is mainly because Artex contains
 a certain amount of asbestos and that is where the problem lies. Any stripper used for such artex must 
not allow a dust to be formed.

A number of effective techniques are currently available which are commonly used for artex removal. 
Most of these techniques make use of chemical strippers which are effective at removing artex from all
 areas of the home without producing a dust. Such products are available worldwide.

The main features of these artex removers are as follows: 
This is a chemical based artex remover that makes use of water as the base solvent. It is 
non-toxic and non-flammable by nature. Large building contractors who are responsible for 
refurbishing large apartments and buildings, usually make good use of this type of artex stripper. It is 
free from odour and fume making it good for the environment and the user. Moreover, because the
 products are non corrosive, water based and odourless they can be used in confined areas without 
following such stringent health and safety measures.

The artex remover should be applied carefully. More product may need to be applied to heavily 
coated and highly textured artex. After approximately an hour, the artex should have started to form a 
gel like substance. The remover should be left in place until the artex has completely softened when it 
can be scraped off with a wall paper scraper or similar tool. Heavily painted artex may need to have 
the paint removed first. The artex remover should not be allowed to dry out. The total strip time can 
vary from one surface to another.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Why black mould is bad for your heath

Mould in your home or workplace can pose a number of serious health problems that you may not realize are related to mould exposure. The focus of this particular article will be on some of the more serious medical conditions—some deadly—with which mould has been associated.
Growing alongside mould are what are called gram negative and gram positive bacteria. Just like mould, they require moisture and organic material to thrive and are often found growing in the same places as mould, and the combined action between mould and bacteria further worsen inflammatory health conditions. Often times, bacterial infections occur alongside fungal infections and make treatment more complicated.
Black mould can cause problems all over the human body ranging from respiratory issues such as coughing to more severe problems possibly involving sight, the reproductive system as well as the circulatory system. Needless to say, black mould is an extreme issue and should be dealt with as soon as possible.