Project of the month: Sky News studios

F. Ball products have been used to create a blemish-free, high quality floor finish at Sky News studios.

As well as delivering perfect aesthetics to pass the scrutiny of roaming HD cameras in one of the main news rooms at the central London studios, flooring had to be super smooth and durable to accommodate the repeated movement of the cameras and other heavy broadcasting equipment. 

A combination of luxury vinyl tiles and rubber sheet was installed over a total floor area of 80m2 at Sky’s Millbank Studios, in Westminster. Situated close to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the television studios are often used for political interviews, in addition to general news broadcasts from the UK’s original 24-hour news channel. 

To provide a firm, smooth base over which the floorcovering could be installed, contractors from Croydon-based iFlor Flooring Contractors LLP installed F. Ball’s Stopgap 700 Superflex flexible levelling compound over the existing plywood subfloor, having first primed it with Stopgap P131 general purpose primer. 

Flexible subfloors, including plywood, can move significantly as a result of extensive foot traffic, and weight, such as heavy TV equipment, and will naturally flex slightly when they are being used. These movements in the subfloor can cause general purpose levelling compounds to crack, and over time, show through floorcoverings and eventually cause floor failure. 

Stopgap 700 Superflex, which was applied at a depth of 3mm over the entire subfloor, is reinforced with tiny fibres that maintain the integrity of the levelling compound, preventing cracks from forming as a result of subfloor movement. F. Ball’s flexible levelling compound is walk on hard just 60 minutes after application and allows floorcoverings to be installed in as little as three hours while maintaining a working time of 20–30 minutes. 

Once the levelling compound had cured, contractors proceeded to install the floorcoverings; using wood-effect LVTs for approximately half of the 80m2 area, to ‘dress’ the area used to deliver the news, and Norament rubber sheet floorcoverings over the rest of the room occupied by the cameras and production crew. F. Ball’s Styccobond F58 acrylic emulsion adhesive, designed specifically for rubber installations, was used to ensure the rubber sheets would remain firmly in place. 

Offering high initial grab, the adhesive’s film strength provides good dimensional stability, which prevents movement and makes it ideal for use with rubber floorcoverings which will be subject to the high demands of a production team continually moving over the space. 

Adam Couch, Owner and Director of iFlor Flooring Contractors LLP, commented on the project: “We’re big fans of F. Ball and, following another successful installation using their products at Sky’s Studio 21, which houses Sky’s famous ‘glass box’ studio, we knew we had to use them again for the Millbank project. They’re tried and tested products, and we can trust them to deliver great results. This was no exception.”