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Strong support for inventions from Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Building outdoor terrace and walls coated by slates takes only one day

Tampere University of Applied Sciences has had a key role in developing an unforeseen technique to build slate surfaces both indoors and outdoors. This method is based on predesigned, ready-made reinforced concrete elements coated with slates and other natural stones. Using elements raises the quality of coatings distinctly higher, as it eliminates the traditional risks of building stone by stone on the spot.

Raimo and Teppo Vuohelainen and Markku Oikarainen.
Entrepreneur brothers Raimo (left) and Teppo Vuohelainen of Stonelement Ltd. produce reinforced concrete elements coated with slates. Right: innovation advocate Markku Oikarainen of Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
High resolution image (1,73 Mb)
Photo: Paavo Pykäläinen

Slates as well as round and other natural stones can be used on coatings for high-class building elements both indoors and outdoors; for example terraces, stairs, stonewalls, floors and partitions. These elements are produced inside a factory building, in even temperatures. This makes it possible to manufacture extremely durable prefabs for northern, demanding weather conditions. First elements, which include ground frost protection, have been installed in outdoor yards Spring 2013.

The new way to build slate surfaces benefits above all builders. A load of prefabs will be brought to a constructor when agreed. Even an outdoor terrace of a hundred square meters will be installed in two days. As a bonus, only one transport is needed for the elements and there will be almost no construction waste. The outcome is furthermore of high quality and lasts for decades.

The traditional stone by stone building technique means that a pile of slates and concrete have to be transported to the constructing site. When the concrete base is cast oudoors the result is at the mercy of current weather. Indoors, the concrete base will take weeks to dry. The process includes risks, for example the quality of the base not being sufficient for a demanding stone by stone installation. In addition, this slow working method is physically and ergonomically straining. Traditionally, 3–5 square meters of slated surface takes one man a day's work and the required calendar time is 1–2 months for the entity.

The building technique of slate coated reinforced concrete elements was invented by an adult learner of constructing technology in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. He took his idea to a confidential consultation in the TAMK's innovation team and Product Track process. The proprietor of the idea was strongly supported by TAMK in defining the business idea, and developing and marketing the product.

A company has been established to produce slate coated reinforced concrete elements to the market. The price of the new technique is of about the same order as building surfaces stone by stone. For a constructor, the new method is extremely easy, clean and reliable. New coating elements have begun to interest architects and outdoor designers. These elements can be marketed abroad, too. However, the most important factor, manufacturing knowledge, will stay in Finland.

More information:

Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Markku Oikarainen, innovation advocate
Tel. +358 40 826 7615
Stonelement Ltd.
Teppo Vuohelainen,, CEO
Tel. Tel. +358 50 369 4581

Kari Myttynen,home builder
Tel. +358 400 731 777

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.

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