How to open a liquid stone business

Repair and construction business Building and decoration materials

The recently popular liquid stone, of course, has little in common with natural stone. As a rule, this is not called the material, but the technology of facing various surfaces (most often particleboard) with a special mixture of polymer resin with other components. The thickness of such a coating is from a few millimeters to several centimeters.

In the first case, liquid stone acts as a laminate: after polymerization of the liquid components of the composition as a result of a chemical reaction, it turns into a thin facing layer, similar in structure and quality to a stone. Liquid stone is used to decorate facades and walls, as well as various products, the production of countertops, window sills, etc.

Experts distinguish between two methods of creating a surface using liquid stone technology - direct and reverse. In the first case, the composition is applied directly to the prepared surface. After it has completely hardened, the top coat is ground and polished. The main disadvantages of this method of surface treatment are the long time required for the manufacture of liquid stone, high labor costs and uncomfortable working conditions: when grinding and polishing the coating, a large amount of dust appears. There are certain restrictions on the surface used for applying liquid stone. It should be unprocessed (particleboard, plywood and other rough wood-based panels). Surfaces and materials with a smooth laminated surface are not suitable for such processing, since the coating simply does not “catch” with the substrate and depart from it after hardening.

In the reverse method, liquid stone is first applied to a pre-prepared form into which chipboard or plywood is then glued. This method is much more convenient and versatile, since it allows you to apply liquid stone many times faster. However, it requires the use of special forms and is not suitable for processing large surface areas.

Liquid stone is available in various color shades (standard colors are already over two hundred, but at the request of the client, you can always make the coating of the desired color on request). However, just like acrylic stone, all colors in liquid stone are formed due to small dots. At the same time, he has less options for textures than acrylic, since all the “points” have a size of up to 1.5-2 millimeters. While in acrylic stone grains can be 6 millimeters in diameter and even more.

In addition to limitations on the texture and methods of application, liquid stone has other disadvantages. Due to the small thickness of the coating, it is subject to the influence of a chipboard base, which is easily deformed and not resistant to moisture. All this is compounded by the fact that the liquid stone does not adhere sufficiently to the surface and sometimes can peel off from it, creating bumps and “bubbles”, or simply crack. At the same time, despite all the shortcomings, products with a "liquid stone" surface can hardly be called cheap, since this technology is still not widely used in our country.

The undoubted advantages of such a coating include an attractive appearance and ease of repair. Any defect can be corrected with a small amount of the liquid stone mixture, which fills the cracks. After grinding and polishing, the repair site is almost imperceptible. In addition, since the structure of the “liquid stone” coating is not porous, therefore, it does not absorb dirt. It weighs less than other similar materials, resistant to external influences and temperature extremes.

The technology of applying "liquid stone" with the reverse method is quite simple. First, water is poured into the container under the solution. Then a mixture is poured into it. All this is thoroughly mixed using a special nozzle on the drill. The finished solution by consistency is a liquid plastic mass. The solution is applied to the product or surface (particleboard, plywood, etc.). When the mass has completely hardened, its surface is first carefully polished to remove all irregularities, and then polished until a shine appears.

If we are talking about the opposite method, then first from the MDF sheet two blanks are cut in the form of a future product (for example, countertops). Details are glued together, and cutouts are made in them, if provided by design. The finished part is installed on the desktop and wrapped around the perimeter with strips of plywood, particleboard or plastic. They are fixed with hot melt adhesive.

Then the workpiece is removed from the mold, cut a few millimeters on each side and milled where the edge will be. If there should be openings under the sink in the countertop, then the matrix of the sink is installed in the workpiece, laying on the end with plasticine. Then the entire surface of the mold is treated with a wax. After 10-15 minutes, a mixture of filler and gelcoat is uniformly sprayed onto the mold. The applied material is left for polymerization for 30-45 minutes. After the hardened form is reinforced with fiberglass.

At the next stage, the soil from the resin with the addition of calcite is evenly distributed over the entire area of ​​the workpiece. The soil is stained with pigment pastes in the color of the filler. Then, a blank of MDF or particleboard is laid out on the mold, on the surface of which goods are distributed to remove excess air and soil. After 1-1.5 hours, the goods are removed, the surface of the product is cleaned and again poured with soil. When the composition is finally polymerized, the product is cleaned, ground, milled and polished.

You can learn all the wisdom of using this technology in a few days. However, for such production there are certain requirements for the premises. Since the technology of manufacturing products with such a coating involves two main stages - spraying and grinding, then, therefore, the room where this is carried out must be well ventilated, illuminated, equipped with a good ventilation and heating system. During operation, a certain temperature must be maintained in it (about 20-23 degrees Celsius, but not lower than 18 ° C). It is desirable that the premises consist of two rooms with a total area of ​​at least 40 square meters. meters. In one room, material is sprayed or poured into molds, and in the other room, the finished coating is polished and sanded. The voltage in the mains should be 220-380 V.

You can produce liquid stone yourself (for this you need to purchase special equipment) or purchase all materials from suppliers. In the latter case, an amount of 200-250 thousand rubles will be enough to start your business. The consumption of material per square meter of countertop (with a coating thickness of 2 cm) will be, for example, about 4 kg (about 3-3.5 thousand rubles). Spraying and grinding takes about 2-3 hours (15-30 minutes for spraying and 1.5-2.5 hours for grinding) without taking into account the drying time of the coating. And the cost of work is about 5-6 thousand rubles. Thus, the retail price of the finished coating plus the cost of work reaches from 8 to 10 thousand rubles per square meter. 1 square meter of countertops or window sills made using this technology will cost customers 6-7 thousand rubles. For the selection of color, manufacturers take about 500-600 rubles.

Please note: some companies that sell the necessary materials promise their partners an average income of 1 million rubles per month. In fact, this amount is somewhat overstated. Indeed, surface coating with “liquid stone” is an expensive service. Moreover, the material has certain advantages over others. But such a technology is still not so popular in our country, and the high price per square meter scares off many customers. Thus, it is unlikely that at first you will get enough customers to receive orders worth more than a million rubles a month.

To manufacture products using the “liquid stone” technology, you will need the following equipment and tools: a jigsaw, compressor, drill, drill mixer, orbital grinder, screwdriver, spray gun, hot glue gun, manual milling cutter and work table. Materials needed include general purpose resin, spray gelcoat, pigment pastes, calcite, fillers, curing agents, acetone, plasticine, paraffin, fiberglass, chipboard or MDF.

Entrepreneurs who are involved in this business claim that the payback period for equipment for the production of liquid stone is about six months. In the event that you are not going to produce materials, but plan to buy ready-made, initial expenses can be recouped for the first 2-3 months of work.

So, in order to open your own business in the field of liquid stone production and rendering finishing services, you must first find a supplier of equipment for the production of mixtures or companies that sell finished mixtures. There are more than enough offers on the Internet, so you have the opportunity to compare the conditions and choose the best option for price and quality. Another significant expense item is advertising on the radio, in print media, on specialized sites and on message boards on the Internet. Do not forget about the recommendations of people you know. At first, if no one else provides such services in your city, invite your relatives and friends to finish with a minimal mark-up or, in general, for the cost of materials. On the one hand, you will receive photos for the portfolio with examples of your work (customers may wish to see the coverage live), on the other hand, this will provide you with good recommendations. As you know, most of the clients come to good masters on word of mouth.

"Liquid Stone" is used in the manufacture of floor coverings, coatings for stairs, sinks, plumbing, pool decoration, in the manufacture of countertops, etc. You can search for customers yourself through advertisements in newspapers, magazines, on the Internet or agree on cooperation with companies who are engaged in repair work.

We will calculate the costs that are required to run this business. These calculations take into account the cost of renting a room and purchasing the necessary equipment for the production of liquid stone. So, for the rental of industrial premises with an area of ​​40 square meters. meters will require a minimum of 15 thousand rubles (depending on the region, this figure can change both up and down). Equipment for production will cost from 250-300 thousand rubles. This amount does not include transport costs. The advertising budget should be between 10-15 thousand rubles in the first months of work. About 150-200 thousand rubles will be spent on the purchase of consumables and tools.

In total, at least 600 thousand rubles will be required to start your own business for the production of products using the "liquid stone" technology. When selling finished products for 100 thousand rubles a month (quite real volumes for a city with a population of more than 500 thousand people) and rendering services for finishing and casting molds for 100-150 thousand rubles every month, your expenses will pay off in less than six months. If you take the starting capital on credit, the payback period is calculated taking into account the interest paid on the loan.

The calculation above does not include staff costs. Of course, at first you can work independently or with one assistant. But this is only possible if you plan only to provide services for surface coating with liquid stone. If you are going to engage in, including, the production of materials, then you will need a minimum of 3-4 workers.

The profitability of this business, according to manufacturers, is about 40-50%. However, these figures may be higher if your city does not have or there are very few direct competitors, if you have experience in this field and communications, if the demand for your services is high, if you were able to profitably rent a room for production or if it has you are in ownership, etc. The average revenue of a small company per shift is 30 thousand rubles (at the rate of two workers per shift). The technological cycle of production of one product from liquid stone is not more than four hours. Thus, up to five countertops with a total area of ​​6 square meters can be produced per shift. meters.

Sysoeva Lilia

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