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Alto Kitchens:
Use and Maintenance

Worktops - Countertops

Material Type

LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS
The laminate worktop is made by a panel of wood particles (E1) V100 covered with waterproof high-pressure laminate (HPL). The laminate is a very resistant material that provides, according to European standards EN 438, high quality standards related to scratch resistance, heat, stain, impact and abrasion.

MARBLE OR GRANITE COUNTERTOPS
These are very delicate due to their porosity (although granite is less porous) and are therefore more likely to be stained by any liquids spilt on the surface; marble is also particularly susceptible to attack from even weak acids contained, for example, in vinegar or lemon juice. The Manufacturer will supply a suitable pore-blocking treatment to encourage stain removal; this treatment should be applied once or twice a year for optimal surface protection.

MARBLE OR GRANITE AGGLOMERATE COUNTERTOPS
Made using an agglomerate of 95-96% natural marble or granite with a grading from 0 to 90 mm combined with 4-5% polyester resin; it shares all the features of marble or granite and therefore requires the same level of care; its main advantage is that it offers greater flexibility in terms of worktop shapes and, in the event of abrasion or chipping (caused by heavy objects falling onto the surface), it can be repaired using special kits.

SYNTHETIC COUNTERTOPS
The worktop is made using a sheet of variable thickness (from 6 mm to 20 mm) created by mixing 75-95% mineral powders (such as quartz, natural stone, etc.) with pigments (2-5%) and acrylic resins (8-25%), supported if necessary by a wooden panel (class E1) or synthetic panel (polystyrene, styrene, Eulithe®) of variable thickness; the edging may be made using the same material as the surface or constructed using profiles in other materials (aluminium, wooden edging, ABS, etc.).
This worktop, depending on its resin content, offers considerable advantages as it is solid, resistant to abrasion, can be repaired, does not react to chemical agents, is not porous and therefore does not absorb liquids. It is not always easy to recyle.

STRATIFIED LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS
Constructed using laminate with a 10 mm thick supporting resin layer, glued to a 38 mm thick wood particle board panel (class E1) which is water- and fire-resistant. Thanks to its mechanical characterstics, it is extremely resistant to abrasion and knocks, and is completely waterproof.

DUPONTTM CORIAN ® COUNTERTOPS
Corian ® is a solid, compact material which is composed of 1/3 acrylic resin
(polymethyl methacrylate; PMMA) and 2/3 natural minerals. The principal mineral is aluminium trihydrate, which is extracted from bauxite (used to make aluminium). Corian ® is easy to maintain and highly durable; it doesn't chip, it is ideal for everyday use and it can withstand almost all kinds of scratches, cuts and knocks. It is a non-porous and completely solid material, and it can be fitted with hidden joints, which make the surface 100% hygienic as certified by the American NSF and German LGA foundations.
NSF: NSF standards concern public health and have been variously recognized in numerous sectors and areas. The requirements specify approved drinking water treatments and materials for contact with potable water, approved objects used in food production and so on. The NSF has certified Corian ® as an appropriate material.
LGA: this certification applies to hospitals and any environment where hygiene is vitally important. Corian ® has been certified by the LGA as "hygienically tested" because it is non-porous.
It prevents the formation of fungi and bacteria and its hygienic status is also certified under the terms of the international DIN EN ISO 846 standard.
Corian ® is a non-toxic and inert material: when exposed to normal temperatures it does not release gases. DupontTM offers a product warranty and guarantees it will remain free of manufacturing faults for 10 years from the date of purchase.

EASY COUNTERTOPS
The "Easy" worktop product line offers worktops made of silicon powders, resins and pigments, like the most well-known quartz-based materials. Consequently, Easy worktops are highly resistant to abrasions, heat and attack from chemical agents and do not absorb liquids. The worktop can be easily cleaned since it is non-porous, waterproof and stain-resistant, and is therefore extremely hygienic. The technology used in the production of this worktop makes the material eco-compatible as it releases negligible amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As with quartz, the worktop surface layer may show some different colored micro-particles due to a mix almost completely composed of natural quartz; nonetheless, this does not mean that the product does not comply with high quality standards.

LAMINAM ® PORCELAIN STONEWARE COUNTERTOPS
Made of porcelain stoneware, the layers of the Laminam ® worktop are developed using innovative technology which compacts the material and increases precision. Natural materials such as quarried clay, granite rocks and ceramic pigments are wet worked and then hybrid-cooked in an electric oven at temperatures above 1220 °C to guarantee solidity. With perfectly linear square-edging, the porcelain stoneware Laminam ® worktop is the biggest and slimmest ceramic surface ever produced. It is the only flexible and completely flat product which packs in 3 m2 of surface into 3 mm of thickness and can be easily worked and handled. Further cutting or trimming guarantee extremely precise dimensions.
The worktop consists of a 3 mm thick generic base layer bonded to a support structure which in turn consists of a 6 mm cement layer (with two-part epoxy putty) and an approximately 30 mm plywood panel (with elastic polyurethane putty). This has the same shape as the surface layer, which increases the strength and resistance of the worktop. For worktops which have a height other than 40 mm (i.e. 60 mm or 120 mm), a plywood frame is added to the support structure. This frame varies depending on the worktop height. The layers do not release any substances into the atmosphere and can be easily worked and recycled back into other production cycles. Laminam ® porcelain stoneware is produced using technology which is sustainable and completely environmentally-friendly, and has been designed to limit production waste and preserve resources. Furthermore, the use of hybrid ovens, which link both gas and electric systems, means that CO2 emissions are being steadily and consistently cut.

LUBE LAB COUNTERTOPS
These are composed of a selected quartz base (over 90%), resin and colored pigments, made via a highly technological patented process. The surface of the finished worktop may show some different colored micro-particles, but this does not compromise functional or aesthetic quality, nor compliance with high quality standards. It is highly abrasion-resistant and shatterproof; negligible quantities of liquids can penetrate it (0.02%); it is long-lasting and it can withstand contact with chemical agents (although some highly-concentrated substances may cause moderate adverse effects).

LG HI-MACS COUNTERTOPS
HI-MACS ® Natural Acrylic Stone is a mix of minerals and natural pigments (75%) set in an acrylic matrix. Thanks to its non-porous structure and the absence of visible joins, the surface is completely hygienic, as certified by the American NSF and German LGA foundations. These bodies have attested that these worktops comply with their standards (see the DupontTM Corian ® section for a more detailed explanation). Given its characteristics, the LG worktop showed excellent results from drop ball tests, from tests of its resistance to damage from the majority of chemical agents and also resistance to UV rays (its color does not fade), water, dirt and humidity.
In addition, the natural acrylic stone is non-toxic and will not produce surfactants, not even after long periods of exposure. Thanks to its natural translucence it is also used for the purposes of illumination (shop and display signs). The solidity of the worktop does not vary in relation to the thickness of the material and the hidden joints give the impression that it is one complete block, even in situations where the worktop layout is particularly complex.

OKITE COUNTERTOPS
These are made of a selected quartz base (over 90%), resin and colored pigments, made via a highly technological patented process. The surface of the layer or the finished worktop may show some different colored micro-particles, but this does not compromise functional or aesthetic quality, nor compliance with high quality standards. Furthermore, the material is non-porous, waterproof and is resistant to the following: stains, acids and solvents, wear and tear and contact with chemical agents, abrasions and scratches. It is also extremely hygienic, certified by the American NSF (National Science Foundation) as suitable for use in food preparation areas.

QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS
Quartz worktops are made from a mix of 95% natural quartz and 5% resins and oxide pigments. This composition guarantees a high performance worktop: it is resistant to abrasions, attack from chemical agents, heat and does not absorb liquids. The material is non-porous, waterproof and is resistant to stains, acids and solvents. It is easy-clean and therefore extremely hygienic, as certified by the American NSF.
The surface of the layer or the finished worktop may show some different colored micro-particles, but this does not compromise functional or aesthetic quality, nor compliance with high quality standards.
QUARTZ PORPHYRY: this worktop is made from a type of quartz whose distinctive color is that of natural porphyritic crystals. All of the characteristics of quartz are preserved and the surface finish has a polished stone effect which gives the natural stone worktop a particularly soft and refined touch. The quartz porphyry worktops are available in three colors (red, brown and grey) and 2 cm layers. This means that only 2, 4 and 6 cm worktops can be manufactured, with a "P" edging profile (sharp).

SAMSUNG STARON ® COUNTERTOPS
Staron ® is a composite material, which is composed of 2/3 aluminium hydroxide and 1/3 high quality polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) along with small quantities of coloring pigments. It belongs to the "Solid Surfaces" category, which means it can be summarized as a perfect blend of the properties of its individual components, i.e. durability with thermo-formability. Staron ® will not discolor if exposed to direct sunlight, it is fixed with hidden joints and sinks can be fitted flush to Staron ® worktops. It retains its shape perfectly, it is long-lasting and is more than suitable for everyday use. Staron ® is heat-resistant (only for a few seconds however if exposed to direct heat) and sinks will not suffer thermal shocks and crack even after 1000 hot-cold cycles. Thanks to its solid, non-porous surface, dirt and bacteria cannot penetrate the worktop in any way; this means that it can be considered extremely safe and hygienic, as certified by the American NSF and German LGA foundations. Since Staron ® is made of an odorless and flavorless material (and therefore biologically neutral), it is also suitable for contact with food.

STONEWAVE ® COUNTERTOPS
Stonewave ® worktops are the result of a combination of two elements: an aluminium honeycomb panel as the structural basis of the worktop, and 1 cm thick stone slabs which cover the exposed areas of the structure. The result is a unique product in terms of aesthetics, resistance and weight.
The velvety-smooth surface may contain minor imperfections here and there, but this is part of its charm: after all, these worktops are entirely hand-made and are shining examples of craftsmanship.

STAINLESS STEEL COUNTERTOPS
This consists of a wood particle board panel (class E1) coated with 1 mm thick AISI 304 2B sheet steel and finished with scotch brite; it is completely stain-resistant and offers particularly high levels of food hygiene.
However, sharp objects or abrasive products should not be used as they may damage the surface, which offers little scratch resistance. A great advantage of this product is that kitchen sinks and hobs can be welded directly to it, thus, creating continuity and avoiding joints in which dirt may collect.

TILED COUNTERTOPS
Made using glazed ceramic, porcelain stoneware or natural stone tiles applied to a water-repellent plywood panel and grouted with a waterproof product; the ceramic surface is stain-resistant, but the glaze may be chipped if struck with a sharp object.
STONEWARE = Ceramic made using a white or colored vitrified paste, without a glaze. Clinker, earthenware and extra-fine stoneware for domestic use also belong to this category.
PORCELAIN STONEWARE = Tiles made using pressing techniques, with a very low overall porosity, consisting of a light paste, which can be uniformly colored or shaded using a mixture of powders and granules of various colors and sizes. The composition of the paste is very similar to that of light-colored stoneware, but only raw materials with a very low ferrous oxide percentage are selected. The paste is pressed with specific loads 50% greater than those used for glazed light stoneware. Baking takes less than an hour at a temperature of approximately 1200?. The tiles may also be polished before or after they are laid, in order to enhance their aesthetic features. This material is resistant to frost, acids and alkali, with extremely low porosity and high mechanical resistance.

GLASS COUNTERTOPS
This consists of a sheet of 12 mm thick extra-light glass which has been colored and powertech tempered for greater resistance to knocks; it is glued to a water-repellent wooden support (wood particle board panel, class E1 V70) of variable thickness, with an anodized aluminium profile applied along the edge. This worktop is waterproof, stain-resistant and hygienic.

Cleaning Recommendations

Laminate, synthetic and tiled worktops should be cleaned using a sponge soaked in normal liquid detergent, and very abrasive products should be avoided. Steam cleaners should never be used on tiled worktops; we recommend using anti-limescale gel products instead.
Stainless steel worktops tend to be marked by the limescale in water, but special products are now available which remove these marks easily. Do not use detergents containing chlorine or its compounds, and do not use abrasive products (creams, powder detergents, metal scourers, etc.) as steel tends to be scratched easily.
Finally, only use soap and water to clean marble, granite and agglomerate surfaces; do not use liquid detergents. Any dirt or spillages should be removed immediately, because after a while the various substances may seep into the pores of the material; however, if any rings or stains form, simply rub with a paste of bicarbonate and water, leave for a few minutes and then wipe with a damp washing-up sponge. It is also very important to repeat the waterproofing treatment at regular intervals, using suitable products.