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Hygienic materials

Hygienic materials

We invented hygienic wall cladding systems in 1982 – offering cleanliness, design, quality of finish and aesthetics.

Hygiene is a major consideration when selecting products in a number of industries. Environmental Health Practitioners prefer a seamless wall surface within kitchens and appreciate the hygiene benefits of wall cladding. Infection control within NHS Trusts will no longer allow ceramic tiles to be used, due to risk of bacteria growth/infection. Numerous companies and county councils specify wall cladding as standard.

It’s our pioneering research and material development that has made our systems so effective. But we’re not a company to rest on our own laurels. We continue to research and innovate to find the best products and methods for demanding environments.

Find out more about what makes our materials unique, and why they perform so much better than other industry options.

Materials

Altro products are used where hygiene is importantWhy Altro wall cladding is so hygienic

Altro wall cladding is specifically designed to meet today's hygiene regulations: it's durable, impervious and impact resistant, and has smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces. It's the perfect solution in areas where hygiene is paramount.

  • Impermeable
    Altro wall cladding has an impervious surface that’s highly resistant to chemicals, stains and odours. It’s a fully-sealed, watertight system, with nowhere for bacteria to hide and grow. This was shown in tests conducted by the Food Hygiene Department of Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Technology Ltd. (CCFRA), which proved that Altro Whiterock is impervious to water and compliant with the European Directive on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs
  • Hardwearing and robust
    Surface damage like cracks and dents can trap dirt, moisture and bacteria, making cleaning more difficult. This isn't a problem with Altro wall cladding, as it has extremely high impact resistance. Durability test results showed that impacts that would damage ceramic tiles barely left a scratch on our tough surfaces. And the same is true for the wall cladding's thermoformed corners – an area where ceramic tiles are especially vulnerable
  • Easy to clean
    With its uninterrupted surface, smooth joints and thermoformed corners and angles, all you need to clean Altro wall cladding is warm water and standard cleaning agents. Simple.

Why Altro PVC flooring is so hygienic

Altro PVC floors are so hygienic because they are resistant to impact damage and point loading. Altro PVC floors are also watertight and resistant to most chemicals, staining and odours, which makes them even easier to keep clean.

  • Altro Easyclean technology
    Our exclusive Altro Easyclean technology can be found in Altro resilient floors. It makes our floors more hygienic and cleanable.

Top quality, top hygiene

All Altro products are manufactured from the finest raw materials, with stringent quality control measures that guarantee high standards and consistency across all of our ranges. This commitment to quality means that our products carry on delivering the same performance and hygienic benefits as the day they were installed.

Altro specialist hygienic materials

Water resistance

We developed Altro Aquarius to provide safety in wet areas. It was developed for lasting performance in wet and dry, shoes or barefoot. Achieving a pendulum test value of PTV ≥50 (Slider 96) and Class B to DIN51097 for barefoot use, Altro Aquarius provides optimum lifetime sustained slip-resistance in wet and dry environments. It combines enhanced safety features with all the hygiene benefits of Altro flooring.

Combining Altro Aquarius flooring and Altro Whiterock wall cladding gives a complete wall cladding and flooring solution for wet environments like bathrooms, changing rooms and shower rooms, where cleanability, hygiene, waterproof sealing and safety are more important than ever.

Oil and grease resistance

Altro Stronghold 30 safety flooring was designed for places where there are often wet or oily spills, like busy kitchens. Resistance to oil, grease and water means Altro Stronghold 30 stays durable, safe and easy to clean.

Altro Whiterock works well with Altro Stronghold 30 too; together they provide a watertight, airtight covering with no space for bacteria or vermin to hide.

Advantages of Altro products over alternatives

Altro Whiterock is both durable and hygienicWhy Altro products are better than the alternatives

Ceramic tiled floors and walls are often found in areas like kitchens and bathrooms. But tiles aren't always the most practical or hygienic choice compared to PVC.

Ceramic tiles

  • Grout issues
    Grout lines are particularly vulnerable to damage, even epoxy grout is susceptible. Ceramic grout joints wear away from cleaning equipment and there will be a need for re-grouting in the future. Not only does this look unsightly, but it creates a place for bacteria to grow.

    There’s no grout involved with our products and the finish leaves dirt and bacteria nowhere to hide. When up to 20% of a tiled surface is grout, there are real risks to health and safety.
  • Damage risk
    In busy places like kitchens, knocks to walls from trolleys, pots and pans are common, and so are impacts to floors from dropped items. When ceramics are damaged, dirt and contaminated liquids can penetrate. This not only leaves unsightly stains but creates a breeding ground for bacterial growth.

    Altro Stronghold 30 is resilient so it is less likely to crack / disbond due to subfloor movement or impact from dropped goods. At 3mm thick, it provides extra comfort and durability in hard working areas.

    Altro Whiterock has a far higher impact resistance than ceramics, and does not rely on a glazed surface for its water or stain resistance. When it comes to corners in particular, tiles are very vulnerable to damage. Altro Whiterock can be thermoformed to create a seamless surface around corners and joints.

    The Altro Whiterock wall cladding system has an extremely high impact resistance according to BS EN438-2-1991 Drop Ball Test. Impacts that would leave ceramic faces vulnerable to water ingress barely leave a scratch on this tough surface. The same is true for the cladding’s thermoformed corners – an area where ceramic tiles are particularly vulnerable. Altro Whiterock also has an excellent Fire Rating: Altro Whiterock White and Altro Whiterock Satins have been assessed to EN13501-1 and obtain a Euro-classification of -s3-d0.

    Combining Altro Whiterock with Altro PVC floors creates a fully integrated system that fits together perfectly to provide a hygienic, watertight solution. No gaps or rough edges, just a smooth, uninterrupted surface – even around plug sockets, light switches, drains and corners.

    We're so confident in the longevity of our wall cladding and flooring, that we offer generous, industry-leading guarantees.
  • Installation method
    Tile manufacturers and food regulations specify the use of water-resistant adhesives and epoxy grouts for wet areas, but it's usually hard to tell whether they've been used or not until the damage has been done.
    Altro wall cladding and Altro PVC floors can be completely bonded to the substrate with a full layer of adhesive. Altro resins are also fully bonded to the substrate, making sure that all Altro flooring and wall cladding products will be secure for the life of the installation.

Carpet

Carpets create a number of hygiene challenges. They act as a reservoir for dust, containing hair and skin cells, debris, dirt and insects. Significantly, they have been banned in some European countries in clinical areas. The fibres can trap dirt and absorb liquids, making stains and odours difficult to shift, and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

Altro PVC floors don’t suffer from any of these problems. Watertight and impermeable, they resist most chemicals, dirt, staining and smells, providing a solid surface that can be regularly wet-cleaned. Without compromising the surface or junctions.

Wood

  • Joint issues
    Wooden floors have lots of joints which can trap dirt and – unless every single one is correctly sealed – can form weak points where water can seep in. And this can damage the substrate and the building structure.
    Altro floors have a minimal number of fully-sealed joints, creating a waterproof seal and an uninterrupted surface that's easier to clean
  • Damage risk
    Soft wood can become marked or damaged from trolley wheels, high heels and dropped objects. Dents and scratches can trap dirt and make cleaning harder, and deep scratches can even cut through the floor's wax or varnish, exposing the wood underneath and leaving it unprotected
    Altro floors are highly durable and resistant to impact, so they stay easy to clean for the lifetime of the installation
  • Maintenance issues
    Wood needs to be varnished or waxed, and if this finish deteriorates over time, the wood can absorb water or become stained and difficult to clean. And depending on how the wood has been treated, it may not be chemical resistant, which means not all cleaning agents are appropriate.
    Altro floors are fully waterproof and resistant to most chemicals. They don’t need any special maintenance to keep them clean and damage-free, just regular cleaning with warm water and appropriate cleaning agents will keep them working hard for you.

Linoleum and rubber

Linoleum and rubber need to be prepared and protected through a sealing process, and the sealed top layer occasionally has to be stripped and reapplied. If the sealed layer becomes damaged, or isn't reapplied often enough, the linoleum and rubber floors can trap dirt or absorb liquids.As Altro PVC floors are tough, impermeable and water resistant, and they don’t need any special maintenance. They are durable and hygienic from start to finish.

Materials that meet hygiene regulations

Altro have a range of HACCP certified productsHACCP food and drink applications

We've been developing and testing Altro Whiterock walling for over 30 years to guarantee top performance. It's certified to British and European standards and is also HACCP approved, as are Altro resilient floors (certificate number PE-615-ALT-RG-02 for flooring, PE-616-ALT-RG-02 for wall cladding), which means they're safe for contact with food.

HACCP is an international system for food safety management. It is a legal requirement in Europe under EC Regulation 852/2004. HACCP requires a risk assessment for every food preparation area identifying “critical points” where food safety hazards could arise. Hazards include:

  • contamination by staff or poorly maintained fittings or equipment
  • chemical, physical or allergenic risks, caused by ingredients, handling, equipment or fittings, including floors and walls. You can reduce hazard risk and keep inspections to a minimum by selecting Altro resilient floors for kitchen and hygienic environments, and hygienic wall cladding, which are all approved by HACCP International.

"Altro products are one of the few worldwide flooring and walling products to have achieved HACCP International certification for non-food services and supplies, which means that they have been assessed by a third party and found to be satisfactory and hygienic for use in a food environment. Both the flooring and walling products from Altro offer the seamless and impervious solution which means that there is nowhere for bacteria to hide, as well as being easy to clean, both important issues in the food industry."

Richard Mallett - EUROPEAN DIRECTOR OF HACCP INTERNATIONAL

NHS regulations – healthcare applications

Installing Altro Whiterock helps meet these NHS requirements:

  • NHS England guidelines for walls
    "3.119. Smooth, cleanable impervious surfaces are recommended in clinical areas. Design should ensure that surfaces are easily accessed, will not be physically affected by detergents and disinfectants, and will dry quickly. Additional protection to the walls should be considered to guard against gouging/impacts with bedheads and trolleys. Wall surfaces should be maintained so that they are free from fissures and crevices."
  • NHS England guidelines for doors
    "3.125. Doors should be cleanable; that is, smooth, non-porous and fluid-resistant, especially where contamination with blood or body fluid is a possibility.
    3.126. Doors should have smooth handles that can be easily cleaned and dried. Additional protection to the doors should be considered to guard against gouging/impacts with bedheads and trolleys."

And Altro safety flooring easily meets all these requirements:

  • NHS England guidelines for floors
    Flooring must be durable, capable of being cleaned to agreed hygiene standards, and able to prevent patients slipping – both in dry areas and those prone to becoming wet or contaminated.
  • Carpet is not to be used in clinical areas