Work surface care and maintenance

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Laminate Work Surfaces
The high-pressure decorative laminate surface of your worktop is water resistant, but the adhesive or core material may not be. Joints, cut-outs, all edges and the underside of the worktop (particularly in the region of the inset sinks and washing machines) should be adequately sealed with a suitable mastic solution. Worktops should be wiped and dried regularly in order that moisture should not be allowed to remain on the surface where it may seep into any joints, edges or cut-outs.

Work Surface Care

Heat
Although a laminate work surface is heat resistant up to boiling point, we recommend the following:
Always place a stand, board or some other form of protection between the worktop and hot pans to avoid marking the top or detaching the laminate. Do not place electric irons directly onto the surface. Always use a suitable protection against direct contact with heat. Burning cigarettes should never be left on the work surface.
 
Scratching
Laminated worktops are extremely durable when subjected to the normal wear and tear associated with everyday life. Sharp cutlery and kitchen utensils can cause scratches, particularly by cutting or chopping directly onto the worktop. It is recommended that a protective mat or board is used.
 
Stains
The high-pressure decorative laminate surface of your worktop resists most household chemicals including alcohol and some cosmetics (but not nail polish remover).
However, some chemicals and strong dyes such as concentrated fruit juice or beetroot juice can cause damage or discolouration; these should be removed immediately and the surface thoroughly rinsed and dried.
 
Cleaning
The appearance of your worktop is easily maintained by regular cleaning with warm water and a mild detergent. More stubborn stains may be removed by the use of a non-abrasive cleaner. NEVER use abrasive cleaners such as scouring powders, oven cleaners, bleaches or wire wool pads. Spillages should be wiped off immediately includingunder the front edge.
 
Corner Joints
All corner joints are bonded with worktop joint sealant and bolted together from beneath. This proven method offers a long-term guarantee from water seepage and subsequent warping.
 
Please follow the following procedures:
Should any flooding occur over joints, wipe immediately.
Do not boil electric kettles, coffee machines or place irons over the joints – the long term effects of heat over the edges and joints can cause the laminate to soften, thus lifting the edge.
 
Sealing to walls
All gaps between wall and worktop must be sealed after tiling with a suitable silicone; tiling grout is not sufficient for the long term. This company does not recommend worktop backsplash extrusions. Tiling or upstands are advised above all worktop surfaces and should be carried out after installation of worktops.
 
Granite Work Surfaces
The term Granite is applied to almost all igneous rocks and whilst not strictly geologically correct, any very hard crystalline rock with a Quartz base would by tradition be called Granite. Granite comes in a wide range of colours and grain patterns and can be worked to achieve a variety of shapes and finishes. Because Granite is a natural material, each slab is different. Granite is hard wearing, scratch and heat resistant however, consideration should be given to the porous nature of some Granites in certain situations.

Routine Care

Routine care
Regularly clean all Granite surfaces with a damp cloth. A light neutral (PH7) detergent may be added. Rinse with clean warm water and dry with a leather or similar cloth. Dry-off surfaces to avoid dull patches appearing.
Avoid the use of cleaning solutions that contain bleach, abrasive cleaners or scouring pads. Use a cutting board when cutting food. Standard hot saucepans can be placed on your Granite worktops without fear of damage however, the use of pan bar features will aid prevention of warm grease/oil on the base of your pans staining your worktops.
 
Things to avoid
Care should be taken with oil-based products as these may stain if allowed to soak into the worktop. Worktops should not be brought into contact with strong acids or chemicals including paint stripper, oven cleaner, nail varnish remover or similar solutions.
 
Technistone/Quartz Work Surfaces
Technistone/Quartz is durable and resilient and is 99.9% solid and nearly impossible to stain. Residue on the surface appearing as stains is only topical and easily removed with a Scotch-Brite scrubber and any common household cleaner. It is heat resistant and under normal cooking instructions not affected. Extreme heat can affect the surface and requires the use of trivets for hot pots, pans etc and all electric countertop cooking devices.

Routine Care

Routine care
Clean the surface after each use with mild soap and water then wipe with a dry cloth.
Stubborn substances such as hard water spots, food colouring or dried food particles may accumulate on the surface and appear as stains, these are surface blemishes which can be removed gently with a white Scotch-Brite pad. Rinse the surface after use and wipe dry.
For tough blemishes such as permanent marker, use a white Scotch-Brite pad and acetone to remove the blemish and then rinse the area with soap and water.
 
Things to avoid
Prolonged exposure to excessive heat from pots, pans, skillets etc.
Use a cutting board when cutting food.
Products such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners, paint removers or strippers which contain methylene chloride or other chemicals with a high alkaline/PH level should be removed immediately with warm water and detergent cleaner.
 
Corian Work Surfaces
On installation, a Corian worktop will have an overall satin sheen finish. However, as you use it, Corian eventually acquires a smoother, more silken finish. To ensure that this lustre develops evenly follow the cleaning guidelines below.
 
Routine care
Although liquids cannot penetrate Corian, it is best to wipe up spills as they occur, using a damp microfibre cloth with a standard household cleaner. Always clean using a circular motion.
Once or twice a week remove all the fat and oil residues from the sink using a detergent or a hard surface cleaner. Use a spray with ¾ of household bleach and ¼ water to spray the sink and leave for a few hours or overnight. Exposure time should be limited to 16 hours. In the morning rinse the sink or clean with a damp cloth.
For stubborn stains, apply a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend over the stain. Using a damp microfibre cloth, clean using a circular motion. Rinse with a damp cloth.
 
Things to avoid
 Exposure to heat; always use a heat protection pad, trivet (with rubber feet) or protective sink mat for hot cookware. Never put hot pans, particularly cast iron, directly on a Corian worktop or in a Corian sink.
 
  •  Boiling water from Boiling Water Hot Taps may cause surface damage in Corian sinks. When using this type of tap a container should be used to collect the boiling water at all times.
 
  •  Pouring boiling liquids directly into sinks without turning on the cold tap may damage the Corian. Do not let pans overhang the hob as this can scorch any surrounding Corian.
 
  •  Never cut or chop on Corian, use a cutting board. Dark, heavily pigmented colours will show scratches, dust and ordinary wear and tear more readily than lighter colours.
 
  •  Any spillage of strong chemicals e.g. paint stripper, oven cleaners etc should be flushed promptly with plenty of soapy water to avoid damaging the worktop.
 
Solid Wood Work Surfaces
The solid timber worktop that you have selected is a natural, prestige quality product made to the highest standards of environmentally sound renewable sources.
The appeal of timber lies in its inherent warm textures and natural variety of grain pattern and colour. For ongoing care, oiling of the timber brings out and enhances its appearance, as well as protecting the wood surfaces from wear and tear.
The following guide explains how to use and look after your new timber worktop and explains how best to maintain the worktops for a lifetime of service. Please read the instructions thoroughly and follow the advice; the effort put in now will be more than repaid in the long term.

Solid Wood Care

Construction and appearance
Timber worktops are made from strips or staves of solid wood. These strips are cut, selected, graded and kiln dried to have a moisture content level suitable for domestic interior use, before they are glued and finger jointed into one panel. Full stave worktops are made from staves that go the length of the worktop, these are edge glued together to form the worktops total length and width, otherwise known as EGP.
There will be some pattern, colour and grain differences all over timber surfaces. This is a normal and valued characteristic of the appearance of wooden products.
Please note that fresh new timber surfaces will weather over time as they are exposed to light. Items left for a period of time in one place will mask the timber, which will then show as a lighter area. If this is a problem, items should be regularly moved from place to place to stop the shading from occurring, until the surfaces are evenly weathered.
 
Timber moisture content and cross-grain movement
Timber is a natural material that responds throughout its life to changes in humidity and moisture in its environment. It absorbs or gives up its own moisture until it is in equilibrium with its surroundings. When timber moisture content increases, the wood expands; when it dries the timber shrinks. This change, called ‘movement’, occurs across the grain only. A worktop will become a little wider and narrower respectively. It is a normal characteristic of all timber. In use it is important to avoid sudden large changes in environmental humidity and moisture since these put great stress on the mass of the timber in the top; the wood needs time to adjust to change. For example:
When the room heating is switched on seasonally, it should be turned up to a temperature gradually over a period of days. This will allow the timber to acclimatise properly.
Timber should be wiped down with a sparing amount of water (not liberal sploshes of soapy water) and water should never be left to stand on wooden surfaces.
 
Routine care
Here are a few guidelines that need to be observed if the timber worktops and their surfaces are to give a lifetime of good service.
  •  Always mop up spills of water and other liquids straight away. Do not allow liquids to stand on wooden work surfaces for any period of time (the finishing oil is water resistant, not water proof).
  •  Always use pan stands and trivets to protect the timber from hot, rough, wet, dirty pots and pans, direct contact from iron, steel or copper vessels can also stain the timber surfaces.
  • Always use cutting boards to chop and slice food. Do not cut directly onto the work surface.
  • Clean the tops with a sparing amount of warm water, a drop of washing up liquid and a well wrung out cloth. We do not recommend using multi-purpose cleaning products which contain chemicals as this may damage the worktops. Please also avoid the use of scouring pads. If a scouring pad is used, the worktop may need to be re-oiled afterwards.
  • It is important that timber surfaces are re-oiled at regular intervals to remain in the same condition as when installed. The time span between oiling is dependent on the degree of use and wear they receive. For example, a highly worked surface will need re-oiling more frequently than a showroom piece. Possibly once a week once installed, gradually working up to once a month. At the very least the timber work surfaces should be re-oiled every 3 months.
 
Surface care
The surfaces of the timber worktops have been finished with specifically formulated oil. The oil is formulated to be safe for the preparation of food and to enhance the wood colour and grain pattern; to provide a durable, protective surface over the natural timber structure, whilst being easy to look after and restore when the surface becomes worn.
When the top is newly oiled and the surface is in good condition, it will have a sheen to it. Splashes of water will form into properly defined droplets that stand up clearly. After a period of use the finish will become worn; the sheen will diminish and the surface become dull. Water will not form into droplets as readily but tend to spread out and wet the surfaces. This is a clear sign that the worktop needs re-oiling. In fact it is better to re-oil before the surfaces reach this condition.
The time taken for wear to occur depends on the amount of use the surfaces have had. In any one kitchen there will be both high and low wear and tear zones, the former needing more attention than the latter.

Surface Care

Applying worktop oil
The best time to re-oil is at the end of the day, when the freshly oiled surfaces can be left overnight without disturbance.
  • Tops must be clean and dry.
  • Apply with a lint free cloth, folded into a pad. Dispense the oil from a bowl or saucer onto the areas to be treated.
  • Apply the oil liberally at first, so that it stands and can soak in. Pay particular attention to, and work the oil in well into areas which have had repeated wettings in use e.g. edges and ends, around sink cut-outs, into drainer grooves, the water stop and the areas around the taps.
  • After 30 minutes, wipe off the surplus oil with a clean cloth and leave it to soak in and dry naturally overnight. Several thin coatings applied in this manner are far better than one liberal application.
  • Parched areas may need successive oiling like this to restore the surface finish and sheen.
  • If too much oil is applied, the worktop can become 'tacky'. This can be reversed by wiping over the affected area with a cloth dabbed in a little White Spirit.
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Re-smoothing the surface
From time to time the surface may become roughened as successive coats of oil are built upon low use areas. The build up can be removed by using a fine nylon abrasive pad and a little oil, worked lightly in the direction of the wood grain until the surface is smooth. Wipe clean with a dry cloth and apply a coat of fresh oil as above.
 
Repairs
Over time, even with the most careful use, the surfaces of the timber worktops are going to acquire some cuts, scrapes, chips and stains. The minor ones will become blended in under successive coats of the worktop oil, during normal maintenance.
 
More serious blemishes can be smoothed out and re-finished:
  • Make sure that the worktop is totally clean and dry.
  • Use 100 grit abrasive paper, then 150 grit paper and work in the direction of the grain only, with long firm strokes to gently sand the damage out.
  • Sanding removes the oil surface finish along with the darker, weathered top layer of wood to leave a lighter coloured, dished area.
 
Take care not to sand further than necessary. The worktops mature colour will start to come back when the oiling process is started (We recommend that worktops are given 3 coats of oil after sanding) and will continue to recover within a few months to blend with the overall weathered colour of the timber. Severe damage, judged to be too deep and too expensive to sand out as above, can be repaired in a variety of other ways. Talk to an experienced joiner or cabinet-maker about how they could repair the damage, by cutting it away in order to let in a fresh piece to restore the surfaces and edges.
 
Shakes
Wood is an organic product and the odd split or 'shake' is a natural byproduct of its structure. If this should happen, don’t panic please contact us on 01733 295561 so that we may carry out an inspection.
 
Cupping
The upper surfaces of the worktop, being the more exposed, usually reacts first to change in moisture. Extreme changes can cause it to go out of balance with the underside and cause the timber worktop to ‘cup’. If the upper surface is consistently wetter the top can rise in the middle. If the upper face is consistently drier than the underside, the top will ‘dish’. The top will recover its flat shape when the two surfaces come naturally into balance with each other. If the cupping persists, it is a sign that something is seriously wrong and needs to be rectified. Possible causes are:
  • The top surface being too wet.
  • The top has been installed over a heater.
  • Moisture is leaking from a pipe or built-under appliance.
  • The slotted fixing brackets and screws have not been fitted, or have failed.

 

If Premier Kitchens & Bedrooms has sourced a specialist work surface on your behalf please email customercare@premier-kitchens.co.uk for maintenance details.


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