It is vital that when you are either refurbishing your kitchen or installing a new one that your food production and washing areas have the correct wall and floor finishes. Tony Galvin, partner of A&E Partnership and chairman of the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) gives his advice.
Walls: In all food storage, preparation, production and washing up areas either a foodsafe, chemical resistant, PVCu wall cladding or large ceramic wall tile is recommended. Using a large tile reduces grout lines and the inherent maintenance issues associated with repairing. The grout should be epoxy based to provide moisture resistance and flexibility under expansion and contraction.
If using PVCu, attention should be made where cooking equipment abuts or aligns walls. In these cases the wall should be clad in stainless steel from the ceiling to the floor, as the PVCu, if exposed to high temperature will discolour, become brittle or even melt.
Vulnerable, exposed external corners of walls or columns will require stainless steel corner-guard protection against damage.
Floors: In all food storage, preparation, production and washing up areas either a quarry tiled or a slip resistant sheet vinyl floor finish is recommended.
If using sheet vinyl the material should be no thinner than 3mm to withstand the impact caused from dropping utensils and heavy foot traffic. It should also be remembered that some utensils when dropped maybe hot and in certain cases if the vinyl is exposed to extreme temperatures for a prolonged length of time scorching may occur.
All the seams should be fully welded and when fitted, the joints should not be placed in vulnerable positions where they could become weak. Where abutting walls the sheet should be coved and fitted with a former approved by both the floor and wall finish manufacturer.