United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Construction
Transport
Construction
Transport

Hygiene

Hygiene is about the total environment, from floor to ceiling. At Altro, we invented safety flooring and hygienic wall cladding to meet the hygiene needs of your business. We have designed a fully integrated system to make cleaning and maintenance easier for you. The technologies we use and the properties of our products meet the strictest requirements for hygiene. Our system features surfaces that are watertight and fully sealed around fixtures and fittings.

The sort of detailing that bacteria and micro-organisms just hate! This system means you can rely on us to help you introduce and maintain the strictest levels of hygiene and infection control for the lifetime of the products. It means you will enjoy the long-lasting hygiene performance of our products, which won't let you down.

It's fair to say our systems are pretty exceptional in the levels of hygiene they offer. In this section we take a look at how they do this, taking into consideration:

  • how the systems are designed and installed
  • what materials they're made of
  • how to maintain and look after them

Integrated hygienic systems

Here at Altro, we were the first company to innovate a complete system of compatible hygienic wall cladding and floors. It's an integrated system, which means it fits together perfectly to provide a hygienic, watertight surface. This doesn't just offer the best possible protection against bacteria and vermin; it makes cleaning easy too.

Altro resilient flooring for kitchens and hygienic environments and Altro hygienic wall cladding are Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approved, and are safe for food and medical environments, providing the hygiene and protection needed.

A complete system

Our entire compatible system of walls, doors and floors is designed to provide a completely sealed environment from floor to ceiling.

Altro hygienic wall cladding, doorsets, and floors have been engineered to work together: the joined surfaces stay that way – joined. This gives you peace of mind the surfaces will stay hygienically sealed.

Consistent quality

Altro products are always made from finest materials, which are consistent in grade and colour across every sheet, batch, joint and trim to provide uniform high performance and ensuring compatibility between Altro floors, walls, doorsets and ceilings.

Easy to keep clean

Used together, Altro hygienic wall cladding and Altro floors provide a robust, hardwearing surface that resists stains, odours and chemicals. PVC is non-porous and non-shedding – nothing gets in and nothing gets out. PVC has a very high impact resistance, preventing damage that can trap bacteria compared to traditional surfaces.

Detailing

Effective detailing

We know the devil’s in the details. That’s why our wall cladding and floors have been constructed to maintain their integrity and meet the strictest hygiene standards. Our complete system is designed to provide a perfect fit, with no gaps or rough edges around joints and details. As there are no openings where dirt can be trapped or bacteria and vermin can breed, maintaining excellent hygiene becomes a whole lot easier.

A fully sealed system

Altro hygienic wall cladding is a fully-bonded system with effectively sealed edges, abutments and jointing systems. It can even be sealed around pipes, ventilation outlets, light switches, plug sockets and other fixtures and fittings.

Our floors are also fully sealed. When joined together with Altro hygienic wall cladding, they form a watertight covering - from floor to ceiling.

Thermoforming

Because Altro hygienic wall cladding is thermoformed around internal and external corners and window sills on-site when it's installed, it forms an uninterrupted surface that's resistant to impact and damage. There's no need for unsightly corner trims which can form potential dirt traps that are difficult to access and clean.

Joint forces

Joints and junctions are a key part of system integrity. There are two really popular ways of creating junctions between your hygienic wall cladding and floors. One is the overlap method, where the hygienic wall cladding overlaps the floor and the junction is sealed with mastic. The other is the transition strip method, which uses a transition trim to seal the junction between floor and wall. They can be hidden transitions, which still have an overlap, or a single or two-part trim, which closes the gap but is visible.

When you install wall cladding, smooth, secure joints make cleaning easier and help stop dirt, moisture, bacteria or vermin from moving in. Altro wall cladding can be secured using one of four different types of joint:

  1. Welded: the most hygienic joint, it's flush to the surface, and the only one suitable for clean rooms and operating theatres. It's also suitable for general hospital use and kitchens.
  2. Single-part: used for safety reasons, it's ideal for secure units as it can't be pulled off.
  3. Two-part: the quickest and easiest joint to fit, it's aesthetically pleasing and forgiving on an uneven surface. Often used in kitchens, it can be used almost anywhere except specialist clean areas, where a welded joint is recommended.
  4. Altro Whiterock FlexiJoint: a slim, good-looking joint unique to Altro and available in pre-cut lengths. It can be used nearly everywhere apart from specialist clean areas, where a welded joint is recommended.

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

Why Altro wall cladding is so hygienic

Altro hygienic 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. So it's the perfect solution in areas where hygiene is paramount.

  • Impermeable
    Altro hygienic 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 that were carried out by the Food Hygiene Department of Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Technology Ltd. (CCFRA), which proved that it's 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 hygienic 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 hygienic wall cladding is warm water and standard cleaning agents

Why Altro PVC floors are so hygienic

Altro PVC floors are so hygienic because they are resistant to impact damage and point loading. And Altro PVC floors are 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.

Why Altro resin floors are so hygienic

Altro epoxy and polyurethane resin floors provide an impermeable, seamless surface. Like PVC, resin is hardwearing and resists damage, meaning it will stay easy to clean for its lifetime.

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.

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 too; together they provide a watertight, airtight covering with no space for bacteria or vermin to hide.

Advantages of Altro products over alternatives

Why Altro products are better than the alternatives

Ceramic tiles

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 or resin.

  • 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.

    Altro Stronghold 30 and Altro Whiterock are so durable they can even be steam cleaned and power washed, which can wear away and damage tile grouting.

  • 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 / de-bond 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 create 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. Altro Whiterock stays strong and reliable.

    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 floor 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 by the NHS 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.

"Carpets should not be used in clinical areas. This includes all areas where frequent spillage is anticipated. Spillage can occur in all clinical areas, corridors and entrances. Aesthetic considerations and noise reduction are most often cited as the reason for using carpets; yet in areas of frequent spillage or heavy traffic, they can quickly become unsightly. Smell and staining have been responsible for the removal of carpets in many clinical areas."
Department of Health, Health Building Note 00-09: Infection control in the built environment

Altro PVC and resin 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

HACCP 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 for kitchens and hygienic environments, 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 kitchens 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 food safe, product certification from HACCP International. In meeting the scheme’s requirements, they have expert, and third party confirmation, of the products’ suitability for use within food processing facilities that are governed by the world’s highest food safety standards. Both the flooring and walling products from Altro offer a seamless and impervious solution which means that there is nowhere for bacteria to hide, as well as being easy to clean. These are both vitally important issues in the food industry."

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 floors 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

Maintaining safety and hygiene

Our integrated floors, hygienic walls and doorsets perform exceptionally. And they'll carry on doing so for the lifetime of the installation if they're maintained and cleaned properly. Find out how…

Best practice within safe and hygienic environments

Cleaning for safety

Correct and thorough cleaning is an essential part of floor maintenance to ensure your safety flooring is kept safe and clean throughout its life. Providing a clean and hygienic environment is one thing, but effective cleaning also has a vital role to play in ensuring your safety floor continues to perform to the expected standards.

The surface profile of a safety floor ensures that foot and floor connect even when surface contaminants are present. Kept clean, the surface aggregates are of sufficient size and number to break through the contaminants, thereby reducing the risk of a slip to one in a million.

If incorrect cleaning procedures are followed, a hazardous level of dirt and contaminant build-up can accumulate on the surface of the floor, potentially increasing the risk of a slip to as high as one in two.

Cleaning for hygiene

Our hygienic wall cladding, doorsets, safety flooring and resin flooring are easy to clean, with an impermeable surface and no grouted joints that could trap bacteria. But, just because the cleaning is easy, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be frequent! As with all surfaces, regular cleaning is the best way to maintain hygiene.

A regular cleaning regime using the right equipment and cleaning solutions is vital to maintain hygiene levels required.

Cleaning for durability and longevity

Regular cleaning removes any potentially damaging substances from Altro hygienic wall cladding and Altro flooring, which then means they can perform effectively.

Cleaning

Altro products are often used in environments where high standards of cleanliness are very important, but hard to maintain due to constant use. So we designed our ranges to meet hygiene specifications while being as easy to clean as possible.

We’ve developed some top tips to help you establish your own cleaning regime, or to enable you to offer guidance to your customers, keeping their flooring as safe and attractive as the day you laid it.

We also have step-by-step guides to mechanical, manual and steam cleaning, available to download..

Consideration in healthcare, food preparation and transport

Healthcare environments

Healthcare environments have complex cleaning requirements: cleaning standards are high, budgets are tight, and most healthcare organisations are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Cleaning has to be done around staff and patients, and cleaners are under pressure to clean thoroughly but quickly. Hazardous spillages are common and the control of infection must be kept in mind at all times. Floors and walls need to survive aggressive cleaning and regular disinfecting.

We designed Altro flooring, hygienic wall cladding and doorset systems to withstand these tough cleaning regimes –and because they're resistant to damage and chemicals, they're ideal for healthcare environments.

Food preparation environments and HACCP compliance

In areas where food is prepared, hazards include microbiological contamination, which can be transmitted through poorly maintained fittings. To maintain good hygiene, it's important to clean regularly and mop spills immediately.

Worldwide HACCP regulations state that wall and floor surfaces in food preparation areas need to meet specific requirements for hygiene and ease of cleaning. Altro are the only manufacturer who offers a floor, wall and door solution that is HACCP approved, which means they are food safe. With Altro, you can have a complete sealed system that meets the highest level of hygienic requirements, from floor to ceiling. Installing HACCP-approved products not only gives you peace of mind, it can also save time by helping keep inspections to a minimum.

Public transport

Trains and buses face a number of cleaning difficulties like stains from food, drink or bodily fluids; salt (from road gritting); grease and tar being trodden into the interiors; and stuck-on chewing gum. So it's important to clean frequently, and that complicated or difficult to reach areas are tackled head-on.

To make cleaning as easy as possible and improve hygiene, Altro safety flooring provides a robust, hardwearing surface that resists most stains, odours and chemicals. And, crucially for public transport, our safety flooring also has a very high resistance to impact, so there's little chance of damage that can trap dirt and bacteria.

Cleaning best practice

Cleaning up

Our floor and hygienic wall cladding systems are highly effective, and it's important to keep them that way through proper cleaning. The key elements of successful cleaning are:

  • single out the soil
  • use the right equipment
  • choose the right detergent
  • follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and give the detergent time to work
  • use friction to loosen dirt
  • rinse thoroughly to remove dirty water and cleaning agent

Cleaning is much easier and more effective if you identify the type of soil on the floor and choose the right equipment and detergent to get rid of it.

It’s also important to dilute detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Not enough detergent means a less effective clean. Too much detergent can leave a film on the floor that reduces slip-resistance and attracts contaminants, encouraging bacteria growth. It is also a common cause of staining/discolouration and problems associated with chemical damage such as shrinkage.

Tips for successful maintenance of Altro hygienic wall cladding
  1. Develop a regular cleaning programme that's suitable for the usage and traffic of the area.
  2. Only use recommended cleaning liquids at the correct concentration, and don't mix cleaning chemicals together.
  3. Remove scuff marks and heavy soiling more regularly than the maintenance programme, eg daily.
  4. Never use abrasive pads or cleaners.
  5. Hot water lances can cause damage – use with care and never closer than 60cm, or above maximum temperature recommendations.
Tips for successful maintenance of Altro PVC floors
  1. Develop a regular cleaning programme that's suitable for the usage and traffic of the area.
  2. Use the correct dosage of recommended cleaning chemicals, and don't mix cleaning liquids.
  3. Always double check the suitability of cleaning agents for use on PVC floors, and don't use cleaner containing pine oil.
  4. Remove scuff marks regularly (to remove any rubber heel marks by abrasion, use the correct machine pad, or rub by hand using scouring powder).
  5. For areas that need renovating due to neglect or heavy soiling, contact Altro technical services to discuss.
Materials that stain PVC floors include:
  • Asphalt and bitumen materials
  • Cardboard/hardboard (wet)
  • Transfer of some fire treatments and maintenance materials used on carpets
  • Dyes from printed literature or packaging
  • Rubber-backed carpets and rubber mats
  • Rubber furniture rests and trolley wheels
  • Shoe soles not made from non-staining materials
  • Heat degradation
  • Some chemicals used in cleaners e.g. pine oil
  • Poster paints and powder paints

Please contact us for more information if you are concerned about any of the above. Check out our latest cleaning guides.