How to Recognize Quality in Kitchen Cabinets The furniture industry produces little detailed information on the quality of kitchen cabinets, which means that consumers have a hard time understanding the differences. You cannot even find technical reports in furniture magazines. Nor do they publish quality comparisons between different products, the way car magazines publish buyer’s guides comparing models. And that’s a shame, because furniture reviews could easily use industry information that has been available for years. For example CATAS— the international furniture and wood products research center—can compare furniture through standardized tests without personal opinions getting in the way. At Valcucine, we hope that some publisher will hear our plea and come up with a sort of “Auto World” for the furniture industry. In the meantime, we’re trying to help fill the information gap by bringing you this booklet Everything you read here is the fruit of 25 years of straightforward customer relations. We have a special department for feedback—through questionnaires and direct conversations—from the people who actually use our kitchens. We are anxious learn all we can about their doubts, desires and difficulties. This manual was written to give you the advantage of all of Valcucine’s technical know-how. So that you can choose your next kitchen knowledgably and enjoyably, with as little hassle as possible. 1 Table of Contents 5 Certification The Logica System Equipped Back Channel Accessories in the Equipped Back Channel Ergonomics of Toekicks and Legs Logica System Outfitted Bases Ergonomics of Logica System Storage Bins Logica System Drawers Ergonomics of Wall Cabinet Doors Valcucine’s Patented Ala Wall Cabinet Ergonomics of Pantry Cabinets Ergonomics of Oven Cabinet Ergonomics of Corner Cabinets Ergonomics of Corner Base Cabinets Lighting Your Kitchen Proper Lighting of Your Work Area The Right Choices for Easy Cleaning Quality Standards Seals of Approval Manufacturer’s Declaration Environmental Standards and Certification Industry Labels Seals of Approval Awarded Valcucine Products 10 Warranties: A Way of Judging Quality Valcucine Warranties Quality: Tested and guaranteed 13 Planning Your Kitchen 46 Modular units or Continuous Counter tops? Toekicks, Legs or Suspended Units? How to Choose the Right Pieces How to Choose the Right Colors Going Beyond the Latest Fashion The Beauty of Hand Craftsmanship An Eye for Detail Skilled, Meticulous Assembly 22 Ergonomics? What’s That? Ergonomics: Kitchen Cabinets Made to Fit You Ergolabio: Adapting Your Kitchen to Your Height “Logica System”: The Valcucine Ergonomic System Counter top Heights: 76 cm to 100 cm Valcucine Cabinet Depths: 60 cm - 65 cm - 80 cm Advantages of Logica System: A Depth of 80 cm 2 The Materials Used Valcucine: The Whole Story on the Material We Use Materials Used to Build a Kitchen Cabinet Cabinets INteriors in Melamine Board Plywood Interiors Is All Plywood the Same? Other Things To Check In Cabinet Interiors Counter tops Laminated Counter Tops Sealing Against Seepage Protecting Counter Tops Water Valcucine Laminated Counter Tops Advantages of Ultra-Thick Laminated Counter Tops Stainless Steel Counter Tops Marble and Granite Counter Tops Characteristics of Marble and Granite Counter Tops Synthetic Counter Tops 86 Solid Wood Counter Tops Doors Door Facing Is All Door Facing the Same? Edged Versus Pre-glued Doors Laminate Multy-Layer Doors Wooden Multy-Layer Doors Mechanical Resistance of Thin Doors Framed Doors Quality in Framed Doors Lacquered Doors 92 Buying Ethical Products 101 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Replacing Renewable Raw Materials Bioforest: Four Environmental Projects Eco-Compatible Design Respecting Health: Controlling Toxic Gas Kitchens without Chipboard Water-Based Paint Appliances Vent Hoods Valcucine Ergonomic 80cm Deep Hoods Sinks Faucets 97 Important Thinghs to Remember Before You Buy 99 Kitchen Safety for Kids 106 Glossary You’ll find definitions of the underlined bold words in the glossary on page 106. 3 Wow! A new kitchen! Buying and installing a new kitchen is a big event. Not all of us have the expertise to judge the different models on the market. Catalogues with their pretty pictures and captivating texts do nothing to explain all of the products in detail. It is so easy to be swept away by enthusiasm over your new purchase. We are taken with the appeal of its design and the settings and arrangements in the showrooms. We should really be spending time studying the features and facts we need to know to make a rational, informed choice. So we won’t be disappointed later. It’s no fun to buy a new kitchen only to realize later that it doesn’t meet our needs. Valcucine is here to give you some useful advice and technical information, so that the next time you buy a kitchen, you really know what you’re doing. Don’t buy based upon love at first sight. Do compare with other models and other brands. 4 Certification One thing that helps you understand product value is the presence of national or international certification. Generally awarded after stringent testing, certification attests to product quality and safety. Certification is especially important for electrical appliances. Malfunctioning appliances are one of the major causes of death every year. How can I tell one kind of certification from another? Consumers today are confused by the wide variety of certification at hand. There is so much information available that confusion can set in. We end up making errors in judgment, instead of recognizing product quality. There are a bewildering number of new labels that make it hard to distinguish between quality standards for the manufacturing process, trade association seals of approval and company trademarks used for advertising. When we took an careful look at the matter, we found that the subject is very complicated. We will try to summarize it for you in the next few pages. Certification can be divided into different categories: 1. Standards of quality 2. Seals of approval 3. Company quality control /warranty 4. Trademarks 5. Environmental certification Take a close look at the real guarantees and certification promises. 5 Quality Standards The most important standards of quality are those belonging to the ISO9000 family: ISO9001, ISO9002, ISO9003, ISO9004 (VISION2000). What do they guarantee? They guarantee that the manufacturer follows a standardized production system and endeavors to improve them. Do quality standards guarantee that I’ll get a high quality product from a certified company? No. ISO9000 (VISION2000) certification guarantees product conformity with the “level of quality” that the company sets. But this can also be a low level of quality. For example: Company A has been producing hand-made solid wood furniture with high quality finishing for 50 years. Company B produces poorly made furniture in chipboard which is not water-resistant, has high formaldehyde emissions and is covered with wood- 6 patterned paper. The first is an old company whose workers know their jobs by heart and need no plans with specifications or tolerances; it doesn’t even have a filing system with the plans or a standardized system of communication between its offices. The second company’s production cycle is completely standardized, its offices only communicate with written messages and it has all the documentation with product designs and specifications. Even if Company A does produce excellent furniture, it still cannot obtain ISO9000 certification because its production process was never standardized according to specific procedures. Compare this to Company B which produces in paper-covered chipboard furniture, it can obtain ISO9000 certification because the production system follows all the production procedures required by ISO9000. ISO9000 standards only examine production system quality and not product quality. They guarantee that a product leaves the factory according to the specifications laid down but at any level of quality. Suppliers buying from them like these standards because they assure greater product reliability and consistency. The manufacturers like them because ISO9000 allows them to optimize their production system. They provide little or no guarantee for the final user. Who awards the certification? Certificates are issued by certification or registration bodies after inspection of the company. Is certification subject to ongoing control? Yes. The system calls for repeated inspection by certification bodies. Environmental Standards and Certification ISO14001 is the best known certification standard internationally for environmental management systems. ISO14001 What does ISO14001 guarantee? ISO14001 guarantees that the company: - respects all environmental requirements regarding sound, toxic discharge, dust, and water pollution; - has a controlled, registered waste disposal system; - is committed to reducing energy consumption and carries out projects with this goal; - is involved in environmental projects. Who issues ISO14001 certification? It is issued by independent certification bodies after inspection of the company. Is the company subject to planned controls? Yes. It is subject to control by the certification body. ECO-LABEL—This is the bestknown environmental label and was established by the European Commission. It is applied to products meeting strict ecological and performance criteria. What does it guarantee? It guarantees that throughout its life, the product has a low environmental impact and meets European standards. 7 Industry Labels Industry labels are created and promoted by industry associations, groups of manufacturers with common interests who join together to protect these interests and increase product visibility. Member manufacturers all contribute to expenditures in running the council and promoting the trademark. The companies also use the trademark in their advertising which increases its renown. But renown does not mean consumer guarantee. Remember to look into trademarks without being influenced by advertising. Read technical product cards carefully. Chipboard is not always called chipboard. Today, the common terms are “wood particle panel”, “agglomerate wood panel”. These and other terms are legal, but they can confuse the consumer. 8 Seals of Approval Awarded to Valcucine Products ICILA UNI EN ISO 14001 : 96 geprüfte Sicherheit Associazione per la rigenerazione degli ambienti naturali GS is a German seal of approval of product quality. Valcucine was the first Italian kitchen cabinet builder to be awarded this certification after its products underwent strict testing and inspection by the German institute L.G.A. The BIOFOREST label was created by Valcucine. We make certain that large numbers of trees are planted, both to absorb the carbon dioxide produced during manufacture and to replace those cut down for furniture production. A balance was reached thanks to a series of reforesting projects and BIOFOREST, created for this purpose, is now an independent NGO with Italian Ministry of the Environment recognition. It is open to anyone who thinks that commit to improving our environment can no longer be delayed and works mainly with manufacturers who want to restore a balance between the carbon dioxide they produce and the carbon dioxide absorbed by the trees they plant. Valcucine has been a supporter of sustainable development for many years and is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its manufacturing plant. We develop projects for rational use of raw materials, recycling of waste materials and reduction of pollution, consumption and water and promote a balance between use and replacing of natural resources. Our dedication to eco-friendly production made us Italy’s first kitchen cabinet maker to obtain UNI EN ISO 14001 certification. 9 Warranties: A Way of Judging Quality What else can help me decide besides seals of approval? Since there are so many different seals of approval and they evaluate so many different elements, we’ll try to analyze the product direct. We want to share some of our expertise to give you technical knowledge and a more discerning eye. One way of judging product quality is looking at product support, something we generally ignore in the excitement of buying a new kitchen. The most important aspect is the length and quality of the warranty. The more reliable a product, the longer the warranty. But warranty length is not enough; it is also a good idea to study the fine print. Sometimes, warranties are so restrictive that they do away with all the advantages. Do look at the length of the warranty and read the fine print carefully. That could wipe out any benefits from the warranty itself. 10 Valcucine Warranties Five-year complete guarantee Futuro Program All Valcucine kitchen cabinets come with a five-year warranty. All you have to do is fill in the marketing questionnaire. During the warranty period, Valcucine promises to substitute or repair free of charge all pieces that are defective in origin, with transport free of charge from the dealers. The dealer promises to cover the costs of all warranty-related transport and manpower. The dealer’s guarantee is only valid when stamped and signed by the same. Styles of kitchens come and go. What happens when you want to expand your kitchen and the models you like are no longer produced? To help, at Valcucine, we give our customers our “Futuro Program” warranty. For at least seven years from the date of purchase, we promise availability of all the pieces your need to change or expand your kitchen in the same style. If Valcucine stops producing your model within those years, and is unable to supply you with the pieces you need, we promise to replace, free of charge all the pieces that need to be substituted because they do not match the new kitchen cabinets. Just choose from among the new Valcucine models. Compare product support services carefully as well as quality and price, when deciding. And don’t forget to get a written guarantee that spare parts will be provided if needed. 11 Quality: Tested and Guaranteed Good design isn’t the only thing that guarantees product quality and safety. All of your kitchen’s parts and materials have to undergo stringent, uncompromising testing. Standardized testing is the only way that we can evaluate a material’s resistance to the stress it undergoes in carrying out its function. Along with control in our own testing center, Valcucine also tests its materials at the CATAS Furniture and Wood Products Research and Development Center for material quality certification. Testing is repeatedly regularly to maintain uphold standards. All the testing results are included in a volume that you can look up at any Valcucine Specialized Dealer. Schede e collaudi CATAS Check to make sure that the product’s claim to quality is backed up by written certification. 12 Planning Your Kitchen Falling in love with a kitchen in a showroom is easy; that’s where it shows off its best side. But move it somewhere else and a kitchen doesn’t have the same feel at all. So before you buy, make sure you get an accurate plan that makes the most rational use of the space available. The plans should come out of suggestions by an architect you trust, and not an endless comparison of prices. That only leads to standardized solutions, and functionality suffers as a result. A designer’s work is very delicate and only a good professional knows how to find the right balance that will make your kitchen beautiful AND function. Valcucine has a book all about designing the kitchen environment. Ask for it at your Valcucine Specialized Dealers. Or if you call us, we’ll send it to you, free of charge. Before buying a new kitchen, do have a good designer design it meet to your needs. 13 Modular units or Continuous Counter Units? Modular units Modular units are more versatile than a kitchen with a continuous counter top.. They can be moved around in different combinations and are easier to handle if you move. But there are also more places for the kind of spills and seepage that lead to warping, mildew and dirt. Valcucine has water-tight seals around the sink, the cooktop and the edges of your counter top. Continuous counter units A more linear style, with an unbroken work area and a better look. There is less of a problem of spillage at the ends. Valcucine also puts hermetically sealed sideguards on its continuous counter top kitchen units. Whether you choose modular units or a continuous unit for your kitchen, do be sure that they have efficient sealing against seepage. 14 Toekicks, Legs or Suspended Units? Kitchen units with toekicks Kitchen units with legs Suspended units Advantages: You don’t see the dirt under the units and you can use almost all the space down to just a few inches from the ground. And it’s easy to install a dishwasher. Advantages: Cleaning under the units is easier and it’s easier to keep your kitchen free of germs. And units with legs look lighter and more graceful. Advantages: The unit separate from the floor creates matchless elegance and a feeling of utter lightness. And cleaning under the units is troublefree. Better efficiency of heating pavements. Disadvantages: Even if you can’t see it, dirt accumulates under the unit anyway because the skirting isn’t sealed. Cleaning under the units is difficult and you can’t really be sure of hygiene in your kitchen. Disadvantages: With 60 cm bases, there is less space available. Installing a dishwasher is easy with 72 cm bases, as long as they can be adapted to the baseboard. Disadvantages: Storage space is reduced with 60 cm bases. In addition, it is impossible to install the outfitted back space and use the 80 cm depth to its fullest advantage. Dishwasher installation is limitede. Be sure that the unit height fits your own height, whatever model you choose. 15 How to Choose the Right Pieces If you want to buy a high quality kitchen, look for units that you can adapt to your taste, needs and space. If you want to personalize, the range of pieces availability is fundamental. That’s why Valcucine lets you pick out the colors, finishes, sizes and material just right for you. With 2,500,000 items, there’s plenty to choose from! And if you still can’t find anything, Valcucine makes “custom-built” units to meet any need, in any style you like. Look for a kitchen with a wide range of choices that will let you put together a personalize, exclusive kitchen. 16 How to Choose the Right Color Colors bring light into the room. So choose light colors that reflect the light—a pale yellow or green, for example, or white. You won’t get tired of them with time and they make the space you have look larger. Still, choice of color is a very personal thing. Valcucine has a vast range of lacquered or laminated colors, shiny or opaque. And if you can’t find exactly what you want, at Valcucine we will also paint our units based on a sample that you give us. Choose light colors that won’t tire your eyes and will make your kitchen look brighter and larger. 17 Going Beyond the Latest Fashion The lifetime of a kitchen doesn’t only depend is physical and technical qualities. Sometimes, you decide to put in new a new kitchen simply because you want a new style. You end up throwing out products that still work well but are no longer the latest thing. Try to choose a kitchen with components that are timeless. Pick models with clean lines, simple forms and attention to detail; that’s what looks best as time passes. And avoid a kitchen that is only square or only rounded forms, just because it in fashion. If you chose a kitchen set with square forms, “soften” it with a few curves here and there. If you want a refined look, steer clear of complicated, elaborate shapes that are tiring with time. Instead, why not look at quality hand craftsmanship, work like inlay. It gives warmth to a room and creates a cozy atmosphere that will age well, growing more precious as time goes by. Evaluate a kitchen by how it looks as well as its technical qualities. And choose a product whose beauty will last through time. 18 The Beauty of Hand Craftsmanship Kitchens all look alike at first. But when you look carefully, you realize that it’s the details that make the difference. Valcucine personalizes its furniture with hand-crafted inlay, an age-old processes of woodworking, the fruit of great experience and skill. These photos illustrate the patient, laborious technique: tiny pieces of wood of different colors are inlaid by hand in grooves of the same shape. The piece to insert and the base are both carefully cut to match. The woods used for the inlay are dyed. Take a moment to look at this page carefully. It is also a tribute to the skilled craftsmen who keep our artisan traditions alive. The thin horizontal lines of the Artematica door look as though they’ve been silkscreened but they are really wood inlays. Layers of dyed veneer are nailed together to make a block of wood which it then cut. Tiny pieces of wood are deftly cut out to make shapes and grooves. The pieces of colored wood are then inserted by hand in the grooves. The inlaid panel is then inserted in the sheet of veneer applied to the door. Examine the units you are buying carefully. Some decorations may look inlaid, but they are really done by simply silk-screening. 19 An Eye for Detail Care for detail is one of the quality features that is easiest to notice. Instead of a superficial glance, examine every detail of the cabinet, including the inside finishing. That’s the only way of comparing quality. You’ll see that all kitchen furniture is not the same. valcucine research guided the design of a light bar with LED, to be placed under the wall units of the kitchen or under the shelvs of the wall panel. It was designed to have a minimum cross section of 8mm, so as to match with the other elements of the kitchen. The “Anta alta” Artematica handle in: basically a milled slot on the upper edge of the door that lets the tiny lines of the aluminum border show through. A turned aluminum leg: it tapers down to a minimum point of contact with the floor. The counter top blends in with the side of the Artematica cabinet, eliminating overtop and creating a single volume. Make sure the product you are buying was produced with care by looking at the tiniest details. 20 Skilled, Meticulous Assembly One feature that clearly shows the quality of the precision of production, is the fissure between the doors. The more precisely a cabinet is made, the narrower the fissures. That way, you see the cabinet as a single volume and not as different pieces put together. Doors with wide fissures and sharp corners. Accurately made doors with rounded corners. A car not made precisely with wide spaces between one piece and another. Precision-made parts turn a car into a single volume. To give you an idea of what we mean, think of the improvements in car manufacturing through the years. There is less space around the different parts, and today you see a single body, rather than an assembly of parts. Take a careful look at the reveals between the doors to judge assembly precision and quality. 21 Ergonomics? What’s That? Ergonomics is another important factor in choosing a kitchen. Ergonomics is the science that studies our interaction with living and work space and the objects we use. A kitchen is the place where a great deal of daily activity takes place: we prepare and cook food and then we eat it. All this is easier if we have everything at hand and we can more freely and comfortably without getting tired. But that is often impossible because our kitchen furniture doesn’t meet our physical needs. When you buy a new kitchen, it’s easy to get carried away by our enthusiasm at the way it looks in a showroom. Instead, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at other features. That way you can choose rationally, and you won’t be forced to spend your life in a kitchen where incorrect motion could cause you ham. 22 Ergonomics: Kitchen Cabinets Made to Fit to You Don’t you like to taste something before you buy? And who would ever consider buying a car without taking it for a test drive. Or buying a new suit without trying it on. And you can adjust the seats in cars and the height of the steering wheel, while a suit costs much less than a new kitchen. Okay. But how can I “try on” a kitchen? Kitchen cabinets are fixed units and you can’t change them or adapt them to your needs after they are installed, that is not without a lot of added cost. To help you “try on” your kitchen, Valcucine has invented Ergolabio, a machine that lets you see how you future kitchen will fit. Ergolabio lets you choose the position of your wall cabinets and the height and depth of the work area according to your needs. So your kitchen is a perfect fit. Make sure your kitchen “fits” before you buy it: that way anything you do there will be less tiring and more fun. 23 Ergolabio: Adapting Your Kitchen to Your Height Ergolabio is our new “machine” to “try on” kitchen cabinets and you can only find it at Valcucine Specialized Dealers. Before buying your kitchen, try it out and adapt the measures to your height. Choose the best counter top height for your own: You won’t have to stoop or stretch in uncomfortable positions. Choose a deeper counter top: You’ll have great freedom of movement and great visibility on the worktop. Choose lower wall cabinets: You’ll be able to see inside more easily. Ergolabio: only at Valcucine Specialized Dealers. Do remember that you have the right to live in a safe, comfortable, functional environment. When you buy something, make sure it’s ergonomically right for your height. 24 Logica System: The Valcucine Ergonomic System At Valcucine, we pay careful attention to your needs. That is why we recently did a study on the use of kitchens with traditional ergonomic design. The videos we took showed seven major problems: 1. Most people are taller today, so the 85 cm standard counter top height is too low. That makes you bend over in positions that can eventually be bad for your back. 6. Base cabinets with shelves and doors with hinges are a very uncomfortable system. You have to twist around to get anything from the back, it’s hard to see and there’s no light. 7. The toekick is not placed in far enough, so your feet are pushed back and you have to lean forward, straining your back. If you cabinets have legs, they are not far enough inside and it’s easy to trip and fall. To solve these problems and make working in the kitchen easier, Valcucine has a patented ergonomic system. Our Logica System allows you to adapt the height and depth of your counter top, add our special Equipped Back Channel, open your wall cabinets comfortably, equip your cabinets with storage bins and drawers, use corner spaces rationally, and have proper lighting for you counter tops. 2. Wall cabinets are too close to the face giving a closed-in feeling and obstruct your view. 3. The upper shelves in wall cabinets are too high, so you can’t see what’s on them. 4. The hood is generally placed at forehead height. That forces you to bend over in uncomfortable positions to check pots and pans. And—ouch—it’s also very easy to bang your head. 5. You have to open and close the doors of traditional wall cabinets a lot, so you often end up leaving them open. Which leads to two other problems: - the door blocks your view and you feel even more closed-in - you can easily bang your head if you straighten up suddenly. 25 Counter Top Heights: 76 cm and 100 cm 190 ÷ 200 100 180 ÷ 190 94 170 ÷ 180 91 160 ÷ 170 88 150 ÷ 160 82 76 Valcucine counter tops change their height according to yours. So your counter top is right for you, whether you’re short or tall. And while people on the average are taller today, cabinets have not changed. Many companies continue to use a toekick height of 10 cm for a total height of 85-86 cm. Working at a counter top that’s too high or too low forces you to take unnatural positions that eventually strain your back. While people aren’t all the same height, most kitchen counter tops only come in standard sizes. Average suggested counter top height, based on how tall you are. Do demand that your counter top is ergonomically right for you. That way, you’ll avoid unnatural positions that can tire you out and hurt your back. 26 Cabinet Depths: 60 cm - 65 cm - 80 cm Logica System 65 cm depth Logica System 80 cm depth With a traditional depth of 60 cm, wall cabinets are too close to your face, giving you a close-in feeling. Wall cabinets have to be at least 54 cm high above the countertop for best visibility, but that makes it hard for you to see inside and get what you need. The 60 cm depth is now obsolete. Valcucine uses deeper, more ergonomic counter tops for its base cabinets. A depth of 65 cm gives you more freedom of movement because you have more working space and a better field of vision. And that way, you can lower the wall cabinets to only 48 cm from the counter top, making it easier to see inside. A depth of 80 cm gives you more open room, more freedom of movement and a perfect line of Sight. And it lets you lower the wall cabinets to 42 cm. That way, you can see everything inside, even on the top shelf! 60 42 48 54 60 cm 65 80 Choose deep counter tops if you have the room. You’ll have more freedom of movement, more space to work and you’ll be able to see better inside. 27 Advantages of Our Logica System: A Depth of 80 cm Too awkward The height of wall cabinets generally prevents a complete view of the top shelves—and what’s on them. And if you’re short, reaching up is even harder. Freedom to lower the wall cabinet to get something or raise it to see better A depth of 80 cm lets you lower the wall cabinet to get something easily from inside, or push it up out of the way. And that gives you more room to work. Too dangerous Freedom to move The doors of traditional wall cabinets can be an obstacle that gives you that closed-in feelings. And—ouch—it’s easy to bang your head if you leave them open. How often does that happen? You can leave swing-up doors open while you work and move from side to side or bend down without the constant risk of banging your head. 28 Dishes are too high up The dish rack in the wall cabinet over the sink is much too high, you have to stretch uncomfortably to put the dishes away and the water drips onto your arm. And the cabinet is very hard to clean. Uncomfortable for cooking In traditional kitchens, the hood is usually too low. This does not leave you enough room to see at what’s cooking. Freedom to work without obstacles A depth of 80 cm lets you put a draining rack BEHIND the sink without tiring movements or getting wet. The drying rack leads straight to the drain. The system is more antiseptic because otherwise, stagnant water can breed germs and bacteria. Freedom to move easily and check all the pots Libera hood, swings up gracefully, opens your line of sight and lets you get closer to the stove to check on foods safely. Valcucine also uses ergonomics in the design of its Picchio, Cielo,Libellula, Colibrì and 8 mm hood. 29 The Logica System Equipped Back Channel The Logica System Equipped Back Channel is a 20 cm wide strip inserted between the base cabinets and the wall, along the counter top, the sink or the cooktop. It is an independent module and can be applied to any model Valcucine kitchen cabinets you choose. The space can be outfitted with a series of containers to store items generally 30 spread throughout the kitchen: there are electric sockets and gas valves, racks for flatware and knives, trays to hold food or dish-washing liquid and racks to drain dishes and glasses. The Equipped Back Channel modules can be arranged according to your needs, letting you work more easily, with everything within reach. The space below the containers can be used to run water lines, drains, electrical or gas with ease and flexibility. Accessories in the Equipped Back Channel Dish rack for plates and glasses are removable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel grates. The system is connected directly to the drain so that water drains immediately, making it easier to keep the area germ-free. The bin with swing-up door to store cleaning materials. Great for keeping detergents out of children’s reach. The swing-up door that lets you get to the gas valve easily—this is generally too hard to reach to turn off daily. Containers for electric sockets and emergency switches for appliances. They are also wide enough to hold cables that take up space on the counter top. Natural wooden shelf with slots to hold wooden or non-toxic Teflon cutting boards. Knife racks that keep the blades covered and pointing downward for safety. Stainless steel removable, dishwasher-safe food containers in various sizes, all with lids. Convenient to have around when cooking. Valcucine has also included a vacuum food sealer in its outfitted back space. Lets you remove air from plastic bags, food keeps longer and tastes better. The electronic scale weighs up to 2 kgs of food with a precision of within 1 g. It allows for tare weight so that you can weigh food in its container. The scale is always there when you need it. 31 Ergonomics of Toekicks and Legs Awkward Freedom to work more comfortably The toekick is not far enough in, so your feet are too far from the work area. This makes you bend over, which hurts your back. The toekick is set farther back and you can work closely to the counter top—with your back straight! Dangerous when you move to the side Freedom to move When the legs are not placed back for enough, tripping over them is easy. The legs are farther back and don’t get in your way. If you choose toekicks or legs, make sure that they are set far enough back so that you can move side to side without tripping. 32 Logica System Outfitted Bases Removing items from cabinets is difficult Freedom to see and access items in cabinets Traditional base cabinets with shelves mean that you have to kneel to get to spaces that are almost always inaccessible and poorly lit. With our pull-out storage drawers, you can see everything that’s inside, neatly arranged and easy to reach. You don’t have to twist around in awkward positions to get to something you need. Drawers that do not open all of the way Full accessibility Drawers and bins that only open partially don’t allow a complete view of what’s inside. You end up groping for what you need and creating clutter. Drawers and bins that pull out all the way let you see what is in them. There really is a place for everything and everything in its place. . Choose convenient storage bins and arrange them to meet your needs. Be sure the slides let you pull them all the way out and that they can withstand heavy weights. 33 Ergonomics of Logica System Storage Bins Valcucine storage bins can be outfitted with a number of professional-style rods and dowels in natural wood or aluminum that keep things from moving around and the space neater. All 90 cm and 120 cm jumbo drawers have sturdy slides for smooth, 34 silent opening. And they can hold up to 70 kg! Valcucine jumbo drawers are equipped with a device to help you pull them out straight and the special side boards keep things from spilling out. You can store dishes, pots, detergents, utensils and food inside. You can even put in trash cans for recycling! Logica System Drawers You can outfit Valcucine drawers with accessories to divide the space so there is a place for everything and everything within easy reach. Valcucine puts a non-toxic rubber mat into the drawers. This keeps things from sliding around when you opening or close the them. Over time moving objects can ruin the bottoms of drawers. The rubber mat also makes the drawers easier to clean. All drawers come with selfclosing mechanism. To avoid toxic emission, all drawars are in natural wood. 35 Ergonomics of Wall Cabinet Doors At Valcucine, we study the way that our wall cabinets open to make them practical and easy to use.Our carefully tested system keeps the doors open without their interfering with your work. They become handy pantries that you can get to whenever you need them. No more constant opening and closing of traditional doors. When you’re finished in the kitchen, just pull the door down with a flick of your wrist and your kitchen is uncluttered once again. Wall cabinets with lift-up doors Wall cabinets with folding doors Wall cabinets with sliding glass door Practical, giving you freedom of movement, with the door up and out of the way. Working with the doors open is safer. Take up less space than normal doors. A system of hinges and slides makes them easy to open. More convenient than a traditional system but half the cabinet is always covered and you have to keep moving the door back and forth. 36 Valcucine’s Patented Ala Wall Cabinet The Ala wall cabinet door opens upward with just a flick of your wrist. Thanks to idden counterweight, there is no need for springs or pistons. When it’s open, the door stays out of your way. There is no need for an inside divider, you have more space and a better view within in reach. Just lift open the door and it stays, as long as you need it. No need to keep opening and closing doors. Ala wall cabinet doors can be long as you want them, up to 2.4 meters for a single cabinet. That way, there is no need for the standard 15 cm module with unsightly fillers between them. 37 Valcucine’s Patented Aerius Wall Cabinet The new light and resistant unit has been designed entirely in glass and aluminium to be 100% recyclable. Complying with a further fundamental environmental friendliness criterium, the unit is produced by reducing the consumption of raw materials by 70%. The unit is available in 15 different sizes going from 90 to 300 cm lengths making it possible to eliminate the use of double side panels that is inevitable when various modules are fitted side by side. The new unit has also been designed to accomodate a led lighting system and an accessory hanging bar. This innovation in worktop illumination brings remarkable advantages in terms of material and energy savings. The 8mm thickness gives the bar a linear and minimalist line. The new illuminating structure gives remarkable advantages in terms of energy consumption that is exceptionally inferior to common incandescent lamps as well as being far more durable (100,000 hours of constant luminosity). 38 Furthermore, the LED lights ensure stability to the light even if the unit should vibrate, no ultraviolet or infrared emissions and does not emit heat contrarily to other lights. To satisfy functionality requirements the unit has been designed to have ready access to service elements that are usually fitted behind cabinets. In Aerius it is possible to simply remove the back panel, that is available in various colours, without having to move the whole unit. The unit has also been designed to be illuminated on the inside by utmost exploitation of external illumination. This is why it is made from transparent material so that costly interior illumination systems become unnecessary. The light weight of the unit is combined with an extra-light, balanced lift-up door. The new door features a very lightweight honeycombed aluminium structure to which various finishing materials can be added. The lift-up door is fitted with a balancing system that permits easy opening without the use of hinges, pistons, sprockets or springs that are all subject to wear. It is opened by a simple upward touch of the hand that makes the interior space immediately accessible. It is possible to work comfortably while leaving the door open thus avoiding the continuous opening and closing movements that are inevitable when using traditional doors. Ergonomics of Pantry Cabinets Using pantry cabinets in your kitchen gives you a lot of storage space when you have limited room. They help you avoid wall cabinets that would obstruct your work area and line of sight. Functional pantry cabinets have doors that open wide to let you see and access ietms inside. Valcucine makes pantry cabinets with steel wire shelves and bins or beech wood shelves and drawers. All drawers have full extension runners Pullout pantry cabinet with steel wire storage bins. Pullout pantry cabinet with steel wire drawers. Pantry cabinet with steel wire shelves and storage bins. Include a convenient pantry cabinet pantry if you have the room in your kitchen. 39 Ergonomics of the Oven Cabinet When you put your oven inside a cabinet, you can use it more easily without having to bend over. Be very careful about the height: if it is too high or too low it is hard to use. Decide on the height when you are choosing your cabinets. Oven cabinet. If you decide to install your oven in a cabinet, make sure it is placed at the height that’s best for you. 40 Ergonomics of Corner Cabinets Kitchen corners have always been a problem. You must take into account how the cabinet opens, accessibility to items inside and rational use of the space. Our special, patented rotating pantry has a curved sliding door that you can leave open while you work. That way you can easily get to whatever you need inside whenever you want. The cabinets have 5 storage shelves that rotate independently so that you can find what you want. The inside light turns on automatically when you open the door. Make sure that rotating cabinet system doors are functional and accessible. Showroom models are often empty. Something that feels practical and light when empty can become awkward and hard to manage when full. 41 Ergonomics of Corner Base Cabinets If you have traditional base cabinets with fixed shelves or round storage baskets, you have to bend down and twist around to get things in the back of the cabinet. Valcucine ergonomic and functional kitchen cabinets let you use all the room you have as efficently as possible. Corner base cabinet with retractable doors and rotating bins are morepractical than fixed shelves or round storage baskets because they hold more. 42 Corner base cabinet with new pull-out storage bins: they hold more and allow you to use the space rationally. Corner base cabinet with curved sliding door and rotating storage baskets. The best solution in terms of ergonomics and rational use of space. Lighting Your Kitchen People often forget about installing proper lighting when they design their kitchens. This isunfortunate because the way lights are arranged is very important. Not only is it a practical problem; the right lighting makes a big difference in the way your kitchen looks, and feels. Much of the warm, homey atmosphere in your kitchen comes from the way light and shadows fall. When a room is too bright, it flattens out shapes and soften detail. Too much contrast between light and dark is hard on your vision. Use a number of light sources to highlight the details that create an atmosphere with a softer scattered light that doesn’t tire the eye. The colors of your lights are important also. Cool fluorescent lighting is too stimulating and harsh. Warm lights are better. Warm colors are relaxing and make the atmosphere feel friendly and pleasant. Be sure that the lighting in your kitchen is designed properly. Be sure to choose a low-energy system. 43 Proper Lighting of Your Work Area A B A. Overhead lighting: This is the worst system because your shadow falls onto the work surface. B. Valcucine lighting bar. Placed underneath the wall cabinets, this lighting gives you excellent visibility without shining in your eyes. It balances the cone of light from overhead lighting. C. Spotlights on the overshelf: The light bothers your eyes. The door underneath might burn. You can’t use swing-up doors. D. Fluorescent lights on the shelves with Valcucine light shields: Only the work surface is lit. You can leave the doors open without the risk of their catching fire. C D E. Unlit sink cabinet: It’s hard to see what’s below the sink. F. Lighting in the sink cabinet: a light under the sink that turns on automatically when you open the door. That way, you can see inside. E F G. Unlit cabinets: It’s almost impossible to see, especially if the shelves are not transparent. H. Lighting in the cabinets: When there is a light in the top of the cabinet and the selves are made of steel wire or glass, you can see everything that is in the cabinet. G 44 H The Right Choices for Easy Cleaning The kitchen is the place where you prepare food, this is whre hygiene and cleanliness count the most. If your cabinets are not properly designed, they can collect dirt, grease and germs that are hard to get rid of. Here are some suggestions to help you choose the right cabinet for your pouposes. Seamless surfaces The first thing to avoid is sharp inside corners. It’s hard for you to reach that corner and clean it thoroughly. A. Sink with raised borders: dirt can collect along the edge. B. Sink set in into the work surface: flush with the counter top, making cleaning easier. C. Embedded handle with overlapping edge: dirt builds up along the edge. D. Embedded handle flush with surface: easily cleaned. E. Right angle where counter top and front panel meet: hard to clean. F. Rounded angle joining front panel and counter top: easy to clean. Lavello “a filo” Lavello con bordo sporgente A B Maniglia con bordo “a filo” Maniglia con bordo sporgente C D Angolo raccordato Spigolo vivo E F 45 Eliminating the door frame A. Doors are often built of aluminum frames around a panel. It is hard to clean around the edge between the frame and the panel. B. At Valcucine, we were the first company ever to build a door with an aluminum frame hidden by the panel. This means that the outside surface is perfectly smooth and easy to clean. Telaio esterno in alluminio Telaio interno in alluminio A B Eliminating spaces C. In your kitchen, spaces are receptacles of dirt and germs. Check to make sure that there are no gaps, for example between the countertop and the front trim. Gomma siliconica Fessura D. Valcucine puts in silicone rubber create a seal between the countertop and the aluminum trim so that nothing can seep in. Tenuta ermetica C D E. If the channels in outfitted back panels are not closed they can collect germs and dirt. F. Valcucine closes the spaces keeping dirt out. Fessura E Profilo in alluminio di chiusura Choose kitchen cabinets that you can keep clean and germ-free. Corners should be joined smoothly, without spaces or deep-set trim. 46 F Materials People generally choose the facing of their kitchen cabinets according to personal taste and forget to consider practical aspects, such as keeping stains and marks off the surfaces as long as possible. These are important factors, especially if you have children and little time to clean up. Try to avoid materials that scratch easily. Often, the materials used for the facing on kitchen cabinets pick up fingerprints (even if your hands are clean). It is difficult to keep fingerprints off of stainless steel. At Valcucine, we advise against using stainless steel for the doors that children can easily reach (Fig. A). Instead, we have developed a new aluminum surface, with a special oxidation that looks like steel without the problem of showing fingerprints (Fig. B). Dark laminate tends to show fingerprints, so light colors work better. A traditional steel surface Wood varies according to the type of stain used. Generally there is no problem with cleaning, because its uneven surface does not hold stains or fingerprints. B New Valcucine aluminum surface with stainless steel finish Choose materials that don’t show fingerprints and smooth surfaces that don’t hold dirt. 47 Surfaces Opaque surfaces attract dirt more than shiny surfaces. Scratchproof laminates have an orange peel-like uneven surface. The deeper areas are hard to clean because dirt gets inside and is difficult to remove. You should avoid embossed surfaces, especially if you live in an area with hard water, i.e. with a high calcium content: when the water dries, the calcium deposits in the pores and builds up over time (/Fig. A). Dirt and calcium are easily removed from smooth or scratchproof surfaces (Fig. B). Ridged surfaces are often used in kitchens. Judge for yourself: the deeper the ridges, the harder it is to clean them. Ridged surfaces with deep grooves and side frame are hard to clean. (Fig. C). Ridged surface with shallow grooves and no side frame are easy to clean. (Fig. D). 48 A B C D The Materials Used One way to judge the quality of the cabinets you are buying is to see exactly what they are made of and the characteristics of that material. Until recently, all you could do was accept the company’s word. . You have the right to know exactly what your kitchen cabinets are made of. Ask to see the product cards and have a copy attached to the contract. This ensures that you will receive exactly what you ordered. If something goes wrong, your written proof is a guarantee. We want to make it easier for you to recognize the materials we use, so we will describe our cabinets, dividing them into their three main parts: The interior The interior Counter tops Doors Take a look at them. That will give you a better idea of the quality of the products on the market. Counter tops Doors 49 Valcucine: The Whole Story on the Materials We Use All Valcucine Specialized Dealers will give you all of the technical information you need, specifying the materials used for all of the parts of its cabinets and kitchen equipment, in the simplest language possible chipboard is chipboard, not “wood particle panel”). Even if you’re buying a modular kitchen, the technical information will help you identify all of the parts, because there is a card for every model and every module. We will give you a copy when you purchase your kitchen. This does away with the chance of fraud. You can be sure of the quality of our raw materials. At Valcucine, we display panels 50 with samples of the materials we use in our kitchen cabinets so that you can see what they look like inside. There are samples of how our materials behave after resistance, heat and water tests in comparison to other materials. The materials used in our kitchen furniture Cabinet Interiors in Melamine Board Almost all of the interiors of kitchen cabinets have melamine facing. Melamine is impervious to scratching, abrasions and stains but it is not resistant to water and humidity because it is made from chipboard panels. Another important difference is the emission of formaldehyde (a gas suspected of being carcinogenic), which melamine facing continues to give off for years after it is sold. Interiors with melamine facing can look just like wood (Fig. C). That is another reason to make sure that you look at the technical data. Interior of V100 water-repellent chipboard after immersion in water for 1 hour. Slight, imperceptible warping. Interior of imitation wood facing Is all melamine facing the same? No. One type of facing — known as V100 — is much more water-resistant than traditional types. It is not completely water-proof however and can be ruined by seepage with time (Fig A-B). Interior of normal chipboard after immersion in water for 1 hour. The chipboard is warped and detached from the edge Before you buy, make sure you see the technical data that guarantees the use of V100 and Class E1 water-repellent facing. 51 Plywood Interiors Upon request, Valcucine will use real plywood for its interiors. Interior in imitation plywood Is it easy to recognize real plywood interiors? Today, manufacturers use edging that perfectly imitates plywood. It is easy to mistake imitation for real plywood panels. The best way to tell them apart is to study the technical data. Interior in real plywood Keep an eye out for possible imitations. Before you decide on plywood interiors, ask to see the technical data. 52 Is All Plywood the Same? The different types of plywood on the market behave differently when they undergo water- and heat resistance testing. Interior of melamine faced chipboard with imitation plywood edging. Interior of Valcucine Class 3 plywood After immersion in water for 1 hour: visible warping; loose edging. After immersion in water for 1 hour: no warping. After being exposed to 100°C for 10 minutes: edging is unglued. After being exposed to 100°C for 10 minutes: no warping. Valcucine uses Class 3 plywood (the best there is). It has a much higher resistance to water than V100 water-repellent chipboard, it is even used for exteriors. Valcucine’s plywood interiors use layers of veneer bound with exceptionally waterproof glue. The surface is composed of HPL laminated sheets instead of the melamine paper used in chipboard. The panel resists scratches, abrasion, impact, steam and heat. Does plywood have edging that can come unglued? The natural beauty of plywood makes edging unnecessary. Heat and humidity can cause edging to become unglued. Think seriously about buying kitchen cabinets with interiors in real Class 3 plywood. There is no comparison with normal chipboard interiors in terms of quality and durability. 53 Other Things To Check in Cabinet Interiors Many of the kitchen cabinets sold are not very deep, which means that they don’t hold very much. The ideal depth for wall cabinets is about 35 cm with 31 cm of useable space. You should also check to see that the base interiors are deep enough to allow for a 48 cm depth for drawers. Make sure that you can adjust the wall fastenings from the interior and that they are tested to withstand overloading. For example, if a child grabs onto a cabinet to reach something, it could become unhooked if its fastenings are not strong enough. Shelves shouldn’t simply lean on their support; they should be safely fastened. Interior walls that are 18 mm think are stronger than those that are 16 mm thick. There should also be facing on the back of the interiors, at least 3 mm thick. The glue used to attach the front edges should have a tempering temperature of 90°C. If hot melt glues with a low tempering temperature were used (60-60°C) and the cabinet is placed near the oven, its front edge could become detached. Do check the depth of the interiors, the type of wall fastenings and material thickness when you choose. And find out what kind of glue was used. 54 Counter Tops Counter tops are one of the hardest things to choose when you are buying kitchen cabinets. There are so many choices available and you don’t always get complete information on the advantages and disadvantages of different materials. In the next few pages, we’ll be taking a look at the different types of counter tops and give an objective view of the pros and cons of each. Choose your counter tops based on your needs and taste. Do not forget to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each material. 55 Laminated Counter Tops Laminate is the most common material for kitchen counter tops. Not all laminates are the same. How can I be sure of laminate quality? First, don’t trust the words “scratchresistant” and “stain-resistant”. No laminate is completely scratchproof or stain-proof. However, there are European regulations that assign the code HPL to high quality laminate. HPL laminate meets quality standards to resist scratches, heat, steam, water, stains, impact and abrasion. The support of the laminated counter top can be made of normal chipboard or V100 water-repellent chipboard. Normal chipboard does not resist water and even the slightest seepage causes it to swell and detach itself from the laminate. Water-repellent chipboard is highly resistant to water, though not completely waterproof, water seepage can still cause damage. You can choose Valcucine kitchen cabinets made of water-repellent V100, Class E1 chipboard. But if you don’t want chipboard in your kitchen, we also make counter tops in lumber-core, made with an outer layer of plywood and a core layer of solid wood. Ask that your counter tops have HPL laminate facing and support in water-repellent V100, Class E1 chipboard. 56 Sealing Against Seepage If you want a laminate counter top to last a lifetime, it must be properly sealed against water seepage. Not only will this protect the counter top, it will also eliminate mildew and bad smells that come from water stagnating in places you cannot clean. At Valcucine, we study old kitchens to pinpoint exactly where water leaks in. Even we were amazed at the damage we found. Where does water seep in? And how can we eliminate it? At the sink, water can drip down the edge and even ruin the doors in the cabinet below. Profilo salvagocce Traditional system Without any place to collect, water falls over the edge and can seep into the underside of the counter top and ruin the doors below. Valcucine System Valcucine counter tops have a drip-catching contour that keeps water from dripping down. Be sure that your kitchen has a practical system for preventing seepage. 57 If the sink is set at the end of the module, water can spill over the side. Possible seepage point Groove for seal Traditional system If the sideguard is simply set next to the sink, water can seep in between the counter top and the sideguard. Valcucine system The sideguard fits over the counter top and there is a groove for the sealer. That really keeps water out. The water that builds up behind the sink can seep under the backsplash and splashes can leak down the wall, seeping into the back of the cabinet. Plastic structure Basic structure in Aluminum Semi-rigid PVC Traditional system The plastic base can bend out of shape and the bottom does not press closely enough against the counter top. Water can seep in under the backsplash. 58 Soft silicone rubber Valcucine system Screws keep the silicon rubber seal in place, making the backguard water-repellent. That is because the backguard support is in aluminum and not plastic, so it doesn’t bend out of shape with the pressure of the screws. Steam from the dishwasher condenses on the bottom edge of the counter top. Possible seepage point Traditional system Steam penetrates where the upper and lower laminate meet, ruining the counter top. Valcucine system The aluminum edging is steam-resistant, protecting the counter top. At a corners the two counter tops meet and must be sealed. Possible seepage point System without tight-joint-fastener With time, lack of sealer or tight-joint-fastener to keep the seam stable allows water to seep in. System with stays Correct sealing and tight-joint-fastener ensure a stable, tightly sealed seam over time. 59 Protecting Counter Tops from Water Counter tops have to be protected from water that seeps and spills, especially near the sink. Protection on the side should stop water from dripping down along the sides. At the front there should be a raised border to catch drips, it should be perfectly sealed to keep seeping water from ruining the counter top. sealing Valcucine side protection: perfectly sealed to keep water from dripping down the cabinet sides. Drip-catching border: stops water from dripping down from the counter top. 60 Sealed edge: prevents seepage and keeps water from ruining counter top. Valcucine Laminated Counter Tops Counter tops with water-repellent chipboard Valcucine counter tops with V100, Class E1 water-repellent chipboard support are faced with 0,8 and 2 mm thik HPL laminates. 2mm laminate allows us to install the sink flush without the danger of water. We use an aluminum frame to hold up the counter top. That means thinner chipboard, and savings of material and energy. The aluminum extrusion is 100% recyclable. 5mm counter tops This material has high impact resistancet and allows us to install the sink flush without the danger of water seepage. 61 Advantages of Ultra-Thick Laminate Counter Tops There are a number of new sinks on the market that you can set in the counter top so that it is flush with the surface. This does away with the raised border around the edges. A sink set flush allows you to move objects around without the danger of them tipping. Cleaning is easier and more thorough. A. Flush sinks are often mounted on 0.6 cm thick counter tops. This can allow water seepage between the laminate and the chipboard below. B. Valcucine uses a 2 mm thick laminate. This allows us to set the edge of the sink inside a 1 mm ridge. That way, the sink is sealed directly into the laminate and is fully water-resistant. Traditional sink Sink set flush Thin laminate Ultra-thick laminate A Traditional laminate B Valcucine laminate: prevents water seepage Choose a sink set flush with your counter top. It’s easier to move things around and keep the area clean. And be sure to find out how thick the laminate is. 62 Stainless Steel Counter Tops A stainless steel counter top gives you a more professional kitchen. But don’t expect it to stay shiny and scratch-free. A steel counter top is hygienic, stain resistant and indestructible. It does get scratched and consumers often complain because they thought they were buying a surface that would not show wear. Remember that the tiny scratches on the surface do not make the counter top look ruined. Instead they give it a well-worn, homey feeling, making it lovelier each day because of the memories it holds. If you want your kitchen to look new forever, this is not the material you should choose. Hard water also tends to mark steel, although there are products available today that remove calcium easily. Check on steel thickness. The thicker it is, the more it resists denting. Valcucine uses 12/10 thick sheets of steel. One great advantage of steel counter tops is that you can weld them directly to the sink bowls. This gives you a clean, unbroken line and avoids edges where dirt can build up. You can also have the cooktop set in a single block with the counter top, but Valcucine advises against that. Cooktops are shorter-lived than counter tops, so you’ll end up having to substitute the entire piece if you have to put in a new stove. How can I recognize high quality steel? Use a magnet. High quality steel is not magnetic. Low quality steel will attract a magnet. That means it contains iron and might rust with time. A stainless steel counter top is the best to use in a kitchen. But remember that you’ll have to accept the occasional mark and tiny scratches that form on its surface. 63 Marble and Granite Counter Tops What’s the difference between marble and granite? Marble is of sedimentary origin and it consists mainly of calcium carbonate. It has very little resistance to acid. Even weak acid such as vinegar, lemon, tea and coffee corrode it, leaving an opaque stain. Nothing can protect marble from that kind of stain. Granite comes from magma and it composed primarily of quartz. It repels acids perfectly. But along with corrosion stains, there are other colored liquids that penetrate inside the material’s pores. Both marble and granite are somewhat porous (marble even more so) and they can stain. Even water can create a dark spot which disappears as it evaporates. In order to keep your granite counter tops from staining, the surface has to be treated with an impregnating agent that seals the pores; this treatment needs to be repeated once or twice a year. At Valcucine, we do lab tests to choose the best impregnating agent, but even that can’t guarantee total stainresistance. Corrosion stain from the chemical reaction of acid and marble calcium carbonate. Valcucine’s lab test to find the best impregnating agent. Cross-section of a marble (or granite) pore: the colored liquid penetrates the pore. Be sure that the marble or granite you choose is treated with stain-repellent. Remember to repeat the treatment every so often, because with it wears off with time. 64 Macchia di colore determinata dall’infiltrazione di liquidi colorati nei pori del marmo o del granito. Sezione di un poro di marmo (o granito), riempito di impregnante: il liquido colorato non riesce a penetrare. Characteristics of Marble and Granite Counter Tops Do marble and granite get scratched? Granite is exceptionally hard and highly scratched-resistant. Marble is less resistant and can scratch easily. Do marble and granite resist heat? Both materials are very resistant to high temperatures. Still, glass-ceramic cooktops get very hot indeed, and can cause the counter top to crack. All of the defects described above should not discourage you from buying a natural material that is highly suited to use in the kitchen. Just remember that, with time, you’ll you will be able to appreciate the well-worn, homey feeling that comes from the tiny imperfections that only add to the beauty of natural materials. Marble counter top Natural radioactivity of granite Valcucine has tested the radioactivity in granite, marble and Crystallite (see table). Granite has a certain amount of natural radioactivity, marble very little and Crystallite almost none If you don’t want materials with radioactivity in your home, it would be better not to choose granite. Values White stone granite Bq/kg Grey white granite Bq/kg White Peperino granite Bq/kg Diorite granite Bq/kg White Carrara marble Bq/kg Cristalite Graniglia mod. counter top Bq/kg 238 U (uranium 238) < 38,9 < 23,1 < 30,6 < 49,4 < 11,1 not present 235 U (uranium 235) < 32,7 < 18 < 24,3 < 39,5 < 9,32 <5 226 Ra (radium 226) 98,1 15 81,6 50,2 12,3 <2 228 Ra (radium 228) 86,1 20,5 26,2 215 < 1,28 7 228 Th (torium 228) 72,3 20,1 17,1 214 < 2,53 5,4 Table of radioactivity of granite, marble and synthetic counter top materials that Valcucine uses. 65 Synthetic counter tops There are also synthetic counter tops made to resemble granite and marble of such high quality that you can be easily fooled. This is another reason why it is important to study the technical data describing the material’s characteristics. There are two main types of synthetic materials: high-resin and low-resin materials High-resin counter tops Advantages: stain-resistant; easy to work with because they are soft; any scratches that form can be sanded out; easily welded to form single counter tops without seams. Disadvantages: not very hard, so they scratch easily. Not very resistant to high temperatures. Given its lack of resistance to heat and scratching, Valcucine does not make counter tops from this material. How can I tell the difference between a high-resin and a low-resin material? Try scratching them with a pointy metal object. Low-resin material does not scratch. High-resin material scratches easily. Be sure that you get a long warranty for this type of counter top. That way, you’ll be protected against products sold without testing. You will avoid unpleasant surprises. 66 Low-resin counter tops A dematerialized Crystallite counter top— manufactured with a minimum of material and energy—weighs much less than granite, and is easy to move and transport. It noticeably reduces environmental impact. Disadvantages: Low-resin synthetic counter tops are not very resistant to heat. Pots with temperatures of over 160°C cannot be set down without a hotplate. 11 Advantages: With a 90% content of natural quartz, low-resin counter tops are extremely scratch-resistant and are almost as hard as granite. They are completely water- and humidity proof, as acid-resistant as granite and even more stain-resistant. In comparison to a natural counter top, our synthetic counter tops have a lower environmental impact since the quartz is only used is only 11mm thick and is produced totally without waste. This reduces excavation of stone by 85%. Valcucine uses Crystallite, which, unlike granite, has almost no radioactivity. Consider getting a Cristalite counter top. It has a high mechanical resistance and is more stain-resistant than granite with lower environmental impact. 67 Glass counter tops Glass is a material produced by melting natural substances (silica). The glass used by Valcucine is tempered, which means that it is subjected to an additional heating process until it becomes soft and is then very quickly cooled. This process increases its mechanical resistance five-fold and means that, if it should break, the glass shatters into very small pieces that are NOT SHARP. Glass also has the advantage of being an 100% indefinitely recyclable material. The glass used by Valcucine is available in two finishes: etched (matt finish) and polished. To ensure greater durability and safety to your kitchen, make sure that the glass used is tempered. 68 How does glass behave when used in the kitchen? Our laboratory has carried out a set of tests to check its resistance and how easy it is to clean. For as much as regards resistance, it has been ascertained that the Valcucine tempered glass does not break if hot pots and pans are placed on it straight from the hob. It is also extremely resistant to breakage due to impact: a 0.5 kg sphere released at the centre of the top at a height of 2 metres does not break it. The edges are more delicate and require a bit more of attention. For cleaning purposes it is important to distinguish plain glass from etched glass: plain glass is one of the easiest materials to clean and is extremely practical while etched glass may have some problems with limescale. Limescale can crystallise in the uneven surface and this is why it is necessary to dry it to avoid deposits. Stain resistance tests have emphasised the great resistance of this glass to acids to the extent that it proved to resist to lemon and vinegar. For as much as regards scratches, glass is a very hard material, but harder materials such as ceramic can scratch it. Please note that a scratch is evident by a white mark that shows all the more if the colour of the glass is dark. fiarlo. Si noti che il graffio è un segno bianco, tanto più evidente quanto più scuro sarà il colore del vetro. To hide typical white scratches we suggest you purchase light coloured glass. 69 Solid Wood Counter Tops There is nothing quite like the beauty of a solid wood counter top but it has its functional limitations. Wood is a natural product that needs to be treated like a living thing, even after it has been processed. It expands and contracts due to environmental changes. At Valcucine, we advise against using a wooden counter top near the sink and the stove, because there is a risk of permanent damage. If you don’t want to give up the beauty and warmth that a solid wood counter top can give your entire kitchen, just use it somewhere far from water spills, intense heat and the steam from the dishwasher Does wood stain? Yes, especially if it is untreated. At Valcucine we like it anyway. Because it is a natural product, it wears well over time, giving a cozy, homey feeling to your entire kitchen. Piano in legno Valcucine a tre strati incrociati per una maggiore stabilità. Do not use wooden counter tops near the sink or other damp areas. Do buy wood if you want part of your kitchen to be a natural product that radiates warmth. 70 Doors The doors you use in your kitchen cabinets are the most important factor in determining your kitchen’s looks. Along with the counter top, the doors the most vulnerable to wear. It is important to evaluate quality carefully before you buy. At Valcucine, we understand your problem. Doors are the hardest part to pick. There is such a vast assortment of materials on the market and not enough information on the advantages and disadvantages of each. In addition, there are a lot of imitations around, which makes it harder for you to choose the best product. At Valcucine, our years of experience have made us familiar with the most common flaws and we work hard to remove them. For example, we have found that sink cabinet doors and those near the dishwasher can swell with humidity while the edges of doors near the oven can come unglued because of the heat. How can you tell between these and cabinet doors without those problems? In the pages that follow, we’ll be looking at different types of doors. We’ll take an objective look at the pros and cons of every material with some brief descriptions that will help you choose. Choose your cabinet doors according to your own taste, but be sure to examine the advantages and disadvantages of each material as well. Ask to see the technical data to be sure of what you’re buying. Make sure that the doors have rounded corners. 71 Door Facing Doors with facing are made of an inner core (generally chipboard), covered with, sheets of various materials that give the doors their specific look. Facing is applied to both the front and the side of the doors. The finish sheets can be made of: 1. Paper soaked in melamine resin, either colored or with imitation veins like wood (melamine paper) 2. Melamine laminate, either colored or with imitation veins like wood 3. Thermoplastic material (generally PVC), either colored or with imitation veins like wood 4. Sheets of real wood, 0.5 mm thick, known as veneer. What’s the best facing? Your best choice, in terms of resistance and functionality, is HPL quality melamine laminate. Laminate can be easily cleaned and resists scratching, abrasion and heat. Of course, nothing can beat the beauty of wood, and its ability to convey a sense of warmth and intimacy to a kitchen. Laminate facing PVC facing Veneer facing Avoid unpleasant surprises by studying the technical data to make sure that your cabinet doors are covered with melamine paper, melamine laminate, thermoplastic material or wood veneer. 72 Is All Door Facing The Same? The edges are the most delicate part of door facing. There are two systems to apply edging. 1. In the edged door, the edging is applied after the finishing, leaving a crack in the corner where the inner support is exposes. Dampness can seep inside, swelling the panel and causing the edging to become unglued. Too much heat can also make the edging - applied with hot melt glue - detach. Edged door 2. In pre-glued doors, the edging is applied before the finishing. The quality of the pre-glued door is higher than an edged door because finishing applied with heat resistant hot melt glues seal all points against water seepage and make it impossible for the edging to come off by exposure to heat. How can I tell an edged door from one that’s been pre-glued? Look at the edge very carefully. If you can see a line of glue and the thickness of the edge, it’s not a pre-glued door. But look very carefully: many manufacturers camouflage the glue by dying it the color of wood or the door. Pre-glued door Choose pre-glued cabinet doors if you choose them with facing. 73 Edged Versus Pre-glued Doors Edged doors Pre-glued doors Hot-melt glue Point where dampness penetrates The edging applied with this technique exposes the inside panel at the corners, where water can easily seep in. Side veneer that keeps water from seeping in Solid wood Thermohardening glue Veneer applied with thermohardening glues after applying the edging seals the entire door against water seepage and keeps it from coming unglued due to the heat. Hot-melt glue protected by the side veneer 74 Chipboard-based doors (with veneer and laminate), edged with hot-melt glue with a tempering temperature of 70°C, exposed to steam for 30 minutes. Door in V100 preglued waterrepellent chipboard (veneer and laminate), exposed to steam for 30 minutes. Chipboard-based doors (with veneer and laminate), edged with hot-melt glue with a tempering temperature of 70°C, exposed to heat (100°C) for 10 minutes. Door in V100 preglued waterrepellent chipboard (veneer and laminate), exposed to heat (100°C) for 10 minutes. Laminate Multi-layer Doors Multi-layer doors are made of a single piece of multi-layered laminate. This material has an elevated specific weight and is quite costly. Valcucine was the first company that used multi-layered laminate for its cabinet doors. It has invented and patented a process to make them thinner, by applying a laminate panel to an aluminum frame. That way, we can use a laminate panel that’s only 5 mm thick for our Artematica model and only 2 mm thick for our Ricicla model. This means that our doors are lighter, the hinges last longer and there is a lower environmental impact (lower consumption of materials and energy—and Ricicla allows for a 90% reduction in the number of trees cut down). Valcucine multi-layered laminate doors are 100% water and heat resistant. You can soak them in water for hours, and nothing happens. There is no glued edging to become detached because the panel is completely layered in a single process. The material inside the door panel is the same as that used on the outside. Back frame in aluminum. The multi-layer door is completely waterresistant. Heat has little effect on the multi-layer door because there is no glued edging to come undone. Consider multi-layered laminate. It is the most water- and heat-resistant material there is. 75 Wooden Multi-layer Doors It took us years of research and experimenting, but Valcucine is the first company to produce a monoblock door in wood laminate, We build our wood laminate monoblock doors with the same technology that we used for multi-layered laminate doors. And the result is a single product that has both the beauty of real wood and the heat and steam resistance of laminate. There is no glued edging to become detached because the panel is completely layered in a single process.. The resistance of our wood laminate monoblock doors is unheard-of in other kinds of wood cabinet doors. The material inside the door panel is the same as that used on the outside. Back frame in aluminum. The Valcucine wood laminate monoblock door is completely water-resistant. Heat has little effect on the multi-layer door because there is no glued edging to come undone. Consider wood laminate monoblock doors, if you want wood. It has a much greater resistance to water and heat than any other wooden doors. 76 Mechanical Resistance of Thin Doors Do such thin wood laminate panels have enough mechanical resistance? In order to assure the mechanical resistance of its micro-layered wood laminate doors, Valcucine uses a special technique used for car dashboards. Their resistance is tested in crash tests and we use the same standards to develop our door panels. Along with the outer veneer, the panels have special inner sheets of high resistance fabric to give great elasticity and strength even to the thinnest doors. This advanced, patented technology, Valcucine’s innovative capacity and our concern for people and the environment have all contributed to our company’s prestige. Which is why we now export our products all over the world. Dashboard built of a micro-layered wood panel Crash test 2 mm Penetration resistant sheet Door panel: only 2 mm thick! The micro-layered panel built with high resistance micro fabric layers. 77 Framed Doors Framed doors are made of a solid wood frame holding a panel that can be made of a variety of materials. There are numerous doors on the market that look as though they have a frame, but in actual fact, they have an imitation frame cut from a single medium density fiberboard panel and then covered with a sheet of colored thermoplastic or an imitation wood finish. How can I tell the difference between a real solid wood frame and a simulated frame? Just open the door and look at the back. If it has a real solid wood frame, you can also see it in the back. If it’s an imitation, the back of the door is smooth. Front of door with imitation frame. Back of door with imitation frame: the frame is not visible. Front of door with real wood frame. Back of door with real wood frame: you can see the raised frame. If you want kitchen cabinets with real wood frame doors, check the inside to make sure the frame is visible. 78 Quality in Framed Doors Framed doors are heat-resistant but in some cases, the solid wood can crack. One problem of this kind of door is that wood is a living material. That means that it can swell in a humid environment. Longer frames might even start to warp. This is why Valcucine uses plywood for the longer doors of its Sine Tempore framed doors. The wood is cut and then glued together in several layers. The new solid wood is much more stable. Look carefully at the inside panel, which can be made of either veneered chipboard or plywood. A A. Traditional framed door If the veneer-covered panel is not made of V100 water-repellent chipboard, it offers little resistance to dampness. The chipboard panel makes the door heavier and cancels out the typical lightness of a framed door. B. Valcucine Sine Tempore Door The veneered plywood panel makes the door incredibly lightweight and increases resistance to dampness. The result is a 100% wood door. B Wood plywood Chipboard Three-layer solid wood frame 79 Lacquered Doors Lacquered doors are produce using a medium density base panel covered with polyester or polyurethane paints. If you choose lacquered doors, you’ll have to treat them carefully since they have a low resistance to scratching, abrasions and impact. Lacquers can be opaque or shiny. There are opaque paints on the market today that are lovely, even to the touch, but the more opaque the paint, the more it holds dirt. Opaque paints also tend to get shiny when they rub against something, and that produces unsightly marks. Shiny lacquering is produced in two ways: 1. Direct shine lacquer: the paint is already shiny. The surface is not completely flat and there can be some slight imperfections from dust that settles on the paint while it is drying. Lacquered doors are heavy and can pull down on hinges and ruin alignment of the doors. 80 2. Brushed lacquer: the film of paint is sanded with increasingly finer grains until the surface is perfect smooth and mirror-like. Traditional lacquered doors are very heavy and can pull down on hinges and ruin alignment of the doors. MDF lacquered panel Light MDF lacquered panel Aluminum frame Artematica lacquered door At Valcucine, we have solved the problem of the weight of lacquered doors with our Artematica model. We made the panel only 6 mm thick and created a technologically advanced support in aluminum. That way, the door is 50% lighter. In our Free Play model, we used a special panel in light MDF that is 20% lighter than traditional panels. Free Play lacquered door How well do lacquered panels resist water and heat? If the panels are lacquered properly (with completely sealed edges) they have excellent water- and heat-resistance. Lightcolored panels can yellow slightly when placed near high heat. If you put that kind of panel in your kitchen, be sure to install well-ventilated ovens. Choose light lacquered doors that don’t put too much weight on the hinges. Be careful of opaque lacquer doors: they collect dirt more easily than shiny lacquer. 81 The hood Cooking produces odors, fumes and highly toxic combustible gases such as carbon monoxide (CO1), nitrogen oxide (NO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). That is why you need a vent hood to pull odors and fumes outside. A hood that is not connected to the outside is practically useless at Valcucine we definitely advise against it. The heart of the vent hood—and what determines the venting capacity—is its motor. Your vent hood’s motor has to be powerful enough to exhaust odors and fumes regardless of the distances or angles involved. At Valcucine, all of our hoods have a 750 m3 motor (the volume of air vented in an hour) and require a 12 cm diameter aperture.That is one easy way to tell if you’re buying a quality vent hood: check the size of the vent duct. The aperture of entry-level, low quality hoods is generally only 10 cm. Grease filters should be made of metal, dishwasher safe and not made of polyester, which is flammable. We prefer fluorescent lighting to incandescent, for work lights, it lasts longer and consumes less energy. At Valcucine, we have seen that many vent hood exhaust problems crop up because the hood was not correctly installed. Here are a few suggestions to make sure that your hood works properly: A. The exhaust duct should not curve too much (you lose about 20% of your exhaust power with every curve). A B. The hole in the wall should not be too small. If a 12 cm duct is squeezed into a 10 cm hole it will block air flow. C. Make sure that the ducts curve gently and don’t bend at sharp angles. B D. The grating on the outside duct must have a wide mesh or open when the hood is turned on. , Otherwise, exhaust power can be reduced by as much as 90%. C D Choose a vent hood with a powerful motor and an exhaust duct of at least 12 cm in diameter. Remember that the hole in the wall must be 12-15 cm wide. 82 Valcucine Ergonomic 80 cm Deep Hoods When your counter tops are 80 cm deep, you need special hoods to assure that fumes and odors coming from pots on the outside burners do not stay in the kitchen. Our unique outfitted back section has been imitated by a number of companies. Their designs do not include hoods for proper venting of fumes. At Valcucine, our hoods are studied to guarantee flawless operation and proper ergonomics, even when your cooktop is 80 cm. The hoods are designed to keep angles away from your head. This allows you to take a close look at what is cooking, without getting injured. 50 Imitation of the Valcucine back section. Fumes are not drawn into the vent hood. 80 The Libera hood 80 The Cielo Aspirante hood 80 The Picchio hood 83 Sinks Resin sinks Stainless steel sinks Embossed stainless steel sinks There are dozens of resin sinks available on the market, many of them of inferior quality. With time, as you alternate pouring boiling water down the sink and then turning on the cold water, thermal shock makes them dilate. They become less elastic and crack more. Resin sinks are easy to clean when they are new, with time tiny scratches form on the surface and hold in dirt. Of all the resin sinks we tested at Valcucine, the only ones that satisfied us were those in Fragranite. They resist scratching, abrasion, stains, impact and thermal shock. Remember that resin sinks are hard to recycle. Stainless steel sinks are undoubtedly your best choice. They are recyclable, indestructible and hygienic. There are two types: multi-layer and welded bowls. The multi layer sinks are made from a single sheet of steel. Their bowls are not as deep and the steel is thinner. Welded sinks have deeper, more square-shaped bowls that hold more. One small problem with stainless steel sinks is that watermarks show up more easily to calcium deposits today there are excellent products on the market that remove calcium. Embossed sinks have raised geometric patterns on the surface. It makes them more scratch resistant but harder to clean. What size should I choose? If you have a dishwasher, a double-bowl sink is superfluous. One interesting solution is a 1-_ bowl sink. It takes up less room (only 60 cm). It is still available to wash or drain something when the other sink is full. Enameled sinks Enameled sinks can be ruined easily with impacts, because the enamel is very fragile and chips. Be sure to get a long warranty if you buy a resin sink. You will be able to have it replaced free of charge if it breaks. 84 Faucets A. Be sure you check the faucet profile. Faucets have to be high enough over the sink to let large pots and flower vases fit beneath them. A B. You can buy water purifiers to put under the sink. Putting in a separate faucet for purified water saves you money and reduces maintenance. C. The lever has to be long. This makes it easier to use, when your hands are full. B C 85 Buying Ethical Products We know that like all consumers you are increasingly aware of how important it is to protect our natural resources. We know how eager you are to play an active role in protecting the environment. You want to know whether the product you are buying was built respecting our environment and health. Numerous companies label their products “ecological”. But that means eliminating environmental impact, and nothing manmade is completely without environmental impact. Since there are no laws that actually set standards for what is “ecological”, manufacturers use the word as they like, creating confusion and doubts. You have to study a series of factors to understand whether what you’re about to buy was really designed and manufactured with full respect for the environment. How can a manufacturer produce goods with low environmental impact? Well, at Valcucine, for example, we produce eco-compatible products, replacing renewable raw materials. We’ll be describing that in more detail in the following pages. Remember that you too can make a difference in protecting the environment and our health with the products you choose to buy. 88 Replacing Renewable Raw Materials All factories producing consumer goods use natural resources and energy, releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide, the prime cause of the greenhouse effect, into the atmosphere. They all have a greater or lesser environmental impact. There is only one kind of factory that does not pollute, but actually removes pollution: trees. Trees are factories that produce wood and run on solar energy. They use carbon dioxide as a raw material and release oxygen—which we need to live—into the atmosphere. At Valcucine, we sponsor a reforestation program so that planted trees can transform the carbon dioxide we emit into oxygen, replacing the wood we use. 89 Bioforest: Four Environmental Projects Valcucine promotes and funds BIOFOREST, the association for regeneration of the natural environment. We have started up two important reforestation and biodiversity projects in The Amazon and Ecuador, called “Operation Living Forest” and Operation Otonga”. We also run an environmental education program in Italy known as “Progetto Occhione” and another reforestation project in the Pordenone area of Italy where we manufacture our kitchen cabinets. Associazione per la rigenerazione degli ambienti naturali Operation Otonga Occhione Project Operation Otonga in Ecuador was set up to purchase an area of primary forest to preserve its rich biodiversity of plant and animal life. A scientific base was built to accommodate researchers interested in cataloguing the thousands of species still unknown. The project is funding a nursery and reforestation of part of the perimeter to protect the forest. The operation is coordinated by Giovanni Onore, professor of ecology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. Some middle schools in the Italian province of Pordenone have become involved in an environmental education project. The project includes creation of a natural sciences laboratory to study local plant and animal life and seeding of native trees that will be planted in a school nursery, to be transplanted later on in some areas made available by BIOFOREST. Vinchiaruzzo Project Started up in 2004, the project calls for implementation of a plain forest in the province of Pordenone like the forest that originally covered the entire Po Valley. 90 Eco-Compatible Design Industry today has a major responsibility to create new strategies for eco-compatible production. We all know that any manmade object has greater or lesser environmental impact, but we also know that much can be done to reduce this impact. At Valcucine, we have done research into technological innovation for years with the intention of reducing environmental impact. Our products are dematerialized (manufactured with a minimum of material and energy), recyclable (facilitating the reuse of discarded and durable material (reducing waste). Minimum consumption of raw materials and energy Thanks to our extensive research into material resistance, we have reduced the structure of our kitchen cabinets to the minimum. Our products are the highest expression of design based on the philosophy of dematerialization. The best example is the super-light, multi-layered door of our Ricicla model. It is made of an aluminum frame designed with ultra-thin walls and a front panel of 2 mm. It is made with construction techniques borrowed from the automotive industry. We also design our counter tops according to the principle of dematerialization. We build them with an aluminum structure and laminate, Crystallite or marble surfaces. Their special structure allows drastic reduction in the amount of material needed to build the surface. 91 Recyclability In nature, substances circulate and are transformed. Ultimately, they are reabsorbed and reused. One important lesson we need to learn is to reduce the quantity of waste. We also have to do all we can to reuse and recycle materials, because the resources we have available are not unlimited. At Valcucine, we design products that can be simply and completely recycled. How? When our products are no longer in use, all the parts can be easily identified and detached. All the plastic components are marked, so spotting them at the end of their life-cycle is a trouble-free process. We want to encourage recycling, so when you’re finished with your kitchen, we will take back the parts and reuse all of them. The aluminum frame, for example, is 100% recyclable. Aluminum is extremely ecocompatible; recovery consumes only 5% of the energy used to produce the primary metal without emission of toxic gas. Today, Valcucine’s Research and Development Center is studying the transformation of discarded multi-layered laminate panels for use as car dashboards or containers. Recycling cycle for a door made up of an aluminum structure and panels in multi-layered laminate. 92 Ricicla door. The components can easily be separated and recycled. Technical Durability Thanks to the application of innovative technologies, at Valcucine our products have high resistance and durability. The technology we use to manufacture our multi-layer doors comes straight from the technology used to build car dashboards. Along with the outer veneer, we use special micro fabric for the inside layers. That means that our door panels are elastic and strong. Since they have no edging to become unglued or finishing applied later, they will never come apart, even if you soak them in water for a long time. That’s because they are produced in a single process using high pressure. Our Ricicla doors are an example of how dematerialization can still raise quality and durability. Durability (looks) Using technologically advanced solutions certainly helps prolong a product’s physical and technical life. But our hand craftsmanship, use of inlay and personalized décor gives our kitchens a lasting beauty that makes you love your kitchen more as time passes. Your kitchen’s life span will not be determined by what’s in fashion. It will reflect deeper, more concrete values. The longer it lasts, the farther in the future will be the consumption of more raw materials to replace it. And that means lower environmental impact. 93 Wood that’s not from primary forest The primary forest is a blessing for all humanity. A blessing that gave us immense plant and animal biodiversity after millions of years. Once it is destroyed, it can never be rebuilt. As the lumber industry penetrates the forest, it destroys vast areas that house plants and animals along with the culture, food and medicinal resources of their indigenous populations. It is also endangered by the fires set to prepare the 94 terrain for other equally destructive activities, such as livestock and agriculture, which prevent the growth of new trees. The primary forest is also vital for the rain cycle and for maintaining the microclimate. Deforestation is one of the reasons for our accelerating global climatic change and an increase of the greenhouse effect. These are all the reasons to avoid use of primary forest lumber extracted with destructive practices. Lumber can be obtained from special plantations. At Valcucine, we want nothing to do with exploitation of the primary forest. We only use species from plantations where a balance between cutting and planting has been achieved. Respecting Health: Controlling Toxic Gas The air we breathe in our kitchen can become polluted by the toxic emissions from the stains and glues used to make furniture. At Valcucine, we do sample testing to make sure that our kitchen cabinet components do not release volatile substances into the air that can damage your health. We also check to be sure that our products are not contaminated with artificial radioactivity, respecting German standards of formaldehyde emissions. Synthetic paints Acetone µg/m3 11 Even long after we buy it, furniture treated with synthetic paints give off volatile toxic substances in our homes. Valcucine does special testing to analyze the pollution caused by these substances. This table shows the amounts and types of volatile organic substances in a 1 m2 surface painted with acrylic products diluted with synthetic thinners. In our continuous effort to avoid emission of toxic substances from synthetic solvents, we have developed a paint cycle where solvents were substituted with water (see page 94). We have also created a natural oil- and wax-based surface finish with orange-peel oil extract solvent. Ethyl methyl ketone µg/m3 13 ethyl acetate µg/m3 4 i-Butyl acetate µg/m3 36 n-Butyl acetate µg/m3 21 Xylene isomers µg/m3 5 Styrene µg/m3 23 methoxypropanol acetate µg/m3 133 ethoxypropanol acetate µg/m3 61 Dimethylformamide µg/m3 33 hexanoic aldehyde µg/m3 9 cyclohexanone µg/m3 3 Butyl Cellosolve µg/m3 7 benzaldehyde µg/m3 2 acetic acid µg/m3 63 Methyl benzoate µg/m3 3 Dimethyl hydroxyacetophenone µg/m3 13 _____________________________________________ Total V.O.S Air polluted by synthetic paint is injected into the gas chromatograph to analyze its components µg/m3 440 Substances emitted in 1 m3 of air in 24 hours by 1 m2 surface of painted panel 30 days before testing with acrylic paints. 95 Artificial radioactivity Nuclear disasters like Chernobyl create artificial radioactivity that is absorbed by plants (and therefore wood) and then released into the atmosphere even after long periods of time. Since the quantity of toxic presence varies according to the lumber’s place of origin, Valcucine does sample testing to make sure that the wood it uses does not come from areas severely polluted by radioactivity Analysis for control of gamma isotope pollution at the CRAD Laboratory of Nuclear Spectrometry. Formaldehyde Chipboard panels contain ureic glue, a substance that emits formaldehyde continuously for years. Even though it is now known to be carcinogenic. Regardless of the fact that Italy and many other countries set no standards for levels of formaldehyde emissions, Valcucine builds there products to meet stringent German standards for emissions. Analysis of gases at the CATAS labs. 96 Kitchens without Chipboard If you are interesting in applying the criteria of bio-architecture in your kitchen, we at Valcucine will manufacture completely chipboard free cabinets. 2 1 1 2 1 2 Interiors Doors 1. Water-resistant multi-layer 2. HPL laminate 1. Laminate wood 2. Aluminum 1 NEW 5mm laminate top 2 2 3 1 3 4 Counter tops Drawers 1. 5mm HPL laminate 2. Plywood 2. Aluminum 1. Laminate wood 2. Steel 3. Aluminum 4. Plywood 97 Water-based Paint One of the most serious pollution problems in cabinet making is the evaporation of the synthetic paint solvents. A medium-sized furniture maker releases tons of solvents into the air every day, polluting the area around it. Micro-evaporation of these solvents continues afterwards for even longer periods, polluting the area where the piece of furniture is located (see table, page 91). Today, our customers, workers and the towns near our factories can all benefit from Valcucine research. After two years of study and testing, to limit drastically toxic emissions, we have substituted synthetic solvents with the world’s most natural solvent water. Our innovative capacity continues to pave the way for improvement in the industry. We have been pleased to see some of our competitors adopt similar practices. As the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. At Valcucine we are eager to see all industry work for an improvement in our environment and health. Synthetic solvent paint Be sure that water-based protective paint is used on your wooden cabinets. 98 Valcucine’s water-based paint Important Things to Remember Before You Buy 1. Check to make sure that your cabinets have reliable seals of approval. 2. Take a good look at the length of your warranty, read the fine print carefully and get a written warranty for spare parts. 3. Be sure that you know what materials are used to build your kitchen. It is your right by law. Ask to see the product card and have a copy attached to your contract so that you can be sure that you are getting the product you paid for. You will have written proof should there be any disputes. 4. Before you buy cabinets built of melamine board, ask your dealer to show you written proof that they are made of V100 water-repellent chipboard. Be sure also that the board is Class E1, respecting the strict German laws on formaldehyde emission. 99 5. Be careful of what the material is called. The terms “wood particle panel and “agglomerate wood panel” are really fancier names for just plain chipboard. 6. Ask to “try out” the ergonomics of your kitchen cabinets. Make sure that they fit you. 7. Ensure that you start out with accurate, well-thought out plans drawn by a good designer. Have the dealer check site dimensions so that you are not blamed for any mistakes. 8. Along with technical quality, think carefully about how you want your kitchen to look and try to avoid the latest fad. 9. You should examine the product you are buying carefully to make sure that it was well made. The best way to do that it to study the details. 10. Try to choose kitchen cabinets with real Class 3 plywood interiors. Their quality and durability are unmatched by normal chipboard interiors. Beware of imitations. 11. Choose counter tops according to your needs and taste, Do not forget to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the material used. You can read about them right in this booklet. 12. Choose your kitchen cabinet doors according to your taste, don’t forget to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the material used. That information is also in this booklet. 13. When you buy your kitchen appliances, take a look at the energy consumption cards. If you want to be an ecofriendly consumer, choose low energy Class A appliances. 14. Use a magnet to check on the quality of the steel used for the cabinet parts (sides, draining racks, counter tops). High quality steel contains little iron and only attracts the magnet slightly. 100 Kitchen Safety for Kids The oven door should stay cool, when the oven is on. Buy a cooktop with a safety valve incorporated. Put grating around the cooktop to keep children from reaching the pots and pans. Keep detergents and dangerous liquids in a locked box. Make sure that pantry cabinets are solidly anchored to keep them from tipping over. Suspended bases must have a tested system to keep them solidly anchored to the wall. 101 Have a magnetic device installed in drawers to keep them closed. Check to be sure that handles were tested to withstand heavy loads and that their height and weight can be regulated. Ask to have tempered glass installed on shelves and doors. It is safer and more impact-resistant. Install a master off/on electric switch for the oven that children can not reach. If drawers and doors have simple slots instead of handles, be sure that they are not too small. Make sure that all cabinet parts have rounded corners. 102 Questions to Ask When You Buy Does the kitchen come with an instruction and maintenance manual? Are the assembly instructions clear? Does the kitchen come with at least one product seal of approval? Does the manufacturer try to reduce environmental impact? Are there systems to reduce toxic emissions as much as possible? Can the parts be recycled? 103 Do the hinges have easy three-way adjustments? Are they coupled automatically? Were they tested in accordance with German standards? Is the bottom of your sink cabinet covered with aluminum? Is it completely sealed against leaks? Were the legs screwed to the bottom without putting a hole in the aluminum? Are the sides of the cabinet holding the dish rack lined in aluminum? Were they sealed against leaks? Are the racks in 18/8 stainless steel? Are there bumpers on the doors? Do the lift up doors have hydraulic opening systems? Is the back of the refrigerator cabinet waterrepellent with an indentation to protect the interior from any leaks? 104 Do drawers come equipped with accessories and dividers to keep contents in place and items neater. Do the drawer slides have a capacity of 40 kg for 60 cm drawers and 70 kg for 90 cm and 120 cm drawers? Do they close automatically? Are they light and soundless? Do they have an end stop? Do the 90 and 120 cm drawers have a device to make sure they pull out straight? Are the counter tops at least 65 cm deep? Are the gaskets made of silicone rubber, a durable material? Are the doors padded so that they close softly and do not bang? 105 Are the long shelves in wall cabinets reinforced to prevent buckling? Are interior walls at least 18 mm thick? Are glass shelves at least 8-10 mm thick? Is tempered glass used? Are cabinets’ interiors and drawers large enough to hold things? Do the deep drawers have solid side panels to keep things from falling out? Do drawers have rubber pads on the bottom to make cleaning easier and to keep the bottom from being scratched? 106 Do the lights inside the cabinets come equipped with sensors so that they turn off and on automatically to save energy? Are the bulbs marked with a double M or the equivalent F? They can only be used with inflammable products if they carry those marks. Are the toekicks in undeformable aluminum? Do they have air vents to cool the refrigerator? Is there a handle so that you can remove them easily to clean under the furniture? Is the sealer water- and heat-resistant? Is it the right shape and soft enough to thoroughly seal the wall and counter top? Does the counter top have a sideguard to keep water from dripping down the side of the cabinet? Were your chairs tested by experts to be sure that they will hold up over time, in keeping with government standards? 107 Glossary Acrylic stain greenhouse effect. The stain with the highest resistance to light. It gives the greatest guarantee against yellowing. It is used in particular on light-colored woods where yellowing stain would result in unpleasant color changes. It gives wood a very natural appearance since it is applied in thin coats without creating a film on the wood. Carbon monoxide Aluminum CFC A silvery-colored metal, soft and very light. It is the third most abundant material found in nature. It can be die-cast or drawn and is then painted or protected with anodic oxidation which makes the surface scratch- and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum not treated in this way oxidizes and thus darkens easily. Chlorofluorocarbon, known commercially as Freon, was used widely in the past in the refrigeration industry and as a propellant in spray cans. Widespread use however has led to its accumulation in the stratosphere causing a series of destructive chemical reactions. Since Freon is partly responsible for the hole in the ozone layer, other, more ecological gases are now being used. Carbon monoxide is generally the result of incomplete hydrocarbon combustion. This occurs in the home when food is cooked on gas burners. Colorless and odorless, it is a toxic pollutant that bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, preventing it from carrying oxygen through the body. It can cause death by suffocation. Carbon dioxide Gas that forms during combustion when the carbon in fuel bonds with two oxygen atoms in the air. Carbon dioxide is the prime culprit of the 108 Chipboard Chipboard is made with the scrap from wood processing and residue from trees. It is favorable ecologically because no additional trees are cut down to make it. Chipboard is made from chips and particles of wood that are pressed and bonded with thermo-hardening glue. Generally, it is then covered with veneer, melamine resin paper, PVC or laminate to give it its aesthetic qualities. Mechanically it has great dimensional stability. This makes it extremely useful for large surfaces where solid wood could buckle. It is not very resistant to dampness; the problem has been partially but not completely resolved with the creation of V100 water-repellent board. The glues used for chipboard release formaldehyde, this has been reduced to a minimum in board produced in accordance with strict German standards (Category E1). Hot-melt glue Adhesives that are applied while hot which adhere and harden during cooling. They are reversible because they soften when heated to temperatures between 60°C and 100°C, temporarily losing their adhesive power. Used almost exclusively to attach edging. HPL laminate Only laminate boards meeting the standards of excellence of EN 438/1 regulations are fit to be called HPL (High Pressure Laminates). This high quality material is extremely hard and resists scratching, wear, impact, chemical agents and fire. Class 3 exterior plywood Five or more layers of wood are arranged with the grain at right angles and attached with glues that resist water and humidity. Valcucine makes its Class 3 exterior plywood with a full 11 layers of birch wood. Laminate Also known commercially as “Formica”, it has a base of phenol resin and decorated melamine paper glued together to form sheets approximately 0.6 mm think. It is used to cover lumber core. If both sides are covered, it is called double-sided laminate. Ergonomics Ergonomics studies the interaction between people, their work place and equipment to facilitate safer use of objects. Finishing Covering a raw wood panel with various materials, e.g. laminate, PVC, veneer, etc. Lumber-core Board of three layers of wood veneer arranged with the grain at right angels to each other and attached with thermohardening glue. When more than three layers are used (but always an odd number), it is called multilayer board. Medium density fiberboard Formaldehyde A pungent-smelling chemical used to make most thermohardening glues for the furniture industry. Suspected of being cancerous, in high concentrations, it can cause tearing and irritation of the respiratory tract. In 1977, the B.G.A. (The Berlin Health Board) decreed that it is dangerous in concentrations of 0.1 p.p.m. (parts per million) or 12 mg/m3. Many other countries have adopted this standard. Greenhouse effect During the day, the earth’s surface accumulates the heat of the sun. At night, the heat escapes into space. Excessive concentration of carbon dioxide in the air traps the heat from the sun’s warmth during the day and keeps it from being expelled. The resulting effect is similar to that of a greenhouse. Board made with wood processing scrap. Ecologically valid because production does not required that more trees be cut down. Wood fiber—produced using steam and defibrators—is bound with thermohardening glues. Once pressed, the fiber (which resembles cotton wool) has excellent mechanical properties and dimensional stability. It is compact along its edges making it excellent for making lacquered panels and PVC faced board and for large surfaces where solid wood might buckle. Fiberboard is very heavy and does not resist humidity. There is also V100 MDF board which is designed to have a higher resistance to humidity. Melamine board Chipboard faced with sheets of melamine resin-soaked paper. 109 Melamine paper Paper that is soaked in melamine resin. It can be various colors or imitate wood. Used to finish chipboard, which is then called melamine board - resilient over time - resistant to temperatures between -100°C and +300°C - bacterioloigcally inert (resistant to fungus and microorganisms) - stable in the sun’s rays - easy to clean Silk-screening Multilayer laminate Laminate with a resin base generally thicker than 1 mm. The mechanical properties make them suitable for use alone or applied to wooden boards. Laminate is highly resistant and is therefore excellent for use in kitchen cabinets. A method of printing (on metal, glass, plastic, etc.) where the ink is passed through the mesh of silk with stencils. On glass, the silkscreen can also be tempered by using high temperatures that melt the color onto the glass, making it indelible. Solid wood Natural Oil-based Stains Most Natural Oil-Based Stains are made from natural extracts such as bee’s wax or linseed, rape, soybean or coconut oil. They are completely free of phosphates, sulfates, preservatives, sealers and formaldehyde. Solvents are produced from citrus fruit skins. Using natural oil-based stains is benefits both workers and the environment. Plywood Material made from veneer and an inner core of solid wood strips. Term used to indicate furniture or furniture parts built only using wood cut directly from tree trunks. Solid wood comes from various species: for example walnut, beech, cherry, etc. Stainless steel Steel that resists corrosion and some chemical agents. It must contain at least 12% chrome to be called stainless. Since it is very hygienic, it is used to manufacture food containers, pots and pans, sinks and counter tops. 18/10 stainless steel (18% chrome, 10% nickel) is normally used for this purpose. Polyurethane paint The most commonly used stain in the wood sector based upon its low cost and easy application. It is not very resistant to light and tends to produce an unsightly yellow film with time. For that reason, it is not suitable for light-colored wood. Tempered glass Glass that is particularly hard and impact resistant (5 times more than normal glass) thanks to toughing. The glass is heated to very high temperatures (650°C) and then cooled quickly with cold air. Tempered glass breaks into tiny pieces rather than large sharp shards. PVC Polyvinyl chloride is one of the most commonly used materials in the furniture industry and is used to cover structural components and doors. It is considered a toxic material, but the only danger is during production and destruction (if it is not burned in special incinerators, it produces dioxins). It can be colored and can imitate wood grain. A thermoplastic material, it is not heat-resistant and softens at temperatures between 75° and 95° C. Silicone rubber A plastic mass of silicon and oxygen. Vulcanization makes it pliable and produces silicone rubber. It is: 110 Tempering temperature The temperature at which hot-melt glues begin to soften and liquefy, causing edging to come off. Thermohardening glues Resins that join during heat-activated chemical reactions. The major thermohardening glues used in the furniture industry are obtained with a mixture of formaldehyde and other basic resins. Since they are formed through chemical reactions, they are irreversible glues that resist high temperatures. Tree species The different types of wood found in nature. Wood from different species differs in appearance and physical and mechanical properties. There are basically two categories: coniferous and broad-leafed trees. The first group includes pine, spruce, cedar and larch. The second group includes walnut, beech, cherry, oak and ash. Veneer Veneer or sliced veneer is a thin sheet of wood (about 0.6 mm) made by rotary cutting or sawing a log. Used to face wooden board, this is known as “veneered board”. Veneered board Board finished with veneer. Water-based paint Part of the new system of ecological paint with water solvents. This solves serious problems of environmental impact (up to 70% of most products use polluting solvents that evaporate when drying). Waterbased paints are still in the experimental phase. Water-repellent The furniture industry calls any chipboard, medium-density and multilayered board that resists swelling caused by water seeping into the fibers of the wood water-repellent. 111 Where we work technology artematica Designed by G. Centazzo The Artematica model is Valcucine’s primary line. We have been making it for 15 years with a style and philosophy that are still leading the industry. Artematica’s pure volumes and clean formal lines are in keeping with the latest trends its personalized touches make your kitchen cabinets stand out. Innovative Inviting Environmental friendly Ergonomic Comfortable Pure Natural Captivating Ergonomics Practical traditional steel surface New Valcucine aluminum surface with stainless steel finish Detailed Suspended Country Functional eco-compatibility ricicla Designed by G. Centazzo Ricicla makes the definitive statement regarding dematerialization—manufacturing with a minimum of material and energy. Ricicla doors utilize a highly resistant 2mm laminate, they are available in an array of finishes. The Ricicla door is the result of years of study and research and is the most advanced technology. Ricicla was designed and built to minimize environmental impact. Ricicla respects the four principles of eco-compatibility: the least possible consumption of raw materials and energy, durability, recyclability and absence of toxicity. Elegant Recyclable Innovative materials Luminous Linear Accessorized Professional freedom free play Designed by G. Centazzo Free play: freedom from the constraints of traditional kitchens. Free play introduces new shapes and new accessories, all personalized to fit you. The catalogue contains a series of pictures with different looks to reflect your taste. The common denominator is freedom. Free play is the kitchen where chores are as much a pleasure as sitting around the table, it gives daily routines a dash of color and a hint of humor. Modular Young Warm Soft tradition tradizione sine tempore Designed by G. Centazzo Sine Tempore, combines the essence of kitchens of the past with our tradition. Sine Tempore revives the feeling that the warmth of wood produces without complicated, elaborate forms. It is wood with the lines and the feeling of modern design. Hand craftsmanship and inlay create a convivial environment, enriching the cabinets and making the kitchen a prized possession. Hand-crafted Non-toxic Classic Precious The Valcucine products have passed all the tests and checks mentioned in this guide. The technical qualities described refer to the Valcucine price list on the date in which the guide was drawn up (May 2005) Valcucine is entitled to make modifications at any time to improve its products. It is strictly prohibited to reproduce texts, photos or drawings contained in this guide, either entirely or partially, unless agreed upon with Valcucine S.p.A.. All rights reserved. The brands mentions in this guide belong to the respective organisations.
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