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Duropal Worktops

Duropal worktops are a laminate worktop produced by Duropal GmbH,  part of the Pfleiderer AG group. The company has been manufacturing high pressure laminate for over fifty years and has been making laminate worktops for over forty years. Duropal laminate worktops have a particleboard core and a laminate surface (formed by impregnating layers of kraft paper with resin and pressing them at a high temperature) bonded to it.

Laminate worktops are still overwhelmingly the most popular choices of work surface in the UK, and Duropal are one of the key manufacturers. So let’s have a closer look at some of the features of a Duropal worktop.

Aesthetic Appeal

At the time of writing, Duropal laminate worktops are available in 61 decors. These range from wood, granite and solid surface reproduction to more outlandish and imaginative patterns and designs. The leading edges of a Duropal surface can be profiled in two different ways (Classic and Quandra – Classic being more rounded), and matching upstands and back panels are available for a number of the decors. There are also three different Duropal finishes: enhanced high gloss, enhanced semi-matt and crystal stone (recommended for plain colours and stone reproductions). The high gloss is less hardwearing then the other two finishes (see below).

As with all laminate worktops, it is hard to get completely seamless joints between Duropal worktop sections. If fitted correctly, the joints will still look neat and relatively inconspicuous; they just won’t be invisible as they can be with solid surface worktops.

Durability and Performance

Duropal laminate worktops are really easy to keep clean. All that’s needed is a wipe down with a damp cloth and some washing-up liquid. Laminate worktops have a reputation for lacking durability, and, while it is true that other worktops are more hardwearing, if taken care of properly a laminate worktop can last a long time.

Duropal worktops are advertised as being resistant to sunlight, coffee stains, tea stains, red wine stains, ink stains, fruit juice and cigarette burns. That said, in their literature, Duropal offer some very specific dos and don’ts about using their laminate worktop.

Always place hot pans, ovenware and irons on a trivet or protective pad to protect the surface from the intense heat which can cause damage to the worktop if placed directly on the surface.

Do not cut or chop directly on the worktop surface – always use a chopping board or worktop saver.

These two warnings are not specific to Duropal kitchen worktops. In fact, they could be applied to all laminate work surfaces and all solid surface worktops too.

The Duropal brochure also warns against the use of abrasive cleaning pads and aggressive detergents, as well as stating:

The use of PVC aprons may possibly affect the durability of the high pressure laminate on the post-formed edge of worktops. This could lead to premature wear in high traffic work areas.

Although laminate surfaces are waterproof, they are vulnerable to moisture and bacteria where sections of worktop are joined. For this reason, liquid spills must be dealt with quickly and vigilantly in order to stop moisture penetrating the worktop’s core. In addition, the Duropal brochure advises that:

Kettles, coffee machines, fryers and any other heat or damp source should not be positioned directly over worktops joints.

All Duropal worktops are fitted with a unique seal designed to prevent water and steam accessing the core from the underside of the worktop.

As mentioned above, some laminate finishes and colours are more likely to show cuts, scratches and blemishes. You should avoid a high gloss texture and dark colours in heavily used areas.

Installation

If you are a competent woodworker, you should be able to fit your own Duropal laminate worktop. However, if you are in any doubt, it’s probably a prudent idea to call on a worktop installer.

Cost

At the time of writing a 4100mm length could be purchased from approximately £135 and a 2050mm length from about £90. Some of the finishes, such as the high gloss laminate worktops, were slightly more expensive.

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