Info & Guides, Technical

The Game-Changing Hytect Ceramic Surface: Lowering Maintenance and Enhancing Well-Being

KeraTwin ceramic facade panel with Hytect surface

For over 250 years, German manufacturer Agrob Buchtal has been perfecting ceramic building materials worldwide. One of their most innovative creations is Hytect – a game-changing photocatalytic surface. This proprietary technology transforms ceramic tiles and facade panels into self-cleaning and air-purifying wonders that can substantially reduce long-term maintenance costs for building with no conditional warranties. How Does Hytect Work?

At its core, Hytect harnesses the power of titanium dioxide, a natural compound that becomes a catalyst when sunlight or artificial light activates it. During the firing process of Agrob Buchtal ceramics, this remarkable mineral is fused into the surface of the material. When exposed to light, titanium dioxide sets off a chain reaction, activating oxygen naturally present in the air and water. This results in the creation of reactive oxygen species, which serve two crucial functions:

Breaking down organic pollutants and microbes

It breaks down organic pollutants and microbes that accumulate on surfaces, such as algae, mold, mildew, and bacteria. It dismantles molecules like nitric oxides from vehicle emissions and volatile organic compounds from cleaning products and air fresheners.

Generating a hydrophilic surface

It generates a hydrophilic surface that causes water to spread evenly instead of forming beads. As a result, any residue or debris is effortlessly washed away during rain or manual cleaning. Graffiti can be easily wiped away without damaging Hytect finishes.

These “self-cleaning” effects of Hytect Surface Coating keep surfaces cleaner for longer periods without requiring extensive scrubbing or harsh chemicals.

Reducing Lifecycle Maintenance and Cleaning Costs

Tiles with Hytect offers substantial value by reducing cleaning frequencies and expenditures on chemicals and labor over the long term. Traditional facade cladding materials often demand frequent cleaning including pressure washing, chemical treatments, or abrasive scrubbing every 3–6 months to combat dirt buildup and microbial growth.  Maintenance regimes are typically a condition of warranty, in practice the regime is impractical or costly and therefore not followed,  making the warranty void.  In contrast, Hytect surfaces, a standard feature of KeraTwin ceramic facade panels, do not require any maintenance. Due to the hydrophilic surface, rain and sunlight do the cleaning keeping Hytect ceramic facade panels looking good for the life of the building.

With extensive Independent testing and case studies from commercial and residential projects worldwide demonstrate that Hytect can cut facade cleaning costs remarkably over the years when compared to standard surfaces. In indoor spaces, Hytect tiles also reduces the use of cleaning agents significantly as compared to non-Hytect tiles. These savings multiply dramatically across the entire portfolio for large rental apartment buildings, shopping centres, hospitals, or schools.

Material Durability Enhances Value

The Hytect surface coating technology strengthens the ceramic material matrix, improves abrasion resistance, and shields color pigments from fading due to sunlight exposure. Consequently, Hytect tiles and panels often endure for several decades  without any signs of degradation, outperforming traditional cementitious finishes or terrazzo. Beyond the financial returns, this longevity enhances occupant well-being by preventing construction disruptions and eliminating concerns about replacing failing materials in the future.

With any building lifespan, the initial investment in Hytect translates into reduced whole-of-life costs proportional to the structure’s useful life. Hytect tiles like any ceramic materials can be recycled or  repurposed rather than discarded as waste. Overall, the technology delivers a triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental value throughout the entire property lifecycle.

Specifying Hytect for Build-to-Rent

The build-to-rent sector has seen global growth as it focuses on long-term real estate holdings and expiring leases rather than for-sale units. With designs emphasizing function, durability, and cost-efficiency, Hytect emerges as an ideal material choice for most applications in these properties.

For exterior areas, highly trafficked facade systems like KeraTwin and KeraShape are fortified with Hytect’s self-cleaning attributes, ensuring pristine aesthetics with minimal maintenance. Inside, durable large-format tiles from product lines including Area Pro, Ascona, Chroma, Plural, and Nova bring Hytect’s easy cleaning benefits to high-use common areas and residential units. For outdoor amenity spaces, resilient paving options like Quartzit, Valley, and decorative mosaics offer a range of design possibilities while protecting the investment.

Real World Case Studies

Several recent projects exemplify how Hytect delivers on its promise of radiant, long-lasting environments.

  • When Architects Warren and Mahoney selected Area Pro series Grid R12V4 for Northcote Aquatic Recreation Centre they understood the tile would provide high slip resistance with out compromising on cleanability.
  • At the Ivanhoe Grammar Sports & Aquatic Centre, Agrob Buchtal’s Trias and Plural porcelain tile ranges feature Hytect surface coating. The Hyetct inbuilt  antibacterial protection maintains superior hygiene for students’ health.
Northcote Aquatic Recreation Centre 3 Pool Hall

Northcote Aquatic Recreation Centre: Architect Warren & Mahoney chose Agrob Buchtal Hytect tiles throughout the facility including Area Pro series on the pool hall concourse. 

Ivanhoe Grammar Sports & Aquatic chose Agrob Buchtal Hytect tiles

Ivanhoe Grammar Sports & Aquatic Centre with Agrob Buchtal Hytect tiles throughout the facility actively reducing bacteria on surfaces despite humid conditions  

Sydney Adventist Hospital Ceramic Facade

SAH 10 Years on, Keratwin ceramic panels with self-cleaning Hytect surface.

  •  The Sydney Adventist Hospital project utilized Keratwin facade panels to envelop an entire patient tower. Nearly a decade later, the panels maintain their pristine appearance and hygiene thanks to Hytect, saving tens of thousands in manual cleaning compared to competing hospitals.
  • Most recently, at the Hampshire Road Mixed-Use Development featuring KeraTwin and Quartzit products, residents and businesses enjoy a gracefully aging building where exterior and common spaces require minimal intervention to maintain their timeless aesthetics.

Clearly, across varying climates and uses, Hytect delivers on its claims of self-sustaining elegance through natural means, all without compromise over extended lifespans. This predictable performance supports property owners’ financial interests as well as occupants’ health, well-being, and satisfaction in their environments.

In-Depth Insights from Journals

Graffiti Versus Ceramic Facade Panel: Who Wins?

This journal explores how Hytect stands against graffiti, a common challenge in urban environments. Discover how Hytect’s anti-graffiti properties make it a formidable contender in the battle against vandalism while preserving the integrity of architectural surfaces.

Materials Choices for the Build-to-Rent Sector

In the context of the BTR sector, material choices can make or break a project. This journal delves into the considerations that architects, interior designers, and construction managers need to keep in mind when selecting materials for BTR developments. Hytect emerges as a top choice, addressing key concerns such as durability, maintenance, and aesthetics.

Redefining Architectural Possibilities with Hytect

In a fast-changing world where architectural excellence is a constant pursuit, Hytect surface coating has emerged as a transformative force. Agrob Buchtal’s commitment to innovation and quality shines through in this groundbreaking product. From reducing maintenance costs to extending building life cycles and elevating aesthetics, Hytect is a versatile solution that architects, interior designers, design managers, and construction managers can rely on.

Welcome to a world where architecture knows no bounds – welcome to the world of Hytect!

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