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  • Drop in buffets, install procedure?

     olivero updated 3 years, 3 months ago 1 Member · 5 Posts
  • guest

    March 16, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Okay, I got a question for all of you guys.

    You know the drop in buffets in countertops? Normally its an alto-shaam hot buffet or something of the sort that gets dropped into a stainless counter. At least that’s what I got.

    Here’s a picture of one I did.

    It seems that people just drop them in, I came in and these were a constant issue, the silicone would keep breaking on these to the counter so food and juices and whatnot would get under the flange and its gross. Problem was mainly the counter flexing when weight is put on it, separating the flange of the buffet to the counter and thereby breaking the seal.

    So it became another of my things to do, to figure out how to make it right. I weld studs on the bottom of the flanges and drill holes in the counter and then goop some good ole, high temp, NSF, silver silicone under it and drop it in and see how many studs I can break off trying to get the nuts on faster than the silicone can dry.

    Drives me nuts, takes almost a full 10 hours of work to do everything by myself.

    But its good when its done.

    Just curious if any of you guys install these, how do you put them in, I know my way might be a bit excessive but at least its somewhat permanent yet the buffet can still be pulled.

  • ectofix

    March 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    INSTALLING DROP-IN STEAM TABLES?  What bad memories you make me conjure up.


    I haven’t had to install any of those in-house yet.  But if or when I do, I’d be like you by going overboard in my efforts to seal the perimeter.  It’s NOT fun to reckon with one leaking after its drains have been plumbed in or if the unit has been there awhile.

    I’d also have a set of helping hands (I’m getting too old for this).


    I’ve never seen or done an Alto-Shaam one.  As a field tech, I have installed numerous Wells, APW-Wyott and Delfield drop-in steam tables in all sizes (single and up to five well…I think).   All were those steam tables with pan-size wells instead of that baine-marie looking thingie in your picture.

    Thus far, I’ve never had to cut the hole in the counter-top either.  Just removed an old well unit and replace with a new one.  Removing old ones can always be a special challenge.


    I always followed install instructions provided.  All the ones I did had those twist-tabs around their perimeter to lock the well unit down in the counter-top’s rectangular hole.


    That could be painstaking process if there is poor access underneath to get at them with your big, flat screwdriver.


    For sealing them, the new ones all came with this long roll of putty tape, which gets applied under the flange.  I’d follow up by applying aluminum-colored (or clear) silicone around the outermost part of the flange’s underside.  Then, drop the whole thing on down and work at the twist-tabs at the critical points first (corners and mid-section).  Go above and clean up of any excess silicone by using denatured alcohol before the silicone starts setting up.  Then, go back underneath to twist ALL of the remaining tabs.


    Sitting here thinking about it, seems like I almost always did those things by myself.  Generally I’d just have it sitting somehow cock-eyed over the hole while I prepped the flange perimeter with those sealing materials, then lay myself underneath (maybe on a stack of sheet-pans or a dish rack) in order to bench press the whole thing up, square it up with the hole and then let it come on down.


    My thoughts also recollect my procedure not going as well as I’d envisioned it should.

  • ectofix

    March 16, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I guess this forum’s filter doesn’t like the word C-O-C-K.  Something wrong with a word that makes reference to a R-O-O-S-T-E-R or a phrase intending to indicate that something is crooked or askew; not level”?

  • olivero

    March 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Lol, its too close for comfort

  • olivero

    March 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Interesting, luckily my units are only hot so they don’t have drains or water supplies.


    Lucky you never had to do any of these, they suck to put in. Did one today, of course no one is around to help lift the damn thing out so its me having to lift this 22″ X 66″ bay and remove it by myself….


    Man, if they had those fancy twister clips, I would be in heaven, doing 1 of these takes like 8 hours when I am alone, that’s removing it, cleaning, marking holes, drilling holes, 5/16″ and then 3/8″, drop it back in and mark the flange for the studs, remove it again, TIG weld all 26 studs on, drop it in to make sure it fits, fix the f ups, try it again, fix the f ups or if its all good, clean the countertop again, apply silicone and drop it in, and under the buffet we go and try to get all these darn nuts on and tight before the silicone gets too dry on top………………… love it.


    It never goes the way I want it to. like today, everything was great until I put all the silicone down and forgot to tape it off…… so now it looks like dogs as$.


    Gotta do another 4 or 5 of these -.-

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