The type of work you do in the lab is the main factor for choosing the right materials for your laboratory worksurfaces, including your lab countertop options. Some processes may need specific countertop materials. It’s important to also consider your lab furniture, budget, and design preferences, which may mean using different materials in the same facility. Countertop materials are an important decision-making factor.
Phenolic resin Countertops
Phenolic resin is a long-established material that has many industrial applications. In the last two decades, it has also become a popular choice for laboratory and scientific worksurfaces. Phenolic is a cost-effective and versatile material that can withstand high levels of chemical exposure and abrasion due to its laminated structure. For applications that involve highly corrosive reagents, phenolic is an ideal option. Typically, you’ll find a Phenolic resin lab countertop used in Chemistry, Pathology, Immunology labs, and Life science applications.
Manufacturers produce Phenolic resin panels from paper and resin, both partially recycled. They impregnate the paper with resin and then heat and press it into a solid sheet. The sheets come in different thicknesses, from 6mm to 25mm. The color range of these panels is wider than epoxy, but some colors may take longer to source. Unlike epoxy, phenolic panels are not the same color throughout. They have a colored surface and a black core, which can create a nice contrast or a uniform look. Some online distributors and sales channels, such as LEI Sales, offer a large variety of Phenolic resin countertops that are worth evaluating.
Plastic Laminate Countertops
Plastic laminate is a type of material that consists of a thin layer of plastic, such as Formica, Micarta, or Wilson Art, bonded to a solid core of particle board or plywood with water resistant adhesive. Production of plastic laminate countertops involve applying this material to the top and edges of a counter surface, creating a durable and easy-to-clean work area.
Plastic laminate countertops are suitable for laboratory use when the lab does not involve exposure to harsh chemicals or high temperatures. These countertops provide moderate chemical resistance and can withstand occasional spills of mild acids, bases, and solvents. However, they aren’t a great choice for labs that use corrosive or flammable substances, or that require sterile or heat-resistant surfaces. Plastic laminate countertops are also more affordable than other types of lab countertops, such as epoxy resin, stainless steel, or phenolic resin.
For instance, a 5 foot countertop, made from plastic laminate, would therefore, be a good option for labs that perform chemical-free and dry experiments, such as physics, electronics, or biology labs. They’re also great in dry labs, product testing labs, and technology labs. Plastic laminate countertops are also available in hundreds of colors and patterns, which can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the lab environment.
The Right Source for Countertops
At LEI Sales, we have a wide selection of laboratory devices and furniture, both lightly-used and new pieces. Whether it’s a new 5 foot countertop plastic laminate unit you’re looking for, or a Phenolic resin countertop you wish to buy, check out our online catalogue. You’re certain to find exactly what you need.