Lab countertops and work surfaces are the most abused area of the laboratory. Labs need work surfaces that resist chemicals, heat, water, microbes and movement. The most common choices for lab countertops are epoxy, phenolic resin, and steel.
To choose the right countertop for your lab, first consider the type of research you do. The type of chemicals makes a difference. Using heat is also a factor. Finally, you need to consider price and longevity.
Lab countertops are commonly made from chemical and heat resistant materials like epoxy resin and phenolic resin (Trespa). They are available in many colors and edge treatments.
Epoxy countertops are durable, solid surfaces that resist scratches and corrosion. Epoxy resin is non-porous and flame retardant.
Phenolic resin countertops are made by pouring resin over layers of natural kraft paper. They are very lightweight and durable. Phenolic resin resists bacteria and scratches, and also holds up to impact. However, it does not hold up well for use with open flames.
Steel countertops are also a great non-porous surface. No bacteria can seep into the material. However, they are not scratch resistant.
For labs that test chemicals, we recommend not using plastic laminate, chemical resistant laminate, solid surface or other stone products. This is because they do not provide adequate resistance to heat and chemicals.