Material Desciption Typical Applications – Notes Price Level: 1= AVG, 2=Elevated, 3=High
Epoxy Resin Monolithic blend of resins, (no added material layers) formed in molds at high temperature and fabricated into sheets, typically 3/4” or 1” thick. Designed and tested for extreme hardness and resistance to chemicals and extreme temperatures. Overall it has the widest range of compatibility with common lab chemicals. Backsplashes (curbs) can be ‘formed’ as one with the worksurface panel. Downside: Scratches or gouges cannot be ‘sanded’ out, but filer epoxy and colorizers can help. Panels/countertops may arrive not totally ‘flat’, which is the nature of the material. Material may need to adjust to ambient temperature for a few days prior to installation. Proper installation will provide a flat worksurface, but it will be less than ‘perfect’ than other materials, both in terms of its surface appearance and its flatness. Most common color is black, but gray, white and, occasionally, other colors may be specified, though at higher cost and longer lead times. Several edge options are offered, e.g., chamfered, square, ‘marine’ and others. Backsplashes and sinks in various sizes are available in this material. SCIENCE LABS, CHEMICAL EXPOSED ENVIRONMENTS.

‘Traditional’ science lab material that will do the job effectively in most aggressive chemical work environments. It’s not an environmentally friendly product to manufacture. Phenolic resin should be considered as a viable alternative, especially if chemical and temperature conditions are not extreme. There are only two epoxy resin manufacturers left in the U.S. so lead times can be long.

2-3. Epoxy resin is extremely heavy and freight costs can put it into the ‘3’ category, depending on delivery location and quantity.
Phenolic Resin Formed from natural kraft paper, saturated / impregnated with phonelic resin and processed under high heat and pressure. The resultant lab grade panel has the chemical and abrasion resistant properties required for harsh conditions in the wet laboratories of science labs and other facilities. With the exception of a few highly aggressive chemicals at high temperatures, phonelic resin comparability is comparable and should be reviewed by potential purchasers. It has higher scratch resistant properties due to top protective layers and sub layer films provide a range of colors. All edges are black as other colors are at top layer only. Sinks are not available in this material but drop in or under-mount epoxy resin sinks can be installed. SCIENCE LABS, CHEMICAL EXPOSED ENVIRONMENTS.

Phenolic resin is a more environmentally friendly product than epoxy resin, with lower outgassing. Available in several thicknesses, up to 1”. Thinner panels (e.g. 1/4”) are used to fabricate lockers, cabinets, fume hood interior panels, etc. Worksurface backsplashes are fabricated as separate panels and are bonded to worksurface and / or walls upon installation. Cellulose is a large component of the material, so users should be sure that their facility or jurisdiction does not have restrictions in place. Lead time are typically 2-4 weeks.

2. Similar cost to epoxy resin. It is also heavy but there are several manufactures and panels are stocked in multiple locations so freight cost impact can be lower than that for epoxy resin.
Phenolic Resin Formed from natural kraft paper, saturated / impregnated with phonelic resin and processed under high heat and pressure. The resultant lab grade panel has the chemical and abrasion resistant properties required for harsh conditions in the wet laboratories of science labs and other facilities. With the exception of a few highly aggressive chemicals at high temperatures, phonelic resin comparability is comparable and should be reviewed by potential purchasers. It has higher scratch resistant properties due to top protective layers and sub layer films provide a range of colors. All edges are black as other colors are at top layer only. Sinks are not available in this material but drop in or under-mount epoxy resin sinks can be installed. GENERAL USE FOR NON SPECIALTY APPLICATIONS.

Commonly specified for most ‘general’ applications – in labs, assembly, production engineering, etc. It can be fine in science labs with minor levels of water or reagent exposure. It may not be the best choice ‘hard’ use with tools, soldering, etc. Typical HPL worksurfaces and shelves are 1.125” – 1.25” inches thick. Color matched filler materials are available but gouges, cuts and scratches generally can’t be ‘cleanly’ repaired. Broader range of color selections.

1. HPL is the least expensive standard worksurface material.
HPL (High Pressure Plastic Laminate) Standard worksurface material, typical of office desktops. Common brands of laminate are Formica, Wilsonart, others. A 1/16” thick plastic laminate sheet is formed and bonded to the top and edges of core material (4 – 50lb. medium density particle board). It has strong durability & scratch resistant properties. Edging tends to chip over time, especially as a result of repeated chair contact, exposing the raw particle board core. A special abrasion resistant version is available. SENSITIVE ELECTRONICS.

Recommended surface for a wide variety of sensitive electronic devices. Tested and approved to meet ESD Association and various other industry standards. Works in conjunction with grounding kits, typically provided by the workbench manufacturer, which provide a ‘path to ground’ for damaging electrical charges.

1. HPL is the least expensive standard worksurface material.
ESD HPL (Static Control) Specialty laminate with an infused carbon labor under the surface. Designed for electrical dissipation. Limited color selection. On benches, typically a grounding bolt or sub-surface metal sheet, with a connecting ground wire, in contact with the carbon or other dissipation properties, completes the electrical path to ground circuit. SCIENCE LABS, CHEMICAL EXPOSED ENVIRONMENTS.

Good product for moderately aggressive chemicals and temperatures, as well as harsh cleaning agents.

2. On average, about 30% more expensive than standard HPL.
Chemical Resistant Laminate The Chemsurf product from Wilsonart is a treated laminate with good chemical and temperature resistant properties that are similar to those of phenolic resin. As a plastic laminate, it is subject to cracking and chipping over time. Most users prefer phenolic resin, which is comparably priced. SCIENCE LABS, CHEMICAL EXPOSED ENVIRONMENTS.

Good product for moderately aggressive chemicals and temperatures, as well as harsh cleaning agents.

2. Can be slightly higher cost than phenolic resin, depending on quantities, location, etc.
Stainless Steel Highly resistant to moisture, temperature and many chemicals. The ‘cleanest’ worksurfaces will be fabricated out of 100% SS, including support channels underneath. For lower grade cleanroom environments it can be formed over solid core material (particle board) with an HPL or melamine seal applied to the underside. #304 grade is the standard grade material, with higher grade #316 available. Most worksurfaces will include a ‘mill’ or ‘brush’ finish. Wire rack shelving, gowning racks and benches and lab cabinetry are all available in SS. An electropolish, mirror like finish is an expensive upgrade, sometimes specified for critical electronic cleanroom environments. CLEANROOMS – ELECTRONICS, SCIENCES, INDUSTRIAL.

Typically specified for high level electronics classrooms due to its lack of particle generation and particle entrapment potential. Biotech and pharmaceutical labs will often specify stainless steel due to its anti-microbial properties, as well as chemical and temp resistant properties. Due to its hardness and durability, SS worksurfaces over core material is sometimes appropriate for industrial, manufacturing and hard use applications.

3. Expensive, but multiples of standard sizes usually carry discounts.
Maple Butcherblock Solid maple worksurfaces, typically 1.75” thick, are composed of bonded maple strips. Wood tops are of course highly durable, and can be easily repaired by sanding and re-finishing. Various edge options may be specified, including full radius. Available in oiled and lacquer finishes. Classrooms, industrial processes, manufacturers, soldering, food service.