Lab Tops • Lab Hoods • Lab EquipmentLaboratory countertops come in many different materials, surfaces, and styles. So what is the right choice for your lab? In order to select the countertop that suits your needs, you must consider how it will be used and what materials, chemicals, and temperatures it will come in contact with, as well as the countertop's quality, design, and cost.
Here's a rundown on some of the most commonly-installed laboratory countertop materials.
Epoxy resinCountertops made of epoxy resin are a very popular choice in today's laboratories. Why? They resist moisture, solvents, heat, acid, and abrasions, basically withstanding whatever comes their way. They are nice to look at and reasonable in price.
Solid phenolicWhen it comes to resisting moisture, solvents, heat, acid, and abrasions, solid phenolic countertops perform very similarly to those made of epoxy resin. The difference is that solid phenolic, which is made of layered phenolic coated paper that is cured under pressure and heat, is much lighter and easier to install. That being said, solid phenolic countertops are also more expensive than epoxy resin countertops.
High-pressure plastic laminateThe most budget-friendly of all the countertops, made of plastic laminate, do not perform nearly as well as epoxy resin or solid phenolic when it comes to strength or chemical resistance. Plastic laminate is a combination of wood fiber, phenolic resins, and melamine, and works nicely in labs that aren't using chemical, acidic, hot, or moist applications. Plastic laminate is a particularly good choice for dry labs, and is a popular choice in technology labs. It comes in a variety of colors and is attractive to look at.
Stainless steelStainless steel countertops are the most expensive of the lot, and are best used in labs with special circumstances. They are well-suited to radioactive and bacteriological work, as well as laboratory work involving use of organic solvents. Stainless steel countertops come in a variety of grades and finishes.
Natural stoneNatural stone slabs, made of sandstone or soapstone, are often used for laboratory countertops. Sandstone, impregnated with a baked-on resin surface, is resistant to chemicals but not to high, continuous heat. Soapstone has long been used for laboratory countertops in school science labs because it resists reactions from acids and chemicals, as well as stains. It also withstands heat and does not absorb liquid. Granite is another choice for laboratory countertops; however, granite is only moderately resistant to chemicals.
Other countertopsAdditional countertop materials include polypropylene, ceramic tile, and solid surface. Natural wood, in the form of hardwood butcher block, is sometimes used in electronic labs and for physical test tables. Depending on the lab's application, one of these surfaces may be suitable.
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Laboratory Countertops Guide - Lab Countertops