Laboratory Worksurfaces: Epoxy Resin vs Phenolic Resin

Work surface (or work top) material selection is among the most critical laboratory furniture decision. The intended application dictates material choices. Surfaces could be exposed to reagents and caustic substances. Heavy equipment may need to be supported or only light duty tasks may be performed.

Epoxy resin and Phenolic resin countertops or work surfaces are amongst the popular choices. However, when faced with a choice, many people are confused which one to choose – epoxy or phenolic resin.

In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. Resins are usually mixtures of organic compounds. Synthetic resins are industrially produced resins, typically viscous substances that convert into rigid polymers by the process of curing.

Though both Epoxy and Phenolic laboratory worktops are resins, they differ in the way they are made. In this blog, we will compare the properties, advantages, and disadvantages of both the materials. The comparison should help you choose the best material that fits your laboratory needs.

How is it made? Epoxy resin work surfaces are made from a mixture of materials and then cured as a solid product. Phenolic resin work surfaces are manufactured by layering natural kraft paper saturated with phenolic resin and processed under high heat.
What is it made of? Resin, silica, and hardeners Resin, kraft paper
What are its strengths?
  • Heavy duty and highly durable
  • High resistance to heat and chemicals
  • Non-porous and resistant to water and moisture
  • High corrosive resistance
  • High scratch resistance
  • Contaminant free
  • Lightweight 
  • High bacterial & chemical resistance
  • Moderate to high corrosive resistance
  • High fungal, moisture resistance
  • High scratch resistance
  • Less expensive
What are its weaknesses?
  • Heavy & difficult to move around
  • More expensive
  • Less durable
  • Less heat resistance
How much does it weigh? 11 pounds per square foot 7.2 pounds per square foot
What is the heat resistance? Above 350 °F Up to 350 °F
How much does it cost? High (compared to Phenolic) Low (compared to Epoxy)
Where is it well suited for? Epoxy resin is well suited for harsh and extreme conditions, where high chemical and flame resistance is required. Phenolic resin is ideal for moderate applications.

Kewaunee, the global leader in total laboratory solutions, empowers organisations to achieve competitive advantage through safe, efficient, and contemporary laboratories. In existence since 1906, Kewaunee powers the laboratories for over 5,000 customers in more than 100 countries.

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