choosing epoxy vs phenolic work surfaces

How to Choose the Right Scientific Countertop

Architects, B2B engineers and procurement personnel often find themselves choosing between these two scientific surface solutions. What are the differences between phenolic and epoxy when considering countertop material for your worktop or cabinetry application?

Let us look at a 1″ thick surface board and compare them for an instance of selecting between countertop materials. 

10 things to consider between phenolic resin and epoxy resin scientific surfaces

1. Cost

A standard black Epoxy resin board costs 35% more per square foot than phenolic resin, such as single sided black TopLab plus.
Verdict: Phenolic resin boards have a cost advantage since they come at a lower price point.

2. Lead Time

Lead Time for standard colors of phenolic 1″ Trespa TopLab Plus boards is 5-10 business days. Lead Time for Black Epoxy resin tops is 8 weeks.
Verdict: Expect a much shorter lead time with phenolic boards, and consider additional color options and advantages with phenolic boards below.

3. Warranty

Standard conditional warranty is 10 years for both phenolic resin and epoxy resin.
Verdict: Both materials have the same standard warranty.
epoxy resin and phenolic resin

4. Color Options

Phenolic colors are the same price with the exception of speckled grey, which is an up-charge. Epoxy colors, other than black, fall into three tiers, each carrying an upcharge ranging from 10% to 25% over the previous tier.
Verdict: Phenolic has an advantage with more cost-effective color options and range.

5. Sustainability

Phenolic resin uses recycled wood fibers as the bonding agent for the resin, which is non-toxic when fabricated whereas epoxy resin uses silica, which is a carcinogen that is toxic when fabricated.
Verdict: Phenolic has a huge advantage with sustainability since epoxy contains toxic characteristics.

6. Seniority

Epoxy resin surface tops have stood the test of time as the standard for lab-grade work surfaces for decades whereas phenolic resin surface tops are not as seasoned.
Verdict: Epoxy has been around longer, however phenolic material is growing in popularity because of its affordability and sustainable attributes.

7. Weight

Phenolic resin weighs approximately 10 pounds per square foot whereas epoxy resin weighs over 11 pounds per square foot. More weight means higher shipping costs.
Verdict: Phenolic weighs less without sacrificing quality. If you choose phenolic resin, you also save on shipping costs, which would add up especially if you have a large order.

8. Machineability

Epoxy resin can be more difficult and time-consuming to fabricate due to its heavier weight coupled with requiring diamond tipped tooling. Phenolic resin can be easier on machinery due to its wood fiber consistency and just standard wood tooling can do the job.
Verdict: Phenolic is much easier to work with if you plan to manipulate the material yourself, or have a distributor with limited capabilities.

9. Chemical Resistance

Both surfaces are non-porous and highly resistant to chemicals. A comparison of chemical resistance of epoxy resin vs. phenolic resin yielded similar effects in many areas, with the exception of certain chemicals (Acetone, Phosphoric Acid 85%, Sulfuric Acid 25% to 33%).  Phenolic resin showed no detectable change in the material surface and epoxy resin showed slight detectable change in color/gloss, but no change in function or life of the surface.

Sulfuric acid 96% showed a slight detectable change in color/gloss but no change in function or life of the phenolic surface versus epoxy surface, which showed an objectionable change in appearance due to discoloration or etching.
Verdict: Phenolic consistently showed no change of material surface for most chemicals, giving phenolic another advantage over epoxy.

Solid Phenolic Compact

10. Heat Resistance

Phenolic resin countertops can withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit whereas epoxy resin can handle temperatures over and above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, including some epoxy that can withstand temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Verdict: Epoxy has a higher heat resistance.


Phenolic resin has the bigger advantages in cost, color options, weight (for shipping costs), machinability, and chemical resistance – all which prove phenolic resin to be a winner in our book.

However, if you need higher heat resistance and prefer to trust a longstanding contender, epoxy resin would be your option.

If you have more questions about scientific surfaces and lab countertop applications or cabinetry, contact us.