Selecting the right worktop materials for hospitals and healthcare facilities can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a list of the best materials to choose from.
Laminate is one of the most popular worktop materials for healthcare facilities due to its affordability and variety of patterns and colours. Laminate surfaces are made of tightly compressed layers of resin and paper over a thick layer of glued kraft paper. All of these layers are heated and stuck together to be cut and stuck onto vertical and horizontal wooden surfaces. However, laminate is best used on surfaces that don’t experience heavy use and can break down in environments with high levels of moisture.
Solid grade laminate (SGL)
Also known as compact grade laminate (CGL), solid grade laminate is generally used in laboratories, path labs, pharmacies etc. as it has good chemical resistance. It is made using layers with two decorative sides, saturated with thermosetting resin. This provides strength and durability, and makes it water and liquid proof.
Stainless steel is an extremely strong alloy of carbon and iron that is resistant to corrosion. In hospitals, stainless steel is usually used on kitchen work surfaces, operating room trays, shelves, racks, door handles and sinks. Stainless steel is an extremely tough material that can withstand variations in temperature and heavy use without breaking down. It is also a non-porous material, and so liquids cannot seep through and corrode the surface underneath or cause stains. Stainless steel is also an affordable material, but it can lose its shine and scratch easily, which can harbour bacteria if you don’t regularly clean your surfaces.
Acrylic ‘solid’ surfaces are synthetic worktop materials made of stone dust, pigments and acrylic resin. Because the components of this material are plastic, they can be moulded using heat. Acrylic surfaces are most often found in newly renovated healthcare facilities in the form of desks, tables, counters and sinks, as they are stain-resistant and are less prone to cracking, so they are less likely to harbour bacteria. Acrylic surfaces tend to be slightly more expensive than other materials and it’s important to clean them thoroughly between uses.