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What are the Benefits of Phenolic Material?

Those who have incorporated phenolic products in their projects understand the benefits of phenolic, but for those who haven’t, here is what every architect, designer, and building owner should know.

The lifecycle of solid phenolic products far exceeds that of similar building materials. Solid phenolic panels typically have a lifecycle of more than 20 years. The heavy-duty surfaces of phenolic result in little to no maintenance. The smooth, adhesive-free surface does not require special attention or harsh chemicals while cleaning, resulting in less maintenance time.

Sustainability and Durability
A 15-year durability study conducted by Spec-Rite Designs supports the longer lifecycle claim. The study analyzed the installations of thousands of projects over the course of 15 years, which included more than 1 million fabricated phenolic components. Results of the study found less than a .0004 percent failure rate, indicating that solid phenolic panels will never warp or delaminate because they are water, impact, scratch, and graffiti resistant.

The American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) conducted a series of tests that compared phenolic to metal, plastic, laminate, hardwoods, and stainless steel. Solid phenolic surpassed nearly every competing material in the ASTM tests, which tested impact, scratch, graffiti resistance, and smoke and flame spread.

Health Benefits
Phenolic panels are non-porous and non-microbial, preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold, and mildew that lead to poor air quality issues and the spreading of dangerous illness-causing microbes. These phenolic products can include furniture, laboratory tops, work surfaces, partitions, lockers, cabinets, and wall linings. In addition, the solid phenolic materials are GREENGUARD Certified and can contribute to LEED certification.

Phenolic Myths and Misconceptions
There are many myths and misconceptions about phenolic panels and it is important to know that not all fabricators of phenolic products are created equal. When considering phenolic products, it is essential to make sure that the fabricator follows the specific manufacturer’s strict guidelines and recommendations for storage, machining, and fastening methods to ensure the phenolic panels retain their look and function throughout their lifecycle.

Steve Kistner, general manager of Spec-Rite Designs, is an expert in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of solid phenolic products used widely across the commercial marketplace. Kistner has been with Spec-Rite Designs for 9 years and has more than 25 years of experience as a Sales/Marketing professional.

Spec-Rite Designs is a St. Louis, MO based manufacturing firm with a worldwide network of sales representatives and global distribution capabilities. Spec-Rite has been designing and manufacturing solid phenolic products for over two decades. Spec-Rite Designs is a MHS Legacy Group company, a diversified national holding corporation also based in St. Louis with roots dating back to 1895. For additional information please visit

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