When working on your dental office design one of the details that needs attention is the type of countertops to use in various applications. There are countertops throughout a dental office design and, while the various countertops may coordinate, they certainly do not have to be made of the same materials. There are various considerations that go into the selection of the countertop material to use, such as location, client visibility, moisture levels, and price.
In wet areas, such as a lab or sterilization room, I typically recommend using a solid surface material such as Corian®, as laminates can often have seams that do not handle a lot of moisture well. In these same rooms, however, if there isn’t really going to be a lot of moisture a plastic laminate will work just fine and save on cost.
In staff lounges I typically recommend plastic laminates as these rooms rarely get visited by patients and one can save on the cost of a solid surface material. Not that I’m suggesting the staff is less important, but I believe that to get the greatest return on investment one should spend design dollars where patients can see the difference.
Now, if there is the possibility for extreme heat exposure to the countertop, I only recommend granite. Of all of the countertop material choices granite is the most indestructible and the most heat resistant. One can put an extremely hot pan or iron directly on the countertop and never have an issue. The same cannot be said of any other material.
In public spaces, such as the client bath, operatories, and especially the front counter, I recommend stepping up to something other than a plastic laminate. Solid surfaces, whether they be a Corian® type material, concrete, quartz, or a natural stone, all give the impression of quality that plastic laminates just aren’t able to do. So, to best communicate solidity and quality in your dental practice it is important to spend the additional dollars on a countertop made from one of these other materials. The old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” To cement in the minds of your patients and prospective patients the quality of your practice you want the front reception counter to make a good impression.