Material Differences: Richlite

CDI World

Over the years, the carpenter/installers in our Commercial Interiors division have worked with an impressive array of materials – from natural to man-made. Richlite is an intriguing blend of both.

Birthed in the Pacific Northwest in 1943 as an ultra-durable aerospace construction material, Richlite is a resin-impregnated, wood-fiber, paper-composite substance, heat-pressed into dense sheets that can serve many applications, from guitar fretboards to experimental sculpture

Home decor wholesaler, Accent Decor wanted an earthy yet contemporary look for the interior installation of their new Metro-Atlanta office and product design studios. We found Richlite’s ‘Little Tahoma’ product – water-resistant and next-level sanitary – the ideal choice for the countertops. 

Arriving in imposing, but highly workable, mill-finished sheets, we treated these Richlite surfaces intensively – scuffing and sanding each counter three times, then thrice applying a wax coating, which the fibers of the Richlite absorb well. By the end, our craftsmen got the material feeling epic to the touch – velvety and solid. 

Energized by the growing integration of natural fiber products into various construction materials, it doesn’t surprise us, that after decades of industrial popularity, Richlite has been trending upwards in the consumer sector. Since its resurgence in the early 2000s, its capacity to age well, a bit like leather, has inspired designers worldwide. 

For CDI World, collaboration with vendors who share our values around sustainability is important. Richlite’s certification with the Forest Stewardship Council  ensures their wood-fiber products are sourced from well-managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefit – yet another plus point for a great material.

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