Best Epoxy Resin for Countertops
You may know that epoxy resins offer a whole host of artistic possibilities. In most cases, these substances are used by artists and hobbyists for a variety of crafts and art projects.
Because this is basically a plastic, and one that is extremely easy to shape, your creativity is its only real limit. Let’s look at the best epoxy resins for countertops and how you can benefit from using it.
Best Epoxy Resins for Countertops in September, 2021
|Sealer||Cure time (hours)||Covers at 1/8|
|1|| Pro Marine|
|12-14||12.5 sq ft|
|2||East Coast Epoxy||16-20||12 sq ft|
|3||SRC Epoxy||16-20||12 sq ft|
|4||TotalBoat||16-20||12.8 sq ft|
|5||MAS Clear||>24||12 sq ft|
|6||Premium Epoxy||24||12 sq ft|
|7||Dr. Crafty Resin||16-20||12 sq ft|
|8||Superclear Resin||16-20||12 sq ft|
|9||Primaloc Epoxy||12-14||16 sq ft|
|10||Zdsticky Epoxy||18-24||14 sq ft|
Here are the best epoxy resins for countertops you can get.
As you can probably tell from the tagline, this product is made by a company that used to manufacture boating supplies but this fact makes this epoxy even better because their experience comes in handy here. This has a lot to do with this epoxy’s qualities. Most DIYers and woodworkers including me seem to agree that this product handles the job in an efficient and effective way. This epoxy resin is great for beginners because of its properties. I’ve used this many so many times and can definitely say that this is the top epoxy resin. It is one of the more expensive items on our list, but its price isn’t low enough or high enough to be a big factor in either direction.
Resists Water Like A Duck
This one is more waterproof than most epoxy resins, and so it can be used for a wider variety of things. For one thing, it can be used for outdoor projects thought I recommend using epoxy resins indoors in most cases.You can use it as a thin layer, a thick layer, or as a cavity filler. Either way, you won’t have to worry about the rain or humidity at all.
This stuff bonds to virtually any surface, and that makes it suitable for a wider variety of projects. The manufacturer lists 30 different objects and materials to which the product can easily bond. These include wood, stone, ceramics, metals, and some synthetic materials like Formica and laminates.
Pro Marine Epoxy resin contains no VOCs, so you don’t have to worry about respiratory problems, cancer or else scary thing.It has very little odor while you’re working but it’s fully gone when epoxy is hardened completely.
This is very durable epoxy resin, I can’t really say if it’s the most durable, but one of the most durable definitely. You need to maintain about 80 deegres in your room if you want this epoxy to cure properly and hard. Mix it until it reaches 90-95 degrees and then pour on your wooden piece. If you’ve done all properly your epoxy will easily resist scratches and other physical damage.
This one is marketed as a highly durable product, and it seems to live up to the hype. Most of those who have reviewed this product say that it makes for a hard and scratch-resistant finish. When dealing with surfaces that will see a lot of use (like countertops), this added durability is a serious benefit.
Strong But Gentle
This one is also easier to work with than most others, as its smell is not terribly strong. In fact, it is completely odorless once cured, even if you put your nose right against the epoxy resin. Even before the curing process is done, this product is gentle enough that you should be able to apply it without a mask. The non-toxic nature will also put your mind at ease when using it for kitchen surfaces.
A Great Value
Another selling point of this product is its lower price. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest products on my list. Because it still does its job despite being a little cheaper, it definitely gets the highest marks in the value department. I also like the fact that this product is very easy to sand, shave, or carve until it has fully cured.
You knew there would be a few problems here, and so did I. Because this is a super-hard epoxy resin, it can sometimes have issues with cracking. Things that are excessively hard have a tendency to be brittle (for instance, look at the differences between iron and steel). As such, you might need to adjust the mixing ratio so that there is a little less hardener in there. Apart from this, the product dries within 30 minutes, giving you relatively little working time.
The advertising for this product shows off several attractive countertops, tables, benches, and bowling lanes that have been treated with the product. Right away, I can say that it offers a high degree of beauty, which is (probably) why they included those images. There is no doubt that this product gives a crystal-clear shine that adds a welcome touch of beauty to any compatible surface.
Good For Beginners
Most users seem to agree that this product is also pretty easy to use. That makes it a good choice for beginners, as it is a little more forgiving of mistakes. I see that it gives about 45 minutes of working time, which is good enough for most projects. That self-leveling feature, however, is the main thing that makes this product easier to use. That feature means fewer bubbles and less time spent using the torch or heat gun.
Good For Those Weird Projects
It can bond with all kinds of different surfaces, and I don’t see any real restrictions on this. As such, it might be a good choice to get this epoxy resin for the weird projects that make use of uncommon materials.
This product is more expensive than most of the others on my list, but that is a minor concern. The price is only a little bit higher than the rest, and so it won’t make much difference, but there is another issue that will. When we look at the negative reviews for this product, we find that they are much fewer in number, but they are consistent. Most of the negative reviews said that the product failed to harden properly. Some even claimed that it ruined their projects and wouldn’t cure at all.
Like the first product on my list, this one was originally made for boating. In fact, it seems to have been marketed primarily to amateur boat makers. Even if you don’t plan on building a dinghy anytime soon, it’s good to know that you have a product that resists water effectively.
Good For The Serious Projects
I often hear stories about people who ruin expensive and extensive projects by using cheap epoxy resin. This is a terrible idea, and so I recommend using an epoxy resin that is priced proportionately to the cost of your project. This product is a high-end option, but it does have the beauty, quality, and durability that are needed.
Meant For Smoothness And Longevity
When you use this epoxy resin on a polished surface, the effect is so shiny that it almost looks like it’s still wet. Many people like this well-polished look, as it is both attractive and distinguished. It tends to level itself as you pour, although you do need to make sure it is resting on a level surface. Most also seem to agree that this product won’t turn yellow over time. I hear a lot of reports that speak of this problem, but very few in relation to this product.
Apart from its relatively high cost, I do see a few negatives in this package. For one thing, this product creates a lot of heat when mixed. It is normal for a two-part epoxy resin to generate some heat as it’s being mixed, but this one goes a little too far. Make sure to use something that is a little more sturdy. I can also see that this product is a little bit picky about temperature conditions, so make sure you read and follow those instructions to the letter.
This is another high-end epoxy resin that will cost you a little bit more. However, it’s high level of quality leaves no doubt as to why. One look at the results achieved with this product can tell you that it’s specifically well-suited for artists. The label does say that the product is formulated for that purpose, so it isn’t just a first impression.
The Thickness Is The Main Selling Point
This particular company has been making epoxy resin for more than 25 years, and that does count for something. They wouldn’t have stayed in business that long without offering quality products that people like. That might be why this one is so distinct from the others. The main thing that makes it distinct is its thick consistency.
Because this stuff is thicker than the others, it is very well-suited to hand spreading. It’s not as good for a deep pour, but the product isn’t really intended for that anyway. This company makes a different kind of epoxy that is meant for deep pouring, so we won’t judge them too harshly for this one. This epoxy resin kit comes with a brush and a spreader, which is a nice little bonus.
This epoxy resin also offers a high convenience factor. One gallon will cover about 12 square feet of table or counter, which is a lot better than some of the others I have seen. I also like the fact that it cures within 24 hours or less, as this means less time before you can use the surface again. Those UV blockers should keep everything crystal clear for a long time to come.
Because of its thick, goopy consistency, you might have a harder time getting a mirror-smooth finish out of this one. It is definitely possible, but you will have to use a hand spreader and brush to get it right. The product says that it’s self-leveling, but I don’t see any evidence of that. This epoxy resin also has a tendency to form more bubbles than most, so don’t neglect that thin preliminary layer. Even still, you can expect to spend a little more time behind the heat gun with this product.
This epoxy resin was formulated to use for various purposes. You can use this epoxy resin to bind stone or wood however, you must ensure that the stone is clean before you apply the product. This multi-purpose epoxy resin can be used on outdoor furniture, just make sure that you allowed it to cure properly before exposing it to direct sunlight or weather elements.
Not Just for Table Top, Fiberglass and Small Casting
This epoxy resin is multi-purpose indeed because you can use this for a marine application such as building a boat. You must pour it in stages if you plan to use it for large surfaces such as a river table or orgonite. You can do multiple pours depending on the thickness that you are aiming for.
Keep It at Room Temperature
Cold weather can affect this product making it thicker whereas heat speeds up curing. You must keep the resin at room temperature before you use it. When applying the resin you can use a brush, squeegee, flood coat, or trowel. It is highly recommended that you store this chemical in a dry, safe, and temperature-controlled environment. Do keep the lids tightly close when you are not going to use it.
When handling chemicals think of your safety. Use protective gear when applying this product. Use gloves, goggles, and other safety gear. Avoid inhaling the fumes even if it emits a low odor. Read and follow the MSDS or manufacturer safety data sheet before using this epoxy resin product.
Resin Pouring Art
This epoxy resin is easy to use even if you are a beginner. You can also use this if you are into fluid art painting. The curing stage will give you the time that you need to make your art before setting. The colors will stay without fading.
This is an epoxy resin product that offers you endless possibilities. You can use this epoxy resin for wood finishes and many more applications. One of its best features is the ability to remain crystal clear most of the time. This epoxy is fully resistant to yellowing too. Ideal for those who have carpal tunnel syndrome because the epoxy resin mixture has a thinner consistency than the average resin making it easy to mix.
For Pros and Beginners
Whether you are thinking of starting that exciting DIY project or you are an experienced handyman this epoxy resin provides you the features that you need to start creating. If you hate imperfections, it is advisable to use the heat gun to get rid of the air bubbles and other displeasing features on your countertop project.
Make sure that your workspace has 50% humidity. Do not forget to use the measuring cups to ensure that you got the perfect ratio of 1:1 of hardener to resin. You will get better results if you mixed the formula for several minutes. Wear protective gear while you are busy with your project.
Great for Live Edge Woodworking and Countertops
Test the product first on smaller projects before you commit to larger ones. You might need more than just one kit to fill in voids. This epoxy resin comes with a kit that uses measuring cups and spatulas. How convenient is that? You will not need to go to the hardware store to buy these.
Take note of curing time since this is what makes or breaks whatever project you wish to accomplish. When used on countertops allow the product to sit for at least 20 hours before you touch it. The waiting time is worth it for a wooden countertop that looks glass-like.
This manufacturer uses high-grade premium ingredients and UV additives. Their 50 years’ experience in manufacturing resins and adhesives makes them one of the leading companies in this field. Best known applications to use on: coffee tables, river tables, side table, countertops, live-edge tables, step casting art, and even on small jewelry casting. Super Clear is known for giving your bar top that resilient shine. The result is a wet and glossy look.
The Right Mix
When you use this epoxy resin for large projects it would be ideal to mix not more than a half-gallon at a time. Those who use this epoxy resin notice that the more you mix the hotter the resin becomes. Hot temperature will cause it to cure quicker which means you would have lesser time to work using this epoxy. You can expect it to cure in less than 5 minutes. It would help to get a bucket of hot water and warm the resin bottles on it to avoid a large number of bubbles. Complete setting time will normally take a day.
The instructional manual gives you the idea that this epoxy resin will work best for any kind of surface like tables and countertops. To prevent bad mixing users mention scraping the sides of your mixing container and finishing mixing by pouring the epoxy resin into different containers.
High-Grade UV Resistance
High-grade additives are used in the formula to produce a crystal clear color. Some epoxies tend to turn yellow over time. Your project will stay crystal clear far longer than those offered by other epoxy resin makers.
Easier to Work with Colors
If you have been using epoxy resin for a long period you may have noticed that most paints like acrylic and oil-based ones do not work with epoxy resin. If you try to attempt using an ordinary epoxy this will usually have negative results.
Are you looking for an epoxy that will work with mica powder pigment, liquid pigments, inks, and dyes? Most users say that this is the ideal epoxy resin because it can evenly distribute the color and suspending inks and powders.
Premium Grade Sealant
When it comes to tabletops and countertops you need durability. Super Clear was crafted with an 80+ D shore strength rating formula when it’s fully cured. This epoxy is a self-leveling sealant. This product offers an accelerated curing capacity that you can use when you need to seal gaps, joints, and cracks. As a result, you save time and money. It also makes you finish your project faster.
Primaloc gives your countertop that beautiful finish that brings it to life. It also helps that this epoxy is a first-rate scratch-resistant resin. You will only get good results if you follow the directions carefully and use the right techniques. With the right approach, your countertops will look like glass.
One of the most common mistakes when using Primaloc is not mixing it long enough. The result is an under-cured epoxy resin and sticky or soft surface. The solution is to mix and stir it well during blending to avoid unbalance areas when some are hard and some are tacky but not hard enough.
For Scratch Wooden Tables
A durable table can withstand whatever you throw or put on it. Those who do epoxy resin projects for a living would highly recommend that you use at least several layers of resin to create a strong coating. Your table will not just be scratch resistant alone but, can withstand cracks, chemicals, and stains too.
Not For the Outdoors
This epoxy might be scratch-free but, it does turn yellow when exposing to the sun and weather elements. It is not advisable to use this epoxy resin on an outdoor project (actually I prefer to use epoxy resins indoors).
Using the Right Tool
To avoid air bubbles from forming, use a plumber’s torch and the heat gun. One of the useful techniques shared by users is that they try to use measuring pumps because no matter how clean the residue, it will get sticky.
Sets At the Right Temperature
It takes about three days to make the epoxy resin set properly. According to Primaloc, you should maintain it at 75 degrees to get the best results. This epoxy resin hardens pretty quickly. Do keep this in mind while working on any project that you choose.
Zdssticky is an environmentally friendly epoxy resin. When the time comes for you to replace this epoxy resin it will not end up polluting our planet. This epoxy resin uses renewable resources which means reduced carbon footprint; less harm to our planet. However, the downside is that it smells a bit compared to other epoxies. The solution is to work in a ventilated area and wear a mask.
ZDS as it is fondly referred is useful for DIY use as well as for large furniture factory projects too. This epoxy resin is suitable both for indoor and outdoor bar counters. Once it is fully cured it can hold weight however, this will depend on the thickness of the wood epoxy resin that you applied versus how much weight you plan to hold.
Achieve Crystal Clear Finish
Stir slowly when mixing to keep it bubble-free. Use a heat gun. The flames from the heat gun will pop tiny bubbles that appear on your countertop. The result is crystal clear like glass with zero microbubbles. Avoid scratching the surface for a day or so. ZDS epoxy resin has good coating properties beyond ordinary resins. You will be glad about its self-leveling performance too.
This product is low heat. Start by keeping the bottles warm. This resin stays liquid unless you are in a room that has from 80 to 85 degrees. Most users would agree that when you stay at 85 degrees your work will cure faster. You must stick to the instructions in the manual to avoid problems with your countertop project.
Perfect for Art
ZDS cures slowly. If you are into art using this epoxy resin it’s easier to create vases, beach wave art effect, and droplets for embellishments. When cured this wood epoxy resin helps you achieve a hard plastic finish.
What Is Epoxy Resin?
You probably know that epoxy resin is a super-powerful adhesive, but most people don’t know anything other than that. An epoxy is technically known as an epoxide, and it is a polymer with very specific and useful properties. There are a number of different epoxide substances, and any of them can be used to make an epoxy resin.
In order for the epoxide substance to become a viable adhesive, it has to be hardened and cured. This is achieved by mixing it with some other substance. This type of reaction is called “catalysis,” and its’ chemical agents are called “catalysts.” You may have heard this term before, as many people use it in common speech.
How Are Catalysts Used To Make Epoxy Work?
A catalyst works by activating and accelerating chemical reactions, which is why they are so useful to chemists. Most epoxy resin is made by taking an epoxide called epichlorohydrin and mixing it with a catalyst called bisphenol-A. However, there are a lot of different formulas that can give the same results.
- Polyfunctional amines
- Acidic anhydrides
As you probably know, most epoxy resin consists of two parts: The epoxy itself and the hardener. Now, you should understand why this stuff is sold as two products, and what each component does. Your hardener might contain any of the substances listed above, a combination of them, or others not listed. The hardener is just the catalyst that activates a chemical reaction in a synthetic polymer.
The Various Types Of Epoxy Resin
Some people will try to tell you that there is a difference between “epoxy” and “epoxy resin.” Technically, this is true, but the difference is not a significant one. The term “epoxy” is used as a general term for any glue of this type. It covers both the epoxide and the hardener. “epoxy resin” on the other hand, simply refers to the active ingredient (the epoxide itself).
You will see many different types of epoxy resin on the shelves of your local hardware store, but there isn’t much difference between them. Most of them will just be variations on the same basic design that we have already explained. The only real differences lie in their “extra features,” which I will cover later on. However, there is one exception to this trend, and that would be the single-component epoxies.
There are certain epoxies that do not have to be mixed. There is more than one way to accelerate (catalyze) a reaction. Two-part epoxies do it through a direct mixing, but one-part epoxies use a different approach. They incorporate the hardener and the epoxy resin into one substance. To prevent a premature reaction, they use hardeners that can only be activated in the presence of heat.
These epoxies must be activated using a heat source, and there are many ways in which to do this. Small objects can be put into an oven on low heat, while larger objects will require heat guns or even large heating elements. Some one-part epoxies even come with heating elements to help make sure the job is done correctly.
So, why aren’t these one-component epoxies more popular? Well, there are two reasons for that fact. They might be easier to use, but they are also a lot more expensive. To see how much more expensive, let’s compare some prices. Here is an ad for a standard two-part epoxy resin, and it comes from one of the leading brands. As you can see, this product is pretty cheap. Now, let’s take a look at an ad for a one-part epoxy like this one. As you can see, the price difference is shockingly huge.
Which Is Stronger: 1-Part Or 2-Part?
Apart from the obvious price differences, single-part epoxy resin is often known to be weaker than two-part epoxies. I was not able to find any definitive comparisons between the two, except for those with an obvious commercial bias. However, I can illustrate the difference by looking at the most powerful adhesive in the world.
The Guinness Book Of World Records is a respectable source, so let’s see if they have any records on this kind of thing. According to their figures, the strongest adhesive in the world is called Delo Duopox. It’s an industrial adhesive made in Germany, and it recently broke the world record. This happened only a few months ago, and the video is pretty impressive.
As you can see by watching this video from the same company, their strongest adhesive is a two-part epoxy resin that is dispensed from a gun-like tool. Thus, we have another reason for the fact that one-part epoxies are not commonly used. They are definitely a “special purpose” kind of product. They are only useful for situations in which quick drying is the most important factor, like vertical gluing.
History Of Epoxy Resin
There is some dispute as to the invention of this product, but most sources seem to agree that the first epoxy resin was made by a German scientist named Paul Schlack. He did this while working for a company called I.G. Farben, and the patent from 1934 has survived.
Schlack’s work laid the groundwork, but it didn’t produce the familiar type of epoxy resin that we know today. That happened two years later and resulted from the work of a Swiss scientist named Pierre Castan. He mixed epichlorohydrin with bisphenol-A, in much the same way that epoxies are still made today, setting a trend that is still going. Some others have attempted to give credit to a man named Sylvan Greenlee, but it seems that his epoxy-related work did not begin until 1939.
By 1946, epoxies had become commercially available and started gaining in popularity. Dr. Catan’s work was licensed to a company called Ciba, and it grew from there. By changing the process slightly, Sylvan Greenlee was able to get a different patent for his employer, a company called DeVoe and Reynolds. Since then, the formula for this substance has not changed very much. New processes have been invented, and new additives have been used to provide little “tweaks,” but the methods and ingredients haven’t changed all that much since Catan’s time.
How To Apply Epoxy Resin for Countertops
There are many different ways to apply epoxy resin, and this versatility accounts for some of its usefulness. We will mainly concentrate on the use of two-part epoxies, simply because they are a lot more common.
Step 1: Precautions
You should start by taking some basic precautions before you even open the package. Epoxy resin isn’t exactly a high-risk substance, but mishaps can certainly happen. Because this glue is so strong, those mishaps can cause a lot more damage than the white glue you used to play with as a kid. That’s why you need a set of rubber gloves to protect your hands. It may be hard to use this stuff without getting at least a little bit on your hands, so don’t neglect this part.
Some people recommend a respirator, but that isn’t really needed as long as you’re working in a well-ventilated area.
As a final safety precaution, make sure to read all warnings and instructions on the package of your epoxy product. Even though these substances aren’t that diverse, you should never go into anything uninformed. If you want to make sure that the area around your project remains clean, you might consider the use of wax paper. Epoxy resin does not stick to wax paper (or waxy things, in general), and the stuff is cheap enough to be used disposably.
Other things that will resist the stickiness of an epoxy include:
- Most tape
- HDPE and PVC
- Hot glue
- Most other plastics
Step 2: Prep
Even though a tube of epoxy glue won’t break the bank, it is still a lot more expensive than most other adhesives. Thus, you don’t want to be wasteful, and that means you need to get it right the first time. That’s why you should always clean the surface that is to be cleaned. Use something that won’t leave any residues behind, as those can interfere with good adhesion. Rubbing alcohol is an ideal choice because it evaporates completely in a short amount of time.
You should also prepare some way to cover your project while it is drying. Random hairs from pets or humans, dust in the air, and all sorts of other things can come between your epoxy resin and its target. A simple plastic bag or a small piece of plastic sheeting (i.e., painter’s plastic) should be enough to do the job. You also need to make sure that your surface is as level as possible so that the glue won’t run as it dries.
Surface prep is a very important part of this job. You will need to remove any old paint, varnish, or any other coatings that may be present. Again, anything that comes between the two objects to be glued will create interference. You may also wish to lightly sand your surfaces to give them a little bit more traction. Finally, you need to make sure that your surfaces can fit together tightly, leaving no significant gaps.
Step 3: Mixing
You might think it is insanely easy to mix the epoxy with the hardener, and that it requires no real explanation. Unfortunately, there are several mistakes that can easily be made at this stage. If you have bought your epoxy in a double tube, you will have fewer worries because the amounts are already pre-measured. You just squeeze both of them into a disposable container (like a plastic cup) and mix them with a stick until the mixture is homogenous.
Make sure you don’t use styrofoam because this chemical reaction will generate a little bit of heat. It is what chemists call an exothermic reaction, which is a fancy way of saying that it extrudes heat instead of consuming such. If it consumed the heat, it would be an endothermic reaction. Anyway, all you really need to know is that the heat from the reaction is likely to melt or deform a styrofoam cup.
If you are doing a larger project, you will probably want to avoid those pre-filled tubes. It simply isn’t cost-effective to buy those in large numbers, so you’re better off buying in bulk. That will often mean one large bottle of epoxide and one large bottle of hardener. Make sure you mix them in the exact proportions recommended by the manufacturer. The vast majority of mixing issues happen because someone got their proportions wrong.
To understand proper mixing, you just have to understand the difference between measuring by weight and measuring by volume. One of these things (weight) measures mass, while volume is a measure of how much space is taken up by the liquid. When you see proportions like 1:2, that is a measurement by volume. It represents one part of the first ingredient for every two parts of the second ingredient. Thus, if you five milliliters of the first ingredient, you would then use ten millimeters of the second ingredient. Measurements by weight are not commonly used for epoxy.
Step 4: Application
When you apply the epoxy resin, you want to work quickly before the product sets itself in place. At the same time, you want to make sure you take the time to do things right. Using your stirring stick, dab the epoxy in the right place and do a quick test fit to make sure the pieces will fit together properly (may not always be necessary). Once you see that the adhesion process had begun, you will need to hold everything in place until it has hardened.
We should talk a little bit about bubbles here. An epoxy resin will often form small bubbles on the surface as it dries, especially during the early stages. This is because a chemical reaction is occurring when you mix the epoxy and the hardener. Like many other chemical reactions, it results in the formation of gas. This gas cannot escape easily, so it forms bubbles. Thankfully, a little bit of gentle heating will pop the bubbles and remove them safely. Propane torches, heat guns, and blow dryers are often used for this purpose, but there are many other possibilities. Failure to remove excess bubbles could weaken the bond you are trying to create, as each one represents a tiny air pocket.
It is important to remember the difference between hardening and curing. A hardened epoxy resin is no longer in a liquid or gel-like state, but only after curing will it achieve maximum hardness and solidity. Curing time varies considerably from one product to another, but you need to make sure that the curing time has elapsed before you actually try to use the glued item for anything.
Step 5: Modification
I should go ahead and tell you that this step is optional. You don’t really need to alter your epoxy resin product, but it is a lot of fun to get creative. In fact, epoxy resin has become a very popular art medium. One quick internet search will show you all kinds of amazing decorative projects that have been done with epoxy resin. It can be cast into any shape you want, much like any other plastic. However, because it exists as a liquid first, it is far easier to cast and shape than other plastics.
Perhaps the most common modification is the addition of dye. Some others like to add mica for a pleasing pearlescent effect, or you can mix the two to create stunning iridescent colors of all kinds. All you have to do is take equal parts of epoxide and hardener, put them in a small cup, add your chosen type of dye, and mix until the desired color is achieved. You can stir it with a stick, but don’t take too long in doing so.
You can also embed objects in the resin while it is in this stage. However, you should be aware that most epoxies give you a limited working time once the substance has been mixed. Thus, you will need to work quickly and efficiently if you expect to get good results. For projects with a long working time, this kind of thing might be a bad idea.
If you choose to embed objects, pictures, etc. in your epoxy resin for decorative purposes, you have to prepare them properly. Epoxies contain a certain amount of water and other solvents, which evaporate as the glue dries. However, they can ruin certain objects (like photos or printed images) pretty easily. To prevent this, any items to be embedded should be encased in clear-coat polyurethane. 2-3 coats of a poly-coat spray should be enough to protect them properly.
A Guide To Epoxy Resin Features
There are quite a few different features that are included in commercial epoxy products. You’ve probably seen these features talked about in comparison articles, so let’s talk a little bit more about how they work and what they do.
Coverage isn’t really as big of an issue for epoxy resin, so this special feature is normally advertised for paint products. All paints consist of pigments, which actually color the object, and solvents, which are essentially just filler. Likewise, some epoxies (particularly the cheaper brands) will contain various solvents. The purpose of this is to extend shelf life and keep the product usable over time, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
If your epoxy contains too many solvents/fillers, that means it doesn’t have enough of the active ingredients described earlier. This will result in poor coverage, as the mass of the epoxy resin will be reduced. You see, all those solvents will evaporate away, leaving you with less adhesive than you thought you had. One way to deal with this is to look at the MSDS sheet for your chosen product. It should tell you the proportions of the ingredients in the product, so just remember: More solvents equals less coverage.
Fast Drying/Curing Times
As I already mentioned, curing times vary wildly from one product to another. This particular quality has nothing to do with any special additives and has everything to do with the type of hardener used. The standard “5-minute epoxy” is made with the standard mixture of epichlorohydrin and bisphenol-A. Although it does indeed dry in about five minutes, it will take another 24 hours or so to cure.
However, there are plenty of alternative hardeners that can bring about a faster cure. However, you should be aware of one thing: Most of these alternative hardeners are highly toxic. You have to be a little more careful not to get it on your skin or breathe in the fumes, as these can be quite harmful. Thus, a product with a shorter curing time is not always the better option.
There are a lot of paint products that are advertised as being “self-leveling.” in essence, this just means that brush strokes and other marks will tend to disappear as the product dries. This means less sanding and a cleaner-looking surface in general. Although this feature is less common in adhesives, you can still find some “self-leveling” epoxies. They are mainly used for cavity-filler projects, as a level surface is much more important for those things.
If you’ve ever wondered about what exactly creates this effect, I can tell you. Self-leveling qualities will usually come from an additive called Floetrol. Here we can see some Floetrol being sold alone, and we can see that it’s not very expensive. Thus, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to add more marketability to your product. It works in a simple way: It extends drying time so that the brush strokes and other marks have time to disappear.
It might sound silly, but the sun can destroy a lot of things. Obviously, sunlight and its heat will not be enough to break the bonds of your epoxy resin. At least, not right away. Ultraviolet rays represent a part of the light spectrum, and it can be one of the most damaging parts. Over time, these rays tend to make many products turn yellowish. This is because the UV rays gradually break down molecular bonds, leading to slow but sure decay.
Many epoxies are treated with chemical substances that are intended to block the effects of UV rays, and these are preferred for long-term projects. To do this, manufacturers will add UV stabilizers to the epoxy mixture, and this will usually be done early in the manufacturing process. There are all kinds of chemicals that will do the trick.
Some epoxies are harder and stronger than others, and you want to think about this when choosing one. Those that are advertised as “scratch resistant” will make use of special hardeners that give a tougher finish. This is great for high-use surfaces like countertops. For something like an epoxy resin, which is most often used for repair, that hardness factor can make a big difference.
At the same time, there is such a thing as going too hard. That which is excessively hard also tends to be brittle. For an example of this, look at the differences between steel and iron. Iron is technically the harder of the two, but which one is more useful? Obviously, it is steel. Because it is flexible, steel can bend without breaking, allowing it to survive harder impacts. The same is true of epoxy resin, so bear that in mind.
There are some indications that the hardness of epoxy resin has a lot to do with its curing heat. As you already know, epoxy generates heat as it cures, and can even be hot enough to melt containers and smoke. However, different types of hardeners will react in different ways, resulting in different temperatures. Most authorities seem to agree that a higher degree of heat when curing will result in a harder end product.
How long should I mix the two ingredients before applying?
People will give you many different estimates on this, but there is actually more than one right answer. In short, it depends on how vigorously you mix the stuff. You don’t want to whip this stuff like cake batter, as it can make little droplets fly into your face. Still, a nice brisk stir will ensure that everything is mixed properly. Just keep stirring until the mixture is completely homogenous (i.e., completely uniform and free of solids).
Can I Speed Up The Drying Or Curing Time By Adding More Hardener?
No, this is definitely not a good idea. In order for chemical reactions to occur, you cannot just mix together random amounts of two different substances. The proportion of the ingredients is vital to the obtaining of good results. To understand this, imagine if you made some Kool-aid using lots of drink mix and very little sugar. If you use too much hardener, the reaction will be ruined, and your epoxy resin will fail to harden as desired.
Will The Outside Temperature Affect My Epoxy Resin?
The short answer is: Yes, but not very much. Ambient temperature will probably influence the drying and curing time a little bit, but not enough to make a significant difference. However, this is why you should always give your epoxy a little bit of extra time for both drying and curing. If the label says one hour, give it at least two. If the label says 24 hours, better give it 36-48.
My Epoxy Keeps Smoking And Overheating? What Do I Do?
As you might already know, epoxy resin generates heat when it is mixed. The hardener mixes with the raw epoxy (epoxide), and this results in a chemical reaction. Chemical reactions will either generate or consume heat, and this one can generate quite a bit. This is referred to as an exothermic reaction (as opposed to an endothermic reaction). Unfortunately, it can cause smoking and even melt your cup.
If your epoxy resin mixing keeps resulting in a runaway reaction, you are probably trying to mix too much at one time. This is just part of how chemical reactions work: The more material is there, the easier it is for the reaction to get out of hand. You can deal with this problem by mixing smaller batches. Every type of epoxy resin has a recommended pour depth, and you should never exceed those suggestions.
How Do I Keep Bubbles From Forming In My Epoxy Resin?
This is one of the most frequent and frustrating problems that you can encounter when working with epoxy resin. It is an especially large problem when making epoxy-based art pieces (like the popular “river table” design). Thankfully, there are several ways to deal with this problem.
First, you should use a penetrating epoxy-based sealer on any objects that will come into contact with your mold. For instance, if you are making a river table, you would start by sealing all the wood. Only then can you put it in the mold and pour the epoxy resin. The layer of sealant will aid adhesion and prevent large amounts of bubbles from forming.
You can get rid of the rest with a small propane torch. Just hold the torch about six inches over the epoxy resin and wave it back and forth with a gentle motion. Just remember: you only have 30 minutes from the time that you pour the epoxy resin. After that, your bubbles are there to stay.
Why Won’t My Epoxy Harden Properly?
Sometimes, an epoxy resin will fail to harden properly, even when the two ingredients are thoroughly mixed. There are several small mistakes that can cause this situation to occur. First of all, you want to make sure that you are measuring properly. Most epoxies are mixed by volume rather than weight, so make sure that you know the difference.
Here is an easy way to make sure you get your measurements right: Start by measuring out the right amount of water in a transparent plastic cup. For example: If your epoxy calls for equal parts hardener and epoxide (most do), then you need to look at your recommended pour depth (as discussed in the question above). Let’s say the depth is 1/8 an inch, which means you should put 1/8 an inch of water in the cup. Now use a magic marker to put a fill line at the top of the water. Finally, put another fill line at the halfway point. Now you know when to stop pouring both ingredients when you use the same cup for mixing epoxy resin.
Using too much pigment can also keep an epoxy resin mixture from hardening. Chemical reactions are dependent on certain proportions, and that’s why additives can prevent the mixture from happening. You should never add more than 5% of the total volume. Temperature can also play a role, as epoxy resin cures more slowly in cold climates.
How Can I Ensure My Epoxy Resin Is Thoroughly Mixed?
One of the most frequent causes of epoxy problems is a failure to mix the ingredients fully. These are thick, goopy substances, so they aren’t as easy to stir as a liquid. Nevertheless, you need to make sure you take the time to do things right. Improper mixing leads to a weak bond between the two ingredients, and that makes for a weak result.
It is generally recommended that you spend 1.5 to 2 minutes mixing the epoxide with the hardener. I would recommend making it 3 to 5 minutes, just to be on the safe side. I also recommend this because of the need to mix slowly. If you try to “whip” the mixture like an egg batter, it will be mixed more quickly. However, you will also be adding a lot more air bubbles, which will have to be removed later. This is a good example of the old saying, “shortcuts make for long delays.”
Will My Epoxy Dry Faster If I Add More Hardener?
There is a simple answer to this one: No! As I said before, chemical reactions are dependent on certain proportions. If your mixture calls for equal parts of resin and hardener, that is what you should use. There should be no exceptions, as too much hardener will throw off the ratios and keep the mixture from hardening at all.
Why Does My Epoxy Resin Leave A Sticky Film After Drying?
It is actually somewhat normal for epoxies to have a sticky/oily film on their surfaces after curing. This is mainly just residual moisture that is “sweating” out of the material, so it’s no cause for worry. In fact, it’s a good sign because that moisture is no longer locked inside. Just wash it off with some soapy water and then wipe it with a dry cloth.
You don’t want to leave the film there because it could cause problems. By the way, this sticky film is usually called “blush.” This stuff will keep your epoxied substance from adhering to anything else. Thus, you cannot sand, re-coat, embed objects, etc. Not only that, but you will get that stuff on your hands every time you touch the epoxied object. For this problem, all you need to know is that epoxy resins require a wipedown after curing.
How Should I Store My Epoxy Resin?
Storage is always an issue for any chemical-based product. In the case of epoxy resin, the main thing to understand is that it doesn’t like the cold. It deals better with heat, lasting a lot longer than normal. Thus, those who live in particularly hot climates will be able to store their epoxy resin a little longer. Cold temperatures, on the other hand, can easily cause the stuff to crystalize.
Once the epoxy has crystalized, it is no good. Contamination can also cause crystalization and premature hardening, so make sure that you don’t get a bunch of dust and debris in there. It is best to store this stuff at 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry and elevated place.
How Do I Deal With An Epoxy Spill?
Spilling glue is always a bad situation, and this is even truer when working with epoxies. When they are wet, they are extremely sticky and thick. When they are dry, they are both hard and invisible. All of this combines to make cleanup a little bit harder of an issue.
To deal with a spill of uncured epoxy, start by scraping up as much as possible. You can use a paint scraper or putty knife to do the job, and you should be able to remove most of the epoxy resin in this way. As for the rest, you will need to use a chemical solvent. Common choices include denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner, acetone, and toluene.
When you are done, leave the solvents for a while to prevent any residues from hardening. Otherwise, you will be in for a lot of sanding, because that’s the only way to remove this stuff once it has cured. Under no circumstances should you ever allow spilled epoxy resin to cure in place.
Is Epoxy Vulnerable To UV Damage?
You might know that certain paints and coatings can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These UV rays can actually destabilize the epoxy resin, causing it to break down into other substances and become useless. All epoxies have this problem, so you need to be aware of that when using it for outdoor projects. Many people have commented on the tendency of epoxy resin to turn yellow as it is exposed to the sun. As the breakdown continues, chalking and cracking will follow. Even indoor jobs can be problematic if they are close to a window or a UV bulb.
To deal with this, you can coat your epoxy with something that is UV-resistant. Some types of coatings/finishes will work, although you will probably have better luck with dark colors. However, make sure you purchase a clear-coat that contains UV blockers and which is advertised as such.
How Durable Is An Epoxy Resin Coating?
In general, these are some of the most durable finishes that you can get. They don’t soak all that deeply into the surface, and that is probably due to their thicker consistency. However, they do a great job of forming a hard and scratch-resistant layer. However, it also has a higher risk of yellowing and cracking. Thankfully, this risk can be mitigated with a UV-resistant coating, as described above.
What If My Epoxy Turns Cloudy As It Cures?
Once in a while, this will be a problem. As the epoxy resin dries and begins to cure, you might notice that it has taken on a cloudy color. This is a sure sign that moisture has somehow managed to get into the epoxy itself. You will need to drive out the moisture with a heat gun or propane torch in a manner very similar to that used for removing bubbles.
Now let’s talk about how to avoid this problem in the first place. For one thing, don’t try to use excessively thick coats of epoxy resin. Lots of air will be trapped between those layers, and it is not easy for that air to escape. By using thin layers, you will be taking a little more time, but it’s worth it in the end. You might also try re-applying the epoxy resin at a warmer temperature. This stuff always becomes thinner in the heat, and that gives less chance for moisture to become trapped.
Finish Won’t Work On This Epoxy! What Should I Do?
Some people report problems when finishing over an epoxy resin coating. This is a serious problem, but it’s not too hard to solve. There are some types of finishes that simply won’t stick to epoxy. The many different epoxy resin products on the market will use a wide variety of hardeners, and some of these are not compatible with certain coatings.
That’s why you should always use a small test piece to see if your substances will work well together. Of course, there is one other little thing to consider: Topcoat will not stick to epoxy resin until that epoxy resin has been fully cured. If there is even a little bit of wetness or softness, wait to apply the finish. Blush (oily or sticky coating) can also prevent adhesion, so make sure that all of it has been removed as well.
My Hardener Turned Red! What Does That Mean?
After spending a year or so in storage, epoxy resin hardeners will sometimes turn a red or reddish-brown color. A lot of people think that this indicates total failure and that the product must be thrown away. However, this is actually not a problem at all. The color change is the result of the hardener reacting with its metal container.
This reaction produces a small amount of rust, and that is where the color change comes from. If anything, the iron oxide might help your epoxy in some ways. Iron oxide tends to act as a catalyst, so it might help your epoxy resin to cure faster. It might also add extra hardness to the final result since it is still technically a form of iron.
Choosing the best epoxy resins is essential when you plan to work with countertops. Certain kinds of epoxy resin will work best for countertops, tables, and similar furniture in and out of your home. Of course, not all of these products are the same, and some of them are clearly superior to others. You should choose the best epoxy resin before you start on your project.
By now you have already seen the benefits of using the right kind of adhesive. When compared with glue, epoxy resin has the edge because it does not contain water to bond with the surface. It would be safe to say that epoxies perform better than glue. When using epoxy it would be a good idea to know its qualities. This way you will get the exact type of epoxy resin that you need for the job.
Thanks to today’s technology you can combine modern with a traditional approach to produce a strong durable structure. It does not hurt to see a good looking and appealing work after you finish your construction. Lastly, do follow the manufacturer’s suggestions on how to clean up. Dispose of your waste materials following local regulations.
There are many factors to evaluate here, but I want to give you a good answer as to which of these is the best. Although your needs and results will vary, I would have to give the top prize to product number one. The Pro Marine epoxy resin had very few problems in comparison to the rest, and none of those problems were serious ones. At the same time, it offers all the qualities that you would want and expect. All of these products are exceptionally good, however. I hope that you have found this article to be helpful and that you will come back to read more of my work.