Epoxy resin is a two-part liquid that, when combined, forms a fast-drying adhesive and is most commonly used in tile or metal laminating. Epoxy resin is generally very versatile and vary in their curing time lengths based on the manufacturers.
We compiled a list of 8 ways to get the best results from epoxy resins.
1. How To Prep The Surface
A surface that is as smooth and flat as possible is a must for epoxy resin. Small imperfections, nicks, and scrapes will negatively affect the overall effectiveness of the epoxy resin. Be sure to test any new surface for adhesion before applying epoxy resin. If it doesn’t adhere, you’ll need to sand or file away any loose or rough patches before applying so that you will achieve a smooth application.
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2. How To Apply The Epoxy Resin
To achieve a flawless, smooth application of epoxy resin, we recommend using a 1/4″ nap roller and the method of “rolling like crazy”. The rollers are sold by numerous different companies depending on the quality and purpose of the roller. However, if you have older equipment and want to save money, there are plenty of J-roller kits available.
- Mix together the epoxy resin and hardener.
- Pour the resin into a large cup and place the roller head into the cup.
- Mix thoroughly while rolling out on a piece of scrap wood or cardboard. This step will ensure that there is an even mixture of epoxy as due to separation/settling of the two parts, it may be slightly off at times. This should take about 3 minutes to complete thoroughly and thoroughly enough for it to roll out with no lumps when finished mixing.
- Roll out the epoxy resin on your project, apply to both surfaces, and then place in the “clamping method” as quickly as you can.
- Once the two surfaces are completely bonded, remove them from the clamps, clean off any excess epoxy and wipe them down with acetone.
3. Curing And Cleaning Up
Epoxy resin will begin to cure at around an hour or so, so be sure to have all excess removed before that time. Also, if it is a hot day, the epoxy will cure faster than if it’s a cold day.
After the curing period has passed, you can now clean off any excess epoxy with acetone and, if necessary, some steel wool. Be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves during this process – the fumes are incredibly strong and should not be inhaled.
4. Best Practices For Use Of Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin is very highly concentrated and should be used at a 1:1 ratio or slightly more, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Therefore, as with many other products, it is wise to test an area before applying epoxy resin. If there isn’t enough adhesive to cover the entire area that you are covering, you can always add additional to the mix.
5. How To Use Other Additives With Epoxy Resin
One of the most common ways to improve the performance of your product is the use of additives. Doing so will decrease the time it takes for your epoxy resin to set and increase its effectiveness. Additionally, other additives with their own unique characteristics can be used as they are applied prior to the epoxy resin. Some of the most common additives include:
- Flour made from wheat, a byproduct of the paper industry, can be used for grainy adhesives. It is ground up and mixed into your epoxy mix. It will make a hole-less adhesive but will dry slowly and is slightly more expensive than wheat seed powder.
- Wheat seed powder is made from the same crop as flour but ground up to a finer consistency. This makes it a stronger glue that will dry quicker and will create a smooth, hole-less surface.
- Calcium carbonate is also known as chalk or lime and can be used to make an adhesive that hardens quickly. This additive works better for smaller projects as it has to be mixed into the epoxy very precisely in order to achieve optimal results.
6. Tips For Mixing Epoxy Resin
Mixing epoxy resin is a two-day process and should be done in an area with plenty of ventilation due to the strong odors it will produce. It is especially important that you wear protective glasses and gloves!
- Pour the hardener into a plastic container.
- Pour the epoxy resin into a plastic container.
- Add the hardener to the epoxy and mix by shaking or stirring with a whisk.
- You will notice that it changes color slightly; this is normal, and you are now ready to apply.
7. Tips For Finishing And Painting Your Project
Once you have applied the epoxy resin to both surfaces, you can now begin applying paints, stains, or other finishes.
- Be careful when working with stained wood – the epoxy resin can bleed through the grain. Therefore, if you are adding any paint for decorative purposes, check your wood before you apply it.
- It is a good idea to wait approximately 24 hours before applying anything on an epoxy-coated surface to ensure that it is always wet and ready for the finish.
- Generally speaking, one coat of paint will last anywhere from three to six months if sealed properly.
- If you have a quick surface that you would like to paint over, such as an outdoor table, choose an epoxy resin with a fast cure time. A product that requires more than 72 hours to cure would not be suitable for use on the project you are working on.
- If your project involved painting multiple coats onto a surface, once the first coat is dry, wait two days before applying the second coat. This will allow the excess primer to evaporate before you apply your second coat of finish fully.
- Seal your project once you have finished with two coats of finish or as directed by the manufacturer. To seal a wood project, use paint grade varnish or wipe-on polyurethane.
- After your project is sealed, it is now ready for use!
8. Good Resources for Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin should not be used in high temperatures as this can cause it to harden improperly or accelerate the curing process. If you are unsure what the temperature is, use an infrared thermometer.
Epoxy resin is a two-component system that is made up of a catalyst and hardener. Consumers should be careful when purchasing these products as some commercial brands are very different and may create weak epoxy systems. A few of the common materials that are commonly used, known as catalysts, include siloxane waxes, calcium carbonate, zirconium dioxide, and zinc oxide.
3m produces a two-component diluent which is suitable for use when producing one component epoxy systems, called “2e”.
Phenolic resins are used when an epoxy system is being created for applications where high strength and abrasion resistance are required. They come in the form of hardeners, raw resin, and flex pots. Among the materials that can be used as phenolic hardeners are hydroxy phenols such as bisphenol A (BPA), resorcinol, and cresols.
There are many different epoxy resin choices out there that vary in cost and strength. It is important to consider the final application when selecting your epoxy resin choice.
Let us know what kind of epoxy you would like to use, and we will try to help match it up for you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us directly!