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When you want to turn a piece of wood into a colorful and durable piece of art, epoxy resin is one of the best tools in the box. To see examples of this, just look up some of the gorgeous “river tables” that people have made. Could you do this with standard wood finishes like stains and varnishes? Absolutely not! And that is just one example of how epoxy resins can be used in creative and artistic ways.
However, the choice is not always an easy one. There are all kinds of epoxies on the market, and no two are exactly alike. Although you don’t always have to get the ideal product, it pays to understand what you are using.
Of course, high-quality epoxy resins can be a little expensive, so you should definitely do some research before buying. Or, if you don’t feel like doing all of that, you can just continue reading.
We will review 13 of the best epoxy resins for wood that we could find, and then we will discuss their essential qualities and features. I also provide a quick comparison table as well as a more thorough buyer’s guide to help you decide.
For those of you that are in a rush, I personally think that Pro Marine Supplies Epoxy is the top option, but a true DIYer might want to keep reading for a more convenient option.
Best Epoxy Resins for Wood in January, 2021
|#||Epoxy resin||Cure time (hours)||Covers at 1/8||Volume|
|1||Pro Marine Supplies |
|12-14||12.5 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|2||RTG Bar & Table||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|3||SRC Crystal Clear||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|4||East Coast||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|5||TotalBoat Table Top||16-20||12.8 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|6||MAS Clear Table Top||>24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|7||ArtResin||24||16 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|8||Countertop Epoxy||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|9||Dr. Crafty||16-20||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|10||Premium Epoxy||24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|11||Superclear Epoxy Resin||16-20||12 sq ft||2 gallon kit|
|12||Primaloc Premium||12-14||16 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
|13||Countertop Epoxy||24||12 sq ft||1 gallon kit|
Here is the list of the best wood bar top epoxies you can get.
Pro Marine Supplies was a company that started out as Pro Marine Repair a little over a decade ago. During that time, the small business owners realized that too many epoxy resins on the market were not up to snuff.
Like many companies, this led the owners to expand their market, and now the sister company specializes not only in epoxy resins for wood but this particular product exclusively. That said, it does seem a bit odd that a company focused on boat repair would move to the tabletop market, but this is still a solid option.
On top of that, due to being founded in California where environmental protections are more strict, this is also an epoxy resin for wood which does not contain any VOCs.
While the surprise might be a bit oversold, without much experience or a larger parent company to guide them, Pro Marine Supplies has put out one of the best product that I saw.
That said, this product also offers one of the greatest coverage areas I saw at 48 sq ft and is naturally blush resistant as well.
Temperature and mixing
The most important part of this product is a temperature inside the room and mixing. Those are two substantial moments. You need to keep your room at eighty degrees which is where manufacturer say to keep it for the Pro Marine. Be careful while mixing it, make sure to pour it into different containers when you’re measuring it out.
I mixed it for about 10 minutes and monitored the temperature of the epoxy the whole time until it reached 92-93 degrees which is one of Pro Marine tips they say on their website. Let that epoxy heat up a little bit so that it cures a little harder if you want a scratch resistant and harder surface.
This is an excellent tabletop epoxy for all-around use. It is marketed as a good epoxy for those who have never used this kind of product before, and the marketing seems to be accurate. This stuff is really easy to mix, as it uses a simple one-to-one ratio (by volume, not by weight) for an easy and simple mix. It bonds to just about anything, including wood, stone, concrete, metal, and ceramic.
Stops further rotting
RTG epoxy is fully waterproof, making it a good choice for projects that involve driftwood or other partially rotted wood. With a piece like that, you do not want the wood to rot any further. As such, you can use an epoxy like this to preserve it for much longer than you normally could.
RTG has a “self-leveling formula,” which is a fancy way of saying that it is formulated to spread itself evenly in all directions. Of course, you should still make sure to level your working surface before applying this product all the same.
Now let’s discuss the downsides of this product. Overall, this is a very good product. However, it is not intended for outdoor use. Over time, direct exposure to the sun’s rays will break down this epoxy and cause it to eventually wear away. Thankfully, RTG epoxy is formulated to resist UV decay, so it’s still safe to put the table next to a window.
Another small downside (although it will not be a problem for everyone) is the fact that this is an extremely high-gloss epoxy. While this is very good for most jobs, some people prefer a slightly flatter finish to a high shine. For instance, someone who is going for a primitive and rustic look would probably opt for a low-gloss epoxy.
It might seem a bit surprising, but SRC is actually one of the more well-known manufacturers of epoxy resins, though they do not specialize exclusively in this product category like some of the other manufacturers on our list.
That said, this company did still get its start manufacturing epoxy resins and does still focus primarily on this type of product. What is even more impressive is that SRC, due to its popularity and size, has been able to undercut most of the competition in terms of price, easily making this the top budget epoxy resin for wood.
In fact, when you compare this product to the general experience of using an epoxy resin, it may, in fact, be a bit more convenient than some of the others.
To be clear, this is not actually the easiest product to use, but it does come with a number of qualities that make it convenient.
For instance, while not the quickest in every category, the SRC Crystal Clear epoxy does at least provide a comparable final curing time as our quickest at 16 to 20 hours in total. Even better, the SRC Crystal Clear also has a solid early curing time of 40 minutes which provides an additional 10 minutes of work time.
When you also consider that the SRC Crystal Clear resin is self-leveling and has a lower odor than most, this might also be the best DIYer epoxy resin for wood too.
East Coast Resin may not be a company you have heard of, but that only makes sense since they have only recently started having an online presence. Before that, you had to find out about the company with more than 20 years of experience through a specialized distributor.
That said, it seems as if East Coast Resins understands what most of their customers actually want out of an epoxy resin for wood: immediacy. That is why East Coast Resins made sure that their product provides the fastest curing time that I saw, though the race was a close call in the end.
That said, this particular model still provides plenty of other benefits as well, though it is likely not the best option for inexperienced users.
No Time Flat
First, when it comes to the work time, few epoxies on our list can compete with East Coast Resin’s 30-minute window. On top of that, the total cure time of this epoxy sits at under a full day between 16 to 20 hours, depending on how many layers you applied.
If you do not prepare the East Coast Resin properly, you are liable to suffer from bubbles coming through the finish as well as other potential curing issues.
On the other hand, the East Coast Resin offers solid options across the board in other regards. For instance, this resin does offer UV protection, and though they are not absolute, they are actually better than some of the other resins I reviewed. Also, this epoxy resin does offer solid water resistance, though yet again, this is not a 100-percent waterproof epoxy resin.
TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy may seem like an epoxy resin with an identity crisis, based on its name, but the brand is arguably the best option for most people by far. This is because TotalBoat, which is owned by Jamestown Distributors, has a particular focus on pretty much all finishing products related to mariner crafts.
Basically, if it goes on something that goes in the water, there is a good chance that TotalBoat manufactures a top-tier product for it. While this may seem a bit out of place for our list, it actually ensures that the TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy provides some protections others do not.
Because of this, as well as a number of other great features provided without any real difference in the price, I included the TotalBoat Table Top Epoxy in our list as a good indoor epoxy resin for wood.
This may seem odd considering the brand specializes in working with workpieces that are almost exclusively outdoor products. That said, if you plan to keep the finished product indoors, like with most workpieces that would be described as “table tops,” you will get one of the best results that I have seen.
That said, the TotalBoat is also one of the best formulas I saw for inherently preventing both blushes and bubbles. On top of that, this is also one of the few epoxy resins that I saw which can handle temperatures well above boiling without leaving a mark on the epoxy’s finish.
MAS Epoxies might not be the most well-known manufacturer of epoxies, but they may very well be the best. While they did not get our Editor’s Choice award, that was mostly due to the fact that it is a bit less convenient for most people’s purposes.
However, this is one of the premier epoxy resins if you are looking for a product that can do pretty much everything well so long as you do not need it to be done quickly. That said, they say good things come to those who wait, and the MAS Epoxies resin provides a multitude of good things to those who are willing to wait on it a bit.
That is why I rated this our top all-around epoxy resin for wood. Just make sure that you do not need the finished product any time soon unless you have a curing cabinet.
Like a Pro
One of the top qualities of the MAS Epoxies resin is that it was made by professionals for professionals, but it also understands that DIYers are liable to look their way as well.
This makes the MAS Epoxies significantly easier to apply than some of the other products we reviewed, though that might also be because you have significantly more time to apply the epoxy in the first place.
In fact, this is the only option on our list that suggests you allow for longer than 24 hours for the epoxy resin to cure at room temperature.
Art Resin is an epoxy that is designed with the artist in mind. As you may already know, epoxy resin has many different uses. Because it can be cast like metal (but is much easier to melt than metal) it is a natural choice for sculpture and other forms of 3-dimensional art. This product is focused on the needs of the artist, but can also make a fine tool for more practical purposes.
Great For Casting
Epoxy casting isn’t quite as easy as you might think. You don’t simply mix the product and pour it into a mold. If you do that, you are likely to get some terrible results. For one thing, you have to take great care to make sure that everything is properly mixed. Any unmixed material will create weak spots where no chemical bond is present. A pressure cooker is required to avoid bubbling, warping, and other problems encountered while drying.
Because this product is designed for artists from the ground up, you can be assured of an easier casting process. Not all epoxy resin products take these needs into account, so this is a great choice for the amateur caster.
Safe, But Not 100% Safe
This product is advertised as being very safe and non-toxic. Indeed, the product does get high marks in the safety category, but the advertising might be a little misleading. With no volatile organic compounds (often called VOCs for short), this one doesn’t present any danger to human life. It is also free of BPA (bisphenol), a plastic additive that has come under fire in recent years for its effects on human health.
However, we can see a different story when we look at the MSDS for this product. It says that the fumes can cause some pretty serious issues. There is even a warning on the bottle, right next to the label that tells you the product is free of VOCs and BPA. Still, I can also see that this product is completely safe once it has cured. It’s even safe for use on food prep surfaces, but make sure you wait until it is completely cured.
This epoxy has a few interesting qualities that make it worthy of a spot on our list. The main selling point of this item is the fact that it resists UV rays better than most products on the market. This makes it a decent choice for outdoor use.
This product is meant to provide a very clear finish and is advertised as being crystal clear. When it dries, it looks a lot like glass. Within 36 hours, it cures completely and is even more clear. The product is formulated to resist staining and yellowing so that it will provide a durable and long-lasting coating.
However, bear in mind that this label only applies when the resin is fully cured. Applying this resin is more pleasant because it has almost no smell at all. There is no need to fool with a facemask or a respirator.
Bonds to any surface
Countertop epoxy bonds well to wood, concrete, MDF board, Formica. ceramic, tile, and most types of stone. Another good thing about this product is that it gets pretty good coverage in terms of square feet per can. It’s not a huge difference when compared to other brands, but it’s a big enough difference to save a little money when buying multiple cans for large projects.
This product does have a few shortcomings, although they are not that bad. First of all, this product does not create as hard a surface as some other products of this type.
This product also tends to show a lot of bubbles. These can be removed with a heat gun or a hair dryer, but it takes a little longer than you would probably expect. If you opt for this product, be prepared to spend a little more time with the heat gun in your hand.
Less Prone To Bubbling
If you are wondering why a pressure cooker is necessary for proper epoxy casting, the answer is simple: bubbling. When plastic is melted and cast without pressure, it tends to absorb air from its surroundings. This causes a lot of bubbles to form in the resulting item. Even if you aren’t pouring it into a mold, it’s good to have one that isn’t that prone to bubbling. Such a thing can ruin your work very quickly.
Fully protected against UV damage
There are two tiers of protection against UV damage: UV stabilizers and HALS additives. The first of these will delay the yellowing and peeling, which is caused by the sun’s UV rays, while the other one will prevent it more permanently. Obviously, a lot of epoxy products don’t include these ingredients.
Because this product contains both kinds of UV protection, it is suitable for outdoor use. Even long-term outdoor use should not be a problem. When using this product as a coating, it is likely to be the last coating the item will ever need.
Bonuses And Guarantees
There are a few little perks that come with this product, and they are worth discussing. First of all, I’m very reassured by the money-back guarantee. This kind of guarantee is not common for these types of products, so the company went the extra mile here.
I also like the fact that this product is basically an entire kit. It includes the epoxy and its matching hardener, but it also includes two mixing cups, two stir sticks, and two plastic spreaders. In other words, it has everything you need to get started.
This epoxy seems very good, but I do see a few consistent complaints. Most of these complaints come down to the consistency of the product. A lot of people say that it’s too hard to mix, with some claiming that it took them twice as long to mix this epoxy. This might explain why good mixing tools are included with the product.
Some others have complained that the product is too thin when mixed. For instance, one user who was coating tumbler glasses with colored epoxy had some frustrating results. He found that the only way to make the epoxy stick was to place the glasses on a rotary lathe-type device. Still, that isn’t a huge inconvenience. The thin consistency does make it easier to make a mess, but that can be remedied with a little caution and care.
This is a cheap epoxy resin, and it still seems to offer a reasonable level of quality. Like my other choices, it is a two-part mixture made up of two half-gallon jugs. The hardener and epoxy are mixed at a 1:1 ratio, which does make the measurement aspect of the process a little easier.
Takes A Little Longer To Dry
A lot of reviews have said that this product takes a while to dry. In fact, some people even reported that the mixture never hardened at all! This was somewhat confusing to me because most reviews for this product have been positive. However, I think I have an answer to this question.
This product comes with no instructions for mixing it properly. Instead, it just says to mix at a 1:1 ratio. While most people understand that this means mixing equal amounts, the manufacturer forgot to tell people one very important thing: Do you measure by weight or by volume? This confusion has obviously led to some problems. However, on the upside, this product does give you a little more working time.
Non-Toxic And Foodsafe
Like the rest of the products on the list, this one is made to be safe for human health and the environment. It is rated safe for food surfaces and contains no volatile organic compounds.
This is a product that comes in two-gallon kits instead of two-quart kits. That makes it a little bit better of a deal. After all, everything is cheaper when you buy in bulk. While this one may be a little cheaper, it seems to get overwhelmingly positive reviews with very few complaints.
First, this product has a very high level of UV resistance. The advertising doesn’t say if this product is suitable for outdoor use, so use caution if you are thinking about using Superclear in this way. The best way to verify that you are doing the right thing is to perform a test. Just coat a small piece of wood and leave it out in the weather for a while. Check it after a week and see how it holds up to the elements.
Scratch-resistance and durability
This product is fully waterproof and forms a hard, scratch-resistant coat. More than one reviewer has remarked upon the hardness of this resin, and upon its ability to maintain good clarity even when creating deeply layered finishes. For the artist who wants to experiment a little bit, this wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.
I have found that a lightly colored finish over a pale wood such as white oak can have a stunning effect, and can bring out the color of the wood in many subtle and attractive ways.
There are a few problems that we can find with Superclear epoxy, although none of them are particularly serious. First, many have reported that this epoxy will often start to tack up and harden before it can be fully applied. This problem becomes even worse in hot weather, making it necessary to put your epoxy in the freezer to buy more time.
This epoxy from Primaloc stands out in several ways. First, we should talk about its’ most distinctive quality. This epoxy is not meant to be brushed or stirred, as you would normally do when applying such a substance. Instead, you just pour it on and it self-levels to exactly one-eighth of an inch.
Before you do this, however, you have to apply a thin preliminary layer of epoxy. This “seal coat” is intended to remove any roughness on the object that is to be sealed. This allows the poured coat to level itself more quickly, and to give a more perfectly even surface.
Contains no dangerous compounds
This makes Primaloc a really good choice if you aren’t very good at hiding those brush strokes.
The makers of this product pride themselves on having created a product that offers maximum clarity. For those who like to get creative with these products, this can be a serious upside. However, it won’t matter a whole lot if you are coloring your epoxy. This product is extremely well-suited to “layering” work. That is to say, the kind of projects that involve layering different object on top of one another.
For instance, you might use some old coins or some printed pictures, or some cool-looking rocks that you found. By applying the epoxy in layers, and adding objects to each layer, a beautiful contrast can be created. Of course, you really do need a crystal-clear epoxy that resists yellowing if you want to get the most out of your work.
Not the best for outdoor
Some users also reported that the product dried too quickly for their liking. Thus, you may consider avoiding this one if you are doing something very intricate that requires more drying time.
When you have a nice, expensive wood or stone countertop, it pays to protect it with some kind of water-resistant coating. You have a lot of options in that department, and this one is a top-coating you may choose.
Tough, Waterproof, And Versatile
Epoxy provides one of the toughest finishes that you could want. It will be resistant to denting and impact (at least, much more so than a standard polyurethane coating). Also, the epoxy resists heat with great effectiveness. This is very handy in the kitchen, where you will often find hot objects.
Epoxy also provides an opportunity to be creative. It is relatively easy to add a dye to your epoxy if you so desire. This can be used to give your stone a tint of any color you want, or even make it look like an entirely different color. You could actually make an entire countertop from this epoxy, although that would require a large mold.
The main purpose of this product is to protect your wood or stone countertop from water damage. This one also provides UV resistance, which is good if your counter is located next to a window. The self-leveling feature is also nice, as it makes the application much easier.
Some people might also have trouble mixing the epoxy and hardener properly, as they must be measured exactly.
Now that you have seen some good examples, let’s go a little deeper into the subject. Obviously, there are a lot more than 6 products on the market, so you need to know how to evaluate all of them. Let’s go over the most important things to consider when making that next epoxy purchase:
If you don’t know what this word means, it is basically just a scientific way to describe the thickness of a liquid or gelled substance. As it happens, epoxy resin would be somewhere between a liquid and a gel. As for where it lies on that spectrum, that will vary a lot with the product.
Manufacturers make epoxy resins in a wide variety of viscosities because there are many different jobs that the product might do. As such, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. High-viscosity epoxies will be much thicker, while low-viscosity products will be thinner.
So, if you choose a thicker product, you will get a richer and shinier appearance on the finished project. However, you will not be able to finish the project quickly. If you layer these adhesives too thick, it will be very hard for air bubbles to escape before the layer has dried. As a result, you end up with all kinds of bubbles in your finish. Thus, you should never add more than 1 centimeter of high-viscosity epoxy at one time. If you do end up with a lot of trapped air bubbles, you might be able to remove them by gently heating the surface with a blow dryer.
On the other hand, if you choose a thinner product, you won’t get the same visual effect. This isn’t always a bad thing, as you don’t necessarily want your project to shine like an oil slick. Not only that, but you can add thicker layers when using low-viscosity epoxy, reducing the overall work time. Of course, you may still need to use that hairdryer trick to remove some bubbles as it dries.
Viscosity is also affected by temperature. Many products of this type will have certain temperature recommendations on the label, whether for usage or storage. These are mostly included because an epoxy will tend to get thicker when it is cold. Some of them resist this effect better than others, so you should be more careful about your choice of product if you live in a colder climate.
Drying Time And Curing Time
In general, the drying time of the epoxy is the measure of your working time. Because epoxies use a wide variety of hardeners, their drying times and curing times will vary accordingly. When choosing a product, you need to think about how you will use it and how much time you will need.
For instance, if you are doing something that is a little more artistic, such as a river table, you probably want something with longer working time. For simpler projects, fast drying time is desirable. For objects that are on a vertical or semi-vertical plane, shorter drying/curing times are essential to keep them from dripping and running.
It is also important to remember that there are actually 3 different types of curing times:
- The first curing time is how long it takes for the epoxy to harden to the point that it can be touched.
- The second curing time is how you need to wait before applying another coat
- The final curing time is the amount of time before the surface can be used in any general purpose.
When choosing an epoxy, you also need to consider how the end product will be used. This will determine whether or not you need a food-safe option. Things like countertops, cutting boards, tables, etc. will need to be food-safe. If anyone is going to eat from the surface or eat anything that came into contact with it, then it needs to have that food-safe designation on the label.
Most epoxies are made from a mixture of Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A. Unfortunately, neither of these substances is completely safe. Epichlorohydrin is definitely toxic, and Bisphenol-A is at least suspicious. Because it leaks xenoestrogens, there are some health concerns about the use of Bisphenol-A in food-grade plastics. Many products will be labeled “BPA-free,” and these are definitely preferred for food usage. If the label does not say, flip the bottle over and look at the numbers on the bottom. If it says 5, 4, or 2, then there should be no BPA.
Carbolic acid is another one to watch out for, as it is commonly used for weed-killing purposes. Naturally, it isn’t going to be any better for you than it is for the weeds. It’s also a caustic substance that can cause chemical burns, at least in its raw form. Obviously, we do not have the time or space to list every single chemical that might be used in these products, but we would encourage you to do a quick internet search on any ingredients that you find to be suspicious. It never hurts to be a little bit paranoid, especially when dealing with safety concerns.
Yellowing is a major concern when it comes to epoxy, especially for artistic projects. While virtually all epoxy companies focus on clear epoxy resin, not all of them will stay clear. There are many cases in which we have examined a product of this type, only to find that many reviews speak of the product yellowing with age.
Unfortunately, manufacturers aren’t always honest about this kind of thing. Many of them will claim that theirs is a “non-yellowing formula,” even when it isn’t. Of course, the consensus of the reviewers will always tell the tale. Even if the company pays for positive reviews (which does unfortunately happen), you can still look at the points on which the majority of reviewers agree.
Of course, yellowing may not actually be an issue for you. If you are using your epoxy resin for some kind of repair, it may not be visible once dried and cured anyway. So, if you are dealing with a project for which appearance is a non-issue, then you don’t have to worry about this.
While the protections of an epoxy resin get plenty of headlines, the fact remains that few of epoxy resins are out and out weak or fragile. The overwhelming majority of epoxy resins will still provide adequate protection from impacts and other superficial kinds of damage.
Instead, the main protections you look for involve other types of damage that can be either incurable or even lead to ruining the workpiece in the first place. Outside of the general physical protections, the most important ones to look for are protections from the elements. In this instance, the two main potential problems lay with the sun’s UV radiation and water seeping through the resin to the surface material below.
Epoxies, like most other plasticized substances, do a naturally good job of repelling water. None of them are particularly vulnerable, but they aren’t necessarily waterproof either. Most of them are just “water-resistant,” which is a relative term. Many people have been dismayed to see that a glass of water can leave a permanent ring on their nice shiny finish.
Of course, this is not an issue for everyone. If you aren’t planning to let the surface be exposed to moisture, you don’t need to worry about this. However, if you do need something waterproof, make sure that the label specifically says that.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause epoxide substances to break down over time. Admittedly, it can take a very long time, but you want something that will last for years to come. This subject relates to the problem of yellowing somewhat because UV radiation will cause a clear epoxy resin to become yellowed and cloudy over time. However, that is the least of your worries. In this case, the yellowing occurs because the adhesive is breaking down at the molecular level. It might take quite a while to reach a point of catastrophic failure, but it is nonetheless compromised.
There are actually some resins that can only cure under UV light. These are specialty products, but some people prefer them because of their long working times. In fact, you can delay the drying/curing of these resins for as long as you want. Until you stick them under a UV light source, they will remain tacky. That gives you plenty of time to work out the bubbles, smooth out any rough spots, or add any decorations (like dye, glitter, stones, or embedded objects). Not only that, but you can definitely be sure that those products won’t degrade in the sun.
Many epoxy resins are advertised as “self-leveling,” but they don’t always explain what that means. It means that the chemical structure of the product lends itself to a level surface. In other words, it tends to create a level surface without any effort from you. Much like the surface of a glass of water, all you have to do is leave it alone.
Of course, it rarely works out this nicely in reality. Self-leveling epoxy will still require some brushstrokes in order to spread it evenly around the surface. However, most users do agree that it helps you to create a smoother and shinier finish with less brushing. This feature isn’t a must-have, but it’s definitely preferred for most projects.
Remember, if an epoxy manufacturer advertises both a self-leveling formula and a quick curing time, it might not be able to do both well or at the same time. As such, if you need an epoxy resin to help fill in planar imperfections, you need to choose a slower curing formula.
This is likely one of the most frustrating issues that you can deal with primarily because it does not really appear until after the resin is already well into the curing process. Basically, an epoxy resin blushing creates a waxy bi-product that sits on the surface of the finish.
Aside from the fact that blushing mars the finish, it also prevents an issue for any other application thereafter--whether you are applying another layer of epoxy or some other type of finishing product. While some epoxy resins actually provide some protection against this effect, the fact remains that the better way to prevent blushing is to keep the workspace as dry as possible--including with a dehumidifier if needed.
Bubbles love to appear in the cracks. They can come from a number of different places, both inside the formula and out, but the fact remains that it completely ruins the finish of an epoxy resin. That said, the difference between bubbles coming from within and bubbles occurring on the exterior determines how you should tackle this problem.
If the bubbles are seeping into the epoxy from outside, you should make it a point to apply the epoxy in a warmer place with little to no humidity. On the flip side, if the bubbles come from within the surface material, you will need to apply a hot gun to help get them out. Yes, a blowtorch is surely going to be your good friend.
Similar to a blush, this effect will have a bigger impact on those formulas that cure more quickly than others. That said, this is generally considered an easier problem to overcome since, in the end, a hot gun will ultimately solve the problem either way.
The application is actually one of the most important considerations for an epoxy resin, especially if you are not an experienced user. That said, even for those who regularly use epoxy resins have a tendency to prefer products that are easier to apply.
This is because an epoxy resin that is difficult to apply increases the likelihood that the resin will not cure properly. Most of the time, difficulties with the application process involves how the resin cures while it is being applied. The most common issues with the application are either the development of bubbles or a condition called blushing.
Finally, we come to the subject of coverage. A lot of products will offer “superior coverage,” which essentially means that you get more for your money. When a smaller amount of epoxy covers a wider surface area, that is bound to save you money. Epoxy resins aren’t exactly the cheapest materials in the world, so a little bit of cost savings is very helpful.
Unfortunately, most of these claims are hype. On the subject of coverage, there isn’t really much difference between most epoxy products. That being said, if you find something that covers more than 12 square feet per gallon, it’s probably a good deal.
What Is Epoxy?
By this point, you might be wondering: What is epoxy, anyway? Is it made from a natural source, or is it a chemical product? Well, as far as we can tell, it is a chemical product made from natural sources. There are many epoxide substances, but not all of them are used for making adhesives. The term “epoxide” refers to a certain class of chemicals that share a similar molecular structure.
Most of the epoxy resins that you will see on the store shelves are produced through a mixture of Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A (BPA). Epichlorohydrin is an epoxide liquid that is produced through a mixture of allyl chloride and hypochlorous acid. As you can see, chlorine is the only common factor that ties all of these substances together. BPA is a precursor of many plastics and is commonly used to make plastic water bottles (among other things).
When the Epichlorohydrin is reacted with BPA, it produces a basic and functional mixture. Manufacturers will then add all sorts of special ingredients/adhesives to give the product distinctive properties. These little touches are what separate one product from another, and that is why most epoxies do not differ all that much from one another. This explanation might be a little too scientific for some, but at least you will never again have to ask yourself: What is epoxy?
Of course, an epoxide does not become a good adhesive until it has been mixed with the hardener. When it comes to hardeners, things are not so simple. Amines and acids would probably be the most common things, but many different reagents can be used to achieve this same effect. In general, different hardeners are used to tweak the drying times and curing times of each individual product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does epoxy resin bond to wood?
Not only does epoxy resin bond to wood, but it bonds very strongly. It creates a near-permanent bond that will be very hard to break. However, I would caution you to make sure that the surface of your wood is fully prepared before adding the epoxy.
A dirty surface is one of the main things that can prevent proper adhesion. You will also have better luck if you avoid mixing different brands of epoxy. While two different kinds of epoxy can bond to one another, you will get better results by keeping it homogenous.
Does epoxy resin make wood waterproof?
Yes, epoxy resin can be used to make wood waterproof. In fact, that’s one of its main purposes. While many people like to use this resin for more artistic purposes, it can be used much like a wood sealer. You just paint it over the surface and allow it to dry.
Does all epoxy resin yellow over time?
When you think about the strength of epoxy, it’s almost hard to believe that the sun can damage an epoxy resin finish. As with many yellowing issues, the culprit is the sun. Specifically, yellowing of epoxy is caused by UV rays which break down the fibers in the epoxy and cause the whole thing to take on a dull yellow hue.
Thankfully, many manufacturers have added UV stabilizers to their epoxy resins. UV stabilizers will prevent yellowing, but not forever. In the end, a UV stabilizer just delays the inevitable. However, there is another additive called HALS (Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer) which is far more effective over the long haul. This stuff prevents yellowing before it starts and has performed very well in tests and experiments.
Is epoxy resin scratch resistant?
For the most part, epoxy resin will resist scratching, scuffing, and other minor damage. Because it is basically just a very strong glue, any kind of epoxy will dry to a hard and durable finish. However, your results will depend partly on the thickness of the epoxy layer. The thicker the layer, the harder it will be to scratch the wood.
For instance, some wooden floors are coated with epoxy for extra longevity. All of these floors have a 2mm layer of epoxy, and anything less is not considered to be a true epoxy floor. Thus, you may need to use more of the stuff in order to get a truly durable result.
Is epoxy resin eco-friendly?
The answer to this question is not a simple one. While the dry epoxy resin is not considered to be an environmental hazard, it would be a little bit of a stretch to call this an eco-friendly product. As we have already seen, many manufacturers will advertise their epoxy resin as being completely harmless. However, you have to read the fine print here. Epoxy resin is safe once it has dried and cured, but presents a few hazards before that.
The problem lies in the fact that epoxy requires the activation of certain chemicals, and these chemicals aren’t always the gentle kind. Thus, there is no way to completely avoid harsh fumes. That being said, some products are far more toxic than others, so I recommend that you check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for your product just to be on the safe side.
Does epoxy resin last outdoors?
This might surprise you, but epoxy resin is not suitable for outdoor use under normal circumstances. We already talked about how the sun’s UV rays will cause yellowing in most epoxy products. If the epoxy is left in the sun for a long time, even harsher problems can occur. As it yellows, the epoxy will turn brittle and eventually begin to peel away.
That’s why you should always go with a UV-resistant product when using epoxy resin outdoors. This stuff doesn’t tend to be cheap, so it makes no sense to waste your money on something that will not last. Look for products with UV stabilizers and HALS, as these are the best solutions. Some manufacturers will add dyes to their epoxy in an attempt to reduce light penetration and thus reduce light degradation. However, most people prefer to use clear epoxy, so this isn’t a great solution.
Can I Use Epoxy Resins As Wood Sealers?
Epoxy resins do tend to be very water-resistant, even if they aren’t all completely waterproof. However, even the weaker ones can make a good wood sealer. You will have to use more coats, of course, but you should be able to get the same level of protection.
If you choose to use it in this way, make sure to allow plenty of time in between coats. That way, the epoxy has more time to seep into the pores of the wood. Thinner epoxies will probably be your best bet here, just because they will have an easier time seeping into those small pores.
How Can Epoxy Be Removed?
If you should want to remove epoxy from a given area, it will probably be a difficult task. This stuff isn’t really meant to be removed, but it can still be done. You will definitely need a scraper, and you will definitely need to repaint any painted surfaces when you are done. As for solvents, acetone will usually do the job. Just wet the surface of the epoxy mass and give it about an hour to soften and dry.
After that, you can use a heat gun or propane torch to heat the epoxy until it turns into a goopy gel-like substance. At that point, you can just scrape it off. One little safety tip: Remember that acetone is highly flammable. Make sure that it’s all gone before you apply the torch. The good news is that acetone also evaporates quickly, so it shouldn’t take that long.
What Is The Difference Between Epoxy Resins And Casting Resins?
Sometimes, you will see epoxy products that are labeled as “casting resin”. If this seems confusing, you should know that these are just two different types of the same thing. Casting resins are special-purpose epoxies that are meant for easier pouring and casting.
The main difference between these two types of products will mainly come from their viscosity. Casting resins are a lot thicker, which is good when you are doing a deep pour. This also leads to longer curing time, but that is what you want for filling those large cavities. This slower curing time gives air bubbles more time to rise to the surface, leading to a crystal-clear result.
Can Epoxy Be Dangerous To The User?
When used properly, the simple answer is no. However, like most other things in this world, epoxy could be harmful if used improperly. For one thing, it often gives off some harsh fumes as it dries. These fumes are the volatile chemicals in which the epoxy is suspended, so you don’t want to breathe them. Not only that, but you don’t want to get this stuff on your hands. It is very hard to remove, so you should wash your hands with a solvent solution quickly.
Finally, we should mention the fact that epoxy produces heat. When its two components are mixed, a chemical reaction occurs, and this reaction is exothermic. That’s a fancy way of saying that heat is produced as a by-product of the reaction. So, you need to make sure you don’t mix them in a cup made of paper or thin plastic. They could even catch fire in some cases, so make sure you use a mixing container that can handle the heat.
Can I Use Multiple Layers Of Epoxy?
Yes, you can certainly use multiple layers of epoxy for most projects. In fact, some people prefer to do it this way. If you are using a product that is a little thinner, you may be forced to do things this way. In particular, it is a good idea to do thin coats when working on a vertical surface. Thick coats will tend to run, so a large number of thin coats is your only real option.
Of course, there are certain things to remember when using an epoxy product in this way. First of all, you need to make sure that you wait for the full curing time with each layer. There is a difference between drying time and curing time, so make sure you understand that. Even when that epoxy seems to be hardened, you must not apply the next layer until the entire curing time has elapsed. You may also have to apply the heat gun on each layer to avoid bubbling.
What Does “Pot Life” Mean?
If you’ve seen this term on an epoxy label, it’s just an industry term. It indicates the total working time from the moment you mix it until the moment it becomes unusable. A lot of things can affect pot life (like temperature, the exact formula of the product, and quantity), so you can’t always trust these values. Still, it will give you a general idea of how much time you will have.
We have attempted to give you the most in-depth article on the web, and we hope that we have succeeded in doing so. We want all of our readers to be informed enough to make smart decisions, and this article should help you to do that.
In the end, most of these epoxy resins will actually provide a fairly similar finish and will do so at around the same price. With this in mind, I recommend the Pro Marine Supplies as our Editor’s Choice for one primary reason: coverage.
Of course, there are still some solid budget options on the market, and for our money, the SRC Crystal Clear epoxy resin offers a nice solution on a budget.
While it will not provide the hardest finish for a heavy-duty workpiece, it does offer one of the quicker total curing times while still giving you an extra bit of time for the early stages. Ultimately, this is a bit easier of a product to use for beginners, though you do still have to work quickly.
In case you have a question we didn’t cover in this article, send it over and we’ll answer it quickly.
In addition, our Q&A page covers our users’ questions on epoxy resins as well, you might find the answer you looked for in one of those questions.