An epoxy countertop made with proper pouring

We often hear concern about making mistakes from people hoping to start their first epoxy project. To newcomers, it can seem like a complicated process with no room for error.

While it's true that both types of epoxy resin need to be handled in specific ways and under certain conditions, much of what can go wrong is simply misunderstanding how to perform certain steps in the process.

Today we'll cover the pouring step, which starts immediately after mixing. Pouring epoxy is surprisingly straightforward thanks to its self-leveling properties. Read below to learn from our experts.

4 mistakes to avoid when pouring epoxy

Correctly pouring mixed epoxy resin

Ensure an excellent epoxy resin pour by avoiding these mistakes:

  1. Working with unprepared bonding surfaces for epoxy resin
  2. Using epoxy resin at the wrong temperatures
  3. Mixing your epoxy incorrectly
  4. Attempting to pour a layer that's too thick

Working with unprepared bonding surfaces for epoxy resin

Prior to mixing and pouring, you'll need to prepare the surface you'll be pouring onto. This is called your substrate, and the epoxy will attempt to form a chemical bond with it once makes contact.

It's important to make sure that your substrate is completely dry and clean. Dust, debris, and residues can contaminate the mixture and prevent it from properly bonding. Such particles can also affect the clarity of the finish.

Organize your project work area neatly, so that everything you'll need is conveniently reachable but not in the way of your movement.

You can use plastic sheeting (sometimes referred to as painter's plastic) to protect your other surfaces (e.g., cabinets, floors) from contact with epoxy resin. We recommend 4 mil plastic.

Don't use epoxy resin at the wrong temperatures

Before you begin mixing your epoxy, you must be certain that both components of the epoxy as well as the project environment are within the appropriate temperature range, this will be important for the entire project, until the epoxy has cured. Using epoxy resin outside of the safe range can affect the bonding or result in a murky, cloudy finish instead of the transparent glasslike appearance it will normally have.

The proper temperature range varies slightly between different epoxy types and should be listed in the instructions received with your chosen brand of epoxy. For example, our UltraClear table top epoxy works within a range of 70°F - 80°F with an ideal of 75°F, while our UltraClear deep pour epoxy can cure within a wider range of 60°F - 85°F.

For the project environment, you'll want to check the humidity. A humidity below 60% is important to avoid issues with the epoxy bonding.

Be sure to plan ahead, because the epoxy curing process itself will require these temperatures to be maintained for a full 72 hours to properly harden.

Avoid mixing your epoxy incorrectly

Beginning to mix epoxy resin

Most liquid epoxy is stored as two separate components: resin and hardener. As soon as they're mixed together, chemical reactions occur that begin the curing process. Because of this, you should only mix when you're ready to pour the epoxy.

When you do get ready to mix, make sure you know your mixing ratio, measured by volume not weight. For our table top epoxy, it's 1:1 (e.g., 12 oz of resin goes with 12 oz of hardener); for our deep pour epoxy, it's 2:1 (e.g. 12 oz of resin goes with 6 oz of hardener).

It's important to measure these accurately—only measure by volume, as weight is inconsistent. Many mixing containers will have a scale on the exterior or interior to measure liquid contents.

For the actual mixing itself, there are two proper methods: you can use a power drill with a mixing bit, or you can stir manually with stir sticks.

When to mix using stir sticks

If your epoxy batch measures less than one gallon total, use only stir sticks; mix it by hand for three to four minutes. As you're mixing, scrape the sides and bottom to prevent some of the epoxy from sticking.

Don't use a drill for amounts smaller than one gallon total. At amounts less than a gallon, the drill is likely to pull in air, creating bubbles in the mixture that can cause you problems during pouring.

When to mix using a power drill

You should only use a power drill when you want to mix a batch of one gallon or more. A mixing drill bit is excellent for these scenarios. You'll want to set it to medium speed. Any slower and it won't mix well; any faster and it will likely pull in air.

Begin mixing, moving the drill bit around within the epoxy to blend it evenly. Be careful not to lift the drill bit to the surface or it may pull in air. Do this for about 2 minutes, then briefly pause and use a stir stick to scrape the interior sides and bottom of the container to prevent some of the epoxy from sticking. If the top of the epoxy seems to be slightly stickier, push it down with the stick so that it can blend properly with the rest of it. Resume drilling for just three more minutes, then pour immediately.

Different epoxy brands will recommend different mixing times. Always follow the directions included with the brand of epoxy you're using.

(If you're using our UltraClear brand of epoxy, you'll have a detailed set of instructions for each type you've purchased. If you no longer have them, you can always view the instructions on our support website: Click here for our table top epoxy or here for our deep pour epoxy.)

Be wary of pouring a layer that's too thick

Uncured epoxy is poured in layers with a depth determined by the type of epoxy. Our table top epoxy, for example, will self-level to 1/16 of an inch, whereas our deep pour epoxy can be poured in layers of up to 2 inches thick.

After a layer is poured, it must be given adequate time to settle and partially harden. For instance, our table top epoxy requires 4-6 hours to settle and be receptive to an additional layer.

Before and after photos of a table top epoxy project

Have questions about pouring or any other part of the process? Let us know!

You can contact us for assistance via phone or email here, or through our online chat by clicking the help button at the bottom right of your screen.

UltraClear Epoxy's experts are here to provide answers to your questions so that you can plan your epoxy project with confidence.

Epoxy basicsEpoxy project planningEpoxy safety and maintenance

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