5 Common Epoxy Mistakes Beginners Make When Pouring Resin & How To Avoid Them
What is Resin?
Epoxy Resin is a unique and truly incredible product that is typically sold as a kit containing 2 separate chemicals: Resin and Hardener. These two liquid components are mixed together in a specific ratio that allows them to cure as a solid and durable surface. Epoxy resin can be used in hundreds of different ways for many different applications. Before you begin working with any type of resin, it’s important to know what type to use for your specific project.
Here’s an example of a few different Epoxy Resin Types:
Table Top Epoxy Resin that’s used for making Epoxy Tables, Bar Tops, Countertops, and any other surface coating project.
Deep Pour Epoxy that’s used for making things like: Epoxy River Tables, Epoxy Resin Trays, Resin Charcuterie Boards, and any other projects involving embedded objects in a casting resin.
Marine Grade Epoxy Resin that’s used to provide: Structural strength for various applications such as boat repair, waterproofing, etc.
Flooring Epoxy that is used to cover concrete floors in garages, workshops, businesses, etc.
For this article, we’re going to be focusing on the first two types of epoxy: Table Top Resin and Deep Pour Resin. Both of these types of resin come in their own separate resin kits and should never be mixed together for any reason. You should also avoid mixing different brands of epoxy together as there is a huge risk of the two chemicals not reacting together as intended. These two types of epoxy are the most commonly used options for the majority of woodworking projects and most beginner epoxy crafts.
So, now that you’re ready to choose the type of epoxy you need for your project, let’s go over these extremely common epoxy mistakes, and simple ways to avoid them before you make your first resin pour.
Top 5 mistakes most beginners will make when first working with epoxy.
Over and Under Mixing the Epoxy Resin
-Do not use a mixing drill bit for smaller amounts of epoxy. For anything under one gallon (1/2 gallon resin & 1/2 gallon hardener) we recommend only mixing by hand with a stir stick. Mixing drill bits work great for making the epoxy mixing process easier and more consistent, but unless you’re working with a gallon of epoxy or more, it can mix together too quickly and allow air bubbles into your mixture which can then end up on your surface.
-Not scraping sides and bottom of buckets to eliminate strands of unmixed material. Epoxy tends to stick to the sides and bottom of whatever container it is mixed in. Remembering to scrape these areas with your stir stick will help ensure you get as much material mixed and ready to use as possible. Do not do this while pouring, only mixing. If you scrape the sides of the bucket as you pour, you can end up with unmixed material on your epoxy surface.
-Mixing too fast and introducing air bubbles. Never try to speed up the mixing process to get your project done sooner. Mixing epoxy should always be done according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The mixing process, while fairly straightforward, should be respected. Mixing epoxy is the same as combining any other chemicals in a lab. To get the right chemical reaction, the process must be done carefully, and correctly. The best way to avoid any mistakes is to familiarize yourself with the mixing process before you start it. There are tons of videos, guides, and articles on how to mix resin. While these are all great, unless they are using the same epoxy as you are, they should be viewed with a grain of salt.
-Always follow the instructions included with your epoxy kit. Different companies recommend different mixing times and ratio’s. So it’s extremely important to mix for the exact amount of time that is recommended by that epoxy brand.
No Surface Preparation Before Pouring Resin
-Always make sure whatever surface you are pouring over is completely dry and clear of dust, debris, or anything else that can contaminate your epoxy mixture.
-Do some research on the brand of epoxy you’re using to be 100% sure it will be able to bond with whatever surface material you are covering. If you don’t take the time to check this beforehand, you run the risk of your epoxy not being able to properly cure and bond with your surface. This can leave you with delimitation issues, sticky or soft spots, or spots on the surface where the epoxy separates from itself (also known as fish eyes or pin holes in epoxy coats).
-Surface Preparation also involves having your work area completely set up and ready to go, before you attempt mixing. You do not want to be looking for your heat gun or trying to lay down painters plastic after you have already started mixing and pouring the resin.
-Take the time to properly prepare the area you will be pouring in. This may involve doing several things ahead of time:
1. Use 4mil painters plastic to protect your floors, cabinets, or any other area that may come into contact with the epoxy resin.
2. Make sure you have purchased all the tools you need beforehand.
3. Have all your tools, buckets, or anything else you’ll need within arms reach. You want to measure, mix, and pour without stopping to find something you nee
- This is especially important when it comes to mixing and pouring. For example, Table Top Epoxy generates a lot of heat during while mixing. This heat is caused by the chemical reaction of the hardener and resin, and is needed to allow the liquid epoxy to solidify into an extremely hard and durable surface.
-You do not want this reaction to start while it’s inside the bucket. If you wait too long after mixing and do not pour the contents of your bucket onto your surface, the epoxy will start to solidify while still inside the container, making it useless and a wasted batch of epoxy.
Pouring Table Top Epoxy Or Deep Pour Resin at the Wrong Temperature
-Like we mentioned above, preparation before a resin pour is key to a perfect pour every time. Most importantly, you need to ensure you are pouring the resin in an area with the appropriate temperature. You will save yourself a lot of time and money by ensuring your work area is heated or cooled appropriately before you even start to mix your epoxy. For reference: UltraClear Tabletop Epoxy has to be above 75 degrees for 3 days / 72 hours for proper curing. UltraClear Deep Pour Deep has to be between 60-85F to ensure that it doesn’t generate too much heat and cure too quickly. This would result in a cloudy or hazy final product.
-The best place to pour epoxy is in a closed environment. If you’re pouring in a larger space, like a warehouse or a garage without insulation, the best recommendation would be to use painters plastic to tent off the area around the pour. You can then use space heaters to warm up the smaller space if the ambient temperature is colder than is should be.
Incorrect Epoxy Mixing Ratio between Hardener and Resin
-The correct way to mix 1:1 Table Top Epoxy or 2:1 Deep Pour Epoxy is to measure by volume only.
-Use the graduated measurements on the side of the quart containers or buckets that are provided with the toolkit to determine how much hardener and resin you will need. Do not measure with a scale as the actual weight ratio between the two components will not be accurate.
-You want exactly 1 part of Resin to 1 part of Hardener for volume For example: If you are pouring 1 Gallon of epoxy; you will need to mix 64 ounces of Resin into 64 ounces of Hardener.
-Measuring by weight only isn’t accurate as the Hardener and Resin are different consistencies, and have slightly different weights for the same volumes.
Using the Wrong Type of Epoxy
- As discussed above there are multiple types of Epoxy Kits. It’s extremely important to use the right kind epoxy for the right application. From resin art, to coffee tables, to epoxy resin river tables, the final quality of your project largely depends on the type of epoxy you choose to work with.
-For epoxy countertops, epoxy resin tables, or any other surface where you’re wanting a top coat finish, a Bar & Table Top Epoxy will be the best option.
-For any project that you’re wanting to have an epoxy pour deeper than a 1/8”, such as a 1” or 2” pour, then Deep Pour Epoxy will work better.
- Always do your research before purchasing any brand of epoxy.
Here’s some things to look out for when choosing a brand of epoxy to use:
-Professional or Commercial Grade Resin: Your surface life expectancy depends entirely on the quality of epoxy you choose before pouring.
-A company that provides a Safety Data Sheet for their products to ensure the epoxy doesn’t contain any VOC’s or other dangerous components.
- Fast, responsive customer service. Every beginner is going to have questions or concerns before they take the leap and pour anything over their kitchen countertops or family dining table. But if you purchase from a company that takes days or weeks to respond to a single call, this can be extremely frustrating and could potentially even ruin your project.
- Troubleshooting any potential issues in an epoxy pour is a lot easier to do as soon as the issue appears. If an epoxy pour has finished curing completely by the time you receive a call-back, you may have to re-do your entire surface instead of simply being given the solution to an issue that could have been fixed if it was addressed in time.