An epoxy countertop

The increased availability of epoxy resin in recent years has led to it being used for many different types of home, commercial, and artistic projects throughout the United States.

It is cost-effective, incredibly strong, with an attractive glasslike appearance.

Due to its recent popularity, there are now many newcomers working with epoxy for the first time who may not be very familiar with how to safely handle epoxy during a project.

In this article, we cover safe practice for using epoxy resin so you can complete your epoxy projects, worry-free.

First of all, what is epoxy or epoxy resin?

Epoxy resin is what we generally call the uncured form of epoxy, a very sturdy type of transparent plastic. It can also just mean the epoxy itself, regardless of the state it is in.

The most common type of epoxy resin is two-part epoxy. This type of epoxy is stored as two separate liquid components: a resin and a hardener.

When those two components are combined, a chemical reaction occurs that causes the epoxy resin to start hardening while also bonding to adjacent surfaces.

This process is called curing.

As curing continues, the mixed resin will harden more and more, eventually becoming fully solid, with very high durability and impact resistance.

It will also feature a transparent glasslike finish. This finish can also be altered with colorants during the mixing process, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

The cured form of epoxy is what many think of when they just say epoxy instead of epoxy resin, though these terms are largely interchangeable.

Is uncured epoxy resin safe to use?

Epoxy resins are relatively safe to use. When handled properly by following a few general guidelines, there is nearly no risk to one's health or safety.

Prior to curing, when epoxy is still in its resin form, it is a mild skin irritant.

Though it's different for each person, consistent direct exposure to skin can sometimes cause rashes or inflammation in those areas.

There are also rare instances of occupational asthma as a result of regular epoxy use over a long period of time.

Perhaps you want to build an epoxy countertop or create art or resin jewelry; maybe you're not sure what you need and just want to experiment. Regardless, safety is paramount.

Fortunately, these issues are easily avoidable, as explained below.

Gloves used for safety with epoxy resin

How to be safe when using clear epoxy resin

When working with epoxy resin, we recommend that you wear gloves for your project. While it is possible to avoid skin contact even without gloves, it's much better to avoid potential mistakes entirely by taking appropriate precautions.

A pair of butyl gloves or nitrile gloves will provide the most protection while still being flexible enough for precise movements.

We don't recommend using latex gloves, though they can suffice for very brief periods of time. Latex provides very light protection, but overtime it will absorb small amounts of the epoxy, allowing it to seep into your skin.

Fortunately, epoxy resin is easy to wash away if it gets on your skin.

We also recommend wearing an N95 respirator or KN95 respirator while working with epoxy.

These provide high filtration of epoxy fumes, perfect for indoor projects where there's not a lot of air flow.

You can find all of these things online and at many local stores.

Finally, it's always important that you carefully read the instructions that come with any epoxy you purchase.

Is cured epoxy safe to use?

When high-quality epoxy finishes curing, it becomes inert. The reactions that brought it to this state are no longer active, and the epoxy itself is no longer considered an irritant.

Skin contact is fine after this point.

In fact, once fully cured, the epoxy is even food contact safe, though you shouldn't prepare food directly on it, as knives can scratch it, and very high heat can damage it.

Cured epoxy is also very smooth, making it easy to clean and sanitize, a valuable trait these days.

For comparison, porous materials such as wood or granite have tiny grooves and holes that can absorb or retain different particles and liquids which make them harder to clean—and sometimes impossible.

Stay safe by buying epoxy from credible sources.

There are many different brands of clear epoxy resin these days, and some of them won't meet the quality standards that make epoxy safe to use.

It's important to buy from a trustworthy provider that meets these safety standards.

At UltraClear Epoxy, we take great pride in our resin products, all of which:

  • Contain no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) once cured.
  • Will last a minimum of 7 years with proper care.
  • Are premium-grade quality to meet our high safety standards.
  • Are 100% made in the USA.

If you're planning an epoxy project and haven't already decided on a resin brand, we'd love for you to consider UltraClear Epoxy for your endeavor.

You can buy epoxy resin from us through our store using the following links:

  • UltraClear Table Top Epoxy - This is our strongest resin finish.

    It is perfect for most epoxy projects and is often used as a finish for wooden surfaces, including epoxy bar tops, countertops, and table tops.

    It can also be used on a wide variety of other materials.
  • UltraClear Deep Pour Epoxy - This is our deep pour casting resin.

    It can be used for pouring thick resin layers of up to 2 inches, making it ideal for embedding objects, using silicone casting molds, and constructing beautiful river tables.
A cured epoxy table suitable for every day use

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources you may find useful:

Have questions? Want planning advice? Contact us!

If you want epoxy resin for a project of yours and would like help on knowing what supplies to buy, talk to one of our experts. We'll answer any questions you have about planning your project and help you determine what you need to reach your goal.

Call or email us here, or you can text chat with us by clicking the help button at the bottom right of your screen.

We also have a series of tutorial videos to show some of the fundamental steps to working with epoxy.

Epoxy frequently asked questionsEpoxy safety and maintenance

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