If you're planning your first epoxy project, it may initially seem very complicated. We want to show you how simple it can be, starting with today's article on how to determine which epoxy is right for your needs.
What are the differences between table top epoxy and deep pour epoxy?
Although once cured they look very similar, each epoxy is unique in several ways:
- Consistency (viscosity) and coverage
- Working time (amount of time before mixed epoxy resin starts to harden)
- Hardness rating (measured under the Shore hardness scale when fully cured)
- General purpose (which applications they're most suited for)
We'll cover each of these below.
Consistency (viscosity) and coverage
Our table top epoxy has a thicker consistency once mixed, similar to honey. As you're pouring it onto a prepared flat surface, it will expand on its own until it has self-leveled to 1/8 of an inch, so you don’t need to manually spread it around. As long as you've mixed enough epoxy to cover your intended surface area, your coat will naturally finish at the ideal thickness for most tables, countertops, etc.
Some table top epoxy brands will self-level at 1/16 of an inch. We don't recommend these resins, but if you do decide to use one, you'll need a second coat to bring your finish to the recommend thickness of 1/8 of an inch. This will ensure you get a strong, durable finish.
On the other hand, our deep pour epoxy has a thinner consistency, allowing it to flow into cracks and crevices better, and enabling air bubbles to freely escape from heavier pours. This is because air, when pressured by any liquid, will naturally rise to the surface, and a lower viscosity rating (which determines the consistency and flow of the uncured epoxy) will not impede these bubbles from surfacing like table top epoxy could. This is what allows you to pour up to a 2 inch layer in a single go.
Both epoxy types are stored as two separate components: resin and hardener. When the epoxy resin and corresponding hardener are mixed together, the epoxy begins to cure, gradually hardening. For a variety of technical reasons, table top epoxy will cure at a faster rate than deep pour epoxy.
What this means for you is that deep pour epoxy will have a longer working time during which it remains in a pourable state, lasting about 20 minutes, though potentially up to 30. Table top epoxy has a working time of about 5 minutes. That number may seem small, but it's generally more than enough to finish pouring a single batch. You can then mix more up and continue your pouring until you've covered your project space adequately.
Shore D hardness rating
Once fully cured, either table top epoxy or deep pour epoxy will provide a durable, hardened finish. However, we always recommend using table top epoxy for any project that might see heavy use or rough handling. For deep pour projects, you can actually apply a topcoat of table top epoxy to the cured finish to give it that extra layer of extreme impact resistance.
In fact, our own brand of table top epoxy has been tested in its fully cured state and scored a hardness rating of 98 out of 100 under type D on the Shore hardness scale; that's a nearly perfect score.
This level of resilience is what makes table top epoxy ideal for high traffic locations such as bar tops, countertops, and tables.
Usually, if you’re simply looking to cover a large surface, such as a wooden table top, you’ll want to use table top epoxy. Ours is a single coat system that will cover virtually any surface in a 1/8 inch layer of resin. This is ideal for common materials including wood, marble, concrete, and laminate, and anything used for most countertops and table tops.
If you’re wanting to fill a void, encase objects, or connect multiple pieces of wood together to create a River Table, you'll want to use our deep pour epoxy. Deep pour epoxy can be poured in layers of up to 2 inches at a time. With it, you can easily embed objects as part of your project, leaving them neatly preserved and clearly visible through the epoxy's naturally transparent finish. Many people also use it with silicone resin molds to create their own jewelry and other ornaments.
Where can you purchase these types of epoxy?
Many home improvement stores will have at least one variety of epoxy, but they may not have the exact type you need, or it may not be as high quality.
Here at Ultra Clear Epoxy, we take pride in ensuring the quality of our products, so you get exactly what you want for your project. If you'd like help figuring out which tools to acquire or how much epoxy you need for your project, you can contact one of our epoxy experts by phone or email, or you can chat with one of us directly by clicking the help button at the bottom right of your screen.