There are a lot of advantages to using epoxy resin, whether in art or as a practical finish.
For one, epoxy is durable, able to withstand high-traffic environments and endure rough use with easy. It's also waterproof, preventing moisture from permeating its tight-knit exterior. And, of course, it's beautiful, with a naturally crystal-clear appearance and a high receptiveness for epoxy pigments and dyes.
There are more advantages to epoxy resin, but those are some of the biggest allures.
Still, every material has weaknesses, and that's what this article is about. What weakens epoxy resin? Continue reading to find out!
What weakens epoxy?
Epoxy is strong—really strong. But that hardly means it's invulnerable.
Here's a small list of things that can weaken it, whether intentionally (to remove it) or unintentionally (by accident)—and sometimes even without your knowledge before you've even obtained it.
- Strong solvents. Epoxy doesn't handle these (e.g., acetone) particularly well.
- Extreme heat. While epoxy has heat resistance, there is a threshold beyond which it starts to soften.
- Fillers and impure ingredients. Carefully choosing your epoxy brand is essential to getting a product that holds up.
Let's take a look at each of these listings, one by one.
Weakness #1: Strong Solvents
Epoxy can be weakened by strong solvents. Substances such as pure acetone, potent alcohol (typically denatured), and lacquer thinners are all examples of this.
These substances will gradually dissolve an epoxy resin surface, weakening it and reverting it to a liquid. The length of time this takes to happen varies by product.
Using solvents can be desirable if you need to remove epoxy resin from a surface. On the other hand, if you don't want that to happen, it's important you avoid using powerful solvents on your epoxy resin. If your goal is to clean your epoxy resin finish, stick with safer methods that are far more effective and won't harm it.
Weakness #2: Extreme Heat
Epoxy resin has a medium-level of heat resistance. It can withstand temperatures of up to 135°F without any issues. Beyond that, though, it will start to soften, eventually taking permanent heat damage.
The most common cause of heat damage is placing a hot pot or pan onto an epoxy surface and letting it rest there. You can prevent heat damage to your resin by using trivets for hot cookware, using coasters for non-insulated cups/mugs, and—applicable only in rare situations—keeping the epoxy resin out of direct sunlight in super hot environments, where natural heat bring the temperature past the threshold.
Weakness #3: Fillers and Impure Ingredients
Our third listing references factors that that is often out of a user's control—the use of substandard ingredients during resin production.
Sometimes, in an effort to increase profit or provide a deceptively low price, epoxy manufacturers will use fillers, substitutes, or impure ingredients to cut costs.
Though there are regulations preventing some of this from occurring when the epoxy is produced within the USA, these regulations are often bypassed by less principled dealers via importation.
Naturally, the issue with this is that the reduced quality of the epoxy resin makes it unstable, weaker and unexpectedly prone to damage that proper epoxy isn't susceptible to.
You can avoid this entirely by making sure to choose a credible brand with a consistent reputation for high-quality epoxy resins. Never compromise on the quality of your epoxy resin, even it means saving some money upfront, because when a subpar epoxy inevitably fails, it will cost a lot more time and money to rectify after the fact.
We hope this article has given you some helpful information. Below are a few additional resources that you may find useful:
- Will epoxy hold up outside? - Discover how epoxy fares in outdoor settings, and how you keep your outside finish in excellent condition.
- When should you not use epoxy? - Epoxy is quite versatile. Still, there are times when it isn't the best choice. Learn more here.
- Epoxy resin drying/curing times - Achieving an optimal cure is essential to getting a durable, long-lasting epoxy finish.
Have questions? Want advice? Contact us!
If you have any questions about epoxy's strengths and weaknesses, or if you'd like assistance in planning an epoxy project, please reach out to us at UltraClear Epoxy—our epoxy experts are ready to assist!
You can contact us via phone or email here. During business hours, you can also text chat online with one of our resin specialists by clicking the Help button at the bottom of your screen.