FAQ - Epoxy Questions for Builders
Q: Can epoxy withstand heat?
A: Epoxy generally softens when heat is applied to it. iCoat countertop epoxy is scorch resistant to 500 degrees but it is critical to have iCoat composite underneath it for heat dissipation. Scorch resistant means that a hot item such as a pan can be placed directly on the counter without causing damage as it cools down; it does not mean something with a heat source of its own should be put directly on the counter for long lengths of time. Crockpots, cheap coffee makers and potpourri dishes can all be problematic. Insulate them from the counter with a heat-pad or wooden cutting board.
Q: A very hot coffee cup left a ring on the counter, what can I do, and why did it happen?
A: Some coffee or teacups can have a very small ring on the bottom. When the cup is full of near-boiling liquid the cup will remain hot for a significant amount of time while transmitting the heat to the thing ring on the bottom. Depending on the conditions in which the epoxy was installed and how thick it can leave a ring that is evident on some colors. This is easily remedied by heating and placing a hot pan with a flat bottom over the ring. This will erase the ring and heat cure the epoxy so it is not likely to happen again. You can also take a torch and lightly pass over the area which will accomplish the same reaction; don’t leave the torch on one area but just a light pass back and forth a few times.
Q: I sanded my epoxy and have tiny white circles, how can I fix them?
A: These are dust rings from the sanding that is embedded in holes created during the application. Either the epoxy outgassed due to a porous substrate or the bubbles weren’t completely removed during the torching. Use a compressor or even a can of compressed air to blow out the dust prior to putting on a second coat of epoxy. Once blown out you can clean with Windex; if the dust doesn’t appear when wet it will not be seen in the epoxy.
Q: Can I recoat or add a second coat to epoxy?
A: Yes, generally epoxy can be multilayered to achieve depth, encapsulate color, or even recolor or renew an older project. On a multilayer pour you can wait until the epoxy is at least tacked which generally on art resin is about 4 to 5 hours and pour directly on top. Counters and tables can generally take a second coat the following day; check and make sure there isn’t any bubbling or debris in the epoxy and sand lightly if there is. Older jobs should be sanded with 400 grit and cleaned thoroughly with Windex before recoating.
Q: Should I prime (seal) my wood before applying epoxy?
A: Yes, definitely. Wood is porous and will absorb epoxy that will lead to outgassing. Many people use a thinned down epoxy, a fast set epoxy, or our 2112 urethane. We advise the use of 2112 as a wood primer due to its great sealing properties and short dry times.
Q: The epoxy is too shiny; how can I make it matte or not quite as shiny?
A: Epoxy is very shiny at about 135 on the gloss scale. Typically, stone is around 60 to 85. A completely matte finish can be obtained by sanding the surface with 400 and then 800 grit on a reciprocal sander. To remove some of the gloss use iCoat honing oil as shown in the video section.
Q: I have a few tacky spots? What happened and what can I do?
A: Tacky spots are generally a bit of the epoxy resin that wasn’t modified by the hardener due to improper mixing. Mixing epoxy is much easier when the epoxy is warmed to at least 75 degrees or warmer. If you do have a tacky spot in an inconspicuous area it can be repaired but the uncured epoxy must be removed. Use xylene or denatured alcohol poured on a rag to remove the tack spots. It may take a few times to get it all. After that tape off directly around the spot leaving about 1/16” showing to be able to see the level of the epoxy and use a pencil to drip epoxy into the affected area. Lightly pass a torch and check the level to be sure it is the same as the epoxy around it. You can add or remove epoxy from the area as necessary. If there are multiple spots or the repair is noticeable it may be easier to redo the epoxy on that entire piece.
Q: How much epoxy do I need for my project?
A: Typically, the countertop can be estimated in sq ft. It is essential to get proper coverage and not be too thin. Generally, these epoxies net 25 sq ft of coverage per gallon. Casting and deep pour epoxies will net 231 cubic inches per gallon. This calculation can be made by figuring the surface area multiplied by the average depth.
Q: How can I tell if I have enough epoxy on my counter or table?
A: If you followed the recommendation of 25 sq ft coverage per gallon then you most likely have enough epoxy however after you torch the epoxy look at the reflection of the ceiling in it and look for any deflection. The epoxy should be glass smooth and if any waves show add some to the area and retorch.
Q: What is the best epoxy for my project?
A: Epoxy selection depends on the thickness and mass desired. Most art resin and tabletop epoxy is designed to cure more quickly and should be limited to ¼” or less. Casting and deep pour epoxies are made to be poured thicker. These epoxies can be divided into a few different categories. Mid depth low volume, mid-depth high volume, and deep pours. Selecting the correct epoxy will assure an optimal outcome.
Q: Can I store mixed epoxy for another job?
A: No, once mixed the epoxy must be used before the chemical reaction has occurred. You can always have a few molds laying around to fill with leftover or pour it on some plastic for fun shapes you can use in other projects.
Q: Can I use epoxy on vertical surfaces?
A: Yes, you can but remember epoxy will run and create ripples. These can be sanded later but be careful not to get into the color. It may be advisable to put a second coat on.
Q: Is there a difference between Epoxy made in the USA and China?
A: Yes there is, if the environment is important to you then that should be concern #1, countries like China do not follow the same strict guidelines for chemical companies the way the USA does, so you can guarantee that in China there is a detrimental effect on the earth. As for quality, it is night and day. Not only do USA-made epoxies have more quality control and that means, better resistance to ambering, heat, soft spots, and UV damage, it cures better and is more stable. We have heard reports from customers who tried the cheap epoxy from China and broke out into rashes using it. Plus, think of how old the product being imported is, even before you get to apply it to your job, it sits on trains, trucks, docks, ships, and in customs at ports for months. Generally, the USA made epoxy for US based customers is the freshest and that means better results.