There are a few reasons why epoxy tends to amber over time. Direct exposure to long term heat, UV exposure from sunlight, age, and poor blends of epoxy resins are all things that can cause epoxy to take on a yellowish tint.
Not all epoxies are the same, like most products they vary widely in quality. The old adage “You get what you pay for!” could not be truer than in the epoxy coatings industry. Epoxies specifically formulated for art or countertops should have UV stabilizers blended in the formula. Heat-rated resins are critical for counter and tabletop applications to enable someone to put hot pans from the stove directly on the surface. Cheaper Chinese products are inconsistent and cannot be relied upon for long term performance. It is wise to use a product that has been proven in the field for at least ten years as age definitely has the potential to cause yellowing.
Epoxy Countertops definitely have advantages over most kitchen workspaces. They provide a nonporous, food-safe prep area that does not allow penetration of germs and contaminants into the surface. Epoxy countertops can be done with no seams. Epoxy counters are a piece of art that can be any color or pattern. Epoxy counters when properly constructed should last indefinitely.
So how do you protect your investment against ambering? First do not put anything with a heat source directly on the counter. Crockpots, potpourri warmers, cheap coffee pots and anything else that puts out heat for an extended period of time should be insulated from the epoxy. Cutting boards, wood trays, hot pads or anything else that shields the epoxy from the heat will prevent changes in color. Epoxy should not be done outdoors as UV can break it down; windows provide polarization and inhibit harmful UV rays. Epoxy can and will deepen in color after several years but most colors do not show any noticeable change. White counters are the most susceptible to perceived color change and can turn a whitish cream color.
As we discussed before good epoxies will not be as susceptible to problems down the road but let’s suppose someone has a situation where they can tell a difference in color, is there anything that can be done?
In most cases of evident ambering of epoxy, it is just the top surface that is affected. Countertop epoxy is applied thicker than flooring epoxy and can be sanded enough to remove the part that has changed color. After removing the surface good grades of epoxy can be buffed and polished just like auto paint. Many contractors offer this service to their customers as a maintenance service. Epoxy countertops are one of the few counter systems that can be made to look brand new after years of service.
Should you have any questions or need assistance please reach out to iCoat for help. We have been in the epoxy countertop industry for over 22 years and have answers for you.