With a large number of different epoxies available on the market, you want to make sure that you get the one that will work right for the jobs that you need to do. When it comes to getting epoxy made for countertops, you need to know that the epoxy you purchase is made for the use that you will put it through, or else it could end up not lasting as long as it should.
What is Epoxy?
Epoxy is a resin that is mixed with a hardener so that you can refinish surfaces with a clear layer of shine and give new life to older, scratched surfaces like countertops, tables, and floors. This mixture is made by blending a base resin with a curing agent that allows the resin to change from a liquid for pouring into a hard substance that dries flat and hard.
Epoxy can be poured onto sanded tabletops to create a shiny, clear finish, or can be used to resurface bathroom or kitchen countertops so that you can cover up scratches and imperfections that have accrued over time with normal wear and tear. Using epoxy with pigments on countertops to create a faux marble look is becoming increasingly popular.
How is it Different?
Tabletop and countertop epoxies differ from other mixtures because of the thickness of the pour and the durability. Casting resins and other epoxies are made for thicker pours and can be used for projects like encasing a valuable item in resin or the ever-so-popular river tables.
However, countertop epoxy is a coating epoxy meant to be poured onto a flat surface. Countertop epoxies should be poured with a thin layer (usually up to 1/8 or 1/4 inch per application) and offer a faster cure time because of that thinness. This allows you to use the surface in less time, which is something that is beneficial considering that you will need to use your kitchen to cook. That being said, although most coating epoxies will feel hard to the touch after 12 hours, we do not recommend placing items on your countertop for at least 7 days to allow a cure throughout.
The thinness of the pour doesn't just allow for faster cure time, but it also allows for a clear finish so that no cloudiness covers the pattern or design underneath the layer. Countertops may have granite or marble material, which has a beautiful pattern, and you will not want to cover or block that. So, having a clear layer will keep that from happening.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Casting Resins for Tables/Counters?
Casting resins are better used for certain projects, but when it comes to resurfacing countertops, they should not be used. The main reason for this is the amount of time that they take to cure. These resins are made for deep pours and can take up to several days to fully cure. If you are redoing your whole kitchen, then that means that you will not have kitchen counter space for cooking for that time.
This can negatively affect your day to day schedule and ability to cook and prepare food the way that you need to, and it will make the whole process much longer than it needs to be.
If you use countertop epoxy, then the cure time will only be between 12 and 24 hours. This allows you to use less time to resurface, because the pour is thinner, and you will only have to wait one day before being able to use your countertops again.
Another reason that these epoxies work better is that many of them are self-leveling. This feature allows the mixture to level itself as it is poured so that you don't have to do it yourself as you work. This keeps the mixture from bubbling up and causing air pockets to form in the surface and keeps the layer smooth and clear in all areas without having to do extra work.
This self-leveling also keeps you from having to use a torch to pop air bubbles that form. Not everyone will have this type of tool to do that, so negating the need for it will allow you to get through your project faster.
How Long Does Epoxy Countertops Last?
Before resurfacing your kitchen counters, you might be asking yourself; how durable is epoxy on countertops? Well, luckily, epoxy countertop durability is very high. This layer creates a solid surface that will last for years and maintains a long-lasting shine as well. Plus, unlike other varnishes and finishes, you will not need to continually reapply this layer to keep it looking like new.
This solid resurfacing epoxy also stands up well to wear and tear with high resistance to scratches and other minor damages that you might see due to heavy use. This material is also crack-resistant and will not be damaged like glass or other coatings and will stand the test of time.
The shininess that comes with a fresh coat of epoxy will last a long time, but when it does begin to dull, you can revamp it with a quick and easy application of mineral oil.
Ways to Prevent Yellowing
One of the biggest disadvantages of using epoxy is the fact that it is prone to staining. If you have spills or from food or drinks that are not cleaned up right away, then you will likely have to deal with the effects of staining of the epoxy surface. Because it is used on kitchen countertops, this is something that could happen often and could cause the epoxy layer to lose shine and consistency.
However, you can help prevent this by cleaning up all spills as soon as they happen. Using a damp rag with water and soap you can get the food or drink off of the counter so that there is less of a chance that the color will be affected. Also, the use of mineral oil can be used to protect the shine of the epoxy can could be used after cleaning.
Although casting resins and other epoxies may be similar, there are many important reasons why using epoxy that is made for countertops is the best choice for resurfacing. With the clarity that comes with countertop epoxy and the quick cure times that let you back to your regular cooking routine as soon as possible, using an epoxy made for countertops will make the whole resurfacing process a whole lot easier.