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A batch of epoxy resin being poured onto a wooden substrate.

Primaloc Answers: What Happens If You Pour Epoxy Too Thick?

Epoxy resin is a sealant best known for remarkable properties as a durable, waterproof finish for furniture, fixtures, as well as the elegant aesthetic it provides them. It's low maintenance and easy to clean, making it an excellent choice for many situations, including as a finish for high-traffic spaces like kitchen countertops and bar tops.

Application of epoxy resin entails a fairly straightforward process that is divided into several phases, with each of these phases involving a few smaller steps.

What Is the Epoxy Resin Coating Process?

The application of epoxy resin is a multi-step process that concludes with the largely passive curing phase. While each step is straightforward on its own, the entire process can appear daunting to those new to working with epoxy.

By carefully planning your project, ensuring all necessary materials and tools are at hand, and properly setting up your workspace for epoxy application, you can break down the project into simpler, sequential tasks.

Here are the key stages involved in most epoxy resin applications:

  • The Seal Coat Phase: This initial phase involves applying a thin epoxy layer to seal the substrate, preventing air bubbles and imperfections during subsequent steps.
  • The Flood Coat Phase: Here, you pour a self-leveling epoxy layer over the substrate, which acts as the main protective coating.
  • The Air Bubble Removal Phase: After applying the flood coat, you'll need to actively remove any air bubbles that rise to the surface to ensure a flawless finish.
  • The Curing Phase: The final stage requires patience as the epoxy cures and hardens, solidifying into its durable final form.

Below, we'll delve into a common question regarding the flood coat phase in this article: "What happens if you pour epoxy too thick?"

A wooden epoxy bar top in a domestic environment.

What Happens If You Pour Epoxy Too Thick?

One key aspect of working with epoxy is recognizing that a high-grade epoxy resin simplifies the process significantly. Such resins are self-leveling, which means they spread out on their own to achieve an optimal thickness, ideal for forming a single layer.

Typically, the standard thickness for many quality epoxy resins is about 1/16 of an inch. However, for our Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy, the recommended thickness is 1/8 of an inch, which it will self-level to. This self-leveling feature ensures uniform coverage and depth, essential for achieving the best results.

Excessively Thick Epoxy Layers Can Cause Problems

Pouring an epoxy layer thicker than the recommended depth for your specific product can cause several issues, including:

  • The formation of numerous air bubbles within the resin.
  • The release of smoky emissions from an overly thick layer.
  • Incomplete curing or excessive curing times.
  • A final appearance that is cloudy or lacks clarity.
A wooden epoxy bar top.

Why These Things Can Happen

Each of these issues occurs for different reasons. Let's take a look at them.

#1: The Formation of Numerous Air Bubbles Within the Resin.

When epoxy is applied too thickly, the heat generated by the exothermic reaction (the chemical reaction that occurs as the resin cures) can cause the resin to become too viscous. This increased viscosity permits any trapped air to rise to the surface more slowly, increasing the likelihood of air bubble entrapment.

Additionally, the deeper an epoxy layer is as it cures, the harder it is for air bubbles to escape to the surface and pop.

#2: The Release of Smoky Emissions from an Overly Thick Layer.

The exothermic reaction during the curing process generates heat. In a thicker layer, this heat can't dissipate quickly enough and builds up within the material. If the heat builds up excessively, it can cause the resin to burn or smoke, leading to smoky emissions.

This is not only a potential hazard but can also compromise the integrity and appearance of the resin.

#3: Incomplete Curing—Or Excessive Curing Times

Epoxy resin is designed to cure optimally at a specific thickness. When applied too thickly, the inner portions of the epoxy layer may not be exposed to enough air to cure properly, or the excessive heat generated can alter the curing process.

Ultimately, this can lead to the epoxy remaining tacky or soft in the middle even when the surface seems cured, or it can significantly extend the total curing time required.

#4: A murky or cloudy resulting finish.

The ideal curing of epoxy requires a balanced chemical reaction. Overly thick layers can disturb this balance, leading to areas within the epoxy that cure unevenly or incompletely. This uneven curing can result in a cloudy or murky finish, detracting from the clarity and gloss that is typically desired in an epoxy finish.

Additionally, excessive heat from thick layers can cause ambering or yellowing, further affecting the appearance.

A large wooden epoxy table top.

How to Prevent These Issues from Occurring

To avoid these complications, stick with the suggested layer thickness of your chosen epoxy. If you need more depth, you can apply additional layers after allowing the initial one to partially cure.

When preparing your epoxy mix, it's crucial to accurately measure the required amount. Overestimating and attempting to use an excess mix in one go, particularly for projects with raised edges or containment barriers, might seem practical but can lead to problems.

Instead, if you find yourself with excess mixed epoxy, it's advisable to leave the extra amount unused rather than applying it all and risking an overly thickened layer. Allow the layer you've applied to self-level and cure properly without becoming too deep.

How to Achieve a Deep Epoxy Finish with Multiple Layers

Achieving greater depth in your epoxy project is feasible by layering multiple pours.

Here's the step-by-step process:

  1. After pouring a layer, allow it to sit for 4 to 6 hours before adding another. The epoxy should be tacky and partially set but not fully hardened.

  2. Prepare a fresh batch of epoxy and pour it over the tacky, partially cured layer to add depth.

  3. Use a heat gun or torch to eliminate any air bubbles that arise in the new layer.

  4. Continue the cycle of pouring and removing air bubbles, repeating these steps until the desired thickness is achieved.

  5. Once the final layer is added, let the project cure completely, which typically takes between 24 to 72 hours. Refer to your specific epoxy product's guidelines for precise curing times. Our Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy Instructions can be found here.

By following these steps carefully, your project should have a smooth and deep finish, free of imperfections or blemishes.

A long, thin wooden epoxy table top on skinny metal legs.

Primaloc Epoxy: Premium Epoxy for Premium Results

When it comes to epoxy resin, Primaloc Epoxy gets the job done. Our epoxy resin is premium-grade, with high performance in every category.

Epoxy resin can be beautiful, strong, and long-lasting—which is why you shouldn't compromise on quality. With Primaloc Epoxy Resin, you get the ultimate finish in durability and visual appeal.

Protect your surfaces by giving them a rock-solid epoxy finish. Choose strong. Choose reliable. Choose Primaloc.


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