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Primaloc Answers: When Should You Not Use Epoxy Resin?

Epoxy resin, a transparent plastic material, is widely celebrated for its use as a sleek protective coating on furniture such as table tops, benches, etc., as well as on fixtures like countertops and bar tops. When applied to a suitable surface material, it hardens, forming a crystal-clear coating that preserves the material.

Epoxy's versatility is one of its most notable features, allowing for a range of application methods—from brushing on as a sealant to pouring over as a flood coat—and the ability to personalize it with vibrant colorants or elegant embedments.

Nonetheless, there are certain situations where epoxy may not be the ideal choice. Often, these limitations are related to the environmental conditions of the workspace, which can affect the resin's curing process, or specific use cases. This article will outline key scenarios where the use of epoxy should be reconsidered.

When Should You Not Use Epoxy Resin?

Though a premium bar top epoxy makes for an exceptional sealant in most situations, there are time when it doesn't quite fit a project's needs. In these cases, you have two options: you can find an alternative sealant choice, or you can work around the issue that's preventing epoxy from being the ideal finish it normally is

We'll separate our list of when to not use epoxy resin into two categories. The first category will be "uncured epoxy". This is epoxy that hasn't fully cured, and thus requires certain environmental conditions along with proper handling to reach its potential.

The second category of our list will be "cured epoxy", and in this part we'll explain which needs you might have that epoxy can't immediately meet.

Let's begin.

When You Shouldn't: Uncured Epoxy

Before epoxy has fully cured, it needs to be properly handled, and this requires certain conditions to be met.

Uncured epoxy should not be used when:
  • Your curing climate is inadequate. Epoxy resin cures best within a particular range of conditions. These include a relative humidity of 60% or below, as well as a specific temperature of about 75°F.

    Outside of these climate conditions, epoxy tends to cure poorly, potentially taking much longer to harden, or developing a cloudier, less transparent finish.

  • Your workspace has poor ventilation. Good ventilation is important when working with thermosetting chemicals, including epoxy resin. This is because the fumes they let off, however mild, still represent a small safety concern for anyone with potentail allergies.
Cured epoxy, on the other hand, should not be used when:
  • Near a source of intense heat. Epoxy resin, once cured, holds it own around a reasonable level of heat. However, prior to curing, heat tends to force the epoxy to cure at an accelerated pace, causing various issues.

  • What you need is a surface for food prep. Although cured epoxy is food safe, it's not suited for use as a cutting board or similar type of food prep surface, as knives can still cut into it despite its high level of durability.

  • Your project will be outdoors, exposed to constant sunlight. The UV radiation of the sun can discolor epoxy resin, making it less than ideal as a finish for projects that will remain outside and in full view of the sun.

We discuss each of the concerns in our list, starting from the top.

An image of two thermometers, one reading a high temperature and the other reading a cold temperature. Alongside either of them is relevant abstract imagery of ice and fire.

Concern #1: If Your Curing Climate Is Inadequate

Humidity and temperature play significant roles in the curing process of epoxy resin, impacting its ability to cure correctly and the quality of the final finish.


Epoxy resin has an optimal curing temperature range, typically between 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C), with an ideal of 75°F. Temperatures below this range can slow down the curing process significantly, leading to a tacky or soft finish that never fully hardens.

On the other hand, temperatures above this range can accelerate the curing process too much, potentially causing the resin to cure before air bubbles have been released or before it's properly settled, resulting in an imperfect finish. High temperatures can also cause the resin to yellow.


High levels of humidity can introduce moisture into the epoxy resin during the mixing and curing process. This moisture can react with the epoxy components, leading to imperfections in the cured resin such as cloudiness, blushing (a whitish haze on the surface), or even prevent the epoxy from curing entirely.

Excessive humidity can also increase the likelihood of amine blush, a condition where a greasy or waxy layer forms on the surface of the cured epoxy, which can interfere with the adhesion of subsequent layers or finishes.

Preventing these issues from being a deterrent

To ensure optimal curing and achieve the best results with epoxy resin, it's crucial to work in an environment that maintains the recommended temperature and humidity levels. Adjusting your workspace's conditions, such as using a heater, air conditioner, or dehumidifier, can help maintain these conditions and facilitate proper curing.

For example, our Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy cures best at 75°F with a relative humidity level of 60% or less.

A close-up view of an air vent.

Concern #2: If Your Workspace Has Poor Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial during epoxy projects for several reasons, primarily related to health, safety, and the quality of the finished product.

Many epoxy resins and hardeners can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other hazardous chemicals during the mixing and curing process. These substances can be harmful if inhaled, potentially causing respiratory issues, skin irritation, or allergic reactions. Even a premium epoxy resin can release mild fumes during the mixing/curing, which is why we recommend wearing an N95 or KN95 respirator when handling those phases of a project.

Good ventilation reduces risk and improves curing.

Proper ventilation helps to dissipate these fumes and reduce the concentration of airborne contaminants, thereby minimizing health risks to individuals working with the material.

Furthermore, good airflow facilitates the correct curing of epoxy resin by ensuring a stable environment. It helps to prevent the accumulation of fumes that can affect the curing process and the overall quality of the finish. Adequate ventilation also aids in maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity level, which are critical factors in the curing process, as previously discussed.

Concern #3: If Your Project Would Be Near Intense Heat

Epoxy resin, once cured, exhibits a glass-like finish and a durable surface; however, its resistance to heat is not infinite, and high heat can be detrimental to cured epoxy for several reasons, impacting both its physical properties and overall appearance.

Here are the primary concerns associated with exposing cured epoxy to high temperatures:


Epoxy resins have what is known as a "glass transition temperature," which is the temperature range at which the cured epoxy begins to soften and lose its rigidity.

When exposed to temperatures above this threshold, the epoxy can become soft and pliable, potentially deforming under weight or pressure. This can ruin the smooth, hard surface that is emblematic of any good epoxy resin.


Prolonged exposure to high heat can lead to yellowing or other forms of discoloration in cured epoxy. This is particularly noticeable in clear epoxy applications, where the pristine, transparent appearance can be marred by heat-induced color changes. The aesthetic value of the epoxy project can be significantly reduced as a result.

Chemical Breakdown

At very high temperatures, the chemical structure of the epoxy can begin to break down. This breakdown can weaken the material, reducing its overall strength and making it more susceptible to cracks and other forms of damage.

Adhesion Loss

High heat can also affect the epoxy's adhesion to its substrate. As the epoxy softens, it may no longer adhere as strongly to the surface it was applied to, leading to delamination or peeling, especially if the substrate expands or contracts at a different rate than the epoxy.

Avoid putting epoxy projects near sources of intense heat.

To maintain the integrity, appearance, and durability of cured epoxy, it is crucial to keep it away from sources of high heat and to be mindful of the material's limitations when choosing epoxy for projects exposed to high temperatures.

A set of cutting boards with tinted epoxy resin accents.

Concern #4: If You Need a Food Prep Surface

Epoxy resin, while durable and versatile for many applications, poses certain challenges when used as a surface for food preparation. Here are the main reasons why epoxy may not be the ideal choice for this purpose:

Chemical Sensitivity

Although cured epoxy is considered non-toxic and safe for contact with food, it can be sensitive to certain chemicals found in kitchen cleaners and some foods. Acidic substances, like lemon juice or vinegar, can potentially etch or degrade the epoxy surface over time, affecting its integrity and appearance.

Heat Resistance

As mentioned earlier, epoxy resin has limited heat resistance. Placing hot pots, pans, or utensils directly on an epoxy surface can cause it to soften, discolor, or even become permanently damaged. This limitation makes it less practical for kitchens where hot items are commonly used.

Scratches and Cuts

Despite its hardness, an epoxy surface can be scratched or cut by knives and other sharp kitchen tools. These marks can harbor bacteria and make the surface more difficult to clean, posing hygiene concerns in a food prep environment.

Wear and Tear

Repeated use and heavy cleaning can wear down the epoxy finish over time, potentially leading to areas where bacteria can accumulate. Maintaining a perfectly smooth and sealed surface is crucial for food safety, and the wear and tear in a busy kitchen environment can compromise this.

Always use appropriate tools for food preparation.

While epoxy provides a beautiful, durable finish for tables, kitchen countertops, and other surfaces, these characteristics can make it less suitable for areas dedicated to chopping, cutting, and direct food preparation. It's always best to use a cutting board or another protective layer when working with food on an epoxy-coated surface.

An outdor epoxy bar top with a full shelter to protect it from constant sunlight.

Concern #5: If Your Project Will Be Outdoors or Exposed to Constant Sunlight.

Keeping an epoxy project outdoors exposes it to elements that can compromise its appearance, integrity, and longevity. Here are the primary concerns and ways to mitigate them:

UV Exposure

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can cause epoxy to yellow and degrade over time, affecting its clarity and color.

To mitigate this: Give cover to your epoxy finish. If possible, consider constructing a shelter or some sort of overhang. You can also look for a place that provides natural shading from trees and other nearby elements.

Furthermore, applying a UV-resistant topcoat can provide extra protection against sunlight, and the use of epoxy powder pigments, which are insoluble and reflective, can reduce the negative effects of UV radiation.

Physical Wear and Tear

Outdoor projects are more susceptible to abrasion, impacts, and general wear from use, which can scratch or chip the epoxy surface.

To mitigate this: Apply a protective topcoat that's designed for high-traffic areas. Choose a topcoat with good abrasion resistance and renew the coating as necessary to maintain protection. Our Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy excels at this.

Dirt and Staining

Outdoor epoxy projects can accumulate dirt, stains, and biological growth (like mold and mildew) more quickly than indoor projects.

To mitigate this: Clean the surface regularly with mild cleaners and perform routine maintenance to remove any buildup. In areas prone to biological growth, a mold-resistant additive can be mixed into the epoxy or topcoat.

A Clean Finish Is a Strong Finish

To mitigate these concerns effectively, choose the right materials from the start, and prepare the project with the outdoor environment in mind. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial to extend the lifespan of an outdoor epoxy project.

By anticipating these challenges and taking preventive measures, you can ensure that your outdoor epoxy project remains durable and beautiful for years to come.

An epoxy table top surrounded by chairs.

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, making it viable in almost any situation.

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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