Collection: Primaloc Epoxy Blog

A wooden epoxy resin bar top.

The Top 3 Coatings Used for Bar Tops

Applying the right sealant to tabletops, bar tops, or countertops is fundamental for maintaining their condition and ensuring their longevity. This is particularly crucial for bar tops situated in high-traffic areas, which frequently endure rough treatment from patrons.

Understanding the range of coating options available for bar tops and identifying the best choice is the critical initial step toward endowing your bar top with a durable finish that will maintain its structure and visual appeal for years to come.

In this article, we will delve into the most commonly used coatings for bar tops and explain why certain coatings stand out as the premier option for bar top finishes.

What Are the Top 3 Coatings Used for Bar Tops?

Today's market offers a plethora of bar top coating and sealant options, yet not all are cut out for the wear and tear of long-term use, often necessitating frequent upkeep or reapplication.

While options like lacquer, tung oil, and even shellac each represent viable solutions, they all carry significant downsides that are likely to arise during the life expectancy of a bar top.

Instead, it's better to choose a more formidable, long-lasting sealant to keep your bar top surface well preserved and picturesque.

Click here for a deeper dive into other viable different bar top sealants.

Epoxy, Poly, and Hardwax

Among the bar top sealants, there are 3 outliers that stand above the rest in providing high levels of protection while maintaining aesthetic beauty.

These sealants are:

  • Epoxy Resin
  • Polyurethane
  • Hardwax Oils

Let's take a more in-depth look at each of them, examining both their upsides and downsides.

A wooden epoxy bar top located in a restaurant.

#1: Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is an excellent choice for a bar top finish due to its unique combination of durability, aesthetics, and protective qualities. Here are several reasons why epoxy resin stands out as a preferred material for bar tops:

  • Durability: Epoxy resin creates a hard, solid surface that is extremely resistant to impacts, scratches, and daily wear and tear. This makes it ideal for the high-traffic environment of a bar, where surfaces are frequently subjected to various forms of abuse.

  • Moisture Resistance: Epoxy provides an impermeable layer that is resistant to water and other liquids, preventing them from seeping into the substrate. This characteristic is particularly beneficial for bar tops, where spills are common, as it prevents water damage, staining, and swelling of the underlying material.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Epoxy resin offers a glossy, high-gloss finish that enhances the underlying material's appearance, whether it's wood, metal, or any other bar top substrate. It can also be tinted with colors or embedded with objects like coins, bottle caps, or memorabilia to create a unique, customized look.

  • Ease of Maintenance: The seamless surface of an epoxy finish is easy to clean and doesn't harbor bacteria or debris, making it hygienic for food and drink preparation areas. Stains and spills can be wiped away without penetrating the surface.

  • Chemical Resistance: Epoxy resin is resistant to many chemicals, acids, and solvents, making it suitable for a bar environment where various substances may come into contact with the bar top.

  • Self-Leveling Properties: Epoxy resins are self-leveling, which helps in creating an even and smooth surface without brush marks or unevenness.

  • Longevity: When properly applied, an epoxy finish can last for many years without the need for reapplication, making it a cost-effective long-term solution for bar tops.

Epoxy resin provides a robust and attractive finish, though it's crucial to apply it correctly following the manufacturer's instructions. Proper preparation, mixing, application, and curing are essential to achieving the best results and ensuring the longevity of the epoxy finish.

Our Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy is a top-tier premium resin that cures strong and clear with a long-lasting lifespan.

#2: Polyurethane

A polyurethane finish shares many of the same benefits that epoxy features, albeit often to a lesser scale. This makes it a slightly more economical choice for both residential and commercial settings. It also exhibits a few uncommon traits of its own, such as:

  • UV Resistance: While traditional polyurethane may yellow over time under UV exposure, there are UV-resistant formulations available that minimize this effect, preserving the clarity and color of the finish.

  • Flexibility: Unlike some finishes that can become brittle and crack over time, polyurethane retains a degree of flexibility, which helps it endure the expansion and contraction of certain substrates without cracking.

  • Ease of Application: Polyurethane can be applied with a brush, roller, or spray, making it adaptable to various project sizes and types. It dries relatively quickly, allowing for faster completion of the finishing process.

While polyurethane offers many benefits, it's essential to apply it correctly, following the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. Proper application ensures maximum durability, appearance, and longevity of the finish.

#3: Hardwax Oils

As a sealant, hardwax oil provides a durable finish that is not as hard or scratch-resistant as epoxy. In turn, it's better suited for environments where the bar top is treated more gently.

Still, despite its lower durability, hardwax oil does have some noteworthy traits:

  • Appearance: Hardwax oil penetrates the wood, enhancing its natural beauty and providing a matte to satin finish that feels more natural to the touch than epoxy.

  • Protection: While hardwax oil offers good resistance to water and stains, it is not waterproof. It protects the wood by penetrating it and hardening the fibers, but the protection is not as comprehensive as with epoxy.

  • Maintenance: Hardwax oil finishes need more maintenance than epoxy. They require reapplication over time, especially in high-use areas, to maintain their protective qualities and appearance.

  • Application: Hardwax oil is generally easier to apply than epoxy, with a simpler, more forgiving process, and it can be applied with a cloth or brush.

As you can see, hardwax offers far less protection, but is also much easier to apply.

In summary, the choice between epoxy, polyurethane, and hardwax oil for a bar top finish depends on the level of durability required, the desired aesthetic, and the willingness to perform maintenance.

A wooden epoxy bar top.

What Is the Absolute Best Coating for Bar Tops?

When it comes to bar top coatings, there's a clear winner, even among the top 3 choices—epoxy resin.

Strong, Versatile, Beautiful

Epoxy resin, with its superior strength, pristine clarity, and heavy resistance to many forms of potential damage, has an edge over its competition as a bar top finish.

It's versatility, with the ability to personalize it in many ways using pigments or embedments, allows creators to exhibit self-expression in their bar top project when desirable.

On top of that, epoxy resin's inherently transparent finish means that any natural aesthetic traits exhibited by the bar top substrate are clearly showcased, being both fully preserved and fully visible.

And when it comes to epoxy resin, there's none better than our premium Primaloc Bar & Table Top Epoxy.

A wooden epoxy bar top.

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, including:

  • Unmatched Strength: A Primaloc finish won't buckle, even under high pressure.
  • Long-Lasting Resilience: Primaloc epoxy lasts for many years with minimal care, and can endure high-traffic environments with ease.
  • A Crystal-Clear Coating: With its pristine, transparent appearance, looking at a cured Primaloc coating is like peering through a window.

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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