Table Top Epoxy Full Instructional Guide
You should read through ALL of these instructions BEFORE starting. These instructions are intended for Bar Tops, Table Tops, Artwork and Countertop applications. If you are using this product for anything else not mentioned above, please contact us directly so one of our customer service representatives can assist you with your application.
Note: This product is not intended to be used with any type of oil-based products
Before You Get Started
Coverage: We offer a coverage calculator so you can calculate how much epoxy you will need by entering the square footage of your table. Make sure that you have enough epoxy to account for pouring over sides and edges, covering objects, filling in holes or any other factor that would require additional epoxy. If you run out of epoxy in the middle of a project, you will end up with a non-satisfactory result, so it is always best to order a little extra. *Click to use the calculator
Determine if you need a seal coat: A seal coat is a small batch of epoxy that is brushed on in a thin layer to seal a porous surface such as hardwood, barn wood, knotty wood, or anything another surface with cracks or holes that need to be filled. This step prevents air bubbles from forming in the flood coat. The seal coat is only meant as a primer before applying the flood coat. There is no need to purchase a separate product, as our epoxy is used for both your seal coat and your flood coat. Using Table Top Epoxy on top of any other type of varnish, sealant, or product may cause curing or other issues with your project. The seal coat is followed by the flood coat, which will flow and self-level to 1/8”. If you are pouring the epoxy over copper, stainless steel, laminate, or formica, you can skip the seal coat stage and just proceed with the flood coat. If you are unsure, it’s best to do a seal coat just in case or reach out to our support team for assistance.
Temperature: The product MUST be used in conditions above 75°F. THIS IS A REQUIREMENT, not a recommendation and there is no room for error. Your temperature MUST be at least 75° F throughout the entire curing stage. (72 hours). Both the Resin and the Hardener should be kept at 75° F before using it as well. You can also place the bottle of epoxy in warm water to get them up to the proper temperature and to make it easier to work with before continuing to the mixing step.
Safety: This product is non -toxic and safe for indoor use. We recommend using this product in a well-ventilated area, like a room with open windows or fans. Gloves should always be worn when working with epoxy. This is the best way to protect your skin from possible irritation. If you get epoxy on your skin, wash it with soap and warm water. If the epoxy comes in contact with your eyes, do not rub your eyes and flush with water for 15 minutes repeatedly. If irritation persists, seek medical attention immediately.
Surface Preparation: The surface should be wiped clean of any dust using a clean rag and acetone. Any moisture, oils, or grease can cause fish eyes or other product curing problems. Also, the room you are working in should be clean, dry, dust and insect-free. Settling dust can often cause imperfections on the surface of the epoxy as it is curing.
Measuring and Mixing
- Measuring: It is crucial that the product is measured accurately and mixed thoroughly. Measure 1 part RESIN to 1 part HARDENER by volume. Do NOT vary this ratio. Our Epoxy is formulated to cure at a specific mixing proportion, and any variances can cause the product never fully to cure. We recommend always pouring the HARDENER into your mixing container first, followed by the RESIN. This will help the two components mix thoroughly.
- Mixing: Combine both components into a larger container. The mixing container should be about 30% bigger than the amount of product you are mixing so that thorough mixing can be accomplished without spillage over the container lip. Make sure you have a second container on hand as we highly recommend the “second mix method.” This will ensure that you have a thorough mixture and will prevent any curing issues later, as long as you have measured using a 1:1 volume ration and your temperature is correct.
First Mix: Mix with a flat bottom stir stick or spatula being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the container as you go. Your mixture will appear hazy at first, and then become more transparent as the resin and hardener molecules begin to blend within three to five minutes.
Second Mix: Pour the Resin and Hardener from your first container into a second container scraping all the mixture out from the sides and bottom of the cup. Thoroughly mix for an additional three minutes. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to follow Step 1 and Step 2 as described above. You will see some air bubbles in the mixture, DO NOT WORRY…this is normal and will be taken care of with a torch or heat gun after the resin is poured.
Do not mix any longer than 8-10 minutes. Over mixing the epoxy will cause it to cure quickly in the mixing cup and could start to get hot and smoke. If you are mixing several batches of epoxy, be sure to use a clean container or tub every time!
Pro Tip 1: If you are new to using epoxy, we recommend starting your mixing process with smaller batches until you get the hang of it. Epoxy is a time sensitive product and needs to be mixed and poured before the epoxy cures. Epoxy cures when the two components are mixed in the correct ratio. The process is an exothermic reaction (gives off heat). Generally speaking we do not advise mixing more than 1 gallon of combined product at a time. If the product is mixed and applied per our directions premature curing can be avoided. The three factors that cause premature curing are:
1) The product is overmixed ( we recommend hand stirring) or mixed too long.
2) The product was allowed to sit in the mixing vessel after mixing.
3) The product was poured too deep. The product is designed for 1/8" thick flood coats with a maximum of 1/4" depth.
4) Too much product was mixed. Our instructions recommend not mixing more than 1 gallon combined at a time.
What’s happening to cause the issue? When the two parts combine the reaction begins. When pouring the product onto a surface the product can spread and out undergo its reaction as expected. When the product is confined such as in a mixing vessel after it has been mixed the reaction is intensified and will occur in a much faster and concentrated manner. This leads to excessive heat and even smoking. This also happens when poured too deep. Depth can be built up per instructions 1/4" at a time 4 hours between pours sanding between layers if more than 8 hours since previous layer.
Pro Tip 2: Pour quickly after completing the mixing process. Leaving large amounts of mixed material in your bucket will cause an accelerated reaction due to the heat being generated. When pouring the resins onto the surface never scrape or brush out from the container. Just dump the resins out and leave the remaining material in the container or else you run the risk of unmixed resin falling into your project.
Seal Coat Stage
*The seal coat is designed to penetrate and cover a porous surface. If you are pouring the epoxy over copper, stainless steel, laminate, or formica, you can skip the seal coat stage and just proceed with the flood coat.
It is important that any existing stains or finishes be completely dry before beginning. Any types of oils, greases or uncured finishes can potentially cause fisheyes or product curing problems and contamination. A clean rag with denatured alcohol on it is a good way to clean the surface. If your surface has an oil-based stain or paint, it is recommended that it be stripped and acrylic or water-based stain be used instead. Although not recommended if you want to try and use our product on top of oil-based stains you must apply water based polyurethane before applying the seal coat and flood coat(s).
The best way to apply a seal coat is to start on one end of the table and pour the resin all the length of the surface, zigzagging as you go. Then use a rubber squeegee or a foam brush to drag the resin across the entire surface to achieve an even coat. This coat is meant only to cover up the grains of the wood or substrate. The epoxy cures rather quickly in the container, so it is necessary to paint the seal coat on quickly or mix up a smaller amount so that it does not cure in the container while you are still working on it. When you run out of mixture in the container, just mix up another batch in a new container and keep going until the entire area is sealed. The seal coat does not need to be smooth as the flood coat will fill in the brush strokes and irregularities making it crystal clear. Once the entire surface is sealed, wait 4-6 hours to pour the flood coat. Do not exceed 10 hours or you run the risk of the flood coat not blending into the seal coat flawlessly.
Flood Coat Stage
Each flood coat self-levels at approximately 1/8” thick. If depths thicker than 1/8” are desired multiple coats are necessary. You must wait at least 4 to 10 hours between flood coats. The epoxy will still be tacky so the next pour will stick to it. If you wait more than 10 hours, you must scuff up the surface lightly with 222-300 grit sandpaper then wipe it clean with denatured alcohol or acetone before applying another coat. Just minor scuffing of the surface is all that you need to do so the next flood coat has some grip to stick to.
The best way to apply the flood coat is to start on one end and pour the resin the entire length of the surface, zigzagging as you go. After you are finished pouring, set the container down. Do NOT try to scrape anything else out of the bucket. Because you are pouring about three times the amount of product you did with the seal coat, the material will immediately start to flow out. However, you will still want to use a rubber squeegee or foam brush to help guide the material around. The less you use the brush, the better.
Bar rails and edges: The flood coat can be allowed to run over the sides which will create a coating on the vertical edges. These vertical edges will not be as thick as the top surfaces so you must do your best with a brush to keep the material even.
Underneath edge: Drips will form underneath the bar-rail or edge, these drips can be sanded off once the epoxy has cured. If you catch the epoxy at just the right moment in the curing process cut or scrape the drips off as they will still be soft.
Removing Air Bubbles
Once you have sufficiently covered the entire surface with your flood coat, you will begin the process of popping air bubbles. The best tool for removing bubbles is a small propane torch. Hold the flame approximately 6 to 10 inches away from the table top and quickly sweep across the entire surface using an ironing motion. You will immediately see the bubbles start to pop. Do this until all the bubbles are gone from the surface of your table.
* After pouring your epoxy, it is common for air bubbles to form. Bubbles can continue to develop for up to 60 minutes after the curing process has begun. The most efficient way to get rid of them is to run a blowtorch over the surface sporadically 10 - 15 min at a time. After the 60 min period, you will notice that the product will start curing.
After applying your final coat, the product should be kept in a clean, dust-free environment at a minimum of 75-80° F degrees. The product takes approximately 12-14 hours to dry to the touch. However, the product should not be put into any use for at least three days which will allow it to achieve sufficient hardness to resist scratching. At temperatures below 75 F, the product will take longer to cure and might not cure to complete hardness.
*Important Handling & Care Information*
The Table Top Epoxy is resilient, but can still be scratched by sharp or rough edges. Because of its nature, scratches on epoxy are unnoticeable. It is always highly recommended to use a cutting board just as with any other countertop if you are preparing any food on the surface. For the longest life, this product must have coasters and placemats used at all times when putting extremely hot items on it. It cannot be treated like granite or tile in regards to heat. The peak resistance is 135 degrees after a couple of months of curing. We highly recommend using coasters and placemats at all times or else hot plates or cups might leave a slight imprint on the surface. Never put a hot pan or skillet on the stove or oven directly onto the epoxy! Use Caution when using products containing a red dye or other colored dyes as they can stain the epoxy.
After becoming familiar with the proper application procedures, you’re ready to move on to advanced techniques. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our support team if you have any questions.
Embedding Pictures: Objects such as pictures, articles, and maps may be embedded in this product. The paper must be laminated or sealed with spray on clear coat otherwise the epoxy will absorb into the paper. Once the paper is properly sealed, they can be placed on your project surface. You should wait 30 minutes after applying your seal coat of epoxy before placing the objects. Subsequent flood coats will then cover and embed these objects.
Embedding Solid Objects: Wood, rocks, shells, bottle caps, coins, etc. may be embedded in this product also. All porous objects must be sealed first with the epoxy. If the objects are not sealed correctly, they will release tiny air bubbles which will form around the object during the flood coats. Placement of these objects may be done before you apply the first seal coat or they can be placed into a previously applied seal coat which has been allowed to sit for 30 minutes. Lightweight items such as bottle caps should be glued down to prevent floating.
Embedding Fragile Objects: To embed fragile items specials steps need to be taken. Using a sprayable polyurethane or lacquer clear coat is a great way to seal your object without touching it. Make sure you follow the directions for the sealer and ensure the object is fully cured before coming in contact with the epoxy.
Thick Build-Ups: This product can be used to build up unlimited depths. Each flood coat should not exceed 1/8”. Attempting to pour thicker can cause the epoxy to generate excessive heat which in turn will cause more air bubbles, possibly cracking and shrinkage. It is advisable to wait at least 4 hours between pours to allow sufficient curing and cooling.
Damming The Edges: We recommend allowing the epoxy to run over the edges of your surface as it will self-level at approximately 1/8” at a time. If your application calls for a temporary dam to be constructed, it must be done with great care to guarantee it can be removed after the epoxy is cured. Ideally, a smooth, soft or flexible plastic strip should be used because the epoxy will not stick to it. Alternatively, wooden trim can be used but only if it is first covered with a 2 to 4 mil plastic sheeting. Lining the wood trim with the plastic and tacking it to the edge should prevent the epoxy from running in between the edge and the plastic. Testing on a small mock-up should be done to ensure no leakage or problems will occur with your damming technique.
*If at any time you need help with advanced techniques, please reach out to us directly. We are always here to help