5 Minute Read- By Shaun Mills
Epoxy resin or ‘resin’ refers to any of the basic components or cured end products of epoxy resins, as well as a colloquial name for the epoxide functional group. Epoxy resins, also known as polyepoxides, are a class of reactive prepolymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups that can be used for many different purposes and is created by mixing two components that are matched to each other. This sets off a chemical reaction that usually lasts several hours to several days after the components have been mixed. This chemical reaction creates heat, so you do have to pay attention to what you are coating but also how thick you are planning to coat it. There are a variety of resin products and mixing ratios depending on the application and exact purpose that you are planning to use. Epoxy resin differs from paint primarily because it is a two part epoxy compound that it is similar to fibreglass as it cures, As opposed to paint that is a one part product you can apply directly out of the tin without mixing or adding a catalyst and as solvents or moisture content evaporate paint will dry. Epoxy however will cure rather than dry as there is a chemical reaction going on soon as the two parts are mixed together, therefore meaning that where you may not be able to set or dry paint in a cold, moist environment but Epoxy will eventually set in this cold environment because it creates its own heat in the chemical reaction process (of course this will take far longer than normal and you can get different types of epoxy better suited to this). The different products available on the market all essentially follow the same basic principle, and the only things that change over the various products are things such as:
- Viscosity (how runny it is),
- Maximum thickness of the layer (are you coating something or casting an item in deep resin)
- Duration of the curing process (that is the amount of time it takes to fully cure)
- The adhesion or stickiness properties onto the surface to be coated (e.g. Adhering coatings to glass or steel is far more difficult then adhering to timber).
- And the degree of durability or toughness (The resin that would be used on a canvas does not necessarily have to be as durable and hardwearing as compared with that of epoxy resin for floor coatings.)
The small downside of Epoxy products is that clean-up of resin is far more difficult than that with paints as once the chemical reaction has completed the epoxy resin is now a hard solid surface that can be drilled and cut like fibreglass but not removed with a solvent as paint would . It is for this reason that epoxy resin is thought of as liquid glass.
Another great thing about epoxy resin is how resistant it is to moisture making it perfect for countertops and to install around sinks, taps and other water sources. It is also resistant to caustic chemicals and all types of domestic household cleaning products. The resin I use is heat rated to 85 degrees Celsius contact temperature so that makes it absolutely perfect for benchtops. An epoxy countertop is to be treated the same way that you would any other non-stone or Laminex coating that you have experienced previously in a kitchen. It can easily be cleaned and handle hot beverages however if you put a hot saucepan directly from the stovetop onto the countertop as with any composite product it can stain or damage. Now that you have a brief understanding of what epoxy resin is you can understand that whilst it is far more difficult to work with and far less forgiving than paint it does provide a far superior result