Epoxy resin is a unique material that allows you to create amazingly beautiful, durable and practical countertops. Our tips site will show you what such countertops might look like, tell you what properties they have. Of course, we will add a video about creating such surfaces..
According to Wikipedia, epoxy resins are oligomers that contain epoxy groups. When exposed to curing agents such as polyamines, the epoxy is able to form crosslinked polymers. The most common type of epoxy is the polycondensation products of epichlorohydrin with bisphenol A. Such resins in our country are called epoxy-diane (ED-20). They are most often used to create countertops..
For those who are not versed in chemistry, it is important to know one thing – epoxy is not used in its pure form! Only together with a hardener, which allows you to get perfectly smooth, beautiful surfaces. Epoxy covers any surface evenly, most often a transparent composition is used, which allows you to preserve the appearance of the original layer, the base of the countertop.
There are three options for creating epoxy countertops:
- Completely epoxy. That is, there is no supporting surface, the resin with the hardener is poured into the mold, the material receives the specified dimensions. In this case, a resin is usually used with the addition of dyes, for example, Etal epoxy tinting pastes. You can make a countertop of almost any color, opaque, with stains, the scope for the implementation of the designer’s idea is very wide;
- Based on wood, stone, chipboard and other materials. That is, the tabletop made of the selected material is completely filled with epoxy resin with a hardener. In this case, a transparent composition is most often used, which allows you to preserve the original appearance of the countertop, the beauty of wood, for example. In addition, such countertops are often decorated before pouring, for example, decoupage techniques, painting, mosaics, coins, pebbles, flowers, pebbles, shells, literally anything;
- Combined. For example, a slab of wood is taken, the use of which in the interior of the portal Rnmt.ru wrote in detail. And along the edge or middle there is a strip of epoxy resin. Or only cracks, slab depressions are filled with the composition.
Epoxy countertops have the following benefits:
- There is no shrinkage during drying, the surface is perfectly flat. The composition fills well, for example, cracks in wood, protecting it from damage, literally blocking and leveling any base;
- The surface is strong enough to withstand impacts and cuts;
- Excellent moisture resistance;
- Not afraid of ultraviolet rays;
- You can update the old countertop, give it a more aesthetic look and extend the service life;
- No need for expensive chemical cleaning agents, easy to care for;
- Beautiful, original appearance, you can create unique design surfaces.
There are also disadvantages:
- If the countertop is heated, toxins can be released. An additional protective layer of transparent varnish helps to avoid this;
- It is important to observe the exact proportions, follow the instructions for mixing the resin with the hardener;
- When working with a still liquid epoxy resin, you need to take precautions, wear a mask, respirator;
- If the temperature drops sharply during pouring, then white flakes may appear in the depths, that is, the appearance will be spoiled. Warming up the countertop to 50 degrees will help to cope with the problem.
Before you start pouring resin onto the wood, you need to prepare it. Thoroughly clean from dirt and dust, and then prime so that the composition is less absorbed into the pores of the wood and air bubbles do not form.
Important! If you are making your own countertop, then use only cold-curing compounds. Hot curing resin is only used in industrial, special environments.
The composition should have a low viscosity and solidify gradually so that it is convenient to work with it. The consistency of the epoxy should be similar to honey, then in the process of hardening it will look like rubber, and after that it will completely harden.
To get started, of course, you need to buy the epoxy itself, for example, the most popular version of ED20. It costs from 700 rubles per liter, so if you pour the epoxy countertop completely, without a base, it will turn out to be quite expensive, because you need a lot of material. In addition, a hardener is required, which is mixed with the resin in strict proportions in a container of suitable size. You need to mix very carefully.
First, a thin layer of the composition is poured, making sure that bubbles do not appear – they can be eliminated while the epoxy is still liquid. Then you can pour the resin into the mold, having previously greased it with a wax separator so that it does not stick. Drying and hardening will take approximately two days. It is very important to work at room temperature without allowing the surface to cool rapidly. After hardening, the tabletop is sanded, on top for reliability, it is coated with varnish, for example, yacht.
While the countertop is solidifying, cover it with something to keep dust from settling. If the resin is poured in layers, do not overexpose the composition, otherwise separation will be visible. Frozen a little, to a jelly state, pour the next layer.
In general, there are no particular difficulties when working with epoxy resin, the main thing is to follow the instructions. By practicing on a small surface such as an old coffee table, you can move on to more sophisticated decor.