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In the know: High-Temperature Epoxy

High Heat Epoxy

There are countless types of epoxies, so knowing whether heat resistant epoxy is what you really need can prove to be challenging. Often pipe repair, vehicle repair, concrete, and crack casting can present temperature challenges. The last thing you need is an epoxy that will soften when heat is applied. 

What Is the Max Temperature of Epoxy?

Heat resistant epoxy can come in several variations. While a DIY epoxy kit will commonly only withstand the temperature of up to 150 degrees, there are other epoxies out there that can withstand the extreme heat of up to 600 degrees. These are specially formulated with fillers like quartz and offer abrasion resistance, and high heat curing.

With these epoxies being thermally conductive they are fantastic for encapsulation and potting as well as providing exceptional chemical resistance and withstanding steam exposure. These are active and aggressive epoxies that can stand up to shock, prolonged vibration and extreme heat. The right industrial high heat epoxy can withstand heat of more than 1500 degrees due to its unique curing agents, carbon fiber, and flexible rod structure. These are commonly found in the components of an aircraft.

What You Need to Know About Epoxy

Epoxy offers unmatched durability, chemical resistance and strength for bonding. It has a low porosity, and great for using as an overlay. Most are mixed in a two-compound method that must be explicitly followed per kit instruction, and each package may vary in approach. Therefore, reading the packaging is essential anytime you are working with a new brand.

High Temp Epoxy Mixture

It is vital to remember that once the compounds are blended, you are only getting about an hour of pot life, so be ready to use it once you have combined the epoxy ingredients. Once the pot life has expired, the mixture can become extremely hot and harden relatively quickly. While the epoxy may harden in just a couple hours, actual curing can take a couple of days. Using epoxy in temperatures ranging from 64-85 is best, with the optimal around 72°

Once the epoxy is cured, it can withstand temperatures well below 0 degrees. However, around 140 degrees the epoxy will start to soften. It will harden again once temperatures recede. If you plan on a surface which will come in contact with hot items/surfaces, using high-temperature epoxies will ensure you don’t have to worry once it is cured.

High Heat Epoxy 101

High Heat Epoxy on Airplanes

When epoxy is exposed to higher temperatures, its thermal, mechanical and electrical properties will change. The Tg or glass transition temperature of the epoxy can sometimes be affected. This is the critical time where your epoxy will turn from a state of glass to rubber.

Sometimes the epoxy properties will not convert back to its needed state, meaning it will stay soft. Using the right epoxy is critical for your unique project or needs. You want to use the HDT or heat deflection temperature rather than the Tg method when choosing and using a commercial high heat epoxy.

Be mindful that curing these epoxies may require additional heating methods exceeding the Tg. Silicate-based coatings are exceptional to use in high-temperature environments. When using a heat-resistant epoxy, you will get several benefits. Benefits include: durability, strength, thermal conductivity, stability, and flame retardancy to name a few. You will also find transparent qualities as well as machinability. Some offer UV curability and even superb flexibility.

Are High Heat Epoxies Clear When Cured?

Heat resistant epoxy is fantastic to use if you want a shiny finish, but not all of them will cure crystal clear, especially the paste type. Some heat resistant epoxies will cure with a yellow tint. You will need to read the packaging and check with the retailer or manufacturer before deciding on a brand to be sure you get the right one for your needs.

epoxy high heat putty

In Conclusion, you can use epoxy for several projects from bonding and sealing to coating. This is a noncorrosive and lightweight method offering mechanical and conductive qualities. High heat epoxy can be used for mechanical repairs and bonding for vehicles, aircraft and electronic devices. It can withstand steam, shock, and vibration making it suitable for industrial use. So, if you are looking for an extremely strong, resilient and dependable bond, sealer or coating agent that can take the heat, high-temperature epoxy may be exactly what you need.

Low Viscosity Epoxy Explained

Working with Epoxy and Understanding Different Viscosities

Low viscosity epoxy allows for adequate wetting and features great chemical resistance even when dealing with challenging substrates. Therefore, this type of epoxy can be used for a variety of different applications.

Low Viscosity Epoxy

Medium viscosity epoxies have been used for things like manufacturing snowboards. They can be used for longboards, skis, paddles and even wakeboards as well. Most epoxies are primarily designed for use where heated compression molding is required. High viscosity epoxy can be used for tougher jobs.

Common Epoxy Mishaps

low viscosity epoxy coated table

It’s not unheard of for people to overestimate their abilities after watching a YouTube video or seeing a friend work with low viscosity epoxy. Epoxy work is something that takes both time and practice. Always be sure that you are following directions. Remember, each product may be a little different, so even if you have worked with epoxy before, reading the instructions for your specific kit is essential.

You must have precise and accurate measurements for it to be effective, and the epoxy has to be thoroughly mixed. Another critical factor is making sure that you have chosen the correct epoxy for your particular project. If you need a strong bonding agent that will be able to withstand the test of time and offer a great finish, then low viscosity resin may be just what you need.

What You Need to Know About Low Viscosity Epoxy

Ultra-low viscosity epoxy is usually a two-compound epoxy. It is durable and sturdy, however, takes longer to cure than its one compound counterpart. These are low odor, solvent free and great to use for structural injection needs. Low viscosity resin is solid, moisture intensive and economical. One frequent use is repairing concrete substrates, steel bonding to concrete, wood to concrete and plastic to concrete bonding. It’s a fantastic binder and the pressure injection component allows for gravity feeding.

Advantages of Low Viscosity Epoxy Types

  • Injection for fine cracks.
  • Concrete gravity repair and crack filling.
  • Mortar repair.
  • Overlay interior surfaces.
  • Patching.
  • Filler/Sealer.
  • Industrial coat primer.
  • Concrete slab crack repair indoor and out.
  • Bonding.
  • Can be used in damp environments.
  • Deep penetrating with low surface tension.
  • Non-shrinking.

Does Low Viscosity Epoxy Resin Make End Projects Easier or Prettier?

Low viscosity epoxy is a forgiving resin. It is the easiest to work with and has a long shelf life, but what about the end result? The final casting for a low viscosity epoxy resin will differ by the project. As an overlay, it will offer clarity and ward off mold issues.

Depending on your kit there may be a tint of yellow within the overlay’s finish. You can always check with the manufacturer to avoid this before settling on a particular brand. The cheaper the kit, the more likely you will see that yellow tint.

low viscosity coated surfboard

Do keep in mind that most low viscosity epoxies are soft resins, but the right one can offer a cure equal to a glass finish. A low viscosity epoxy will provide excellent adhesion, and supersede wetting expectations. This is great for beginners, and it will provide a beautiful finish.

How To Fix Uneven Epoxy Resin

Whether you are trying to repair epoxy resin countertops, epoxy table top or attempting to learn how to fix a peeling epoxy garage floor, you have come to the right place.

Preventing Uneven Epoxy Finishes

When it comes to epoxy mishaps, solving them can be a challenge even if you have a general idea of what to do. One common issue is sticky or tacky resin, but others may include uneven finishes. This normally is an issue brought on by not mixing well or as instructed leading to improper catalyzation. Always be sure you are mixing as instructed and with fresh hardener and resin to avoid this issue.

uneven epoxy

WATCH: Our Video Demo- Fixing Epoxy 

How to Fix an Uneven Epoxy Finish

Where surface issues are concerned, you will want to keep your resin clear of any particles or debris. You can lightly sand the piece that you are working with. Doing so after the first coat has cured will offer a better second finish. You will find that most resins will level themselves. If you find it is not leveling out, then you are not using enough resin. Be sure that the project that you are working with is level. A good rule of thumb is always to mix a tad bit more than you think you are going to need, and always be generous when applying your resin.

Tips for Repairing Epoxy Counter Tops

Let's take, for instance, repairing epoxy countertops, as this is a relatively common DIY job and very similar to other repairs. Over time you may find that your epoxy countertops will have to be repaired. You can save a lot of money if you do it yourself, but you will have to follow the directions thoroughly to get that clear glass finish. Be sure to cover any surfaces that have been scratched with something specially made for surface abrasions. Old English is a good product to consider.

repair scratched epoxy

After you have made sure to attend to the scratched surfaces you will take a 650-grit sandpaper and sand the scratch parallel to the imperfection. Do this to all surface scratches and imperfections. Make sure that the sandpaper is the wet/dry type.

Now that you have used the abrasion treatment and sanded the scratches it is time to clean the countertop. You have to get all of the debris off the surface. You will want to do this using a 50/50 blend of water and commercial cleaner. Make sure when wiping you use circular motions. Buff the area. Make sure that you have removed all the grit and cleaners.

This is when you will apply a very thin coat of epoxy to seal and restore the shine. You will want to wait for a full 24 hours and check that it is dry and not tacky. You may find that there are chips in the finish especially along the edges. Take a clean towel and use alcohol in these areas. You may also use an alternative option in the form of epoxy resin cement.

Dealing with Waves or Ripples

buffing epoxy imperfections

If you are dealing with a wood surface, you may find flaws or imperfections. Warping may be an issue. One coat may simply not be enough epoxy to do the trick. You can apply a thin coat to be used as a flood coat. These should be applied fully at ⅛” until leveling goals have been reached making sure that your leveling coats are not too thin. Avoid too much heat while removing the bubbles to avoid ripples.

Keep in mind that you are applying your epoxy in two stages. The seal coat will only need to be a small amount applied to prevent air bubbles and fill in any pores on the surface. This seal coat should never be a stand-alone coating. This is a primer coat only. You can use the same product for the seal and float coats. Sometimes when working with steel, copper, Formica or laminate, you won't have to use a seal coat. Note however, when using copper, you will have to apply a non-water-based lacquer first. Seal coats must be utilized with wood, cork, concrete, items with raised or embedded decor or tile. If a seal coat is not used, you will have an uneven and bubbly finish within the flood coat. Also, even if you have used two or three coats of polyurethane, you will still need to apply the seal coat.

You always need to make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area, paying attention to temperature and protect the areas around your work area. It is a process but, in the end, you will have a beautiful result that adds beauty and value to your home.

WATCH: How NOT To Pour Epoxy

How to Color Epoxy Resin

galaxy epoxy table

Chances are, while scrolling through the internet in search of a new project, you’ve come across stunning waterfall tables, glow in the dark bar tops, and table tops that look identical to galaxies. Many of these products can be sold for an upwards of $12,000. Yet what looks like a complex process is actually a common DIY method using colored epoxy resin.

Things to Consider

Any brand of epoxy will do when considering coloring it. The brands that advertise their epoxy as drying clear are the best candidates for the job, as the resin tint will be more true to color.

Epoxy tends to leave a yellowish tint when set, so it is important to note that the colors may shift in shade after being mixed with the epoxy. Therefore, it would be wise to first start adding color to epoxy in a small container (e.g. a one ounce mixing container, a small disposable travel container, etc.). This is to ensure that you’re happy with the color produced, and that there are no surprises when mixing in a larger scale batch. In these small containers, 3 drops of your color of choice should suffice for most pigments.

Applying Colored Epoxy

As with the process of curing regular epoxy, the process of how to color 2 part epoxy is virtually the same. The epoxy and the hardener should still be mixed in the 1:1 ratio, or as the directions instruct on the package. Once the two main ingredients are mixed, it is time to add the pigment. When adding the pigment to the mixture, it should comprise anywhere from 2-6% by weight (generally speaking--there are always some exceptions) of the mixture. Depending on how translucent or opaque you want it, keep adjusting the amount of color added into the mixture until you achieve your desired result.

apply epoxy pigment

Powdered pigments tend to leave little specks in the finished resin pigment. If you’re going for that look, then chalk, watercolor paint, eyeshadow, or any other loose pigment should be the go-to choice. However, if you want more of a consistent finish (sans particles), then liquid pigments are your best bet. Alcohol ink is an inexpensive liquid pigment that is popular amongst choices for epoxy resin dye. That is due to its opacity, while still retaining the ability to be transparent when placed in front of light. Many creators use this as the pigment of choice when creating table top masterpieces, and for good reason. Transparent dye yields similar results to alcohol ink, but it is a tad more on the pricier side.

However, if you’re still stuck on which pigment to use, stores often sell resin pigment colors. These are created to be mixed with epoxy only, thus making them ideal candidates for your next project. Some even go as far as to sell phosphorescent pigment that glows in the dark. The glow in the dark pigments are pricier than regular pigments, but it truly does bring your project to the next level.

Think Creatively

fill imperfections with epoxy

Many individuals associate the waterfall tables with new projects, but the reality is, using pigmented epoxy to fill in cracks and dents in a table yields an equally stunning result. Epoxy resin is a widely-used substance that serves as an inlay for woodworks of all kinds. It’s truly as simple as mixing your pigment, and pouring it into the dents or the mold you desire.

Even though there is moisture present in the wood, the epoxy resin does not have a negative reaction with it. It’s an ideal choice for a wood inlay due to its durability and high-gloss finish. For coloring epoxy woodworking, the best method is to overfill the grooves, then (once dried), sand down the top of the wood until all the bubbles that rose to the surface are gone. Eighty grit sandpaper is recommended to start with, as epoxy is not that strong of a substance. Finishing a wood project with some sort of wax or topcoat seals in the epoxy, and gives a glossy finish to the work.

Overall, adding pigment to epoxy resin is as fitting for master woodcrafters to the avid art maker at home. While many of these projects look intricate, the actual process of coloring epoxy is quite simple.

Food Safe Epoxy

The FDA’s Title 21, Volume 3 report states that food safe epoxy does, in fact, exist. While an epoxy coating is generally not associated with a place in the kitchen, several brands have come out with new and improved formulas that incorporate this new regulation in their product. This means that certain epoxies are safe for both direct and indirect contact with food, as regulated by the FDA. The opportunities for using epoxy, now that it is safe for contact with food, has increased tremendously. Many individuals report using epoxy for covering cheese trays, coffee mugs, decorative dishes, and any other item one may find in a kitchen. This is especially useful for homemade items, as the epoxy can cover any medium and preserve it for future use.

is epoxy food safe?

Is Epoxy Really Safe in Kitchens?

A key compound of epoxy is the ingredients bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol F (BPF). The FDA reports that certain foods contain safe, low levels of BPA. The effects of BPA are still under review by the FDA however. So if being BPA-free is of importance, there is no need to cross epoxies completely off the list. Several brands produce FDA approved epoxy that are in compliance with the extensive list of chemical compounds and raw materials listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, part 175.300 and 175.105 report.

Is Food Safe Epoxy Still Beautiful?

epoxy table top

Food grade epoxy is equally as clear as any other epoxy on the market. In fact, it may be even more clear than epoxy not suited for food contact. Many brands highlight the fact that their epoxy is more darkening and yellowing resistant with the highest standard of color clarity. This epoxy will leave any medium it covers with high-gloss shine, true to color protection, and a hard outer layer to keep the surface protected for years to come. The “food safe” label does not change the qualities already associated with popular epoxies. Whether it is food safe or not, these coatings complete virtually identical tasks. Epoxy, in a general sense, is so popular because of its strength, the only difference is that one is intended for contact with food.

Where to Use Your Epoxy

Epoxy, when cured, is generally food safe, as long as it is in compliance with the FDA’s thorough regulations. Many companies will have their epoxy labeled as “food grade epoxy coating,” thus signaling that it is safe to use on surfaces that come into contact with food.It is imperative that an epoxy has this label if there is consideration in having it come into contact with food. The widespread nature of this FDA-approved ingredient list allows individuals to seal virtually any surface without fear of toxicity or harmful effects.

food safe epoxy counter top

The difference between epoxy brands that are food safe versus those that are not lies primarily in what the epoxy is used for. Some individuals use epoxy for coating oil paintings, aircraft adhesives, or to coat the inside of one’s boat. Therefore, the epoxy used in these situations do not have to be food safe, as there is no chance of the surface it’s covering to every come into contact with food. It is important to note that not all epoxies are created for use with food, and one must search out specific brands of epoxy producers to ensure that it is compliant with FDA standards. Brands that are food safe are great for use with homemade food containers. Several popular examples include candy bowls, hors d’oeuvres platters, and drink coasters. Even if there is a slight chance of an item covered in epoxy to come into contact with some type of food--it’s best to be safe and coat it with the specially formulated epoxy sealant to make it food safe.

Ultimately, with the advent of epoxies that are safe for use with food, there is still a danger of harm if directions are not followed carefully. Every epoxy brand is different, and thus uses different ratios of ingredients in their mix. Carefully following instructions during the curing process dramatically decreases the adverse effects of incorrect proportioning. Not only so, but this will ensure that the epoxy used is at its highest quality. This will result in a clearer color, virtually no bubbles when mixing, and a strong finish to last use in the long run.