What Surfaces Can You Put Epoxy On?

On April 29, 2022

Epoxy is so versatile the question to ask yourself is what surfaces it can NOT be used on. The main two surfaces that it can’t be used on are silicone and copper. While some surfaces require minimal preparation, others such as porous surfaces do. That being said, all surfaces should be cleaned and dried completely before applying epoxy to them. Below is a list of surfaces epoxy can be used on. The list is divided into two categories: surfaces that don’t need preparation and surfaces that do need preparation. We have also included some tips to consider before you start the resurfacing process.

What Surfaces Can You Put Epoxy On?

Non-prep Surfaces

The following surfaces can have epoxy applied to them with no preparation beyond being cleaned:

  • Supawood/MDF Board
  • Laminate
  • Tile
  • Formica
  • Metal
  • Porcelain
  • Glass

In addition to cleaning the surfaces, we recommend using a thin prime coat to vertical edges. This step will ensure consistent adherence of coloring throughout the surface.

Porous Surfaces Needing Preparation

The following surfaces will require preparation before applying epoxy:

  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Butcherblock
  • Plywood
  • Live edge

Live edge surfaces are made from natural materials and must be leveled, usually with a plane.

Part of preparing a porous surface is applying a skim coat all over. The skim coat helps seal the surface and stops the formation of air bubbles when applying the flood coat. A skim coat also prevents moisture from permeating the surface which may cause delamination.

When applying the skim coat, work it in well with a squeegee until the entire counter looks wet, but not glossy. It is suggested that you apply 1-2 skim coats before flooding the surface. Make sure to wait for six hours after applying the first coat to apply a second skim coat.

Recoating Tip

Recoating the surface of a countertop that was previously coated with epoxy or urethane needs extra work to prep. After the first coat, allow it to set (or cure) for 12 hours. The counter surface will then need to be sanded lightly to allow the second layer to adhere properly. Surfaces covered in Urethane must be well sanded. When sanding, a fine grit is appropriate – nothing too abrasive. High gloss surfaces will need at least 150 grit sandpaper.

Tips for Applying Epoxy

Apply caution

If you haven’t done this before, we implore you to enlist someone who has experience to help assist you through the process. Even then, we recommend watching some instructional YouTube videos to gain a better understanding of the process before you begin. Applying epoxy may sound simple and look easy in a video, but it isn’t. Mistakes are frustrating and can be costly as well as time-consuming. Watch, assist, and learn from an expert the first time! Furthermore, applying epoxy is hardly ever a one-man job, so DIY epoxy applications with two people is ideal.

Follow directions

Take time to read, reread and familiarize yourself with the instructions on the package. If surface preparation is required, do it thoroughly –DON’T take shortcuts. Before mixing the epoxy resin have all of your tools clean and ready and follow the manufacturer’s mixing protocol precisely.

Test/Samples

Even experienced epoxy professionals appreciate the benefits of working with and familiarizing themselves with the product. Each brand of epoxy is different, and each has its own quirks and characteristics. First-timers would benefit by buying a sample kit or a little extra epoxy.

Making samples will allow you to visualize what the finished color and design will look like and will also provide an opportunity to better understand the physical properties of the epoxy and what it will take to apply it correctly and to your liking.

Curing

Don’t apply epoxy in cold temperatures or on days when humidity levels are high. Days such as this will increase the risk of condensation on the surface, and water and epoxy don’t mix. It will greatly affect the curing process. For faster curing, allow the epoxy to rest for a couple of minutes after mixing. In hot rooms, you will need to work quickly as heat accelerates the curing process.

Brush

It is preferable to apply epoxy with a new brush that has been cleaned to remove any fibers or loose bristles. A bristle brush and nap roller will both deliver great results. A chip brush works better if sanding is required.

Storage

Don’t store epoxy in extremely dry or cold places before using it. Keep the storage area at a comfortable room temperature, and make sure the floor isn’t too cold or too hot. Epoxy needs to be warm when used as heat enables faster curing but if the temperature is too high, the epoxy may inhibit its ability to bond as it should.

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