Epoxy resin is a fairly easy medium to work with all things considered, but even professional crafters are capable of making mistakes once in a while. After all, after chipping away at a workpiece for hours on end it’s pretty easy for you to spill some resin, mix it in the incorrect ratios, or touch it while it’s in the process of curing. This being said, how do you correct damage caused by your failing motor skills? There are loads of ways you can do this, but it always helps to act as soon as possible as resin can be tough to correct and repair once it’s had a chance to cure and really set into the surface of your workpiece. Let’s have a look at a few issues you could encounter as well as the best ways you can go about correcting these issues.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Some of the Common Problems You Could Encounter?
- 2 How to Fix Epoxy Mistakes
- 2.1 How to Fix Incorrectly Mixed Epoxy Resin
- 2.2 How to Fix Resin That Hasn’t Cured Because of Heat or Cold
- 2.3 How to Fix a Project Made with the Incorrect Resin Type
- 2.4 How to Fix Resin That Has Been Applied to a Poorly Prepared Surface
- 2.5 How to Recover Resin That Has Been Stored Incorrectly
- 2.6 How to Fix Epoxy Glaze Coat Epoxy Problems
- 2.7 How to Fix Dimples in Epoxy Resin
- 2.8 How to Fix Ripples in Epoxy Surfaces
- 3 How Do You Prevent Imperfections and/or Uneven Epoxy Surfaces?
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some of the Common Problems You Could Encounter?
As much as there are genuine accidents that happen because of fatigue, there are other mistakes you could make when you’re new to working with resin, or if you’ve been working with resin for a really long time and you’ve forgotten the importance of some of the basics. This being said, here are a few scenarios you could find yourself in when the resin you’ve been working with isn’t working as intended.
Incorrectly Mixing Your Resin and Hardener
This is one of the most common mistakes you can make when working with epoxy resin. Mixing resin incorrectly means that your resin will only cure partially or not at all depending on the discrepancy in the mixing ratio.
This will often result in gelatinous castings or surface coatings, which will not cure and will likely need to be removed from the surface of your workpiece.
Environmental factors are some of the easiest to overlook when working with epoxy resin workpieces. Workpieces that are placed in an environment that is too hot, too cold, or too humid will not cure until they are placed in an ideal setting. Why does this happen?
Well, you should keep in mind that when resin and hardener combine a thermal reaction needs to take place in order for it to become epoxy resin, and if the temperature isn’t conducive to this reaction these materials will fail to catalyze leaving you with a gooey mess.
Choosing the Incorrect Resin for Your Workpiece
Epoxy resin is one of the most versatile substances on the face of the planet and reputable manufacturers tend to go out of their way to label variations of this substance to communicate their intended application. Epoxy can be used as an adhesive, a surface coating, or for fasting forms.
The trouble comes when less reputable manufacturers label their products incorrectly and you end up with a surface coating resin when what you needed was a deep pour resin.
Discovering that you’ve used the incorrect epoxy for your intended application can be maddening, so ensure that you purchase an epoxy that has been designated for your application and that it clearly states this on the product’s packaging. If you’re unsure, check with the store staff, or if you’re purchasing it online, check product reviews and /or intended use write-ups.
When You Store Epoxy Incorrectly
Storing your epoxy incorrectly is a bad move. Epoxy needs to be stored in a cool dry place to ensure that both the resin and the hardener aren’t affected by the ambient temperature of your work or living space. What happens to your resin if you don’t store it incorrectly? Well, it could start to crystalize which means that it will essentially become unusable. To avoid this, do your best to store your epoxy resin in a space with a consistent temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius).
Attempting to create castings or surface coatings with resin that has become crystallized could result in workpieces that are incredibly soft or have not cured completely. Besides making for weird castings, you might not even be able to get the resin out of its storage container due to the crystallization of the substance.
When You Have Prepared Your Surface Poorly
As with any crafting discipline, the key to creating a good finish is to ensure that your workpiece (and the surface you’ll be coating in particular) has been prepared correctly. Preparation can mean different things for different materials, but generally, it means that your surface has been cleaned and that the surface friction is adequate for the application of your epoxy resin.
Surface friction can be created either by use of a primer, sanding the surface lightly, or both of these techniques.
What happens if your surface has not been prepared correctly you ask? Well, in most cases your epoxy simply won’t adhere to the surface of your workpiece. This could result in all of your resin running off your workpiece, which is not only a waste of money but time and effort too. Be particularly careful with smooth surfaces, as even though the resin is pretty sticky it still needs some help. Also read through our separate blog post on how to harden sticky resin.
How to Fix Epoxy Mistakes
Wondering how to fix epoxy mistakes? So, we know that there are a bunch of ways that you can go about messing up your newly applied resin, but we’re also here to let you know that this isn’t the end of the world. In fact, there are a number of ways that you can improve and repair finishes that haven’t gone quite as planned. This being said, let’s have a look at how you can remedy some of the scenarios we mentioned previously as well as some other common scenarios you might encounter on your crafting journey.
How to Fix Incorrectly Mixed Epoxy Resin
If you’ve poured too much hardener in epoxy resin or have poured too much resin into the mixture no thermal reaction will take place, and as a result, you’ll be left with a coating or casting that is essentially unusable. The good news? This can be fixed! The bad news? You will definitely need to remove the epoxy from the surface of your workpiece or mold and start from scratch. Do not attempt to pour more epoxy over the uncured coating, this will only make things worse.
Remove the epoxy residue and clean the surface of your workpiece with some solvent and sandpaper before giving the epoxy coating another go. Adding too much hardener in epoxy resin or too much resin is unfortunately not fixable by any other means.
How to Fix Resin That Hasn’t Cured Because of Heat or Cold
Resin that hasn’t been cured because of heat, cold, or humidity is common, after all, the tends to change and along with it so do ambient temperature readings. In most cases, the inability of resin to cure is a result of colder temperatures, which nullifies the thermal reaction between the resin and hardener. How do you solve this issue you ask?
Well, all that you need to do is create an environment with the ideal temperature and you’ll be well on your way to curing your resin. Raising the ambient temperature or the temperature of the immediate environment around the workpiece is easily done with a space heater or blow-drier. You should notice the reaction taking place when resin begins to whiten and harden up.
How to Fix a Project Made with the Incorrect Resin Type
This one sound’s trickier than it actually is but, in all honesty, the best way for you to rectify this issue is to avoid it entirely. Always check the packaging, description, and product reviews of the resin product you have chosen before making the purchase and/or using it on your workpiece. This ensures that you always have the correct resin for the task at hand.
How do you correct a project where the incorrect resin has been used you ask?
Well, like mixing resin in the incorrect ratio, you will have to remove the epoxy completely and start from scratch, unfortunately. The most common of these mistakes is when crafters use surface pour resin for deep pour applications. Often times the resin will not cure because it has not been designed to be poured in those volumes.
How to Fix Resin That Has Been Applied to a Poorly Prepared Surface
We mentioned previously that if a surface hasn’t been prepared correctly resin will not adhere to it correctly. This is notable with surfaces that are inherently smooth like plastics and metals which have low surface friction compared to others. This being said, you should always ensure that your surface has been well prepared before applying resin to a workpiece.
Wondering how to keep epoxy from running off your workpiece? Well, the preparation process is pretty simple. All that you need to do is ensure that your surface has been cleaned and sanded before your resin has been applied. It should go without saying that this does not apply to resin castings and remember that rubbing alcohol on sheer surfaces does wonders to clean and prime it for resin castings. This being said proper preparation is the best answer regarding how to keep your epoxy from running.
How to Recover Resin That Has Been Stored Incorrectly
As we mentioned previously if the resin has been stored incorrectly it can begin to crystallize which essentially makes it useless for casting and surface coating applications. This transformation is caused by impurities in the resin which have caused the reins to bunch up into these little crystal groups inside the bottle.
This typically happens when the resin is stored in really low temperatures.
How do you fix this though? Well, all that you need to do is heat your resin up. Take the container of crystalized resin and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Then, take a pot and heat some water on a stovetop. Once heated, place the resin container into the water and allow it to heat up (be sure not to melt your plastic). From time to time, give your bottle a good shake, and after w while your resin should once again be usable.
How to Fix Epoxy Glaze Coat Epoxy Problems
Wondering how to fix epoxy glaze coat epoxy problems? Well, let’s have a look at how a glaze coat is formed and then have a look at how to tackle it if you encounter this problem on your resin casting journey. The glaze is usually caused by one of two things, either the environment that you’ve allowed your resin to cure is too humid which has caused the thermic reaction to malfunction, or there were air pockets trapped and eventually collapsed causing the hazy effect.
How do you fix a glazed epoxy surface? Well, it’s quite easy. If the haze has been caused by humidity or cold temperatures all that you need to do is move the epoxy to a warmer environment, or if this is not possible heat, your current workspace to a temperature that is conducive to the curing process. If you’re still in the process of applying your resin to the surface of your workpiece, do your best to apply it in thinner coats.
If the glaze has been caused by air trapped in the resin itself, you will have to release those little air bubbles to get rid of the glaze. How do you go about doing this? With heat! Once again, apply directed heat to the affected areas of your workpiece to pop those little air bubbles and get rid of the glazed effect. Once the glaze has been removed allow your epoxy to cure completely as directed by the manufacturer.
How to Fix Dimples in Epoxy Resin
Wondering how to fix dimples in epoxy resin? Well, it’s a lot easier than you might think. Dimples in epoxy resin are usually caused by foreign materials on the surface of the workpiece you’re coating. This can cause the epoxy to form unevenly to compensate for the material present there. The best way to go about correcting this is to remove a part of the surface once the epoxy has cured and replace it. How do you do this? The best way to go about this is to use some wet sandpaper to reduce the affected areas until the dimples have all been removed.
Once the dimples have been removed ensure that you clean the surface of your workpiece to remove any resin residue left behind by the sanding process.
Once the surface has been cleaned it’s time to start adding resin to the freshly sanded surface. The trick here is to add your resin to the surface in thin layers until the surface is level once more. This can take some time so do your best to be patient and pour the resin in reasonably thin layers, allowing each layer to cure completely before applying the next. This might not be the quickest solution, but it will ensure that you get the best finish for your workpiece if you’ve made a mistake.
How to Fix Ripples in Epoxy Surfaces
Wondering how to fix ripples in epoxy surfaces? Ripples and waves usually occur when you’re working on a wooden surface. What causes them to occur? Well, this usually happens when the wood surface is too warped for the epoxy to dry uniformly across the surface, causing some parts to cure faster than others. If you’re wondering how to fix uneven epoxy resin surfaces, it’s going to take some patience.
What you’re going to do is apply two additional layers of epoxy on top of the layer that has cured unevenly. You want your first coat (known as the seal coat) over the affected areas and ensure that the surface is as flush as possible. Allow the float coat to cure completely, and once it has, apply the next coat (known as your float coat) to the cured surface. This is how to fix uneven epoxy resin, and the process can be repeated until you’re left with a uniform, flush surface coating of epoxy on your workpiece.
How Do You Prevent Imperfections and/or Uneven Epoxy Surfaces?
While knowing how to fix resin imperfections is all well and good, avoiding them is even better! This can be done by ensuring that the surface you’re working with has been cleaned and sanded adequately. If you’re working with a warped surface purposefully, then some imperfections will be unavoidable, but you can use some of the techniques we mentioned previously to remove bubbles, dents, or glaze present on the surface of your workpiece. What can you do to ensure that there are no issues with the resin itself though? Well, a couple of things.
Always ensure that your resin hasn’t been contaminated by other substances and ensure that it is stored in an ideal environment.
When using resin for surface pour applications, ensure that you’re using surface pour resin and not deep pour or casting resin. Always ensure that the ambient temperature in your workspace is conducive to the curing of the resin, even if this means using a space heater. Lastly, always ensure that you use the resin as intended by the manufacturer, this means that you should follow the mixing ratios to the letter as far as possible. The typical mixing ratio for surface-pour resin is usually one part resin to one part hardener (1:1). Following all of the aforementioned should ensure that your resin is applied and cured without any hiccups in the future.
- Ensure that your workpiece has been sanded.
- Make sure that your workpiece has been cleaned.
- Be certain that you have mixed your resin and hardener in the correct ratio as intended by the manufacturer.
- Check that your workpiece is level (unless intentionally otherwise).
- Remember to check that your resin has not been contaminated.
- Ensure that the ambient temperature is conducive to the curing process.
- Always check that you’re using resin designed for your application.
Now that you know about some of the common problems that you might encounter when working with resin, as well as the solutions to these and some other issues you could possibly encounter, it’s time for you to get out there and put your new-found knowledge to the test. Remember to always work in a well-ventilated area when working with resin and to always wear the appropriate personal protective gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Pour Epoxy Over Cured Epoxy?
Can you pour epoxy over cured epoxy? Yes, you can! How do you go about this? Well, all you need to do is sand the surface of the cured epoxy lightly. Once cured, wipe away any remaining resin dust and ensure the surface is clean. Apply your next coat of epoxy in thin layers, ensuring that each layer is cured completely before applying the next.
How Long to Wait for a Second Coat of Epoxy to Be Applied?
Wondering how long to wait for a second coat of epoxy to be applied? This is a bit of a tricky question to answer since there are various types of resin and different manufacturers have different cure times. Generally speaking, epoxy takes up to 24 hours to cure completely, but theoretically, you should be able to apply another coat within 12 hours under ideal conditions.
How to Fix Pits in Resin?
Wondering how to fix pits in resin? Pits are formed in epoxy when there is an imperfection in the surface of your workpiece or there were air bubbles present during the curing process. Sanding your workpiece, cleaning it, and applying multiple thin layers of resin over the affected surface (allowing each to cure completely before applying the next) is the best way to fix pits in epoxy resin surfaces.