Epoxy adhesive is a two-part adhesive system composed of resin and hardener. Once these two elements are merged, they produce a chemical reaction that causes the epoxy to cure and form a solid bond. People use epoxy adhesive for many applications, including repairing cracks or holes in concrete, bonding metal to metal, and filling gaps between surfaces.
However, suppose the epoxy is not mixed or applied correctly. In that case, it can cause significant mistakes that can be difficult to fix. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common epoxy mistakes and how to fix them.
What Is an Epoxy Adhesive, and How Does It Work?
Epoxy adhesive is a synthetic compound resin and a curing agent/hardener. It is durable and robust glue that can join the same or different types of surfaces. Liquid epoxy or epoxy adhesive is an excellent component for filling voids in various materials.
There are two types of epoxy adhesive: two-part Epoxy and one-part Epoxy. The two-part epoxy adhesive comes with a pack of resin and a pack of curing agents.
To create the epoxy resin, you must add the resin and hardener in equal quantities. The epoxy hardens right after the two parts are mixed.
On the other hand, the one-part epoxy adhesive is premixed. It has to be heated at the right temperature to be active. This adhesive has to be stored at a cool temperature.
Epoxy resin is a thermosetting compound which makes it a strong adhesive. At suitable temperatures, epoxy adhesive makes a chemical bond with the surface of metal or non-metal material. The curing time can be a few minutes, hours, or days, depending on the type and amount of the epoxy adhesive.
Besides plastic, epoxy resin can be used on wood, rubber, canvas, metal, ceramic, concrete, and some other materials.
The Most Common Epoxy Mistakes: How To Fix Them
For beginners, working with epoxy can be complicated. That does not mean you should not work with epoxy. Instead, you can learn about the common epoxy mistakes to avoid making them or know how to fix them.
So, here is how to fix epoxy mistakes:
The Wrong Product
One of the most common mistakes of beginners is choosing the wrong epoxy product. There are different epoxy products, such as adhesives, fillers, casting compounds, moulds, etc. Some are suitable for metals, some for wood, and some for rubber and plastic.
Hence, you should always read the product description and instructions before using the epoxy. If you have used the wrong epoxy adhesive, it may not cure in time or join the materials. So, you have to remove the epoxy and use the correct one.
As you know, the two-part epoxy adhesive has two packs. One is a pack of epoxy resin, and the other is the hardener. It is important to mix these components in the correct ratio. Not mixing the epoxy in the proper ratio can cause it to cure too fast or too slow. Even worse, it may not even be cured.
Besides, you have to mix the chemicals properly. Under mixing will cause the appearance of cracks and haziness. Over mixing can also cause problems like a thick sludge that does not adhere well. You must attentively understand the instructions on the epoxy resin for the perfect ratio and the time of mixing.
Temperature is another critical factor for epoxy crafting. Make sure the room temperature is ideal for the epoxy resin. Epoxy or epoxy adhesives do not cure properly in too cold or hot temperatures.
When applying the epoxy, always make sure the temperature is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It would be best to store epoxy at the same temperature to ensure it does not get non-viable. If you want to harden the epoxy faster, you can use 205 Fast Curing Hardener. It will then quickly bond the epoxy with the surface at room temperature.
Epoxy is easily affected by external elements like dirt, dust, and debris. It is also a clear compound. As a result, any dirt, debris, or grime mixed with the epoxy will show on the final product.
Therefore, always clean the tools and equipment you will use for working on epoxy. Clean the bowl/bucket, containers, moulds, and stirrers well. If you want to work on a metal or non-metal surface, clean that thoroughly.
Sticky Film on The Surface
Inaccurate mixing and curing at cold temperatures may cause a sticky layer on the top of the epoxy surface. You can move the epoxy to room temperature. If that does not work, remove the moist layer.
Put hot water or denatured alcohol on a sponge and rub it over the sticky film. Removing the sticky layer makes sure the new epoxy layer adheres to the surface.
A well-mixed epoxy resin will self-level with no problem. But you may face levelling issues when there is an imbalance in the level mixture. So, when your epoxy is not levelling, wait till it hardens.
After it hardens, use fine-grained sandpaper to level the uneven areas. Sanding can produce residue of resin, and the site will look hazy. You can use a microfiber cloth and some detergent to clean the area. Then use the best epoxy polishing compounds to bring back the glaze.
Cures Too Fast
The most crucial factor for any epoxy project is proper curing. Suppose you find the epoxy hardening faster than it should. It is not a good sign. Because of early curing, the epoxy will get cracks and look hazy.
Premature curing often happens because of high temperatures. If you want your epoxy to cure, keep the temperature between 65 to 75 degrees F. For further information, read the packaging.
Fails to Bind
Is your epoxy not binding to the surface of the material? First, check if the epoxy adhesive is suitable for the surface type. If you have picked the proper epoxy and it still does not stick, you might not have adequately prepared the surface.
Epoxy has no problem binding with a rough and porous surface like wood. But the surface should be dry and dirt free.
In the case of any metal or smooth material, prepare the surface for the epoxy adhesive. You have to sand it to roughen up the surface a bit. Then clean the dirt and dry the surface. Avoid touching the surface with bare hands, as bodily oil or sweat can cause binding issues. After that, apply the epoxy. It should bind strongly this time.
Entrapped Air/ Bubble in Epoxy
Entrapped air or bubbles can be a significant problem for your epoxy. This problem often arises when the resin is poured too thick, or the temperature is cold. To avoid entrapped air pockets, apply epoxy layers at a warm temperature. When the temperature is warm, the epoxy is thinner; hence, it levels without creating bubbles.
If you see bubbles in the epoxy, use a heat gun to release the air. Do not heat the bubble areas for too long. You have to get rid of the bubbles before the epoxy is completely cured.
Bubble in the Epoxy Mixture
Do you see too many bubbles in the epoxy mixture after stirring it? These bubbles can cause many problems. Removing these micro-bubbles from the final epoxy production is not always possible.
Bubbles in the mixture occur if you stir the epoxy too fast. So, you should mix the epoxy and hardener gently and thoroughly to avoid bubbling.
Ripples and Waves
Sometimes, epoxy can still face some problems, no matter how careful you are. You want a clear uneven epoxy, but it may get ripples and waves. That does not look good on the epoxy project.
You may have to apply more than one layer of epoxy coat to solve this problem. The initial step is applying a thin layer of epoxy coat called the sealing coat; it should not be over 3 mm. This thin layer will prevent bubbles from forming on the epoxy. Next, apply another thicker layer of epoxy coat to smooth the ripples and waves.
The orange peel effect is not always considered a huge problem. This problem is common on epoxy floors. Instead of being smooth and dent free, the floor or epoxy surface has marks and dents that look like an orange peel.
If you do not want this effect on your epoxy, you have to be careful about regulating the temperature. Fluctuation of temperature is the leading cause of the orange peel effect.
The problem can occur on the epoxy surface before it gets hardened. In that case, use a roller to level the dents and marks. After hardening, if the effects show, you have to sand off the imperfection. After that, apply a thin layer of epoxy coat to add shine to the sanded areas.
Have you noticed that the epoxy colour is not as straightforward as your expectations? It might be yellowish. It can happen if you use epoxy resin stored for a long time. Over time, the epoxy resin colour changes because of chemical changes.
You can use it as long as the epoxy is stored correctly and the texture is fluid. But if the colour matters, avoid using the old reddish-brown epoxy adhesives.
People like epoxy resin for its shiny and transparent properties. So, finding your epoxy project dull and foggy after curing can be frustrating.
Since you cannot do much about fogging after the epoxy is hardened, you should prevent this problem from happening. Excessive moisture and temperature fluctuation are the common causes of the foggy appearance. So, keep these factors in control to ensure a transparent and reflective epoxy.
These are the common mistakes people often face while working with epoxy or epoxy adhesive. If you are a beginner, you can avoid many disasters by understanding the problems and knowing how to fix them.
How to Prepare the Surface for Epoxy Application
As mentioned before, epoxy adheres to pours and a rough surface. It must be clean and dry because epoxy cannot stick to a dirty or oily surface. You can sand the porous surface to clean it if necessary. Many people heat the wood to dry it up before applying the epoxy.
You have to treat the surface if you want to apply epoxy adhesive on a non-porous surface. The metal or plastic has to be sanded and wiped clean.
You may have to degrease and dry the material surface to apply epoxy, depending on the material.
You also have to sand the surface to make it rougher. Be careful while touching the material surface to avoid getting it oily or dirty.
Tips for Mixing and Applying Epoxy Adhesive
How your epoxy will look depends on the mixing and applying process. Therefore, you need to be more aware of mixing epoxy adhesive.
- Always follow the instructions on the epoxy resin packet. You will have mixed the epoxy resin and the hardener, maintaining a balance. Depending on the manufacturers and production quality, you may have to add 1:1, 1:2, or 2:1 epoxy and hardener.
- Work with epoxy resin at a warm temperature. Temperature too cold or hot damages the quality of the epoxy resin.
- When you mix the components, do not rush. Instead, stir slowly but meticulously.
- Use stirrers with straight sides on both sides to mix the epoxy.
- Never add water to your epoxy mix, or the quality of the resin will fall.
Troubleshooting Tips: Epoxy Doesn’t Cure Correctly
Is epoxy not hardening even after hours? Here are some tips on curing epoxy fast:
- First, you have to mix the epoxy in the correct measurement. It can be one part epoxy and one part hardener. Using the proper ratio of the components is crucial for epoxy hardening.
- If it takes a long time to cure, check the room’s temperature. Cold temperature is for epoxy. Place the epoxy at a warm temperature to solve the problem.
- The surface can be sticky when it does not harden properly. You have to try curing the damp spots. If it does not work, you have to remove the sticky part. Then apply the new fresh epoxy coat and leavening gloss finish.
Sometimes, the quality of epoxy resin can cause it to cure too fast or too slow. It will be best if you buy high-quality epoxy for your projects. Make sure to read the instructions on the epoxy resin. You can avoid many epoxy mistakes by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Epoxy resin is an excellent adhesive and can be used for different purposes.
- You need to prepare the surface before applying the epoxy.
- Mix the epoxy adhesive slowly and in the right proportion.
- When you have any doubts, consult the vendor’s specifications.
I hope this article helped me understand how to use epoxy and fix epoxy mistakes. Epoxy is an excellent product if you know how to use it properly and is incredible for backyard patios and art. With these tips, you can avoid many disasters and have successful projects.
Have you ever used epoxy? What tips do you have for beginners? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources of Information
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