Solutions to common Epoxy Problems

How to prevent bubbles:

1. Be careful with the mixture

In the first place, the formation of bubbles often results from the mixing of parts A and B. The Ice Epoxy products have very good properties that prevent the formation of bubbles. However, it is important to follow the instructions in the technical data sheet and to pay attention to the following details:  

  • Temperature: The room should be kept between 59 and 70 ° F (15 and 21 ° C).  
  • Mixing: Avoid mixing quickly, either manually or mechanically, and thus form a vortex which will introduce a large amount of air into the mixture. For small amounts, it is always best to mix with a flat metal spatula about an inch wide.  
  • Waiting: After mixing well by rubbing the inner sides of the container, let the mixture sit for 3 to 5 minutes. You will see the micro bubbles rise to the surface.  

2. Ensure a clean environment and clean tools

Be sure the surface is clean, dry and free of contaminants like dust, dirt, oil and grease. Do a solvent wipe with denatured alcohol and let the surface dry completely before you apply a seal coat

3. Seal the surface

The appearance of bubbles in the resin can come from the surface to be covered. Indeed, some materials (wood, plaster, etc.) are porous or contain moisture; this can promote the rise of air bubbles. The solution can then consist in applying a thin layer of resin which will serve as a sealant. You can use a brush to lightly coat embedded objects like bottle caps or seashells with mixed epoxy, or you can dip the objects in mixed epoxy to coat. It is possible and even recommended to apply your resin layer while the sealant layer remains slightly tacky.

4. Pour slowly

When you’re pouring a flood coat, pour slowly and you’ll create fewer bubbles. 

5. Use a heat gun or a torch

Bubbles are easy to remove with a heat gun or torch. Wave it quickly back and forth a few inches above the surface, taking care not to get too close and scorch the surface. Bubbles will rise to the surface and pop, leaving the epoxy smooth and bubble-free.

How to prevent a cloudy finish:

1. Check and control humidity

Any moisture in the wood will mix with the epoxy and turn the finish cloudy instead of clear. If the wood was dry, the cloudy finish could’ve also been caused by high humidity. Excess moisture in the air can react with the mixed epoxy and turn it cloudy. Be sure the temperature in your work area is between 59 and 70°F (15 and 21°C) and the relative humidity is under 60%. Use a de-humidifier if needed.

2. Mix gently

Be careful not to mix it up aggressively, it’ll add air to the mixture, which can make the finish cloudy. Be sure to mix slowly, scraping the sides and bottom of the cup.

How to prevent unlevel, rough, ripples or cracked surface

1. Leveling

Make sure your surface is level before you mix and pour. The epoxy will self-level on its own but will only be as level as the surface.

2. Clean environment

Keep your work area as dust-free as possible. Dust can also cause small pits or dimples, so try to make your work area as dust-free as possible. Make sure your mixing tools are clean and dry before adding resin and hardener. You can reuse mixing cups as long as they are clean.

3. Castable amount

Exotherm is a heat producing reaction that occurs when you mix epoxy resin and hardener – this heat is what makes the epoxy cure properly. Don’t exceed the maximum pour depth. Too much heat (excessive exotherm) can make epoxy cure rough or wavy – it can also cause shrinkage and cracks. However, if you get too much heat, the epoxy can bubble, smoke, and melt your mixing cup. On the other hand, if you do not respect the minimum quantity, the exoterm will not be enough for a proper cure, the expoxy may even not harden. Please refer to the technical datasheet and follow the recommended castable amount.

Solution to Streaks or Swirls

Sanding

The best thing to do is sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper to remove the swirls or streaks. Remove the sanding residue, wipe the surface with denatured alcohol and let it dry completely. Apply a flood coat of mixed epoxy and you will get the desired result without streaks or swirls.

How to prevent a sticky surface

1. Use the exact mix ratio

Sticky resin means it didn’t cure properly. Too much hardener in epoxy resin will not make the epoxy cure faster. It will do just the opposite and make the epoxy not cure at all. ICECAST is 2 parts resin (A) and 1 part hardener (B) and ICETHIN is 1 part resin and 1 part hardener. Please refer to the technical datasheet and follow the mixing ratio.

2. Don’t mix multiple epoxy systems

Be sure you're using the tabletop epoxy resin and hardener from the same manufacturer and the same epoxy system. All epoxy systems are not created equally.

3. Use epoxy-safe coloring agents

Using tints or colorants that are not compatible with epoxy can contaminate epoxy and result in a sticky surface. You can choose from our liquid, paste or powder color pigments.

How to make Sure Epoxy Sticks to the Surface

Prepare the surface properly

Porous surfaces like wood and concrete can emit moisture, which can cause an improper bond. Make sure the wood or concrete surface is completely dry, especially if using a large slab of concrete. The epoxy may initially form a strong bond, but if the concrete emits a lot of moisture, the moisture can become trapped, which could cause delamination in areas.

How to prevent objects from floating

Glue it to the surface before you do the first pour

Use an all-purpose white glue to attach the embedded objects to the surface. Also, be sure to coat them with a thin seal coat of epoxy to prevent air bubbles.

How to preserve printed image before embedding in Epoxy Resin

seal the paper

Since paper is available in many different qualities and thicknesses, it is always a good precaution to seal it first before adding the resin. Normal photo paper is often porous and can absorb the resin, making your image blotchy or discolored. Make a first test on a similar type of paper by applying a thin layer of spray sealer.  Coat papers with a few coats before applying the sealer to your actual project.  Allow to dry completely before applying resin.

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