Q. I see that some bar top resins are 1:1 mix, and others are 2:1 mixes. What is the difference?
A. The 'natural' mix ratio of this epoxy system is 2:1. Some manufacturers load up their hardener with a low cost extender called Nonyl Phenol to bring the ratio of hardener up to 1:1. They do this to lower the cost of the system and to make it a bit easier to use. The problem is that Nonyl Phenol reduces many properties of the epoxy.
Our hardener does not contain Nonyl Phenol.
Most epoxy glues are 1:1 mix because they use a different hardener called a polyamide.
Q. I'd like to embed bottlecaps, baseball cards, photographs or posters in my countertop. Is this possible?
A. Yes, people do that all the time. Don't put anything irreplaceable in epoxy because you will never be able to remove that item. Also, it's also impossible to test every possible product that someone may want to encase in epoxy. We have never had a customer tell us about any kind of incompatibility. However, making a small test is always a good idea.
Q. How thick should I make a countertop or bar top?
A. We generally recommend 1/8 of an inch. That is typical of what you will see in a restaurant such as Hooters or Outback Steakhouse. Keep in mind that doubling the thickness will double the cost of your project. The maximum thickness that we recommend is 3/8". This is because the epoxy generates heat in order to cure- the thicker the pour the greater the heat- It's called exotherm.
Q. How big a batch should I mix at one time?
A. The first few batches should be small, about a quart, so that you learn how to use the epoxy. After you get the hang of using the epoxy, then you might mix a gallon at a time.
Q. Can I pour additional layers over a cured layer?
A. Yes. Generally there is no prep required between coats when pouring a table top. Be certain that the first batch has begun to cool before pouring the next coat.
Q. How do I handle the edges?
A. This can be tricky, depending on what effect you are trying to accomplish. In order to avoid trapping air bubbles, an epoxy coating needs to be quite thin. Otherwise, any air trapped in the mix will not rise and escape to the surface- So if you need to pour a thick countertop then you may need to build a dam around the top, then remove the dam. Most pros use formica to create the dam, and use vaseline as a release agent. Alternately, a wood strip can be used as the dam and left in place. A third method is just to brush, roll, or pour several layers onto the countertop and let the excess run off- but this can take several coats if you are trying to build up a lot of thickness.
Q. Will I need more epoxy if my surface is porous?
A. Yes. You may need to increase the amount of epoxy you buy in order to get the coverage you desire. Factor in about one and a half times additional epoxy to the quantity you would order from the coverage chart. This is just an estimate. It is essential that you have correctly calculated the amount of epoxy that you will need before starting your project!
Q. Is this epoxy UV (sunlight) resistant?
A. This epoxy is more UV resistant than most because it is a cylcoaliphatic system, but it is not totally UV resistant and should not be used in direct sunlight.
Q. Does it matter whether I apply AeroMarine Bar Top Epoxy over a water-based or an oil-based stain?
A. Yes. Apply AeroMarine Products Bar Top Epoxy over a water-based stain. Wait 24 hours until the water-based stain has cured. Then, apply a thin priming coat of AeroMarine Products Bar Top Epoxy. **Avoid using any oil-based stain because the epoxy will not bond to it. If you already have an oil-based stain on your bar top, please call us for technical guidance before applying any epoxy.**
Q. How much heat can this epoxy take?
A. About 250F, which means that you can put hot cups of coffee or tea on it. Never put a hot pan or skillet from the stove directly onto the epoxy.
Q. I've read on other sites that you should use a torch or a heat gun to break air bubbles. What do you recommend?
A. We only recommend using a heat gun to break air bubbles. DO NOT use a hair dryer--it may cause waves in the surface. The same holds true for propane torches. Propane is under a lot of pressure and leaves the torch at a high speed, often causing waves in the countertop. Plus, it is tempting to use too much heat. In this case, "if a little is good, then a lot is better" doesn't apply here.
Q. Can I thicken this epoxy by adding more hardener?
A. No! More hardener will not thicken it. Instead, use a filler like talc or cabosil to thicken this epoxy to your desired consistency.
Q. How do I remove bumps/smooth out the surface of epoxy on the bar top?
A. 1.) Let the epoxy cure for at least 72 hours at 70F. 2.) Use a palm sander with 60 to 80 grit sandpaper and sand the cured epoxy just below the desired surface level. **Do NOT use a grinder or a belt sander because it is too easy to remove too much material! 3.) Pour a 1/8" coat of epoxy over the sanded cured epoxy.
Q. What do I use for clean-up?
A. For minor spills, use carbuerator cleaner or lacquer thinner. For cleaning hands, we recommend "Fast Orange".
Q. Do you have any other tips?
A. You must keep all dust off your counter top for the first 18 hours after the pour. It's a good idea to close off the room for the day to prevent dust from settling on the countertop.