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A Guide to Using Epoxy Resin Safely

February 12, 2020

What is Epoxy Resin?

Epoxy resin is composed of prepolymers and polymers that consist of epoxide groups. In order for epoxy resin to cure, it must be combined with a catalyst, also known as a hardener. When the resin and hardener are mixed, an exothermic reaction takes place that creates a strong adhesive and resistant finish. This is what makes epoxy a common application for home improvement projects, construction, craft making, and boat repair.

At AeroMarine, our epoxy resin products are best-in-class. They’re easy to use to help get your job done, all while having great flexural strength that creates a durable finish. 

Some common applications include:

  • Flooring: Epoxy can create a smooth, durable, and waterproof finish to floors, perfect for basements and garages.
  • Boat Repair: Marine grade epoxy can be used to patch up boats and even build stitch-and-glue boats.
  • Wood Repair: If you have a broken railing, rotting beam, or chipped furniture, epoxy can be applied to bring it up to snuff and back to its original form.
  • Countertops: Epoxy is extremely resistant to spills and durable, which makes it a perfect application for countertops.
  • Walkways: If you have a pebble walkway leading to your front door or throughout your yard, pebble epoxy will keep your stones in place, so they don’t end up in your yard. Please contact us for more information on this process.
  • Wood furniture: You can make gorgeous wood tables, desks and chairs using epoxy resin.

As with most chemical substances, you must utilize proper safety precautions when working the epoxy.  Read on for more information!

Cured vs. Uncured vs. Dust

Epoxy resin comes in three forms: cured, uncured, and dust. it’s important to know each of these three stages:

  • Cured: The cured stage of epoxy is the final stage where it is completely solid and hardened. Once it is cured, you can touch, walk, and place items on the epoxy.
  • Uncured:  This is epoxy in its liquid form. When you mix epoxy resin with a hardener, an exothermic reaction occurs.  You should take the proper safety precautions when working with liquid epoxy, which we cover below.
  • Dust: Sanding and/or polishing the cured epoxy can create dust. You must always wear a barrier mask or respirator and eye protection when sanding epoxy.

Part A vs. Part B Component

Epoxy comes in a two-part system,  Part A and Part B. Part A, the resin, combines with Part B, the hardener. The hardener is what makes the resin react and form a tough and durable bond. 

How Can I Work Safely With Epoxy Products?

Follow these safety measures, along with resin best practices, when using epoxy resin.

  • Increase Ventilation:  Work in a well-ventilated area when using epoxy resin. If you’re applying epoxy resin to your garage or basement floors, you must keep the garage door, hatchway, and any windows open. You can also place fans in the area to increase air circulation.

 

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment: To prevent skin and eye irritation, use personal protective equipment to stay covered. This includes nitrile gloves, safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and a respirator or barrier mask when sanding epoxy.

 

  • Personal Hygiene: After working with epoxy, remove all contaminated clothing.  Thoroughly wash your hands and skin with soap and hot water or with a commercial hand cleaner.  Also, clean your fingernails and nail beds, as epoxy can hide here easily.  Next, apply moisturizer or cream to prevent cracking and drying.

How Do I Dispose of Epoxy?

You must properly dispose of your epoxy in order to protect both yourself and the environment. Epoxy resin is toxic to marine life and ecosystems. If liquid or uncured epoxy is disposed of in sewers, drains, or your household garbage, these habitats and creatures can die off. Bottom line, Never throw away liquid or uncured epoxy in your trash or pour it down a drain.

Instead, dispose of any liquid or uncured epoxy at your local waste facility. Here, they will make sure your epoxy is disposed of properly without harming the environment and organisms.

You can also cure out liquid epoxy by mixing resin and hardener together and letting it cure for at least 24 hours until it is completely hard to the touch. Then, you can safely dispose the cured, inert epoxy in your household trash.

Key Takeaways on Working With With Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a great substance that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as furniture making, flooring, and boat repair. 

With the right safety measures, you can ensure you and those around you are safe when using epoxy. 

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