Epoxy countertops have some of the most beautiful and glossy finishes out there. However, there are some disadvantages in the process, the finished product, and the possible side effects of misapplying it. Before you buy, it is good to know what the main advantages and disadvantages are.
Some advantages of epoxy countertops are their heat resistance and ability to provide a strong and durable seal to your counter. The counter will be glossy for years. Furthermore, you can pick your colors and metallic powders to make the countertop unique and unreplicable.
This article will cover what epoxy countertops are and how they work. We will also discuss the main advantages and disadvantages of the countertops. By the end of this article, you will be a pro at epoxy countertops and will know if it is the right product for you.
Table of Contents
What Are Epoxy Countertops?
Unlike many other countertops, epoxy countertops do not usually come as a solid material or slab you can install in your kitchen. You can buy it as an epoxy countertop kit that you can apply to your pre-existing countertop to refinish it.
People use epoxy countertop kits to revamp their existing countertops such as wood, laminate, concrete, or even ceramic. The epoxy kit will create a nice glossy shine and smooth out any unattractive dents, grooves, and scratches.
Even though it is not common, you can buy pre-made epoxy countertops. However, they are often much too costly to be worth buying.
How the Countertops Are Made
Most kits will come with two large plastic containers of epoxy resin and hardeners. All kits will have instructions per the manufacturer, but the general process is the same across the board.
Both the epoxy and hardener are liquid when in separate containers. When you mix the epoxy with the hardener, they become solid. The mixture will then dry as a solid, crystal clear layer (if you do not pick a base color). It will provide a thick, durable layer to whatever counter you are applying the product to.
You need to carefully pour the first layer to avoid any bubbles from appearing. Usually, people will apply one thin layer of the epoxy mixture to their countertops, continually adding thicker layers.
Epoxy countertops are generally a DIY project (check this article for a step-by-step guide). You can buy kits from many home improvement stores. If you are not as comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire professionals who will coat your kitchen or bathroom countertops for you.
Characteristics of Epoxy Countertops
Before we get into the good stuff, let’s take a look at epoxy countertops’ general characteristics since there are many different kinds of epoxy finishes.
Some of the physical properties of epoxy countertops include:
- Crystal clear
- Hard, solid texture
- High strength
- Shiny, glossy finish
Some chemical properties of epoxy resin countertops are:
- Bis-phenol A
- Acidic hydroxyl
- 1, 2-butanediol
Advantages of Epoxy Countertops
Epoxy countertops have many attractive benefits, which is why people love to use them in their kitchens and bathrooms. Not only do the countertops have protective features, but they also have many cosmetic benefits. Now that we know how epoxy countertops work, let’s look at some advantages of the product.
Epoxy Will Go Over Many Different Kinds of Countertops
If you are not sure whether epoxy will work with your countertop, don’t worry; you can apply epoxy to most countertops. The refinishing product can cover most countertops you will find in kitchens and bathrooms, such as wood or laminate. Some of the few materials epoxy resin cannot cover copper and silicone.
You Can Customize the Colors
A great thing about epoxy countertops is that you can make it look like you have granite countertops when you have a cheap laminate underneath the product. Many companies will let you choose a base layer and three different metallic colors to mix into the base layer. This way you can customize the countertop all you want and create a unique kitchen counter nobody else has.
Act as a Durable Sealer
Many people use epoxy countertops as a sealer on materials such as concrete. The epoxy resin will absorb into small holes and scratches of the counter and dry as a hard, shiny seal. If you want a simple seal, make sure to use a clear epoxy product with no base color or metallic powders.
Furthermore, the countertop will last for years. Many other finishes and varnishes will fade over time. Epoxy will stay glossy for a long time without the need to retouch it. It is rare for epoxy countertops to be dented, scratched or damaged since it provides such a strong seal.
Can Add Value to Your Home
An easy way to add value to your home is to have epoxy countertops. Any new countertop adds more value to a home. Since epoxy will look new for years to come, you won’t have to worry about your home value decreasing due to a fading, dull countertop.
One of the most helpful features of the countertops is that they are heat resistant. If you accidentally set a burning hot dish on other countertops such as quartz, it can leave a burn mark. However, you will see no immediate damage if you place a hot dish on epoxy.
Even so, you should still use hot pads on the countertops. Even though there will not be any immediate damage, you will eventually see damage if you repeatedly leave a hot pot on the counter.
After the countertop has cured, of course, the epoxy will be nontoxic and food safe. You will be able to place raw veggies or other food items on the surface without worry of harmful chemicals tainting the food.
Nonetheless, some volatile organic compounds release when mixing and making the countertop. During the application process, you will have to make sure the room is well-ventilated and that you do not use or touch the countertop until the counter fully cures.
Will Be Easy To Clean
You won’t need to be picky when buying cleaning products for the countertop since just about any product will be suitable and non-damaging. Another benefit of the material is that epoxy is resistant to bacteria growth and mold.
If you are interested in DIYing your epoxy countertop, check out this kit from Amazon: Stone Coat Countertop(1/2 Gallon) Epoxy Kit – Colorable 2. Check out the VARIETY PACK 2 Mica Powder PURE if you want to add some metallic powders to the epoxy.
Disadvantages of Epoxy Countertops
Now that we have covered some of the countertops’ main benefits, we will look at some disadvantages. Epoxy countertops are much different from any other countertop, especially when it comes to applying them. There are a few different things to keep in mind about the product before buying it.
Difficult and Messy To Apply
The main disadvantage of epoxy countertops is that they are difficult and messy to apply. Even for a DIYer with tons of experience with tricky projects, applying an epoxy countertop is not easy.
There are a few steps to the process; you will need to do each step perfectly to create a smooth, even, and durable seal. It is common for the countertop to come out uneven and with bubbles when a beginner applies the epoxy. If you do not apply it correctly, you will have to remove the countertop and try again, which will cost even more money.
Furthermore, a main feature of epoxy is that it applies as a runny consistency. The epoxy resin will run-off the counters and onto the floor during the process. For this reason, you will have to take a good chunk of time out to prepare your kitchen for application and cover every surface you don’t want the epoxy to land on.
You Design the Countertop As You Apply It
For professionals, this may be an advantage. For beginners, this will be an essential thing to consider. Since the counter does not come pre-made, one of the parts of applying the countertop is designing its look.
For most kits, you pick the base color and a few other colors to the add-in. When you apply it, you are designing the countertop as you go. Even though you can attempt to plan it, you will not know how it looks until you pour the mixture. If you mess up, there is nothing you can do other than removing the entire countertop.
The Countertop Will Take a While To Apply
If you correlate DIY with quick projects, this will not be the project for you. Since epoxy countertops have such a unique application process, it will be very time-consuming.
Before you apply, you might need to sand down all of your countertops and make sure there are no stains or bumps. Secondly, you will have to cover your entire kitchen or bathroom with plastic sheeting. You will also need to add boards to the countertop edges to catch the countertop liquid as it runs off.
After you take the time to do this, you will also have to wait up to 24 hours for the countertop to cure.
Release Volatile Chemicals As You Apply and While Curing
You simply place the slab on with other countertops and are done with it (I am oversimplifying, of course). However, with epoxy countertops, you mix the chemicals at the site you are applying them. Epoxy resin contains volatile organic compounds that release during the application and curing process.
How Do Epoxy Countertops Work?
Epoxy countertops are a type of finish. They can go over many materials, including laminate, tile, porcelain, glass, concrete, wood, ceramic, and metal. To begin, you will have to mix the epoxy and hardener. You will then get a certain amount of working time, which will differ depending on the product.
Working time is the amount of time you get to apply the product and move it around over the countertop. Generally, you will have about 20-30 minutes before the epoxy countertop hardens in place. For this reason, you will have to cover all surfaces that you will not want the epoxy to stick to. You also have to sand down your counters before applying the product so it will stick properly.
While some epoxy countertop finishes are crystal clear, you can get creative with them. Many companies that offer epoxy countertops allow you to choose a basecoat color and one, two, or three metallic colors. Once you pour the solid color basecoat down onto the counter, you can drizzle the metallic colors overtop of it to create a unique marble look.