The Most Common Problems with Epoxy and How to Avoid Them

Published by Madison Ragar on Feb 23rd 2017

Epoxy is an extremely easy process that creates amazing results. With the help of our awesome team - ready to answer any questions you may have - and our step-by-step instructions, your epoxy is sure to come out looking incredible. Unfortunately, as with any project, it’s easy to miss a step or make tiny mistakes that cause issues with the final product. Here are some of the most common problems with epoxy, and how to avoid them.

Fish eyes: Fish eyes occur when the epoxy is stressed and spread too thin. They are characterized by a crater in the epoxy with a dot in the middle. To avoid fish eyes, make sure to purchase more than enough epoxy to cover your square footage. This will ensure that the epoxy covers your entire area and is able to self-level to 1/8 of an inch. If fish eyes do occur, add more epoxy to the spot with the issue before it cures. If your epoxy has already cured and you have fish eyes, you will need to pour another coat over the epoxy.

picture of fish eye

Sticky or soft spots: After epoxy is poured and has cured for 36 hours, the surface should be hard and smooth. Sticky or soft spots are the result of improper mixing. When mixing epoxy be sure to mix for 5 minutes, scraping the sides and bottle of the bucket repeatedly. After exactly 5 minutes, pour the epoxy into a new clean bucket and continue mixing with a new clean stirring stick for 4 minutes. This ensures that there are no remnants of unmixed Parts A or B creating soft spots in the middle of your countertop. If you follow these instructions, you will never have a soft spot. If you don't follow instructions and do end up with a soft spot, you may need to scrape the uncured epoxy off your surface and re-pour a new coat.

Gooey epoxy not spreading easily: As soon as you have mixed parts A and B according to instructions, the mixed epoxy should be poured out and spread over the surface of your project. Two part epoxy consists of Resin (Part A) and Hardener (Part B). When these two components come in contact with each other during mixing, a chemical reaction takes place that generates heat. Leaving the epoxy in your bucket for too long will cause it to generate more heat and begin to harden more quickly. Once the epoxy is poured onto your countertop or flooring the greater surface area will slow curing time and give you around 30 minutes to an hour to create your masterpiece.

Bubbles in the finished product: Air bubbles can because by a number of factors:

a) Mixing too fast and rigorously: During mixing, be sure not mix epoxy too quickly or too rigorously, as this will incorporate additional air bubbles into the mixture before pouring. Most often this is caused by over-eager mixing with a drill set on high speed. When using a drill with a stirring paddle, to be on the safe side, keep your drill set on the slowest range. 

b) Air coming through non-sealed materials: If you are pouring epoxy over a porous material such as wood or concrete, be sure to do a skim coat of epoxy first before flood coating, in order to seal the surface and prevent air from being released into the epoxy during the flood coat. Wait a minimum of 6 hours after skim coating before applying the flood coat. 

picture of air bubbles

c) Failure to release bubbles after flood coating: Immediately after pouring your epoxy, be sure to torch evenly and in a continuous moving motion to help remove most of the bubbles on the surface. This also helps to level the epoxy. Note: Be sure not to torch the vertical edges of your countertop, as this will cause the epoxy to thin out and run off, leaving the color on your edges thin and streaky. 

One last word of advice: For proper curing, always be sure that the room where you are working, substrate and epoxy are at a temperature of 70-75F (21-24C) degrees before mixing. 

In conclusion, make sure you have the proper temperature, use adequate material for your square footage, carefully follow mixing instructions, be sure to pour mixed epoxy out of the bucket soon after mixing, and torch your epoxy immediately after spreading. If you follow these instructions, you should end up with a beautiful creation that will last a lifetime.