Can You Add a Clear Coat Over Epoxy?


clear epoxy table top river

If you are wrapping up a project and want to ensure its longevity, then you might be wondering what last steps you can take to ensure the protection and durability of your project. Whether working on countertops, floors, tables, or smaller pieces, do epoxy projects need a clear top coat?

Applying a clear coat over epoxy can be beneficial in increasing the durability, glossy finish, and sleek appearance. Be sure that you have properly prepared the surface before applying the clear coat so that it can adhere appropriately. Clear coats can be applied as epoxy, polyurethane, and more.

Of course, you will want to find the right type of clear coat depending on the specific project that you are working on. For example, applying a clear coat over epoxy when working on garage floors will have different considerations than if you were applying a clear coat over an epoxy wood table. Let’s take a closer look at what you will need to consider when adding a clear coat over epoxy.

What to Consider When Adding a Clear Coat Over Epoxy?

Depending on the type of project that you are working with, adding a clear coat over epoxy can be a simple feat or something that may require a bit more preparation. Fortunately, assuming you follow the guidelines for the specific type of project that you are working on, adding a clear coat over epoxy can be a great choice for the long-term result as well as a gorgeous shine.

With that in mind, there are a few major factors to consider when adding a clear coat over epoxy. Those include the type of project you are working on, the type of clear coat you intend to apply, successful surface preparation steps achieved, and mindfulness of the coloration/appearance.

Of course, there are other considerations to be made, but by carefully reviewing these specific points, you can be well on your way to answering if applying a clear coat over your epoxy project is worth it or if it will add additional labor for no real short-term or long-term payoff. Let’s take a closer look.

Type of Project

If you are looking to add a clear coat to your epoxy garage floors, this will have far different implications than if you were to add a clear coat for your wood and epoxy creation (such as a gorgeous dining room table). Not only are the surfaces to which you are applying a clear coat likely to be different, but the clear coat could even need to be a different type to meet the needs of your project.

Here, you want to consider what the needs of your project are. If you are wanting to add a clear coat over epoxy to enhance the project’s glossy shine, this will serve a far different purpose than if you are seeking to enhance the project’s durability. Still, while these results can be simultaneously achieved, you will want to consider the type of project that you are working on and how you can aim for these specific targets.

For example, if you are applying a clear coat over epoxy for your garage floors, you will want to be extremely mindful of the base that you have chosen to go with. Specifically, if you are wanting to apply a thin clear coat of epoxy on top of a latex-based paint that you used to paint your concrete garage floors, this will likely not work as the resin is unlikely to bond with the paint beneath the surface.

In this case, if you are working with garage floors, you will want to find a type of epoxy coating that can specifically work with the base as well as one that will enhance the grip and durability of your floors. Often, this type of product is not sold in a general hardware store, so you will want to find a high-quality garage floor epoxy kit that has positive reviews for the base as well as the epoxy top coat.

In other news, if you are working on an epoxy and woodworking combination, then you might be pouring a clear coat as a way to enhance the durability and shine without adding an additional colored layer to your piece. This practice is entirely common, and if you are simply applying clear epoxy resin over another layer of epoxy resin, then you will likely only need to follow the same standard procedures of sanding and pouring at an appropriate depth.

So, you can see that the type of project that you are working on will have vastly different implications for how to achieve your desired clear coat over epoxy. And, yes, adding a clear coat over epoxy can generally be beneficial, but it must be applied in an effective manner that is specific to your project’s goals and needs.

Type of Clear Coat

The type of clear coat that you can pour over epoxy can vary depending on the type of project you are working on (as discussed above). Typically speaking, polyurethane, a clear coat of epoxy, spar varnish (for boats), and other common clear coats can be effectively applied. You will just need to ensure surface preparation that is specific to the type of coat you are using- but more on that later.

Realistically, what you want to go back to here is considering the purpose of the clear coat. If you are looking to add a thin layer to gloss up the appearance, then working with another thin layer of epoxy can be a great and simple way to go. If you are looking to enhance the durability of the final project, then perhaps you will want to consider a polyurethane choice instead.

Consider, if you are applying a clear coat over epoxy for your garage floors, you will want something that is slip-resistant, although you can add a layer of product specifically for this purpose and then add a final epoxy layer over that. 

Alternatively, if you are working with an epoxy resin jewelry box, you might just want to add a thin layer of epoxy after sanding the last colorful (or clear) layer to add some grit. Either way, be sure to purchase a type of high-quality epoxy resin that can effectively serve you and your project.

Successful Surface Preparation

As mentioned above, you will need to ensure that you have effectively prepared the surface that you are applying a clear coat for. If you are applying a clear coat over epoxy resin, then you will want to sand down the resin so that the surface is even and capable of effectively adhering to the epoxy clear coat.

If you are working on garage floors or with hardwood floors, you will want to make sure that these surfaces have been effectively prepared with a base that the clear coat can bond with. Be sure that the surface is clean, even, and capable of bonding with the clear coat product. Then, you can effectively apply a durable clear coat to enhance the product’s durability and appearance. 

Changes to Color and Appearance

Finally, if you are adding a clear coat over epoxy, you want to consider the difference in color and appearance that the top coat will add. When working with epoxy, be sure to note that it is not UV resistant and can become damaged and (at minimum) discolored with prolonged exposure to the sun. This can mean that you will need to reapply the surface sooner if your project will receive lots of sunlight (such as a garage with large windows).

Additionally, if you are adding a clear coat, this will likely enhance the shine of your project. If you are going for a more natural look, you can perhaps skip the clear coat and allow the coat underneath to be the final layer. However, if you add a clear coat over top for protective factors, you can expect the project to begin to shine a bit more.

Jedediah Arnold

Jedediah has been working with epoxy resin for a couple of years. When he started, he wanted to share everything he learned as he learned it which continues.

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