If you are new to the world of epoxy resin and are just beginning to find your niche, you might be wondering about the basics of using this type of product. For example, since the thickness of epoxy resin affects its overall outcome, how thick should it be as you pour it?
Deep pour (low viscosity) epoxy resin will feel much thinner in nature and can be poured in layers of up to ½”-1” thick depending on the size of the mold. Tabletop (high viscosity) epoxy resin will be much thicker as you stir and pour and should only be poured in layers between ⅛-½” thick.
Now the specifications for each product will be located on the label of your epoxy resin container, but it is still helpful to know what to look for before purchasing this product. After all, low viscosity and high viscosity epoxy resin each have their pros and cons, but you will want to weigh these against your particular niche and needs on your next artisan or craftsman project. To make it easier for you, we have included all you need to know about how thick your epoxy resin should be depending on your unique project and circumstances.
How Do You Know How Thick to Pour Your Epoxy Resin?
So as you are searching for your next epoxy resin product, or once you have already selected the brand that you desire to work with, how thick will you pour your epoxy resin? Ultimately, this comes down to a variety of factors that can follow a few general rules of thumb.
Specifically, you will need to pay attention to the epoxy resin manufacturer’s recommendations to know how thick each pour can be. This will have to do with the viscosity rating, processing time, curing time, the environment in which you are pouring, and the size of the pour (among other factors).
Still, while these variables will alter the ways in which you will need to work with your particular brand of epoxy resin, you can assume that more, thinner layers will end up working out better for you (and your project), especially when working with high viscosity (tabletop) epoxy. Alternatively, if you are using deep pour epoxy, then, as its name suggests, you can count on being able to pour it in much thicker layers (although the product will initially seem much thinner as you pour- almost water-like in its consistency).
Let’s take a closer look at the components you will need to pay the most attention to in order to determine how thick to pour your epoxy resin:
The first thing you are going to want to pay attention to in order to know how thick your epoxy resin should be is the manufacturer’s recommendations. There should be very clear instructions on the label of the epoxy resin product that you choose to use. This will tell you how thick each pour can be, estimated processing and curing time, and the temperature range at which to keep your project.
The viscosity rating is another component that is highly related to the thickness of the epoxy resin pour. The viscosity rating should be very clearly indicated on the front label of the product and will likely be “high” or “low”.
High viscosity epoxy resin will be much thicker and can only be poured in thin layers. It will have a consistency like honey as it mixes with the hardening agent as you prepare your pour. Then, because it is so much thicker, it will need to be poured in thin layers of ⅛”-½” thick (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations) so that it can properly cure.
Low viscosity epoxy resin will be much thinner and can be poured in layers with much greater depth, comparatively, than high viscosity epoxy resin. Low viscosity (deep pour) epoxy resin will have a consistency closer to water than honey, although the hardening agent will help to thicken up the mixture before it cures. Because low viscosity epoxy resin is much thinner (along with a few other reasons), it can be poured in thicker layers of ½”-1” thick depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the size of the mold.
The processing time will also help you to know how thick your epoxy resin should be in the container before it’s poured as well as the depth of the layers that can be applied. Processing time differs from the curing time for epoxy resin in that it is the time in which you can effectively stir in pigmentation homogeneously before the resin begins to cure.
When working with epoxy resin that has a limited processing time, you will need to ensure that you begin pouring as soon as possible so that the product can effectively be cast into your mold and begin to cure. If you have an epoxy resin with a longer processing time, then you will have a little longer before the product begins to become too thick for use.
The curing time is another component that will indicate how thick your epoxy resin should be. Often, low viscosity (deep pour) epoxy will have a longer curing time (since the product will be poured at a greater depth). After all, the low viscosity (deep pour) epoxy was designed to have a decreased exothermic reaction while curing so that it can be poured at a greater depth without overheating. This also means that you may see a longer curing time with this type of product.
In contrast, high viscosity epoxy may have a shorter curing time both in part to the limited processing time and the thin layers in which you are recommended to pour the product. Even so, you will want to maintain the manufacturer’s recommendations on how thick to pour the epoxy resin and be mindful of the curing time before you begin to pour another layer (thick or thin).
The Environment in Which You are Pouring
The environment in which you are pouring your epoxy resin will also have a lot to do with the optimal thickness. For example, if you are pouring epoxy in higher temperatures on the recommended range, you will want to ensure thin layers so that your epoxy resin does not overheat. Simultaneously, if you are pouring in lower temperatures on the recommended range, you still will not want to exceed the recommended pour depth.
Choosing which is right for you will depend on the environment in which you will be pouring your epoxy resin (temperature, moisture level, etc.) as well as if you are pouring smaller, more dense projects or are going for wider, larger surface areas.
Size of the Pour/Mold
Speaking of the size of the pour or mold, this is where the uniqueness of your epoxy resin project really comes into play. For example, if you are pouring a small set of epoxy resin earrings, this will be a much different type of project than creating a gorgeous river table with epoxy resin.
Consequently, you will want to choose the type of epoxy resin you use accordingly. For craftsmen and artisans who aim to achieve multiple, larger projects in shorter amounts of time, epoxy that can be poured in thicker layers can be a great asset for efficiency’s sake.
Alternatively, if you are not in a rush, and you have the patience to use thinner layers and wait for them to fully cure, this can be preferable for achieving gorgeous, seamless, and transparent epoxy resin projects. Ultimately, you will want to consider the variety of factors listed above as well as your personal goals and assets before choosing the right type of epoxy resin for you.
In another category of epoxy pouring, you may find yourself using epoxy for flooring to enhance the floor’s durability while only having to add a thin protective layer. If you are using epoxy flooring, you can expect to use an extremely thin layer between .025”-.35”. When installed, this will typically be applied in the same manner that you would paint a concrete floor (imagine a foam roller) but with a slightly more precise application process.
Is it Better to Pour Epoxy Resin in Layers?
As you learn more about working with epoxy resin, you will find that undoubtedly, you will pour your epoxy resin in layers to create the final product. Still, you may see this as a common practice but not understand if this is really a best practice or not.
Pouring epoxy resin in layers that follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for pour depth increases the likelihood of achieving the desired result. Epoxy that is poured too thick can overheat, crack, and destroy your work. Consequently, it is best to pour more, thinner layers.
Of course, as discussed above, you can expect to be able to pour low viscosity (deep pour) epoxy resin at a greater pour depth than you can high viscosity epoxy. Still, even using these differing products, you will need to follow the product’s recommended pour depth and wait until the layer has completely hardened (cured) before pouring an additional layer.
What Happens if my Epoxy Resin is Too Thick?
If you skip out on pouring more, thinner layers of epoxy and think that you can just pour at any depth regardless of your epoxy resin’s viscosity and manufacturer’s recommendations, you are bound for trouble with your work.
Pouring epoxy resin too thick can result in the product overheating due to the exothermic reaction taking place during the curing process. This can result in your epoxy cracking, creating an immense number of bubbles, and failing to properly cure.
Consequently, if your epoxy resin layer fails to cure, you will not be able to apply an additional layer of epoxy on top of this and expect to see a fully cured epoxy resin project. Instead, the surface will remain rough or sticky, and you will not be able to effectively remove these ridges without removing the entire layer of uncured epoxy resin that was poured too thick from the start.