If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to upgrade your worn countertops, epoxy is the way to go. This coating will make your countertops look amazing. Better still, it increases the surfaces’ ability to resist scratches, chipping, and stains.
And the process of making an epoxy countertop is not that challenging!
You don’t even have to hire a professional or contractor to do the task. But of course, you’ll have to have a basic knowledge of working with resin and general construction techniques.
Otherwise, please hire a professional!!!
Here is a walkthrough of every step you need to follow when making an epoxy resin countertop.
Firstly, let’s have a look at the different types of countertops…
Different Countertop Materials
There are many different types of countertop materials on the market that you can purchase to upgrade the existing countertops in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry these include the following:
- Granite countertops
- Engineered stone countertops
- Concrete Countertops
- Marble countertops
- Bambo countertops
- Hardwood countertops
- Butcherblock countertops
- Reclaimed wood countertops
- Stainless steel countertops
- Laminate Countertops
- Tile countertops
- Recycled glass countertops
- Synthetic solid surface countertops
Each different material has its own advantages and disadvantages for instance granite and marble are very expensive and difficult to manufacture and install but are very attractive and durable. synthetic and engineered stone products are aimed at reducing the cost and difficulty of using a real stone product.
Timber is easy to install but it can be expensive if not using reclaimed timber or eco-friendly timber such as bamboo but it is very easily damaged.
Stainless is generally used for commercial kitchens because it is durable and is easily cleaned down which is perfect for a fast passed environment however it is not very attractive to look at which is not what homeowners are looking for when doing a kitchen facelift.
Epoxy resin while sometimes a bit messy to apply will give you an extremely custom durable and heat-resistant surface, best of all it will adhere to almost any existing countertop surface. Using Epoxy color additives and undercoats, you can create any effect you want. this even includes embedding objects or pictures for a specific theme.
Things you’ll need for Making Epoxy Resin Countertops
One good thing about making an epoxy countertop is that you don’t need a lot of tools. Surprisingly, you probably have some of these tools in your workshop already.
Let’s look at the things you will need to get started the following links will take you to our recommended tools and equipment just in case you are missing something from the list;
- An oscillating tool
- Orbital sander
- 6” paint roller
- Drill bits
- Trim router
- Heat gun
- Respirator & Safety Glasses
As for the materials, you’ll need;
- Primer & hardener
- Epoxy resin & hardener
- Stirring sticks
- Topcoat & hardener
- Plastic sheet
- 60, 80 & 220-grit sanding pad
- Spray bottle
- Painter’s tape
- 4 x 1-quartz measuring cups
- 2 x 2-gallon buckets
- 2 x paddle mixers
- Wiping cloths
- Microfiber cloth
- Polishing compound
- Nitrile gloves
Countertop Surface Preparation
Before your start your epoxy project, you need to prepare the surface of your old countertop. To achieve that, follow these steps;
1. Remove The Backsplash
Removing the backsplash adds extra work, yet it’s not necessary. However, I suggest you go along with it since it gives your countertop a genuine look. To cut into the backsplash, you’ll need a carbide blade and an oscillating tool. Using these tools, remove the backsplash until it’s flush with the rest of your counter.
Once you’ve done that, fill in any gap left between the wall and the counter. You can use a mixture of sawdust/ wood filler and wood glue to do that. Lastly, let the filler dry and sand it all flat to keep it flush with your counter.
2. Remove The Sink
After cutting off the backsplash, remove the sink from the countertop if there is any. This will allow you to tape the counter properly and easily reach tight areas. More importantly, this protects the sink from being sealed by epoxy.
3. Rout The Corners
Finishing sharp corners is almost impossible. This is because epoxy tends to run off sharp edges, leaving you with an unattractive finish.
To avoid that, I recommend that you work with rounded edges instead. That way, the resin will flow over the corner and bond with it nicely.
To create rounded edges, you’ll need a router and a 3/8” or ¼” round-over bit. Once you have these tools, use them to round the corners. While doing so, hold the router horizontally to allow the bit to follow the counter’s natural shape.
4. Fill In Any Gaps
Before you move any farther, you need to ensure that the entire countertop surface is level. This involves filling any seams and gaps on the surface with a multi-purpose body filler. Some of the seams you need to pay close attention to include; corners and miters. Similarly, make sure you fill in the gap between the backsplash and the countertop.
Remember, body fillers usually come in a 2-part system. Like epoxy, you need to mix these components to trigger a reaction. Now comes the tricky part! When mixed, these components harden pretty quickly. So, move quickly and try to work in small sections.
5. Sand The Countertop Surface
Once you’ve filled in all the gaps and seams, it’s time to remove the high spots in the body filler. The best way to do that is to use a paint scraper. Now, you can easily sand the rounded corners, top, and front edge of your countertop. 60-grit sandpaper is the best abrasive paper for this task. Sanding the counter will make it easy for their surfaces to bond with epoxy.
6. Clean The Old Countertop Surface
Thoroughly clean the surface to get rid of any dirt and dust. Otherwise, epoxy will seal them to your counter permanently. If you use clear epoxy, these contaminants will be visible. Thus affecting the appearance and aesthetic of your countertop surface. Worst of all, they can make the finished surface feel rough.
7. Protect The Surrounding Floors And Furniture
One drawback of pouring epoxy is that the application process can get messy. On top of that, it sticks to every item it comes into contact with and it’s hard to remove. That’s why protecting the surrounding surfaces is so important.
To protect your working area, tape the plastic sheeting over the floors. Also, mask the walls near the counter and tape the sink opening from underneath. It will even be better if you can add a wooden barrier around your countertop.
8. Prepare Your Materials
At this stage, you’re ready to start priming your surface. But first, check whether you’ve all the necessary materials. From this point onwards, you need to ensure that every item is within your arm’s reach. Assuming you’ve everything you need for the project, let’s continue!
9. Prime The Surface
Priming does three things to your countertop. First, it blocks out the underlying pattern or color of the old surface. Secondly, it makes the surface non-porous and increases its strength. Thirdly, it forms a smooth base that can bond well with epoxy.
To sum things up, priming is another important step when you’re creating an epoxy countertop. So, how do apply the priming layer?
Start by mixing the 2-part primer in a bucket and pour out the mixture over your countertop. Then spread out the solution with a brush/ roller to form a smooth, uniform surface. If the old counter pattern/ color is still visible, apply more primer while it is still wet.
Lastly, get rid of any drips that form on the front edge and leave the primer to cure. This usually takes up to 24 hours. Once the surface has cured fully, sand the surface again with 120-grit sandpaper. Now you’re ready to pour epoxy over your countertop surface!
Steps for Applying Epoxy Resin to the Countertop
So, when you’re finished preparing the existing countertops’ entire surface and have gathered all your essential equipment, it’s time to put your hands on the actual coating process. Let’s see how!
1. Use Safety Equipment
As I keep on saying, epoxy is very difficult to remove from your clothes and skin when it hardens. That’s why you need to take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
One way to protect your hands is by wearing disposable nitrile gloves. On the same note, I encourage you to wear old working clothes before you start the project.
Resin and hardeners produce fumes in their liquid state. While some epoxies are classified as non-toxic, make sure you put on a respirator mask for your safety. Similarly, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
2. Choose A Design
Before you start mixing your resin and hardener, choose the design you intend to create. If the existing surface looks fine and needs a facelift, you can choose a clear epoxy finish. This is also a great option when you’re working with wood surfaces.
However, if you have a laminate countertop or the surface is stained, or damaged, you can add a color pigment to your epoxy. While doing so, you can mix various colors or use one solid color. Regardless of the design, make sure you’ve got all the necessary materials beforehand.
Stone Coat Countertop Epoxy is our recommended brand for epoxy countertop kits for DIY epoxy countertops as stone coat epoxy produces a wide range of epoxy kits and epoxy products specific countertops. As well as in-depth training videos.
3. Mix Your Resin And Hardener
First, estimate the amount of epoxy you’ll need for your project. To do this, you need to consider the dimensions of your countertop surface. This will help you to avoid mixing too much resin since you can’t store it for later use.
Once you’ve done that, measure equal amounts of resin and hardener. Then put them in a mixing bucket and slowly mix them with a stirring stick. If you intend to use a color pigment, measure out the liquid or powder carefully.
Otherwise, your pours will have different color shades. Also, when working with different colors, mix each color in a separate container.
4. Apply A Thin Epoxy Layer
Pour out a thin layer of the mixture over your surface to form a base coat. This layer helps to reduce the number of bubbles formed while pouring your epoxy.
But how do you pour your mix? Simple! Pour enough epoxy down the center of your countertop until it covers the whole surface. Then use a roller to spread it around uniformly. This will help you create a 1/8” thick uniform layer across the whole surface.
5. Roll The Edges
Pour the leftover mix along the countertop’s edges in a thin line. Then roll the edges with a saturated roller sleeve and gently push the thin epoxy line over the edges. Ensure that the first layer has a uniform thickness throughout the top.
6. Remove Air Bubbles
After spreading epoxy across the surface uniformly, remove any bubbles. Here you can use a butane torch/ heat gun. Gently move the heat tool over the wet resin surface. Also, please note that epoxy starts to dry within 20- 40 minutes. So, you need to work fast and effectively.
Also before you start ensure your butane torch is full before you start working you do not want to spend time refilling your torch with butane while your resin is curing with bubbles still in it.
7. Allow The First Layer To Cure
Let the first layer harden before you pour the second layer. This can take about 4 to 20 hours depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
8. Apply The Second Layer
Once you’re satisfied that the first layer has dried properly, apply the second layer. Use the same pouring technique you used for the first layer.
In general, both layers should have a thickness of about 1/8”. After applying the second coat, move a straight edge/ scraper over the counter. This helps to make the finished surface smooth.
9. Leave The Epoxy To Cure
Just like you did with the first layer, leave the second layer to cure fully. The surface can take about 24 hours to dry to the touch. But it takes 2- 3 days to cure fully.
10. Finish Your Countertop
As soon as the second layer is dry to the touch, remove the painter’s tape around the counter’s edges. If there are any drips on the front edges, this is the time to remove them. Wrap 120-grit sandpaper around the sanding block and rub off the drips. If the surface needs more finishing, use a polishing compound and finer abrasives.
Once you’ve done that, leave your counter for another 48 hours to cure fully. Then apply 4-5 layers of polyurethane, letting each layer dry before you apply the next. This increases the countertop’s durability and protects its shiny finish.
Leave the surface for about 12 hours to cure. However, I suggest that you let the resin continue hardening for another 5 days before you start using it.
Making epoxy countertops is one of the most cost-effective ways to transform your bathroom and kitchen. And there are many reasons for that. For instance, epoxy countertops are scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and very durable. On top of that, they enable you to give your counter various patterns and designs.
If you feel like making one yourself, follow the steps I’ve listed above. But if the task feels like too much, hire a professional to install one for you.
If you’ve any questions or comments about DIY epoxy countertops, leave them down below!
1. Can I apply epoxy resin over my existing countertop?
Yes, you can! And it adheres to various countertop materials to form a tough and durable surface. Apparently, the surface becomes non-porous, heat-resistant, and gives it a shiny finished outlook.
2. Will my resin countertop resist scratches?
If epoxy isn’t treated properly, it can be prone to scratches. But if you choose the right product and treat it properly, it will be scratch- and moisture-resistant. That way, making epoxy countertops a great option for your kitchen.
3. How much does it cost to make a resin countertop?
Epoxy countertop installation cost ranges from $70 – $130 per square foot. So, they’re more affordable than other options like granite which costs $90 – $220 per square foot.
4. How long does a resin countertop last?
Cured resin is very durable that’s resistant to heat, moisture, and other damages. The only issue is that it might be prone to staining.
5. Can I put hot items on my epoxy countertop?
An epoxy countertop maintains a reasonable heat resistance level. So get the information on the heat tolerance of the resin you’ve used. And avoid crossing the limit to prevent the surface from any kind of damage.