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Sanding Epoxy Resin: For All the Bumps on the Road to Resin Success

Jun 4th 2018

Sanding Epoxy Resin: For All the Bumps on the Road to Resin Success

A scratch on an epoxy resin and wood project.

Nobody likes to reach the end of an epoxy resin project creation process only to find that, in spite of one’s best efforts, the results are far from perfect. Sometimes imperfections in the form of scratches, scuffs, and uneven surfaces happen regardless. It’s important to keep in mind that these projects are not inherently unsalvageable. With the right knowledge and tools, you can fix a variety of problems with your epoxy resin surface including unevenness and scratches.

Before Getting Started with Sanding Resin

One thing to remember before you do any resin sanding is that you should always wear a respirator. When you sand resin, you’re reducing it into breathable particles and you shouldn’t inhale them. A good practice is to wear a respirator and safety glasses and be in a well-ventilated workspace. Our friends at Alumilite provide additional safety tips.

A sander with dust coming off of it and text saying wear a mask or respirator.

Knowing what you want to sand is instrumental to deciding how you should go about sanding it. For instance, if it’s a smaller resin piece with more detail, it’s a good idea to sand it by hand. Larger flat pieces are easier to tackle with a power sander. Also consider that power sanding takes away slightly more material, so you want to focus on the grit that will definitively going to remove those imperfections.

In between the process of sanding with different grits, you can also use isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the surface before moving to the next grit.

What's The Deal with Grit?

Different grit pads for sanding resin.

When you’re deciding what grit you need to use for your project, consider how the surface is at that moment and what you want to achieve. If your surface is fairly smooth with minimal scratches, you can probably start out with a higher grit and not have to worry about making your way up from the lower grits. Higher grits are less aggressive in their removal of material, so they take less away.

If, however, your surfaces have a large amount of encapsulated bubbles or debris, then you will want to start with low grit sandpaper of low grit (such as a 40 or 60 grit) and carefully make your way up. By working your way up, you’re removing the scratches produced by the previous grit’s sanding to ultimately come to obtain a smoother, glossier finish. Keep in mind, the lower the grit, the deeper it digs. Work your way up the grits slowly. Otherwise, the scratches the lower grits leave will remain.

At the end of the day, when you sand something, you’re removing material. You thus must ensure there is material there to take away. If you don’t have a thicker resin surface to begin with, you should consider alternative approaches. For instance, you could start with a higher grit and carefully take the time to sand it out.

For the Perfect Finish

Your surface’s finish will vary depending on what level of grit you use. Lower-level grits will result in a more matte finish, which may be just what you need for your project. If you envision something glossier, you will need to work your way up to higher grits.

How to Polish Resin

To achieve that perfect shine, it’s a great idea to use a resin polishing compound. We’ll talk about the process of how to polish epoxy resin in more detail below.

To start out, ensure the surface of your project is clean and debris free. Then, apply your polish in four to six dots across the surface. You should also apply polish to the buffing pad you’re using as well.

Epoxy resin polish on a buffing pad and a resin and wood project that is ready for polishing.

Polish your project with steady circular motions in smaller sections, around two feet in length or so. You can use a few different methods you can use to polish. For instance, you can simply use a microfiber cloth or a buffing power tool. However, power tools can range in price, and it can be simpler to use a power drill with a buffer attachment.

Use a soft microfiber cloth to remove the polish from your project’s surface. For larger projects, repeat the process in a new area. Make sure to wipe up any leftover resin polish or streaks once you’re done!

Two sides of a wood and resin project where the right side was polished with epoxy resin polish.

Using Resin for Leveling Uneven Surfaces

If you have an uneven surface to begin with, epoxy resin can be used to make it more level to great effect. Inherently, all of our resins have self-leveling properties that help them flow to coat a surface evenly. You can also use them to seal surfaces that are porous or have little holes, such as wood or stone. A seal coat can helpful for when you want, say, to pour resin over a wooden countertop. Applying a seal coat first will increase the likelihood of a more even surface.

Regardless of what you’re applying epoxy resin to, you should always have the material prepared beforehand. Always ensure its surface is clean and dry, and by this we mean free of contaminants or debris and devoid of any moisture. You can also sand down materials down to make the surface easier to adhere to—just be sure you neatly wipe away the sanding residue.

When applying resin to a surface, do not pour past the maximum recommended depth or pour too thinly if you want to achieve proper self-leveling.

Talk to Us at ProMarine Supplies

Sanding and polishing your epoxy resin project doesn't have to be a daunting process. In fact, if you have any questions about what we've discussed, we're here for you. Be sure to read our FAQs page or contact us with any concerns you may have.

We also have a video you can watch to further understand the resin polishing process.