We are frequently asked what epoxy resin should be used in certain applications – and why…
As our seasoned Epoxy Pros know, once you have basic knowledge and experience with epoxy resin - working with the polymer becomes second nature. For beginners however, what products to use, and for what projects can seem a bit intimidating at first. No worries! We’re here to help! (And if you’ll pardon an epoxy resin pun – it’s not that hard.)
Epoxy Vs. Resin
Another oft-asked question is the difference between epoxy and resin. While epoxy refers to the family of products used for bonding, coating and sealing surface applications; resin (or casting resin) is used for deeper pours as in furnishings like river tables for example, as well as in encapsulation projects – creating figurines and jewelry for instance usually using silicone molds - as epoxy resin doesn't stick to silicone.
There are a few project variables that factor into the reasons to use different types of epoxy resin. So, whether you’re crafting some artistic objets, or tackling a DIY to-do list of home, auto or boat repairs or maintenance, the resin to use, and the reasons for its use, may vary. Factors to consider include polymer viscosity, working and curing times, and of course, the application for which the epoxy resin is being employed. Let’s take a look at the different types of epoxy resins and some of their uses…
General Characteristics of Epoxy Resins
Epoxy resins have superior bonding, coating, sealing and moisture-resistant properties – making them ideal for a host of applications. These polymers are also extremely resistant to wear, do not shrink when cured and unused product has great shelf life. The working and curing times of epoxy resin are very stable; and are dependent on the hardener and ambient temperature. The four types of epoxy resin we’ll describe here are:
Epoxy resin may be used to create artwork, to seal and protect pieces, or both. A variety of paints, dyes, pigments and tints may be added directly to the polymer to create durable and inspirational paintings in a freeform fresco style. Epoxy resin may be used to finish drawings, paintings, photography and other works of art with a protective hard-shell finish. Art resin is a bit thinner than tabletop resin, mixes more quickly, has a longer working time and is easier to manipulate for art projects.
Marie Antuanelle Resin Art
Casting resin is used as its namesake application describes - to cast molds, figurines and jewelry, and for deep-pour applications like the river table pictured below. Casting resin properties feature thinner viscosity, varied mixing ratios, slower cure times, longer working times and a thicker pour than tabletop resin with its quicker cure times, thicker texture and easy mixing ratios.
Dining Room River Table
Tabletop/Bar Top Resin
Aside from their obvious use in bar and tabletop coating and sealing, this grade of polymer is also used in a host of creative furnishings applications such as decorating bars with pennies or bottle caps and crafting eye-catching river tables (see image above). DIY taskers also incorporate tabletop resin in a variety of repair and maintenance chores such as fixing damaged woodwork and furniture.
Epoxy Resin Penny Table
Marine Grade Epoxy Resin
Often watercraft are constructed of polyester resins, however, when boats require structural repairs and maintenance – the best answer is Marine Grade Epoxy Resin. This polymer provides superior adhesive and moisture-resistant properties and forms a stronger bond than polyester and myriad other materials. Also, polyester shrinks during curing, creating stress points in the repair; whereas Marine Epoxy Resin has no significant shrinkage during cure.
Marine Epoxy Resin for Boat Hulls, Decks & More
Please see our recent Epoxy Pro Guide - That's Resin Enough for Me for even more detailed information about the pros and cons of different types of resin (epoxy, polyester, polyurethane and silicone) and more!