What To Do About Tacky Epoxy

       The time has ticked by, and what should now be cured epoxy is still just a tacky mess. How did it come to this? The key thing to remember is that the two separate parts of Epoxy – the resin and the hardener – form a rather sensitive chemical reaction when mixed. Doing or using anything that deviates from the specified instructions will surely cause imperfections.

[gif – touching tacky epoxy/substance, finger getting stuck]

The Short Answer

      Finding tacky, rubbery, or uncured epoxy is frustrating. More often than not, it is a result of poor preparation of the resin and the hardener – be it incorrect ratios or incomplete mixing. However, this sticky situation can be fixed simply by scraping off any uncured epoxy, sanding the entire surface thoroughly, and then pouring a new layer, being sure to follow labelled instructions more closely this time.

The Long Answer

       Remember the key factor: epoxy resin cures due to a sensitive chemical reaction. Mess with that reaction, and you’ll find yourself with goop that just won’t cure correctly.

       If you poured an epoxy resin mixture into any form of mold and it still hasn’t cured after days and days, sadly, your only option is to discard it and start again. From there you only have to mix a new batch of epoxy resin – just be certain to follow the instructions very carefully.

       If your project didn’t cure at all because you poured too much resin or too much hardener, in your resin-to-hardener ratio, the cure is not to pour the reverse combination in the next layer.

       Sometimes, however, it’s not actually about the ratios you poured into your mixing container, but how well you mixed them physically.

       All instructions on mixing include the step of scraping the bottom and sides of the container as well as the mixing stick itself. This is to ensure that both part A (resin) and part B (hardener) are dispersed evenly throughout the liquid in the mixing container.

       Think about it: you mix your resin and hardener together, and then you pour with confidence. But before you have your entire surface covered, you start to run out. So what do you do? You scrape the insides of the container to get out every drop.

        Well, it’s those drops from the sides and bottom of that container they were neglected while mixing. The ratios in those drops were not correct, and now they won’t cure. This is what leaves tacky patches in the surface of your epoxy project.

       Fortunately, you can follow the easy step by step guide below to salvage your project.

How To Fix Tacky Epoxy

       Luckily, it’s not difficult to recover from a tacky mistake. It just requires a little effort and some fresh epoxy resin.

       1.  Eliminate the problem: get rid of that tacky epoxy resin! If you poured mixed resin days ago and it still hasn’t cured, then you must first thoroughly scrape off all of the uncured resin. Wish as we might, it will not magically cure if your attempt to fix it is only pouring a new layer of epoxy on top of it – nor will that new layer cure in those areas either. So you have to scrape down to give yourself a solid foundation. That is, a base layer of only cured epoxy, or the original itself. Be sure to get all the uncured epoxy off, but be mindful of how hard you scrape – large indentations or scratches in a foundation like a wooden board will be visibly evident even in the final result.

       2.  Clean the project of any remaining uncured epoxy resin with acetone or denatured alcohol. Not only will this remove any uncured epoxy, this will also affect the surface of the cured epoxy beneath so that it will chemically bond to the next layer when poured.

– If the dents and scratches from the first step of scraping are still present even after using the acetone or denatured alcohol, then you still need to sand down the entire surface until smooth. This is done in order to rough up the surface of the epoxy enough so that the next layer will properly adhere to the first one. Use a clean, lint free cloth or an air compressor to remove the dust.

       3.  Now it is time to mix and pour a new thin layer of epoxy resin. Be sure to follow the instructions closely to prepare this small batch and mix thoroughly using clean supplies. Then, pour over the entire piece and let this layer sit for 4 hours – no more than 10. This timing ensures that this first thin layer will be cured enough to set the layer, but still chemically soft enough to bond with the next thicker layer.

– Important note: Repour over the whole piece, not just the damaged areas. This leaves a seamless look, with no evidence of the project’s former condition.

       4.   Finally, prepare and pour a thicker layer over your project, taking care to cover the formerly damaged areas. This should leave your project with a smooth and level coating. Leave your project to cure completely, be sure to cover it so no contaminants like dust or debris will damage the final result after all your hard work!

Do It Right The Next Time:

       Here are a list of preventative measures worth taking to avoid flaws the next time around!

       –  Read your instructions. Then read them again. Intentional or not, deviating from instructions is the most common cause for imperfections.

       – Before pouring, always level your piece. This ensures reliable, even results.

       – Pour thinner layers. You’re sure to have learned by now that epoxy is a temperamental thing. While this means increasing the number of pours, it also means greatly reducing the risk of a thick layer overheating and forming imperfections. We say the extra effort is worth it.

       – Use a short and wide cylindrical container for preparing the resin and hardener, this makes thorough mixing easier and reduces the heat build up in epoxy. This is in substitute to a taller, narrower, cylindrical container.

       – Reduce the temperature of the working environment. Epoxy is meant to be poured at about room temperature, and we don’t recommend lowering it below 65 degrees. However, whatever the temperature, do your best to keep it stable and consistent. Fluctuation in temperature can cause more imperfections.

       – With the temperature control in mind, be sure to cover your piece. Find a way to prevent dust and debris from contaminating the epoxy surface during working and curing.

       – Use Deep Pour coating Epoxy. This will help avoid layers overheating when accidentally poured too thick.

Recommended Supplies:

       Time to take what you’ve learned and get to work. Our goal with this article is to have empowered with the information to go forward and get creative with your epoxy. To make choosing supplies a little easier, we compiled some of the top rated online options.

     Here are the popular picks for some of this article’s items:

  • [link – top rated casting resin beginner’s kit]
  • [link – top rated table top epoxy beginner’s kit]
  • [link – top rated deep pour epoxy]

… etc


       Tacky epoxy resin can be one intimidating mess. But now, you are prepared to handle it as if it never happened. You know the drill! Scrape off that incurable uncured epoxy, and then sand down to give yourself a foundational layer to build upon. Then, follow the instructions correctly and repour epoxy onto your project, layer by layer. Soon enough, you’ll have yourself a beautifully completed epoxy project!

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