Does Heat Make Epoxy Dry Faster?
Filling cracks in your sidewalk or outdoor molding with epoxy? Maybe you are using it to waterproof your basement floor. No matter what you are using the epoxy for, it always seems like it takes forever to dry. So, what can you do to make it dry faster?
Heat speeds up how quickly your epoxy will dry and cure, especially at 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can make your epoxy dry and harden with a heat lamp, space heater, or blow torch. Maintain a consistent 75-85 degrees for 24 hours to make epoxy dry and harden.
In this article, we will give you a few tips and tricks for making your epoxy dry quicker. Also, we’ll talk about the ideal temperature, as well as a few other ins and outs you need to know before applying heat to our epoxy.
What Is Epoxy?
Epoxy, or epoxy resin, is a material used for many types of applications from sealing floors to protecting ceramics or paintings. Epoxy is created by mixing two components together that are made for each other. The liquid resin has to be mixed with the right hardener for the chemical reaction to happen.
After the two materials are mixed together, the epoxy is changed from a liquid to a solid. The hardening (curing) can take from 24 to 72 hours depending on the components, the ratio of the components, temperature, and thickness.
What Is The Best Temperature To Harden Epoxy?
The best temperature for the epoxy to dry is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Placing a heat lamp or space heater near the surface you are using the epoxy on can make it dry faster. You can even use an oven or a blow torch.
However, it is important to keep the temperature steady during the first 24 hours, no matter what temperature you use. Temperature changes during drying time can cause bubbles, cracks, or dimples. Keep the resin at a steady temperature for at least 24 hours for the best results.
What Are The Different Types Of Epoxy?
There are different types of epoxy used in various applications. Depending on what you are using the epoxy for and where you are using it will make all the difference in how long it takes to cure or dry. Some of the different properties include:
- The degree of hardness after complete curing
- The adhesion properties on different materials
- The length of the drying process
- The maximum thickness you can use
- Flowability (viscosity)
You can use epoxy for many things around the house from sealing to gluing and coating to priming. It can fill gaps, it is waterproof, and it can be used to fix damaged wood or plastics.
Damage in that antique wood desk you bought at the auction can be filled in and painted or stained to look new again. However, one of the most common uses is epoxy flooring.
What Are The Uses For Different Resins?
Here are some uses for different resins:
- Low Viscosity Resin: Also known as casting resin, this type of resin is the thinnest and best for things like casting molds, fixing resin floors, and filling holes and cracks in wood.
- High Viscosity Resin: Also known as laminating resin, this thicker type of resin is tougher and is used for sealing tables or worktops, making jewelry, and resin art.
The curing time may vary depending on the viscosity and the number of layers you are using, but the first 24 hours are the most important.
Even those with a working time of an hour or less need to be cured for at least 24 hours. Those with a working time of up to 12 hours can take up to a week to properly cure.
The Pros And Cons Of Using Epoxy Flooring
Although you can use epoxy on many things, epoxy flooring is the most common use for epoxy in homes nowadays. While epoxy flooring is a durable type of floor covering, there are always pros and cons in everything.
|It is inexpensive||It is toxic and has strong fumes|
|You can customize it easily||It takes a long time to cure|
|It is more durable than most flooring||Chips and cracks are common|
|Can last forever||Dangerous when wet|
|They are easy to care for||It has to be reapplied often|
|No creases or cracks for dirt and bacteria||Takes a long time to prepare for|
|The sheen and glossiness is attractive||Removal is difficult|
|Has a very high abrasion resistance||It can be cold on your feet|
|You can add color or sand to change the appearance||Discoloration is common|
|It has a high heat resistance||It can cost a lot to maintain|
Safety Measures To Remember Regarding Epoxy
You should always read the instructions completely before using epoxy. Read the warnings and make sure you follow the directions. Some of the safety measures to follow include:
- Wear a respirator mask with a filter
- Wear nitrile gloves
- Work in a ventilated room
- Wear old clothes with long pants and sleeves
- Always wear protective goggles that cover your eyes completely
Tips For Working With Resin In Cold Temperatures
If you live in a cold climate and need to work outdoors or in a drafty room, there are solutions you can use. One choice is to make a resin hot box. This is a pretty easy project for a DIYer or anyone else who can follow instructions.
All you need is a large cardboard box, lamp, and an incandescent bulb. Put the lamp inside the box and turn it on. Put your project inside the box to help it dry. Of course, this only works if your project fits inside the box. Depending on your individual situation, one or more of these may be perfect for your project.
- Work in a smaller room with a space heater
- Warm up the resin bottles in hot water for five minutes
- Try a cold-weather resin
- Warm the surface or mold before pouring in the resin
- Give the resin more time to cure
Curing Resin On Large Surfaces
So, what do you do if you are using resin for a large surface or an entire floor? There are additives on the market that can be used with your resin to speed up the drying process. But make sure it will work with the resin you are using.
What NOT To Do To Speed Up The Drying Process
There are also some things you should not do to make your resin dry faster. These are not ideas to try. These are things that will not help you.
- Do not add any more hardener to the mixture to help it dry faster. This will make it worse and the resin will likely never dry.
- Never use anything in the resin that claims to work faster than regular epoxy.
- Be sure not to heat up the epoxy too fast. It will cause cracks or discoloration.
- Do not add anything to the mix that is not approved by the manufacturer. If you are in doubt, do not use it.
- If you use your oven to dry your resin, you can never use it to cook with again.
Why Can’t You Use Your Oven If You’ve Used It To Dry Epoxy?
You can definitely use your oven again but only if it’s to dry epoxy or bake clay. If you’ve dried epoxy using your oven then it’s no longer safe to bake with.
The chemicals inside of the epoxy release gases into the walls of your oven, and they don’t go away. This means if you use your oven to cook food afterward, then the chemicals will seep into your food, making it toxic for you to consume.
Think of this as dumping bleach into the water. If you put bleach into a five-gallon tub of water, are you going to want to drink any of that, at any point? Is there a way to separate the bleach without using any special equipment or machinery? No. It’s the same concept when you dry epoxy in your oven.
There’s no way to separate those chemicals from your oven, therefore making your oven unsafe to bake food with any longer.
To Wrap Things Up
Using a hot box, space heater, or lamp are all good ways to speed up the drying process when working with resin. However, you have to remember to keep the resin at the same temperature for the first 24 hours. Do not just heat up the resin for a few hours to speed things up and then let it dry the rest of the time at a lower temperature. And always follow the directions and use proper safety measures.
Never use your oven to dry epoxy unless you don’t plan to use your oven for baking food any longer. If you use epoxy in your oven, then you’ll need to purchase a brand new oven if you decide to bake with it again.
When drying your epoxy, it’s important to pay attention to the safety precautions, and follow them accordingly to protect your health and wellbeing. Safety is essential when taking on any project in the DIY world.
I am a DIYer who loves writing about anything home-related. When I am not writing, you can find me studying for my PhD in Psychology, photographing nature, and swimming at the lake with my grandkids.
More by Patricia Oelze