Bartop - Table Top Pour-on Epoxy
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First Things First - The Basic Math
The big shocker to people considering a thick poured on clear table top is the amount of epoxy necessary. Here are some numbers you need to know:
1 gallon of anything applied 1/4 inch thick will only cover slightly less than 6.5 square feet.
1 gallon of anything applied 1 inch thick will only cover 1.6 square feet.
At 1/2 inch thick that gallon of epoxy will only cover about 3.2 square feet.
There 231 cubic inches in a gallon. One square foot is equal to 144 square inches.
MURPHY'S LAW SEEMS TO LIKE POURED EPOXY TABLE\BAR TOPS. IT'S AMAZING HOW THINGS CAN GO 'SOUTH' EVEN THE PROS SOMETIMES MESS UP BIG TIME.
First Things First - The Epoxies
Epoxies do not do well in direct sunlight (direct UV exposure). They will turn cloudy and yellow, lose their shine and perhaps even chalk. All epoxies, especially white and clear epoxies do this. Most do it rather quickly, within a few days of constant exposure. Some, like our Bio Clear 810 (sold only in commercial 15 gallon units) do it very very slowly (weeks instead of days). I know of only three ways to fix this: 1) keep the table out of direct sun, 2) varnish seems to prevent yellowing if applied over the epoxy, but it is a yellow coating to start with, 3) a UV blocking topcoat (something like Auto Clear Coat). Note: UV blockers cannot be added/blended into epoxies and nearly all non-epoxy clear coat products have little or no UV blockers in them.
Epoxies may feel hard and 'cured' within a few hours, but they take a week or more to cure completely. If you make the mistake of putting some paper or a heavy or sharp object on an epoxy surface that is less than several days old, the paper will glue itself to the epoxy and the objects will 'dent' the epoxy.
Epoxies are really just a hard plastic. Mix parts A and B together and a chemical reaction occurs between the two parts. The reaction generates heat and the epoxy gets hard. Many epoxies generate A LOT OF HEAT. So much that the mixture might froth up, melt the container it is in, smoke, and most certainly produce an uneven surface. With epoxies like these you are generally told not to pour out layers more than half an inch or one quarter inch (so that less heat and distortion results due to the lesser amount of epoxy present and the amount of surface area to 'expel the heat).
Most people would like a thick clear epoxy to apply to their table or bar top. Thick, unfortunately has trouble with trapped tiny air bubbles. Mixing and pouring the epoxy introduces lots of bubbles to the mixture. Fortunately most will rise to the surface and pop before the epoxy gets hard and traps them. Heating the poured epoxy with a hair dryer will aid the bubbles rising to the surface and popping. The heat the epoxy generates as it cures (if not too great) will also help the epoxy rise to the surface and pop.
Like most plastics, epoxies will soften with heat. Generally if you place something that is hotter than about 125 degrees F (such as a hot coffee cup) it might soften the epoxy to the point of leaving a dent, ring or depression in the epoxy that will not go away. Keep hot things away from your epoxy surface.
Yes, it is common to build up the thickness by doing a multiple layers of epoxy pours (generally because of the heat release on most epoxies). Our Bio Clear 810 (avail in 1.5 gal and 3 gal kits) can take pours up to 1/2 inch, our Low V or Basic No Blush (both avail in 1.5 gal kits and 15 gal units) requires 1/4 inch pours.