How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry: Complete Guide (2022)

Have you decided to paint your garage, bathroom, or patio? Or are you up for a fun, creative project to express your artistry? Whatever you are up to, epoxy paint is an excellent choice as it is both affordable and durable.

How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry: Complete Guide (1)

And the most important part is that it looks amazing! You might have already finished your project and wondering—or you are just curious to know beforehand—how long does epoxy paint take to dry? After all, this is one of the most asked questions when it comes to painting on epoxy resin.

In this piece, we will cover every detail. From the time taken to finish curing to how it functions and how to cure it faster- you will get to know everything so that you can be stress-free and confident about your project.

How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry: Complete Guide

Contents

  • How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry: Complete Guide
  • How Do Epoxies Function?
  • What Makes Epoxies So Unique?
  • Why Maintaining a Perfect Mixing Ratio Is So Crucial?
  • Terminologies You Should Know
    • Pot Life
    • Gel Time
    • Green Cure
    • Full Cure
  • Understanding the Curing Duration
  • How to Speed Up the Curing Process?
    • Using Different Hardeners
    • Increasing Temperature
  • The Technical Difficulty of Increasing Heat: Exotherm
  • Precautions and Adequate Measures
  • Final Words

How Do Epoxies Function?

If you already have some exposure to epoxies used for painting and how they work, you should already know that they come in two containers. One of those contains resin, while the other one contains the hardener. That’s why they got the name two-part epoxy.

Now, one of the silliest things a first-time user can assume is that the use of more hardener translates to quick and better curing. And believe me when I say this, one cannot be more mistaken.

What you need to know is, epoxies don’t set or dry like usual adhesive glues. Rather they cure over time. You may ask, “What exactly is the difference? They do sound the same, don’t they?” And that is a perfectly reasonable question.

What Makes Epoxies So Unique?

When we are talking about normal adhesives or glues, these chemical compounds emit solvents to solidify, which is the drying process you observe. But when we are talking about epoxies, they cure by thermosetting chemical reactions.

(Video) How long does it take for Epoxy to Dry? - Understand when the floor is ready for use

What this means is that when the molecules of the resin or base of the first container are mixed up with the complimentary molecules of the hardener of the second container, a chemical reaction is triggered.

In this reaction, these molecules enthusiastically join hands with each other, and the whole thing starts to harden/cure.

Why Maintaining a Perfect Mixing Ratio Is So Crucial?

Think of it as making a water molecule (H2O). You need two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom to make a molecule of water. Adding more hydrogen or oxygen with disregard to the ratio will simply result in leftovers. And the situation can be very tricky when the leftover is the epoxy’s hardener.

That’s why you need to mix the resin and the hardener in perfect ratios as per the instruction given by your epoxy manufacturer.

Terminologies You Should Know

When it comes to dealing with epoxies, you should know the different phases of curing. This will help you in better understanding the whole procedure.

Pot Life

After you mix the epoxy resin with the hardener in due proportions, you get a pretty tight window before the thickening reaction starts in full motion. This is the phase where the mixture is fully in a liquid state. For most two-part epoxies, this window lasts for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

In whatever way you plan on using your epoxies, you have to do it before this period ends. Because when it starts to get sticky, working with the gel will become very difficult.

Gel Time

As we were saying, you need to complete your painting before this phase. Gel time is after the pot life when you will observe the epoxy starting to thicken. In this phase, trying to steer the gel or any sort of movement of the epoxy object is not recommended. Both have the potential of disfiguring and ruining your project.

Green Cure

This phase is also known as ‘Handling Time.’ This is because the mixture will gradually progress from a tacky gel consistency to that of hardened rubber. During this period, you can delicately maneuver the epoxy paint, and you can remove clamps or bracings in case you use it.

(Video) How Long Should I Wait In Between Resin Coats?

If it is a painting on your floor or wall, then there is nothing to worry about. The time for a green cure can vary. It can take from a single hour to a full day, depending on the type of epoxy that is used.

Full Cure

Major chemical reactions of curing are usually completed by this stage. The painting becomes fully prepared for dry sanding. You can expect the chemical bonds to reach about 90% of their full strength.

As for the rest 10%, it will depend on room temperature and continue to cure. This phase lasts for a couple of days, presumably up to 7.

Read Next: Guide on glow in the dark paint lasting time

Understanding the Curing Duration

As you can see, there are several stages before the epoxy fully sets in. And two things have a direct effect on the duration of these stages:

  1. Hardener speed
  2. Room temperature

You may find in the instruction manual that the pot life is 30 minutes at 25-degree Celsius room temperature or something similar to that. What this means is, you get 30 minutes for mixing, application, smoothing, shaping, or assembling before the hardener starts to react and become solid from liquid.

This is important because you may get less than 25 minutes if your room temperature is above the 25-degree Celsius mark. Heat pushes the hardener to react faster. Thus, higher room temperature means lower pot life.

How to Speed Up the Curing Process?

Using Different Hardeners

As you can already tell, the only two ways of speeding up the curing process are using a different hardener and increasing the room temperature.

Now, if you are not an expert in the technical aspects of epoxy resins, using a different hardener in the hope of reducing curing duration is highly discouraged.

(Video) Western V-Split With Vinyl and Glitter Tumbler Tutorial l DAM Fancy Creations

And even if you do, do contact the manufacturer first. Even though the base formula is pretty much the same, hardeners from different brands can contain or lack compounds that don’t suit your resin. Better to be safe than sorry.

Increasing Temperature

The best way to make the epoxy paint dry faster would be to increase room temperature. After you are finished with the painting part, applying supplemental heat can decrease curing time substantially. You can use a hot air gun, a heat lamp or any other safe heat source after the epoxy mixture is applied.

Considering a small batch, approximately 50 grams to 150 grams of the mixture, every 10 degrees increase in temperature will result in the curing time cut in half.

That means, if the quoted gel time is 30 minutes for 25 degrees, it will decrease to 15 minutes at 35-degree Celsius room temperature. The reverse also applies. If the temperature gets down to 15 degrees, it may take an hour to gel properly.

You can also cast the mixture layers thicker. This will also result in increased heat and temperature because of the exothermic process. We will discuss this in the next section.

In a nutshell,applying heat and increasing the temperature can be a great option for you if you desire a quick cure. But if you plan to do it, you must do so moderately because too much heat can be problematic and sometimes cause risky situations.

The Technical Difficulty of Increasing Heat: Exotherm

You already know that heat speeds up the reactions, which result in fast curing. But there is a catch. Increasing temperature can be a double-edged sword. The nature of this curing reaction is such that it will produce heat during the bonding. This is called exothermic heat.

On the one hand, the created exothermic heat speeds up the reaction even more, which causes more heat, and this chain of events goes on until the bonding reaction is almost over.

But on the other hand, with more heat, the ambient temperature will continue to rise, and if it rises above a certain level, there can be a risk of accidents.

(Video) How To Make Epoxy Resin Dry Faster?

Precautions and Adequate Measures

So, how do you deal with the problem of overheating? Well, you allow the exothermic heat to easily dissipate before letting it heat the surroundings too much.

As you can guess, doing this will slow down the reaction a bit. But nothing comes before safety, right? You need to make sure that the clamping or bracing is not made of insulating material.

Also, keep in mind that several inches of an epoxy layer in thickness can produce enough heat that can melt a plastic cup. So, even if you try to make the paint thicker for faster results, don’t make it more than half an inch.

All these things may sound a little dangerous but fear not. These are all extreme cases that should not usually occur in your regular epoxy painting. If you maintain caution and go as per the instruction, then you have nothing to worry about.

Final Words

So, how long does take epoxy paint to dry?

Tl: DR; You can easily go at it after a day. But for a safe bet and an assured mind, give it a week.

Handling epoxies can be a bit tricky at times. The drying time will vary on the formulation and heat. And you can manipulate them both to get it dry in a shorter time. But manipulation and modification come with their own complications.

FAQs

How Long Does Epoxy Paint Take to Dry: Complete Guide? ›

Epoxy cure time is typically seven days. Of course, there are variations, but if you want a rule of thumb, one week is your answer. While it takes seven days for epoxy to cure, your floor may be dry enough to walk on after 12 hours or so and ready for light use after 24 hours.

How long does it take for epoxy to dry completely? ›

If using 100% solids epoxy, your floor will be cured and walkable in about 12 - 18 hours. You can return to full heavy traffic after about 36 - 72 hours. Most epoxies reach full chemical cure within 7 days of application. When using polyaspartic, the cure times are increased – especially with 100% solids products.

How do you know when epoxy is fully cured? ›

The epoxy's chemical reaction is complete. The mixture has cured to a solid state and can be dry sanded and shaped. You should not be able to dent it with your thumbnail. At this point in epoxy chemistry, the product has reached about 90% of its ultimate strength, so clamps can be removed.

Can epoxy dry in 4 hours? ›

If you are still asking how long does it take resin to dry, here are some general guidelines: Many epoxy resins will be dry to the touch within 24 hours of mixing and pouring. It will take seven days for a full cure, but you can handle your project at this point if you are careful.

Can epoxy cure in 24 hours? ›

Craft Resin's cure time is about 24 hours (depending on the thickness of your project). This is the time the resin and hardener mix goes through the chemical reaction to form a solid. After 24 hours it still might not be completely solid, and can be slightly flexible.

Can I sand epoxy after 24 hours? ›

Tip: The epoxy resin must be really dry before sanding. You should therefore allow a waiting period of at least 48 hours before processing. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, as there are resins that take even longer to harden completely.

How long should epoxy be tacky? ›

Move your artwork into a warmer spot for 24 and let it dry ( resin drying time 20-24 hours ). Sand the entiry sticky surface off with 80-grit sandpaper and pour another resin coat layer. For the smaller sticky spots, you can try resin spray, which dries very quickly leaving a clear and gloss finish.

How long does 2 part epoxy take to dry? ›

While it takes seven days for epoxy to cure, your floor may be dry enough to walk on after 12 hours or so and ready for light use after 24 hours. Be cautious, however, as these timeframes are not applicable to all situations. The colder and less humid an environment, the longer the process.

What happens if you pour epoxy too thick? ›

If your epoxy pour is too thick, the reaction can create too much heat, resulting in a product that does not cure properly with cracks or excessive bubbles. You can pour the next layer after the previous pour has gone through its heat cycle, which is usually around 24 hours.

Can you dry epoxy with a hair dryer? ›

You can use a blow dryer or hair dryer to dry your resin art fast. To do this, simply plug in the dryer and blow it directly onto your resin art. But be cautious to not blow too hard and too warm.

Will epoxy cure when wet? ›

Experiments show that water causes an increase in the cure rate of epoxy materials at low degrees of cure and a decrease in cure rate and total cure at high degrees of cure.

Is epoxy waterproof? ›

Is Epoxy Resin Waterproof? One of the many great properties of epoxy resin – aside from the adhesion and filling attributes – is its ability to seal and form a waterproof (and anti-corrosive) layer of protection.

Does epoxy dry hard? ›

Epoxies will harden in minutes or hours, but complete cure (hardening) will generally take several days. Most epoxies will be suitably hard within a day or so, but may require more time to harden before the coating can be sanded.

Why is my epoxy still sticky? ›

Sticky, tacky resin: This is often caused by inaccurate measuring, not mixing thoroughly or by curing in cold temperatures. Try moving your piece to a warmer spot: if it doesn't dry, re-pour with a fresh coat of resin.

Why isnt my epoxy drying? ›

If your ratio of resin to hardener is off, your resin will not harden. If the ambient temperature in your workspace isn't ideal, or if your resin mixture has been contaminated, this could also cause your resin to not cure correctly.

What temperature does epoxy need to cure? ›

Curing Epoxy in The Right Environment

Now, let's talk about room temperatures. The ideal room temperature for working with epoxy resin is between 65-80 degrees. These are perfect temperatures for your epoxy to cure to a perfect result, and for the two chemicals to combine seamlessly.

Can I epoxy over epoxy? ›

Can I put another coat of epoxy over cured epoxy? Yes. Since the epoxy has cured a chemical bond is not possible so what is called a mechanical bond is needed. This simply means that the cured epoxy has to be lightly sanded before the next coat is applied: the first coat should have a matt, almost white, surface.

Can you pour multiple layers of epoxy? ›

Yes, you can apply a second coat of resin if you need to fix a mistake or a surface imperfection. You can also pour multiple layers if you need to cover areas of high relief, if you're pouring into a mold or if you simply like the look of a thicker coat.

How do you shine epoxy after sanding? ›

Tutorial – How to Polish Epoxy Resin

After sanding, apply the polishing attachment onto the drill bit. To set up the polishing attachment, tub the compound into a small piece of resin using a cloth. Hold the disc against a square object. Use a polishing tool ( paste or buffing wheel ) to polish larger pieces.

Why is my epoxy rubbery? ›

Not Thoroughly Mixed

It's important to mix both the resin and hardener thoroughly or it cannot catalyze properly. Your resin needs to be mixed fully for at least 3 minutes. Improperly mixed resin could again turn the mixture into a solid but it won't be 100% thoroughly cured, leading to bendy resin.

Can you spot fix epoxy? ›

An uneven hardening of your epoxy resin can lead to dull, or even tacky spots. To fix an uneven epoxy finish, wait until the epoxy has dried thoroughly, and then sand it lightly with fine-grained wet sandpaper. After this, make sure to wipe down the surface, so it is entirely free of any sanding dust and other debris.

How do you fix sticky resin epoxy? ›

How To Fix Sticky Resin - YouTube

Can you dry epoxy with a hair dryer? ›

You can use a blow dryer or hair dryer to dry your resin art fast. To do this, simply plug in the dryer and blow it directly onto your resin art. But be cautious to not blow too hard and too warm.

How do I know if my resin is cured? ›

Here are 7 ways to know when a resin print is fully cured:
  1. It doesn't look wet.
  2. It has a matte surface.
  3. The color has dulled.
  4. You used an appropriate average curing time.
  5. You used isopropyl alcohol.
  6. Test it by gently touching it with a toothpick.
  7. You'll learn with experience.
Jun 3, 2022

Does epoxy dry hard? ›

Epoxies will harden in minutes or hours, but complete cure (hardening) will generally take several days. Most epoxies will be suitably hard within a day or so, but may require more time to harden before the coating can be sanded.

Why is my epoxy still sticky? ›

Sticky, tacky resin: This is often caused by inaccurate measuring, not mixing thoroughly or by curing in cold temperatures. Try moving your piece to a warmer spot: if it doesn't dry, re-pour with a fresh coat of resin.

What happens if epoxy gets wet? ›

The effects of water on uncured epoxies and epoxy composites are studied. Experiments show that water causes an increase in the cure rate of epoxy materials at low degrees of cure and a decrease in cure rate and total cure at high degrees of cure.

Will epoxy cure in the cold? ›

Keep in mind that most epoxies, unless specifically formulated for cold-weather use, will never fully cure at temperatures below 50° F.

How long does 2 part epoxy take to dry? ›

While it takes seven days for epoxy to cure, your floor may be dry enough to walk on after 12 hours or so and ready for light use after 24 hours. Be cautious, however, as these timeframes are not applicable to all situations. The colder and less humid an environment, the longer the process.

What happens if you over cure resin? ›

Prints become brittle when over cured, and their impact resistance will weaken over time. The structural integrity of prints is definitely compromised when the curing process is pushed beyond normal or acceptable limits. So, in short yes: Resin parts can be over cured if exposed to UV light for too long.

Why is my epoxy not getting hard? ›

If your ratio of resin to hardener is off, your resin will not harden. If the ambient temperature in your workspace isn't ideal, or if your resin mixture has been contaminated, this could also cause your resin to not cure correctly.

Is epoxy waterproof? ›

Is Epoxy Resin Waterproof? One of the many great properties of epoxy resin – aside from the adhesion and filling attributes – is its ability to seal and form a waterproof (and anti-corrosive) layer of protection.

Why is my epoxy rubbery? ›

Not Thoroughly Mixed

It's important to mix both the resin and hardener thoroughly or it cannot catalyze properly. Your resin needs to be mixed fully for at least 3 minutes. Improperly mixed resin could again turn the mixture into a solid but it won't be 100% thoroughly cured, leading to bendy resin.

Videos

1. How to Apply Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield to a Garage Floor
(Rust-Oleum)
2. You NEED to watch this! HOW TO apply resin to Acrylic Art HOW TO fix resin gone wrong Tutorial #171
(Masse Art Studio)
3. How to correctly epoxy your floor by yourself! (Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield)
(Chris Goorbarry)
4. Vinyl Split Tumbler Tutorial
(Sunbury Housewives)
5. How to do Epoxy Floors - STEP BY STEP GUIDE - S3E3
(Texas Barndominiums)
6. Beginner Tumbler Tips: Epoxy
(Sandy’s Organized Chaos)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Jonah Leffler

Last Updated: 07/16/2022

Views: 6051

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jonah Leffler

Birthday: 1997-10-27

Address: 8987 Kieth Ports, Luettgenland, CT 54657-9808

Phone: +2611128251586

Job: Mining Supervisor

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Electronics, Amateur radio, Skiing, Cycling, Jogging, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Jonah Leffler, I am a determined, faithful, outstanding, inexpensive, cheerful, determined, smiling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.