Epoxy countertops give homeowners an opportunity to refinish their existing kitchen or bathroom to transform their surfaces or to finish an installation with a higher quality. You apply the product directly to the countertop, coating it to give the item an entirely new look. This option gives you the chance to make the space usable without the need to replace or refinish the entire section.
You don’t need to stop with just the countertops when using an epoxy finish either. This product works with your floors and walls to give them a new look as well. That is why it is one of the most innovative refinishing systems that is on the market today.
The issue that many homeowners face with an epoxy countertop involves the nature of the product itself. Because the product hardens quickly, it can be challenging to work with this surface option from a DIY standpoint. Messes happen frequently.
Here are some more of the pros and cons of epoxy countertops that you will want to review before starting your project.
List of the Pros of Epoxy Countertops
1. You can apply the refinishing product over most countertop materials.
Epoxy countertops are a popular choice when a refinishing project is necessary because of the durability of the resin. It can resist scratching and stains as well, if not better, than most surface material which get used in the kitchen or bathroom today. This material can even tolerate most common household cleaners and chemicals without having its luster fade. You can use it with Formica, laminate, ceramic, metal, concrete, and wood surfaces with great success.
2. The epoxy refinishing surface can act as a sealer.
If you have concrete countertops installed in your home, then epoxy is a common way to finish or refinish your surfaces because of its sealing properties. The liquid seeps into the pores of the concrete to give it more strength and resiliency against stains. You can also produce an aesthetic that makes the area seem like you paid more for a natural material when applying this advantage correctly.
Because there are numerous brands and versions of epoxy on the market, you’ll want to use a product like Crystal Clear Epoxy or Pro Marine Epoxy to finish your kitchen or bathroom resurfacing project.
3. You will receive a durable resin finish upon completion.
When the epoxy hardens as part of your countertop project, then it creates a solid surface that will last for several years. It provides a glossy, long-lasting shine that doesn’t need additional coatings to keep it looking fresh. You won’t see fading or dullness with this selection when compared to varnishes or other coatings. It rarely cracks or develops other forms of damage over its lifetime either. Most other surfaces struggle to live up to the standards offered by this product.
4. You will receive a high-gloss finish at the completion of the project.
If you like the idea of having a glossy, polished surface for your kitchen or bathroom, then an epoxy countertop is the perfect choice to consider. It is difficult to find a product that will give you as much shine for your money as this one. Although the materials do wear down over time, a simple application of mineral oil after you complete your cleaning of the counter can help it to live up to your long-term expectations.
5. There is an unlimited design potential with an epoxy countertop.
Epoxy countertops provide you with the most overall versatility when you begin the work of designing your kitchen, bathroom, or other interior spaces. You can use almost any pattern or color when working with this product. That means you have the chance to replicate the look of marble or granite at a fraction of the price of the natural stone. Because it works into the surface of the materials, you’ll receive a seamless installation thanks to this material as well.
No other product can provide you with the continuous pattern and color without creating interruptions like an epoxy countertop.
6. It is a heat-resistant product when correctly installed.
If you have an epoxy countertop in your home, then you can set a hot pan or dish on the surface without worrying about damage occurring to it. You cannot leave the item there indefinitely since the heat can work its way through the initial layer of epoxy, but there is another layer of defense for your kitchen to consider when using this product. Accidents happen, but this counter option is resilient enough to make sure that your investment will continue to hold value.
7. It is a food-safe, non-toxic surface option for countertops.
Although there are some epoxies on the market that are not suitable for this project, most of the options that are available for your countertop are considered to be a non-toxic product. Once the curing process is complete, then it is treated as a food-safe surface as well. That means you can work on your favorite recipes without worrying about volatile organic compounds getting into your food.
This advantage applies even when you add resin tints or glitter to the epoxy. Metallic powders are even a possibility with some countertop options.
8. Epoxy countertops are simple to clean.
When you have an epoxy countertop in your kitchen or bathroom, then you can use almost any cleaning product on that surface without worrying about damaging it. That means you’ll always have a safe place for food preparation or your daily routines. Because it creates a nonporous surface with a variety of foundational materials, you’ll discover that mold or bacteria growth is kept to a minimum with this option.
List of the Cons of Epoxy Countertops
1. Epoxy countertops don’t work well with granite or marble.
Although you could technically use the epoxy refinishing process with marble or granite, there are better methods of refinishing that can bring back the luster of these materials. The goal of using epoxy in the first place is to recreate the original look of your countertops after installation. The unique nature of granite and marble don’t need restoration, but you might consider using it if you have a resin-based counter like Corian that needs an update.
2. Epoxies release VOCs during the curing process.
Although an epoxy countertop is a food-safe surface, the chemicals which combine to create the hard, resilient end product do contain some volatile organic compounds. As you (or your contractor) work to complete this refinishing project, you’ll need to ensure that there is enough ventilation available in the kitchen or bathroom to let the VOCs evaporate. You’ll want to avoid using that space for about a week afterward as well to ensure that the area is free of this potential pollutant.
3. It requires an expert hand to create positive results.
When you use epoxy to create a new countertop, then you must use an even application. Failing to do so can create a lumpy surface due to the air bubbles that can get trapped in the product, causing you to scrape it off to start over. Most epoxies are self-leveling too, which means you’ll get dripping on the edges of your counter. That’s why it tends to be messy and complex, so you may wish to practice on something less critical than an item in your kitchen or bathroom before tackling this project.
4. There is a lot of preparation time involved in an epoxy countertop.
If your countertop could benefit from an epoxy refinish, then you must prepare the surface to receive the material before you can complete the work. It may be necessary to thoroughly sand your counters to ensure there are no stains remaining. Then most of your home will need to be covered with plastic to avoid damage from the dripping and potential VOCs that release during the application process.
Although the epoxy sets quickly, it will take up to 24 hours for the materials to cure before it becomes a usable product. Since the kitchen is a vital room in most homes, you may need to find an alternative solution for a couple of days to avoid the fumes and other potential hazards.
5. There are no second chances with an epoxy countertop.
When you choose to use epoxy to refinish your countertop, then there are no second chances with the work. It is a very unforgiven substance to use. The colors and patterns you’re creating happen in the heat of the moment. That means many homeowners are winging it, hoping that they’ll like the final product.
Even though you are creating a unique counter that speaks of your creative side, the results can sometimes look less than natural. Redoing it is always a possibility, but that means you’ll need to invest more time and money into the project.
6. You can discover issues with inconsistent quality.
It is essential to remember that no two epoxy products are created exactly the same. There can also be problems with the age of the one that you choose, increasing the risk of this disadvantage even further. You must thoroughly review the heat-resistance ratings to ensure that your selected item will meet the needs of your current and future counter space. Some epoxies can be brittle after curing, which increases the risk of damage.
You can tell if you’re using a good epoxy when you start to pour it. The ones that are less expensive or inferior tend to be runny, akin to pouring water on the countertop. A high-quality product will spread out more like gravy or a thick sauce during the application process.
7. Some epoxies can be prone to staining.
Epoxy countertops might have a reputation for being exceptionally durable, but it will stain easily if you allow items to stay in contact with the surface. You must clean up food or beverage spills immediately. Once a stain sets in this surface, then it becomes a permanent problem. The only way to fix this issue is to redo the work, which is why it can be such a tremendous disadvantage.
8. It takes a skilled hand to recreate the look of natural stone.
An epoxy countertop might be an affordable option, but it is also one that requires the work of an artist to get the specific veins and swirls that natural stone creates. You can watch all of the video tutorials in the world to try to replicate this process, only to discover that you don’t have the skilled hands to create the results you want. You can’t hire just any contractor to do the work for you either.
Conclusion of the Pros and Cons of Epoxy Countertops
Cost is always the primary reason to consider using epoxy to refinish a countertop. You can expect to pay $8 per square foot or less, even if you hire a professional contractor to do the work for you. DIY homeowners can complete their project for as little as $3 per square foot.
The pros and cons of epoxy countertops often depend on the quality of the epoxy, the surface area of your counters, and the thickness of each layer that you apply. It might not be the best choice for every home, so review the key points in this guide to determine if it could work for you.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.