Protecting your investment in beautiful new quartz countertops is important. A clear epoxy coating can provide an extra layer of protection and enhance the look of your countertops. Here is a comprehensive guide on using epoxy resin to coat new quartz countertops.
What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin is a two-part adhesive product that consists of an epoxy resin and a polyamine hardener. When mixed together, these components undergo a chemical reaction and harden into a strong, durable plastic material. Epoxy resin is valued for its superior adhesion, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance.
Epoxy coatings provide a high-gloss, glass-like finish that can enhance the appearance of natural stone, concrete, wood, and other surfaces. On countertops, epoxy creates a smooth, non-porous barrier that prevents stains from penetrating into the material underneath. The clear finish allows the natural color and visual depth of the quartz to show through.
Benefits of Using Epoxy on Quartz Countertops
- Enhanced protection – The epoxy coating seals pores and provides a waterproof barrier against spills, stains, and damage.
- Easy to clean – Epoxy creates a non-porous surface that does not support bacterial growth and can simply be wiped clean.
- Scratch resistant – Epoxy resins are harder than quartz and provide a durable clear coat that resists scratching, etching, and abrasion.
- UV protection – Epoxy shields against color fading or yellowing from UV exposure.
- High gloss finish – Epoxy coatings enhance the glossy look of quartz, making the colors and patterns more vivid.
- Customizable appearance – Tinted epoxy resins are available to change the look. Glitter or other additives can also be mixed in.
What to Consider Before Coating Quartz with Epoxy
Before deciding to apply epoxy, keep these important considerations in mind:
- Epoxy can yellow or discolor over time with UV exposure. Reapplication may be needed every few years.
- Darker quartz finishes may show scratches in the epoxy more readily than lighter colors.
- The epoxy coating will produce a glossier look than the natural quartz finish, which is more matte.
- Any imperfections in the quartz installation and seams will be amplified under the epoxy. Proper prep work is crucial.
- Resealing if the coating gets damaged or worn may be difficult. Completely removing the epoxy resin is very labor intensive.
How to Prepare Quartz Countertops for Epoxy Coating
Proper prep work before applying epoxy is vital for getting flawless results. Follow these key steps:
- Clean the countertops thoroughly with a non-abrasive quartz cleaner to remove any dirt, grease, wax or residue.
- Inspect closely and repair any chips, cracks, or seams with premixed quartz dust and resin compound.
- Sand and polish the entire surface using progressive grit sandpaper up to at least 2000-3000 grit for a smooth finish.
- Wipe off all dust with a tack cloth. No contaminants can be present before epoxy application.
- Mask off adjoining walls, floors, and other surfaces with painters tape to prevent drips and overspray.
Step-By-Step Application Process for Epoxy Coating
Applying the epoxy properly ensures optimal protection and appearance. Here is an overview of the process:
1. Prepare and Test Mix the Epoxy Resin
- Carefully measure out the epoxy resin and hardener following the manufacturer’s mix ratio.
- Thoroughly mix the components in a clean container for 3-5 minutes.
- Do a test cure on a small sample piece to check for proper hardening and clarity.
2. Apply Initial Coat
- Pour the mixed epoxy slowly and spread evenly over the surface using a foam roller.
- Use angled lighting to help identify any drips or thin spots to address.
- Allow to cure for 12-24 hours per manufacturer instructions.
3. Lightly Sand and Clean
- Use 220-400 grit sandpaper to smooth any drips or roughness.
- Clean thoroughly with a tack cloth to remove all dust particles before the next coat.
4. Apply Second Coat of Epoxy
- Mix a fresh small batch of epoxy resin.
- Roll on the second coat, following the direction of the first coat.
- Let cure fully for 24-48 hours before use.
5. Finish with Fine Sanding and Polishing
- After full curing, sand again lightly with 600 grit paper.
- Use a buffing pad and polish compound to bring the epoxy coating to a high-gloss shine.
Maintaining and Caring for Epoxy-Coated Quartz
To keep your countertops looking like new:
- Use gentle cleaners like dish soap and water to clean. Avoid abrasive pads or harsh chemicals.
- Immediately wipe up spills – do not allow liquids to puddle and soak in.
- Reapply epoxy every 2-4 years or when wear is noticed to renew protection.
- Avoid setting hot pots or pans directly on the surface. Use trivets and hot pads.
- Protect against sharp objects that could scratch or chip the coating. Use cutting boards.
- Inspect regularly for any damage and reseal as needed following original application steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put epoxy resin over existing quartz countertops?
Yes, epoxy resin can be applied directly over installed quartz countertops to add a protective clear coat, provided proper preparation steps are completed first.
Does epoxy coating change the look of quartz?
Epoxy makes quartz much glossier and more reflective while still showing the natural pattern and colors beneath the clear resin. It enhances vibrancy rather than altering the fundamental look.
Is epoxy or polyurethane better for quartz countertops?
Epoxy is generally a better choice for quartz countertops than polyurethane. Epoxy is more durable, chemical resistant and heat resistant compared to polyurethane. It also dries crystal clear whereas polyurethane tends to have a yellow tint.
How long does epoxy last on quartz?
An epoxy coating applied properly over quartz countertops can last 2 to 5 years with proper care and maintenance before needing to be reapplied. The durability depends on usage and exposure levels.
Can you apply epoxy resin yourself or do you need a professional?
Epoxy can be applied by a diligent DIYer but the process is technically challenging. Hiring a professional epoxy installer is recommended for best results on important surfaces like countertops.
Applying a protective epoxy resin coating is an excellent way to enhance the beauty of new quartz countertops while also guarding against damage. With proper preparation and application techniques, the epoxy provides a durable, high-gloss finish. Be sure to maintain and reapply the coating as needed to get the longest lasting protection. Considering the investment in new countertops, take steps to keep them looking like new with a clear epoxy cover.