Epoxy resin is becoming more popular, especially when coating, repairing, and treating wood. But what is epoxy resin, and what is it used for? We decided to put epoxy resin under the spotlight, focusing specifically on the best epoxy resin for wood.
We explain the difference between each resin and its best uses to bring you the 9 top products on the market.
- UV protection reduces yellowing
- Thicker formula for easier use
- Comes with a 13-piece accessory set
- Fraction of the price of other resins
- Ideal for the craft market
- Non-yellowing and cures in 8 to 24 hours
- 8 square feet of coverage
- 4.5 square feet of coverage
- High UV protection reduces fading and yellowing
- Thicker viscosity makes self-leveling easy
- 6 square feet of coverage
- 100 percent waterproof and guaranteed not to blush
- 1:1 mix ratio makes it easy to pour
- No BPAs, VOCs making it completely safe
- Food safe for food preparation ares
- Perfected for art projects
- Crystal clear and high gloss finish
- 100 percent food safe
- Self-leveling and dries rock hard
- Comes in 1-gallon containers
- Marine-grade epoxy is resistant to chemicals and saltwater
- 20 minutes working time to get the perfect finish
- 40 square feet of coverage
- Withstands 500-degree heat
- Scratch and UV resistant
Types of the Best Epoxy for Wood
Essentially, there are 4 types of epoxy for wood, but which is the best? Let’s take a look.
Polyamide epoxy is a polymer that uses polyamide resin as a curing agent. Polyamide is an organic compound with similar qualities to ammonia. The only difference is one of the hydrogen atoms within the compound has been replaced with another atom.
Polymer epoxy is typically used for adhesive or as a coating.
Polyamine epoxy has a similar coating and adhering quality as polyamide epoxy. It is an amine curing agent for room temperature epoxy curing and is used for coating floors and other surfaces, repairs, and lining materials.
Phenolic epoxy coatings have a high consistency against corrosion for a wide application range. This includes immersion services for most acids, salts, and solvents. Phenolic epoxy is chemically resistant and used where higher temperatures are a significant factor.
Novolac epoxy shares many of the chemically resistant attributes of phenolic epoxy. They offer a higher cross-linked polymer compared to other resins.
They also have a higher tolerance to oxidizing and non-oxidizing acids and aliphatic (organic compound) and aromatic solvents than other epoxies.
How To Choose the Best Epoxy Resin for Wood
How do you decide which is the best epoxy resin for your task? Here are the prominent factors you should be on the lookout for.
Viscosity is the thickness of the resin. Most resins sit between liquid and gel, but it does depend on the product you buy and its intended purpose. Thicker epoxy has a shinier and richer finish, but it takes longer to dry, and if you pour the layers too thick, you risk trapping in the bubbles.
For the best results, you should only apply high viscosity epoxy in 1-centimeter layers to build up the surface. If you get air bubbles, you might get rid of them by using heat on the surface with a blow dryer.
Thinner epoxies don’t offer the same luxurious effect, but you can apply the resin to smaller cracks with better accuracy. You can mix the two, starting with thinner epoxy to build the layers and then finish it off with the thicker resin.
The temperature is a significant factor that affects the viscosity, so the higher the heat, the thinner the formula, and when the temperature plummets, it thickens.
Curing and Drying Time
Epoxies use hardeners to set, so the drying times may vary between products. You don’t always want the fastest drying time, especially when working with crafts like making a river table. You might want more extended working time to perfect the finish.
However, if you apply epoxy to vertical surfaces, you want the fastest curing time to stop the resin from running.
There are 3 types of curing time:
- Touch-dry time.
- Second coat drying time.
- General-purpose use drying time.
This is an important factor because how and where you use the resin makes a difference. If you apply toxic resin to countertops, it could transfer to your food, contaminating what you eat. For tabletops and other preparation surfaces, you should use a food-grade epoxy.
Most epoxies have Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A, and neither of these is considered safe. There is currently a major push to make plastic products BPA-free because chemical contaminants leak into the contents.
Epoxy is extremely good at repelling water. However, while it is water-resistant, it doesn’t mean it won’t suffer water damage over extended periods of use. High-gloss epoxy is susceptible to this, especially water rings from wet cups and glasses.
While this may not be at the top of some people’s priority list, it is worth bearing in mind.
The sun can punish epoxy resin, breaking it down and causing it to yellow, shrink and crack. Yellowing is when the clear epoxy starts to cloud and discolor. It’s worth mentioning that epoxy lasts a long time, so while the change takes place over an extended period, it does shorten the lifespan of the epoxy.
You can get some products with built-in UV protection, which reduces the effects of the sun, but nothing is impervious to UV radiation.
Even though most epoxies are self-leveling, which means you pour it on and then it finds the correct flat level, much like water. In reality, you might need to employ the occasional brush stroke to help spread the resin more evenly.
Blushing only ever happens after you have poured the epoxy and are waiting for it to cure. It appears as a wax-like bi-product on the surface of the glaze. Some products have protections built-in to the ingredients, but you can mitigate the chances of blush.
When you apply it, ensure that the surface is completely dry. Water reacts with the resin and causes blushing.
Epoxy resin is not a cheap product, so getting the most for your money is crucial. You should expect coverage between 12 and 16 square feet per gallon.
The Best Best Epoxy Resins for Wood of 2021
Narrowing down the field to the best 9 epoxy resins was a challenge. However, diligent research and gauging the public’s reactions to each product have helped us draw up our shortlist.
1. Liquid Glass Deep Pour Epoxy Resin Kit
This epoxy resin has a high viscosity, which means it is thicker than other comparable products. It also means this is the perfect resin for self-leveling. Just pour it on, and then leave it to cure.
This resin is suitable for tabletops, wood repairs, countertops, and all other wood purposes. It comes in 3-gallon containers, so you should get about 2 square feet for every 1.25 gallons at a pour-depth of 1 to 2 inches.
It has a cure time between 36 and 72 hours, depending on the temperature and the volume applied. You also get a high-grade UV resistance to reduce instances of yellowing, which is where the resin discolors due to UV radiation.
Liquid glass dries super clear, is odor-free, and has zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). On the downside, you will need to dig deep to afford this resin. It isn’t the budget option, that’s for sure.
- Self-leveling means no fuss or bother when applying.
- UV protection reduces the yellowing of the resin.
- Thicker formula means it’s easier to use.
- Comes in 3-gallon containers for better coverage.
- This is not a budget epoxy. Expect to pay big for this product.
- The viscosity may not suit all tasks.
|Coverage||4 to 6 square feet|
2. Clear-Cast Epoxy Resin Kit
If you are looking for an epoxy resin that won’t break the bank, this starter kit might be the answer. Okay, so 6.9 fluid ounces is nowhere near the quantity you get for the Liquid Glass Deep Pour, but it costs almost 10 times less.
What you get is a complete starter kit that includes a bottle of epoxy resin, a 6.9-fluid ounce bottle of hardener, 32 color pigments, craft sticks, and plastic cups for mixing the dyes. The kit contains 13 separate elements to get you started.
While this set is geared towards the craft market, the resin can be used for small-scale tasks around the home.
- Comes with a 13-piece accessory set.
- Costs a fraction of the price of other resins.
- Ideal for the craft market or small jobs.
- Perfect for beginners new to epoxy resin.
- Limited coverage restricts the tasks you can do.
- Not suitable for food preparation surfaces.
|Quantity||6.9 fluid ounces|
3. Epoxy Resin and Hardener Kit
This product could have been our budget resin, but it lost out because while it was a similar price, it didn’t come with all the accessories. This one comes in 32-fluid ounce bottles, so you get more coverage. If your layer is no more than 0.125 inches, you should get 6 to 8 square feet of coverage.
This one dries crystal clear and rock hard, without bubbles. It works on wood, metal, concrete and is the ideal craft and jewelry resin to fire your creative side.
Although it does produce a slight smell when you mix it, this epoxy is non-toxic, so you can safely use it on food preparation surfaces. This version comes with gloves, measuring cups, and mixing sticks to get you started.
The maker claims this resin is guaranteed not to yellow for 6 months and cures in 8 to 24 hours.
- Non-toxic, so it is ideal for food preparation surfaces.
- Non-yellowing and cures in 8 to 24 hours.
- Maximum of 8 square feet of coverage.
- Great price. It’s a fraction of the cost of other epoxies.
- Limited coverage restricts the tasks you can do.
- Better suited to small projects and crafts.
|Quantity||32 fluid ounces|
|Coverage||6 to 8 square feet|
4. Deep Pour Clear Epoxy Resin
While epoxy resin is not intended for outdoor use, you need a product with increased UV protection to stop yellowing and cracking. UV radiation punishes the clear finish, creating clouding over extended exposure.
This product has a market-leading UV blocker to help maintain the integrity of the epoxy resin despite prolonged exposure. It comes in 0.75-gallon containers and can be poured to a depth of 2 inches. The viscosity is thick, which means it will self-level, and cures in 36 to 72 hours.
You should get 4.5 square feet of coverage per kit, and it dries crystal clear with an almost bubbleless finish.
- 4.5 square feet of coverage.
- High UV protection reduces fading and yellowing.
- Thicker viscosity makes self-leveling easy.
- Cures 36 to 72 hours.
- If outside, store in shaded areas rather than direct sunlight.
- Limited coverage.
|Coverage||4.5 square feet|
5. TotalBoat Epoxy Resin Crystal Clear
The wood on your boat gets more punishment than the wood in your house. UV radiation and water take their toll, causing the wood to fade and discolor. This TotalBoat marine-grade resin dries crystal clear with a high-gloss finish.
You can protect wood, concrete, metal, and other materials, and it is scratch, fade, and yellow-resistant, so the harsh marine environment will have less impact.
It comes in 0.5-gallon bottles, is easy to pour and self-leveling, and is a BPA-free formula with zero VOCs and no harsh chemicals. This resin is 100 percent waterproof, and it cures as smooth as glass with no blushing. Surprisingly, for a boat product, it is reasonably priced compared to some epoxy resins.
If you lay a coat 0.125 inches deep, you should get a 6 square-foot coverage, and the mix ratio is 1:1, so it doesn’t need to be thinned. The only downside is this resin is very thick, so pouring it takes practice. It is not a product for beginners.
- 6 square feet of coverage.
- 100 percent waterproof and guaranteed not to blush.
- 1:1 mix ratio makes it easy to pour.
- BPA-free formula contains no harsh chemicals.
- Extra-thick viscosity makes it tricky to pour.
|Coverage||6 square feet|
6. Artresin - Epoxy Resin Clear
If you like indulging your creative side, this art epoxy resin is an ideal product. It comes in 16-ounce bottles, one the epoxy and the other the hardener. If you fancy sealing your chopping boards, tabletops, and countertops, this epoxy is food-safe, non-toxic, contains no BPAs and VOCs.
It even has enhanced UV protections against yellowing, so if you fancy using this epoxy outside, you can. It’s easy to mix, with a 1:1 ratio and 32 ounces gives 8 square-feet of coverage.
This epoxy is self-leveling, dries high gloss, and is specially formulated for art. You can expect the setting time to be anywhere between 24 and 72 hours, depending on how hard you want it to cure.
This epoxy resin is better suited to minor DIY tasks and art projects rather than repairs around the home. Also, it only has a 12-month shelf life unopened and 6 months opened.
- No BPAs, VOCs making it completely safe.
- Food safe for food preparation areas.
- Perfected for art projects.
- 8-square feet of coverage per 32 fluid ounces.
- Better for art projects rather than DIY.
- Short, 12-month shelf life if left unopened.
|Coverage||8 square feet|
7. Crystal Clear Pro Marine Tabletop Epoxy Resin
This crystal clear epoxy resin dries like glass; it has minimal bubbles and goes on super smooth. This is a tabletop epoxy, first and foremost, so it is safe when fully cured, but you can use it for other wood finishes.
It has an easy-to-mix 1:1 ratio, it is easy to pour, and self-leveling for the smoothest and flattest surfaces. You also get enhanced UV protection against yellowing, plus if you want to smarten up your food prep areas, this resin is 100 percent food safe.
Once applied, you need to wait 12 to 14 hours for it to be touch-dry, providing the temperature is 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You need more patience for it to fully cure as it takes a minimum of 3 days. It’s also unsuitable for outdoor use.
- Crystal clear and high gloss finish.
- 100 percent food safe.
- Self-leveling and dries rock hard.
- Enhanced UV protection against yellowing.
- 14 hours to touch-dry.
- 3 days to fully cure.
|Coverage||21 square feet|
8. Aquaseal Table Top Epoxy Resin
This epoxy is another marine-grade product, so if you own a boat with wooden decks and furniture, this is ideal. It mixes as 1-part epoxy and 1-part hardener, and you get 20 minutes of working time before it starts to set. It repairs fiberglass, wood, bare steel, and even aluminum.
This resin is fully UV protected, which is perfect for the harsh marine environment, and the viscosity allows you to pour it into smaller cracks to preserve the wood. You get 1-gallon of resin and 1-gallon of hardener, it is impact-resistant, odorless, and non-toxic, plus it is self-leveling.
The best thing about this kit is that it includes additional stirrers, cups, and spreading spatulas, and it withstands rust, chemicals, and saltwater.
As with all things boat-related, the price increases, and this epoxy is no different. It costs double similar products.
- Comes in 1-gallon containers for increased coverage.
- Marine-grade epoxy is resistant to chemicals and saltwater.
- 20 minutes working time to get the perfect finish.
- Self-leveling and UV resistant.
- Costs double that of similar epoxy products.
|Coverage||24 square feet|
9. Countertop Epoxy Resin-FX Poxy
Epoxy resin is not known for its eco-credentials, but this product might just buck that trend. It is food-safe, so you can use it on tabletops and food preparation areas; it contains no toxins, it is odorless, so it won’t hurt your eyes and throat.
It’s safe for indoor and outdoor use, plus the increased UV protection helps to slow the yellowing process. You also get complete scratch resistance, and it can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you’ve poured it, it takes 36 hours to set, and it adheres to wood, metal, concrete, ceramics, and other surfaces, and you get 35 to 40 square feet of coverage from a 1-gallon epoxy and hardener.
The only downside is the price. This is even more expensive than the marine-grade epoxy, and that was saltwater-resistant.
- Comes in 1-gallon containers for 40 square feet of coverage.
- Withstands 500-degree heat
- Scratch and UV resistant.
- Environmentally friendly with zero toxins and VOCs.
- Costs more than the marine-grade epoxy resins.
|Coverage||40 square feet|
|Liquid Glass Deep Pour Epoxy Resin Kit||Best for Thick Pours||3 gal.||Thick||4 – 6 square feet||Yes||$$$$$|
|Clear-Cast Epoxy Resin Kit||Best Budget Pick||6.9 fluid ounces||Thin||Not listed||No||$|
|Epoxy Resin and Hardener Kit||Best Multi-use||32 fluid ounces||Thin||6 – 8 square feet||No||$|
|Deep Pour Clear Epoxy Resin||Best for Outdoors||0.75 gal.||Thick||4.5 square feet||Yes||$$$|
|TotalBoat Epoxy Resin Crystal Clear||Best Marine||0.50 gal.||Thick||6 square feet||No||$$|
|Artresin – Epoxy Resin Clear||Best for Art||16 ounces||Medium||8 square feet||Yes||$$|
|Crystal Clear Pro Marine Tabletop Epoxy Resin||Best Clear||2-quart||Thick||21 square feet||Yes||$$|
|Aquaseal Table Top Epoxy Resin||Best for Wood Cracks||1-gallon||Thick||24 square feet||Yes||$$$|
|Countertop Epoxy Resin-FX Poxy||Best Eco-Friendly||1-gallon||Thick||40 square feet||Yes||$$$$|
Is Epoxy Resin Scratch Resistant?
Some epoxy resins are scratch-resistant, especially marine-grade products where the material gets the highest amount of abuse through wear and tear. You should check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing.
Does Epoxy Waterproof Wood?
Epoxy does add waterproofing to wooden surfaces. It forms a seal to reduce the effects of rainwater, and because it dries rock hard, it can take the punishment from the elements.
Can I Use Epoxy Resins as Wood Sealers?
Epoxy is a perfect wood sealer because it dries hard, clear, and it completely seals the wood against the elements.
How To Prepare Wood for Epoxy?
It’s all in the preparation to get the smoothest coating. Sand the surface of the material with 80-grit sandpaper to provide a “key” for the resin to bond to. Always make sure the wood is dry, and never apply the resin onto damp wood.
Also, remove all the dust. The last thing you want is for the resin to dry crystal clear, and all you can see are specks of dirt under the surface.
Pour it on and use a spreader to help the resin find all the edges of the surface. It should self-level, but you will only get about 20 to 30 minutes to eradicate any imperfections like bubbles.
If you get bubbles, use a heat gun to draw them out.