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Epoxy:

Everything you need to know

Whether you are working with fiberglass, carpentry, cements, metals or plastics, epoxies are the perfect choice when you need an extra strong bond. After you learn how to choose the right epoxy resin for the material you’re working with, you can confidently move forward with your project. This guide will help you understand how to use epoxy correctly, so you can achieve the best results for your project.

What is epoxy glue, and what are its uses?

An epoxy is a two-part adhesive that forms when you mix epoxy resin and hardener. The two substances are stored in different containers and are only mixed together when you’re ready for gluing – which you can do either automatically with an instant mix syringe or manually by mixing it on a separate tray. You should keep the mixing ratio 1:1, otherwise the resin will not crosslink to form the strongest possible bond.

After you mix both components, the working time begins. That is the period during which the parts to be bonded can still be moved and changed. The working time can range from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the glue you use. After the working time, the glue needs several hours to reach maximum strength.

Epoxy is highly versatile and extremely strong, making it great for DIY projects. It is also a gap-filler, which makes it perfect for repair works and restorations. On top of that, epoxy can be sanded, drilled and painted. This gives it a much wider range of uses than standard glue.

Instructions for epoxies

  1. Roughen the surfaces you want to bond with sandpaper or by carefully filing the areas. Remove dust, grease, and dirt from the surfaces.
  2. Cut the end tips of the application syringe. Turn the syringe up and depress the syringe slightly, pushing the air bubbles to the top.
  3. If you have no mixing nozzle: On a disposable surface, push the double plunger to dispense equal parts of the resin and hardener. If your epoxy does not come with a tray, it would be a good idea to purchase one. If you don’t have the time to purchase a tray, use a disposable plate or a well-cleaned yoghurt container.
  4. Retract the plunger slightly, wipe the application tip clean, and replace the cap.
  5. Quickly mix the resin and hardener until completely blended (1-2 minutes).
  6. Add a small amount of the glue to the items you are bonding, carefully assemble them, and press them together firmly. Set and cure times vary for different products, so check the packaging or manufacturer’s instructions for details. 
  7. Remove excess epoxy

Epoxy glue for metal

Using an epoxy for gluing metal is a handy alternative to welding, soldering, or bolting. A very strong epoxy for metal is LePage Epoxy Steel. This product is ideal for repairing household appliances, machinery, and unpressurized pipes and is also highly effective in securing bolts and screws into metal. It cures to a metallic grey color, can be sanded or drilled, is water resistant, and sets in less than 8 minutes with full cure in under 24 hours.

 

Epoxy glue for woodwork

If your wooden mantel piece is broken, you will need a good wood epoxy like LePage Gel Epoxy. This gel is well suited for vertical jobs because it has high viscosity and won’t drip while setting. The formula sets in 6 minutes and can be easily tinted to match the color of the surface. It won’t shrink and is water resistant, making it perfect for outdoor use.

Another epoxy that is up for the challenge is LePage Speed Set Instant Mix Epoxy.
This all-purpose star product has a static nozzle on its applicator that automatically mixes the resin and hardener. That saves you the trouble of having to mix the two, which makes your repairs quicker and easier.

Epoxy glue for cement

If you have cracks in your garden step stones, you can easily fix them with the right epoxy. When choosing your epoxy, keep the intricacy and special requirements of your project in mind. For example, if you need a considerable amount of time to position the pieces of your project after applying your epoxy, you will want to choose an epoxy with a longer drying time.

Sometimes, you will need an adhesive for repairing, filling, and rebuilding all kinds of concrete surfaces. LePage Epoxy Steel is a good candidate if you need to bond concrete. In addition to being water- and impact-resistant, this epoxy cures to a metallic gray color, which means it doesn’t need tinting in many cases.

Epoxy glue for plastic

From lawn chairs to car parts, plastics come in all shapes and sizes. With all the plastic products found in most households, it’s no surprise that some of them occasionally need repairing. It is a good idea to keep an epoxy that is specially formulated to bond and repair plastic surfaces on hand.

Burst a PVC pipe under your sink?! A convenient plumbers epoxy putty to have on hand is LePage 100% Putty. The putty is moldable, can be bonded to damp surfaces, and cures under water. Be advised to use it only on non-pressurized pipes – waste and drain pipes only! It can be used for surfaces besides plastics, such as wood, brick, ceramics, metal, and concrete.

Here’s a tip: You can speed up the cure time for epoxy adhesives by applying heat. This also increases the final strength of the epoxy.

How to remove epoxy

Epoxy adhesive is designed to last, so you will want to avoid getting it on your surroundings if possible. If you do end up with a mess, you’re not stuck with it for life. Here are some tips on how to remove epoxy.

  • Removing cured epoxy: If your epoxy has dried and hardened, you can remove it mechanically by sanding or scraping the area. 
  • Removing uncured epoxy: Uncured epoxy is softer, and therefore easier to remove than cured epoxy. Simple acetone or isopropyl alcohol will do the trick. Just apply the chemical to a cloth and rub the area until the glue yields.
  • Removing epoxy from skin: While we do recommend using gloves, you may get epoxy on your skin. If so, you will want to remove it as quickly as possible. Soap and warm water will do so.