Epoxy Resin work surfaces are durable, non-porous, man-made stone products that are relatively unaffected by most chemicals, heat, flame and moisture. Epoxy resin countertop surfaces’ physical properties are seldom compromised; however, they do require periodic care and maintenance throughout the life of the lab or school room to keep the surfaces looking like new. Whether you are a facility owner, manager, custodian or lab user, it is helpful to know how to maintain the good appearance of your lab’s work surfaces.
Regular Epoxy Resin Care Procedures
We recommend instituting a regimen of monthly or quarterly inspections of all epoxy resin surfaces, sinks and joints, plus daily or weekly cleanings to maintain you epoxy resins original finish and to help ensure a safe, uncontaminated working environment. The following list contains items you may wish to have on-hand for regular cleaning and to handle most problems that may occur.
- Acetone or Paint Thinner
- Crystal Simple Green
- White Scotch Brite Pads (always use moist or wet)
- Finish Oil (Mineral Oil)
- Murphy’s Oil
- Clean Rags or Sponges
- Chamois Cloth
- Mild Soap or Household Cleaner
- Two-part Smooth-On epoxy grout
Note: Never use wax or polish containing wax on epoxy resin work surfaces or sinks. Also, never use abrasive pads, powders or liquids (such as Soft Scrub) as dulling of the surface will result.
Epoxy Resin Work Surface Care
Promptly wipe up all spills. Acetone should be used (where allowed) to thoroughly clean surfaces. Apply and wipe away with a paper towel or a clean rag. As an alternative, Crystal Simple Green (or comparable household cleaning product) can be used to clean surfaces.
An occasional application of finish oil or Murphy’s Oil can restore the luster to the surface, but remember; too much oil can cloud the surface.
- Apply oil by pouring the minimum amount of oil necessary to cover the surface area onto a clean rag.
- Thoroughly rub in oil using a circular motion.
- Wipe away excess oil with a clean rag.
- A chamois can be sued to buff the surface to the desired sheen.
Epoxy Resin Sink Care
Laboratory sink areas usually present the greatest cleaning and maintenance challenges. Sinks are a collection point for dirty and wet lab ware which leaves liquids, residue and chemicals on the surface for extended periods of time. Sink areas will require a more thorough cleaning regimen than dry bench tops as well as more frequent inspections. Sink inspections should include all sink surfaces and joints in sink the area. This includes the outlet joint and the sink rim joint above and below the work surface. Cracked or pitted joints should be filled immediately with two-part Smooth-On epoxy grout to prevent leaking and damage to the supporting casework.
Marring, Scratches and Stains
If there is a more serious cleaning issue it is important to identify the problem before trying to remedy it.
Most metals are softer than the work surface and can leave a mar if pulled across the top. Marring is matter left on the surface that appears as a line and remains smooth to the touch. Marring can almost always be removed with acetone or with mild cleaning products and elbow grease.
Always try the softest cloth and the weakest solution (soap and water) first.
If marring persists, progress to a white Light Duty Scotchbrite Pad moistened with stronger solutions. Never use a dry Scotchbrite pad or a more abrasive pad and always apply the minimum amount of pressure required on the surface to remove the mar.
Scratches on the Epoxy Resin Countertops
Harder metals, abrasives and heavy or sharp items can dig into the surface resulting in a scratch. Scratches usually appear as a lighter shade of the surface and will be rough to the touch. Scratches in epoxy resin are permanent but will not affect work surface performance.
An aesthetic remedy for scratches is coloring in the void with a permanent marker. This option will never perfectly match the color and gloss of the surrounding surface.
Stained Epoxy Resin Surfaces
Staining can be caused by chemicals left to dry on the surface. Chemical stains usually lighten or bleach the surface but can also roughen and even the crack the top. Like scratches, chemical stains are permanent and, if they have caused too much damage, you may need to replace the top.
Special Care Issues
Epoxy resin countertops and other epoxy resin products (especially glued in sinks) are subject to thermal shock and are not warranted against damage from liquid nitrogen or dry ice. Possible effects caused by the improper disposal of these materials include joint failure and/or sink fractures.
Do’s and Don’ts
Epoxy Countertops Work Surface Care
Epoxy countertops are made to handle some of the toughest chemicals in the world and are the preferred choice among laboratories. However they still require occasional care. The epoxy resin countertop appearance will not be compromised under normal laboratory use. To maintain the epoxy resin laboratory surface please feel free to copy and post the following “Do’s and Don’ts” around your lab as a reminder to all users.
Epoxy Resin Countertops: Do’s
- Do clean up liquid and dry spills immediately
- Do protect the feet of lab apparatus with rubber, felt or a protective pad
- Do place a trivet under all hot containers and components
- Do extinguish all flames on the epoxy work surface
- Do apply a thin coat of finish oil or Murphy’s Oil periodically
- Do educate all users in the proper care of epoxy resin work surfaces and epoxy resin table tops
Epoxy Resin Countertops: Don’ts
- Do not drag items across the epoxy resin surface
- Do not cut, chop or strike items directly on the surface
- Do not drop items onto the surface
- Do not use abrasive sandpaper or metallic scouring pads on the epoxy resin work surfaces or sinks
- Do not store chairs on the epoxy resin tops without a protective covering such as cardboard
- Do not melt dry ice with hot water directly on the surface or in the sink as the thermal shock may break the joints or cause the sink to fracture
- Do not wax the surface (or use polish containing wax)