It is so frustrating when you complete an amazing project on the exterior of your home, and then see it destroyed by the elements or hard use. Fortunately, for many of your outdoor projects there is a material that is virtually indestructible – epoxy. This material dries incredibly hard, is resistant to weather damage, and can stand up to constant use. Using epoxy is a great way to elongate the life of your sidewalks or make it easy to keep your patio clean.
Epoxy also is an excellent adhesive. It can be used to hold objects together and is much more effective than typical glues or other adhesives. Epoxy is so versatile, it can be used on most any outdoor project.
How Does Epoxy Work?
Epoxy works because it is a thermosetting epoxide polymer. This means that it is an adhesive which, once cured, cannot be uncured (thermosetting). It is highly reactive to other chemicals.
It takes the mixture of two components to make an epoxy; a hardening agent and an epoxy resin (typically bisphenol A). Mixing these two chemicals together creates a reaction that stiffens the molecules, making epoxies very hard. The time that an epoxy takes to cure depends on the hardening agent used.
Once the epoxy has cured, it is very strong. It seeps into pores of items that are to be joined together, and links them, making them virtually impossible to pull apart. Epoxy can break down in the sun, so plan to paint or seal your epoxy, or use UV-protected epoxy, depending on what your project is.
Keep in mind that the ideal temperature to work with epoxy is around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can be worked with between 65 and 77 degrees. Any cooler and it becomes difficult to work with. Also, cooler weather causes the epoxy to take longer to cure. Warmer temps will cause epoxy to cure really quickly, leaving no time to add embellishments or work out air bubbles. It’s also ideal to work in 50% humidity, but up to 80% is considered okay.
How can Epoxy be Used on Home Exteriors?
Epoxy has so many exterior uses. It really is just limited by your own imagination. It can be used on your:
- Pool Decks
- Outdoor Kitchens
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Epoxy can be used to elongate the life of any of these items, even if they need repairs. For instance, it can be used on rotted trim to fill in rotted portions, and then to coat the rest so that the rot does not continue. Almost any outdoor surface can be improved with epoxy.
Is Epoxy Strong Enough to Survive Outdoor Elements?
Epoxy can stand up to most outdoor elements without a hitch. Rain simply runs off it, and snow sits on top of an epoxy surface without affecting it. What can affect epoxy is UV rays from sunlight.
Clear epoxy can take on a yellowed tint over years of exposure. While this is annoying, it is manageable. There are steps you can take to prevent it from yellowing. You can give it a coat with of sealant, such as polyurethane or varnish. Many people recommend using marine grade sealants to add to the lifespan.
Keep in mind that sealants do have to be reapplied over time; how often changes based upon frequent use of the epoxied area and other factors. Also, there are UV additives that can be added to the epoxy to extend the amount of time it takes to yellow. Of course, regular paint is always an option as well depending on your project.