How Long Should Epoxy Be Tacky?

Have you just finished applying epoxy? Hours after applying it, you may have noticed that it isn't wet anymore. But if it's still too sticky for your liking and you've waited for hours already, you may wonder how long it will take to dry or cure. We've got the answer you've been searching for.

Typically, epoxy takes 6 to 12 hours to dry if you only have a thin coating. But you should still wait for at least 24 hours before you can touch up the product. Meanwhile, thicker layers can take 2 to 3 days before the tackiness is gone.

Even if the epoxy isn't tacky anymore, you'll still have to wait to cure or completely hardens before you can sand it. A full curing time for epoxy generally takes 3 to 7 days. 

You'll need further explanations about epoxy's curing and drying time to work with this material, so we've still got more information for you. Additionally, we also included how you can reduce the curing time. Lastly, if your epoxy is still sticky after an estimated length of time, we have ways how you can try to fix it. Learn all of these below for a successful epoxy project.

detail skilled artisan carpenter working on epoxy table, How Long Should Epoxy Be Tacky?

Epoxy Drying And Curing Time

Epoxy undergoes three stages when curing. First is its liquid phase when you're still applying or have just started using the product. In this stage, the epoxy is workable, and you can manipulate it according to how you want it applied.

Next, the epoxy will become tacky, so don't panic if you notice the product becomes sticky. The product will no longer be workable, but it is still not hard enough, so thumbprints or other impressions may leave unwanted marks.

The tackiness will probably last 6 to 12 hours for thin coatings. However, even when this time is up, ensure only to touch up or walk over the epoxy after 24 hours to prevent dents. Meanwhile, thicker coatings take 2 to 3 days, depending on how big the project is.

Finally, after about 3 to 7 days, the epoxy will reach its solid phase. In this stage, the epoxy is ready for polishing.

closeup carpenter pouring epoxy liquid wooden

Tips To Speed Up Epoxy Curing Time

Heat allows your epoxy to reduce its curing time by a little. But the temperature should not be hotter than 85° F because it may cause the product to have patches after. If you need your project to be done within a limited amount of time, here are some tips you can make use of:

Use A Blow Dryer

Usually, blow dryers are used to dry or style hair. But because it blows hot air, you can use it to dry epoxy a little faster. Just plug in the dryer and let it blow to where you've applied epoxy. However, note that this method only applies to small projects because blow dryers can only heat small areas simultaneously.

Remember that you shouldn't set the dryer to blow too hard or too warm because too much temperature and pressure may blow the product away.

selective focus surface drying technology process

Click here to see this blow dryer on Amazon.

Get A UV Lamp

If you want to ensure that you don't blow away the epoxy, you can use an ultraviolet lamp instead. Additionally, you can do this method if you've applied the epoxy on something you can't get out of your house. The radiation of the UV lamp will increase the temperature, so you may use it to speed up the product's curing. Place the UV lamp near your epoxy and wait for it to cure.

Click here to see this UV lamp on Amazon.

Sun Dry

You may save up money while reducing the curing time of epoxy by simply sun drying. This method is also excellent for large projects because the sun doesn't have a limit to how much epoxy it can dry. Just put your epoxy product under the sun. Then, ensure that nothing touches it until it cures, and you should be good to go.

What To Do If Epoxy Doesn't Harden

carpenter mixes epoxy create pattern on

There are instances that epoxy doesn't harden even after its recommended curing time. There are different solutions to different kinds of unhardened epoxy. You can try resolving them by doing these:

Tacky Epoxy

If days have passed, but your epoxy is still as sticky like tape when touched, you may not have followed the one-to-one ratio of the epoxy and the hardener. In addition, a poorly mixed epoxy will cause the product to have sticky spots. Temperatures below 73°F may cause this problem.

But don't worry, you can try fixing it by doing one of these:

  • After following the one-to-one ratio and properly mixing the product, apply another coat of epoxy above the sticky areas.
  • If you can move the project where you've applied the epoxy, get it to a warmer spot. If you can't, try using a piece of equipment that will help you increase your room temperature. Do this method if you've noticed that the place where you've put the product is too cold.
  • With 80-grit sandpaper, sand the tacky areas and apply another resin coating.
  • Use a resin spray that dries very fast and leaves a smooth finish if the sticky spots are small.

Click here to see this 80-grit sandpaper on Amazon.

Runny Epoxy

After checking if your epoxy isn't hard enough but also isn't that liquidy, it may frustrate you. This is primarily because of an incorrect ratio of the epoxy and hardener. Sadly, the only way to resolve this is by redoing everything. You need to remove all of the product because if not, it will leak into your new epoxy coating. 

Soft Epoxy Spots

Although most of your epoxy areas have cured, if there are still wet or soft spots, you'll need to fix them. This happens when you have not thoroughly mixed the product. To resolve this, use 80-grit sandpaper for sanding the cured spots. Then, remove all the soft epoxy spots and apply a new product layer.

How Do You Smooth Epoxy?

man polishing epoxy table close up very shiny

After the epoxy has cured, you'll want to polish it for a smooth finish. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Sand the product with 120 to 1000-grit waterproof sandpaper. A cured epoxy has a hard surface and dulls and clogs sandpaper quickly, so make sure to use wet sandpaper. Dip waterproof and high-grit sandpaper in warm water or spray water on it. Then, you can begin sanding the epoxy surface in a circular motion.
  2. Wipe off the epoxy. After sanding, there will be particles from the epoxy, so use a paper towel to wipe it. Additionally, if you want to paint the product after, you may use an electrostatic dust cloth.
  3. Shape the epoxy with a drill. You may use this equipment to make the epoxy into a specific shape. Just attach the flannel polishing to the drill bit. Then, apply a polishing paste to the wheel and gently hold the epoxy product you need to polish against it. Finally, polish the epoxy as you want.

Click here to see this waterproof sandpaper on Amazon.

Can You Pour Epoxy Over Cured Epoxy?

You can undoubtedly pour epoxy once the first coat has cured or is tacky when touched. If you want the product to be as thick as possible, you don't have to worry about poring another coating. It can even help the product have a smoother finish if you add a second layer. 

For tacky epoxies, you can immediately apply a second layer. However, if it has cured, ensure that you've sanded your cured epoxy until it looks matte and almost white before adding another one.

In Closing

It takes some time before the epoxy dries and isn't tacky anymore. Usually, thin layers take 6-12 hours. But, if you want to add another epoxy layer or paint the product, you'll have to wait for at least 24 hours. Meanwhile, thick layers take 2 to 3 days to dry.

The curing time for epoxy is different from its drying time. Once the epoxy has cured, it becomes hardened and is ready for sanding to polish. For this, you'll have to wait for 3 to 7 days, depending on the thickness of the coating. If you want to shorten the waiting time, you'll have to increase the temperature of your epoxy product.

If the estimated time for curing has passed, but the product is still tacky, runny, or soft, you may also try to fix them with methods best suited for them.

Did you find this post informative? If so, these articles may also help you:

How To Clean Up After Epoxy Resin

Yes! You Can Epoxy A Shower Floor [Here's How]

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