Genuine Customer Review about Experience with Countertop Epoxy
Countertop Epoxy Epoxy Floor Review
Having used this product for the first time, and having never poured any custom epoxy product before, I would highly recommend this for anyone desiring a unique and beautiful look for their home or business. I found the application to be simple with stunning results. When I’m considering any project I always like to read about others’ experiences from start to finish. So here’s my experience with the floor, the prep work, and countertop epoxy.
Suggestions for Preparation:
While the website and instructions state that you can pour this over just about anything without problem (and I have no reason to doubt that), I have been remodeling our home for quite some time and I know that 90% of your success will depend on your preparation. With that in mind I have a few tips for anyone wanting to do their floor with the countertop epoxy products. Some of these tips are from past experience, some are from hindsight.
- Start with a fresh, level floor surface. I tore out the old flooring and laid down a solid floor followed by ½” in two layers of sub flooring, followed by a fresh pour of the Henry’s 555 self-leveling underlay. This gave me a fresh, even, and level surface.
- Know your tools! I had two problems laying down the epoxy, both of which were caused by me not being familiar with tools I had never used before.
- Spiked Shoes: You will need to have some spiked shoes to do a floor. My floor was only 24 square feet and I needed them in order to put in the veining. Make sure that you know the proper placement and tensioning of the straps, and make certain that you know how to maneuver while wearing them. It is best that you get some practice wearing them. One of my straps just slipped off when we were putting in the accent colors and it was some time before I got the area looking close to perfect again.
- Propane torch: A torch is an absolute MUST when using this epoxy. I discovered that my torch wouldn’t stay lit when pointed down. This caused great frustration and many bellows of swear words. The reason a basic torch won’t stay lit when tipped downwards is because the propane in the canister is in liquid form, but the torch utilizes the gas as it escapes the tank. When you tip the torch the liquid propane clogs the valve and the gas cannot escape. Having learned this the hard way, and much to my own detriment, do yourself a favor and get a torch with a hose or one that is designed to still burn when upside down..Tools Needed: Depending on your pour, you’ll need certain tools. The flooring epoxy comes pre-measured in its own bucket, but you may need more depending on what you want to do. However, you’ll need to have at least the following ready:
- A power drill with a slow speed, or a VS drill
- A mixing paddle to mix the Hardener with the epoxy (I used a plastic tined paint mixing bit [$5 at Homde Depot])
- Various measuring buckets. I used 2 half-gallon and 1 one-gallon mixing buckets from Home Depot. I purchased more but didn’t use them.
- Wooden Paint stirring sticks if you’re mixing your own prime colors.
- A rubber-edged squeegee (I had a 12” basic window cleaning one)
- A light finish trowel (I used a 10” drywall finish trowel to skim and blend)
- A few fresh unused paintbrushes (for stippling , blending, and getting little chunks of flotsam out of the epoxy if any show up)
- Painter’s or masking tape to tape off the base boards, etc. (I didn’t need that as we didn’t have any baseboards installed, but did use some tape when I made a barrier for the doorway threshold)
- Some cheap yardsticks from the dollar store (optional). I cut a yardstick the width of the doorway and taped it down with painter’s tape to make a simple stop-point for the epoxy in the middle of the doorway.
- Some GOOD pump or trigger spray bottles preferably with an adjustable nozzle. One for each color of metallic powder you use.
- A few quarts (32 ounce) of 91% alcohol (Rubbing alcohol…just make sure it’s the 91% and not the 70%)
- Spiked shoes. You can buy or order these just about anywhere (including the website). Just make sure that you’re familiar with wearing and using them before you start.
- A propane torch that will stay lit when pointed at the floor (mine didn’t and it sucked!)
- Some damp paper towels (just in case)
- A helper (more helpers if you’re doing a big area) that doesn’t mind getting a bit dirty.
- Some way to track minutes (egg timer, clock) so you know when you’ve mixed long enough
Keep in mind that you have a very limited time from initial mix to being done (roughly about 20 minutes) so you’ll need to work smoothly and quickly. So have everything ready and prepped before you start mixing. You won’t be able to use the floor for a couple of days after you pour the epoxy so make plans to have that area off-limits for awhile.
We handled our preparation work by tearing out everything in the room (the sink, the plumbing, the toilet, the floor, the walls….everything). I laid a new floor and poured a solid underlayment, and we finished our walls. You don’t need your room clear of everything, but it helps. Just make sure your floor is clean, level, and smooth. You’ll want to at least tape off your baseboards if you have them installed and even though you’re working on the floor remember that you can never cover too much. I got a couple strands of metallic color on my new walls. This happened when my spiked shoe went one direction and I went the other. Hopefully I can get it cleaned off once the floor cures. If not, then I’ll just sand it off and chuckle about how stupid I am.
My Experience with the folks at Countertop Epoxy
As I said, we’ve been remodeling our home for quite some time. I had first seen the site a couple of years ago and every couple of months I’d check it out again, watch the videos, and wonder if my skills were good enough to get anything similar to the results I saw in the videos. Mine are, and yours are as well. Have no fear.
I sent and received a couple of emails with some general questions and always received an answer. After much deliberation I convinced the wife to try it out. Of course, my wife is an artist…not just any artist, but an entire-palette wielding, use every color in the Universe kind of artist.
So we decided upon (which translates to she decided…she handles the color schemes I handle the shouting of swear words) the colored epoxy kit, as it came with a base color choice, plus a metallic accent color powder for only $20 more than the clear epoxy. We also ordered a second prime color and two more metallic colors, as she wanted to do a two-color base with three different veining colors to tie the venetian plaster walls into the floor. What fun.
As stated in the FAQ’s the colors ship separate from the epoxy. What I didn’t know at the time was that the color kit I ordered came pre-colored. We discovered this when the colors came and one of the two prime colors were not included. I called immediately, and immediately my confusion was dealt with and rectified to my satisfaction.
I had some confusion with the listing for the color-kit. As it turns out, the color-kit comes pre-colored with the color you chose. My confusion was due to reading the instructions about 100 times prior to ordering. In the instructions it stated that you add the prime color to the epoxy. So I assumed that is what was to be done.
This wasn’t the case. When I discovered that is was going to ship pre-colored I had a problem. This did not match the wife’s design plan, or my assumption having read the instructions.
The staff at countertop epoxy was right on top of things in taking care of me. While I think I was polite and pleasant on the phone, they most definitely were. They switched out my epoxy with the clear epoxy (we were both lucky as the epoxy hadn’t shipped yet) and sent me out the second prime color separate.
While we were talking on the phone they actually updated their website to make certain that nobody else would assume that the color-kits did not come pre-colored. It now reads “pre-colored kits” so there will be no confusion from somebody like me in the future.
The epoxy and the second prime color came in a few days later. This is where we had our second bought of panic. Unbeknownst to us the hardener for the epoxy (Part B) ships inside of the mixing bucket. My wife calls me while I’m at work to let me know that the hardener wasn’t in the package. It was. The epoxy is shipped in an oversized bucket with a diaphragm over it. The diaphragm is cleverly designed to accommodate the can of hardener, so it’s in there; don’t panic like I did.
Before I knew that, I had called twice and shot off an email. I imagine that I came off like a troublesome customer…not my intention, I was just very impatient to get going. So don’t fret: the hardener ships inside of the bucket. Everyone at countertop epoxy assuaged my fears and hopefully had a good chuckle over me pestering them constantly with minutiae.
So my experience with countertop epoxy as a company is very good. It is difficult to judge the mettle of a company when everything goes smoothly; but we had a couple of minor details that needed attention. It is how these details were handled that impressed me.
For me, pouring an epoxy floor seemed intimidating (it isn’t, don’t worry). I‘ve done laminate flooring, tile, slate flooring, and hardwood flooring: never epoxy. So I was more than a bit concerned. The people at countertop epoxy are used to dealing with idiots full of trepidation such as myself. They handled each and every concern, question, and issue with nothing but the utmost of friendliness and promptness.
Mixing the Epoxy
So finally realizing that everything was indeed there, my wife and I set about the task of pouring the floor. Since she wasn’t happy with a single main color, I had to split up the epoxy into two batches. The formula is pretty simple. You add 1 part hardener to 2 parts epoxy. The prime colors are listed a good for up to 2 gallons of epoxy so I poured slightly less than half of each the prime colors (one black, one almond) into half a gallon of the epoxy.
Using a paint stirring stick I mixed the prime color until it was a nice solid color. You might note some separation after you initially stir the color in, don’t worry. While I was mixing the base colors we added 91% alcohol into 3 separate spray bottle and then added the metallic powders. I then poured 32 ounces of the hardener into a separate container; splitting it between the split colored epoxies.
Mixing is pretty simple. Add in the hardener with a gentle pour and mix with the paint mixing bit at a low to medium speed for 7 to 8 minutes. You want to keep your drill on a lower speed otherwise you’ll get lots of air bubbles and get splash up. When the mixing was done I knew that it was reacting properly due to the heat of the epoxy beginning to bond together.
Since we were doing two base colors I poured the almond color first, leaving about 50% of the floor bare, and then mixed the black the same way. When that had mixed I then poured it on the floor filling in most of the bare areas as well as pouring a little overtop some of the streams of the almond color.
In retrospect I would have poured it a bit differently. Because I poured the black over the almond, a lot of my spreading covered over the almond base color. I should have poured it in separate sections rather than in a single long zig zag. This has nothing to do with the product, I just ended up having more black in the design than I originally intended.
Then I used the drywall finish trowel to move the epoxy into the corners and to blend it together. It came out a really cool kind of mostly-black marble with some grey veining and some almond bits, mostly in the corners where I poured the almond a bit heavy. The black covered most of the almond in the middle areas and although I tried to scoop some up from the bottom, it was blacker than we had initially intended. If you’re doing a two base color mix, it would probably be better to pour the light over the dark than the dark over the light. Nonetheless the pour was fun and simple. The difference in the actuality of the coloring against what I had hoped for was due to what I did. With epoxy you don’t have to cut anything square or worry about centering tiles, etc. Just pour it right down.
Then it was the time to add the metallic accents. Remember to shake those bottles a bit. I sprayed out a few veins in streams and then misted a bit here and there. We used three colors over our pour. At first it looked like spray-paint graffiti. Don’t worry; the art is in the mix and the flame.
After saturating as many spots as we wanted to I lit my torch. I already stated that it wouldn’t stay lit. I managed to get most of floor caramelized nicely. When you run the torch over the floor, it does a couple of things. First it pops any air bubbles that may be one the surface. Secondly, it forces the colors to ebb and flow into each other. Overall it gives it an organic and marbled effect.
We chose to spray our accent colors in first and then torch. This spread the veining out and made it look more subdued. You can also torch and then spray. This will give you a bolder coloring with less dissipation. If you do spray post-torch don’t worry about the ridges that seem to develop on the edges. Those will flow back to normal before the epoxy hardens.
At one point my spike shoe gave way and I rolled my ankle right into the epoxy. This wasn’t in some corner or hidden-away area, but right in the doorway. The epoxy had started to set up and wasn’t flowing like milk anymore, so it was a bit of a trouble spot. It didn’t help that my torch wouldn’t stay lit either. So amid a litany of curses I did discover a couple of things that might help with trouble spots.
If you have a divot in the epoxy you can use the torch just outside of its perimeter and it will help the epoxy flow into the dip. If you have a rough spot that you cannot get out, just run the torch over it a couple of passes and then spray it with accent color. The accent will stick out, hiding any potential flaw. The epoxy will continue to level and flow itself out, however slowly, over the next day or two, so a lot of your perceived flaws might not really be there.
I also want to address FIRE! Alcohol spray plus flame equals flaming floor epoxy. I especially noted this with the green metallic accent powder mix. My assumption is that to get a green color that there is copper sulfide of copper oxide mixed in. A super quick pass with the torch causes this to flame right up. No worries just blow it out and continue on. Keep in mind that the torch is to help the flow of the colors and to pop the bubbles. Don’t torch one spot for any length of time; just keep moving the torch around until you’re happy with the results.
Your working time from that first pour is about 20 to 30 minutes. Once you start, you need to keep going and keep moving. After that initial 7 to 8 minute mix you have maybe a couple of minutes to get the epoxy out of the bucket. Don’t let it sit there. Get it on the floor first thing and get it looking all cool and artsy once it’s all down.
In the end, we spent about 2 hours from opening the box to having the floor done; including discussion and preparation. We would have shaved off about 20 minutes if I wasn’t fighting with my torch in the latter half. The actual pouring and spreading of the epoxy took maybe 15 minutes, plus another ten or so spraying in the veins.
As it turns out I didn’t use my squeegee to level the spread and we were happy with my skip-troweling and flaming in the veins so we didn’t use the other tools I had set aside. I did use the brush a couple of times to poke some color detail in a little deeper and to push some of the metallic color over my trip-marks from when my spike shoe gave out. In that trouble area I ended up torching it as flat and level as I could in the half-second intervals my torch would stay lit and then sprayed some coloring over the area (post-torch). My wife says that nobody will ever see those trouble spots, although I’ll bet my own calamity haunts my dreams. But that isn’t the epoxy’s fault, it was mine.
Cost & Ease Comparisons
While one can argue that ceramic tile can be had for 89 cents per square foot, there are other considerations. Decent wood or tile runs about $3.99 plus tax per square foot. In addition you need underlay material for laminate or wood, or mastic, grout, and sealer for tile.
Assuming you go with the pre-mixed color kit you’ll get about 30-40 square foot coverage. That comes out to about $5.71 per square foot on the average (at the 1.5 gallon price). Counting the thin set, mastic, grout, and sealer even cheap tile runs about $3.80 per square foot. If you go with nice tile at around $6.99 per square foot, your materials cost is closer $10 per square foot when it’s all said and done. That doesn’t count the specialty tools you need for wood or tile flooring such as a tile saw or miter saw with a fine-tooth blade. So while not the cheapest, epoxy is very competitive.
Ease of installation? Let me say something about laying tile or wood floors. Floors are never level, walls are never square, tiles and planks never line up nice and even. Any corners, out cropping, doorways, etc have to be accounted for and cut-to-fit. You need wet saws for tile and it can be a painstaking, meticulous process.
Pouring an epoxy floor, by contrast, is easy. If you can pour a glass of water onto the floor you can pour an epoxy floor. It doesn’t matter if the walls aren’t straight, or if you have doorways, out croppings, of multiple inserts or outsets in the wall configuration. It is a liquid; you just pour it and spread it. No artistic ability? That doesn’t matter either. The best feature about the countertop epoxy flooring is that the art is in the organic flow and mix. What would be a mistake in any other medium becomes an artistic feature.
Countertop Epoxy’s flooring epoxy has proven itself to be an easy-to-use, difficult-to-screw-up, and cost effective way to turn any floor into a beautiful work of art. Disposables and tolls needed are a minimum, and you don’t need to worry about the complexities and specialty tools needed in laying a tile, stone, or laminate floor. I recommend it as a product and I highly recommend countertop epoxy as a company due to the level of service they provide.
Overall I am extremely happy with the results.