Epoxy: how to use and remove

Epoxy glue is one of the most useful and versatile tools for DIY projects. Whatever material you’re using be it wood, metal or plastic – make sure you choose the right epoxy to get the best result. Read on to learn how to use epoxy correctly, and give your project a professional touch.

What is epoxy, and how is it used?

Epoxies are adhesives formed from epoxy resin and hardener. These substances are stored separately, so you should only mix them when you’re ready to start gluing. You can do this automatically, using an instant mix syringe, or do it yourself by mixing the substances on a separate tray. Make sure the mixing ratio is kept at 1:1 in order to create the strongest bond.

The working time begins once you’ve mixed the two substances. Working time varies, and depends on your choice of glue; sometimes it lasts a few minutes, but it can take up to a couple of hours. During the working time period you can still move or change the parts that you’re bonding with the epoxy glue. Even after the working time is over, remember that it takes several hours for the glue to reach its maximum strength.

Epoxy adhesive should be an essential part of any DIY enthusiast’s toolkit. Extremely strong and versatile, epoxy can be used for a wide variety of projects, from gap filling to repairing furniture. It’s also very straightforward to use.

How to use epoxy


Follow these simple steps to use epoxy glue correctly.

  1. Use sandpaper to roughen the surfaces you’re going to bond. Alternatively, file the surface carefully. Clean the surfaces, making sure there’s no trace of dirt, dust or grease.
  2. Prepare the application syringe. First, cut the end tips. Then turn the syringe end up and depress the plunger. Allow about 30 seconds for the air bubbles to rise.
  3. Get ready to mix. If you don’t have a mixing nozzle, don’t worry. On a disposable surface, use the double plunger to dispense the resin and hardener at an equal ratio. Ideally, you should purchase a tray for the epoxy beforehand, but if you don’t have one, you can use a clean disposable plate or plastic container (such as a yoghurt pot) instead.
  4. Retract the plunger. Clean the application tip and put the cap back on.
  5. Mix the epoxy resin and hardener quickly. They should be completely blended within a couple of minutes.
  6. Apply a small amount of glue to the surfaces you’re bonding. Ensure they’re in the right position, and then firmly press them together. Set and cure times can vary, so check the product instructions.
  7. Carefully remove any excess epoxy. Wipe away excess epoxy with a cloth and methylated spirit.

 

Using epoxy for metal

Epoxy glue can be an excellent, highly effective tool for gluing metal. It also saves the hassle of welding or soldering. UniBond has a range of strong 2-part epoxy adhesives, including Epoxy Repair: Metal, which is the perfect product for DIY jobs involving metal. You can use this product to repair a variety of metal objects, from garden chairs to car number plates. It’s quick and easy to use, setting in just five minutes. Once it’s set solid, you can drill or sand the surface, and there won’t be a trace of your repair work. It will look as good as new!

Using epoxy for wood

Have you got a broken piece of furniture, or cracks in your wooden mantelpiece? You need an epoxy glue that’s specially adapted for repairing wooden surfaces, such as Epoxy Repair: Wood. This handy 2-part epoxy resin sets in five minutes and is water resistant. You can use the product for a wide range of wooden surfaces, from pine to MDF, and it’s adapted for both indoor and outdoor use. The surface can be drilled or sanded once it has set, leaving no signs of the repair work.

In a hurry? Try Repair All Purpose 1 Minute Epoxy, a UniBond epoxy adhesive for strong, permanent repair. The double syringe mixes the adhesive automatically. The adhesive is workable for just 30 seconds, and sets solid in one minute. You can use it on a variety of materials, including metal, wood and glass.

Using epoxy for plastic

When you need to repair plastic, whether it’s a piece of furniture or a car part, epoxy glue is the answer! You can use a strong epoxy like Epoxy Repair: Plastic to fill in cracks and repair plastic objects in a matter of minutes. This product is a water resistant 2-part epoxy adhesive, which can be used on a range of plastics, including polystyrene, acrylic and fibreglass. It sets solid in just five minutes, and you can sand, drill or paint the surface afterwards for a polished, professional result.

Using epoxy for other materials

Epoxy adhesives are remarkably versatile; from wood to leather, it seems that epoxies can be used on just about anything! If you want to purchase a product that can be applied to a wide range of materials, we recommend Repair All Purpose 5 Minute Epoxy. You can use this quick-setting epoxy glue on the following materials:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Rubber
  • Leather
  • Masonry
  • Cardboard
  • Most plastics

Not only is this epoxy waterproof, but it’s also resistant to heat and frost, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor use. However, if you have any doubts about whether the material you want to bond is compatible with epoxy glue, check the package instructions first.  

Removing epoxy glue

Epoxy glue is long-lasting, designed to create permanent bonding. So naturally, it’s not the easiest substance to remove so you should take care when applying the epoxy adhesive. However, if you do end up getting epoxy in the wrong place, don’t worry – there is a solution!

Removing uncured epoxy is very simple. Before the epoxy resin glue sets you can simply use white vinegar or methylated spirit on a cloth. Just make sure to wipe away the excess epoxy before it’s had time to dry.

Removing cured epoxy from surfaces

Once the epoxy hardens, it becomes more difficult to remove. However, it’s not impossible! Try one of the following methods to remove cured epoxy glue:

  • Sand or scrape the area. If there’s only a small amount of dried epoxy, this technique may be sufficient.
  • Use acetone. Acetone can be effective on wood or concrete surfaces. It should loosen the epoxy, so you can peel it away easily. Use acetone only in well-ventilated areas and keep it away from any flammable objects.
  • Use a heat gun. You must wear thick work gloves, goggles and a mask when using a heat gun, and make sure that your skin is completely covered. Use the heat gun at a temperature of about 90 °C, aiming it at small areas of the epoxy until it softens. You can then use a plastic scraper to remove the epoxy.
  • Use chemicals. If you’re removing epoxy from plastic or glass, you can use chemicals to soften the epoxy, and then scrape it away. If the epoxy has only just dried, soak a cloth in methylated spirit and wipe the surface to remove the epoxy. If the epoxy is cured and proves to be stubborn to remove, try applying paint thinner first to soften it up.

Exercise caution when using these methods, and always use protective gloves.

Removing epoxy from skin

You should avoid getting epoxy on your skin in the first place by wearing gloves. But, if you do end up getting epoxy on your skin, you need to take action quickly. Here are some methods you can try to remove epoxy adhesive:

  • Vinegar: Cover the affected skin with a cloth soaked in vinegar. The adhesive should start to soften and come away from the skin. Vinegar works on both cured and uncured epoxy adhesive.
  • Acetone: Apply acetone to a cotton bud or paper towel and rub gently until the adhesive comes away. Acetone is flammable, so take care when using it. Work in a well-ventilated area away from any flammable objects, and clean your skin carefully afterwards.
  • Citrus-based waterless hand cleaners: This is probably the item you’re least likely to have to hand, but it’s softest on your skin. Pour the hand cleaner on your skin, then scrub and rinse under warm water.

Epoxy glue and the substance you use to remove it can both be harsh on your skin. Once you’ve removed the epoxy, use a hand lotion to soothe your skin.