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Care and Maintenance - Epoxy Resin Laboratory Counter Tops

Epoxy Resin work surfaces are durable, non-porous, monolithic products that are resistant to attack by most chemicals, and are heat, flame and moisture resistant.  Epoxy resin countertop surfaces’ physical properties are seldom compromised; however, they do require periodic care and maintenance throughout the life of the materials in the environment intended.  Maintaining a good appearance and extending the life cycle of the counter tops and sink materials is paramount.

Regular Epoxy Resin Care Procedures

It is highly recommended to institute a regimen of monthly or quarterly inspections of all epoxy resin surfaces, sinks and joints, plus bi-weekly or weekly cleanings to maintain the Duratop epoxy resin lab tops in the original finish and help ensure a safe, uncontaminated working environment.  The following list contains items suggested for regular cleaning and to handle most problems that occur.

  • Acetone or Paint Thinner
  • Crystal Simple Green
  • White Scotch Brite Pads (always use moist or wet)
  • Crystal Simple Green®; Scott’s liquid Gold; Murphy’s Oil; or Sheila Shine finish oil
  • Clean Rags or Sponges
  • Chamois Cloth
  • Mild Soap or Household Cleaner (non-abrasive)
  • Two-part Smooth-On epoxy adhesive

Note: Never use wax or a 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 clean soft 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 and edges.  Too much oil can cloud the surface, therefore remove excess oils.

  • Apply oil by pouring the minimum amount of oil necessary to cover the immediate surface area onto a clean soft rag.
  • Thoroughly rub the oil onto the working surface, exposed edges and splash face and top edge, using a circular motion.
  • Wipe away excess oil with a clean rag.
  • A chamois can be used to enhance the desired sheen.

Epoxy Resin Sink Care

Laboratory sink areas usually present the greatest cleaning and maintenance challenge.  Sinks are a collection point for dirty and wet lab ware, leaving liquid residue, hard water 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, along the lipped drop-in sink area, and under the rim of the counter top for under counter mount sinks.

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 adhesive to prevent leaking and migration of chemicals or other harmful liquids that may damage 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.  See below suggestions:

Marring

Most metals from laboratory equipment, etc., are softer than the epoxy work surface and can leave a mar if pulled across the top.  Marring is residue 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 vigorous rubbing.

The marred area should be cleaned with a soft cloth and the weakest solution (soap and water) as a non-abrasive cleaning agent. If marring persists, progress to a white Light Duty Scotch Brite Pad moistened with stronger solutions.  Never use a dry Scotch Brite pad or other more abrasive pads.

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 white or gray on black epoxy and the color varies on other colored epoxy tops.  Scratches will be identified on the surface as rough to the touch with a slight depression.  Scratches in epoxy resin are permanent but will not affect work surface performance.

An aesthetic remedy for scratches is coloring in the light scratch with a colored permanent marker.  This option will never perfectly match the color and gloss of the surrounding surface.  Adding a coating of mineral oil to the surface will mask the scratch for a period of time and will require periodic maintenance.

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 cause blistering or crack the top surface.  Like scratches, chemical stains are permanent and, if they have caused too much damage, the work surfaces may need to be replaced.  Care and maintenance are the solutions to preventing or slowing down the replacement process.

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.  Maintain the work surfaces and sinks and they will provide long term effectiveness in the lab environment.

For additional information or assistance, contact:

David Carlock
Duratop-Epoxy – Total Lab Solutions
Phone: 480-488-6421
Fax: 480-488-6462
Email: DuratopEpoxy@aol.com