Polishing Epoxy Resin, How To & What To Use

So you want to learn to polish epoxy resin? It can be a long and arduous process but it’s definitely worth it in the end to see the project you’ve spent so much time on, shining to perfection. All that sweat and hard work will finally be visible and you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy its beauty. Let’s get into it!

Orbital Sander On Epoxy Surface

Tools Used To Polish

First, you will need to gather all of your tools! Doing your research and gathering the proper tools for your specific project can make the project much more efficient and can save you a lot of time. Here’s a comprehensive list of things you may need or may want to invest in, when getting into polishing:

  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper ranging from 120 to 1000 grit (or more depending on how fine you want to go)
  • Water (easiest in a spray bottle if you plan to spray it onto your surface or bucket if you plan to wet sand)
  • Sanding block
  • Buffing wheel or variable speed polisher
  • Buffing pads
  • Scratch remover compound
  • Buffing products
  • Wax products
Various Sanding Pads

Once you have gathered all of your supplies and your epoxy resin project has fully cured, you are ready to begin the buffing and polishing process. Before polishing, it is important to make sure that your project has cured for the full time stated in the instructions for the specific resin you are using—every resin is different so you will want to make sure to read your resin’s specific instructions. Beginning the polishing process before your project is fully cured can create problems and cause more damage than you were intending.

Step One: Removing Imperfections

Before you can achieve a glass-like surface that you’ve always dreamed of, you need to get rid of any of the imperfections on your project—this means sanding down the areas that need work. Depending on the severity of the imperfection, you will want to start with a relatively low grit sandpaper. Now remember, when it comes to the grit of sandpaper, the lower the number, the deeper the cuts it will make and the slower you will need to work your way up to a finer grit. Jumping from a low grit sandpaper to a much higher grit sandpaper will leave scratches on your surface that you will need to eventually go back and fix—don’t take shortcuts and you’ll save time and energy in the long-run.

 After working so hard on your epoxy projects, don’t settle for a dull finish—take the extra time to ensure your work looks its best. Follow these polishing steps and your projects will have a stunning, glass-like finish!
Cloudy Epoxy When Sanding

Cloudy Epoxy When Sanding

Now, whether you choose to use wet sandpaper or dry sandpaper is up to you. Most creators well-versed in epoxy resin choose to use wet sandpaper because it allows for a more effective job, but the choice is yours. Using dry sandpaper can create too much heat and dust, causing unwanted imperfections to your resin piece whereas wet sandpaper contains the excess dust much more easily. Wet sandpaper and dry sandpaper both have their pros and cons—you will need to decide which will work best for your specific project and the result you are intending to end up with.

After sanding, you may notice that your surface is cloudy and not the shiny topcoat you expected—don’t worry, this is normal! Because sanding is essentially making scratches on the surface, light is refracted and diffused, getting rid of any shine that was there before. This is where buffing comes in and will be important! Once you have removed the imperfections and your surface is level, you are ready to begin buffing!

Step Two: Buffing

After wet sanding, you may find that the surface of your project is satisfying enough—at this point in the process you can call it a job well done, or you can continue on to buffing and achieve an even more stunning finish. Once you have slowly worked your way up the grit in sandpaper and you are satisfied with the removal of the imperfections, it is time to get out the buffing tools. Unlike the process of sanding where you are scraping away part of the surface, buffing essentially fills in the subtle imperfections and creates a more cohesive surface. While buffing, you are using a compound product and moving in circular motions—this will help to keep the surface even and fill in all of the scratches that you may have missed while sanding.

For buffing, it is best to use a variable speed polisher or buffing wheel—you can purchase attachments that contain a compound product, or you can apply a compound product to the buffing wheel pad itself, either way will work. Using power tools like these will help to really cover the surface and create a more even coat. After using a compound, you can choose to be done or you can use a polishing agent or wax product as a final touch. This is the last step you will do in the polishing process and, once done, it should leave your project shining to perfection.

Overview and Tips

Now that you’ve read through the polishing process, you are ready to get down to work! Here are a few last tips that will help you get that perfect, polished finish:

  • Researching and gathering the correct tools will ensure the most productive outcome.
  • Starting with a low grit sandpaper and slowly working your way up will ensure an even greater finish!
  • Wet sanding, over dry sanding is preferred by most epoxy-users.
  • As a general rule of thumb, most polishing compounds that work for wood will also work for resin.
  • Stone Coat Countertops’ Liquid Smooth polishing compound is a great option to use when polishing your epoxy project. Simply apply the compound to the buffing pad and the epoxy and buff away!
  • Work in small sections when buffing to ensure you get an even shine throughout your project.