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Gusto 01-29-2008 11:18 PM

Epoxy countertops with stones/glass
I was just at the Tampa home show this weekend and came across countertops that were made of resin and recycled glass/granite chips. I was ready to have these guys come out to give me an estimate on my kitchen when he told me the cost started out around $70 a square foot.
Has anyone attempted to make a epoxy countertop before with broken glass mixed in? How much did it cost? What tools did you use? etc..


Ron6519 01-31-2008 08:08 AM

This is not a DIY project. If your budget doesn't have real or engineered stone in it, try looking at laminate counters. They have some stone patterns that might get you where you want. Getting a bevel edge will make it look less like laminate.

Kingfisher 01-31-2008 08:16 AM

seconded :(

DIYtestdummy 01-31-2008 12:58 PM

It CAN be done, but I think it will end up being more work and possibly not be very cost-effective by the time you are finished. Concrete would be more DIY, but again not so easy.

I work with composites and polyester resin (non-professionally) and it takes some of practice and patience, not to mention time and money if you don't already have the tools and experience. This stuff can be hazardous to your health and to the environment if you are not careful. I have contemplated saving money by using leftover supplies to make small bathroom countertops, mainly for the custom fit and look that I can't find pre-fab. I had to sign a waiver when I bought the place basicaly stating that I would not create a toxic and hazardous environment on my property that the EPA or other authorities would have to clean up and doing stuff like this is borderline with the small amount of chemicals I do procure. If you have an industrial place to work - fine, just do some research and educate yourself on the risks.

This is not high school chemistry...

STEPHENWANGEL 02-01-2008 03:50 PM

Recycled glass
The tops that you saw are made from 100% post-consumer recycled glass. The resin was probably 100% solids epoxy. Great for the environment as there are no VOC emissions, and it uses recycled products. It is manufactured in slabs, usually 3CM thick (+-1 1/4") It fabricates just like natural stone or quartz, so it's not for the DIYer. Fabricated, it can be a BIG premium over stone, so be careful.

If you want to try it as a DIY project, a company called enviroglass out of Plano Texas makes the material in 3/8" tiles, usually for flooring. But I don't see why you couldn't fabricate it like a tile top with a wood or ceramic edge.

Headingforbetty 03-25-2008 10:46 PM

i'm gonna try anyways
Despite the above advice I think I'd like to try to make one as well. I'm gonna round up some materials and start experimenting this summer. Maybe do a few 1' x 1' x 1.5" sample blocks, with different % of recycled glass material in the mix. I can't really find too much info online so I'm going to speak with my local industrial supply guy to see if he has any thoughts on the matter. I figure if it's safe enough to spread all over a commercial/industrial floor, why not my kitchen. ;^p

I'll keep you in the loop. If you decide to try it too, let me know how it works out.

AtlanticWBConst. 03-26-2008 05:52 AM

What you are proposing is not something I suggest. Just a couple of reasons:
1.) Epoxy resins are expensive.
2.) Working with epoxy resins can be difficult.

Some Alternatives:

HANSTONE: I was quoted $40 SF last week, by my supplier and fabricator.


Have you looked into fabricating concrete countertops? Much more DIY friendly and cost-efficient.

Headingforbetty 03-26-2008 07:36 PM

No title
I realize resins are difficult to work with and have some experience with the material. I also know the costs, but as I live in Northern canada (way at the top of the map) and things cost an arm and a leg to get them shipped thousands of kilometers, I have to make due with materials that are available to me.

I think the best way to figure stuff out is to go ahead and try and do it. I'm in the construction industry so it's not like I'm an average DIY-er. Anyways, summer's still a long way off up here, but once it comes I'll try a few small pieces and let you know how they work out. Maybe they'll be a disaster, but hopefully not.

Headingforbetty 03-26-2008 07:38 PM

Oh yeah, I'm planning to do a concrete counter-top as well. Busy, busy summer for me. ;^p

DIYtestdummy 03-27-2008 05:18 PM

Right-on! You sound like me. You won't know unless you try. No one will stand in your way if you want to do something. I started messing around with polyester resin and fiberglass. Love/hate realtionship. I messed up a lot, but I learned too. You can get in over your head real quick and even start fires or damage your health. I did lots of research, but I never knew until I tried...and tried, and tried. Still trying, but I'm turning out successful projects now. The only problems I have other than expense are time and once I start doing something I can't stop until it's done. Oh, and clean-up, lol!

gbirnie 05-13-2008 01:11 PM

It is a big project but if you want to do it here is what you need to do.
-You will need to make a wood form with the edge profiles that you want to have. Then you will need to sand it very smooth. Then you will coat it with Kleer Kote Table Top Epoxy Resin after this hardens you will have to wet sand it with 600 grit paper. After you have accomplished this you will have to Apply a minimum of 6 coats of mold release wax so that the epoxy doesn't stick to your mould.

Then you will pour 3/16 to 1/4" of epoxy over the form and wait for it to cure. This will be your counter surface you do this so that you don't have any of the materials from your pattern on the surface of your counter top. Then you apply your stones or glass and sand or what ever you decide to use to make your pattern. You can use a piece of glass to try your pattern out on to kind of get an idea of what it will look like in the counter top.

After you have placed the glass or what ever you will use proceed to pour another 1/4" of epoxy over this. Do not exceed more than a 1/4" at a time as the heat from the curing of the epoxy can cause it to crack.

Once your counter top gets to be around 3/4" think then you will apply another 1/4" layer of epoxy mixed with epoxy die of the colour you want. You do this so that you can't see through your counter top.

Then for the final step you will apply a thin layer of epoxy then layout fiberglass cloth and don't let this cure after you put the fiber glass cloth you apply more epoxy to complete this layer. When you are done your counter top should be about 1 1/4" thick.

When you take it out of the mould you can sand it and oil it to get the polish that you want.

Note when you mix your epoxy mix it slowly as if you mix it to fast ie: whip it you will get air bubble that are hard to get out of epoxy. on your first layer if you have air bubbles if you heat the epoxy with a heat gun it is easier to get them out.

And another note is that when you mix your epoxy you will see it will go cloudy you will know when your epoxy is properly mixed when it goes back to clear again. Also don't scrap the epoxy off of the sides of the container to get it all out cause as a rule the epoxy on the side of the container is usally the least mixed and can cause some hardness variences throughout the surface. The rest of the layers are not as important as the first one.

Hope this helps

Headingforbetty 05-13-2008 07:30 PM

Thanks for the suggestions
Thanks for all the advice. It's definitely given me a better idea on how to do this. Couple questions.

If you only color one layer of the counter-top, will you be able to see the different layers when viewing it from the profile. (if I understand you correctly, you will have have about four 1/4" layers of clear cote, with one colored layer one the bottom.)

Also, why put the layer with the fiberglass? To give it more tensile strength?

Again, thanks for the advice.

gbirnie 05-20-2008 08:11 AM

Yes the fiber glass is for tensile strength when you are done making the counter top it will be quit heavy and the fiber glass gives it strength when you are getting it out of the mould and carrying it. It also strengthens the area where the sink cut will be.

As far as the coloring goes what ever you use for your pattern ie:rocks pebbles glass you want to make sure you have enough of it so you dont see through it on a profile view. you could put coloring in with the epoxy that you put over your pattern as well. Just make sure you don't put any in your first layer or you won't be able to see your pattern.

The reason I don't put color in with my pattern is that I used pebbles and then filed with crushed stone and stand which makes it not see through. By having this layer clear will give you the 3d effect that granit has. Also by putting color in this layer if any of the epoxy makes it to the front of your pattern that will be what you see the color in stead of the pattern so you could end up with bloches on your pattern. All the layer of color is for is if you have a couple of spots where light can make it through you pattern you won't see the fiberglass or in your cupboard.

There is no wrong way to do it when it comes to adding color depends what you want it to look like at the end.

gbirnie 05-20-2008 08:36 AM

This might clear something up for you as well. Your first layer you will also coat the viewable edge of the counter top where you will also apply your pattern so you don't see the layers so you will have to do the surface first when that hardens then prop up the pattern so the your viewable edge is flat and coat it after that has all hardened then you will put you pattern on the front of counter let that harden then lay the mould flat again and do the patter there as well. I over looked that step glad you picked that up.

gbirnie 05-20-2008 08:44 AM

One last thing about the sink it is easier to put the sink cut out as part of your pattern instead of cutting it out after. Cause if you have glass or rock inside your pattern if will be tricky to cut. And if you want to profile the sink hole then make sure you have enough epoxy there for your first layer to make the profile of your choice. ie making the profile and not hitting the pattern inside your counter.

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