I have a dining table that I refinished with a tabletop epoxy product. I have one layer on it now and it is very glossy and I'm planning on putting another layer on top of it soon. I've been using it a while and noticed that because it is so glossy, I've noticed scratches and the like just dragging cups or plates on the table. Is there a coating that I can put on the epoxy after I put on my final coat that you would recommend that might either resist those scratches better or not cause them to be as noticeable? Would something like Odie's wax be good for this application?
There may be other things going on here (more on this below) but it seems clear that the main issue was that not enough time passed before the table was put into service.
A couple of quotes from epoxy manufacturers about curing and usage:
Best practice to wait until epoxy is fully cured before putting into use. [5-7 days]
Hard cure will take 72 hours depending on air temp, pour depth, width, length and overall epoxy mass. Sanding and shaping can be done after this time. Wait 7 days for light use. Product will continue to harden up to 30 days for a full hard cure.
I think any reliable product will actually state the final hardness you can expect (given as a Shore D number) e.g. 75 for Smooth-On Tarbender, 82 for both Total Boat TableTop Epoxy and MAS Table Top Pro Epoxy, 80-85 for Polycraft ClearTop 35 Epoxy Water Clear Resin System, 98 for Ultra Clear Epoxy Premium Epoxy.
I've noticed scratches and the like just dragging cups or plates on the table
The unglazed rims of plates, mugs and other ceramic items are about the most abrasive things you have in your house because ceramics are so hard — literally harder than some commercial abrasives — so you do need a good product if you hope to get a long service life, although you can expect that eventually some marring will result.
Bear in mind that there are factors which affect hardness and the speed of curing.
Factors that affect curing time include:
- Mix ratio.
- Thoroughness of blending.
- Pour thickness.
Factors that affect final hardness include:
- Mix ratio.
- Incomplete blending.
- Humidity. High humidity is not friendly to epoxy.
- Moisture content of the wood.
So the key part of your Q is probably this:
Is there a coating that I can put on the epoxy after I put on my final coat that you would recommend that [will] resist those scratches better
A harder epoxy? Note that if you do choose to go this route you'd use this other epoxy as your final coat, since you'd be pouring on a full coat of it.
But I suggest the first thing to do is wait out the full cure time for the product you've used and see how it stands up to use then.
Just in case it's not made absolutely clear in the instructions for the product you used, it is now far past the natural recoat time. So you must sand/scuff up the surface lightly but thoroughly to prepare it for a second coat (regardless of which epoxy is used).