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Envirotex help. Bubbles everywhere!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
For my bar top I used oak floor planks. I poured envirotex and got a lot of bubbles. I guess the stain does seal the wood as good as it states.

I was using a propane torch to remove the bubbles but as soon as I moved the torch away more bubbles popped up. The instructions say to sand down the bubbles and apply another coat.

My question is how far should I sand the bubbles? Some of the bigger bubbles I can tell I sanded off the top part because they look like a craters. Some of the small ones I can tell. How do I know I've sanded the bubbles far enough.

Second question. While sanding I scratched up the envirotex. I'm assuming they will disappear once I apply the second coat. Am I correct?

Also while I was sand I noticed some spots got hazy. I think it might have been from the heat generated during the sanding. Will this also disappear with the new coat?

This was the last thing to do to the bar. I'm afraid I messed up the top so much I might have to rip it apart and re-do the top. At this point I can live with a some small bubbles. Should I excect to get a finish with no bubbles?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 10
I'm no expert on Etex....

Sounds like you had more bubbles than usual. How did you mix the Etex? By hand? What device did you use to stir it? Did you let it set for a couple of minutes before pouring? Did you mix it for the full 2 minutes recommended? Don't whip it, mix it slowly.

Easy on the sanding. The next coat will correct a lot of errors.

Try this....pour some water over the area you think is too hazy.....look down through the water and see if it looks clear. If it does, you will be okay when you pour your next coat of Etex.

The next batch, mix well, I used a wooden kitchen spoon, let it set up a minute or two, you have plenty of time to pour. Relax and don't be in a hurry to bust out the torch. After you pour your final coat, wait a minute or so, this will give some of the bubbles some time to rise to the surface. Then you can get the torch out and use it high off the surface, remember it's not the heat but the CO2 that will assist the bubbles to the surface.

I don't think you are going to have a surface completely free of bubbles. Remember, your surface is going to age and have fine scratches from bottles and glasses. Call it bar patina.

Good luck.
post #3 of 10
Just curios HeyNow,

Would you maybe apply heat now to try and smooth out some of those scratches or haze if it's really bad or is that not possible once it's set?
post #4 of 10
again, I'm no expert;

I don't think heat is going to help now that it has set up a bit. You will probably make matters worse and scorch it. I think Neuner had an issue with that on his first bar top when he got too close with the torch.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks HeyHow!

I mixed the etex by hand using a wooden paint stirrer. I might have stirred it a bit fast. The instructions got me worried about mixing it correctly, which I somehow translating it to "mix fast". I was also rushing the pour. I'll take it slow next time.

Good hear about the next coat will correct a lot of errors.

I tried the water trick. I still noticed some hazing. It's only in a couple of spots and there are not that big. I can live with it.

Before I do the next coat I'm going to mix a small batch and apply it on a couple of places to test.

If I can cut down on some of the bubbles I can live with the imperfections. I like to call it "character", and my bar as a lot of "character".

I tried to apply heat a couple of hours after it sat. No good. It did nothing to the bubbles and started give the finish the oil in water look.
post #6 of 10
Sounds like you have a plan. When we think of epoxy we get real nervous that it is going to set up too fast. Unless the temp in the bar area is in the 90's you should have plenty of time for the pour. Take your time and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I noticed I had a little bit of etex left over in the containers so I decided to do a test run. I applied the etex on places where there were a lot of scratches from the hard sanding as well as the hazing. The scratches and haze went away!

I applied some over old bubble areas. This didn't get rid of the old bubble spot completely but it wasn't that noticeable. I feel confident another coat will fix everything. It won't be perfect but it will have character.

BTW, since my bar top is flooring and I didn't seal any of the gaps you can see small bubbles between the gaps. There's no way I can easily removed them without sanding below the wood. I actually like them. Reminds me of underwater lava of something like that.
post #8 of 10
Sounds like you did one large pour?
I'm thinking on doing a poly coating even before a light etex seal coat. My flooring top is prefinished too, but I'm worried about getting the grooves sealed off.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it was one large pour. The only thing I did to my flooring was stain it. I think applying a coat of poly would have seal it up and prevented some of the bubbles. I noticed some of the smaller bubbles were forming in the shape of the grain.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Finally got around to pouring a second coat last weekend. It went much better. All the scratch and hazing went away. No where near as much bubbles. I did have a couple of problems which I can life with.

First I only got half as much etex for the second pour as the first. It turned out not to be enough, but just barely. There are a few places where the surface is a little uneven. But it's minor and most of it is on the end of the small part of the L shape bar top.

I didn't get anywhere as many bubbles as the first pour but I did get some. After getting rid of most of them with the propane torch I left it alone to try. I came back after a couple of hours and a couple of big bubbles had form. The etrex was still wet so I was able to pop them but left craters. They were only in a couple of places.

Another problem I ran into was white hazy patches. When I cleaned then with water they went away for a while but came back. They are only noticeable in certain angles so I'm not too worried about them. I think them might be a result of getting too close with the torch or maybe I didn't stir enough.

The top didn't come out perfect and there are plenty of small bubbles under the top but they add character, at least that's what I'm telling people. Even with the imperfections the bar top looks great.
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