How To: How WEST SYSTEM epoxy can help you with household repairs
WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy has been used to reliably build and repair boats for over thirty-five years but its practical uses aren’t limited to boats or the marine industry. Last month’s blog on ‘make do and mend with epoxy’ got us thinking about all of the wonderful things you can use epoxy for around the house. So this month, we’ve created the first of a two-part series where we will be showing you tips and tricks for using epoxy around the house based on our own home repair projects and suggestions from epoxy users like yourself.
1. Sealing around sinks and countertops
As well as sealing the surfaces of high moisture areas such as dishwasher compartments, you can also use epoxy to seal the edges of sink and plumbing cut-outs in particle boards or plywood counter tops.
Any water that has leaked from beneath drop-in sinks, as well as leaks or condensation from water lines or fixtures, can penetrate, swell and rot the plywood under the laminate.
When you are repairing damage around sinks and plumbing, make sure you turn off the water source before starting. You also need to remove the sink or fixture and thoroughly dry the area and remove any rotten material before coating with epoxy.
2. Sealing plaster and drywall in the bathroom
Epoxy can also be used to protect drywall or plaster in high-moisture areas such as the shower. Begin by coating the drywall with WEST SYSTEM epoxy before painting or tiling over it – if the walls are painted make sure you sand the painted surface thoroughly before applying the epoxy. Coat the edges and the underside of plumbing cut-outs to prevent leaks or condensation from wicking into the drywall. Again, it is important to make sure that when you are repairing damage around the plumbing you turn off the water source and ensure the area is properly dry before applying any epoxy.
3. Repairing cracked toilet cisterns
Epoxy will bond to the porous side of ceramic materials like toilet tanks. As with the repairs above, when you are repairing a cracked or broken tank, first dry the tank thoroughly. Broken pieces should fit tightly so the epoxy will not need to be thickened. Coat the broken edges and fit the pieces together – a small bead of epoxy should squeeze from the joint. Allow the epoxy to cure and clean the bead of epoxy from the exposed outside with a single-edged razor blade. On the inside, apply a layer of fibreglass tape over the joint for reinforcement. Allow the epoxy to cure thoroughly before refilling the tank. If any small chips are missing, fill the void with thick epoxy/adhesive filler. A good way to make the repair more discreet is to add white pigment to the mixture on exposed sides.
4. Bonding bricks and stone
WEST SYSTEM epoxy can be used to bond loose or broken bricks. If the mortar is solid and the gap is small, use a non-sagging epoxy/adhesive filler mixture thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Apply a layer of the mixture to the inside of the cavity and push the broken brick back into place.
If the mortar is loose or even missing, you can make a bonding grout of epoxy and adhesive filler and masonry sand. For colour, add a little dry cement or mortar and apply it to the bonding surfaces, being careful to avoid getting epoxy on the face of the bricks.
Bonding stones with WEST SYSTEM epoxy is also a simple and easy process, perfect for decorative landscaping to achieve a dry laid appearance (without mortar). It is important to clean and dry the stones before starting the process. Then, use epoxy and adhesive filler thickened to the consistency of peanut butter to bond the stones in strategic places. This will prevent the stones from shifting or settling.
5. Repairing cracked concrete
WEST SYSTEM epoxy is great to repair cracks in concrete – all you need to do is clean the area around the crack, removing any loose debris and then pour or inject the epoxy into the crack. If you are trying to fill a larger crack, particularly on walls, you may need to thicken the epoxy with a bit of cement powder so that it stays in place when you apply to the seam of the crack. Once the epoxy has cured, you can seal the crack with a water-resistant filler so that it won’t shrink and fall out.
6. Repairing cracked plaster
Plaster is usually made up of two layers: a top layer, called the “white coat” and the other beneath it, called the “brown coat.” When a crack appears in the white coat on the surface, it is usually because the brown coat has cracked. To make the most effective repair, scrape open the crack with a “V” shaped tool well into the brown coat and wet the brown coat with epoxy, letting it stand for about an hour. Mix epoxy with adhesive filler to a peanut butter consistency and apply it deep into the crack. Leave the repair slightly concave so you can use a dry-wall compound to fill the white coat flush with the surface. After the epoxy has gelled, use a wire brush on it so that the topping compound can key into its surface.
For tutorials on using epoxy or to speak to one of our experts about your home projects, head to the West System International support page.