As a professional in the engineering and construction industries, you know that time is money. Money spent on labor, on project delays, and on overtime because your project isn't coming together as quickly as you'd hope. But at the same time, mixing epoxy resin or paint too quickly can cause serious problems in your project, resulting in streaking, sticky spots, poor curing, uneven strength, and similar concerns that can cause you to have to spend extensive time in repairs instead of moving onto your next project or task.
For these reasons, the experienced professionals at Collomix have developed this guide on how to mix epoxy resin and how to mix paint effectively, so that you know which high-quality tools and techniques will help you get the job done faster, so that you can get onto the next task on your list, but without compromising the integrity of your project and the materials that you're using. As a strong supporter of the construction industry, Collomix's high-quality tools can help you save time and effort on the job site.
For the most part, mixing epoxy resin and mixing paint will have very similar approaches, but there are some significant differences that can save you time and effort on the job site while still providing outstanding results. Though both will be stirred to mix the component parts, the difference in consistency and set time can make a big difference in which tools you select for the job and somewhat of a difference in the techniques that you decide to use on the job site. For that reason, you can find the specific instructions for each type of material below.
How to Mix Paint
Generally speaking, paint is usually ready-mixed shortly before it is needed using a shaker or similar piece of equipment at the warehouse or paint dealer. However, if the paint has sat for any length of time, it will begin to separate, requiring additional mixing at the project site. Though many contractors simply grab a stir stick when answering the question of how to stir paint, this will lead to how long to stir the paint, cutting into your efficiency and productivity. Stir sticks, though effective enough to be given away for free, are only the best option for homeowners and very small homogenization tasks.
As a professional, you know that you need to get the job done much more quickly, even if it's just a quick stir to get everything back to where it should be to prevent streaks of pigment or color in your painting. For that reason, we recommend that contractors use our LX or FM stirrers, stepping up to the DLX stirrer for larger quantities of paint that must be mixed quickly and thoroughly. As these stirrers are also used in some instances for mixing epoxy resin, we'll discuss them below in further detail so that you have all the information you need to make a smart choice of your stirring tools.
How to Mix Epoxy Resin
Though mixing epoxy resin takes a similar approach to mixing paint, there are some very significant differences that must be addressed. These differences may impact the quality of the resin, the amount of bubbles that can develop, and which tool you should use to get the best results. Bubbles are a common enemy in epoxy, causing issues with strength and durability. As a two-part epoxy, these fast-setting materials must be combined on your construction or project site, they will set up after a particular period of time following the mixing process.
Unlike paint, which will allow bubbles to rise to the surface and pop, the higher viscosity of epoxy resin can make this process more difficult. For that reason, reducing bubbles in the mixing process is very important to the quality of the final work. This makes it very important to consult your epoxy resin mixing ratio chart to ensure that you're getting the proper mix on each product that you're applying in the field, as each product may have different viscosities. For this reason, we would add the KR stirrer to the above list, as it deals better with thicker epoxies.
Depending on how long your paint has been sitting - we see you, last-minute construction touch-ups - you'll need to stir your paint for a minute or two. At a minimum, you'll want any bands of color that appear at the top to be completely incorporated into the paint before you stop stirring. The amount of time that you'll need will depend on how separated the paint is, the type of paint that it is, and the type of paddle that you are using to mix the paint.
Paint that was shaken that morning may only need a perfunctory stir, while that which has sat for several weeks will require much more extensive stirring. If you're going between paint canisters, such as moving from one five-gallon can to another, and they were mixed on different days, you may want to mix equal portions together in a separate bucket, use a portion of that, add the same amount of the new bucket, mix and paint again, and then finally switch entirely to the new container to mediate any change in tone between the two batches.
Mixing epoxy resin is a bit more tricky in the field, as it sets up within a set period of time that is much faster than paint once it is mixed. Generally speaking, paint will remain liquid for a very long period of time, provided that it is protected from exposure to air. Epoxy resin, on the other hand, will set up relatively quickly once mixed. Sealing the container won't keep it from setting up. For that reason, it needs to be mixed more carefully to prevent bubbles, which may remain due to the thicker viscosity of the liquid and faster setting time.
To start, pay attention to the ratio used in the epoxy resin mixing ratio chart. Some are a simple 1:1 or 2:1, but others are much more complex, such as a 45:100 ratio. Failing to mix the epoxy resin at the proper ratio can cause the epoxy to not set up or spread properly. Measure the epoxy resin parts by volume rather than weight, as the component parts may have different masses. Measuring cups, buckets, or other volumetric measuring devices should work well for this purpose.
Next, look at your environmental conditions. Most epoxy resins will set up best at 20C/68F in terms of temperature, both ambient and surface, with the process slowing down in cooler temperatures and speeding up in higher temperatures. Humidity can also play a part in the process, with humidity above 65% when opening the hardener container detrimentally affecting it and above 70% during curing will cause problems with your project.
If the parts of your epoxy resin are stored in a cool location, make sure to bring them to the location about 12 hours in advance of mixing so that they can warm up to the localized temperature. For rush projects, where setting time is of the essence, heating the location and surface during and after the application of the epoxy resin can make a big difference in cure time. Similarly, you'll want to dry damp areas prior to applying an epoxy resin.
Finally, mix the components thoroughly but carefully, being careful to avoid too high of speeds that may cause air bubbles to form due to splashing or air being folded into the mixture. If the components are not completely mixed, you may have localized areas of tackiness or stickiness, incomplete curing, or inconsistent hardening of the epoxy. This process should take a few minutes if done properly. If you do have bubbles appear, you may be able to pierce larger ones early in the process.
LX Stirrer. For mixing smaller quantities in a very fast manner, the LX stirrer is designed to quickly create strong flow from the bottom up in thinner materials. It provides optimal flow when high-speed drives are used with the paddle, allowing a constant flow to form from the bottom to the top and back down the sides.
FM Stirrer. Formed as a classic paddle for mixing paint, the FM paddle is able to work with a range of different materials, making it a workhorse on the job site. It works well with average machine loads and can work very well for use from the DIY homeowner to professional purposes.
DLX Stirrer. When you need to quickly stir a large quantity of material, the DLX stirrer has two offset paddles in the style of the LX stirrer, providing more action and flow to quickly mix materials in larger quantities without incorporating bubbles into the mix. It can also be used with thin cementitious materials, such as soft or viscous grout and self-leveling flooring material.
KR Stirrer. Designed to help prevent the formation of lumps, the KR stirrer is capable of generating high shear forces to mix thicker materials, including thicker epoxy resins. It's also designed to be easier to clean as the material will not stick to the stirrer paddle, saving your crew time on the job at the end of the day.
Collomixer. No matter which stirrer you decide to go with for your mixing needs, you're going to need a high-quality motor to power that stirrer. Though some companies try to use drills to power this equipment, this can lead to inconsistent results and poor curing in areas due to the lack of power and torque that most drills can transmit to the stirrer. For that reason, we recommend using the Collomixer with your paddle for optimal results, timing, and effects.
When you need to know how to mix epoxy resin or paint, one of the most important aspects of this process is having the right tools for the job. At Collomix, our dedication to providing the engineering and construction industries with high-quality tools that feature the very best of German engineering is only matched by our dedication to outstanding customer service.