Epoxy...In the house

I feel like this is a dumb question but is the epoxy odor too overwhelming to build in the basement? I plan on using a mask during application, but will the odor more than likely permeate the whole house.



I have used Raka epoxy to build 2
boats and never thought thee odor was that bad BUT they were built in the garage.

I built a S&G kayak on the second floor of the garage, in a side room there. While I don’t know if the smell will be noticeable from your house above the basement level, you should vent your basement anyway. The fumes are not something you want to breathe while you’re there.

Even though I don’t think epoxy stinks, it is not good for your health. You can develop sensitivity to touching or breathing it, too. That’s what happened to me. Later, I bought a cartridge respirator that uses filters for both particulates and VOC fumes. I strongly recommend you do the same for both epoxy and varnish work.

What I did was to use the respirator while working, with the window opened a little bit. After I was done working, I left the window open for a while to let more fumes out, then closed it. This was in winter and early spring. If conditions allow, you can use window fans to exhaust the fumes more quickly before shutting everything up.

I developed epoxy sensitivity from
contact and fumes when I used it for boat repair in the 60s. But with West epoxy the fumes are very mild, and I have not had contact sensitivity either.

I think glassing an entire hull in the basement calls for ventilation, but for smaller jobs like glassing a paddle face there should be no problem.

You can wear vinyl gloves and a chemical respirator for increased safety.

Thanks all for your answers
I was just a little leary that the odor would overwhelm us in the house. I planned on using a chemical mask while applying.



You definitelly need…
…to arrange a good ventilation for the basement area. But if you manage to do just that you won’t smell anything outside the basement. Just be careful not to introduce too much dust/particulates into the air with your ventilation, otherwise the crap will stick to the epoxy :(. Also, consider a “gas mask” instead of a respirator, because me for example, I have no trouble breathing MEPK fumes, but the stuff makes my eyes itch water like crazy. If you intend to do a lot of work, invest in protection gear - a good quality butyl rubber gloves, a full-face respirator and Tyvek coveralls for any drips - and you are set like a pro.


– Last Updated: Feb-09-12 5:33 PM EST –

The glassing part of a stripper is a few days. Most of the work is woodworking. Do you have a hot air furnace in the basement? I have hot air but it's not in the basement and I didn't smell a thing. Once the epoxy kicks, you can turn on exhaust fans and ventilate too.

I find varnishing a much more powerful oder and I do that in my garage, plus, usually it ends up when weather warms up too. If you paint something with oil based paint in the basement does it permeate the house?

There 's no one solid answer to your question. It's a logical concern. You can always do all the woodwork and glass in the garage if thats possible?

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You know what used to permeate the
house, was the styrene fumes when we laid up boats in the basement with polyester or vinylester resin.