Is it Safe to Create DIY Resin Garden Stones?

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Is it Safe to Create DIY Resin Garden Stones?

Resin is a commonly used material for various crafts, but some people also use it outdoors. However, it’s not entirely clear whether it’s safe to do so. The reason for this is that the different resin-based products available on the market use different types of resins, and it’s not always easy to determine the specific type of resin used. Furthermore, there is a lack of scientific research on the environmental impact of pour-on resin, which makes it challenging to determine the long-term effects on the soil and ground.

A study by the British Dental Journal found that resin-based composite materials used in the dental industry have the potential to act as environmental pollutants due to their breakdown and subsequent elution. While this study doesn’t specifically relate to resin products used outdoors, it does raise concerns about the sustainability of using any resin products on the ground. Those concerned about resin’s unknown long-term effects may want to avoid using these products altogether.

However, those who are not convinced of the dangers of resin may opt for a water-based urethane resin, such as Easihold, which claims to be harmless. It’s important to avoid using resin in areas with high foot traffic as it can cause slips, especially with young children running around, making it a potential safety hazard. Additionally, heavy foot traffic could cause the finish to loosen, and the color may fade over time depending on the resin product used.

Choose a resin product with care

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If you’d like to use resin to keep garden stones in place, you’ll first need some specifically made for the task. One option is Easihold from Amazon for $69.99, a popular and highly rated product that is UV-stable. Another option is Gravel-Lok for $213.74 from Paramount Materials, which is polyurethane-based, or some mulch glue, for an environmentally friendlier option. Just make sure that you choose one that works with the materials you’re using it on, as there are many different gravel types to consider. You’ll also want a watering can and some landscaping fabric to provide a barrier between the resin and the ground. Another protective option instead of landscaping fabric would be to use a thin layer of concrete and let it set, but keep in mind this still may have a small environmental impact.

Once you have everything, you’ll need to dress appropriately for the job. You’ll need gloves, goggles, and an appropriate respirator for the fumes. When you’re ready, you can put some resin into your watering can and apply it over the top of your gravel, providing that it’s dry outside and not too chilly. When it’s fully cured, it’s perfectly safe to be around. As a result, you should be left with gravel that sits firmly in place rather than spraying everywhere, which can help you create a functional front lawn. If you’re using another product such as the mulch glue, simply follow the product’s instructions.

Resin can negatively impact the environment

pour on resin gravel stones

VubaResinProducts/YouTube

While each product is different, even ones that are labeled “water-based” or “non-toxic” could still potentially be harmful to nature. For example, the Easihold resin safety data sheet warns users to keep it away from soil and waterways, per Vuba Resin Products, which highly suggests that it might harm the environment. This would make sense, as a safety guide from AeroMarine Products also outlines that epoxy resin can put ecosystems and marine life in danger, so anything living in your soil may succumb to the same impact, especially as pour-on resin comes in a liquid state. However, there are no scientific studies for pour-on gravel products specifically.

Likewise, the fumes of the resin can make it potentially unsafe, hence why it’s so important to take precautions and avoid it during the hardening process. This is because the fumes from the resin have the potential to trigger headaches, agitate your lungs and skin, encourage asthma, and even impact your nervous system, per the California Department of Public Health. For these reasons, you must take the correct safety measures, both during and after you use it until it’s cured. Even if you think being outdoors may help, you should still follow precautions to avoid any vapors, such as wearing a respirator.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.