Outdoor bartop

HELP ! I am devastated. My bartop is ruined. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated ! The bartop is stainless steel and I want to have pictures embedded in clear coating. I used "Envirotex" as it said it was for use on metals.
I cleaned the stainless steel top with vinegar, arranged the pictures and secured them with glue, and after they dried, I mixed & poured the epoxy per pkg directions. It turned out exactly as I had hoped. That was last summer. The bar is on my patio (which has an awning type roof), so it is exposed to outdoor temps and some wetness/dampness. I had noticed some yellowing a while ago, but the epoxy coating was intact. THEN: After several days of sub-zero weather/several wks of very cold temps, I found the epoxy had cracked and completely "pulled-away" (pictured embedded in it) from the steel top . See photos.
How do I get the epoxy to NOT pull away/crack, or is there another product that will work better ? Or do I need to remove the stainless steel and put a wooden bartop on, then use the Envirotex ? Not sure if it's an issue of materials or the exposure to cold... ?
q outdoor bartop, countertops, diy, how to, outdoor living, patio, Epoxy layer has cracked pulled away from stainless steel bar top
Epoxy layer has cracked/pulled away from stainless steel bar top.
q outdoor bartop, countertops, diy, how to, outdoor living, patio, Epoxy layer can be lifted in one complete piece with pictures embedded
Epoxy layer can be lifted in one complete piece with pictures embedded.
q outdoor bartop, countertops, diy, how to, outdoor living, patio
  6 answers
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 16, 2014
    When you have extreme temperatures shifts it will affect materials that expand and contract at different rates. The metal (a thermal conductor) will expand at a different rate than the thick epoxy this causing the bond to fail.
  • I agree with SawHorse.net on this. I would suggest that you get a tempered glass custom cut for the stainless, put photos under and seal around the edge to keep the water out with clear silicon. Or have the glass extend just beyond the edge of the steel.
  • Julia Fuller Thayer Julia Fuller Thayer on Feb 18, 2014
    I have had issues with ours too. First I wanted hardwood flooring type. It buckled. So we replace that with a type of bathroom wall paneling. That works pretty good but I think we didn't seal the seams well enough. It has held up the best. Of course you can't put pictures under it. Maybe get plexiglass and overlap it then put some type of a band around the edge. Then it is separate from the stainless steel. I know, it can be frustrating to keep changing it...drives me crazy!
  • Cloudrider53 Cloudrider53 on Feb 25, 2015
    I think I would put a thin piece of granite over top of the bar extending over it to reduce water getting in. Maybe even caulk around the bottom. Just a thought.
  • Mitzie Mitzie on Jul 08, 2015
    Maybe you could have a piece of safety glass cut to fit your bar. You could slide your photos under the glass, then caulk around the edge to seal and protect the photos. Since caulk has to be replaced you will have a chance to change out photos!
    • Teressa Moyer Teressa Moyer on Aug 30, 2015
      @Mitzie I love the thought of being able to switch out the photos ! Definitely have to check on safety glass in the size to fit my bar, and I already have lots of caulk from other projects ! Thanks a million for your input !!!
  • Georgia Garrett Georgia Garrett on Aug 19, 2015
    I had the bar top of a Pottery Barn OUTDOOR bar ruined due to the elements. I live on a saltwater marsh. Finally, I purchased a new teak bar. Even though it's teak it still can't hold up with Florida sun, rain and salt air. I had a sailmaker make a cover for the bar that protects the top. The sides I am going to have to spray frequently with Thompson's water repellent. I didn't have the cover made to cover the whole bar because then I wouldn't be able to get into it. The same sailmaker made covers for the wood on my sail boat and it worked great.