One of the most common questions I get asked is if we can apply an epoxy floor over tiles. People want to avoid the hassle of ripping out the tiles, and ask if there is a quick solution to just put the epoxy over the tiles.
My answer is yes it is possible, but it is not so simple! There are significant factors that need to be considered
Bonding – Tile surfaces are usually covered with a glazing coat. Epoxy may not stick properly to this coat. Therefore you should always sand and grind the surface, until you get a rough scratched surface. Also I recommend applying a low viscosity epoxy primer that will penetrate the tile surface.
Filling the joints – If you try coating over the tiles directly, the joints will be visible. This means the joints need filling. One option is to grout the joints individually, but this can be quite a tedious task, and the results won’t be perfect. An easier and more effective method is to apply a filler coat on top of the surface. I strongly recommend that this filler coat is also epoxy based.
I have seen people apply an intermediate cementitious layer, only to see it break six months later. Avoid making a sandwiched surface of layers of different materials.
The best solution is
- Grind the tiles
- Low Viscosity epoxy primer
- Epoxy Filler Coat
- Self leveling epoxy floor coating on top
If you think this solution is expensive, the cost of repairing a failed surface is much higher.
And one final point: If the tiles are broken or are causing leaks downstairs, applying epoxy on top will not magically fix the problem. You need to address all underlying structural issues first before applying the new floor.