Can you apply Epoxy on Tiles?

epoxy over tiles

This is one of top five questions I get. Can we apply epoxy over tiles?

People want to avoid the hassle of ripping out the tiles, and ask if there is a quick solution to just apply the epoxy paint over the tiles.

My answer is yes it is possible, but it is not so simple! You must consider the following factors:

Adhesion of the Epoxy over Tiles

Tile surfaces are usually covered with a glazing coat. Epoxy may not stick properly to this glazing. Therefore you should always sand and grind the surface, until the tile glazing is removed. The surface needs to look rough and scratched. Also I recommend applying a low viscosity epoxy primer that will penetrate the tile surface.

Filling the Tile Joints with Epoxy

If you try coating the epoxy paint over the tiles without patching the joints, the joints will leave visible (and ugly looking!) marks. 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. Especially, if you are dealing with small tiles, you would need to spend several days grouting the epoxy over the tile joints!

An easier and more effective method is to apply an epoxy filler coat on top of the entire 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. You should avoid making a sandwiched surface of different types of materials.

My Preferred 4 Steps Process to Apply Epoxy on Tile

  1. Grind the tiles and remove the glazing
  2. Apply a Low Viscosity epoxy primer that will penetrate the tile surface
  3. Apply a filler coat of epoxy coating on the tiles with a flat squeegee
  4. Install the final Self leveling epoxy floor coating on top that will give the floor a seamless finish like in the picture below
an epoxy floor over tiles
A finalised epoxy floor over tiles

Some people will argue that this solution is quite expensive, because it involves adding 3-4 kg of epoxy per square metre, and that there are cheaper methods to cover the tiles. Let me just tell that the cost of repairing a failed surface is much higher.

And one final point: Before starting this process, inspect the tiles. If any tiles are broken or hollow, you will need to address this problem first. Appling epoxy over a hollow structure will not magically fix the problem.

You need to address all underlying structural issues first before applying the epoxy over the tiles.

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Akis Apostolopoulos

General Manager at Ktisis
Akis has been involved in the manufacturing and application of industrial floor coatings for the past ten years. He runs learncoatings which is an online resource training professionals on the use of epoxy floors. He is also General Manager of Ktisis, a manufacturer of flooring and waterproofing coatings.

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