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Wood, Metal, Marble, Terrazzo, Tiles. Can we apply epoxies on these surfaces?

Epoxy Floors work best when your substrate is a hard and properly levelled concrete floor. But often in renovation projects, we need to coat over different types of surfaces. So can we apply epoxy floor coats on other types of surfaces? Here is a guide for the most common surfaces:

Rough uneven Concrete

Not recommended for several reasons: The substrate will be too weak to handle the epoxy. (for a full explanation of substrate failures click here) You will end up consuming a lot of product without getting any real results. You will almost definitely have many bubbles and pinholes to deal with since rough concrete is very porous. (For more reasons that cause bubbles in epoxies have a look at this video)

epoxy on broken cement substrate
The failed substrate effect. The Epoxy is fine but the cheap quality cement has caused the coat to peel

Wood

Although the epoxy should stick well to the wood I do not recommend coating over wood. Wood is a flexible material that has a tendency to expand and contract depending on the temperature. Epoxies cannot follow that expansion this could lead to cracking. Also since wood contains humidity, this may impact the final coating surface by blistering or pinholes.

Marble

It is possible to coat over marble just keep in mind to properly grind the surface. Marble surfaces have usually been polished and sealed. Therefore mechanical bonding with the coat could be compromised. Make sure that you grind properly and that you use a primer that can penetrate the marble. (For more information on coating over marbles click here)

Terrazo

Applying epoxy on terrazzo
Repairing and sealing cracks over terrazzo

Epoxy can be coated over terrazzo however you need to be aware of the following factors: Good grinding is required so that the whole surface will be ‘scratched’ and able to mechanically bond with the new coat. You want to remove any existing sealers still left on the surface that could clash with the epoxies. Also since terrrazo is a composite material made up of various materials such as cement, stone, limestone make sure that you use a strong epoxy primer that can assure adequate bonding with these surfaces (stone is a notoriously difficult material for bonding!). Finally if you are working with old terrazzo you will probably require extensive filling of all the cracks and pores before you can apply the finish. Remember to cost this in.

Metal

I do not recommend coating epoxy floor coverings over metal unless it is a small surface (like manhole lids used for drainage). Bonding between epoxy and metal is rather difficult and you would need to use a suitable metal primer for that purpose. For vertical metal surfaces ask for epoxy specifically formulated for metal surfaces. Conventional epoxy floor coatings are not suitable as they lack flexibility.

Tiles

It is possible to apply epoxy over tiles, but you must remove any gloss or sealer from the tiles. Use a good primer to bond with tiles. If you don’t want the joints to show after coating ,remember to factor in that the joints need to be filled at the same level with the tiles before you proceed to apply the topcoat.

Coating Epoxy over tiles

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akisapost

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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About the Author: akisapost

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.