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Can You Put Epoxy Over Concrete?

If you have a concrete floor, you may want to dress it up in some way or another. One option that is available is epoxy. Can you put epoxy over concrete?

Epoxy coating is an excellent choice to provide a smooth, durable surface when you have a concrete floor in place. You can apply the epoxy and completely change the look of the floor while at the same time, creating a surface that will suit your family for many years to come.

Yellow Roll brush on the floor

Although it certainly is true that you can put an epoxy coating over concrete, there are many things that need to be considered. This would include the condition of the concrete, as well as the preparation process.

Can You Put Epoxy Over Concrete?

One of the most important factors to consider if you are putting epoxy over concrete is the condition of the concrete. Not all concrete slabs are going to stack up equally, so consider the following factors.

Moisture – One of the most important things to consider before you put epoxy over concrete is the moisture content of the floor. This can be a problem for a number of different reasons.

First of all, if you are dealing with a newly poured concrete slab, it will take some time to dry. The drying time may differ, depending upon the conditions in the home but generally speaking, you should allow anywhere from one month to three months for the slab to dry.

If you put epoxy over a concrete slab that has not dried properly, it will likely result in problems. As the slab continues to dry out, the epoxy finish will suffer.

It is also a good idea to consider the moisture that is in the area. If you have a slab that is prone to flooding or if it is in a basement, you would want to consider carefully if it will flood again before you put epoxy over it.

Of course, epoxy provides a very durable surface that can withstand moisture in many ways. That being said, you would also want to establish some type of system that would keep the area from flooding.

One option that you may want to consider is putting in a sump pump. As long as you have a battery backup, the pump could keep water from flooding the basement or other areas.

Another option, although it is more expensive and labor-intensive is to install a French drain. A French drain can be installed on the outside of the foundation and will catch any water before it enters the home.

Always test the concrete to make sure that moisture is not a problem before you apply epoxy. It’s better to know ahead of time than to figure out there is a problem once the epoxy has been applied.

Preparation – It is also very important to properly prepare the concrete before you apply epoxy over it. This can be done in numerous ways but the following are some of the most important factors to consider.

High/Low Spots – it is always a good idea to even out the floor before you apply epoxy. It is not necessarily going to affect the finish but you could have a problem with the epoxy pooling in certain areas.

It is always a better idea to correct this type of issue before the epoxy is applied. Otherwise, you will have a bigger problem and the epoxy will have to be reapplied after it is fixed.

Cracks – If there is any type of crack or other damage to the concrete slab, it should be repaired before you apply epoxy. There are products available that can quickly fill in a crack and will be just as durable as the concrete slab.

Avoid filling in the cracks or fixing the problem can lead to issues down the road. It may work well and can even add some character to the floor but if the crack continues to expand, it is going to be a problem.

Seams – In some cases, you may have a concrete slab with expansion joints. These are designed to keep the slab from cracking but they can be problematic if you apply epoxy over them.

It is a better idea to fill the seams with the appropriate material prior to applying the epoxy. They will still be able to do their job but they will do it under the surface, rather than causing issues above the surface.

Roughing the Surface – Something else to consider is that the surface cannot be smooth when you apply the epoxy. It may last for a little while but you want the epoxy to adhere properly and last for the long term.

There are a number of ways to rough up the surface of the concrete to provide a proper surface for the epoxy. One way is to use an acid wash. You can also grind down the surface.

Most homeowners who are doing this as a DIY project will not have their own floor grinder on hand. Fortunately, you can rent one of these at a local hardware store in most cases. Just make sure that you plan out your work in advance so that you are renting it for the shortest amount of time possible.

Let’s take a look at some of the different surfaces to see if epoxy can be applied in all areas.

Can You Epoxy Over Painted Concrete?

Man putting epoxy using roll brush on the floor

If you have a concrete floor that is painted, can you apply epoxy over it?

As long as you prepare the floor properly, there will not be a problem with applying epoxy over painted concrete. One of the most important factors is to sand the paint so you have a surface that is not smooth. As long as the surface is roughed up by sanding, you will have an excellent bond strength and the epoxy will last for a very long time.

If you are going to sand down the paint, it is important to ensure that you keep safety in mind. In some cases, paint contains chemicals that can be very hazardous when they are in powder form and airborne.

Make sure that you are wearing an N95 mask or another suitable respirator. A simple dust mask will not typically be enough for this type of project.

Keep in mind that the chemicals in the paint are not typically hazardous until they are sanded and become airborne. At that point, you need to protect yourself as much as possible.

Can You Epoxy Over Cracked Concrete?

Man fixing the floor

If you have a concrete floor that is cracked, can you simply put the epoxy down and let it fill the problem?

It is possible to epoxy over cracked concrete but it is a much better idea to fill the cracks prior to putting the epoxy down. The epoxy is not going to fill the cracks but rather, will simply make them stand out a little more.

One thing to consider if you are putting epoxy over a cracked concrete floor is that you can repair the cracks prior to putting the epoxy down. This can be done with a quick-drying compound that fills the cracks and gives you a level surface.

It is also possible to fill all of the cracks and then float the floor so you have a clean, smooth surface for the epoxy. As long as you properly prepare the surface in advance, there is no reason why you can’t put the epoxy down over the floated compound.

One thing to consider is that many types of epoxy come with small chips that provide a design to the floor. This will help to cover up any small imperfections that were created when you filled in the cracks.

Can You Epoxy Over Stained/Rusted Concrete?

Man putting epoxy using roll brush on the floor

If you have a concrete floor that is stained or rusted, is it possible to put epoxy down directly over it?

You can put epoxy over stained or rusted concrete but it is a much better option to properly prepare the surface and get it ready for the epoxy in advance. This can be done by using some chemicals to dissolve the rust or stain. Although you may not have that character to the floor that you wanted under the epoxy, it will make a much better job.

If you have any heavy-duty stains on the concrete, they are going to show through and can be problematic when you put the epoxy down. It might even keep the epoxy from properly adhering and the job may not last very long.

The best option is to clean the floor but this is not simply a matter of mopping and scrubbing it when you have staining or rust. It’s a chemical cleaning that needs to take place in order to ensure that the rust or other stain has been removed.

After using the chemical to strip away the stain or rust, you can then finish preparing the concrete for the epoxy.

Can You Epoxy Over Self-Leveling Concrete?

Man putting epoxy using roll brush on the floor

Many people use self-leveling concrete to finish the slab before they put down epoxy. Is this a good idea?

When you use self-leveling concrete, it provides a smooth, level surface that is ideal for epoxy. At the same time, however, you need to ensure that you are preparing the floor properly by using an acid wash or etching it with a grinder. This will provide a surface that will properly adhere to the epoxy coating.

The primary reason why people use a self-leveling compound is to fill in any imperfections. It’s also an excellent way to float any low spots that may exist in the concrete.

Essentially, self-leveling concrete is concrete. As long as it is properly dried and prepared, there is no reason why you can’t use an epoxy coating over it.

Can You Epoxy Over Sealed Concrete?

Man spreading out the epoxy

If you have a concrete floor that has been sealed, can you put epoxy over it?

Generally speaking, a sealer applied to concrete will keep the epoxy from sticking properly. Although it certainly is possible to put epoxy over it, you will likely be unhappy with the durability and it may not last as long as you would like. It may be possible, however, to etch the surface with heavy-duty chemicals or a grinder so that even a sealed concrete floor can be covered with epoxy.

Can You Epoxy Over Concrete Countertops?

Man putting epoxy using roll brush on the floor

Do you have concrete countertops that could use dressing up? You might consider using epoxy.

For the most part, you can put epoxy over concrete countertops, provided you prepare the surface properly. The surface has to be roughed up so that the epoxy will properly adhere to it. Most concrete countertops are smooth and may even have a sealer on top. Always ensure that you are preparing the concrete countertop properly so the epoxy will be a long-lasting finish.

Should You Put Epoxy Over Concrete?

Man spreading out the epoxy

If you are considering putting epoxy over concrete, it’s always good to consider both the pros and cons.

Generally speaking, the pros of putting epoxy over concrete are going to far outweigh the cons. It provides a long-life, economical floor that you can customize to your specific needs. The only reasons why you would avoid using epoxy are if you are dealing with a wet environment or if you are concerned about slip and fall accidents.

Pros:

Economical – It is really difficult to beat the economical factor when it comes to epoxy. It’s an excellent flooring system that will not break the budget.

Strength – When you put epoxy over concrete, you will have the strength of the concrete and a finish that is not easily going to be damaged.

Lifespan – Provided you prepare the concrete in advance, the epoxy will last for many years and will stand up to a lot of foot traffic.

Customizable – There are many ways you can customize epoxy, including colors, design, and even adding nonslip surfaces.

Cons:

Slippery – Unless you choose a nonslip option, epoxy can be slippery, especially if it gets wet.

Moisture – Epoxy works well in many environments but if the concrete is not dry or if it is in a moist environment, it may not adhere properly.

How To Put Epoxy Over Concrete

Man mixing the paint floor

If you are ready to put epoxy over concrete, you need to follow the right steps.

The most important factor for applying epoxy over concrete is the preparation. Unless you prepare the concrete properly, you will not have the right adherence and the epoxy will not last very long. Preparing the concrete involves fixing any defects and then roughing up the surface with a grinder or etching with acid.

The process starts with the selection of the epoxy. There are actually many different options available, including the following:

Solid epoxy – This is probably not an option that many homeowners will consider. It is more expensive and will not harden as quickly as other forms of epoxy so it is something that is often put down by a professional.

Water-Based – This is something to consider because of the lack of fumes. With solvent-based epoxy, you may have chemicals that can cause problems, especially in an enclosed environment. Since you do not have as many fumes when using a water-based option, it is excellent for use in the home.

Solvent-based – This is similar to the water-based epoxy but it does have chemicals that can be problematic in an enclosed area. The solvents are hazardous so you need to wear a respirator when working with it. If you apply it in an enclosed area, you will have to ventilate the area until the solvents dissipate.

Pre-Tinted – There is really an endless number of options when it comes to the color of pre-tinted epoxy. There are also some stylish options that include colored flakes, which can dress up the floor.

Nonslip – If you are putting the epoxy in a well-traveled area, you may want to consider going with a nonslip option.

After selecting the epoxy, you will have to clean the concrete, what the flooring and then scrub it with a grinder or use an acid etch option.

Properly preparing the surface of the concrete is vital. Unless you do so, the epoxy will not stick properly.

At this point, you will be mixing the epoxy coating. Each epoxy may have its own specific options for mixing so you will have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Start by applying the epoxy along the perimeter and then roll on the epoxy on the surface. Wait until it dries according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then apply a second coat.

Finally, you will need to apply a finish to the epoxy floor. In some cases, this may include a colored flake that will dress the floor up and make it beautiful.

What Tools And Preparation Are Needed?

Tools use for the floor

As is the case with any type of DIY project, you will want to have the proper tools on hand in advance. Using the right tools will help the job go quickly and smoothly.

Here are some of the tools you will need for preparing the concrete and putting down the epoxy:

  • Shop Vacuum
  • Stiff Bristled Brush
  • Hose
  • Scraper
  • Industrial Scrubber or Acid Brush
  • Squeegee
  • Paintbrushes
  • Rollers
  • 5 Gallon Buckets
  • Plastic Bags
  • Duct Tape
  • Safety Glasses
  • Respirator
  • Rubber Gloves

Putting epoxy coatings over concrete is an excellent way to dress up the room and make it beautiful. It also provides a durable finish that will stand up to plenty of foot traffic and even some abuse in industrial areas. Epoxy coatings are highly customizable, so they can be used to beautify any room in the home.

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