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Can You Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile? (How To)

If you’re considering putting epoxy over ceramic tile, there are some specific things to consider. Perhaps it is most important, however, to know if it is possible in the first place.

Ceramic tile is not the best surface for applying an epoxy finish. It tends to have a glazed finish, which does not allow for the proper adhesion of the epoxy. With the right preparation, you may be able to use it but it still isn’t the best choice.

Of course, just because it is not the best choice does not necessarily mean that it is possible to use it. If you prepare the surface properly and account for any potential problems, you can apply the epoxy and live on it for a number of years.

There are a number of things that need to be considered before you move forward with the job. Some of these may be associated with the preparation process and others may be closely tied to some possible problems you can experience on the way.

Can You Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile? (How To)

One of the ways in which ceramic tile can be prepared for epoxy is by sanding on the surface. This will remove the glaze and make it easier for the epoxy to adhere to the ceramic.

This doesn’t seem like a big problem, but there is actually a hidden danger that you should be aware of. Although ceramic may contain many different materials, one material that it is abundant in is silica.

The silica in ceramic tile is not a problem until it becomes airborne. If you are sanding the ceramic, you may end up breathing in the silica and once it is in your lungs, it does not come out.

Silica exposure can cause a wide variety of health problems, including leading to an incurable disease known as silicosis. That is why it is important to wear respiratory protection if you are dealing with ceramic tile and sanding it. At a minimum, you should wear an N95.

You should also consider other forms of PPE that may be necessary during this type of work. This could include safety glasses or safety goggles, kneepads, and hearing protection.

Finally, don’t simply choose to put epoxy over ceramic tile if you aren’t sure what the end result is going to be. There are a number of problems that we will discuss next and if you don’t consider those in advance, you could end up ruining the job shortly after it is done.

Sometimes, the best choice is to simply tear up the ceramic tile and work on the concrete floor. Putting epoxy over concrete is beautiful and it will last for decades. If you put it over ceramic tile and it is not done properly, it may last a year or two.

At this point, let’s consider a number of different factors associated with this type of job. You may decide that it is the right thing or perhaps the wrong thing for you and your household.

Should You Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile?

We’ve already established the fact that it is possible to put epoxy over ceramic tile. We also discussed the fact that it may not be the best idea. What are some of the problems you should look out for in advance?

Glazing – First and foremost, epoxy has to have the right surface in order to adhere properly. Most ceramic tile is glazed, so it has a very slick and hard surface. That type of tile glazing is going to keep the epoxy from sticking and more than likely, it will begin to flake and peel within a few months after it is down.

That is why it is important to remove the glazing from the ceramic before you do this job. An epoxy primer may also be needed so that it will penetrate the surface of the tile and allow the epoxy to adhere properly.

Visible Joints – Many ceramic tile jobs have visible joints that are filled with grout. That is not typically a problem but if you are floating a ceramic tile floor with epoxy, those grout lines could end up showing.

This can be a real problem because they don’t show at first. You may live on the floor for a few months and suddenly, you begin to notice that the grout lines are appearing.

That is why you need to fill the joints and you need to do them to the fullest extent possible. You can also fill them with a layer of epoxy and then after it cures, you can put the regular epoxy floor down.

Shifting and Cracking – Ceramic tile makes a good floor but if there are any problems with the tile, it is going to end up showing through the epoxy. This could include cracking tiles or a shifting floor.

This isn’t going to be a problem with every installation but it needs to be considered in advance. If there is something wrong with the subfloor or anything that makes the ceramic tile shift, it is going to cause the epoxy to crack.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile?

Gathering the proper tools to put epoxy over ceramic tiles is an important step in the process. What are some of the tools that you will need to gather in advance?

First of all, you need the right tools for preparing the surface. This would include a floor grinder, which can typically be rented from a local hardware store. A floor grinder is going to make short order of removing the glazing from the ceramic tile and preparing it for epoxy.

As you are removing the glaze and shortly after, you will need to start the cleaning process. Have all the cleaning tools that are necessary for this job, including brooms and dust pans, shop vacs, and mops and buckets. You really can’t underestimate the need to keep things clean.

Finally, have the epoxy tools that are necessary to get it done. You should have buckets, epoxy mixing containers, wooden paddles, paintbrushes, rollers, squeegees, rags, painter’s tape, and anything else that will help to make the job easier.

What Preparations Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile?

One of the most important factors for applying epoxy over ceramic tile is preparation. Unless you prepare things properly, the epoxy is not going to adhere and the job will be ruined very quickly.

Take the following steps to prepare the tiles so you can apply the epoxy.

1. Clean – Use a strong degreaser to get as much of the surface grease off of the tiles as possible. This is important, even before you sand or grind the tiles because you don’t want to grind any grease into the tiles.

2. Sand and Grind – During this step in the process, you will be removing the glaze from the top of the ceramic tile. You can do this by renting a grinder or you can use a sander if it is a smaller area.

You’re going to be creating a lot of dust during this process. That dust contains silica, so you need to wear a good respirator to protect your lungs.

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3. Clean – This step in the process is one of the first times you will clean. You will be cleaning again.

4. Primer – Apply a good epoxy primer so that the epoxy will adhere to the tile properly.

5. Float – Use some epoxy to fill in the grout lines and float the surface. You want to have a nice, even, and smooth surface for the rest of the process.

6. Dry – During this final step in the process, you are just going to leave everything alone for 72 hours. Allow it to dry thoroughly so you can apply the final epoxy coat.

How To Put Epoxy On Ceramic Tile

Now that you have taken the time to prepare the surface properly, you will move on to the part of the process where the epoxy is actually laid. When putting the epoxy down, you will find that it does a lot of the work for you.

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Take the following steps to apply epoxy to ceramic tile:

1. Measure and Mix – Typically, you will be using a 50-50 mixture of epoxy and hardener. You should always read the instructions for the specific epoxy that you purchase and plan on using and follow those carefully.

When mixing the epoxy, use a wooden paint stir and mix it by hand. You will need to mix it for about 10 minutes. Mixing it with an electric mixer will introduce bubbles that are undesirable.

2. Pour – After mixing the epoxy, pour it into the middle of the room. You don’t need to worry too much about how much you are putting down, as you will be moving it around after that point.

3. Level – Begin to move the epoxy around the room from the area where you poured it to the outside. You can use squeegees and rollers for this purpose.

Try to get a relatively thin layer of epoxy and don’t worry about it being perfect. The epoxy will seek its own level and will even out many of those imperfections.

If you have any bubbles show up in the epoxy, use a heat gun and wave it over the area without holding it in one spot. It will remove the bubble but getting the epoxy too hot will ruin it.

You can put epoxy over ceramic tile but it is not preferred to do so. Unless it is prepared properly, it will not stick. Once you remove the glaze from the ceramic tile, you can put down a primer and then apply epoxy. It should last for many years.

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