Can You Apply Epoxy Over Tiles?
The short answer is yes, and this guide will take you through it.
Update old or outdated tile surfacing by using StoneCoat Countertops epoxy. You can get a fresh new look for your countertops without the hassle and stress of removing tiles. Don’t worry! We’ll break the process down for you, step by step, starting with the prepping stage.
If you want to, follow along with us in the video above!
Prepping Tile Countertops for StoneCoat Countertops Epoxy
First, you’ll want to protect areas around the surface that you’ll be prepping. Use a masking gun or a hand masker to section off those areas to avoid dirtying them. In the video above, we tape a section to show how this process will completely transform the space.
Clean Your Tiles
Clean the surface of your tiles using an all-purpose degreaser. You’ll want to do this before any sanding to avoid sanding any debris into the tile. Simply spritz a little of the cleaner and wipe it down with paper towel.
If your countertops have excess grease or debris, you’ll want to spend a little extra time cleaning them up. This can be common with countertops near the stove.
After the degreaser, spray the surface with a glass cleaner. They typically won’t leave behind any residue, which makes it great to finish up the cleaning with.
Now let’s move on to sanding.
Sand Your Tiles
Sanding as a process serves to help create a strong mechanical bond that will allow future layers of material to adhere better. The first step in this sanding process is to take a 60-grit sander and scuff the surface up.
Don’t forget to wipe up the dust afterward. Here’s a pro tip: you can also use a little bit of that glass cleaner to help clean that dust up!
Apply Bonding Primer for Adhesion
Next, you’ll need to apply a layer of bonding primer which will help with adhering to glossy surfaces like tiles. You only need a thin layer of something like the XIM Advanced Technology UMA White we sell on our website because a little will go a long way. Use a smaller roller to apply that thin layer and allow it to dry for around 30 minutes.
Hide Those Grout Lines + Float the Tile
Once the bonding primer has dried, you can move on to the process for smoothing out tile grout lines. To start, use a combination of a thin-set resurfacing product and a concrete bonding adhesive (which serves as the ‘water’ in the mixture). Shake the bonding adhesive while the bottle is closed before mixing. Use a drill and paddle to mix to a consistency similar to that of chunky peanut butter.
Here's a quick tip: you can sometimes get these resurfacing products in different colors. We find that using different colors helps you see what is and isn’t covered. For this layer, our resurfacing product is white and the product we use in our next step is a dark gray.
Remember, you can always add more of the bonding adhesive, but you can’t take any away. It’s a great idea to start with small amounts and increase accordingly.
Spread the mixture out onto the prepared surface using a trowel of choice (we start with a 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch square trowel. Use a little bit of pressure to work it into the surface with the smooth side of the trowel.
You can use your gloved hands to apply the material along the edges of your countertop and even everything out with your trowel. You can then go back over the lines with a bigger trowel to smooth them out completely.
Finally, while the material is still wet, wipe it down with a sponge to ensure the surface dries extra smooth. At this point, we had to pull the masking tape off. We then had to re-cover with some fresh tape and then let the resurfacing product and bonding adhesive combo dry.
Another Day, Another Resurfacer Layer
Allow the previous layer to dry for a day and then it’s time for the next step! Now, we want to add a layer of a thinner concrete resurfacer.
Before doing that, sand the previous layer with a 60-grit sander to remove any roughness and sweep off the particles from the sanding process.
Mix your thin concrete resurfacer with the bonding adhesive until you reach a thickness that is thinner than something like honey. Spread the mixture with your 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch square notch trowel, pushing it over the edges. It’ll feel easier to move around than the previous resurfacer product because it’s much thinner.
Again, you can apply the mixture to the edges of your countertop with your gloved hands and smooth everything over with a larger trowel. If you’re finding that, for some reason, the material isn’t flowing well, you can always add a bit more bonding adhesive to the mix.
After another day, sand everything down with a 150-grit sander to remove any lingering rough texture.
Now, it’s almost time for the epoxy!
Apply Epoxy Over Tiles
Right before we mix up our epoxy, we’re actually going do a bit spray painting. Using black and nickel (although you can use whatever colors you’d like), we create undertones of color and depth that will sit beneath the epoxy. Once the spray paint dries, it’s now time for the epoxy.
Measure and mix your epoxy according to bottle instructions. This first layer will reflect the color of your new countertops, so if you want to add in dyes or powders, you can. We chose to mix in black metallic powder for the base coat.
Spread the epoxy out with your square notch trowel and use a brush to coat the edges.
To create more texture, we took white spray paint and sprayed right into the epoxy. We then used a paintbrush to ‘chop’ that spray paint in. By ‘chop’ we mean use a dabbing motion. This will marble the layer and help remove trowel marks.
Any of these steps involving color and spray paint are totally customizable to the look you want to achieve. For example, we keep going by adding another spray of black. On top of that, we spray a combo of silver spray paint and 91% isopropyl alcohol, which will cause the black paint to fracture, creating a unique finish.
We continued to layer the black spray paint and silver spray paint/alcohol combo until we’re satisfied with the finish.
You’ll want to peel any tape after this layer has dried for a few hours and reapply more.
Finally, allow this layer to dry overnight.
The Final Epoxy Layer
Before applying the final clear layer of epoxy, you’ll want to sand the previous layer with a sanding sponge (that has a grit of around 150–220) to create a few scratches and help with adhesion.
Measure and mix the final clear coat, pour, and trowel it out. Use a brush for the edges and chop or dab it to create a smoother finish.
To limit and eliminate bubbles, use a blowtorch several times, waiting roughly five minutes in between each torching.
Now let it dry and enjoy your new countertops!