How to Apply Epoxy Coating Over a Tile Floor

Vintage-style, checkered tile floor in a bathroom, beneath a claw foot tub.
What You'll Need
60-grit sandpaper
Belt sander
Tack cloth
Clear, oil-based primer
Flat, oil-based floor paint (optional)
Epoxy coating or polyurethane
220-grit sandpaper

Epoxy coating is a very strong substance that can be used in a myriad of applications. It is often used as an adhesive and to seal floors, in which case it is often called polyurethane. When you use this coating on a floor, it not only seals it from water damage, but also prevents nicks and scratches. A tile floor is especially susceptible to water damage and broken tiles, so an epoxy coating that can prevent this kind of damage is a useful investment. It is not often applied to tile because of the long curing time, but doing so is worth the hassle of not constantly worrying about repairs. Follow the steps below to cover your tile floor and keep it protected.

Step 1 - Clean and Prepare the Tile Floor

Scrubbing tile flooring

Tile is covered with a smooth finish that prevents anything from getting through to the surface. If you expect to apply an epoxy coating, then you need to get the finish to a point where it can accept the coating. So first, sweep the floor, clean it with soap and water, and allow it to dry. Once the floor is clean, you can sand it to give it a texture for the epoxy to grip. Attach the 60-grit sandpaper to the belt sander and begin sanding the tile. Be careful that you don't sand too much because you do not want to completely damage the finish. When you have completed this task, wipe the tile with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Step 2 - Apply Primer

The clear primer allows for the epoxy coating to adhere to the floor without destroying the color of the tile. If you want to change the color of the tile, use a white primer that will allow you to paint on a layer of floor paint.

Begin at one of the corners, and apply an even coat of primer over the entire floor. It's important to follow the design of the tile as well as primer the grout. Allow the primer to cure for a day.

Step 3 - Add Paint (optional)

A stir stick in blue paint

If you want to change the floor color then apply a layer of floor paint on top of the primer. Work as you did with the primer to cover the entire surface. You want three layers of paint, so don't worry if the first does not cover the tile completely. Allow each layer to dry before applying another.

Step 4 - Finish with the Epoxy Coating

Finally, it's time to add the epoxy. Begin in the same corner as you did previously, and work slowly using a brush so you avoid streaks. Allow the top coat to dry, and then sand it with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe down with a clean tack cloth before you apply another coat. When you are finished you will have four to six coats in total. Do not buff the floor, and wait a day or two before walking on it to ensure you don't damage the final result before it cures.