Epoxy is a chemical compound that can make your old and worn countertops look new and shiny. Epoxy countertops are getting more popular because they last a long time and look really nice.
Another good thing about epoxy is that it’s budget-friendly. Putting epoxy on your old countertop costs less than getting a new one. If you want your countertops to look like marble or granite but don’t want to spend much money, epoxy is a great choice. You can use it on tile countertops in both your kitchen and bathroom to get a fancy look without spending too much.
To start, you’ll need to buy an epoxy countertop kit. These kits usually have two bottles: one filled with resin and the other with a hardener. This guide will show you the exact steps to put epoxy on your tile countertop.
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Table of Contents
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Here are some usual mistakes people make when putting epoxy on tile countertops. Avoiding these can help you get a great-looking countertop.
Room Temperature Below 70 Degrees: Keep the room and the epoxy between 70 to 75 degrees for best results. You will only get the look you want if the temperature is right. After you put the epoxy on, keep the room at this temperature for another 24 hours to let the epoxy set right.
Not Mixing Epoxy: You need to mix the epoxy resin well. Stir it for 3 minutes in a container to avoid sticky spots and bubbles on your countertop.
Wrong Measurement: Epoxy countertops need a 1:1 ratio of resin to hardener. To get a strong and lasting surface, mix it in the correct ratio. You can find this information on the container or package.
Here are some other mistakes to watch out for:
- Using the wrong amount of epoxy
- Not getting the surface ready
- Keeping epoxy at the wrong temperature
Next, we’ll review the exact steps for putting epoxy on tile countertops.
Tools and Materials Required
For this project, you’ll need various tools, including a 6-inch paint roller, orbital sander, brushes, drill, trim router, and an oscillating tool. The materials you’ll need include:
- 80- and 220-grit sanding sponges
- Four 1-quart cups
- A plastic sheet
- A spray bottle
- Two 2-gallon buckets
- Two 6-inch 3/8-inch-nap roller sleeves
- Two paddle mixers
- Wiping cloths
Steps to Apply Epoxy Over Tile Countertops
Step 1: Remove the Tile Backsplash (Optional)
If you aim for a seamless look that mimics marble or granite, remove the existing tile backsplash. An oscillating tool equipped with a carbide blade is ideal for this task. After removal, fill the gaps between the countertop and the wall using wood glue or sawdust.
Step 2: Remove Your Sink
If there’s a sink integrated into your countertop, it’s advisable to remove it. This step will protect the sink from any epoxy spills and make it easier for you to apply tape around the edges of the countertop.
Step 3: Route the Corners of the Countertop
Sharp corners can detract from the overall look of your epoxy countertop. For a more polished appearance, consider rounding off these corners.
Step 4: Fill Out Seams
Ensure that all seams and gaps are adequately filled to provide a smooth surface for the epoxy.
Step 5: Sand the Surface
Once you’ve filled in the seams and gaps, you may notice some uneven areas. Use 60-grit sandpaper to smooth out these high spots, focusing on the countertop’s rounded corners, top, and front edge.
Step 6: Masking
Protect areas you don’t want to get epoxy on by using tape and plastic sheets. Place a plastic sheet on the floor beneath the countertop and also cover adjacent walls to prevent accidental spills.
Step 6: Prepare the Material
Before you begin the epoxy application, double-check to ensure all your materials are prepared and within easy reach.
Step 7: Apply Primer
Combine a two-part primer in a bucket and use a roller to apply it to the countertop and its edges. If the old color is still visible after the first coat, consider applying a second coat for better coverage.
Step 8: Pre-Mix the Highlights
After applying the primer, wait for about an hour until it becomes tacky to the touch. You can pre-mix the metallic powder with the epoxy resin during this time. However, hold off on adding the hardener until you’re ready to apply the epoxy.
Step 9: Apply the Base Coat of Epoxy
apply the base coat. Mixing the epoxy in two separate buckets using a clean, sturdy stick is a good idea. Pour a generous amount of epoxy onto the countertop and spread it evenly using a roller.
Step 10: Roll the Edges
Pay attention to the edges of the countertop. Make sure you apply epoxy there as well, ensuring complete coverage.
Step 11: Add Highlights
- Stir your highlight mixture for 2 to 3 minutes to achieve a more elegant look.
- Pour the highlights onto the countertop surface.
- Before adding more, assess whether you need additional highlights, as you can’t remove them once applied.
Step 12: Drag Highlights
Use a brush to gently drag the highlights, creating a unique pattern on the countertop. Let the base coat of epoxy cure before adding the highlights to ensure proper blending.
Step 13: Sweep Off Drips
Remove any drips that may be hanging from the front edge of the countertop. If you notice any bugs or dust particles on the surface, a toothpick can be helpful for removal.
Step 14: Apply Protective Topcoat
The final step involves applying a protective topcoat. You’ll need to wait about 20 hours after applying the highlights before you can add this topcoat. Ensure the surface is free of dust and drips before you begin. Mix the topcoat in a container, pour it onto the surface, and quickly spread it around using a roller. Allow about a week for the countertop to set fully.
Safety Tips for Applying Epoxy Over Tile Countertops
- Protect your eyes: Wear chemical goggles with side shields to protect your eyes from splashes.
- Protect your hands: Wear gloves before you begin, and wash your hands before and after using gloves to avoid any chemical reactions.
- Protect your skin: To protect your skin from harmful chemicals, wear a full-body coverall, also known as a boilersuit.
- Protect your feet: Wear boots to protect your feet in case any chemicals spill.
You’re now armed with the information you need to apply epoxy over your tile countertops successfully. While epoxy offers a cost-effective and visually appealing alternative, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t quite match the durability of natural stones like marble or granite.
If you’re considering taking on this project, consult with experts in the field. They can provide additional insights and help you avoid potential pitfalls. Happy renovating!