Can You Put Epoxy Floor Over Paint? (How-To)

Epoxy flooring is one of the most durable floor finishes. It can be used on several types of floor materials ranging from concrete to wooden floors. But can you put epoxy flooring over a painted surface? Here is the answer to that.

You can put an epoxy floor over a painted surface but it’s advised to sand the paint lightly to remove any grime or dirt that can repel the epoxy resin.

Also, you should go for a colored epoxy flooring that will match the color of the old paint that you intend to use the epoxy resin on. Using colored a colored epoxy resin yields better results on a painted surface than clear epoxy.

If you previously used oil-based paint on the floor, it’s advised to seal the oil paint first before applying the epoxy flooring.

This post reveals more about putting epoxy floor over paint. So, let’s dive in.

Do You Have To Seal Paint Before Epoxy?

You don’t have to seal paint before applying epoxy over it unless the paint is oil-based. This is because oil-based paints when dry form a glossy sheen that prevents inter-coat adhesion with epoxy. Oil paints also have a high level of strong chemicals and volatile organic compounds that will clash with the epoxy resin.

So using a sealant on the oil-based paint seals the glossy sheen so the epoxy resin can bond well. Oil-based paint should be sealed with 3 coats of polyurethane finish before putting epoxy floor over it.

Water-based paint on the other hand doesn’t have to be sealed before epoxy flooring is applied over it. This is because latex paints don’t have a glossy sheen or a high level of active chemicals.

Sealing a paint before using epoxy floor resin on it isn’t usually needed unless the old paint is oil-based.

Oil-based paints and epoxy flooring don’t have good adhesive qualities when used with each other. This is due to the oil-based nature of oil paints. Oil paints also have a high level of strong chemicals and volatile organic compounds.

The natural synthetic oils, strong chemicals, and VOCs in the oil paint all make it very difficult for the epoxy floor resin to adhere to it.

And, this is why – Epoxy flooring is a two-part finish that has a hardener and resin. For the epoxy flooring to be achieved, the resin and hardener will bond in a chemical reaction to produce an ultra-thick epoxy finish on the floor.

So if you put an epoxy floor on oil paints, the result wouldn’t bond well because the chemicals in the oil paints will interfere with the chemical reaction of the epoxy resin and hardener. Eventually, the finish will not stick well to the oil paint.

Related Read: How To Apply Polyurethane On Concrete?

How To Put Epoxy Floor Over Existing Paint (Made Easy)

Putting epoxy floor over existing paint isn’t a tough task but it can yield a bad result if adequate preparation isn’t done. To put an epoxy floor over existing paint, you will need the following tools:

  • Water
  • Clean Rags
  • The Required Type Of Epoxy Floor
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Shield
  • A Foam Paintbrush Or Roller
  • Large Drop cloth or Drop Sheet
  • Painter’s Tape
  • An Epoxy Floor Sealant
  • Epoxy Floor Primer
  • Rubbing Alcohol (Optional)
  • Oil-Based Polyurethane (To Seal Oil-Based Paint)

Here is how to put epoxy floor over existing paint:

  1. Prep Your Workspace
  2. Tape A Large Drop Sheet On The Floor
  3. Sand The Existing Paint
  4. Seal The Paint If it is Oil-Based
  5. Clean The floor And Leave It To Dry
  6. Mix The Epoxy Floor
  7. Prime The Floor
  8. Apply The Epoxy Floor
  9. Seal The Epoxy Floor

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Prep Your Workspace

Prep Your Workspace

Before applying the epoxy, you should ensure the workspace is carefully prepped. This means you should tape the bottom of the walls and doors so the epoxy doesn’t get on them while you are painting the floor. You should also remove all objects and furniture on the floor.

Open all windows and doors for adequate ventilation. Epoxy floor has a very strong chemical odor because of the presence of resins in the finish. The resins shouldn’t be inhaled because they are toxic. So ensure to allow proper ventilation. If there aren’t enough windows, you should install a fan in the room first.

2. Tape A Large Drop Sheet On The Floor

Tape A Large Drop Sheet On The Floor

The next step is to check if the floor is dry enough for the epoxy floor to be applied on it. To do this, place a large drop sheet on the floor. Then tape the edges of the sheet to hold it in place.

Leave the floor for about 24 hours. Then lift the drop sheet to check if the underside is wet. If the drop sheet is wet, you shouldn’t put floor epoxy on the floor because the epoxy will not bond well. If it’s a newly painted floor, then the paint needs more time to cure or dry.

However, if the underside of the drop sheet is dry, then you can go ahead with the task.

3. Sand The Existing Paint

Sand The Existing Paint

The existing paint should be sanded lightly to scuff the paint. This helps to improve paint bonding. When you sand the paint, you create tiny holes and scratch marks on the paint that the epoxy floor can soak into after it has been applied.

To sand, the existing paint, use fine-grit sandpaper. Coarse sandpaper will do more than just scuff the paint. It can remove the entire paint.

If you plan on sanding a large surface area, then sanding manually isn’t an option because it will be time-consuming. Instead, you can use an orbital sander or floor sander.

After you have sanded the existing paint, ensure to wipe down the lower parts of the walls and doors to get rid of dust nibs. If you don’t, the dust nibs can fall on the epoxy floor during or after it has been applied.

4. Seal The Paint

Seal The Paint

If you want to put the epoxy floor over oil-based paint, then you need to seal the oil-based paint first. Apply 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane on the oil paint to seal the finish. Let the oil-based polyurethane cure before you move on with the task. This will take a few days.

5. Clean The Floor

Clean The Floor

The next step is to properly clean the floor. This is very important to get rid of any stains on the painted floor. If there are oil stains on the floor, then you need to remove them using a mild solvent like rubbing alcohol.

But be careful not to use a solvent that can damage the paint underneath. Solvents like mineral spirits and paint thinners shouldn’t be used to clean stains on the paint because such solvents can remove the existing paint.

Related Read: Can You Apply Latex Over Polyurethane?

6. Mix The Epoxy Floor

Mix The Epoxy Floor

The next step is to mix the epoxy floor. An epoxy floor is a two-part paint that needs to be mixed in the right amount to create the epoxy finish.

To do this, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The usual ratio is to mix equal parts of the epoxy floor resin with the epoxy floor hardener. The resin is in simple words the epoxy paint while the hardener is the part that makes the paint strong.

The two-part epoxy should be mixed in the paint container. Stir the paint only if indicated by the manufacturer. After the two parts of the epoxy floor have been mixed, cover the container with the lid and wait for about an hour. This allows all the ingredients to be properly mixed and settled.

Since you plan on using the epoxy floor on a painted surface, it’s advised to purchase a colored epoxy floor finish rather than a clear coat epoxy.

Using a clear coat of epoxy on a painted surface will make the resulting finish dull. However, if you use a colored epoxy with the same color as the existing paint, the resulting finish will be bright and colorful.

Related Read: How Long Does It Take Epoxy Paint To Dry?

7. Prime The Floor

Prime The Floor

This step is less important since you are applying the epoxy over a painted floor or existing floor. The existing paint if prepped properly will serve as a good base coat or primer for the epoxy floor finish.

However, you should prime the floor if you notice dents, cracks, and imperfections on the floor. These small cracks and holes will suck the epoxy floor finish after it is applied. This will lead to uneven paint application and an amateurish finish.

So you should use a primer to fill and seal the cracks and holes in the floor before applying the epoxy floor finish. Ensure to use a suitable primer for epoxy flooring. You need a coat or two of the required primer.

8. Apply The Epoxy Floor

Apply The Epoxy Floor

When the floor surface is properly prepped and the epoxy has been well mixed, you are ready to apply the finish on the floor. However, this step will be broken down into 5 tips so you are not overwhelmed by the instructions. Let’s get to it.

First Tip

To apply the finish, begin with thin coats. It’s not a good idea to start with heavy coatings because the epoxy will be very difficult to control. Start painting the floor at the edges. This means you should start at the corners of the floor.

Second Tip

Ensure to use a small paintbrush to apply the epoxy floor on the edges. Using a large paintbrush will most likely get the epoxy on the walls.

When you have painted the edges, then you can go ahead to paint the main floor. To do this, you can use a larger paintbrush so you can cover more ground. You can also use a foam roller to cover the wider areas of the floor with epoxy.

Third Tip

You should use a paint shield while applying the floor epoxy in tight corners on the floor. The paint shield will prevent you from applying the epoxy on areas where you don’t want to. Paint shields keep the epoxy floor finish where it should be used on.

Fourth Tip

You need 2 coats of the epoxy floor for a strong and durable finish. It takes about 24 hours for the first coating to cure enough for another coat. This means you will need two cans of epoxy resin and a hardener. This is because once the epoxy resin and hardener are mixed, it must be used within 2 hours.

So even if you don’t finish the first mixture of the epoxy floor, the leftover epoxy will have gone bad before you can apply a second coat.

Fifth Tip

You should never apply epoxy paints using a spray gun or paint sprayer. As stated earlier, epoxy finish has resins and other toxic chemicals included in its formula.

If you spray the finish, the spray gun will spew resins in the air and these resins shouldn’t be inhaled. So use a foam brush or foam roller.

9. Seal The Epoxy Floor

Seal The Epoxy Floor

When the epoxy floor has cured completely, you should apply a top coat to seal the finish. Usually, epoxy floor is durable enough without a sealant or topcoat.

However, if you applied the epoxy floor on a surface that will see heavy action like the garage floor or walkway, it is advised to seal the epoxy finish with a sealant to prevent peeling and color changes.

When you have completed all these steps, you have successfully applied epoxy floor over the paint.

Will Epoxy Floor Stick To Paint?

Epoxy floor will stick to water-based paints and acrylic paints but epoxy floor will not stick to oil-based paints. This is because oil paints have strong chemicals and volatile organic compounds that can interfere with the epoxy’s chemical bonding process.

The best paint or base coat to use before applying epoxy floor is latex or water-based paint. This is because epoxy floors will adhere to latex paints since latex paints have a low level of active chemicals.

Epoxy flooring is a strong and durable finish used on different floor materials. But to arrive at this strong epoxy finish, the epoxy floor has to be mixed.

An epoxy floor is a two-part paint that consists of a hardener and resin. Both parts of the epoxy floor have to be mixed to create a chemical reaction that will produce a strong epoxy finish.

However, oil paints have a high level of strong and active chemicals that can interfere with the epoxy’s bonding process.

So epoxy floor will not stick to oil paints well except the oil paint is sealed. Oil paints are usually sealed with 3 coats of polyurethane finish since polyurethane and epoxy floor bond well together.

So before you apply epoxy over a painted surface, you must first check the type of paint used on the surface. To do this, you can use the water test:

Put a few drops of water on the paint and leave it for a few minutes. If the water turns dark or black, then the paint is oil-based.

The water will turn black because of the presence of chemicals in the oil paint. These chemicals will also prevent the epoxy floor from adhering to the oil paint.

However, if the water doesn’t change color, then the paint is water-based. The absence of chemicals and VOCs in the latex paint will make the epoxy floor stick well to it.

How Long Does Epoxy Paint Last On Concrete?

Epoxy floor finish lasts between 15 years and 30 years on concrete. On average, epoxy floor paint will last 20 years on concrete floor before it begins to show signs of chipping and dents.

Epoxy paint is a very strong and durable finish that will last for decades if applied correctly. However, there is no specific time frame for the epoxy paint to last on concrete.

The durability of the epoxy paint on concrete depends on several factors that can influence the epoxy and the concrete underneath such as moisture, traffic, and dirt.

For instance, epoxy paint will last longer on a concrete floor in the room than on a concrete garage floor. This is because garage floors will see a lot of heavy action, traffic, and grease. All of which can reduce the durability of the epoxy finish.

However, you can expect epoxy to last up to 20 years on concrete.

Final Words

Overall, you can apply an epoxy floor over a painted floor. You just have to ensure the paint is clean and well sanded. But if you are painting over oil-based paint, you will need to seal the paint with a top coat before applying epoxy floor over it,

Water-based and acrylic paints don’t require a sealant. You just need to clean, sand, and prime the paint. Then you are ready to apply epoxy floor over it.

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