Can I Tile Over Painted Concrete: Do Your Flooring Right The First Time you ever watched Bob Ross as a kid, you know that sometimes there are faster and better ways to accomplish your goals. Can you tile over painted concrete? Sadly, unlike quick, happy little trees, this paint isn’t better, and the quick route won’t give you beautiful, lasting results. A painted concrete floor is sealed with a removable coating. By bonding your tiles and mortar to that layer of paint, it has a less stable connection to a very thin coat of material. Paint is more likely to peel off under pressure. Luckily, you can use a layer of epoxy to get the bond you need. I’ll help you sort out what can stick to painted concrete and explain how to get a better bond. Good tile work should last for years. Sadly, bad tiling will come apart, causing you to spend more time and money on repairs.

Can I tile over painted concrete? You cannot tile over painted concrete since the paint prevents mortar from bonding to the floor. Because the bond forms between the paint and the tile, your tiles will peel up more easily, leaving you to do the job twice. Instead, remove the paint and cover the floor with a solid epoxy coat for secure tiles on the concrete subflooring.

Do You Need To Remove Paint From Concrete Before Tiling

Although you could technically place tiles over painted concrete, it won’t last. You need to remove the paint first, so your mortar has a solid surface to bond with. Paint tends to flake off as it ages. Moreover, a layer of paint is less than a millimeter thick, while a concrete floor is several inches.

Some people opt for scratching the paint’s surface to bond with the floor underneath. Even sanding will not give you a secure surface on which to place your tiles. Damaged paint is still paint. The difference is that sanded paint is even thinner than the original.

The best option is to clean the paint off, but you can also opt for a thick layer of epoxy. The relative hardness of epoxy coating makes a solid surface for your mortar to bond with. The downside to epoxy is that it dries smooth.

Luckily, you can solve this issue quickly and easily with a bit of sandpaper or a sander. By de-glossing the epoxy, you give that mortar a much more secure surface to hold on to. Choose eighty grit sandpaper for scratching an epoxy surface.

I recommend Rust-Oleum 251965 Epoxyshield works on garages or any concrete floor. For tiling, skip the decorative chips and use Epoxyshield as a clear coat. At five times more durable than single-part epoxies, this well-known and trusted brand gives you a durable bond. Learn all about it on Amazon when you click right here. 

Will Mortar Stick To Painted Concrete

Mortar is a blend of sand, lime, and cement, allowing you to tile over clean concrete or de-glossed epoxy, but you cannot say the same for painted concrete. Take the time to remove the paint with a solvent and clean the floors well before you begin tiling. The extra time it takes is worth the effort.

Unless you plan to re-tile sections every few months or years, this is the best way to create a solid base for your mortar. Interestingly, the biggest difference between cement and mortar is that cement has gravel added to it and tends to be a thinner consistency with less water to cement. Otherwise, the mixes are very similar to mortar.

The mortar needs a solid, textured, or porous surface to stick well. Whether it’s glossy, matte, or even chalkboard paint, Paint has a smooth, thin surface. Basically, paint is the exact opposite of what mortar needs.

Without mortar, you can’t stick tile properly. Whether you are using a standard mortar or a thin set, you still need the right surface. The difference between thin-set and regular is that thin-set is a modified adhesive with higher moisture content. Hence, thin set will also stick well to clean concrete.

Will Peel And Stick Tile Stick To Painted Concrete

Unlike regular tile, you can put peel and stick tile over painted concrete. So long as the floor is a solid, smooth surface, the paint can work as a primer. However, any small bumps, cracks, or imperfections will show through over time.

It is crucial to have a smoothed floor surface for the adhesive to stick well. The greater the area the adhesive comes in contact with, the more solid the bond will be. When there are imperfections in your painted flooring, it creates air pockets below the stick-on tiles.

Over time, the areas where the glue didn’t stick will dry, bend, crack or even allow moisture and mold to accrue. This is another reason to choose an epoxy coat before you tile. Since many epoxies are self-leveling and fill in gaps and other small imperfections, you get a fresh surface to stick those tiles on. However, you will still want to de-gloss with sandpaper after your epoxy dries, so the glue gets a solid hold.

Ensure that you clean any debris from sanding off the floor before using peel and stick tiles. Bits of epoxy dust will create those same imperfections and small air pockets that ruin vinyl tile flooring so quickly.

Check out MPC Clear Epoxy Resin Coating for Floors & Counter Tops. This self-leveling epoxy coat is compliant with the CFIA regulations and contains no solvent. Better still, it meets the VOC regulations limit of under 100 g/L for architectural floor coatings and works well as a binder coating. Plus, you’ll love how well it insulates between concrete and vinyl or other tiles. Have Amazon ship to your door quickly when you click here. 

Can You Tile Over Sealed Concrete

Just as you cannot tile over painted concrete, you also can’t tile over sealed concrete. A sealant layer prevents moisture or anything else from reaching the concrete. While this is excellent for bare concrete flooring, it isn’t terrific if you want to attach anything.

Mortar attaches to the surface below it to hold your tiles in place. Even peel and stick tile needs to attach to a sanded surface. The sad news is that you will need to remove that layer of sealant. However, once you do this, you can coat the floor in epoxy and then de-gloss the very top surface for a sealed cement that you can tile over.

Doing this is a smart way to prevent any damage to the original sub-flooring and maintain a moisture barrier. Using epoxy as a layer between cement and mortar or paint also gives you the option to remove the tile without tearing up pieces of cement in the process.

Upgrade your flooring with Rust-Oleum 292514 EpoxyShield Premium Floor Coating. You can reseal or coat directly on top of sealed concrete with this ingenious concrete epoxy system. Not only will this cover bare concrete, but it covers twice as much space on a painted floor. Low in VOCs and odor, EpoxyShield Premium is perfect for indoor spaces. With a high gloss finish, you can walk on this floor in just twenty-four hours. Read the excellent Amazon reviews for yourself by clicking here. 

Check For Concrete Sealant

Determining whether your concrete is sealed is incredibly simple. To accomplish this task, you will need water and your eyes. Although cement resists water to a certain extent, it will change color as it absorbs a small amount of the water.

Alternately, a sealed cement floor will cause the water to bead up and sit on the surface without absorbing. In short, if the floor doesn’t change color after a couple of seconds when you pour water on it, you have a sealed floor.

To remove the sealer, it would be best to use a sandblaster. Although you need a little experience and protective clothing, this is the fastest and simplest way to remove all the sealant from cement. However, you can also hire a professional if necessary.

Can You Tile Over A Painted Concrete Block Wall

You can’t put tile over a painted concrete block wall. Unfortunately, the paint and surface are sub-optimal for mortar. It won’t stick, and you’ll end up breaking a lot of tile pieces in the process.

Luckily, in this case, there is an easier solution. Use 3.4 expanded metal lath. This mesh covering can be nailed to the existing concrete to provide a surface for your mortar. Once installed, you can use the lath instead of the wall behind it to hold up your mortar and tiles.

You will need to mix your thin set to the consistency of (creamy) peanut butter for this project. The thick mortar will fill the gaps between the mesh and smooth well over the surface. Once this layer has dried overnight, you can mix a new batch and set your tiles in place. Please note, it may take longer to dry in damp climates.

Final Thoughts

Adding mortar over paint is never a great plan. Though it may work in the short term, you cannot tile over painted concrete directly. Adding a layer of epoxy will give you a substantial connection that holds better and lasts longer.

Removing paint is time-consuming but not overly difficult. You can dissolve it with a paint stripper or sand it away. Sometimes a heat gun will help with paint removal, but it depends on the type of paint. Sand basting is the fastest, and it doesn’t have the nasty fumes you get with a paint stripping solution. Moreover, you can vacuum or blow sandblasted paint away when you finish.

You can still use epoxy if your concrete is unpainted. Since concrete epoxy works as a thin set for tile, you will have a lovely, solid tile floor regardless of the paint layer.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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