If you're just joining me here, welcome! I'm sharing all the details for my DIY kitchen renovation, and right now we're in the midst of a series of posts about the epoxy countertops I poured. If you're considering doing this yourself, be sure to pause and read the Backstory post before diving in. It has all the relevant details you'll need.
The countertops after Day 1
For my kitchen, since I chose to pour the epoxy over existing tile, there were a few prep steps that needed to take place. The prep work took more than a full 48 hours, so if you're doing this yourself know it'll be Day 3 before you actually get to the epoxy process. Make sure you start early on Day 1, because once you finish the work on Day 1, you have to wait a full 24 hrs before starting Day 2, and then a full 24 hours at the end of Day 2 before starting the epoxy on Day 3.
But before you start anything, there is one thing you have to do, and I can't emphasize this enough: cover EVERYTHING. The floor should be covered with paper. Appliances and cabinets should be covered with masking plastic and tape. Choose clothing that you're prepared to throw out at the end of the epoxy process. Yes, even the shoes, hat and undergarments. I know. I know. I said "I'm a careful person. It'll be fine." Reader, it was not fine. It was an effing disaster zone. Final tip: Have plenty of disposable rags, sponges, and isopropyl rubbing alcohol on hand. Clean up can be messy, and if you accidentally get anything on you, the rubbing alcohol is a life saver for getting it off before you get chemical burns. Now, onto the actual prep process, which starts after you've covered the kitchen floor, cabinets, etc.
The first step was degreasing and sanding the existing tile. I used a Clorox kitchen degreaser, followed by Windex to remove any remaining residue. I then created a rough surface on the tile by sanding with a 60 grit sandpaper and my ryobi sander. It's important to degrease first so you don't further bury/force in any existing grease when you sand. After sanding, wipe everything down with Windex again and allow to dry.
Once they are dry to the touch, cover the tile and grout with a masonry bonding primer. This one is a great choice. You'll need approximately 8oz per 30 sqft. Apply one thin coat using a low nap microfiber roller. Allow it to dry for 30 minutes.
While the bonding primer is drying, mix up your Versabond, using a polymer compound in place of the water - it helps everything to bond more firmly to your existing surface, which is what you want. The Versabond is there to provide a firm bond between the old tile and the self leveling concrete you'll be using to create a base for the epoxy in the next step. I mixed my Versabond in a 5 gallon bucket using a drill mixing paddle until it reached a chunky, peanut butter like thickness. For reference, you can go back and watch the full tutorial video here. Use a smooth trowel, or the smooth side of a notched trowel, to apply the mixture in a smooth, even layer, covering the tile but not leaving any area too thick, then use your gloved hand to cover the front edge of the countertop (there's great video visuals in the full tutorial of all this). After you've covered everything and leveled it as best you can with your trowel, use a damp sponge to smooth everything. Then let it dry for 24 hours. Congratulations! You've finished Day 1.
I'll have Day 2 up on Tuesday next week, with the final prep steps before we actually get started on pouring the epoxy. For today, here is the full supply list and a step by step instruction list for quick reference. You can shop all the products I used in the Shop The Post images below. Any questions? Ask in the comments, or shoot me a message on Instagram @simplicityandcoffee.
Clorox degreaser or similar
Paper, Masking Tape and Masking plastic for covering surfaces
5 gallon buckets
60 grit sand paper
Power sander (optional)
Paint tray with liner
Low nap microfiber paint roller
Drill with paddle mixer attachment
Versabond (1 bag)
Polymer compound (1 Gallon)
Degrease tile, then clean with Windex
Sand tile using a 60 grit sand paper
Clean with Windex again
Using a roller, paint entire surface with a thin coat of bonding primer, being sure to get grout well
Allow to dry for 30 minutes
Mix Versabond + Polymer compound with a mixing paddle in a 5 gallon bucket to a peanut butter like consistency
Apply to the entire surface of the tile with a smooth trowel, using gloved hands to get the front edge
Smooth with a damp sponge
Allow to dry for 24 hrs
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