How to apply microcement on old tiles step by step.

Microcement is the best decorative coating for renovating old tiles because it is a highly adherent material and, above all, because it allows tiles to be renovated and covered quickly and without building work.

This added value is not offered by all the coverings on the market and has boosted the use of smoothed microcement on bathroom and kitchen tiles. One of the most sought-after decorative solutions in recent years by both private individuals and professionals from decoration and construction companies.

In this article, we will discuss the main advantages of using microcement as a continuous coating to renovate tiles as well as the most important tips for successfully applying smoothed microcement on tiles.

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Spacious and bright bathroom with old tiles on the floor and shower tray.

Advantages of applying microcement on tiles

1. Microcement can be applied on existing tiles without building work

The main benefit of microcement is its excellent adhesion and compatibility with all types of materials, including tiles, which is the subject we are dealing with today. In this way, microcement is applied directly onto the tiles without the need to remove them.

This means that it is not necessary to carry out work to remove the tiles and, as there is no need to remove debris, no waste is generated, thus saving time and inconvenience, both for the owner of the home or premises and for the neighbours.

2. Microcement on tiles modernises rooms

Applying microcement on old tiles also modernises and quickly transforms spaces, completely changing the design of the rooms. Multiple finishes are possible thanks to the wide variety of microcement textures, varnishes and colours available.

3. Possibility of anti-slip and waterproof finishes of microcement on tiles

Some types of latest-generation microcements themselves provide anti-slip finishes that are very useful, especially when smoothed microcement is used to renovate bathroom floor tiles or kitchen floor tiles.

This is the case of some of the microcements that we manufacture at Topciment (products page), which guarantee continuous non-slip flooring where falls and slips have no place. Although we also have varnishes and sealantsthat have these properties.

Another advantage of applying microcement on old tiles is that waterproof finishes can be achieved. The bathroom, for example, is a room that constantly suffers from environmental humidity and, therefore, not just any decorative coating will do.

At Topciment we have designed specific varnishes with which to seal bathroom wall tiles or shower wall tiles coated with microcement. Varnishes of the highest quality with which the smoothed microcement will perfectly resist environmental humidity and running water (not standing)

Microcement is perfect for coating bathroom and kitchen tiles

As you have seen, the advantages of applying microcement on tiles make this continuous coating ideal for covering bathroom and kitchen tiles. In addition to these qualities, smoothed microcement is easy to maintain and clean.

Below, we show you the before and after of some works in which microcement has been applied on old tiles.

Renovating old tiles with microcement: application and tips

To apply microcement on tiles it is essential to have a professional and qualified applicator who does a good job, such as the microcement installers who work with our microcements.

This is the only way you will not have to regret some of the most frequent problems that are the result of mistakes in the application of microcement.

Before and after bathroom tiles with microcement Sahara coating.
The before and after of a bathroom in which the old tiles on the floor and shower tray have been renovated with Sahara coloured microcement.
Kitchen front tiles coated with microcement in Kiwi colour
The before and after of a kitchen in which the front tiles have been coated with our Kiwi colour microcement.

8 steps to apply microcement on tiles

1. Assessing the state of the tiles

The first thing to do before applying microcement directly on old tiles is to check the condition of the tiles. If the floor or wall tiles have any imperfections, they cannot be coated with microcement as if nothing had happened. The substrate will have to be repaired before laying our smoothed microcement. This is why it is important that the renovation is carried out by a professional, because they will know how to locate these imperfections.

2. Cleaning the tiles before applying microcement

After repairing the tiles, where necessary, the tiles should be thoroughly cleaned before applying smoothed microcement so that they are free of grease and dust.

3. Filling tile joints with microcement

Once the wall or floor on which the tiles are located is clean, it is time to get down to work. The first step in the application of microcement on tiles is to fill the joints. Since smoothed microcement is a continuous coating, if the tile joints are not filled, the substrate will not be stable and there will be unevenness that will mark the joints.

4. Prime the tiles to be coated with microcement

When the surface is level and the tile joints perfectly filled, it is time to apply the corresponding primer or adhesion promoter. This is an essential product as it acts as a bridge between the tiles and the microcement, so that the latter adheres better.

At Topciment we have manufactured a wide range of promoter depending on the surface on which the microcement is applied. In this case, which involves tiles, our experts recommend using one of these two: Primapox®100 Barrier or Primacem Plus. We are going to develop both so that you know which one to use on each occasion.

Primapox®100 Barrier is our epoxy damp-proofing primer that blocks rising damp and acts as a vapour barrier. A 100% solids, two-component adhesion promoter that is perfect for shower wall tiles or bathroom floor tiles. An innovative product that also avoids the sticking of joints in microcement.

On the other hand, you can also use Primacem Plus , our specific primer for non-absorbent surfaces such as tiles, which is applied in a single coat.

Bathroom wall tiles covered with microcement in Calabaza colour
The before and after of a bathroom in which our Calabaza coloured microcement has been used to cover the bathroom wall tiles.

5. Laying fibre mesh on the first layer of microcement on tiles

After allowing the relevant drying time (see technical data sheets), place the fibre mesh on the tiles before applying the microcement to protect the future coating and avoid fissures, cracks, etc. This is a step that not everyone takes into account and which later becomes a big headache.

Next, apply the first layer of microcement base (Microbase) without pigment on the tiles. Once the tiles are well covered by the microcement, without irregularities, sand the substrate.

6. Apply the second coat of microcement base on the tiles

Apply the second layer of microcement base (Microbase). This time it must be pigmented with the microcement colour chosen for coating the old tiles. In the same way as in the previous step, the surface should be sanded.

7. Apply two coats of Microdeck or Microfino microcement on tiles

After the base microcement, apply two coats of Microdeck microcement or two coats of Microfino on tiles. The former is usually used for floors and the latter for walls. Although combinations can be made depending on the tastes, preferences and finishes sought. Both coats will already be pigmented. Afterwards, sand.

8. Protecting and sealing the microcement on tiles

The last step is one of the most important. It is to protect the microcement coating on tiles. For this, we have all kinds of varnishes and sealants. However, on this occasion, we recommend using two coats of Presealer and another two coats of Topsealer WT One Coat.

Kitchen with wall and floor tiles coated with microcement in Piedra Paris colour.
Impressive renovation of a kitchen after using the microcement colour Piedra Paris Topciment on the floor and wall tiles.

Tips and recommendations for coating tiles with microcement

1. Respect drying times

When using a primer for non-absorbent surfaces such as Primacem PLUS, it is very important to respect the drying time when coating tiles with microcement. If the instructions and drying times specified in the technical data sheets are not strictly followed, moisture will be trapped between coats and will therefore mark the tile joints.

With this advice you will avoid the most common failure when applying microcement on tiles. A possible error that is avoided by using Primapox®100 Barrier primer, for which it is not necessary to be so meticulous with the drying times due to its capacity to block capillary humidity.

2. Allow 24 hours to dry before applying the second layer of microcement

Another recommendation from the Topciment experts, also in the case of using Primacem PLUS, is to leave a 24-hour drying period between the first and second coat of microcement base.

A process that not everyone does as it is not mandatory, but with which the professional ensures that there is much less chance of marking the joints by a mistake in the application of microcement on tiles. With Primapox®100 Barrier it will be done with the normal system. That is, applying the second coat of Microbase immediately after the first.

3. Prime the tiles before applying the second coat of microcement

We also recommend that 24 hours after applying the first coat of microcement, which is more than enough time for it to have dried properly, the microcement covering the tiles should be re-primed with Primacem PLUS.

This advice is only for the most expert applicators and will help to even out the level of absorption of the next coats of microcement application on tiles. An equality that drastically reduces the visual marks of joints with different absorption points.

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