Can you tile over existing tiles?
The simple answer is yes but we wouldn’t recommend it. While you can technically install new tiles over old tiles, it’s really a practice that is best avoided.
However, if it’s something that you want to do, whether it’s to save time or money, there are several things you need to consider before you start your tiling project.
How to check whether you can tile over existing tiles: A step by step guide
The existing tiles must be properly bonded to your walls. If the old tiles de-bond from the walls and fall off, so will the new ones. So, make sure the existing tiles are firmly fixed. The best way to do this is give them a tap will a mallet. If any of the tiles sound hollow, then it’s likely that they aren’t well bonded. If that’s the case, then you will need to remove and fill that space before proceeding.
You need to factor in the weight limit of the surface onto which you are tiling. Plasterboard for instance has a weight limit of around 20kg / m2. This means you need to choose your tiles carefully to avoid any structural failure. If you are looking to fit larger, heavier tiles, in your bathroom or kitchen, then we would recommend the old ones first to avoid this happening.
Also check that your tiles are level. You might need a grinder to flatten any areas that stick out from the rest of the surface. And, if the existing tiles have been sealer, this will also need to be removed.
Finally, the existing tiles need to be clean and free from grease or anything else that could stop the adhesive bonding with the new tiles. Always clean the tiles with something like sugar soap or something similar before you begin tiling and make sure the surface is completely dry before starting. It is also worth removing as much of the old grout as possible as that is where mould can collect – regardless of what you place over them and level of any dried grout with a sander.
The other key consideration when tiling onto existing wall tiles is to remember that only certain tile adhesives are suitable for tile-on-tile application. For more information on the right type of adhesives make sure to read our guide to choosing the right adhesive for tiling a wall.
Need more information?
If you have any questions regarding selecting the right adhesives for your home, then feel free to contact our Customer Services team using our web chat facility.
If you would like to know more about tiling in your home, then why not check out these related advice articles: