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Can you tile over tiles or should you remove all of the old ones first?

Can you tile over tiles or should you remove all of the old ones first?

24 Answers from MyBuilder Bathroom Fitters

Best Answer

You can tile over the current tiles, and as another tradesman has stated please check the tiles are sound and not loose as this would cause problems later. Should they be loose, remove these and level the hole/gap to match the existing tiles, either with bonding/tile adhesive.
For a better job, it is always better to remove the current tiles, however i would not recommend the removal if the wall is stud work with just plasterboard, as if they have been installed correctly you will find the plasterboard will come off with the tiles, this would then mean re-boarding the entire area.


Answered 17th Apr 2011

yes you can but my advise for the sake of a couple of hours work i would remove the old ones i know sometimes people are worried what will happen to the wall when you remove them but everything can always be fixed if you do decide to tile over the old ones please make sure that you rough the old ones up with a piece of scratch paper then coat with pva so the tile adhesive has something to adher to i hope this helps

kind regards stuart


Answered 15th Apr 2011

Don't do it you'll regret it....
Take them off,and do a proper job..


Answered 16th Apr 2011

Do not use pva for heavens sake, that just puts a skin on the tiles, which aren't absorbent, you end up tiling on a skin of pva, pva is to prevent fast absorption, so saying use pva then wait 48 hrs to grout is a contradiction in terms, yes you can tile over tiles, done it on many occasions, never had a problem, as with any substrate, it's got to be sound, and things to take in to consideration.


Answered 30th Nov 2011

If you want a quality finish then preparation is everything.

We refurb bathrooms & kitchens and never in 12 years have we tiled over tiles.

It is better to strip off the tiles and skim to ensure a fantastic finish



Answered 20th Apr 2011

We would not advise But ;

The existing tiles must be soundly bonded to the walls. Obviously, no matter how well fixed the new tiles are, if the old tiles de-bond from the wall and fall off, then so will the new ones. Make sure the old tiles are well fixed.

One way to check is to gently tap them. If it sounds very hollow then they are likely not well bonded. Pay particular attention to wet areas which are more likely to have problems.

The existing tiles need to be clean and free of grease or other contaminants which could affect the bond of the adhesive used for the new tiles.

Some backgrounds such as plaster and plasterboard have a recommended weight limit for a square unit of measurement. That means that for instance plasterboard will have a maximum weight of tiles or stone you can fix to it, which if surpassed may cause a structural failure.

This is unlikely to be a problem if both old and new tiles are smaller format, thinner tiles, but could be an issue if using large format, heavier tiles on top. It especially likely to be a problem with natural stone tiles which tend to be heavier due to their thickness.

Only certain tile adhesives are suitable for tile on tile. Check manufacturers instructions or with your tiler.

One last thing to consider is the aesthetics. Tile over tile can be noticeable around the perimeters of a room such as coving, door jambs, and especially if the room is only half tiled.


Answered 7th May 2011

You can tile over tiles, with the right preparation, but I would never do this, the proper way is to strip right back to original wall finish.
Dont worry if you do pull a bit of plaster when stripping the tiles, as its easy enough to replace.
Tiling over tiles can make it awkward, ie extra thickness when tiling around shower fittings.
For the sake of a few hours work I would take them of.


Answered 16th Apr 2011

I always advise not to tile on top of tiles can't guarantee that the tiles on the wall have been put on securely.Always better to strip the tiles off and either replasterboard the walls or skim coat to give a good surface to tile onto


Answered 14th May 2011

you can if you score the tiles with a angle grinder and put a sealer coat of sbr on them and only if the existing tiles are firmly bedded on the wall and not loose


Answered 15th Apr 2011

It is possible to tile over old tiles with several provisos- the old tiles nead to be sound and there should be no "boss" areas (tiles that are loose on the walls, will sound hollow when you knock them with your knuckles) They should be bonded with a PVA sealing agent. You should check that there is sufficient clearance round windows, doors etc and they should be cleaned of mould.
You should allow extra drying time for the adhesive (48 hrs +) as the grout may be stained as adhesive drys through it.
You may need to fit new door facings or pack the old ones out so the tiles do not project past them.
Good Luck-Charlie Gillespie


Answered 15th Apr 2011

How can anyone use PVA as a sealing agent?
I have re-done 3 bathrooms recently, where builders had used PVA to prime the walls.They had saved few quid, but few weeks later they poor job was exposed.
If you prime the wall use a professional MAPEI or Dyckerhoff Sopro liquids.That costs a bit but gives a confidence to give a warranty.
BTW.You can tile over tile technicaly ( using one of the Sopro range adhesive you can tile even on glass ) but there are reasons why not to.Most of them have already been mentioned.


Answered 30th May 2011

yes you can tile over tiles...


Answered 15th Apr 2011

Yes you can...but would advise not to do it. Better to remove old tiles first and skim the walls. You are then not as reliant to follow previously tiled areas. Good Luck . Myles Ark Plumbing.


Answered 5th May 2011

what are the type & size of the new tiles? are they heavy porcelain/stone etc?
How do you know if the existing tiles are fitted correctly?
Can they take the weight of the new tiles on top? can the wall?
how many layers of tiles are already on the wall?

The correct way is to remove the existing tiles and make-good the walls ready for new tiling.



Answered 16th Apr 2011

say do a proper job and remove old you will have problems in the long run please please remove them a good job is a proper job


Answered 5th May 2011

This would be the ultimate bodge.
Please do remove tiles, you will not save a penny.
If the walls de-face during removal then there never was a sufficient strength.
Re-plastering is easy and finish is not important.

Good luck.


Answered 3rd May 2011

no way , waste of YOUR money strip back to wall as some have said , it does pay to do a proper jobby

good luck with it


Answered 22nd Apr 2011

You can do tiling over the old tiles. Be sure the old tiles are sticked well, check the tiles and try to smash them at the cross lines, that will help the adhesive to stick well. Another thing is to prime the old tiles with a two components primer👍. This advise is for cases when can't rip off the old tiles for many reasons 🙂. All the best


Answered 24th Nov 2017

Best to remove them as you never know the condition of those underneath


Answered 10th Apr 2019

You can be there are few jobs where this would be advisable. We had one job, a conservatory, with high doors frames. This gaining the height wasn't an issue and was cheaper for the customer.


Answered 22nd May 2019

No the old tile should be removed.


Answered 10th May 2022

Yes u can


Answered 11th Oct 2022

U can’t put the tiles over the current tiles first u want to remove oldest one than put new one and its like nice job thank you


Answered 2nd Mar 2023

Remove all
Tiles first


Answered 20th Jan 2024

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