Tiling Question

My mates sister got her bathroom tiled. the tiler tiled on top of the old tiles,however he just stuck them on with silicone!!! he said "its common practice in the trade". is this right? surely not?

42 Answers

Best Answer

This is certainly not a common practice, this guy is a cowboy, and its people like him that give good honest tradesmen a bad name.
I would ask for the money back, ( I expect she paid more for a bodge job than what a good tiler on this site would charge)
It wont be long before those tiles are falling of, he should have stripped the old ones of first, cleaned the walls, repair and plaster damage before tiling using a good water proof tile adhesive.

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 29 Oct 2008

I have to say that's one of the worst excuses to cover up a bodge job i've ever heard..........it's even worse than a 'decorator' plastering a ceiling with easi-fill joint cement i saw recently.

How do these people sleep at night?

Report your 'tiler' to Trading Standards and try and get your money back.

If he refuses,take him through the small claims court.

Good luck with everything.


Answered 20th Apr 2011

carl melady

Member since 1 Jun 2008

hi. Im a bathroom installer. Yes you can tile on top of existing tiles, But never heard of using silicone? Did the guy have trouble leaving his horse outside?

Answered 20th Apr 2011

Graham Hillier

Member since 6 Jan 2009

I've been in the building trade for over 20 years and never seen this done! But having said that, I see no reason why this wouldn't work.
Silicone will pretty much stick anything... wait and see if they drop off, I'm guessing you could be there a long time!

Answered 20th Apr 2011

J Chappell Joinery

Member since 30 Jul 2008

You shouldn't be using PVA when overtiling! what happens to PVA when it gets wet? It breaks down and causes a weak bond between the two. Proper cleaning, and then priming with a branded tile primer, ideally from a proper adhesive maker..Mapei,Weber, Bal etc.... dont unibond!!! :(

Answered 22nd May 2012

Phil The Tiler

Member since 14 Jun 2011

In fairness to the tiling operative,using silicone will be more effective than several of the methods listed in the given answers,firstly unibond is a water based adhesive,of course it does dry alas when a water based adhesive is applied on top the pva will reactivate and serve no useful purpose,secondly,water based adhesives rely on a permeable substrate to absorb the water within the adhesive in order to cure,tiling on to a non permeable substrate such as tiles is pointless with a water based adhesive,an adhesive with a chemical curing agent is required,nuff said!

Answered 21st Apr 2011

P&H Installations

Member since 16 Sep 2008

that is a complete cowboy job you want to report the builder to rogue traders !!! always use rapid set adhesive on floor tiling

Answered 20th Apr 2011

King of Herts Construction

Member since 6 Nov 2008

Where to start with an answer to your question. Wrong. wrong wrong. and the news doesn't get any better.
Between the adhesive quality and the suction from a notched trowel application you have a good stick. You can tile on tiles, If the original tiles are cleaned and a high quality adhesive is used. domestic grout is only water resistant. so as moisture gets behind your sisters tiles.The silicone will separate from the tiles and the wall will become live. Only the grout holding the tiles together but, not to the wall.
It will need to be redone at some stage soon.
I'm sorry for the bad news.

Answered 20th Apr 2011

Serai Interiors

Member since 15 Feb 2011

Not the absolute best way of completing this kind of job; can be acceptable to a limit but, in my experience, removal of old tiles and making good wall surfaces and retiling accordingly is the better standard.

Answered 20th Apr 2011

Handyfix Solutions

Member since 1 Aug 2009


If it is I am sorry I have not come across it and having recently completed an NVQ in tiling I'm sure I am correct in saying it was wrong of him to do this and it is not best practice or even recommended.

A&R Ground works

Answered 20th Apr 2011

Inactive Tradesman

Member since 4 Jan 2009

the tiler{ bodger} is talking poo ..if the whole area of tile is not adhered and the grouting fails the water will just get behind the tiles and cause problems ..you can tile over existing tiles if there sound{stuck firmly to wall} but you need to key up old tiles ,then pva seal then fit new ones with a good adhesive and grout ...he is not a tiler ..yyyeeeehhhhhaaaaaa ride them cowboy .......

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 30 Sep 2008

Silicone?? most definately not what a trade professional would do... tiling on tiles can be done but the old tiles need to be keyed first, but sticking them on with silicone is a no - no

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 26 Oct 2008

Hi mate,NO this is not common practice & if i was you i would demand my money back & report him to either trading standards or the site you hired him from.As things like this give us trustworty tilers a bad name.Its fine to tile over old tiles but tiles should always be put up or laid using appropiate adhesive.
Thanks Steve.

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 1 Oct 2009

it is ok to tile on old tiles as long as the old tiles are not loose.
tiles should only be fixed with tile adhesive.
it is certainly not common practice to use silicone to stick tiles anywhere.

Answered 5th May 2011

Martin's Property Maintenance

Member since 7 Mar 2010

Hi, this is not common practice and in my opinion they should of initially tried to get the old tiles off, however if this was impractical then the existing tiles should of been trated with a PVA solution and then overtiled using an appropriate adhesive. Hope this helps, Regards Kevin

Answered 20th Apr 2011

Impressions Bathrooms (Oxford)

Member since 23 Mar 2010

hi no.do not use silicone.there is a tile on tile adshive you can buy.

Answered 20th Apr 2011

G.B Bathrooms U.K

Member since 27 Nov 2009


Answered 20th Apr 2011

uno tiling

Member since 6 Aug 2010

No feedback


Answered 20th Apr 2011

R.J Gurney

Member since 27 Jan 2010

no its not right. you can tile over existing tiles as a last option, but we never do. always best to remove, prep the walls and re tile. if he did use silicone then i wouldn't expect it to last too long!

he should have primed the tiles and also used the correct adhesive.

tut tut!!!!

Answered 20th Apr 2011

KW Design & Build Limited

Member since 30 Jan 2010

no a tiler should never put tiles on a wall using anything other than tile adhesive

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 11 Feb 2011

hi,check the wallpapers not held on with blutac, enough said!!!

Answered 21st Apr 2011

domestic roofingandbuilding

Member since 15 Aug 2008

Is this a joke?
This so called tiler you hired
did he arrive by car or by horse
this would be frowned upon and is never common practice

Answered 20th Apr 2011

C Glancey

Member since 20 Jan 2010

Good god..i have just seen this post and had to reply.

the (so called-tiler) how can he even use the name "tiler" he is no tradesman, just a cowboy when i trained a collage i used to watch the tilers learning the job "its a true skill"
Like all materials we use in building trade they need a key first to even stick to the wall, I'm no tiler but even i know to use silicone to stick tiles on a wall is just bad, as silicone always separates over time

Answered 9th Aug 2012


Member since 9 Apr 2008

No it is NOT correct. Over thirty years in this trade and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The only time anyone would use silicone or hot glue to stick tiles up with is in tile showrooms on boards. And that is only to make it easier to change the tiles when discontinued.
Stop the world I want to get off!

Answered 5th Feb 2015

Step-Free Showers

Member since 12 Dec 2014

No feedback

no it not the right way to do the tiling with silicone; on top of old tiles put if you put downp/v/a adhesive, and then put down the tile by useing flexible extra strong tile eadhesive, no it is not common practice in the trade. no it not the right way to put done tile on top of old tile by useing silicone,

Answered 20th Apr 2011

kws decorators

Member since 17 Dec 2008

It depends what you want. but never seen some one tiling over the old ones with silicone before. normally he should remove the old ones and put the new ones on.probably he was tryig to make life easy for himself.

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 20 Apr 2011

No sorry its not and neither is tiling on top of tiles very sorry about that....kevin

Answered 20th Apr 2011

MapleLeaf Plumbing & Tiling

Member since 4 Dec 2008

no its not right to stick them on with silicone it should have been done with addisive hope this helps

Answered 20th Apr 2011

dsmiller joinery

Member since 17 Nov 2010

no way is that common practice, he is a cowboy. you can however tile on top of old tiles,but tile adhesive should be used. although i would rather take all old tiles off

Answered 20th Apr 2011

smooth finish plastering

Member since 10 Mar 2009

youll find out not in about 2 -3months when they start popping off

Answered 20th Apr 2011


Member since 7 Jun 2008

no he shouldn't have used silicone you can get specialist tile adhesive for tiling on top of tiles i would advise it is redone

Answered 20th Apr 2011

NTR Builders & Plasterers

Member since 9 Dec 2010

Did you have a rail put up so he could tie his hourse to it. Tile on top of tile yes NOT with mastic though.
Regards Roger

Answered 21st Apr 2011

Odd job Rog

Member since 30 May 2008

No you should not use silcone to stick tiles it should be a flexible powered wall and floor adhesive. Also it does help to clean and score the original wall tiles to get a good key to the wall.

Answered 2nd Jun 2016

Majestic Wall & Floor Tiling

Member since 31 May 2016

Absolutely not the way a real tiler would do it!!

Answered 16th Jan 2017

Protile Services Chiswick

Member since 9 Jan 2017

This has made my blood boil! Is he even qualified? How do people get away with awful services like this?! I trained for over 2 years to get my tiling qualifications which I passed with flying colours at an NVQ Level 3. One of the main areas we worked on was the right adhesive to use for each surfaces and never once did silicone appear in the categories. Cowboy Builder!! He doesn't deserve to call himself a 'tiler'

Answered 23rd Jan 2017

Josh Pemberton

Member since 21 Dec 2016

Must be a cowboy, ask for full refund,
Isn't John Wayne dead?
All walls should be de-tiled, re skimmed/plastered, wait to dry, miss coated and made good if painted, or must use water proof tile adhesive, leave for 24hrs then use a top quality water/shower proof qrote to finish, seal grout / tiles if required

Answered 31st May 2018

J.F.H Buildings

Member since 3 Sep 2015

hi. Im not a bathroom installer. But I knew about from my friend who do fit the bathroom Yes you can tile on top of existing tiles, But never heard of using silicone? Did the guy have trouble leaving his horse outside?

Answered 6th Apr 2017

STR Windows & Conservatories

Member since 4 Apr 2017

NO! What a cowboy! I have come across a lot of time tiles being tiled over tiles but never with silicone!!!!

Answered 15th Oct 2017

S D Winters Heating & Plumbing

Member since 13 Oct 2017

No this is a cowboys job for then too do that

Answered 2nd Feb 2018

Jones Engineering Services Ltd

Member since 10 Oct 2016

Is he qualified?

Answered 15th May 2018

Alban Gray Interiors

Member since 17 Feb 2016

Never!! this person is spoiling the reputation of many who want to do the right service.
This person called a "cowboy" cheated on you ask your money back and look for a professional in the mybuilder to make according to regulations.

Answered 19th Oct 2018

JB Builders

Member since 8 Oct 2018

No feedback

Definitely not common practise, I know people who do tile over tiles but not with silicone! would personally be getting the money back,

Answered 13th Nov 2018

Marshalls Home Improvements LTD

Member since 6 Jan 2017

No feedback

Need help with your project?

We have tradesmen ready to help you. Post a job, read reviews and hire today.

Post a job

Need some help?

Post a job on MyBuilder to find quality, local Tilers who can help you with your project.

Search all questions