New Tile Over Old?

emmi331July 18, 2012

Home Depot is remodeling my bathroom. I thought it would be a complete gut, but I was advised by their contractor that it's actually better not to remove old wall or floor tile, but to tile over it. This makes the wall, in particular, more solid and secure. Evidently an abrasive will be used on my subway tiles before adhesive is applied for the new tiles. Does this seem right - is it common to apply new tile over the old? Many thanks....

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
herring_maven

emmi331, we retiled our large walk-in shower as a DIY project ten years ago, and we tiled over the existing tile, pretty much for the same reasons that Home Depot gave you. It worked out well for us.

FWIW, we took special care to ensure that there would be no path for moisture to get between the existing tile and the new tile that would provide an environment for a mold garden. That meant using epoxy grout, which had the added benefit of providing an environment that is more resistant than cementious grout is to the growth of mold on the surfaces that are exposed after the tiling was complete. You may have difficulty to convince the Home Depot installers to use epoxy grout, which requires a level of discipline to apply that many tile installers lack entiirely.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 7:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
herring_maven

emmi331, we retiled our large walk-in shower as a DIY project ten years ago, and we tiled over the existing tile, pretty much for the same reasons that Home Depot gave you. It worked out well for us.

FWIW, we took special care to ensure that there would be no path for moisture to get between the existing tile and the new tile that would provide an environment for a mold garden. That meant using epoxy grout, which had the added benefit of providing an environment that is more resistant than cementious grout is to the growth of mold on the surfaces that are exposed after the tiling was complete. You may have difficulty to convince the Home Depot installers to use epoxy grout, which requires a level of discipline to apply that many tile installers lack entiirely.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 7:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
modern life interiors

What home depot contractors describe is not the proper way to tile. It's cutting corners. You will have problems down the road.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sserra85

is it the ideal installation? absolutely not. But it can be done.
What I tell my customers all the time is this: The new tile and proper mortar will stick to what you put it on. That does not mean that what you put it on (old tile) will not eventually come off the wall. You have no way of knowing how solid the previous installation was and in what condition the studs are in.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mic111

That seems strange to me. When I've wanted to do it to save time, money or hassle the contractors all have warned me off. The only time I've done it, and that was just recently, was around an older tub. We took the tile off the wall and redid that. But the tile on the tub deck was 20 yrs old and in super shape so we put glue down and river rock over the top of it. Then we glued and screwed plywood to the tub face and put bamboo over it for a new face. Hopefully we won't come to regret it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hags00

I've done a lot of tile and in the past have always removed the old prior to tiling the new. Particlarly on walls.

That being said, I am currently doing two small bathrooms each about 6'X'6 on the tiled floor. Both currently have tile on a concrete slab. The old tile is solid as a rock and I am going straight over it with the new tile. It will be my first time doing that but there should be no issues since I have a wonderful base for my new tile.

I would be hesitant to let them tile over my wall tile and I would consider letting them go over the floor if your current tile is solid, without cracks and shows no evidence of movement.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bill_vincent

Tile over tile is okay in some circiumstances. The ONLY time I'll advocate it over wall tile is if the wall tile being covered is well set in an old fashioned mud job, with no cracks. Then they're right. You couldn't ask for a stronger wall. Other than that, tear it down and start from scratch. For floors, so long as the floor tile is in good shape (no cracks, no hollow spots), and just needs updating, then it's fine to go over it, SO LONG as it doesn't create height issues with doors, or anything else.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MayoDIY82

I agree with Bill. I completely remodelled my master bath without knowing until I started demo work that it was a mud job. This type of wall work is great, long lasting, though only found on old houses. So I just tore down the shower tiles/walls up to about 4 1/2 feet height as it covered around the bathroom and left the rest of the walls untouched. At that time I didn't know you could tile over tile if behind it was a mud job. I made sure that the wall was straight to the ceiling after applying durarock drywall. Of course I installed the plastic water seal sheet under that first. Then 24inch tiles over the durarock up to the celing. Really really tough job and lots of demo, but if I were to do it again, I would have done tile over tile with a smaller less heavy tile or thin tile. My 2nd bathroom I will do tile over tile with a thin mosaic tile in the shower and the rest of the bathroom I will probably do wainscoting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dandtiler

You have got to be kidding me.
Your tile bond is only as good as the bond beneath it.
I set 6" x 6" wall tiles and 3" floor tiles in my 4 wall shower 30 years ago and have never had an issue yet.
Sure, there are a few very important installation procedures that must be done before and during the actual installation.
1. The original tiles must be solid, sound with no issues. If there are they need to be addressed...pan is intact, wall tiles have no cracks, hollow sounds or mold, drain is solid, etc.
2. All tiles to be covered must be roughened up and I don't suggest a sander but a 4 1/2" grinder w or w/o a serrated diamond blade and score the surfaces well for the thinset to have a good bond.
3. Straight liquid acrylic admix mixed into the thinset (i use a fortified thinset and admix) will not fail you.
4. The back buttering of the tiles and set onto the spread thinset is a good idea but can get tricky to keep the consistent spreads equal to eliminate elevation differences having to tune your tiles in a timely manner.
5. Don't forget to use a beater block to tap onto over the tile surfaces to ensure an even flat surface plane.
6. Grout with a grout sealer admix rather than the penetrating sealer after you grout. I strongly am a believer in this if you don't use epoxy grout. What a mess epoxy is.

Score, acrylic admix, back butter, beater block, grout admix and you will have your tile project last forever.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
truegrid

I know this is an old post, but if anyone sees this - an curious since I do have a mud job. However, it seems odd to do it, and I concur it means that the tile will come up further on the tub, and against the walls where tile to tile will meet. Also, I doubt this is something you can do repeatedly - tile over tile? Concerned as well for doorway, means you might need to adjust other stuff. Same was suggested for the shower, to tile over the floor. It justs risky, and maybe a larger hassle if you have a water leak or something happens later...especially in the shower. I did not ask difference in price, so maybe I will check how much less would be charged to tile over. Leaving wall tile in place, so again, any thoughts from those with experience, do I risk damage beyond the floor if trying to rip out a mud job- they know it is , so assume planned to manage for it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2014 at 3:37PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
shower pan worries. Is any of his method correct?
Unsure about my plumber's method. Could I get some...
mmaggied
Date on thinset
Someone mentioned they would help homeowners decode...
mmaggied
Shower door for neo-angle
If you have a neo-angle shower where the tiled walls...
cataan
Contractor messed up shower pan. Fixable?
My contractor who I'm firing tomorrow messed up my...
gwrussp
amerec vs mr steam vs thermasol steam shower
Trying to choose a steam shower for a 4 x 5 shower...
panchoandlefty
Sponsored Products
Bamboo 4-Slat Composite Deck Tiles (Set of 11)
Overstock.com
SomerTile 8x8 Morocco Provenzale White Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile (Pack of 16
Overstock.com
Sample - Loft Classic Black Polished 3x6 Glass Tiles 1 Piece Sample
$2.99 | TileBar
Mosaic Tile Tray
$379.00 | FRONTGATE
Sample-Chair Rail White Carrera 2x12 Marble Liner Sample
$2.99 | TileBar
Mosaic Tile: Jeffrey Court Building Materials Brick Boulevard 11- 1/4 in. x 12
$16.97 | Home Depot
Drop Ceiling Tiles: Fasade Building Materials Traditional 1 - 2 ft. x 2 ft.
$4.78 | Home Depot
SomerTile 3x6-in Reflections Subway Ice White Glass Tile (Case of 80)
Overstock.com
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™