Tiling over ceramic tile

elanspDecember 22, 2005


I am in the process of remodeling my circa 1950s main bathroom. The bathroom floor was poured cement over tar paper and wire mesh with small ceramic tiles over the cement. I'm not in the mood to take a sledgehammer to the floor and would like the "easy" way out. Assuming the floor is level, can I simply install large ceramic/porcelein tiles right over the old tiles?


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SO long as there are no height issues and the original floor is in good shape (i.e.-- no hollow spots or cracks), all you need to do is get all foreign materials off the tile, including but not limited to wax, soap residue, skin oils, dirt, etc., and then scuff it up with a sander to give the new thinset something more to "bite" into. ALso, use an unmodified thinset mixed with a LIQUID latex additive, as opposed to usinga thinset that's already modified. Reason being that using the liquid latex will give you more of a latex content, and therefore, a stronger bond.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 3:13PM
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Bill, of course, is the expert, but I've tiled over tile and it worked quite well. The first house I owned had been owned by a tile guy without Bill's artistic sense. The house had been tiled everywhere -- including the garage -- in leftovers. I guess the guy liked his work, but his color choices were a might overwhelming in places. OTOH, I learned to love dark, mottled tile on kitchen floors. The bathroom with the pink, orange, brown, and white stripes of tile got retiled, but the garage remained cheerfully variegated.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 12:38PM
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When I did our bathroom the guy at the tile store told me not to bother trying to scuff the tile, but to clean it really well. So I clean it about 2 times with a strong cleaner, then a 3rd time with some sort of acidic tile cleaner. The thinset I got from them needed to mixed with a liquid additive and it was extremely sticky - I had some of that stuff on my fingernails for weeks after that.

3 years later it is holding up fine - no issues.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 1:39PM
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jdew-- It's not absolutely necessary to scuff the sirface, but it DOES help. Also, I would NOT suggest using any kind of acidic cleaner for the face of the old tile. If not thoroughly rinsed, ANY residue would cause a problem with the new thinset.

jxbrown-- you want to see a mix of all kinds of tile, you should've seen my grandfather's bathroom!! He was also a contractor, as well as owning a showroom, and he had this bathroom that was a peach color, with two accent bands that went all the way around the bathroom-- made up COMPLETELY from old samples-- of EVERY COLOR!! WHen I was a child, I thought it was much nicer looking that all other bathrooms I'd seen that were all ONE color, but looking back, it was just one of those things that was "unusual" about my grandparents! LOL

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Will tiling over tile work if there is Kiltz primer on the tiles?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 1:11PM
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Not really. Then, the thinset is bonding to the primer, and the primer's not made to take that kind of stress, so it'll lift off sooner or later (more likely sooner). Sand it off. You'll be much better off for it.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 9:45PM
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I have a bath on the 2nd floor of my townhome that I have to re-tile and want to tile over it due to less mess and aggravation. Height is not an issue. Have been told by some pros that it's best not to do that on a 2nd floor level. Was also told that the existing mortar bed, which is 17 years old now can break down so it's best to replace it. Floor seems pretty solid to me, though. Would appreciate some feedback.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 4:31PM
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Did our 2nd floor bathroom (it was age 35) and despite the aggravation of extra mess we tore the floor apart in just hours. The subfloor needed replaced anyway, that's the first clue placing tile atop old tile is rarely good? If the new tile has a problem the original tile needs ripped out getting to the bottom of it. Why waste money doing the same tedious job twice? Our new improved floor added 3/4" height, shaved the door, lesser of the work. Some great new products were not used even 17 yrs ago. So ask yourself down the road, is tiling over tile ever good? Be like putting good shingles over bad on a distressed old roof. Will future owners needing or wanting to replace a bath tile floor admire you cutting corners now? Nobody could believe this cost us only $1000 floor materials and most fun was actually the demo work. Whatever you decide hope you'll be happy with the results.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 5:45PM
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I want to tile over ceramic tile that unfortunately was covered with a pigmented epoxy, the kind of stuff they reglaze bath tubs with. Is it ok to tile over the tile as it is or do I have to remove the epoxy? If I have to remove the epoxy can anyone reccomend a product to remove it? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 4:27PM
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Our new home has nearly the entire first floor done in granite tile. Unfortunately, it's an awful colour and we would like to tile over it with some nice new travertine tile. Rather than sledgehammer the entire floor, which will be an absolute nightmare, is there any possible way to tile over this? I imagine it's awfully tricky given the granite has a very smooth surface.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 2:45PM
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