How to Tile Over Tiles

If you’d like to update your bathroom walls or kitchen backsplash with new tiles, it might not be necessary to strip away your old tiles first. If your tiles are firm and in good condition, it’s possible to tile over your existing tiles for a fresh, modern look without the hassle of stripping away your existing tiles and starting over.

In this simple guide, you’ll learn how to prepare an existing tiled wall so that your new tiles can be installed over the top of the old ones.

Check for broken or chipped tiles

You can only install new tiles over old if the old ones are sturdy, steady and free of chips and damage. Check your tiles to make sure that they’re safe, and reinstall any tiles that are damaged or loose using fresh adhesive.

2. Flatten high spots and elevation

Before you can install new tiles, you’ll need to flatten your existing tiles to remove any high spots. Use a level to find high spots on your existing tiles (especially near the edges) and sand them down using an angle grinder with a masonry wheel.

3. Sand the tiles to roughen the surface

Rather than sanding to flatten away bumps and edges, you’ll want to sand your tiles to create a rough, scratched surface. Use 80-grit sandpaper to remove the glazing on the top of your existing tiles and roughen the surface slightly.

4. Remove dirty or damaged tile grout

As well as removing the glaze from your tiles, you’ll want to scrape away any grout that’s dirty or damaged. Use a scraper tool to remove any excess grout that’s picked up dirt or mould over the years.

5. Clean away grit and dust

By this point, your existing tiles will be covered in dust and grit. Use your vacuum cleaner to remove any excess dust, and clean the tiles using water and detergent to remove any existing dirt.

After this, you’ll want to rinse the tiles using fresh water to strip away any existing chemicals or detergent.

6. Prepare your epoxy tile adhesive

Once you’ve flattened your existing tiles and cleaned away dust and dirt, it’s time to start preparing your epoxy tile adhesive. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, prepare a bucket full of adhesive for setting your new tiles.

7. Spread your epoxy tile adhesive

Using a plastering trowel, spread the adhesive over the part of your wall or floor you would like to set tiles on. Go back and spread more adhesive onto the wall, this time using the rough edge of the trowel to help the tiles stick to the surface.

8. Set your tiles into the adhesive

Pick up your tile and press it into the wet adhesive. Make sure you use spacers to set tiles at a specific distance from each other. After you’ve pressed the tile into the wall or floor, gently tap on it to push it further into the adhesive.

9.  Repeat and let the adhesive dry

Repeat this process using the second tile. Remember to leave at least one hour for the epoxy tile adhesive to dry before you begin setting grout between your tiles. If you followed all of these steps correctly, your new tiles should look wonderful.