Are you remodeling your shower room? If yes, chances are that you have wondered about skipping the removal of old tiles. But is that even possible?
Can you tile over the tile in the showers? The short answer is yes!
This little hack can save you lots of money and time. However, you need to take care of a few things that we will discuss in detail. So, let’s dive in!
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Is It Okay to Tile Over Tile in Showers?
Yes, it is perfectly okay to install new tiles over old tiles in the shower room. The tiles will stick to the already tiled surface. But there are a few reasons why professionals don’t recommend this practice.
1. You need to assess and fix the old tiles first
Tiles over tiles can slip and come out if not bonded properly. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to assess the tiles and ensure they are even. There should be no cracks, debris, jagged corners, or dips in the grout.
If there are any of these things, you need to fix them first. This means additional time and money spent on floor prep.
2. You need a very strong adhesive
The majority of adhesives are designed to stick to backer boards, concrete, or other grainy surfaces. They don’t work well with glossy and smooth tile surfaces. So, you will have to invest in a high-quality, powerful adhesive.
3. You are bound to thin and lightweight tiles
Installing tile over tile means an additional layer on the floor and walls. This can increase their height and become an obstruction in the door movement. Fittings and drain holes will also need modification.
To reduce these problems, you will be limited to choosing tiles that are thin enough to let the doors move freely and light enough to not fall off the walls.
How to Tile Over Tile in Showers?
If you still want to go ahead and tile over tile in showers, then here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to do it. Read more!
Step 1: Evaluate the Existing Tiles
Any problems with the tiled surface will worsen when you will install the new tiles. So, you need to first assess the condition of old tiles and fix them.
Take your wooden mallet and tap it lightly on the tiles. See which ones make a hollow sound or move when tapped. Both of these signs indicate that the tile is loose, which can become a weak foundation for new tiles.
Use a tile adhesive to stick the loose tiles again. Let it cure for 24 hours.
Use a level to check for irregularities in the surface and mark them with a permanent marker.
If there are high spots, use a right-angled grinder to shave them off. You can also use a sander or hammer and chisel, but that will take a lot of effort. Plus, you can risk damaging the neighboring tiles.
If there are low spots, you will need to prepare a thin set. It’s easily available in the market and doesn’t cost much. But make sure to choose a white thin-set as other colors can bleed into the new tiles.
Once you have prepared the thin-set (see product manual), pour it on the low spots and use a trowel to move it around. You can also use the thin-set to fill the low areas of the shower room and make the sloping surface even.
Let the thin-set dry completely, and then check the irregularities again.
Cracked & Damaged Tiles
This might not seem like a big issue. But if you let the cracked tiles go, moisture will continue to seep into the floor and lead to mildew. It’s a type of whitish-green fungus that grows in humidity and darkness.
The mildew can darken the grout and weaken the adhesive. As a result, affected tiles will fall off from the surface. If that’s something you want to avoid, find all the damaged tiles and pour thin-set over them.
Step 2: Measure and Cut the New Tiles
Once your old tiled surface is fixed, place the new tiles on them and check which ones will need to be cut. Measure the length, width, and height that need to be reduced for the tiles to fit around walls and fittings in the shower stall. Place the newly cut tiles in a safe area.
Step 3: Degrease the Surface
Now, you need to clean the shower stall thoroughly. Begin by removing everything from the area and wetting the surface with water. Then, pour a generous amount of household cleaner on the tiles.
Use a scrubbing tool to remove any dirt, soap deposits, and gunk from the surfaces. Let the floor rest for 10 minutes before rinsing it all with clean water. If the surface still looks dirty or you want to ensure a speck of dust is not left, use vinegar and baking soda solution to clean the shower stall.
You should also clean the bathroom tile using a degreasing soap. Once done, let it dry completely.
Step 4: Install the Tiles
If there is something in the shower room that you need to protect, use masking tape and plastic sheets to cover it all up. We recommend this because the adhesive may splash around and leave permanent marks.
Next, pick up the right trowel and start applying adhesive to the far corner of the shower. Do not apply adhesive to all of the surfaces. But position tiles on it as you go.
One of the best practices is to begin tiling from the end of the room and work your way toward the door. This helps you identify any potential issues and resolve them without ruining anything else.
Also, first, place all the full sheets of tiles. Leave the corners to the walls and areas around the fittings. It’s because the tiles you measured and cut earlier may not be of the right size. So, first, apply the major tiles and then move on to the details.
For the drain hole, you will likely need an extension ring or adapter to match the height of the new floor. Fix it along with the tiles and let everything dry for 24 hours.
Step 5: Seal the Gaps with Grout
When the new tiles are installed, you will still notice some gaps between each tile. These gaps must be sealed with grout to prevent moisture and dirt from seeping into the old tiles.
You can make the grout mixture yourself or buy one from the store. We recommend the latter because it is easier and quicker than making one. You will find grout mix packets in any hardware store. Just put it in water and mix!
Pour the grout over the dried tiles and use a float to push it inside the gaps. Also, use a caulking gun to seal the lines between the floor and the wall joint. Make sure all the cavities are filled properly. Let it rest for some time, and then clean the surface to remove excess grout marks.
Step 6: Finish It Off!
The last step is to apply a sealant over the surface. Although this is not mandatory, doing so will keep the grout clean and damage-free. This will ultimately prevent moisture from penetrating the old tiles and developing mold or mildew.
1. What’s the best adhesive for tiling over tiles?
You need a special adhesive for tiling over tiles. It should have powerful bonding and grabbing ability. Most professionals use mastic and thin-set mortar for tile installation. But you may also find better options like SmartCare tile adhesive.
2. Does tile adhesive need primer?
Primers aren’t mandatory but you may use them to remove porosity and air bubbles on the substrate (floor). In the case of tile over tile, the surface is already very smooth. You won’t need a primer to strengthen the adhesive.
3. Can you put stick-on tiles over ceramic tiles in the shower?
Stick-on tiles are an excellent way to save time and effort in applying adhesive. You can stick them on concrete, linoleum, and painted drywall. But, if you are using them on ceramic, make sure the grout seams are flushed to the top of the wall tiles.
4. How can you cover shower tiles without removing them?
There are several methods to cover shower tiles without removing them, like wall panels. They are waterproof panels that adhere to the tiles and don’t require grout. You can count on them to last for decades easily.
Plus, they are available in a range of colors and designs to customize the shower stall’s look!
Tiling over tiles in the shower is a great idea to make the process easy. You won’t have to remove the old tiles, prepare the subfloor, and then install the new tiles. You can directly get to the installation part.
However, you need to be very careful while doing this and spend more time on existing floor preparation. If you avoid it, the new tiles can fall over and cause injuries. It’s highly recommended to seek a professional’s help in the process!