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Written by Peter Byer

August 29, 2022

Tile Over Painted Drywall: Should You Do It?

Tile Over Painted Drywall?

Decor and furnishings play a vital role in determining the ambience of your home. Indeed, wall tile trends are in vogue these days. Apart from being a practical choice, they provide various designs, colours, and patterns you can select from. Be it textured or geometric, tiles can add colour and style to your walls. However, can you place tile over painted drywall? Read this article to find out.

Is tiling onto painted surfaces possible?

According to the British Standards, walls coated with emulsion, limewash, or distemper are unsuitable for tiling. Thus, the paint will not allow the adhesive to stick well, which might lead to the tiles falling off. However, like many other things, there is a twist to the rule. Notably, you can add a tile over painted drywall without removing the existing structure. Indeed, coarsening the painted surface or scraping off some parts should do the trick. At Titan Construction, our tiling and painting contractors provide premium facilities like interior/exterior painting, drywall and taping, placing tile over painted drywall, and residential and commercial painting.

What is drywall?

To know more about how to tile the painted drywall, you must understand what drywall means. To explain, it is a panel of construction material made of gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate) and used to create walls and ceilings. Easy to install, highly durable, and robust drywalls find vast applications in the construction industry. The term “drywall” is given because no water is used to manufacture it. Heavy articles, home decor, mirrors, pictures, and appliances can be hung using drywall as a base.

Things to keep in mind before installing tile over painted drywall

Before you begin the installation of a tile over painted drywall, consider the following points:

  • First, you can tile over drywalls directly in rooms having low moisture content like the bedroom, dining room, and living room.
  • If you want the tiling done in the kitchen or bathroom, ensure the addition of a moisture-resistant barrier to keep the tiles in place and prevent damage.
  • Remember, roughing the painted surface before placing tiles on the drywall allows the thin-set mortar (mastic) to hold fast.

Materials required to install a tile over painted drywall

Before you start, here is a list of things our team of tiling and painting professionals is equipped with before the procedure:

  • 80-120 grit sandpaper
  • Safety glasses and masks
  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Trowel
  • Grout
  • Spacers
  • Tile-cutting tools
  • Level gauge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Primer and sealant

Preparing the painted drywall for tiling

Trust our expert tiling technicians at Titan Construction to conduct a thorough survey before beginning the project of installing tile over painted drywall. Indeed, here are a few things they will check and prepare beforehand:

  • Decide where the tiling needs to be done so that the placement can be planned accordingly.
  • Measure the area to be tiled and plan for the number of materials to be purchased.
  • Cover all the home equipment to prevent damage due to dust flyaways.
  • Use safety equipment like aprons, goggles, masks, gloves, and headcovers to protect from tiling hazards.

Steps to add a tile over painted drywall

To explain, the breakup of the steps involved in tiling the painted drywall is listed below:

Step 1: Sanding and scraping

Scrape the wall to remove the texture and give it a flat appearance. Using 80 to 120 grit sandpaper, sand the entire surface till the shine of the paint disappears. You may even use a wallpaper stripper to apply steam and remove the emulsion.

Step 2: Smoothing the rough surface

After scraping off the paint, the coarse wall surface needs to be evened to allow suitable attachment of the tiles. Check the level of the wall, using a spirit level gauge, to ensure it is smooth and seamless.

Step 3: Cleaning and drying the wall

After scraping or steaming off the paint, there may still be some leftover residues like dirt and grease that may prevent the tiles from sticking. Clean using a sponge, mild cleanser, and warm water, and allow the surface to air dry well.

Step 4: Filling the holes and gaps

Use mortar to fill up any cracks and holes. A wall patch repair kit or spackle may also be used.

Step 5: Priming the wall

Primer addition is crucial as it makes the wall water-resistant and long-lasting.

Step 6: Fitting the tiles

  • Locate the center of the specified area you want to tile.
  • Mark the boxes for fitting the tiles accordingly.
  • Use a trowel to apply the pre-mix mortar onto the wall, so the tiles stick well.
  • Place the first row of tiles, so that its mark matches the center of the specified area.
  • This way, place all the rows of tiles one after the other, taking accurate measurements and using spacers.
  • Leave them to dry.

Step 7: Grouting the tiles

Grout is a special kind of paste to fill gaps. After the tiles have dried, remove the spacers. Using a grout float, spread the prepared grout mixture into the gaps between the tiles. Wipe the excess grout and let it dry. Apply a sealant once it is completely dried. Grouting gives your wall a crisp and refined appearance. It imparts strength to the tile installation and prevents dirt and debris from settling between the tiles.

Step 8: Cleaning the tiles

Use a grout sponge (having rough and smooth surfaces on opposite ends) to wipe off debris or grout sticking to the tiles. Dry the surface using a microfiber cloth. Let the tiled area rest for 24 hours.

Tiling directly over the painted drywall is not recommended. Necessary preparations need to be done to enable the successful completion of tiling. The procedure may get too cumbersome after a while. Therefore, hiring professional assistance to do the job is your best option. At Titan Construction, our tiling technicians follow all the steps mentioned above to complete the work to your utmost satisfaction.

Tips for maintenance of your tile over painted drywall

Once the installation of tile over painted drywall is complete, you need to keep certain things in mind to ensure the tiles are maintained for a longer duration.

  • Clean, mop, or vacuum the tiles regularly. Dry using a clean cloth immediately.
  • Do not let stains on tiles stay for long, as removing them becomes more difficult.
  • Vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are excellent cleaning agents.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals. If you are unable to remove a stain, seek professional help.

Tile Over Painted Drywall: The bottom line

Putting tile over painted drywall is safe if you scrape the paint from the wall beforehand and use the correct mortar mixture and adhesives to stick the tiles. Update your home decor by adding a splash of

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