• Proper Preparation Is Essential: Ensuring the existing tiles are stable, clean, and properly prepared with the right adhesive is key to successfully tiling over them. Use a flexible adhesive and primer for best results.

  • Insightful Reaction Video: Watch Russell McCarthy debunk common myths about tiling in his reaction video. Gain a clear understanding of why professional advice often gets it wrong and how you can achieve excellent results with the correct methods.

Hello, Russell McCarthy here from WA Building Inspections Perth. When it comes to renovating, one of the more debated topics among builders and home inspectors concerns the feasibility of tiling over different foundations such as existing ceramic or porcelain tiles. Unfortunately, misinformation is common, and I’ve encountered many professionals who incorrectly advise against this practice. To clarify the question “Can you tile over tiles?”, I’m providing a detailed guide, packed with practical advice, on how to correctly lay new tiles over old ones. Watch my reaction video above where I’ll address an inspector’s incorrect claims that this renovation strategy is not possible.



Correcting Common Tiling Misconceptions


Many homeowners are often told that laying new tiles over the old ones is impractical or impossible. This is simply not true if the right conditions and preparations are met. Here’s how you can ensure that your tile over tile installation is successful, avoiding common pitfalls that some inspectors and builders might not be aware of.


Assessing Tile Stability

First and foremost, the stability of the existing tiles is crucial. They must be firmly attached, without any loose pieces or significant damage. If there are any loose tiles, they should be reattached or removed before proceeding.


Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is essential:

  • Clean Thoroughly: Remove any dirt, grease, or old sealants from the tiles. This ensures the new adhesive can bond properly.
  • Create a Rough Surface: If the existing tiles are glossy, lightly sand them to create a texture that will help the new adhesive to grip better.


Choosing the Right Adhesive and Tools

Using the correct adhesive is vital for a successful tile over tile application:

  • Flexible Adhesive: Choose a high-quality flexible tile adhesive that is designed for use over non-porous surfaces like existing tiles.
  • Primer: Apply a bonding primer made for non-porous surfaces to enhance the adhesion of your new tiles.


Laying the New Tiles

Here’s a step-by-step approach to laying your new tiles:

  1. Apply the Primer: Once the old tiles are prepped, apply a layer of primer to help the new adhesive stick.
  2. Spread the Adhesive: Use a notched trowel to evenly spread the flexible adhesive over the tiles.
  3. Place New Tiles: Carefully lay your new tiles on top, using spacers to ensure even gaps.
  4. Set and Dry: Allow the adhesive to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Grouting and Finishing

  • Flexible Grout: Choose a flexible grout to fill the gaps between the new tiles. This type of grout will accommodate minor movements and help prevent cracking.


Tackling Weight and Thickness Issues

It’s important to address the potential increase in floor height and total weight:

  • Weight Considerations: Ensure that the additional weight of the new tiles does not compromise the structural integrity of the space.
  • Height Adjustments: Consider the increased height of the floor, especially around doors and fixed cabinetry.



My Final Thoughts – Can you tile over tiles?

Tiling over existing tiles can be a practical and cost-effective way to update your space without the need for extensive demolition. With the right preparation, materials, and techniques, this project is not only feasible but can also add significant value and appeal to your home.

If you have any doubts or need personalised advice for your tiling project, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at WA Building Inspections Perth. We’re here to ensure your renovations are done right, debunking myths and providing the facts you need for successful home improvement.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can any type of tile be used to tile over existing tiles?

    • Not all tiles are suitable for tiling over existing tiles. It’s best to use tiles that are thinner and lighter to minimise the additional weight and thickness.
  2. Do I need to remove the grout from the old tiles before tiling over them?

    • It is not necessary to remove the old grout unless it is loose or crumbling. However, the surface should be leveled with a suitable compound if the grout lines are deep.
  3. How long does the new tile adhesive need to dry before grouting?

    • It depends on the adhesive used, but typically, you should wait at least 24 hours before grouting. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  4. Can I tile over painted tiles?

    • Yes, you can tile over painted tiles, but you must ensure the paint is not peeling or flaking. Sanding the painted surface to create a rough texture can help improve adhesive bonding.
  5. What should I do if the existing tiles are cracked or loose?

    • Any cracked or loose tiles should be repaired or removed and the area leveled with a suitable filler before proceeding with tiling over them.