tiling over a half-tiled wall.

28 Oct 2005
Reaction score
United Kingdom
This is the scenario:

There is a bathroom wall that is half-tiled in cheap thin (about 3mm) tiles.
I want to tile it all the way up using thicker tiles that will cover the existing tiles and continue right up.
My query is: What is the best way to bring up the height of the non-tiled area (above the cheap tiles) until it is uniformly leverl so that I can tile over the whole area? The non-tiled area is plasterboard. Should I use multi finish plaster or bonding? Or would I be better using a thick powder adhesive and a notched spreader and fill in the gap with adhesive?

What would you do?

Sponsored Links
I'd probably be most inclined to take off the thin tiles, too. I'd probably take one or two off and then decide whether or not to proceed or to think of a Plan B.

Depending on whether or not I thought it would be visible, my first Plan B would probably be to use a 14 or even 20 inch plastering trowel to spread a tapered bed of thin set from the top edge of the thin tiles to a point 14 to 20 inches above that.

Hold a bright light next to the wall and in the corners where walls meet walls to see if the wall is really as flat as you thought it was and if the corners are really as straight as you thought they were. If they aren't, then this short cut won't be visible either.
The problem is that the plasterboard wall will pull to bits if I try to remove the thin tiles and I can't be bothered re-boarding it all. So one way or another I have to make the wall good and tile over it.

Sponsored Links
alright joe, could you not cut out the top section of plasterboard, lets assume its 9.5, change to 12.5 theres your 3mm. if its 12.5 replace with 15mm ;)
It's for an old timer and I don't want to charge him too much. How about a quick skim of board adhesive? That wopuld stick to the board and make a surface I could tile over.

Similar to jbonding idea, I wonder if you can get away with planting 3mm plywood with galvanized nails?

No good if it's in the wet area such as shower.
Another option:

What about setting a row of the thickest border tiles you can find above the 3 mm tiles so that you can tile directly over the 3 mm tiles below and the painted wall above and any "step" in the wall obliterated at that thick border so it's much less noticable.

Where I live, I can get some border tiles that are 3/4 inch thick.

Or set a row of thick border tiles above the 3 mm, another row of a different tile (to break things up) and then another row of that same thick border before continuing up the wall to the ceiling with the same tile as you have under the bottom border tile. That way, everything is different across that wide border, so the position of the wall being further out won't look at all outta place. (?)

If you can obliterate that 3 mm difference with an even bigger and obviously intentional difference by using a real thick border tile, the 3 mm won't even be noticed, and might even look good because it fits in with the profile of the wall.
They are all good ideas but I'm a little reluctant to tile over ply as I've seen many instances of the tiles falling off. I don't know why that is, but I think it might be due to the expansion rate of wood.

Nestor. If it were my place I'd do as you say, but the guy has already bought all the tiles (before he spoke to me) so one way or another I've got to tile over the whole lot. Good post though.

joe-90 said:
They are all good ideas but I'm a little reluctant to tile over ply as I've seen many instances of the tiles falling off. I don't know why that is, but I think it might be due to the expansion rate of wood.
The reason being because the tile grouts are not waterproof, it's only water resistance so the plywood can get wet behind the tiles, shouldn't be a problem if it's in the dry area. Now having said this I don't know it if the 3mm plywood are available in exterior or WPB. Might be an idea to give the tiles shop a ring for their advice.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links