Considerations On Tiling Over Tiles

When planning to re-tile a room, decisions have to be made on the best method of doing so. Many believe that tiling over tile is the way to go; however, there are factors to consider before applying this technique. To help you decide better, here are the pros and cons of tiling over tile.

The PROS (some would say)

Some would say, tiling over tile is usually a much easier and cheaper solution than pulling up your original tiles and re-tiling your floor or wall. One advantage of doing this is that it is time-saving. You do not have to allot work-hours to pull up the existing tiles which means the tiling work can be finished much faster – and all without the big mess!

This method is also cost-effective, saving you a lot of money. When tiling over tile, you don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring people to remove your tiles, or if doing it yourself, you don’t need to worry about the cost of renting heavy stripping machines needed to remove the tiles.

Inspect The Existing Tiles For Adherence

Inspection of the existing tiles is very important to make sure that they are adhering well to the substrate. Tiles that adhere well do not sound hollow or drummy when tapped. The best way to check the tiles for “drumminess” is to tap each one with the back of a screw driver and listen for a hollow sound. If the tiled area is 95% free from hollow sounds, it is good for tiling over. If the tiled area has drummy tiles, they have to be pulled out and replaced before the tiling over work starts.

Please note: If your existing floor is uneven, your new re-tiled floor will be also. Make sure to even out the existing floor before proceeding with the tiling over job.


Installing tile over tile does have its downsides also. Floor Prep: Floor prep for tiling over old tiles involves grinding off high spots on the existing floor, removing loose tiles and filling voids with thinset or floor-leveling compound. If the floor has numerous loose or missing tiles, it might be better to remove the old tiles because the weak bond beneath them could weaken the new tile floor. If you opt to remove the old tiles, scrape and grind away hardened thinset to level the underlayement before laying the new tiles.

For me there are just too many possible issues that can wrong in this scenario. In the long run, in the time it would take you to do the necessary steps to tile over old tile, with a little extra time and effort you could tear out the old new and ensure you are starting with a proper subfloor and base for a long lasting tile job.

The floor height, which can become an issue as it may make the tiled over floor become too high and possibly block doors or cupboards that are in line with the old flooring prior to the re-tiling job. Tiled over floors may also result to a large step up from the outside room into your bathroom, which could be an accident hazard.

Precise measuring will need to be done before applying the tiling over tile method. Removing doors and trimming them to the correct height of the newly tiled floor can overcome this concern. Alternatively, you can ramp the tile at the bathroom door jamb so both surface finishes flush to the ramped tile.

Ceramic tile floors are heavy, and two layers will place additional stress on a floor and the supporting structure beneath. If it’s a small area, like a bathroom, it might not make a big difference. If it’s a large floor, however, such as those found in expansive great rooms, the added weight could be detrimental. The only way to know for sure is to consult a structural engineer, who can examine the floor joist system to determine if it will safely support the additional weight.

As a contractor I can not guarantee the previous tile work. If the previous floor was done with low end products, not properly installed, sub-floor improperly done, any imperfections will transfer to the new floor causing a failure in your new flooring.For piece of mine I always recommend to start fresh. The upfront cost are more expensive but you will save in the long run not having to tear up two floors and starting over.

Adhesives Used For Tiling Over Tiles

Special tile adhesives need to be used when tiling over different tile finishes:

  1. Matt Finish tiles. The best adhesive to use for this tile finish is Novatex Uni Nova.

  2. Gloss Finish tiles. This tile finish requires a little more work and needs to be done in 2 stages:

  3. Tile primer needs to be applied by roller to the existing floor, then,

  4. A standard rubber based modified adhesive, is applied next to adhere the tiles onto the newly prepared surface.

If you are considering tiling over existing tiles, take these pros and cons into consideration before doing so, and take a look at the current state of your tiles. If done right, tiling over tiles can be the time-saving and cost-effective option!

For proper guidance, consult with Let Me Fix It Handyman Service or local tile store to make sure that you purchase the right products for your project.

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