Can I Lay New Tiles Over An Existing Tiled Floor?
When you need to cover up ugly tiles it's good to know that you can tile over an already tiled floor but is it a good idea?
Anyone who has ripped up and replaced a tiled floor will agree with me when I say it's a messy job that is hard work. This is a project I would try to avoid at all costs if you are doing it yourself. Tiling a bare floor is a fairly easy project but having to rip up old tiles and replace them is not. So, if you can simply lay new tiles over an old tiled floor it is easier and will cost far less and not be messy. In this article, we asked tiling experts, TAL, to provide their expert opinion on laying tiles over existing tiles the easy way for a lasting and professional job.
The Pros and Cons of tiling over existing tiles
Like any DIY project, there are pros and cons that you need to take into consideration before undertaking the task. In this particular case, there are more pros than cons but everything needs to be factored in before thinking about it.
Pros for tiling over existing tiles
- Saves time and money as no need to hire labour or specialist tools to do the job
- Cleaner job without having to remove existing tiles
- The convenience of simply being able to lay new tiles
Cons for tiling over existing tiles
- Ensure that the existing floor is in good condition or undertaking repairs. Note that you cannot tile over natural stone tiles as these are not considered a stable surface.
- The cost of labour if you do not want to do this yourself
- Hire cost of specialist tools such as a hammer drill
- Inconvenience and mess during the process
- Removal of waste
How to lay tiles over existing tiled floor
Step 1 - Do an assessment
It is important to keep in mind that the floor level will increase when laying tiles over existing tiles and you will need to check that this is possible beforehand. Doors will need to be trimmed to fit and there will be a difference between existing and newly tiled floors.
Inspect the tiles for any cracked, chipped or loose tiles. Tapping the tiles will reveal spots where the tiles have not been properly bedded into the adhesive and this could cause failure in the future. Any suspect areas will need to be removed before tiling takes place.
GOOD TO KNOW
Use TAL Rapidfix after removing damaged or suspect tiles to fill up these areas so that they are level with the surrounding tiles. Follow the instructions regarding curing time before proceeding to lay tiles over the top.
Step 2 - Preparation
Acid washing the tiled floor serves to remove all traces of grease, grime and polish and is essential for a successful bond between the old and new tiles. TAL Glint heavy-duty tile cleaner is recommended for cleaning tiles. Use a scrubbing brush to clean tiles and then rinse with clean water and a cloth. Allow to dry fully.
Step 3 - Applying primer
Priming the surface before application of the tile adhesive ensures a good bond between the old and new tiles. The recommended method is to apply a slurry consisting of one part TAL Keycoat mixed with two parts TAL Keymix powder (follow the recommended instructions on the pack).
GOOD TO KNOW
Apply the primer using a block brush and cover the entire area with a thin, even coat.
Step 4 - Apply tile adhesive
TAL recommends the use of a rapid-setting adhesive when tiling onto existing tiles as a standard adhesive takes longer to dry. TAL Tile-To-Tile quick-setting adhesive is excellent for this task. Apply the adhesive over the area to be tiled with a notched trowel.
GOOD TO KNOW
The tile adhesive should be at least 6mm thick on the surface of the tiled floor.
For large-format tiles, back buttering the back of tiles with a thin coat of adhesive will ensure full contact with the adhesive bed.
Step 5 - Grouting
Allow the tile adhesive to set firm before finishing off with grouting as this will prevent any disturbance of the tiles and adhesive. TAL Wall & Floor Grout can be used for grouting joints up to 8 mm wide.
GOOD TO KNOW
Excess tile grout should be removed as soon as possible, before it hardens completely, especially when an additive has been used as this may stain the surface of the tiles.
Step 6 - Movement joints
Omitting movement joints when tiling can be a cause of tile failure and, when tiling over existing tiles, the existing structural and movement joints must be maintained in the new tile installation. Movement joints should be at least 5mm wide and extend through the adhesive and both tile layers.
Follow the instructions below and the guidelines provided with products used for a successful installation of tiles over an existing tiled floor.