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Will Tile Stick to Painted Drywall? (Answered)

Adding tiles is a great way of protecting bathroom and kitchen walls from water splashes, humidity, and moisture.

You can put tiles on different types of walls and surfaces. Some people even put tiles over tiles if the surface allows the thickness. You may wonder if you can make tile stick to painted drywall.

Will tile stick to painted drywall?

Tile will stick to painted drywall but the wall needs to be prepared well for it to stick properly. The surface needs to be even and smooth. You have to sand down painted drywall to roughen the surface and give it the grip to hold the adhesive. You may also need to scrape down any peeling paint.

You may think that drywall is not an ideal surface as it is not sturdy enough for tiles. But in reality, tiles are often installed over painted/unpainted drywall.

The only requirement is that the surface is even with a bit of roughness to it. You can bring this roughness by sanding down the surface.

Painted drywall often has a glossy or semi-gloss finish. You can’t put tiles directly over glossy drywall as they won’t stick properly.

Both thin-set and mastic mortar need a rough surface to get a good grip. Hence, the gloss finish needs to be taken off before putting on the mortar for the tiles.

You need a flat surface for the adhesives to adhere. If there are any uneven parts or peeling paint, use a scraper to scrape away the unevenness.

If there are any cracks or holes, you can cover them up with a drywall joint compound. Make sure to wipe the area clean to remove paint dust.

Ceramic tiles work best for painted drywall. They bring out the best look and also, they are quite cost-friendly.

You can put ceramic tiles easily with just some attention to detail. It is a very good option for drywall bathroom walls. Ceramic tiles are very durable and easy to maintain.

Can you put tile directly on drywall?

You can put tile directly only on prepped drywall whether painted or unpainted. The surface has to be flat and even. You can’t put tiles over an uneven surface. You can easily put ceramic tiles over drywall with a thin-set adhesive.

All you need to do is hand sand the surface to bring the roughness that will help the adhesive to stick properly. Then you can put the tiles over the mortar and let them dry completely. Once the adhesive sets, you can apply grout and your wall is ready.

How do you prepare painted drywall for tile?

the most important step in sticking tiles in painted drywall is preparing the surface well first.

Clear the area of tiling:

To prepare for putting tiles on painted drywall, clear the area first. Remove trims and faceplates for switches and outlets. You can put these things back on after applying the tiles.

Clean the surface with TSP:

Next, you can clean the whole surface with TSP to remove any dirt, grease, or any other build-up. This step gives you a smooth surface to move on to the next step. Dry the wall completely.

Fill in any gaps, holes, or imperfections:

Check for gaps, holes, or any other imperfections and fill them in right away. You can’t have unevenness on the surface where you put tiles.

Sand down the surface:

Now you can sand down the surface to roughen it a little. You have to remove the glossy or semi-gloss finish of the painted drywall for the adhesives to work properly.

Wipe the surface clean:

After that, you can use a damp cloth or rag to wipe the surface clean. Allow the wall to dry fully. This step helps you get rid of the paint dust and gives you a clean surface to apply the mortar and tiles.

How to install tile over painted drywall?

You need to prepare the surface first to make sure the best application of tiles. Following is a step-by-step process to put tiles in brick style. 

Sand down to prepare the surface:

In the first step, you need to sand down the entire surface to remove the shininess from the wall. Wipe the paint dust away with a damp cloth or rag and wait for it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Measure the length and width of the wall and determine the center:

Once the surface is ready, you need to measure both the length (horizontal distance) and height (vertical distance) of the wall and draw lines from their midpoints to find the center of the wall.

Measure the height of the tile and scribe a horizontal line for the first line of tiles:

Now you can measure the height of a tile and determine its midpoint. Place the tile over the wall in a way that the centre of the wall and the midpoint that you just found out fall in the same place.

Now you can determine the horizontal line for the first set of tiles.

Apply mortar and start putting on tiles on the first row:

Apply a thin layer of mortar of your choice and get ready to install the tiles. This is the easiest method and it can hardly go wrong.

You can start by putting the first tile like this on each side of the centre and then continue putting more side by side to fill up the first row. If at one point you don’t have enough space to put a tile, you may have to cut the tile.

Continue putting on tiles to cover the wall:

Then you need to measure the length of another tile and determine the midpoint. This time, you place the tile in a way so that the midpoint falls where the centre of the wall is. Then you can continue to put more tiles on each side accordingly.

You can continue this process for all the rows until you complete covering the whole wall. This way you can make a brick pattern of tiles.

Of course, there are other ways to apply tiles over drywall. You can also start from a corner and fill the rest of the wall.

Apply the grout to even out all the gaps:

As you put the tiles, make sure to put spacers in between the tiles for the grout. After the application of tiles, you can now remove the spacers and apply the grout to cover all the joints. Wait for at least twenty minutes for it to slightly dry.

Clean the tiles and dry them properly:

Now you can take a damp grout sponge and rub well to get rid of any excess grout from the tiles. Leave it for an hour and then dry the tiles with a dry microfiber towel.

Will tile mortar stick to painted drywall?

Tile mortar, either mastic or thin-set, will stick to painted drywall when prepped properly. You don’t need to remove the painted drywall.

Instead, you should prepare the surface so it can allow the mortar to adhere. You can’t make mortar stick to painted drywall directly.

You will have to sand down the whole surface first. Sanding makes the surface rough and offers the grip for the mortar to stay.

You can also find mortars that are specially designed for painted drywall. These mortars stick better than other ones on painted drywall.

Will tile adhesive stick to painted drywall?

You can make tile adhesives stick to painted drywall perfectly by sanding the wall beforehand. Sanding gives the wall some roughness that holds onto the adhesives well.

You must make sure that the wall is flat and even. Also, you would have to wipe the wall clean to get rid of any dirt and grease.

You can also put ceramic tiles over painted drywall using tile adhesives. Thin-set and mastic mortar are the types of adhesives mostly used for applying ceramic, glass, and porcelain tiles.

The thin-set works for wet areas like swimming pools while mastic works for dry or damp areas.

Final thoughts

Tiles will stick to painted drywall. Just the wall needs to be prepared well before the application. Painted drywall will have either a glossy or semi-gloss finish. You need to sand the wall to remove the shine and add some roughness to the surface. Ceramic tiles also stick well to painted drywall.