New Life to Old Bathtub Surround. “Tile Over Tile” Yes You Can

6 Materials
3 Days

My 4” white bathroom tile was in very good condition without any cracks or loose tiles. Boring! Couldn’t really afford a contractor to rip it out and replace. So I enhanced it with beautiful mother of pearl and glass mosaic centerpiece over the existing tile. I have before pictures but unfortunately I don’t have any during the process. Hopefully I can convey the process without pictures.
Same concept was used in my Master Shower, but did it like wainscoting
New life to old bathroom.
You don‘t have to have white tiles. Your old tile can be any size or color as long as they are in good condition, just coordinate with new tiles.
I did quite a bit of research on the web to see if you can tile over tile. Most sites said yes, but one suggested it wasn’t a good idea.
Mine has been done for 2 1/2 years. And its still perfect.
This the finished project
This is the before picture ughh. House was a total gut job.
I scrubbed and removed the utilitarian bar. There were a couple of holes I had to patch, but they are barely detectable. There are tutorials on the web for repairing tile.
Next I taped around the section that I wanted to add my centerpiece. I sanded like crazy with a heavy grit sand paper to rough up that area. A wire bit for my drill would have probably been easier.
I attached schluter to my wall tiles where I wanted my frame to go
This is schluter. A metal trim used around tile and marble pencil tile.
I don’t have a picture attaching the schluter so a made this grid to show you how to attach. Schluter is cut at a 45 degree angle to size of the picture frame I wanted.
The first piece of schluter, which is the bottom part of the frame is attached to the wall with tiny screws in between the grout lines of the existing tile. The schluter has an edge to it that will keep your tiles from sliding. The side pieces are attached next with tiny screws make sure your frame is square
This is what your corners should look like even though my angle is slightly off. It’s for demonstration only.
Next you add your marble pencil for a little wider frame. Pencil is cut on a 45 degree angle at the corners. This is attached with your tile adhesive. As you press the pencil tile it also attaches the schluter as it squezes through the holes in the back of the schluter. I used Omini Grip from Home Depot because it’s water applications
This shows my 45 degree angle for my pencil frame. I only used small pieces of the pencil for demonstration.
Then you start filling in your picture frame going from bottom to top. The top of the frame with schulter is put on before the last row of tile and pencil because the back of the schluter goes under the last tiles. Wait at least 24 hours before grouting. I like the grout that already has the sealer in it. Don’t remember the name but Home Depot has it.
Close up of the corners.
Close up of the centerpiece.
Another view
Used the same concept.
Used the same concept in my master shower surround. Tiled right over the tile in my shower surround. Only this time in a wainscoting version.
Finished project.
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
18 Fun Ways To Add Glitter To Your Home Decor
17 DIY Decor Ideas To Get The Party Started
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
22 Ideas To Make Your Terra Cotta Pots Look Oh-So-Pretty
These Upcycling Ideas Will Blow You Away!
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
30 Essential Hacks For Cleaning Around Your Home
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
Gardeners: Copy These 28 Stunning Ways To Display Your Plants
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
21 Insanely Cute Reasons to Add Pineapple to Your Decor
17 Faux Brick Ideas For Your Home

Have a question about this project?

3 of 22 questions
  • Eileen DeRitis
    on Mar 3, 2019

    That make over is beautiful! But as I was looking at it I noticed your shower curtains and wondered how those are hung?


    • Debbie
      on Mar 3, 2019

      Look at my other projects. Beautiful shower curtains tracks

  • Wandamurline
    on Mar 3, 2019

    Looking at the pictures, was your surround not actual tile but a fiberglass tub surround and the shower the same?

    • Terri
      on Mar 4, 2019

      What type of glue did you use to attach the tile to the tiled wall? Do you think this could be done to a fiberglass tub surround? By the way great job looks beautiful!

  • Della Tompkins
    on Mar 4, 2019

    Do you have to use schluter frame?

    • Debbie
      on Mar 4, 2019

      I don’t think so. I imagine that you could use a straight edge attached to the wall for the tiles to rest on to keep them from slipping while drying.

Join the conversation

2 of 62 comments
  • Pat whitmus
    on Mar 4, 2019

    very creative idea! Smart and well done!

  • Shelly Moore
    on Mar 7, 2019

    Our shower surround is white 4" squares just like yours. They are fine but there is an UGLY brown and tans stripe of 1" tiles around the top. Getting rid of the Brown!!! I may do this! So many Much Prettier tiles could go there! I sit in my tub and try to think, How can I change this? This is just the thing! :-)

Your comment...