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

by Debbie
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.
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 25 questions
  • Karen Karen on May 05, 2020

    My tub area is fine but the rest of my bathroom had pink tile halfway up the walls. I painted it with a glossy white, but after a few years is showing wear. Could I tile over this painted tile? I'm SO sick of nursing it back to health. Thanks in advance to anyone with advice.

  • Gael Robinson Gael Robinson on May 06, 2020

    Doesnt the use of screws puncture the waterproof membrane underneath?

  • Janis Janis on May 06, 2020

    Love the look of the master bath shower. Do you think I could do something similar on a fiberglass tub surround?

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  • Allison Velez Allison Velez on May 06, 2020

    There is also a primer you can use for tiling over tile. It's rubberized so won't crack.

  • Jenny Jenny on Jul 19, 2020

    When our bathroom was revamped we were left with green tiles. Yes you can tile over tiles. I did mine in 2010 and have had no problems. Had to use some inexpensive tiles to bring one area up to the right level, then tile over them! Still no problem. Just need to be steady and gentle if drilling through two layers.