Installing a Ceramic Tile Backsplash Over Drywall

Installing ceramic tile over existing drywall.

I am planning to install a ceramic backsplash above my laminate counter top in the kitchen over the painted drywall. What kind of treatment is needed for the drywall so that it does not get moist? Also, a quick step-by-step procedure would help a lot, too. -Raj

Hi Raj,

You should be able to tile right over your existing drywall with no problem. Once the adhesive dries and the grout has set, it will be imperious to moisture.

For detailed instructions on how to install a ceramic tile backsplash, check out the following article, Ceramic Tile Backsplash Project, and video, Ceramic Tile Backsplash, on our website.

Good luck with your project,



  1. For a sink area, you really should be using a “rock board”. Green drywall is not waterproof – it will delaminate just like regular drywall if it gets wet. Green drywall is just more humidity resistant so it is used in bathrooms. I would cut out an area of drywall slightly smaller then your tile area, cut out a piece of tile backer board to fit the cutout area, and shim up the backer board so the tile will sit flush with the surrounding wall. Fasten the backer. The tile will overlap onto the drywall slightly and at the same time seal up the outside perimeter well to prevent water intrusion. No taping will be needed since your tile glue & tile will seal the seam.

  2. We are wanting to put small tile squares on the back splash in our kitchen. The finish on the walls is a texture that has been knocked down. Can we tile over this or do we need to sand it down smooth.

  3. we tore out our previous tile backsplash, which was adhered to drywall. it of course ripped up some of the paperr on the drywall. the drywall is still very intact with the exception of torn up paper. question: is it ok to tile over this “disturbed” drywall and should I prep this drywall in any way? thanks.

  4. Happy Monday. I have a question about one of your videos – the one regarding the backsplash and range hood. It appears that you mortared the glass tiles to the drywall prior to hanging the range hood. Was the hood’s mounting plate bolted directly to the drywall, or is it sitting on top of some glass tiles? I’m getting ready to do a similar project (with Bliss Glass and Stone cabernet-style mosaic), and I’ve been told to not sit the hood’s mounting plate on top of the tiles, but to put the hood’s mounting plate directly on drywall and to mortar the glass tiles around it. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks in advance.


  6. Ed, you should have measured before you started placing to get the equal spacing above and below. Hopefully, you or the homeowner doesnt mind that you might have a 1/8″ gap everywhere else but a 1/4″ at cabinets…i wouldve probably thought about doing a trim piece if it was for customer if discovered at the end of the laying.

  7. I am only responding to the older comment because I found this site off google and want to give a little bit of my dad’s 40 years experience etc….the tile is NOT water resistant unless its porcelain and it is MORE water resistant (not totally), typically water gets behind the tile based on cracks in the grout or a bad caulking situation where it will splash above and drain down. NO TILE or STONE is safe if there is water intrusion that is occurring.

  8. I put 4-inch tiles in my kitchen- the backsplash and some higher areas- about 7-8 years ago. Didn’t want grout so they’re just butted up against each other. The interesting thing is I put them up with my trusty hot glue gun, most on painted wallboard, some on existing wallpaper. This totally flies in the face of most tiling experience, but it’s worked just fine. I did find that after some years, an occasional tile placed on the wallpaper fell off, but first stripping the outer surface of the wallpaper solves that problem as it leaves a less-slick surface and the hot glue sticks just fine. Run the hot glue around the edges of the tile, adding some in the center as well, and the adherence is pretty remarkable. Plus no stink. Wouldn’t try this with larger tiles, but 4″ and smaller works just fine.

  9. Warning ⚠ The tile is not impervious to moisture. Unless it is porcelain and grout absorbs water unless sealed or epoxy!

  10. thanks for the tips. I watched the video and it all seems pretty straight forward. I think it may be a little beyond what I can do. I am not very handy. I am happy to know a little more about the process, though. I also like that it will make a water tight seal and keep my drywall dry.

  11. We have a one piece shower, that we love. We would like to tile the rest of the walls in the bathroom.. Do we have to use cement back board when putting up the tiles or can we just put them over the existing drywall?

  12. hi,

    i m trying to put tiles around my tub area and this is something new i m doing for the very first time in my life and i have a question oh how i can do it. so its finished drywall around the tub and can i just stick the ceramic tiles by applying grout to the drywall or do i have to do anything special before i start applying grout.

    Thanks and appreciate your answer!


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