If you’re wondering if you can tile over tile, the answer is yes — but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Read on to learn more.

In This Article:

If the existing tile surface is uneven or damaged, tiling over it can result in a surface that’s not smooth and even for the new tiles. (Tanantornanutra, Getty Images)
Adding new tiles over existing ones can cause issues with the height of the floor or wall, which can affect doors, cabinets, and appliances. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the significant advantages of this approach is that it can be cost-effective. You can save time and money by eliminating the need for removal, surface preparation, and debris disposal.

Another advantage is that it can be an easy, straightforward DIY process, which can save you the cost of hiring a professional installer. And, it’s time-saving because you don’t have to wait for the removal of the old tile, which can be a time-consuming process.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider. First, adding new tiles over existing ones can cause issues with the height of the floor or wall, which can affect doors, cabinets, and appliances.

Secondly, adding extra weight to the structure can impact its stability, which can be a problem in older or poorly constructed buildings. Additionally, if the old tiles are uneven or damaged, laying new ones over them may result in an uneven final product that affects the appearance and durability of the new tile.

Finally, laying new tiles over an existing tiled surface that has underlying moisture issues could lead to mold or mildew growth. So, it’s essential to address any moisture issues before you begin this project.

Easy to install
Additional weight
Stability concerns
Uneven surface
Moisture concerns

Key Considerations for Beginning

Laying tile over tile is an efficient way to update any room. Just remember these things before you tackle this project:

  • The subfloor needs to be flat and smooth for this project to be successful.
  • Laying another layer of tile will raise the height of the floor, which might require you to cut the bottoms off nearby doors.
  • In a bathroom, you will need to take the toilet out before installing the tile. In addition, you’ll need to replace the existing toilet flange bolts if they aren’t long enough for the added floor height.
  • If any old tiles are loose, you’ll need to reattach them to the floor and fill in any missing spots.

How to Prepare for Tiling Over Tile 

What You’ll Need

  • Degreaser
  • Scrub brush
  • Water
  • Self-leveling compound (if needed)
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Mask and eye protection
  • Bonding primer
Sanding the surface of the existing tile can help create a rough surface for the new adhesive to bond to. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Before you start, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly to ensure a successful outcome. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

  1. Clean the Surface: The first step is to thoroughly clean the existing surface. Use a degreaser and scrub brush to remove any dirt, grime, or adhesive residue. Once the surface is clean, rinse it thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely.
  2. Inspect the Surface: Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks or chips. If there are any that are damaged or loose, replace them before laying the new. Also, check whether the floor is level. If it’s uneven, you may need to use a self-leveling compound to create a smooth and even surface.
  3. Sand the Surface: Sanding the surface can help create a rough surface for the new adhesive to bond to. Use medium-grit sandpaper and sand the surface in a circular motion. Be sure to wear a mask and eye protection when sanding to avoid inhaling dust.
  4. Use a Primer: Applying a bonding primer can help create a stronger bond between the old and new adhesive. Use a high-quality primer and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Choose the Right Adhesive: Use a thin-set mortar mix, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  6. Consider Size: If you’re using large tiles, you may need to remove some of the old ones to create a smooth and even surface for the new ones.

How to Tile Over Tile

What You’ll Need

  • Thin-set Mortar Mix
  • Trowel
  • Spacers
  • Tile Cutter or Wet Saw
  • Grout
  • Grout Float
  • Level
  • Sponge
  • Chalk line (for creating straight lines during installation)
  • Safety Gear (gloves and goggles)
Use a notched trowel to apply thin-set mortar mix that has been modified with a latex or polymer additive to increase adhesion. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

After you’ve properly prepped the area, here’s what to do:

  1. Measure the Area: Measure the area to determine how much you will need. Make sure to include extra for any cuts or mistakes.
  2. Cut Door Jambs: Use a jamb saw, or handsaw and spacer block, to cut door jambs to the proper height.
  3. Layout Pattern: Layout the pattern on the floor by popping chalk lines to use for aligning.
  4. Apply Adhesive: Use a notched trowel to apply thin-set mortar mix that has been modified with a latex or polymer additive to increase adhesion. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper application.
  5. Lay Tile: Use a level to make sure they’re flat and even. Start at one end of the room and work your way across. Use spacers to ensure that they’re evenly spaced.
  6. Cut Tile: Cut the new to fit around the edges of the room, around fixtures, and other obstacles.
  7. Allow Adhesive to Set: Allow the thin-set adhesive to dry for 24 hours or more.
  8. Grout: Once the adhesive has set, remove the spacers and apply grout. Use a grout float to spread the grout evenly and wipe off any excess with a damp sponge.
    Tip: Divide your floor into small sections, and only apply grout to one section at a time. This will allow you to work quickly and efficiently without having to step on the freshly laid tile. 
  9. Allow Grout to Set: Allow the grout to harden before walking on the floor.

Watch the video to find out more.

When to Call a Professional

When it comes to home improvement projects that involve tiling, it can be tempting to take on the task yourself. However, there are some situations where it’s best to call in a professional tiler. Consider these factors when deciding whether to tackle the job yourself or hire a pro.

  1. If you’re working with large or irregularly shaped tiles, it can be challenging to achieve a professional-looking installation without experience. A professional tiler will have the tools and expertise necessary to make precise cuts and ensure they are laid out correctly.
  2. Before you can begin, the surface must be properly prepared. This can involve leveling the floor or wall, applying a suitable underlayment, and ensuring that the surface is clean and free of debris. If you’re not confident in your ability to complete these steps, it’s best to hire a professional.
  3. If you’re planning a complex design, such as a mosaic or herringbone pattern, it’s best to hire a professional. These designs require precise cutting and placement, and even a small mistake can be costly to fix.
  4. If you’re working on a tight schedule or need the job done quickly, it’s best to hire a professional who can complete the work efficiently.
  5. While hiring a professional tiler may cost more upfront, it can save you money in the long run. Poor installation can lead to leaks, cracks, and other damage, which can be expensive to repair. A professional installation will also increase the value of your home and can last for decades if maintained properly.

Basically, if you’re unsure about your ability, it’s best to hire a professional tiler. They will have the skills, experience, and tools necessary to complete the job to a high standard, ensuring that your investment is well worth it.

Read our article about the cost of tile flooring and get a quote from an installer in your area by filling out the form below.

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Typical Cost: $6 – $24 per sq foot

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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