Can You Put Tile On Drywall? [Your Question Answered]

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You’re taking a new project to tile your walls but they’re made of drywall. This puts you in a dilemma on whether or not you can tile it. So, we’re here to help. 

Can you put tile on drywall?

The answer is, yes! You can definitely tile over drywall. But you’ll need to know what kind of drywall is suited for this work. Damp drywall isn’t good to do tilework on. Also, you need to know about the preparation you’ll have to do before you tile. Only then can you start the process of tiling over drywall. 

There’s more to it. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get into it!

Can You Put On Drywall?

Yes, you can really tile over your drywall. It can be done in most of the spaces in your house. However, there are some areas where tiling over drywall might not be wise. Here’s a list of places to avoid:

  • Kitchen sink area
  • Around your bathtub or shower
  • Outdoor kitchen places
  • Inside the sauna or jacuzzi room  
  • In your laundry room

It’s better not to tile over the drywall in these rooms of your house. It’s because the moisture level is too much for the tiles to bond over drywall. But if you really want to do it, you need to fix your drywall first

One thing you need to remember is that your drywall must be dry. You cannot put tiles over damp drywall. This is because this wet, exposed drywall isn’t ideal for tiling. Let’s find out why.

Why Should You Not Tile Over Damp Drywall?

Tiling over damp drywall is highly discouraged. This is because it causes a lot of nasty problems around your house. We have detailed some of them below. 

Mold And Bacteria Infestation

Damp drywalls retain a lot of moisture. Also, it draws more moisture from the environment. These will then seep through the tiles and onto the drywall. It also reaches through the wooden struts behind your drywall. 

These dark, damp conditions are breeding grounds for molds and bacteria. You might not notice this before, but your tiles will start to wear off. Also, the drywall and the woodworks behind will rot. 

Pest Infestation Problems

Carpenter ants, termites, woodworms are attracted to the damp drywall. The humidity makes this their perfect home. So, these pests will start to wreck your structure. Moreover, make the place a biohazard for your family.

Hence we need to prepare the drywall accordingly for installation. Let’s check out how!

Preparing Drywall For Tile

Before starting the tiling process, it’s important to prepare the drywall for it. This whole process differs between painted, unpainted, and damp drywall. 

It’s a very simple process for all three types. But it will require patience and steady hands. 

How To Prepare Painted Drywall For Tile

If the drywall you’re working on is painted, then it’s a bit of easy work. You’ll have to clean it with a detergent solution. Before that, remove any switches and outlets.

Mix an equal amount of mild detergent and water. Then apply this on a rag and scrub all the dirt and grease away. After that, dry it out.

After cleaning, seal any cracks or holes with sand and adhesive for a smoother finish.

However, if you’ve just installed your drywall, you need to wait four weeks before tiling. This will make sure your drywall is sturdy and ready for tiling. 

How To Prepare Unpainted Drywall For Tile

In the case of unpainted drywall, it’s a bit more work. You’ll have to start by applying a skim coat on your entire wall. This will seal any unsealed seam. 

After that, sand the whole surface you’ll tile. This smooth surface will ensure that the tile will adhere. Then use a vacuum to clean the wall for dust particles. Take a slightly damp cloth and clean the drywall and allow it to dry completely.

Lastly, spray on the primer to seal the drywall. This will protect it from moisture and help to smooth the wall. But wait for at least 3 hours before you start tiling.  

How To Prepare Damp Drywall For Tile

Well, for this to work there’s a catch. Well if a certain surface is always damp, you can’t tile it. But if it’s temporary due to weather or water leakage, it’s fine to work with.

To tile a damp drywall, firstly, install an under-tile cement board over the damp places. This is similar to drywall; it has a built-in vapor barrier. Hence, moisture can’t penetrate through this. This is why it’s used over the damp drywall. 

You should install a good-quality board. We’ve recommended you some boards available in the market:

Product 1
Product 2

But, do not use a normal cement board. This is because regular cement boards can’t be used in damp places, but in dry arid rooms.

Now you’re all set to put tiles over on drywall.

Installing The Tiles Over The Drywall

First, start the installation process by mixing the mortar. Follow the instructions on the manual to mix this. For the proper bond between the tiles and drywall the viscosity needs to be perfect. 

After that, spread the mortar on the rough side of the tiles. The thickness of the mortar should be 3/16’’. Then, carefully, hang it to the drywall. 

Apply pressure so that the tile sticks to the drywall. Now, repeat the process until all the tiles are hung. 

Note: Before starting the tiling process, measure the weight limit on your drywall. This will also vary the thickness of the mortar and the weight of the tiles.

These are basically the process you need to use to put tile on drywall. 

FAQs

Question: Can you put thinset over painted drywall?

Answer: Thinset can bond best with a porous, rough surface. Unpainted drywall is ideal for using thinset. Moreover, you can use thinset over painted drywall as well. But it won’t work as effectively as it will over the bare, rough drywall.

Question: Is tiling over drywall safe?

Answer: Yes, it is totally safe. That is unless your wall is very damp, or old. But make sure to check for dents and dampness on drywall before you start tiling. 

Question: Can you tile over drywall using large-sized tile?

Answer: You can use a large tile to tile over your drywall. But you must take into account the amount of weight your drywall can hold. Choose the size of your tiles according to that information.

EndNote

We hope we’ve explained the question “can you put tile on drywall” thoroughly. So, what are you waiting for, go prepare your drywall for tiling. 

Have a great day! Hope to see you soon!

Scott Kelly