Can You Plaster Over Tiles?

Today’s topic is actually a very easy answer. The question is can you plaster over tiles – the answer may shock you! I’m kidding, it’s honestly a yes or no type question, so there’s not much that can be surprising here. I will, however, be making a few suggestions to make sure it all turns out well.

Can you plaster over tiles? The short answer is yes, but it’s not ideal.

This is gonna be a short one, so let’s hop right in, shall we?

The Answer

Long story short, you can absolutely plaster over tiles. There is a reason that professionals don’t do it, though. When you plaster over a wall, it’s designed to stick to the wall. Yes, there are bonding agents involved, but the long and short of it is that plaster isn’t made to go over tile. And believe it or not, tile isn’t supposed to go underneath plaster!

There are a lot of suggestions online of how to do this, but I found the most important question was this – why not just take the tiles off? There are two reasons you’d be doing plasterwork; either you’re being paid to do it, or you’re doing it on your own home. If it’s the former, you likely get paid to do the job correctly and in a high-quality manner. If it’s the latter, why would you cheap out on work for your own home?

Another thing to note is that you may need work done in the same space in the future. If you do end up needing a pro to come in and do something, they’ll need to get through the poorly-done plaster over tile, first. That means that they’ll need to get through plaster and then tile, rather than being able to pull the tile off and then get the plaster. This will end in one of two ways – you pay them more to do the same thing because it’s harder, or they can’t do it because they don’t have the proper tools.

Another Danger

Perhaps the largest risk that you run with plastering over tile is the actual strength of the job. Plaster has weight, and tile is not designed to support weight. Plastering over tile runs the risk of cracking your wall, delamination from the wall, or a straight-up collapse. Add in the fact that your tile could have been installed poorly or on a bad substrate, and you run the risk of even more damage.

Just In Case

There were a few suggestions on how to do this, were you to decide that easier is better than proper.

Try all of these at your own risk. DreamyHome highly recommends just doing the job right – if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

One suggestion recommends coating the tile with a specialised bonding agent (which I can’t recommend, so won’t name) mixed with sand. The poster claims that some bonding agents are better than PVA, and the addition of sand will allow the plaster to stick better. I cannot vouch for this, so take it with a grain of salt (or sand, in this case).

Another suggestion was to sand the glaze off your tile, resulting in a more coarse surface. In theory, this sounds like it should work, but I honestly haven’t tried it so I cannot vouch for it, either.

The third (and most common) suggestion I saw was to fasten wire lathe through the tile, drilling holes in the tile. You would then mechanically fasten the plaster to the wall, rather than through a chemical reaction. Again, none of these steps are things I’ve tried – though some people online seem to have done them.

Final Thoughts

And that’s that – can you plaster over tile? The answer is yes, but you really, really shouldn’t. There are a lot of things that can be done, that really shouldn’t be. For example, you could absolutely replace your bathroom tile with a dirt floor – but it’s not really ideal, is it?

Take the advice of the countless internet posters that I combed through – do the job right, or risk catastrophic failure and extreme damage to your home, please.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.