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Can You Tile Over Plaster Walls? (Quick Answers)

Tiling plays an important role as a protective surface and also to create the desired ambience in house. It is popular all over the world as it makes the cleaning process easier and less time-consuming and also for its affordability.

Tile over plaster walls

Tiling can be done over plaster walls if the surface is smooth and crack-free. The surface has to be leveled and sturdy enough to support the weight of the ceramic tiles. However, tiling can’t be done soon after plastering. It’ll take a minimum of 2 weeks to dry and be ready for tiling.

Depending on a few factors, plaster can be covered with ceramic tiles. The plaster’s surface and location are important for the tiles’ ability to adhere to the plaster. 

Moreover, one must first determine whether the plaster is new or old to lay ceramic tiles over plaster because tiling requires a smooth, crack-free surface to adhere to the plaster. 

The next step is to determine whether the plaster is sturdy enough to support the weight of the ceramic tiles. 

Additionally, when installing ceramic tiles over plaster in areas that are more susceptible to moisture, such as the bathroom and kitchen, extra caution should be taken. 

Because these areas are more likely to fracture and retain water, which can affect the attachment of ceramic tiles to the plaster.

Tile over old plaster wall: 

Ceramic tiles can be installed over old plaster walls, depending on the condition of the previous plaster. A substrate preparation is typically required for old plaster since any cracks or holes otherwise it’ll result in a finish that is not desired. 

The old plaster is smoothed down during substrate preparation to seal the flaw. Before installing ceramic tiles, the old plaster must be dry, dust-free, and intact. If using a plaster trowel, balance the plaster irregularities if the surface has imperfections. 

After inspecting all the conditions, ceramic tiles can be laid over the old plaster. 

Tile over new  plaster walls: 

There are usually no problems with tiling over plaster surfaces, but some people advise taking precautions before doing so because plaster is often a fragile gypsum element that breaks down quickly under heavy loads. 

The new plaster needs to be sealed in order to increase the ceramic tiles’ adherence. The plaster typically needs three to four weeks to fully dry before ceramic tiles may be installed over a fresh coat of plaster material. 

Ceramic tiles can be used to cover plaster if the tile thickness is lesser, since heavier tiles will put too much pressure on the plaster.

Can you tile over these plaster surfaces?

Plaster surfaces must be in good condition before ceramic tiles may be installed on top of them. Plaster is more susceptible to moisture in showers and swimming pools, so sealing is necessary to ensure a smooth lock with the ceramic tiles when tiling over it. 

Prior to tiling painted plaster walls, it is important to determine whether the painting surface is scratch-free because this affects the adherence of ceramic tiles. Some plaster, such as the plaster boards, must be primed before being tilled. 

Plaster wall in a shower: 

Yes, plaster walls in showers can be tiled, but you must make sure the surface is waterproof. To ensure that the adhesion is strong enough to hold the tiles, adhesives and sealants may be required. 

Painted plaster walls: 

Installing tiles over painted plaster walls won’t be a problem if they are smooth and free of scratches. However, the wall must first be sanded off, and it may need to be patched to ensure there are no irregularities. When placing the tiles, the painting material has an effect. 

Since water-based paints don’t have the adhesive property, oil-based paints are the best choice for tilling. 

Tiles are typically difficult to install on painted surfaces, but if you want to install them, you must first check that the plaster’s surface is not clumpy or peeled off, because if it is, the tile will not hold to it effectively.


Primer and adhesives can be used to place tiles over plasterboard. To ensure a secure and reliable attachment of the tiles, there should be a waterproof primer or adhesive. 

Plaster in a pool: 

Ceramic tiles are typically not the best material for pool areas. However, plaster can be covered with tile by applying mortar first in the pool.

Can you tile directly onto plaster walls?

With adhesive glue, plaster can be directly covered with tile. However, if the plaster is brand new, it must first cure before the tile is applied. In most cases, a smooth, dry surface is suitable for laying tiles directly on. 

However, if there are cracks or the plaster is old, the surface must first be sanded before tiles may be laid directly on top of it. However, in some cases, before laying the tiles directly over the plaster in the shower or pool, a primer or adhesive is required.

How long after plaster can you tile?

Plaster before tiling is widely popular as it effectively and efficiently prepares the surface and increases the lifespan of tiles. But it’s not appropriate to tile soon after plastering; rather wait for a minimum 2 weeks to 3 weeks of plastering depending on the coating and thickness

The time is required so that the plaster is completely dry and the adhesive of the tile will be totally fixed into the wall. The bond of the plaster and the adhesive will be strong enough and it’ll bear the grip for longer. 

If you notice the color has turned into pink it means it’s properly dry and ready for tiling.

Do you need to seal the plaster before tiling?

It’s not necessarily required sealing the plaster before tiling. However, if you find plaster doesn’t remain dry enough or if the air has moisture enough that can get blocked while tiling the plaster, it’s wise to seal the plaster before tiling. 

It’ll help to protect the surface and also to prevent the tile adhesive from failing to adhere. However, water-resistant primer is also sufficient enough to work as a sealant. 

How to prepare and tile a plaster wall?

There are some precaution steps you need to take before tiling the plaster wall otherwise, it won’t be strong enough and as a result the installation won’t be successful. Follow the below  for quick preparation and easily tile a plaster wall:

Preparation that is necessary to take before starting tiling: 

Examine the plaster:

Examine the plaster whether it’ll support the tile properly or not. Make sure the wall and the surface is durable enough to maintain the grip and weight of the tiles over time by applying pressure on the plaster surface. 

Sanded off:

If there’s any loose plaster or paint on the surface, it has to be sanded off or scrubbed for a strong grip of the surface and adhesive else, it can prevent adhesive from sticking and collapse installation. 

Remove the old fittings:

Remove consciously all the old fittings like screws, photo hooks, nails, pins, rivets etc. and wipe away properly all the dust and dirt from the whole surface.

Level and repair:

Mark all the crack areas, holes or damage spots; all need to be repaired or patch with new material. If needed, do sanding and make sure the wall is leveled.

Make sure the surface is not wet at all:

However, in damp conditions moisture can get blocked in tile which will cause weaker tiling and quick damage as it affects the bond of tile and the adhesive; so sealing the plaster would be a wise decision. 

Choosing the right adhesive:

Examine properly how much tiles are needed for the surface and buy some extra as well. 

Also, choosing the right adhesive is also necessary according to the surface. Keep in mind, the ready-mix adhesive is not always good in comparison to the slow drying powdered adhesive. 

Tiling the plaster:

After sealing the surface, wait till it’s properly dry and sealed. Prepare and mix the adhesive well which takes about 45 minutes and you’re ready for tiling. Follow these steps for easily installing the tiles: 

Follow a thin-set tiling method:

You need to follow a thin-set tiling method and apply thin layer adhesive on the back of the tiles. 

Settle the tile:

Apply the mixture where you’re going to fix the tile. Push the tile, move it a little back and make sure the tile is settled. 

Cut as per requirement:

Maintaining equal distance, follow the same process and complete the row. However, at the end the tile needs to be cut as per requirement. 

Wait until it’s dry:

The adhesive will take 24 hours to dry properly and settle the tile. Wait until it’s dry and make sure the tiles don’t get any pressure.

Final thoughts

The method for installing ceramic tiles differs depending on the type of plaster and its location. Normally, after 2 to 3 weeks of plastering, tiling can be done effectively. But for old plaster, a substrate preparation is typically required for the cracks; otherwise the tiling won’t be successful.