How to Tile Over Painted Drywalls

Tiles are ideal for bathtubs,showers and backsplashes. If you want to update your kitchen or bathroom walls with tiles, you don’t have to remove existing painted drywall to do so. You can rough up the painted surface, which allows the mastic or thin-set mortar — especially those designed for painted drywall — to adhere.
1,Sand the wall with 80- to 120-grit sandpaper on an orbital sander’s pad. Continue sanding the area until the paint is no longer shiny. Wipe the sanded wall down with a damp rag. Let the wall dry.
2,Measure the width of the wall and divide the number by two to find the center. Measure across the wall the length of the divided number and place a mark. Place a 48-inch spirit level vertically on the line. Check that the center bubble is within the etched lines, which means it is plumb, and scribe along the level edge with a pencil.
3,Measure the height of the tile with a tape measure. Measure up from the bottom of the wall the height of the tile. Add another 1/8 inch to the height measurement and place a mark on the vertical line. Place the level horizontally on this line and scribe a line for the first course of tile.
4,Apply a thin layer of mastic or thin-set mortar below the horizontal line using a grooved trowel. Move the trowel straight up to produce vertical ripples of mastic or mortar. Set the first tile next to where the vertical and horizontal lines meet on the wall. Line up the tile edges with the vertical and horizontal marks on the wall to ensure that they’re level and plum.
5,Set the second tile next to the first, sandwiching two 1/4-inch spacers in between for even spacing. Check the upper edge to make sure it lines up with the horizontal line. Continue placing the first course of tiles in the same manner using spacers. Place strips of blue painter’s tape over the tile face, sticking each end to the wall to prevent the tiles from sliding or falling off as the mastic sets. Allow the mortar or mastic to sit for at least 12 hours to set properly.
6,Continue the installation process with the second course of tiles by applying vertical grooved mastic above the first course slightly wider than the tile. Place a pair of 1/4-inch spacers on top of each installed tile. Place tiles on top of the spacers and align their outside edges with the bottom tiles. Continue setting tiles along each course, making sure to set a pair of 1/4-inch spacers between each of the tile edges.
7,Measure any areas that require custom-cut tiles and transfer the measurement to the tiles that you’ll place there. Equip the tile saw with a tile-cutting blade or use nippers to complete the cuts. Apply the mortar or mastic in the same manner as the rest of the wall and place the tiles.
8,Apply grout to the tile using a grout spreader. Work the spreader in several different directions to push the grout into the spaces between the tile. Move the spreader down the face of the tile to remove any excess grout leaving a indentation between the tiles about the depth of your thumb tip.
9,Wipe the tile down with a damp sponge to remove any rough areas of damp grout. Allow the grout to dry following the manufacturer’s directions. Clean the dried grout residue by using a grout haze remover or with a solution of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water.

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