Today I’m answering a question that I thought I would never really ask, “Can you tile over tile?”
I’m happy to report the answer is yes! As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up..
When we built our house I had all sorts of backsplash ideas for our kitchen, but when it came time to install there was nothing left in the budget. Out went the backsplash of my dreams and classic inexpensive subway tile was the answer. Let me preface by saying I still love classic subway tile, and don’t think it’s going anywhere. This project was just the result of a wild hair I got when cleaning out the garage. Or possibly the results of me wanting to do anything rather than cleaning the garage.
I always thought we could swap out the tile someday. When I was cleaning the garage I found 3 boxes of leftover tile from the guest cottage kitchen. We forgot to subtract the window square footage from our calculations so we had quite a bit leftover. It struck me that we had enough to tile over the range area in our kitchen! And I have a tile saw! And even the leftover grout! So what was stopping me?? Well nothing! Except I have removed tile before and it’s kind of a nightmare. It can completely ruin your drywall and make re-tiling difficult.
I started to do a little research and came across Musselbound tile mats. According to their website you can use it over top of tile as long as it’s level, and not a textured surface. I couldn’t really find anyone on the internet that had actually done it, so I decided to be the guinea pig. Spoiler alert – it works!
How to Tile over Tile
- Clean existing tile
- Apply Musselbound tile adhesive
- Tile as normal
- If you are using a wet saw for cuts you must make sure tile is completely dry before sticking to the musclebound adhesive. I used a hairdryer for this.
- Grout – even the same day!
I started by cleaning up the subway tile thoroughly, you want it completely clean and dry.
The Musselbound tile adhesive is basically like giant rolls of super strength double sided tape. It’s really easy to use. You just remove the sticky backing and stick it on the wall. You apply it vertically similar to wallpaper. In the photo above it’s applied but I haven’t removed the front paper. I removed a section at a time so it was easier to work with.
Then just tile away! One important thing to note – wet tile will not stick to the Musselbound. If you use a wet saw to make cuts the tile must be completely dry before using. You must get it dry, like really dry. I kept a blowdryer handy!
I can’t believe how fast this went! It was SO much easier than using traditional mastic. The other bonus is you can grout right away – same day.
I started this project in the morning after I dropped my kids off to school, and finished grouting before bedtime.
One other important note – this may not work for every layout. If you have an unfinished edge you will obviously have a hard time covering up the thickness of the extra tile. We had cabinets running all the way down to the countertops so it wasn’t an issue. I also used longer screws to adjust the electrical boxes to allow for the new depth of the tile.
I’m so happy with the new warmth this tile added to our kitchen. It’s crazy how changing one little thing can make such a big difference.
In the guest kitchen I laid the tile in a staggered brick pattern. Here to switch things up, I went with a classic square design and I love the old school charm of it. It pairs really well with our classic inset cabinetry.
Of course this prompted a few other changes in the kitchen that I will share next week!
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