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How to Tile Over Existing Tiles

_TileOverExistingTiles5.jpg If you have a tiled surface that needs an update, you might be wondering, “Can I tile over my existing tiles?” After all, that would save you the hassle of ripping up the old tiles, scraping away the dried adhesive, and possibly replacing the entire underlayment.

So can you tile over existing tiles? In many cases, yes—as long as the old tiles are still in decent condition. Here’s how to do it.

Assess the Existing Tiles


Start by conducting a thorough inspection of the old tiles.

If you see any mildew or deep discoloration in the grout lines, that’s a sign that moisture is seeping in and there may be water trapped under or behind the tiles. That moisture problem will likely fester and cause rotting, weakening the floor, wall, or other surface.

Then, make sure that the old tiles were installed correctly. If they aren’t flat or well lined up, the new layer probably won’t be either. Likewise if there’s any warping. Use a four-foot level to find any high spots or voids, and mark both.

Next, tap the tiles lightly with a wooden mallet or a small chunk of a two-by-four. If you hear a hollow sound, that means that a tile is loose. Mark those, too.

Of course, even if you have some minor absorption and poorly placed or loose tiles, you can fix issues and lay new tile on top. (More on that in the next section.) But if too many tiles are in rough condition, it might be better to tear them all out and start from scratch.

And if the surface behind or below the tiles isn’t level, you’ll have to remove the old tiles to fix that problem.

Consider the weight and thickness of the tiles involved, too. Tile can be heavy, and the weight of two layers could cause structural issues, especially for tiled floors. (Though if it’s a small area, like a bathroom or an entryway, it may not make a difference.)

As for the thickness of the tiles, adding more tiles to your floor could raise the height anywhere from 3/8” to 1/2”. This could affect the ease of opening and closing doors. And in places where it causes a sufficient height difference with an adjacent floor, it could create a tripping hazard.

Because of these factors, it’s usually best to consult a professional before deciding to tile over existing tiles.

Prepare the Surface

2TileOverExistingTiles.jpg One of the most common tiling mistakes is not preparing the surface. Surface prep is essential to a successful tiling project, even when that surface is existing tiles.

Go back over the marks you made when assessing the tiles. Grind down any high spots and use thinset or floor-leveling compound to fill in the voids. If you found loose tiles, remove them, apply fresh adhesive, and secure them back in place.

You’ll want to roughen the existing tiles so the adhesive bonds better, too. Sand the whole area using 80-grit sandpaper. Then, vacuum everything up, scrape and scrub the tiles thoroughly, and rinse them off.

Now it’s time to start on the second layer.

Install the New Tiles


Plan the layout of your new tiles and cut them as necessary to fit. Add tile spacers to help maintain a consistent gap between them once they’re in place, too.

Then, spread your adhesive over the old tiles with a toothed trowel, covering a section only a few feet wide. Don’t cover too much of the surface at once. The adhesive may dry quickly, and you’ll need time to set the new tiles before it’s too late.

Alternatively, you could apply the adhesive directly to the back of the new tiles. However, this method won’t hold the tiles in place as securely, and should only be used when the old tiles are in perfect condition.

Whichever way you apply the adhesive, always use the toothed edge of the trowel to “comb” it in one direction. The grooves should be straight, with no bends or swirls. 

Set your tiles one at a time, pressing each firmly in place, and use a damp sponge to wipe away any excess adhesive. Continue this process until you’ve tiled the whole area. (Note: be careful to avoid lippage.)

Once the adhesive sets—usually about 20–30 minutes—remove the tile spacers. After 24 hours, you can grout the gaps between the tiles.

And that’s it! Enjoy your stylish new tiles.

Can We Help You With Your Tiling Project?


If you’re gearing up for some home renovation, we’d be happy to lend a hand.

At Downright Tile and Renovations, we have years of experience helping homeowners throughout the greater Kansas City area with their remodeling projects. We install, replace, and repair tiles in a wide variety of applications, including:


We even offer custom design services. Just contact us, and we’ll come to your house and help you decide what’s best for your unique needs and preferences.

Contact us to schedule a free, in-home consultation.

client Reviews

out of 23 reviews

Ann Butler

Cody was very professional, he was very good at advising us what would work well together. He showed up when he said he would , and never left a mess. We were under a time crunch , and Cody came through. The bathroom turned out beautiful. We are very happy with the end result.
We really appreciate all the hard work Cody and Trenton put into this job.

Stillwell, KS.

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James Pate

Downright Tile are true craftsmen. They take genuine pride in their work and make sure the customer is happy throughout the entire process. Some specifics from my experience:
-exceptional client communication
-upfront/honest pricing
-very prompt
-kept work area clean and free of debris
-extraordinary finished product!!!
I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Would hire again without question.

Weatherby Lake, MO.

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Nicole Galemore

Our experience with DownRight Tile was exceptional. We hired DownRight to install glass subway tile for our kitchen backsplash and coffee nook. They were extremely helpful throughout the entire process. From the get-go, they answered my millions of questions quickly and thoroughly. They were on-time throughout the project. I would say our project was a bit more complicated due to using glass tile and having a 70+ year old home with warped walls that weren't square. They exceeded our expectations and now we are using them for our bath remodel!

Shawnee, KS.

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Patricia Landwehr

My husband and I contracted with Downright Tile and Renovations to tile our basement laundry room and bath. Our house is 100 years old and the basement floor is not flat in places. They were able to level it out before installing the tile. The walls are not perfectly square, so we had lots of discussion about the best way to lay the tile to minimize the issue. They were very professional, arrived when they said they would, cleaned up the area daily and did a great job installing the tile. My husband is an engineer and very picky and was very pleased with the work. We highly recommend them. They are true craftsmen.

Brookside, MO

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Donald White

Downright Tile and Renovations repaired a faulty installation of a tiled shower floor. The previous contractor did not know what he was doing and the floor leaked badly. Downright Tile was great to work with on the project and now the shower works great. They were responsive, on time and within reason on cost. They finished the job ahead of schedule.

Independence, MO

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Dan Welter

Downright Tile and Renovations were wonderful. They are true craftsmen. Easy to work with and the results are just what I wanted. I think their pricing is too low, but don't let them know till I call them again. Thanks.

Overland Park, KS

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Shanna Smith

We are so happy we found Downright Tile. They were able to give us a custom look using the products we preferred, including modern design elements like a linear drain. They were friendly, respectful, and communicative, and do everything they can to pass cost savings on to you. Their attention to detail is fantastic. We recommend them to everyone we can, and we plan to have them back for a project in the future!

Overland Park, KS

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Jon Sestak

I cannot speak highly enough about my tile experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. First of all I want to say that the attention to detail is fantastic. Our job took a little longer, but the overall product looked amazing once finished. Typically, I would expect a job to be rushed in our circumstances, but the attention to detail did not diminish as the project went longer than expected. Would give these guys six stars if possible.

Overland Park, KS

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Kiven Moise

Downright Tile and Renovations are very professional. They did an excellent job tiling my shower walls. If your up against the fence about a tile job give them a try you won't be disappointed.

Independence, MO

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Alexzis Thomson

Thank you, Downright Tile and Renovations, for the awesome tile work! You helped convert our nightmare shower into a working shower! We initially hired a family friend to tile our master shower and shower floor. Long story short, the shower floor was not set properly and did not drain the water. :( I found Downright Tile and saw they had a knack for tile (especially showers), and knew they were the right company for the job. They knew exactly what to fix and how to fix it PROPERLY. They came in and did the job fast and effective! I can't wait to use the shower and not have to use a squeegee every time I get out. Thank you again!!! I highly recommend!

Blue Springs, MO

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Brian Joy Wilhide

We hired Downright Tile to install new tile in our fireplace. Our old tile was pretty dull... we replaced it with Jinshan Coffee tile. They advised us as to the condition of the new tiles (some chipped, some cracked, etc.) and we were able to request a new batch before we start our bathroom tiling project. They were able to select some very nice tiles for the fireplace and it is quite beautiful now. As soon as we have our ducks in a row with the new tile, we will be happy to bring Downright Tile back to replace our bathroom tile.

Lenexa, KS

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Angie's List Customer Review

We hired Downright Tile and Renovations to re-tile two fireplaces and our master bath floor. We picked our floor tile and when it arrived, found a lot of surprises. It was the last tile of it's kind from the quarry and there was a lot of variety. Downright Tile came up with a unique design which made great use of the variety and the final product is truly beautiful. They also re-tiled our family room fireplace with the same tiles. They suggested stacked stone tiles for our bedroom fireplace. Both fireplaces were transformed from boring to beautiful. Downright Tile took on our project where others might not have. It required a lot of extra cutting of tiles. They enjoyed the challenge and we are very happy with the outcome. We would confidently hire them again for any future tile work.

Kansas City, MO

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Daniel J Lopez

I am very happy with my experience with Downright Tile and Renovations. They had great communication, explained everything well, were punctual, and kept the job site clean. The finished product is exactly what we were hoping for and the price was good. I would definitely recommend them for any tile jobs you have in the future.

Overland Park, KS

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Will Woodford

Downright Tile and Renovations were extremely helpful and fast. They solved problems created by other contractors so that I didn’t end up having to deal with it. Downright Tile are perfectionists from step 1, and will not leave you without an excellent result.

Shawnee, KS

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Imene McCoy

Prompt, professional and clean! I had the best experience- Downright Tile and Renovations were fast, efficient and made the whole process super easy!! I highly recommend them!

Kansas City, MO

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Madison Grace

Very nice work & very friendly guys

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

Downright Tile and Renovations were excellent to work with. They clearly understand their craft. They were professional, clean, and conscientious. I'll hire them again when I need more tile work done and refer them to others.

Kansas City, MO

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Beverly Bellinger

The project went beautifully. There were several areas around the tub and where the tub meets the floor that needed to be re-caulked; Downright Tile noted wherever new caulk was necessary within the shower/tub area and took care of it all. The amazing difference is in the floor. White tile with white grout can become discolored and hard to clean after a decade. Now it looks as good as when first installed, plus they offered care tips to maintain it. They also very graciously looked at a couple of loose kitchen backsplash tiles and provided advice on those. They're meticulous, professional and probably something of perfectionists—color matching was of critical importance to them. Our minor restoration project was clearly unworthy of their talents. Their charge was exactly as estimated ($300 plus materials). Imagine what a wonderful job they'd do on a start-from-scratch tile installation! If I had another tile project, Downright Tile is the only supplier I'd call.

Kansas City, MO

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Angie's List Customer Review

We were very satisfied with Downright Tile and Renovations' services. They were very responsive via text and were able to schedule us quickly. We had a very positive experience working with Downright Tile and love our new tile. We highly recommend them and would use them again if we eventually need tile work again.

Kansas City, MO

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David Duffield

As a very competent DIYer, it has always been difficult for me to relinquish control and hire someone else to do work on my home. My past experiences with hiring contractors has always left me disappointed in the quality of workmanship and/or the professionalism of the contractor. I can honestly say that, for the first time, Downright Tile and Renovations have exceeded my expectations. The crew were professional, timely, and the level of craftmanship was exceptional. Downright Tile took the time to plan the layout of the tile so there were professional results. I couldn't be happier and will definitely use them again on other projects. Thanks Downright Tile for all of your efforts!

Overland Park, KS

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Dan Lopez

Our house sold opening weekend. I’m sure the bathroom was a key contributor. We’re in a brand new house now so we’re set but I will definitely pass along your info to anybody who is looking. You did great work.

Overland Park, KS

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James Densmore

We recently remodeled our basement bathroom. We had multiple bids and they were all about the same. We chose to go with Downright Tile and Renovations as they warrantied their work more than the competitors. We picked out the tile and materials and then Downright Tile installed. They were on time and finished the project as expected. They explained various things when asked. We would use Downright Tile for a future project.

Mission Hills, KS

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Anna Challacombe

We hired Downright Tile to re-tile our guest bathroom and they did a phenomenal job. We've never hired anyone with more integrity or attention to detail. They always showed up when they said they would, communicated expectations, did a really exceptional job on the tile itself, and went above and beyond to make sure we were happy with the finished project and that it met their exacting standards. I would highly recommend Downright Tile to anyone looking to have tile work done.

Merriam, KS

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