Can you tile onto plasterboard?

UK Home Improvement

Can You Tile Onto Plasterboard?

Homeowners in the UK spent a total of around £28 billion on renovations in 2022. As some home improvement projects can be quite expensive, you want to make sure you do things right the first time and avoid making costly mistakes which will require you to have to redo them. This is especially true when it comes to tiling. You’ll want to avoid damaging tiles or have to re-tile.

Whilst plasterboard is an incredibly versatile alternative to plaster that suits both walls and ceilings you may find yourself in a position where you want to tile a plasterboard wall, as be asking yourself “Can you tile onto plasterboard?”.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

Can You Tile Onto Plasterboard?

The answer is yes, you can tile onto plasterboard but there’s a process you need to follow. You need to ensure the tiles will adhere properly to the surface. It’s also vital to make sure the wall is strong enough to support your tiles.

Whether you want to add tiles, paint, or wallpaper, priming plasterboard is essential. Plaster is porous, so without proper plasterboard sealing, it won’t have sufficient grip to hold tiles. It’s important to use a suitable primer to ensure the adhesive will take.

PVA primer, for example, won’t soak into the plasterboard properly. As it doesn’t fully penetrate the substrate, it won’t offer the mechanical grip necessary. Using PVA glue will likely result in your tiles falling off.

An acrylic primer (such as a Bal-based primer) will work much better. It will reduce porosity while stabilising the surface. You can apply it with a roller and let each layer dry before adding the next.

There are several types of powdered plasterboard adhesive available. A 20kg bag will typically cover about ten square metres of dry area, eight square metres of wet area, and five square metres of floor area.

Note that if you choose to use a ready-mixed adhesive, you won’t need to prime the plasterboard first. If there are any screws in your plasterboard walls, you should remove them and fill in the gaps first.

Choice of Tile

Skimming plasterboard isn’t essential, but it can make it more watertight. While this can be beneficial, you first need to consider the weight of the tiles you want to use.

Skimmed plasterboard can’t hold as much weight. It will typically hold a maximum of 20kg per square metre. If you don’t skim it, it should be able to hold around 30kg per square metre.

When deciding on tiles, your style preferences will likely be your first consideration, but you also need to make sure you get ones that aren’t too heavy.

Use of Tile Adhesive

Proper bonding for plasterboard and tiles is essential. It may seem like a good idea to use a lot of adhesive, but this can actually be detrimental. If you do, the adhesive may dry before the tiles are properly in place.

You also want the adhesive to be ridged to create better suction. You can use specific tools to create notches, ensuring your tiles adhere better.

Tiling Plasterboard in Your Home

So there you have it. You don’t need to ask “Can you tile onto plasterboard?” anymore, but you may realise that it’s not the easiest thing to do in the world. Unless you’re 100% confident in your abilities, you should always hire a professional to do such a job.

Plasterboard remains incredibly useful whether you’re tiling it or not. Take a look at this guide to see how insulated plasterboard can help keep your home warm.


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