Can I Glue A Tub Surround Over Existing Tile?

Can I Glue A Tub Surround Over Existing Tile

Maybe you’re trying to save money on remodeling or maybe you just don’t like tile. Whatever the reason, there are lots of other materials that can be used as tub and shower surrounds. The best part is that most of them are very easy to put up yourself, as long as you have the right materials and tools. Tub and shower surround made from wood or metal shelving are great because they give the room a totally different look without requiring a lot of work on your part. Even working around existing tiles isn’t too hard with a little bit of prep work and some patience. This article will give you detailed instructions on how to glue a tub surround over an existing tile.

Can I Glue A Tub Surround Over Existing Tile?

Yes, you can glue a tub surround over the existing tile. However, depending on the condition of the tile and the type of adhesive you use, there may be some risk that the adhesive will not hold and the tub surround will eventually detach from the tile. If you are confident in your ability to properly prepare and attach the tub surround, it is a relatively quick and easy way to update an old bathroom without having to remove and replace the tile.

What Is The Best Way To Install Tile On A Tub Surround?

  • The most important thing to do when installing tile on a tub surround is to make sure that the studs are in the right place. You want your tile to be installed on a solid piece of wood or metal, not just drywall. If you’re using a frame made from wood or metal shelving, you don’t need to worry about this step because it will already be in place for you.
  • Use a stud finder or other device to locate the studs and mark their locations with masking tape. This will make it easier for you to know where to drill holes for your screws later on.
  • Drill holes through the drywall into the studs with an electric drill and ¼” bit, making sure that they are centered over each stud location marked with masking tape.
  • Remove all of the drywall screws from around your tub and shower area, including any that may have been put in by the previous homeowner. Be sure to get all of the screws, even if you can’t see them. If you can’t find them, turn off the circuit breaker to the room and use a stud finder to locate any metal that may be in the wall—it’s probably a screw!
  • Cut away any drywall that is still attached to your studs with a drywall saw. This will make it easier for you to install your new surround later on.
  • Apply an adhesive caulk around the entire perimeter of your tub and shower area, using a caulk gun or other applicator tool. This will provide extra support for your new surround material when you put it up later on.
  • Use a hammer and nail set to tack up some plastic sheeting over your tub and shower area so that it will be protected from excess water while you work on the rest of the bathroom remodeling project.

What Type Of Tiles Should You Use?

  1. Start by removing the old tile. If you have a lot of tiles to remove you may want to hire someone to help with this process. Be sure that the tub is clean before removing the tile. Remove any caulking around the tub as well and put it in a plastic bag for disposal.
  2. After you have removed all of the existing tiles, clean the entire surface of the tub with a mixture of one part bleach, one part water, and 1/4 part dish soap. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse everything off with warm water and a sponge. Be sure to wear rubber gloves because this mixture can be very dangerous if it gets on your skin or in your eyes.
  3. Once your tub is clean and dry, use a pencil to draw lines on all four sides of where you want your new surround installed. Use these lines as guidelines when cutting out pieces of wood or metal shelving for your surround to glue over existing tile (you can also use the old tile as a template for this).
  4. Use a stud finder to locate the studs on your wall. Some studs will be located behind the existing tile, but you should be able to find most of them with a little bit of effort. Be sure to mark the locations of all of these studs on your drawings, as you will need to drill holes in your new surround and attach it to these studs.
  5. Now that all of your holes are marked on your drawings, it’s time to drill them out. If you are using wood or metal shelving for your surround, use a jigsaw or circular saw with a blade designed for metal or wood (depending on what type of shelving you have chosen). Make sure that you wear eye protection while using any power tools and take extra care not to nick or scratch the surface of the tub while cutting out holes. If you are using existing tile as a template, and for the screws that will hold it in place.

Planning And Preparation Are Key!

  1. Make sure you have the right materials and tools for the job. You will need a tub surround, wood glue, a hammer, pliers, a drill with a 1/4″ bit, and screws or nails.
  2. Prepare the surface for gluing. Make sure that any existing grout is cleaned out of the space between the tiles and the tub surround you are using to replace it. This is easily done with a grout removal tool or an old toothbrush and some harsh cleaner like bleach or vinegar.
  3. Clean up any remaining dust with a tack cloth before applying any glue to your surface.
  4. Now you’re ready to start gluing! Apply wood glue to your tub surround as well as to each tile on your wall where they meet (it’s okay if it seeps through onto your drywall). Use your hammer to tap into place each tile along with its corresponding piece of tub surround until they are all in place.
  5. Let the glue dry before continuing with the project. It should be safe to use your shower within 24 hours, but if you can wait a few days for it to fully cure it will be much more sturdy.

Risk Of Collapse When Glueing Tile On A Tub Surround

1. Remove the old tile.

Start by removing all the old tiles. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, because you don’t have to remove all of it. In fact, you can usually get away with just removing the stuff that is loose and easy to reach. You will have to remove some of the tiles from around the edges in order to have enough room for new glue, but that’s not too difficult either. Just be careful not to damage anything else while you’re doing this part of the project.

2. Clean off any residue left behind by your adhesive remover.

All of that adhesive remover is going to leave a residue on your tub surround and walls, so be sure to clean it off before applying any new glue. In many cases, this can be done with just a sponge and some water, but if there is something more stubborn or sticky left behind, you may need some stronger chemicals or even sandpaper to get it clean.

3. Cover the tub surround with a plastic drop cloth.

This is probably the toughest part of the whole project because you have to cover your tub surround with a plastic drop cloth, and then somehow keep it there while you spread glue on your walls. The best way to do this is to use some small clamps or clothespins that can be attached to the drop cloth and used to hold it in place. You should also make sure that you put something underneath so that the bottom of the tub surround doesn’t get glued down in addition to the walls. That would be pretty hard to deal with, and could even cause your tub surround to collapse later on.

Bottom Line

If you’re tired of the look of your old tub or shower, you have lots of options for changing it. You can install a new surround, wall tile, or even a new floor if you want to change the room’s look. For the best results, it’s important to follow the instructions for installing tile on a tub surround. It’s also helpful to plan and prepare thoroughly beforehand.

Cindy Coleman
Cindy Coleman is a health writer who loves to share her knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle. She has been published in many online and print publications, and she is always looking for new ways to help people improve their health. Cindy is a firm believer in the saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and she hopes to help as many people as possible live long, healthy lives.