When removing ugly or outdated ceramic tile is not in the remodeling budget, even the most seasoned do-it-yourself type can be stumped on what to do to hide it. Tile can be covered in a number of ways by merely attaching a new surface to the old. Using the right adhesives, primers and processes is important to hiding the tile and providing a new surface that will last.


Beadboard is a wood paneling product that incorporates routed detailing. Sold as primed or unfinished sheets, use beadboard or wood paneling to cover ugly or outdated tile walls and back splashes. Apply beadboard using an adhesive that will not turn brittle and will adhere to both a tile and wood surface. Loctite makes a construction adhesive product called Power Grab that works well with beadboard. Cut the board to the right size and adhere it to the tile. Top with an appropriate molding profile or add a shelf across the top of the newly added board. Add a base molding, too. Use primed beadboard for easy painting after installation. Some wood panel packages include everything, even the base and chair rail, to cover an 8-foot linear section of wall.

Paint the Tile

You can paint tile, also referred to as reglazing the tile, in wet areas as long as you use the right primer and paint. Clean the tile to remove grit, oil, mildew, soap and dirt using a scrub brush and abrasive cleanser. A clean, dry surface is necessary for paint and primer to adhere correctly and to prevent peeling. Apply a bonding primer made specifically for ceramic tile. Choose an epoxy-based paint for the top coat color. Spray the paint and primer for a smooth application or use a good quality natural bristle brush or roller. Epoxy paints are durable when applied over the right bonding agent. They uphold to high temperatures and are waterproof and nontoxic once they dry. Do not sand the tile before applying the primer.

Apply Laminate

You can apply laminate flooring over tile floors, apply a sheet of laminate over tile back splashes and attach laminate applied to a plywood substrate to ceramic tile walls. Applying laminate over a tile countertop will require a plywood substrate underneath and a molding detail at the top for half walls of tile. Laminate is thin and will crack and be easily damaged without the substrate to support it. Installing laminate flooring requires a pad to be placed over the tile with the laminate planks snapped together and placed on top of the pad. Laminate adhered to a substrate and then applied to the wall will eat away at the dimensions in the room. Review how the new wall will meet door and window frames, ceilings, floors, fixtures and appliances before tackling this way to cover tile.

Cover With Tile

Tile can be placed over tile. Try a modern design by placing colored glass tile over older tile in the kitchen and bathroom. The color backing for the tile will hide the old tile so that patterns do not mix. Scratch the old tile with a belt sander or use a 60-grit sandpaper and a sanding block. Wash the tiles with a phosphoric acid solution found at tile stores. Then apply the new tiles over the old using a thinset adhesive. Remember that the new tile will add height to the floor; doors may need to be shortened. You may need to remove the toilet reset it onto the new floor if its bolts are obstructed by the new floor.