Can Ceramic Tile Be Installed Over Semi-Gloss Painted Walls?

Ceramic tile wall coverings come in a variety of patterns and colors that match every imaginable decor. Subtle hues add dignity to a kitchen or bathroom while brightly colored, geometric patterns, stripes or floral designs brighten up the room. If the walls you are tiling have been painted with semi-gloss paint, the surfaces can easily be prepared for successful ceramic tile installation.

Ceramic tile
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Ceramic tile can be applied to any properly prepared wall surface.

Ceramic Tile Advantages

Ceramic tile is one of the least costly choices for backsplashes. Prices depend on the quality of the clay, how it is fired and glazed, and if it is manufactured by hand or machine. The types with peel-and-stick backings are easiest to install and the kinds that stick to the wall with glue can be installed by people who may not have a lot of handyman skills but have good attention to detail and patience. Ceramic tiles are durable, easy to clean and maintain.

Semi-Gloss Paint Characteristics

Semi-gloss is often used on kitchen and bathroom walls because its slight sheen makes it attractive and easy to wipe clean. It is durable enough to withstand repeated cleaning without losing its gloss. High gloss paint reflects light and can create too much glare in a brightly lit room. Flat paint is difficult to wipe clean, absorbs stains and easily shows signs of wear if too frequently cleaned.

Attaching Ceramic to Semi-Gloss Surfaces

Thoroughly wash and dry semi-gloss walls to prepare them for ceramic tile installation. Use 80-grit sandpaper to lightly hand sand the paint on the walls to a rough finish. Wipe away the accumulated dust with a damp cloth. If using peel-and-stick tiles, attach them to the surface with your hands, using medium pressure to secure them. For tiles attached with wall adhesive, spread the glue on the wall in sections and make ridges in it with the forked side of the glue-spreading tool to increase adhesion. Use spacers between the tiles so the grout is evenly distributed. After the tiles have dried for 24 hours, remove the spacers and spread the grout, wiping away the excess as you go. Let the grout completely dry before applying a sealant to it.

Installing Tile on Other Surfaces

Ceramic tile can be directly applied to flat paint surfaces, unfinished dry wall or gypsum board. To attach ceramic tile to walls covered with high gloss paint, prepare the surface just as you would for semi-gloss paint. If it is applied over raw wood, the finish must not be too rough or the tile will not adhere evenly. For best results, lightly sand the wood to a medium-rough finish.