How to Prepare a Wall For Tiling

How to Prepare A Wall For Tiling

Preparing a wall or a substrate such as wood, plasterboard, concrete screed for tiling is very important before fitting the tiles. If the surfaces are not well set before laying the tiles can lead to the slates slipping off the walls soon which will completely mess all the hard work you have put in installing your wall tiles for a kitchen, bathroom or other enclosures where tiles such as ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are to be installed. We have put together professional step-by-step guide to clean and prepare a wall for tile.  Dansoaa has team up with trusted and professional tilers in Ghana and abroad to provide you guides which we think will help our DIY customers and professionals, we believe there is always room for improvement in construction business.

If you are looking for any of these materials such as tiles, tile adhesive and tiling tools for sale in Accra, Tema, Ashaiman, Afienya, Dodowa, Akosombo, Prampram, Sphintex  area, Kumasi and many other cities for sale in Ghana, visit any of Dansoaa Stores near you.

Below your will find some Tools and Materials needed to get the job done.



Why Wall or Substrate Surface Preparation is So Important.

The goal of preparing a wall for tile is to create a dry, flat and solid surface before applying the tile grout, tile cement or the tile adhesives so that the tiles can firmly be attached to the wall studs without movement that could damage installed shingles and grout. For wet areas such as Wet Rooms or Walk-Room Shower walls, waterproofing and sealing against water and moisture is perhaps the most important element of any tile wet room or shower installation. Check on some waterproofing adhesives for preparing your walls before tiling wet environs.  Before tiling, certain substrates require priming or sealing to reduce porosity, minimise the risk of chemical reactions. If your are looking for more information on installing thatches materials in wet areas, speak to one our partners in store at Dansoaa building materials and hardware store near you.

Getting Started

Wall levelling is important before tilling, You can use Acrybase products which come in two parts for the preparation of the wall surfaces, it is mostly used by professionals, but this is not to say DIY enthusiasts cannot use the product.

Existing tile surfaces can also be tiled, but not recommended as the weight of the tile might cause problems of soon falling of the tiles.

Never tile over wallpaper, glossy surfaces, lead paint or plywood. Lead paint tiling can cause toxins which can spread around walls of your home.

To begin turn off the power at the beaker and use a non-contact voltage tester to ensure that switches and outlets are off. Then, remove all moulding, switch plate and outlet covers, hardware and anything else attached to the wall you wish to tile. Protect surrounding surfaces with drop cloths, plastic sheeting, and tape, if necessary.

Note Temperature Differences

Temperature affects the setting time of tiles, mortars, grouts, and adhesives. Read the manufacturers recommended temperatures for the tile cement and adhesive used. Ghana or most tropical regions do not have very low temperatures, so I doubt any tiling project will be undertaken in below freezing temperatures, but tiling should never made on frozen surfaces.

Tips for Preparing Walls

There are some things you need to do to get ready for installing tile, no matter what kind of surface you’re working with.

  • Remove old fittings or unused hardware, spackle the holes and sand down the spackle once it’s dry.
  • Repair any other cracks or holes on most surfaces. 
  • Level any uneven surfaces.
  • Wipe down the wall so that you remove any dust, debris or grime.
  • Sand the wall in preparation for adhesive as you don’t want the adhesives to mix with any other chemical agents.
  • Measure the wall you’re going to cover and determine how many tiles you’ll need. Wastage in tile materials need to be carefully planned when cutting your slates.
  • Prepare for potential tile breakage during installation by buying 10-30% more tiles than you need.
  • Choose the right adhesive for your job, there are many tile adhesives on the market, we also retail many different tile adhesives when you visit Dansoaa Building Materials and Hardware store.

The above tips apply to all types of walls. Here are recommendations for specific wall types.

Tilling On Existing Tiles

If you’re working with an existing tile wall, you have two choices: You can remove the tile and prepare the wall according to the corresponding instructions above, or tile over the existing tile. If you are tiling over existing tile, you will need a very strong bonding adhesive, standard cement-based setting Wall and Floor adhesives. Check max-flex fiber from BAL it is excellent non-slip and bond strength, water and frost-resistant.

Tiling on existing tile, make sure all the tile is intact and secure. Repair any loose or cracked tile. If the existing tile is beyond repair, remove the tile and install a piece of wallboard in its place. Wash the wall with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or an ammonia-based cleaner to remove any grease or oil. This will ensure the tile adhesive secures to the surface.

New Drywall

If you’re working with new drywall or plasterboard, there’s no need to tape the drywall joints. Seal the walls with a skim coat and let it dry thoroughly. Sand with medium-grit sandpaper to create a uniform surface that’s not too smooth, because you want the tile adhesive to have something to grab onto. Thoroughly vacuum the area and give the wall a once-over with a damp sponge or cleaning cloth. Allow the area to thoroughly dry before beginning tile installation. Temps in Ghana are ideal for tiling, masonry, painting works, for the temperatures are always perfect for quick drying.

Painted or Textured Drywall

Scrape away any loose or peeling paint. Scrape the wall to remove any texture and create a flat surface. Patch any holes or cracks with speckling or spotting solution compound and sand the entire surface with medium-grit sandpaper. Vacuum to remove dust. Remove any remaining dust, oils and grease from the wall with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) or an ammonia-based cleanser. Let the wall dry completely before beginning tile installation.

Tiling On Plasterboards

Plasterboards is widely used in Ghana recently, as gypsum boards are used for drywalling which saves cost in using bricks, blocks or wood walling for room divisions or for room partitioning. Most kitchens and bathrooms décor, plasterboards are used for the walls before tiling. Before tiling on plasterboard patch any cracks or holes with speckling or stripping compound and sand smooth. Prime the wall with thin-set and allow ample drying time. Sand any high or uneven spots to create a level surface prior to tile installation.


Remove wallpaper and glue from the wall(s). Patch any holes or cracks with speckling compound. Once dry, sand any high spots to create a level wall. If the wall was painted prior to wallpaper installation, follow the instruction for painted or textured walls. Likewise, if you have plaster, follow the instruction in that section.

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