Plasterboard before tiling, is it necessary?

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Tim Read, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Tim Read

    Tim Read New Member

    We’ve just had someone quote for a new bathroom fitted. We have an old house so all the walls are a bit wonky, door frame and ceiling not level. Fitter insists that all walls need plasterboard first to make level before he’d tile. There’s tiles on the walls already so I’m not sure why we’d need to board each wall before tiling. Any help would be massively appreciated.
  2. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Super Member

    If you are a total non diyer...get 3 quotes from reputable companies.
    Ask to see last job they did or ask neighbours who is well regarded locally...etc.
    Then chose one.
  3. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Bit more detail needed;

    So are current tiles being removed 1st or is fitter talking about boarding over tiles and then tiling

    What’s the plan for waterproofing wet areas before tiling, ie shower and bath area

    Any mention of either tanking or using a cement backer board prior to tiling

    What size tiles are you going for - large format possibly

    Always best to thoroughly prep walls before tiling and to start with a dead flat, level a square surface

    Several ways to achieve this, partially depends what condition walls are in
  4. Tim Read

    Tim Read New Member

    Everything coming off first, not boarding over existing tiles. Boards to level the walls rather than anything else.

    No mention of tanking or anything other than boarding then tiling onto the boards.

    Medium size ‘metro’ tiles being used 12 by 6 inch.

    Thanks for the responses
  5. Pollowick

    Pollowick Screwfix Select

    If the walls are wonky and need levelling first then how will he fix plasterboard? It will need either battening or dot and dab - so you will start to lose 20mm (D&D), 40mm (batten) or more on every wall. To me - the wrong way to do it.

    If he wants a level wall then after the old tiles ripped off,it can be prepared with a decent base coat of plaster or render - does not need a nice polished top coat, but one the tile adhesive can grip to.

    And as for plaster board, if that is the solution, WHY? In any wet areas such as showers or around baths a decent waterproof board such as Hardie Backer or Marmox should be used.

    edit to add as I was typing when you posted.

    Go for a render or bonding/base coat of plaster - once the tiles are off and most adhesive cleaned off, it can be done in a day for all four walls. Boarding will take much longer, and cost way more.
  6. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    I'd get in a good plasterer to render all walls with a good render containing waterproofer and short glass fibres.
    Get someone who understands the importance of a flat, vertical surface for tiling.
    It'll cost you less in the long run, and it won't waste space (as previous contributors have mentioned).
  7. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Didn’t think it was recommended to tile directly over bonding plaster ? (If that is one of ur suggestions) ?
  8. Pollowick

    Pollowick Screwfix Select

    Always a point of discussion direct on bonding ... Have seen it done with no adverse effects but understand that sometimes there can be problems? I recently removed tiles from a wall without a topcoat - it was a hard job. Render is probably the better option, though.
  9. furious_customer

    furious_customer Screwfix Select

    I had the same quandry when I renovated a previous property.
    I chose to have a plasterer apply a coat of bonding to prepare for tiles.

    He did a good job, but the walls were quite wonky and as a result some of the tiles didn't sit properly - tiler did a great job of making it not look too bad.
    If I could go back I would have had it boarded - it will give the premium finish.
  10. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Super Member

    I've just had my bathroom done, got in my spread to give the whole lot a coat of bonding and finish...his brother will do the tiling and I will ask him about "tanking" around the bath/shower area.

    I would not, ever, use plasterboard in such an area, use hardiebacker or similar instead.
  11. Pollowick

    Pollowick Screwfix Select

    I hope the topcoat is not polished! Have seen Ardex tanking membrane painted on to a nice smooth finish coat and once cured, it just peeled off with a very fine layer of plaster (almost dust) on the back. When a test tile piece was attached and left for two days, it lifted off without much effort.
  12. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Super Member

    I just had a look, seems that the wall above the bath, which will be fully tiled, is a rougher finish than the rest, which I guess is good. The other significant wall by the shower is 25mm ply, elsewhere its "polished" but just one or two rows of tiles above the worktop. Will mentioned to the tiler later as he's coming over to have a look. Thanks for the tip.
  13. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    If the plaster has been polished prior to tiling (some plasterers just can’t resist leaving a glass like finish) just key it up with an old screwdriver, Stanley knife, etc, and give something for the tile ady to ‘bite’ into
  14. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    Sounds like a simple job being grown into a monster, look out, get quotes. Provided that the original tiles were sound and fairly level, I would de grease them and tile over. Some may consider this rough but the alternatives stated will be very expensive.
    retiredsparks likes this.
  15. Render is the best solution for the job.
    It is not a good idea to use bonding on outside walls or in bathrooms/shower areas.Bonding will attract water to it and soak it up.
    retiredsparks likes this.
  16. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    Which I guarantee will cause problems. IMHO Ply/Timber is NOT a stable base for tiling - Why do people think it is just because it is strong? look up the coefficient of thermal expansion and the changes in dimension due to humidity changes and then tell me why it is a good idea to put ceramics, which to all intents do not change size with temp and humidity, on something that does!

    My own preference is strip off the walls back to brick/block and fit moisture resistant board (not PB, but a cement board like hardie or similar specifically designed for tiling on to) fixed to the wall (if its brick/block) initially using foam adhesive which a) goes on thinner than D&D so you don't take up much space and b) allows for easy adjustment to adjacent boards to get them nicely flat and vertical, followed up by screws and plugs once the foam has gone off and is solid. I'm sure render is just as good, but as I'm not a plasterer I prefer boards because I can do a good job myself. Nice flat tile backer boards, and tiles go up like lego.

    And another thing. If you are hanging heavy tiles, PB has limited performance. A screwed/plugged tile backer board can take a much heavier weight.
    longboat and retiredsparks like this.
  17. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    PB that is tanked is fine. Hardiebacker is not waterproof and still needs tanking.
    longboat and Jimmycloutnail like this.
  18. Jimmycloutnail

    Jimmycloutnail Screwfix Select

    Personally I’d like to get walls as plumb and square as reasonably possible for the customers budget, we certainly wouldn’t be tiling on wonky walls or be fitting baths into wonky corners as we offer a guarantee, nothing wrong with plasterboard as a tiling substrate Just tank wet areas (as mentioned above)i would never skim bare board before tiling and especially not use bonding it just sucks the moisture out of the adhesive even after SBR.

    Get some quotes but sounds like the guy is trying to do things correctly and unfortunately that costs money
  19. I have an old house with wonky walls. I recently retiled the bathroom by stripping off old tiles, bonding plaster to make as flat as possible. blue waterproofing stuff, then tiling as best I could. I'm not a professional and the finish was pretty good. I imagine a professional plasterer followed by a professional tiler should be able to achieve a perfect finish.
  20. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    Any good tiler will tell you that a good tiling job is down to nice flat walls and that means prep time. Yes you can notch up and pretty much get over anything if you have to, but it turns it into a PITA job that takes a lot longer and you'll eat up adhesive. For some 'tilers', this also encourages spot fixing, which isn't the done thing.
    m623d likes this.

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