Want To Tile Directly Onto Plasterboard? Read This First

Plasterboard is a great wall construction material, but only as a base. It is best to add something more for aesthetic purposes. Tile is a great way to go for this, but only if you know how to apply it properly.

The plasterboard acts as a good foundation when primed properly and prepared for the weight of the tile. The tile needs a good adhesive to stay on its surface, and spacers act to keep the space even between tiles. Using proper techniques and tools is also helpful.

To know the best techniques to use when tiling onto plasterboard keep reading.

Stabilize The Plasterboard

Before anything takes place, something must be taken into consideration. Are the tiles that were chosen too heavy for the plasterboard. Or in other words, can you stabilize the plasterboard well enough to keep it upright without any wear and tear on the board itself.

Plasterboard can have different surface types. If its surface has a paper covering then this type of plasterboard is going to be difficult for tiling. The paper will not do well with the moisture of the adhesive or primer that you use and may not allow the project to be completed.

A more stable plasterboard has a wood background and just the plaster on the front that will allow for priming to take place without any problem. Plus, this type of plaster will make it easier to add to a wall and stabilize it so the tile weight doesn’t pull it over.

Prime The Surface

Priming plasterboard is necessary regardless of what you plan to add to it. Whether it is wallpaper, a coat of paint, or tiling, the priming prepares the board for the project ahead.

Plaster is a very porous material and priming allows those pores to be filled. This allows a grip to take place when it comes to the final product. If you were to just go ahead and place your tile with proper adhesive onto the plasterboard before priming your tiling job which took you hours would fall apart after a short amount of time.

The plasterboard just won’t have the same grip if it isn’t primed. But the proper primer is important. Some primers won’t create the blocks to the pores as well as others.

It is important to remember to not use PVA primer. This primer, or polyvinyl acetate, does not soak into the plasterboard as well, sitting on top and will create the same problem if you hadn’t primed the plaster at all. The project will not last.

Instead, use a Bal-based primer that will soak into the plaster. Apply multiple layers, allowing each layer to soak in and dry before applying the next. If the priming job is done right, it will help the project last much longer.

Choice Of Tile

When tiling onto plasterboard, you should look for the tiling that will go well with the circumstances that you are in. It may change based on other needs and situations, but the main principles remain the same.

Try to use smaller lightweight tiles. The tile will look cleaner and will have less of a chance to be too heavy. Tile can get heavy quickly and may become a problem if it is too much.

Don’t use large pieces of tile as they will pull on the wall in larger sections. Using small pieces spaces out the surface area that is being weighed down and will make it easier to tile the whole plasterboard.

Use Of Tile Adhesive

The tile adhesive is important. There isn’t any special brand or adhesive that will work better than another. It is just used to better prepare the tile to stick.

Using a lot of tile adhesive at once is actually counterproductive as it may dry too soon before you have gotten the tile into place. If the tile is placed onto the wall and the adhesive is half dried, then the tile will not stay on the wall.

Also, the way that the tile is applied matters as well. It should be ridged to create better suction to the wall. The tools for applying the adhesive will have notches for this purpose and can do this for you.

Tile Spacers

When it comes to actually placing the tile on the surface that you are tiling, there are a couple of different choices. One of which is to just place them close together and resting against each other. This method might cause damage later on, but might be perfectly fine to leave that way.

But if you choose to create a space between each tile then you will want that space to be even. Tile spacers are used to keep this gap equal throughout the entire project. They work very well and can be removed once the tile is set and firmly in place.


If the decision came that tile spacers would be needed and that was what happened, then grouting will be the next step. Grouting is a process that fills in those spaces with sand-like paste. This creates further stability for the tiles themselves.

Grout, when mixed, is much like wet dirt or sand that can be maneuvered and worked into the spaces between the tile. It is best to use a grout float to spread it across the tiles and then a large sponge that is damp to rub the excess off for a clean, finished look.

Tools That Are Needed

With all projects, some tools are needed to get the job done. Many of these include just simple safety materials, such as gloves, good clothes, or maybe even knee pads if you are working low. But others may include the following.

  • Paint sprayer: This would be used for the primer which will more evenly apply the paint to the plasterboard.
  • Tile cutter: inevitably, there will come a time when the tile will need to be cut. To have the best time doing this a tile wet saw is the best option.
  • Notched Trowel: This tool is used to spread the tile adhesive for the tile to stick to.
  • Grout Float: This is used to apply the grout to a nearly finished tile job. A hard-edged float is better for the job.

These are just some simple tools that will help get the job done more easily.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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