Tile over plaster?

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Old 03-18-19, 08:24 AM
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Tile over plaster?

I'm doing a kitchen reno in my own home. I'm waiting on my cabinets to arrive, then counter tops, then backsplash with subway tiles.

The walls are what appear to be 3/8" drywall covered over with what appears to be another 3/8" of plaster. The finished surface has a random texture to it.

I've done a half dozen tile jobs over cement board and concrete, so I've got a pretty good layman's tiling skill at this point. I'm now in the process of installing a couple outlets and a switch to the area where I will eventually tile the backsplash.

Right now the walls are bare with no cabinets or appliances in place. I could outline the area where I'll need to tile, then rip out all the drywall and plaster, shim the studs, and replace with 1/2" cement board or green board (or whatever color moisture board is these days). But that's a ton of work.

Can I just tile over the plaster? Does it matter that it's textured (or is that actually a plus?). If yes, what's the best mastic to use? Is there a better less time consuming option than ripping it down to the studs? Some kind of pre-tile primer maybe? Cause, man, that's a lot of work....

Thanks
 
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Old 03-18-19, 08:47 AM
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Sounds like you have plaster over gypsum lath.

No need to remove the plaster unless you also need to install blocking for the cabinets or alter the electrical.
Thinset is better than mastic. You can set the tiles over the texture although depending on how pronounced the texture is you might want to scrape it down a little first.
 
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Old 03-18-19, 11:04 AM
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marksr,

I'm glad to hear I can use what's there.

When I think lath, I think wood planks or some kind of wooden lattice layout with plaster oozing through it. This stuff just looks like solid gypsum which sometimes incorporates metal lath (in lattice pattern and a true joy to work with - not). All that said, I'm pretty sure you called it right. I googled "gypsum lath" and found an image that looks like a very good match with what I'm dealing with. Good call!


The "texture" isn't much, maybe 1/16 of an inch so I'm guessing I don't need to sand. To be clear, when you say blocking for the cabinets, you mean making sure their are studs in the wall to mount the cabinets?

I'm fine with thinset. It's all I've ever really used, but always over cement board or concrete. Are you sure it's best to use over plaster? Any kind of pre-coat primer needed? Maybe just a little TSP cleaning first?

I will need to cut out a couple small sections for some outlets and patch in a couple places from where old outlets were removed. My plan would be to use 1/2" water resistant rated drywall, shimmed to be flush with the existing wall. Sound alright? Can thinset be used over water resistant drywall?

Thanks for the advice
 
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Old 03-18-19, 11:15 AM
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Sometimes folks put blocking [usually a sideways 2x6 between studs] to have more/better anchor points for the upper cabinets. It makes it easier to secure the cabinet to the wall.

I'm a painter, not a tile guy but have done some diy tile work. I've never installed tile over plaster but have installed it over drywall using thinset. I wouldn't think plaster walls would change anything. Most any type of drywall would be ok for the patches. While TSP is a great detergent if the residue isn't rinsed well it can cause adhesion issues with paint - I don't know if the same is true for thinset.
 
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Old 03-19-19, 02:49 PM
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marksr,

Well, I'm still not sure about thinset and plaster, but I have time to think about it. For now, it's good to know I can go over plaster. Thanks for the tips!
 
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