Sheetrock, or drywall, is no different for tiling over than wood, plaster, cement, or other wall materials. If you are tiling an area that is not in a bathroom, tiles can be applied directly to the sheetrock simply and easily. The wall has to simply be prepared in order to complete this task properly.
Note: If you are looking to place tiles on a drywall inside a bathroom, you will need to use a vapor barrier or some type of backing in order to prevent the sheetrock from getting wet, which will cause it to deteriorate.
Step 1 - Obtain Materials from Home Improvement Center
Purchase the joint compound, putty knife, primer, adhesive, and other materials needed to apply tile from a home improvement center. You may also be able to find the tiles needed to accomplish this job there, but if you don't see something you like, you can also go to a carpet and tile store for a different selection.
Step 2 - Fill Holes
Using the joint compound and putty knife, fill all holes and punctures in the sheetrock. Scrape the blade over the compound in the hole to smooth it out and avoid having to sand the wall later. Then, allow the this to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 3 - Apply Primer to the Sheetrock
Apply a coat of primer sealant to the wall. Roll it onto the surface evenly to avoid drips that might cause the tiles to hang strangely.
Step 4 - Place Tile Adhesive on the Sheetrock
Next, take the tile adhesive (thinset mortar) and apply it to the drywall with a trowel. Spread the adhesive evenly in small in sections since the adhesive can dry before you lay any tile if your work area is too large. Once you spread the mortar, press the tiles into place. Use tile spacers as you go to keep each piece evenly separate from one another.
Use a tile cutter to make any cuts needed to finish the edge of a row. Measure carefully to decide where the tile needs to be cut, and operate the machine according to its instructions. Do not wear loose clothing when operating this tool and keeping fingers away from the cutting surface.
Step 5 - Grout and Clean
Allow the thinset to dry according to any instructions on the packaging. Then, you can fill in the gaps between the tiles with grout to seal and finish this project.
In this step, you need a grout float and grout that is either redi-mix or a substance you must prepare for the tile. Mix the grout, if needed, according to any instructions, and then start to work it between the tile using the float. Spread a generous amount to fill the gaps. Use a wet sponge afterward to clean away excess, and then use it once again after the grout dries to clean the tiles.