I am planning to tile my bathroom wall and removed the old vanity and the old wall panels which partly covered the wall. But, the condition of the wall is not good and I wonder what is the best option to make the wall in a good condition. The photo of the wall is shown below.

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I see two issues. The first issue is that the plastering in the painted area was poorly done -- the area is uneven. The second issue is that I am not sure whether I can directly attach the tiles to the part where the wall panels were attached (the brown part in the photos).

Given this wall condition, what would you recommend to make the wall smooth? The possible options I am considering are

(a) removing the old wall and attaching a new wall (if sanding or skimcoating is too much work)

(b) attaching a new wall over the old wall

(c) thoroughly sanding the plastered wall

(d) re-skimcoat the entire wall

This is my first job of tiling and any advice is appreciated.


2 Answers 2


It is not uncommon to see tiles glued straight onto plaster or wallboard but it is not a good practice, IMO. Even if you were to pursue that method, you would have problems due to the glossy painted area (tiles won't stick) and the uneven areas (tiles won't lay flat).

I would recommend either taking down the entire wall surface and replacing it with tile backerboard (best), or scraping/sanding it as flat as possible and adding a layer of nice new flat backerboard (you could use the thinner 1/4" board in this case).

If this is an area that gets wet (shower/tub area), there are additional steps/considerations needed to ensure no future water damage.


I agree with Jimmy, take off the old wallboard and put on A product called densshield , it is a fiber reinforced sheet rock like gypsum board with a special facing for tile. You can score it and snap it like sheet rock and it is the same thickness as half-inch sheet rock. This illuminates the extra thickness of a backer board which makes the transition between tile and The adjacent wall easier to handle.(I.E. From shower surround to bathroom wall.) I am not affiliated with this product I do use it when remodeling bathrooms and kitchen walls for tile. I believe there are similar products that I have not tried. Tape the seams with a fiberglass tape and a roll on waterproof membrane. Then just tile directly onto it.

  • Doesn't DensShield have a water proof surface? Why would you need to roll on a waterproof membrane? What product did you have in mind? Jan 10, 2017 at 1:50
  • tape the seams and roll on a waterproof membrane, ( over the taped seam, and screws )
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 11, 2017 at 2:51

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