I want to apply tiles to a kitchen/bathroom wall. The surface is clean and freshly painted. Should the surface be prepared before being tiled, or will the tiles adhere properly to the painted surface?

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    As a matter of opinion, if you are talking about ceramic tile, not peel and stick vinyl junk, you have on the one hand: "here's this wall I want to tile" and on the other hand "Here's a lot of money for tile and (mortar/mastic) and grout and sealer, so saving less than a buck a square foot by not using backerboard as the best available tile substrate is putting a lot of investment at risk." Your call, but I know what my call is in that case. The result is no more reliable than the foundation it's built on. – Ecnerwal Nov 7 '20 at 22:43
  • @Ecnerwal - I agree with everything you said. But many people and builders still get away with mounting wall tiles directly to sheetrock, either regular or the green (for damp locations) variety. I had a master bath built that way and except for in the shower (where they should have used cement backer board), the walls were still fine after 20 years. – SteveSh Nov 8 '20 at 0:44

Obviously the tiles can adhere no better than the paint is adhering to the wall. So if there is any peeling you should remove the paint first.

In kitchens and bathrooms semi-gloss or gloss paint is often used. The tile may not adhere to these as well as to other paints. Usually washing with a product like TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) which is a super strong soap will rough the surface up pretty well.

In all cases, however, you should read and follow the tile adhesive manufacturer's recommendations regarding wall preparation. The specific brand you are using may have different requirements.

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