Planning to install solid core wet wall panels/tiles like these because installing shower over bath: tongue and groove panels

They are 38cm L x 65cm W each and tongue and grooved. However the house I purchased has some rows of tiles over bath like thus (and a couple of tiles behind the wash basin too): half tiled walls

This makes it tricky and I don't know what to do about the step change if I were to panel over the tiles. The wall behind is just drywall (maybe greenboard) over studs.

  1. Should I pack the wall(s) with say ply? How do I do this - just normal ply and screw them to studs? As you can see the existing tiles have a trim on top which is not flush with the tiles - it juts out by about 1 or 2 mm so to make it flush/plumb should i plaster a thin layer over the tiles?
  2. Should I bite the bullet and take off the tiles? Likely going to damage the drywall behind. Do I need to rip the drywall, get big section(s), cut them to size and screw them to studs? Do I need to level the walls or the tiles will be OK even if not absolutely level (eg if the adhesive provides a "give" or a cushion).
  3. Do I need to take paint off or just score it randomly and attach the panels (or even stick it over paint)?

Edit: For comments asking if the wet wall panels are the same as traditional tiles, no they are not. The one in the pic is this one for example. The core is MDF or some PVC composite etc.

  • Are "solid core wet wall panels/tile..." simply wall tile or something else? I am not familiar with the product or maybe the terminology.
    – RMDman
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:26
  • @RMDman no they aren't wall tiles in the traditional sense - I've edited to add details and link to the sample panel whose pic I put in the question.
    – ustulation
    Aug 13, 2023 at 17:35
  • Thank you for the info. Very interesting. Do you know if something similar is available in the US?
    – RMDman
    Aug 13, 2023 at 17:49
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    You're gonna have to open up the wall anyway to install the shower piping, so why not just demo the tile entirely and replace the drywall behind it? Never mind that I'm not sanguine about using this type of panel in a shower. It says it's waterproof, but the "waterproof" claim can be made for materials which are only waterproof for some period of time.
    – Huesmann
    Aug 14, 2023 at 12:54
  • @Huesmann The bath tap can be simply replaced with a bath-shower-mixer tap and nothing goes behind the wall. All you need is a riser rail fixed to the wall which will hold the shower handle. While your claim about waterproof being temporarily waterproof etc might be applicable to some materials and circumstances in general, it's completely untrue for wetwall panels. Not sure where you are from but it's an increasingly common practice in the UK to use those instead of traditional tiles as they offer many advantages. I've already provided links and you could read up more if you wanted.
    – ustulation
    Aug 14, 2023 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


You should think long term and take off the tiles. It will give a flush finish without breaks in the grout.

It is possible that you may damage the drywall. But its also possible that it is a shoddy job and they may come off easier than you think. You do need to make the surface reasonably level before you retile.

  • Cheers! Do you recommend just running the drywall knife from where the silicone meets the bathtub to the top of the tiles and saw that entire section out and install a new greenboard etc in it place? I suppose taking out individual tiles is going to be messy and might take out chunks from the wall in many places needing repair to those areas.
    – ustulation
    Aug 13, 2023 at 17:37
  • Or just take the bottom row out first which gives more space to run the dry wall knife to cut through the section just above the bath tub.
    – ustulation
    Aug 13, 2023 at 17:38

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