State of plasterboard walls after removing tiles

Postby Phil_V » Thu May 27, 2010 11:47 am

I am in the middle of stripping out my bathroom suite, and am also removing all the existing ceramic wall tiles, and will be replacing with new.

The removing is going reasonably well, but it is removing the surface paper from the plasterboard in most places, as shown in the photos:


What do I need to do to these walls before retiling?
Does the plasterboard need to be replaced, (if so what with, the current board is 12.5mm and seems to have a blue polythene on the backface).
Is it just case of cutting / tearing off any loose bits of the facing paper, and then fixing the new tiles on?

The whole bathroom walls will be tiled, including that next to the bath with overhead shower ( although I haven't yet removed those tile, so don't know what state that wall will be in ).

Many thanks for any replies :)
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Simply Build It

Postby stoneyboy » Thu May 27, 2010 10:29 pm

The easiest solution would be to have the walls plastered.
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Postby Phil_V » Thu May 27, 2010 11:29 pm

I'm quite happy to skim the walls myself, but I'd be worried that the plaster might not bond to the plasterboard very well, and then when I hang the tiles on it I could end up with the tiles AND the plaster coming off of the board?
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Postby Phil_V » Fri May 28, 2010 9:45 am

I was under the impression that plasterboard didn't need to be plastered before tiling too.... was I wrong about that?

Thanks :)
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Postby plumbbob » Fri May 28, 2010 5:43 pm

To me the walls look exactly as you would expect after removing tiles.

If the surface is strong, PVA it and tile over filling the cracks with adhesive.
If it is firm, but the gaps are too big, fill them with bonding first to make a reasonably level surface.

If the wall integrity is shot, replace the plasterboard. Look at the option of fixing a full sheet over the existing boarding.

Don't plaster skim boards before tiling. There is no need and doing so actually reduces the strength of the bond between tile and wall.
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Postby Phil_V » Fri May 28, 2010 10:44 pm

Thanks, the boards on the whole do seem sound, it's literally just the surface paper that has come off.
One board that I did damage a bit (and will need to be patched) I decided to open out the hole a bit so I could see what was behind it, and it seems that there is an egg-crate type construction going on within the wall, behind the plasterboard. I couldn't see any wooden struts / studs through the small hole, but I'm guessing there must be.
With it being the honeycomb type I am not keen to replace the board, and if I place new boards over the old then they bathroom will be too small to take the bath - lol
Removing the loose surface, and then sealing will be the way forward I think :)

Out of interest, why is / would there be this honeycomb filling, rather than just wooden stud work?
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Postby plumbbob » Sat May 29, 2010 2:23 pm

The honeycomb you describe is a typical modern construction wall board. I forget its proper name, but it is a cardboard honeycomb sandwiched between two sheets of plasterboard giving an overall thickness of about 2".

As you can imagine it is a quick construction method as the sheets require little fixing, just a batten along the floor, ceiling, end walls and where any sheets join.

Often, to increase the rigidity of the wall the builder will fix an additional layer of plasterboard on either side, which increases the wall thickness by almost one inch.

Providing the wall has not been damaged by leaking water, this type of wall is good to tile over. I repair any holes with one coat or bonding plaster and pva the paper layer to increase its strength.
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Postby Phil_V » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:19 am

Many thanks PB, the room is now all stripped back and coated with PVA. got the bonding plaster so will be fixing up any of the holes that I think are too big for just adhesive, but were too small to be patched with plasterboard sections.

Many thanks for your advice :)
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Postby paulcourtyard » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:13 pm


Have you thought about using Glass Splashbacks instead of tiles. They can be installed straight over the boards as they are and because they are large panels, they flatten the wall and look great.

I have just had some installed by these people Google " " have a look, it might solve lots of problems
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Postby thedoctor » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:05 pm

A really old post we know but one which attract heaps of attention so we thought we would add a line or two.

Nipping down to the DIY shed for some "patching" plaster or as we call it "one-coat" plaster is the answer here. Given that it does not have to be the prettiest surface in the world, as you are tiling over it, BUT it still needs to be fairly flat as it is VERY important to maintain a uniform thickness to your tile adhesive......You can apply a layer of patching plaster to the rough plasterboard. Patching plaster will fill the deeper parts while leaving a thin skim on the undamaged bits. This will give you a great surface to tile on and it will be fairly flat. This allows the adhesive to be spread at a uniform thickness making it more stable and also making it easier to lay the tiles. For more tiling help take a look at our YouTube channel where we have loads of videos on ceramic tiling.
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