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If you are investing in a wetwall, it is worth knowing whether you can install it over tiles. Having the right installation advice, will save you time and money. It will also ensure your home improvement project adds value to your property and benefits from a long-lasting finish.
The wet wall is a cost-effective way to waterproof your bathroom or shower walls. As well as being practical, it is incredibly stylish. Another, often overlooked, benefit is that it is much easier to keep hygienically clean than a wall covering that uses grout.
The great news is that, yes, you can fit a wet wall over tiles. It is, however, important to realise that this may not be possible and will depend on the condition of your existing tiles and the wall. This guide will help you determine if your tiles are, firstly, suitable to be covered by a wet wall and, if they are, how to complete a high-quality installation. A mould-free, beautifully finished bathroom will set your home apart.
Carefully inspect the tiles on the wall you want to cover. Generally speaking, the odd cracked tile on a flat surface shouldn’t be a problem. However, loose tiles should be removed. If this is more than one or two, you need to consider removing all the tiles. Check the state of the wall. It is flat? If the problem is caused by damp or degrading plaster, the issue will need to be addressed before you install your wetwall.
A wet wall should not be bonded to fresh plaster that hasn’t been sealed. This is because it is porous, which will make it harder for adhesive to create an effective bond. It is likely to seep into crevices and not provide the even coating required for a robust finish. To avoid having loose panels, apply one or two coats of sealant, allowing each coat to dry before starting your project.
If your tiles are not loose, you can fit a wetwall over them. It is quite a straightforward process. And it does not require any specialist tools or DIY skills. However, you will need to thoroughly clean surfaces first. We recommend you use a mild detergent to wipe down your tiles and ensure any traces of soap and other bathroom products are removed. This is important to ensure a high grip. Wall panels fitted to a slimy or dirty surface are unlikely to stay in place for very long.
Make sure tiles are completely dry and give them a sanding down to remove some of the glaze before moving onto the fitting stage of your project. Start by measuring the surface you want to cover. It is best to write down your initial measurements and then measure again. This will ensure no mistakes are made. Once you are sure your calculations are correct, you can cut your wet wall to size.
Use a pencil to mark the measurements on the decorative side of your wet wall. A pen or marker will be harder to remove if you make an error and could spoil the finish. Mark the front because a wet wall should always be cut from this side of the panel. Pay attention to safety when using a bladed tool. We recommend a fine tooth saw and DIY knife. Ensure they are sharp. If they are not new, sharpen them to ensure a clean finish to the cuts.
Some wetwalls are manufactured with embossing on the back of the panel. This is to aid installation and will help create a strong bond. Do not cut from this side of the wet wall. A tongue and groove finish will also greatly aid the fitting process.
After you have cut your wet wall panels to size, place them on a flat surface with the plain, non-decorative side facing up. If a panel is embossed, you won’t have to carry out the next process. On panels with no embossing, we recommend you roughen the surface. This can be achieved with a sanding tool, such as a pad or paper. The aim is to achieve a surface that is not completely smooth.
Once you have completed this task, you are ready to install your wetwall over tiles. Follow manufacturer’s instructions on where to start the fitting. Install your first corner piece or J edge with sealant or cladding adhesive. Make sure you have spacers and any other necessary accessories to hand. Further information about using J edges, trims and spacers is available here.
Apply cladding adhesive to the reverse side of your wet wall. There are several methods professionally installers use to ensure an even spread. Here are a few of them:
The important thing to remember is that you need to ensure an even coating of glue across the surface area.
You should fit trims to your wet wall before installing it. Once you are satisfied you have applied enough adhesive, line up your panel with the wall and firmly press it into place. Make sure you fit panels into j edges. Seal edges and seams with sealants. Allow the adhesive to completely dry before you reinstall any fittings or use your shower or bath. This can take a number of hours so leaving your panels overnight is a good idea.
A wet wall is a quick and easy way to freshen up an outdated bathroom and achieve a modern, stylish finish. Unlike tiles, they can easily be painted over meaning they offer great value too. Available in a literally huge range of finishes, a wet wall will help you achieve expensive-looking décor that is budget-friendly. Less expensive than tiles, this is the long-lasting solution that is effortless to keep hygienically clean. And even better, it can be fitted over tiles.