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We are re-tiling our 1 year old bathrooms and have been told it will save time and labour costs if, rather than remoying the original wall tiles, we simply crack them and cement new tiles over the top. Is this common practice, or will we end up replacing the tiles again in five to 10 years?
Unfortunately, this is common practice in Hong Kong, although if existing tiles are in a good condition and securely fixed, the new tiling should last as long as the style does. Usually contractors will remove loose or damaged tites and patch up the gaps with speeding or tile cement. The existing tiles are not cracked as such, but scored about a quarter of an inch deep at Incremental Intervals using a hand-held angle grinder. This gIves the adhesive something to bond wilh.
The main advantage of tiling over existing tiles is, as you mention, the substantial amount of time, cost and effort saved. However, the downsides include the gradual reduction of room size; the difficulty accessing pipes,wires buried in the original surface [a big problem in the event of a burst pipe or damaged wire ]: and the difficulty in getting a solid iixing when attaching bathroom accessories to the new tiles.
Where possible, I would recommend removing the original surface and tiling from scratch.
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