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How to Install Ceramic Tile on Drywall

Laura Gee

Drywall isn't generally recommended as a backing for tile. This is mostly because the drywall can flex somewhat and put stress on the tiled area.

However, if you're planning to install ceramic tile on drywall in a relatively small area, such as a kitchen backsplash, you can probably get away with it with a few extra considerations.

  1. Choose a small or medium-sized tile, since larger tiles can put too much strain on drywall.

  2. Make sure that the drywall is completely dry.

  3. Glue tiles to the drywall using tile adhesive, and leaving about 1/4 inch of space between every two tiles. Wait for the adhesive to set completely.

  4. Apply grout thickly in the gaps between the tiles. Don't worry about neatness at this point.

  5. Use a dry sponge to wipe across the tiles' surface, removing as much extra grout as possible.

  6. Dampen the sponge and wipe the surface of the tiled area repeatedly, smoothing the grout lines and removing any stray grout from the tiles. Allow to dry completely.

  7. Tip

    It's important to finish the sponging process before the grout sets too much, so if you're installing ceramic tile on drywall over a large area, you may want to do the project in several sections.


    It's much more difficult to remove grout from ceramic tile once the grout is dry, so double-check to make sure the tile is clean before allowing it to dry.