Can You Apply Tile to Metal?

Tile can be applied to metal as easily as any other material.

Surface Preparation

As long as you have the right adhesive you should have no problems. You can use any type or color of tile on metal surfaces and the application process is almost exactly the same as with other surface areas. The only difference is that because metal is rigid and flat, you do not need to use a backer-board.

Scrub the metal surface thoroughly with soap and warm water. Remove all dirt, oil and grease. Tile will not adhere securely if any of these substances are present. Either dry the walls yourself with a towel or allow them time to dry before you apply the adhesive. Again, if any moisture is left on the metal the tile will not stick correctly.


Apply an adhesive made especially for metal surfaces to the wall using a trowel. The specialty adhesive can be purchased at any hardware store. Place the tiles on the metal surface and use spacers so that you can create even grout lines. Allow the adhesive to dry for at least 24 hours.


Mix your grout in a 5 gallon bucket until it reaches the consistency of cookie dough or peanut butter. Spread the grout into the lines using a float. Remove excess grout from the tiles using warm water and a sponge. Allow the grout to set up for 72 hours and then apply a grout sealer to prevent stains.

About the Author

Lacey Roop's articles have been printed in various print magazines such as "UpCountry" where she was a feature writer for four years. She has written pieces for "Bluegrass Now" where her work graced the cover on two occasions. Lacey has a BA in English and has been writing professionally since 2003.