Can You Tile Over Plywood Wall – Explained!

Can You Tile Over Plywood Wall

Plywood is sometimes an easy solution to cover up a damaged wall or even for decoration. It is an inexpensive, good-looking wood substitute. No wonder it is widely used in different furniture and also as a  home improvement material.

As it is made from wood and resembles the same way, the wood quality doesn’t let go of it. So you will have wood oils, wood characteristics like the molds, and other things with it. 

If you have a kitchen backsplash, counter back or a bathroom sink back you want to add tiles to, you are in the right place. Though we have different opinions about tiling up on plywood, you will find whether can you tile over plywood wall or not in this article. 

Spoiler alert! We have ideas about how you add tiles to plywood.

Can You Tile Over Plywood Wall That Will Last?

This question keeps on turning up whenever you ask a professional or someone for advice. Well, the answer is yes and no at the same time. You can and cannot tile over plywood walls. 

Firstly, we will go with why you cannot. The essential oils in the wood will not help you with any adhesive. And tiles require cement or adhesive to stick onto a surface. And without a strong bond, they will fall off over time. Or leave a crack. 

And like wood, plywood doesn’t have a thick body to it. They are made from scraps of wood peels from logs. This makes them more flexible. Also, they change their structure due to weather and age. Which isn’t nice for ceramic or stone or any type of tiles.

So, do you give up hope? You shouldn’t.

Nothing is impossible with today’s technology and advancement. You can tile over a plywood wall and it will last. But you have to go through some steps and move on to a more modern method with tiles than the traditional way.

Will Using Strong Grout Help?

Grouts are used in tiling walls and floors. Although grouting might work if you have a plywood countertop or such, a wall is a whole different thing. There is no protection there. And grout doesn’t bond with oily surfaces.

The only thing you can do with grout is to use a more concentrated form. Or go for a grout that has a silicone or latex bonding material. But it won’t last.

Are We Doomed with a Plywood Wall?

All hope is not lost. There are a few things you have to go through. As plywood isn’t the right material to use grout, which is the essential bond for tiles to hang on to, we have to use a filler first.

Yes! You heard it. You have to use a sealing agent over the plywood and let it set. This will help you with your adhesive to stick to the plywood better. Almost like a barrier and a bonder at the same time, this will keep the moisture and oil of the plywood inside and give a gripping place for the adhesive you are going to use the tiles to stick on to.

Using a Thinset with a High Silicon Adhesive Base

It is time. The shining light for all of you who want to tile over a plywood wall. Using a Thinset is the only way you are going to stick your tiles over a plywood wall.

Thinset often referred to as mortar, is a very common substance that helps tiles stick to the floor, wall, or any surface. As grout cannot give the needed adhesive strength, it is out of the question.

But there is a catch! Mortar or Thinset is normally a combination of cement, water, and fine sand. To make it even stronger and long-lasting on a plywood wall, you have to add some latex adhesive to it. Otherwise, it will come off after some time, which would have happened with grout too. 

A Pro Tip: Seal Your Plywood Before Tiling Over Them

To make your tiles over the plywood wall last, don’t forget to seal your plywood wall. You will find a lot of adhesives that will seal off a plywood wall and make it a great surface for the Thinset to stick to.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I use to seal the plywood wall?

A silicon-based waterproof sealing agent is the best option to seal your plywood wall before tiling.

How thick should the plywood be to be able to hold tiling?

Your plywood should be at least 15mm thick to be able to hold the tiling.

How strong is plywood?

Normal plywood can hold up to 5 pounds of weight.

What thickness tiles should I use on a plywood wall?

It is better to use 6mm tiles over a plywood wall. 


A troublesome factor is the question of whether you can or cannot tile over a plywood wall. In this article, we have gone through what you can and cannot do. But ultimately, it is possible to tile over a plywood wall. But you have to keep in mind the thickness of the tiles, the plywood, and most importantly the mixture adhesive you are going to use. Without a perfect adhesive, your tiles will fall off over time or cracks will develop. That is why sealing the plywood board is necessary. 

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