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How To Secure A Wall To The Floor Over Ceramic Tile

How To Secure A Wall To The Floor Over Ceramic Tile

You know the story – dream up a renovation, research, go to the store, get started, run into issues, pull your hair out. Right? That’s what step one of preparing for the One Room Challenge was like, anyway. We needed to frame a new wall to update the layout of our kitchen, but it had to be over existing ceramic tile.

Preparing The Existing Wall

After lots of research, it seems that the general consensus is you can definitely build a wall over existing tile. Or hardwoods. Basically anything but carpet (why would you ever do that?!?!). I started with removing the drywall from the existing wall, so I would have access to the studs behind it.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

It actually came off pretty easily. I used a hammer to essentially pulverize a hole in the middle, and then once I could get the back of my hammer underneath the metal corner pieces, pieces started coming off in large chunks.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

Attempting To Drill The Sole Plate Holes

Soon, I had all the corner pieces off and were down to just the drywall. We pried it off to expose the bare wood. Next, it was time to attach our sole plate to the floor. We measured where our studs would go and began drilling (living in Texas often means no basements, so most houses are on a concrete slab like ours).

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

If I had only known how much work still lied ahead. I started by using a masonry bit to drill down through the ceramic and into the concrete. Ceramic tile is way harder than concrete, so it took a little while to get through. Eventually, I hit the concrete.

And then? The frustration began. I’d get to a certain depth, and then the bit would just spin. We tried all kinds of things to make it work:

  • Plugged in drill for more power
  • New masonry bits
  • Lead anchors/lag bolt/washers
  • Hammer drill
  • Drilling out the ceramic around where the screw needed to go so the ceramic didn’t wear down the screw.

After much trial and error, and more frustration than I want to admit, I went back to researching. And I found something really interesting in an article about framing a wall over radiant heating. Basically, the tubes in the heating would get punctured if you drilled into the concrete floor. The solution? Construction adhesive. You can find it on Amazon, or at Home Depot.

I managed to get one screw partially into the concrete but failed miserably on the others. I had pretty much given up on using mechanical fasteners at this point. And if construction adhesive is good enough for fancy radiant heating applications, it’s good enough for me.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

Attaching The Sole Plate With Construction Adhesive

I trotted off to the home improvement store the next morning, picked up some construction adhesive, and glued that puppy to the existing ceramic tile.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

It took all of 30 seconds, which is hilarious compared to how long I had been drilling.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

I set some heavy objects on top and waited for the glue to dry. In the meantime, I started work on framing out the rest of the wall.

Framing The Rest Of The Wall

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

Framing was pretty easy. You basically install a board the length of the new wall on the floor and ceiling, and then vertical studs on each end. Then, screw or nail each one to hold them together. I also chose to anchor the sole plate to the existing wall for added stability.

Build A Wall DIY | Build a Wall Divider | Build a Wall in Basement | How to Build A Wall | Ceramic Tile | Ceramic Tile Floor | DIY Ceramic Tile Floor | Ceramic Tile Projects

And just like that, I had this beauty. I decided to evenly space the studs at 12.5″ inches instead of the standard 16″. I’ll be hanging heavy-duty shelves over subway tile on them, so I like knowing there’s a little more stability than normal.

Thinking of taking a wall out instead of framing one in? I have a blog for you. It’s all about how you can tell if a wall is load bearing or not.

After a very long two days, I ended Sunday night with some pizza, popcorn, and some Austin East Ciders. Framing a wall over ceramic tile was definitely not easy, but we got it done. Cheers to renovation success, even if the path is a little more winding than we imagined!

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LynJa Malone

Monday 13th of July 2020

I am glad to find there is a adhesive, the will hold down the 2x4, it will save me time in doing what you have already tried to do. I also love that you used L brackets for leveling and sturdiness. Thank you so much.

Catherine

Thursday 13th of August 2020

Thanks for your kind words! It wasn't the route I wanted to take, but it wasn't for lack of trying!

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