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How to Tile Over Vinyl Flooring

By: Danny Lipford

How to Tile Over Existing Vinyl Floors

Can I lay ceramic tile over vinyl tile in my kitchen? I really don’t want to pull up the vinyl. -Linda

Hi Linda,

We receive more questions about tiling over an existing floor than any other. It seems like everyone wants to know what to do when they replace the floor in their kitchen or bath.

If the existing vinyl floor was installed over concrete and is glued down firmly, you should be able to tile right over it without any problem. Scrub the floor first to remove any dirt and grease then apply a bed of thin-set mortar and tile.

If the vinyl was applied over a wood subfloor, you should install ½” cement backer board on top of it first, using corrosion resistant screws driven into the floor joists. Another option to backer board on wood floors is one of the new polyethylene membranes such as Schluter®-DITRA. At only 1/8” thick, it can shave 3/8” off the finished thickness of your floor if height is a problem.

You can also tile directly over an existing tile floor as long as it is sound. As with vinyl, clean it first so the mortar will adhere well to the old tile.

For more information on tiling, check out our articles Tiling a Floor and Installing Tile Over a Wood Subfloor.

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109 Comments on “How to Tile Over Vinyl Flooring”

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  1. david ve Says:
    May 24th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I was wanting to know if it is possible to lay vinyl tile over existing vinyl tile

  2. carol Says:
    June 27th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    In putting ceramic tile over existing floor in bathroom, do I tile around toilet or move it???????????

  3. traci Says:
    November 30th, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Can you install a wood laminate floor, like pergo, over an existing linoleum flooring?

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 1st, 2008 at 9:51 am

    You should take your toilet out and tile under it. This will raise the floor which might require longer toilet flange bolts and/or raising the toilet flange. To find out more about removing a toilet, see our article on How to Move and Replace a Toilet.

  5. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 1st, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Hi Traci,
    You should be able to install a laminate floor over linoleum or vinyl as long as the old flooring is attached firmly and in good condition. Check to installation instructions that come with the laminate flooring for specific recommendations.

  6. web Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Definitely take your toilet up and tile under it. If your toilet ever needs replacing, you might not be able to find one with a base that precisely matches the opening in the tile floor from where the old toilet is removed.
    Removing a toilet and re-installing it is a lot easier than having to re-tile your floor in case of toilet replacement.

  7. Webb Nichols Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Danny. Is it difficult or even possible to remove ceramic tile that is installed over a vinyl floor? From what i have read, i don’ think i want to remove the vinyl floor from the concrete. Thanks

  8. ray jones Says:
    December 14th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    i,m wanting to tile over vinyl tile shal i pva or nay

  9. Jason Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I plan to tile my bathroom floor. It is a new house with linoleum currently laid down, so there likely is just particle board underneath. I plan to put down 1/2″ cement backing and then using 12×12 tiles. I will remove the toilet and tile under it, but do I have to remove the cabinets as well? Also, should the linoleum be pulled up or just lay the cement board on top of the linoleum. Thanks in advance.

  10. Jim Boyle Says:
    March 18th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Can I put 12″x12″ self-adhesive tiles,over other self-adhesive tiles of the same size? Do you have to tile under the vanity, or can you cut the tiles to go around the vanity? Thanks

  11. Jan Hollier Says:
    March 25th, 2009 at 12:03 pm


    I have a garage that was made into a room with the small, I think, asbestos tiles, from the 50s. I want to tile over this and was told I couldn’t do this. I don’t want to have to pay to have the asbestos tiles removed, if they really are. Can I put tile over these old tiles?

  12. Carla Says:
    April 26th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Ihave stripped my kitchen down to the concrete sub floor but my dining area has a very secure vinyl 12 x 12 floring that I cannot pull up even with a heat gun. the two areas connect and I want to lay ceramic tile in both areas for continuity. There is a about a 1/4″ height difference between the kitchen and dining room floor. What can I do to even the areas out so I can lay the tile? Should I put backer board in the kitchen to be even with the dining area? I am stuck. Please help

  13. Carolyn Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Can I tile over vinyl flooring that is layed on cememt?

  14. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Hi Carolyn,
    Yes, you can tile over existing vinyl flooring that was laid on concrete as long as it is firmly attached to the subfloor.

  15. jeane Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Can I apply Ditra membrane directly to Formica countertop? Will thin set adhesive adhere to the Formica or do I need to do something to the surface first to make it adhere?

  16. Robert Says:
    August 2nd, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    What is the disadvantage of laying tile onto a wood subfloor with no backer board?

  17. Linda Says:
    September 7th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I wish to lay ceramic tile in my kitchen. The floor is concrete with two layers of vinyl. I see that you have advised it was OK to put tile over a layer of vinyl if the vinyl is firmly glued to the concrete. In this case a second layer of vinyl has been placed over the first. Would you advise removing both layers of vinyl?

  18. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 8th, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Hi Linda,
    Given that you have two layers of vinyl, taking it back down to the slab might be the best approach. Watch this video on How to Scrape Floors for some different ways to go about it.

  19. Beth Says:
    September 9th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    What if I have a subfloor with vinyl then laminate, should I pull of the laminate and put down a backerboard or can I just clean the laminate and lay down the mortar then tiles?

  20. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Hi Beth,
    If you are refering to a floating laminate floor that resembles wood, you should take it up before applying tile. If it’s a glued down laminate, you might be able to apply the tile on top of it, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take it up first.

  21. Bernadean Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I want to install hardwood flooring in my entire house. The problem is my home was built in the 60′s and has abestos tile covering the sub-floor and the floor is very uneven through out the house. I was told that I could lay the hardwood (or pergo) flooring over top of the tile and not to remove the tile for safety reason. How can I install the flooring and make the floor level at the same time?

  22. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Hi Bernadean,
    That is correct that you can leave the asbestos tile in place and cover over them without posing a major health hazard which would occur if you tried to remove them. Sounds like you need to use floor patch to level out the low spots in the old floor before installing the new one. Watch our video on How to Level a Subfloor to find out how.

  23. Karen Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I have removed the vinyl flooring but there is paper from the back of the vinyl left behind. If I am tiling over this, do I need to completely remove what is left behind?

  24. Esther Says:
    October 20th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    what material should you place in between the plywood and the cement floor if the cement is the ground level (same level as outside ground) before nailing real hardwood floor to the plywood to block the moisture? Will felt paper be sufficient enough or do you recommend other material? thanks.

  25. Robert Says:
    January 21st, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Can you install ceramic tile over linoleum the might have mold under it? The linoleum has purple stains around the toilet and is glued down to a concrete slab.

  26. Emily Says:
    March 13th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I have a similar question to Bernadeen. We have the vinyl tiles that probably contain asbestos. We want to lay engineered floor that isn’t floating down on this. Can we glue to the vinyl or do we need to lay something else down first? And is this safe to do over the vinyl tiles?

  27. Chris Says:
    March 26th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I plan on renovating my bathroom and I wanted to lay ceramic tile. I have vinyl floors now…I wanted to lay the tiles on top of the vinyl but im not sure whats underneath…The vinyl is pretty sturdy and secure. Does it matter what material is underneath?

  28. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Hi Chris,
    If the vinyl is securely glued to the subfoor and the floor feels firm with no flex in to it, it should be okay to tile over it.

  29. Steve Says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I am installing sheet vinyl in a 3′x6′ power room which has an existing vinyl floor. The floor sits on truss joist and t&g plywood and I believe 1/4″ luan. I was planning to add an other layer of 1/4″ luan and nail as recommended. I am worried about the nail heads telegraphing through the new vinyl. Do you have any suggestions about altering my installation?
    Thanks for you help, Steve

  30. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Hi Steve,
    You might want to consider screwing the luan down then applying a filler to the screw heads to make them flush.

  31. Phil Says:
    May 25th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Hi, I am putting ceramic tile in my kitchen and I pulled up hardwood flooring, which was over linoleum, which was then followed by vinyl floor tiles. . ., which left a black adhesive material. Can I apply the thinset mortar over the black adhesive or will this cause problems?

  32. Official Comment:

    Allen Says:
    May 26th, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Hi Phil…

    I’ve run into that situation many times. The main thing with that old black mastic was to knock down the ridges, high points, etc. It takes a little extra effort, but I could always accomplish it with just a long-handled scraper. Sweep the excess, then vacuum the whole area. At that point, you should be able to lay your tile. I also like to use the fortified thinset. It costs about $20-$25 a bag, but it goes a long way and holds better in my opinion.

  33. Donna Says:
    July 27th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    If i put laminate or tile over my vinyl in the kithchen what happens when I get a new dishwasher…how does the old one come out and the new one go in with different levels

  34. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Hi Donna,
    You are wise to think ahead concerning the height difference in your floor and the dishwasher before installing the tile. Depending on how high the adjustable feet on the dishwasher are now, you may be able to slide the dishwasher out, lower the dishwasher feet, tile the dishwasher space, and slide it back it. That way it will be easier to get it out in the future. If you tile up to the dishwasher, not only will there be a hump to go over when when you need to replace it, but you may have to remove the countertop to get the dishwasher out. Good luck with your project!

  35. Rebecca Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I have white ceramic floor in my bathroom. (the tiles are sound)I want to lay vinyl tiles over the ceramic, can I do that and will it last.

  36. Kathy Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    The upstairs bath (75 sf) in my 1950 house has two layers of sheet vinyl flooring over a solid subfloor. The plan is to install 12×12 ceramic tile. I’ve been told to: 1) remove both layers of vinyl before tile install; 2) install and nail backerboard over the vinyl then install tile; 3) spread a thin layer of concrete over the vinyl and install tile. Further comments received are that the floor is currently not level – well, it’s a 1950 house :) – and that the concrete will make it earier to level the tile. Can you guide me in the right direction? Thanks.

  37. Carrie Says:
    August 11th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Can I put a layer of electric warming wires set in a mat on top of an existing vinyl floor, then under a layer of Ditra Mat and then set my ceramic tiles on top? The vinyl is glued to a wood subfloor in a master bath and it is very difficult to get it off.

  38. Jo Says:
    October 11th, 2010 at 11:31 am


    I have a basement room that takes on a little water from time to time and want to install tile. I removed one layer of laminate tile only to find another layer that I cannot remove. The floor is cement otherwise. Please tell me, how can I lay ceramic tile on this floor?

  39. Tile Floors – Latest Tile Floors news – Cleaning Your Bathroom Tile Floors | Bathroom Makeover: Tips and … Says:
    October 16th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    [...] How to Tile Over Vinyl Flooring | Danny Lipford [...]

  40. Cheri Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Can you place new vinyl flooring over old vinyl flooring?

  41. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 28th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Hi Cheri,
    If the old vinyl is in good shape and glued down firmly with no seams popping up or holes, then you can put a new layer of vinyl flooring over a current layer.

  42. Halina Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Can I lay ceramic tile over old vinyl tile in my kitchen? There’s luan 1/4″ and then subfloor.
    Thank you

  43. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Halina,
    If the vinyl tile are well attached to the subfloor and not peeling up around the edges, you should be able to tile over it. Good luck with your project!

  44. Halina Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for a your quick answer (kitchen tiles)
    I have one more question, thou.
    In a bathroom I do have a linoleum over subfloor. Can I lay ceramic tiles or let say marble tiles over it.
    That will be probably my first project (before kitchen)
    Thank you

  45. Sam Says:
    November 13th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Hi Danny. Sorry if this has already been addressed. I plan to tile my bathroom floor. I understand I have to remove the toilet but, do I have to remove the cabinets as well? And what about the tub that buts up to the tile?

  46. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 13th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Sam,
    You can tile around the tub and cabinets when retiling your bathroom, just be sure to caulk the seam at the tub good with silicone caulk. Good luck with your project!

  47. Trish Says:
    November 14th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Danny – We are thinking of putting 12×12 tiles down in our kitchen, over an old vinyl floor. There is some flex in the floor, so we were planning to lay cement backer board over the vinyl – do we need to put thinset between the vinyl and the backerboard, or can we just screw the backerboard down?

  48. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Hi Trish,
    I’ve seen cement backer board installed both with and without thinset between the subfloor and backer board. Unless your building codes call for it, it’s up to you. The added thinset doesn’t hurt, though it will be harder to remove it if you ever need to. Keep in mind that the purpose of cement backer board is to provide a stable surface for the tile, not to provide added strength. Your floor joists and subfloor should be strong enough to prevent flexing on their own. Good luck with your project!

  49. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Hi Halina,
    As with laying tile over vinyl, as long as the subfloor and joists provide a firm foundation, the linoleum is well glued down, in good shape, and clean; you should be able to lay tile (or marble) over the linoleum. Of course, a layer of cement backer board is always a good idea to provide a more stable surface and aid in adhesion, if it doesn’t make your finished floor too high. Good luck with your project!

  50. Jaimie Says:
    November 29th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    This is probably a stupid question but how do I find the floor joists without taking up the subfloor? I want to retile a bathroom with ceramic or porcelain tile and the house was built in the 60′s and I am sure that the vinyl that was originally put in contains asbestos. The second layer of tile was a quickie job by the previous homeowner before selling us the house last year and is coming up all over the place, so i was going to remove it and put thinset and cement backerboard over the asbestos tile to be able to retile that floor without removing the asbestos layer. But I’m not sure how to find floor joists through the original tile to screw the backerboard into.

  51. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 30th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Hi Jaimie,
    While it’s a good idea to attach cement backerboard to the floor joists and align the joints in the backerboard so they meet on the floor joists, if you have a good firm plywood subfloor and screw (rather than nail) the backerboard down, you don’t have to hit the joists with the screws. However, if you want to find the floor joists, you can probably locate them by listening to the difference in sound when tapping the floor with a hammer, or use a stud finder that senses the hollow space between studs. If all else fails, use trial and error by hammering a small nail in where you think one of the joists is located until you hit it. Since the joists should be on 16″ centers, once you find one, you should be able to find them all by measuring. Then mark the ends of each one on the wall (or write down the measurements), so you can find them again once the backerboard has been laid down. Pop chalk lines on the backerboard and screw it down. Good luck with your project!

  52. George Farrow Says:
    December 4th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I have vinyl floor glued down on a cement slab in the kitchen. I understand that I can lay tile over this. My question – the edges of the vinyl are raised just a little. Can I somehow just cut off these edges and find a way to level it out and lay the tile down. Except for the edges the rest of the floor is really glued tightly and I hate to try to remove the whole thing. Any suggestions?

  53. Nick Foster Says:
    December 19th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I have removed three layers of linoleum out of my kitchen to lay ceramic tiles. The last layer of linoleum had a paper backing and didn’t come up in a large area. I spent most of the afternoon scraping but I am wondering if I need to get it all up. I am planning to lay mortar/fiberock/mortar/tiles. Will the first layer of mortar even things out?

  54. joelbcbc Says:
    January 17th, 2011 at 9:30 am

    is backboard on a plywood covered by vinyl subfloor required in a 65″x59″ area?



  55. joel Says:
    January 17th, 2011 at 9:33 am

    i believe i saw the answer to Halina


  56. Marti Albertson Says:
    January 17th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    What are the dissadvantages to installing wood laminate flooring over ceramic tile?

  57. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Hi Marti,
    If your tile floor is level and even, you should be able to install laminate flooring over it. Check out our article on Laying Wood Flooring Over Tile to find out more. Of course with laminate, you won’t glue the flooring down, like you would with wood or engineered wood flooring. Good luck with your project!

  58. Dave Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    i just bought a modular home and the whole floor is plywood then a layer of partical board… If i use thin set to lay the hardibacker then ceramic tile will this be enought?

  59. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Hi Dave,
    It’s not recommended to use standard particle board under ceramic tile, since moisture can cause it to fall apart, so I would remove the particle board and add another layer of plywood (if you need the extra height or the floor is not firm enough with one layer). Good luck with your project!

  60. Michael Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Hi. I have a home built in approximately 1977 in Missouri. I want to place ceramic tile in my laundry room which currently has a vinyl flooring. I was told due to the age, the vinyl flooring may contain asbestos. I attempted to pull up the vinyl flooring, but it is well adhered all over and all I accomplished was tearing up pieces of the vinyl. I cut out some of the vinyl and sub-flooring and replaced some rotted flooring below with treated plywood and then another layer of treated plywood for the sub-floor. I still have the majority of the vinyl flooring left. I now wish to lay concrete board over the entile floor and then tile over the concrete board. My concern is that since I have disturbed the vinyl flooring, have I caused a health hazard? Is it safe to leave the current vinyl flooring and just concrete board and tile over it, or should I attempt to remove all of the vinyl, which would be a tremendous task for me? I don’t want to break any laws or have any liability issues should I ever wish to sell the home? Thank you for any advice you may provide.

  61. Official Comment:

    Allen Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Michael…

    Great question! I’m glad you’re responsible enough to look into this, too. Here are my suggestions.

    Since you have disturbed the vinyl, it would be to your advantage to purchase an inexpensive asbestos test kit and make certain whether or not asbestos is present. If it is, you may still be in good shape. While those tiny fibers can definitely be a health hazard, you may have only disturbed a minute fraction. I would use one of the popular type of floor cleaning systems (the ones that use the micro fiber disposable clothes), mist the area of floor with water, then mop it clean. Place the disposable pad in a sealed baggie and check your local yellow pages for proper disposal. Then, whatever you do….DON’T TEAR ANY MORE VINYL! :-)

    The good news is that as long as it remains undisturbed, the EPA is fine with you covering it. I think you’ll be able to safely tile over the vinyl and encapsulate any remaining fears.

    Of course, if your testing finds an over-abundance of asbestos present, you’ll have to open up the wallet and turn to the professionals for removal.

  62. Jamie Says:
    February 8th, 2011 at 10:32 am


    I know you had mentioned that when tiling you need to remove the toilet. But Do we need to remove toilet if we are putting down sticky 12×12 laminate tiles over sticky 12×12 laminate tiles? Or can we work around the toilet and put caulk like the bathtub?

  63. b Says:
    February 11th, 2011 at 2:06 am

    im laying tile in my bathroom over vinly but the floor is not level im on a budget what should i do first.?

  64. Lee Says:
    February 13th, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    When removing ceramic tile in our home, we have discovered vinyl tile underneath which we believe to be original to the home (40 years old) and therefore likely to have asbestos. The ceramic tile is laid over plywood, which was over the original tile. Any tips on removing the ceramic and plywood layers with the least amount of disruption to the asbestos layer? We plan to recover with new ceramic tile.

  65. Kim Says:
    March 1st, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    We just purchased an 1870 sq ft home built in 1951. It has original lino tile throughout adhered to a concrete slab. We will be floating a laminate wood floor in some areas, carpet in the bedrooms and Living area…we are up in the air regarding the wet areas…the tile in the kitchen and bathroom is coved up the wall about 3 inches with a metal trim band. Whether we choose to float a vinyl floor or tile, we need to remove that coving…any suggestions? We know the steps to keep the asbestos fibers contained…what is the best way to remove the coving? Thank you.

  66. John Says:
    March 11th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Want to put ceramic tile in the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. Subfloor is 2 layers of 3/4″ exterior plywood covered with sheet vinyl that is approx 20 yrs old. I have hydronic baseboard heat and the tile under the baseboard heaters is curling up…so is it best to pull up the old vinyl and then put down the ceramic? My fear is that not all of the adhesive will come up and I cannot have the height of cement backer board and tile, as the transition to the other rooms would be too much. I looked at Ditra but at $7 a linear foot it is just too expensive to use.

  67. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 12th, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Hi John,
    While a subfloor of two layers of 3/4″ plywood is great, it’s overkill if your joists are on 16″ centers and the height of the floor is a problem.
    I would be to take up the vinyl and one layer of plywood, then put down 1/2″ cement backer board and tile on top of the 3/4″ plywood subfloor. Good luck with your project!

  68. Ed Nicholas Says:
    March 28th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Can you lay 1/4″ wonder board instead of 1/2″ cement backer board on a Vinyl floor to tile over?

  69. Margaret Says:
    May 12th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Can I lay Pergo flooring over two layers of vinyl without using an underlayment?

  70. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    May 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Margaret,
    Depending on the specific type of flooring, you may be able to lay a laminate floor directly over vinyl flooring. If the vinyl is on a concrete slab, and there is moisture under the floor, you should put down a layer of 6 mil plastic first. See the installation instructions that came with your flooring to find out more.
    Good luck with your project!

  71. Barbara Says:
    May 31st, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Thanks for this site it’s very helpful.

  72. Louis Says:
    June 8th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I am putting in 6″x 24″ ceramic tiles (approx) in the kitchen. I have pulled up some sheet vinyl and luan. Under that I found some green 12″ (vinyl?) squares, good condition, which appear to have been stapled directly on the plywood subfloor of at least 1 1/8″. Darn near impossible to get up. I plan to put down interior plywood stapled over the “vinyl” and then thinset, Hardibacker, thinset and ceramic tiles.

    Is that interior plywood layer actually required?

    If so, how thick should it be?

    Is the 1/4″ Hardibacker sufficient? I’d rather not go to the 1/2″ (nominal) unless this is strongly advisable. As is, it looks like the new floor may be roughly an inch higher than the old, requiring quite a transition to the hardwood floor dining room (& cutting a door shorter).

  73. Louis Says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 2:30 pm


    I now think I’ll put 1/4″ HardieBacker directly on the hard green tiles, using thinset (probably modified). The remaining question is, should I run 60 sandpaper over the tiles first? I’m reading different opinions on this.

  74. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    June 15th, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Hi Louis,
    If your subfloor is as thick as you say it is and doesn’t have any bounce, you can skip the plywood and go with just the cement backer board. 1/4″ backer board would be okay, as long as it’s attached well so there’s no movement in it. I have also heard of those who tiled directly over vinyl on a plywood subfloor with good results, if the vinyl is in good shape, and the floor is firm. Good luck with your project!

  75. melanie Says:
    June 20th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I have just pulled the self adhesive tile up to find whole vinyl tile underneath that reeks of urine and shows water I pulled that up to find that half of it came up the other half only the top came off and paper and glue is stuck to yet another layer which is crumbling behind the toilet. Beneath that is wooden sub floor..can i scrape up what i can..spray with mildew and mold killer..patch with putty in lower areas and put cement board over the top? Or do i need to get it all up..

  76. Louis Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    What I actually did:

    It took us two days, but we pulled up the squares and got down to the subfloor. Turned out, some tiles were loose after all.

    BTW my ref to “interior” plywood should have been “exterior.”

  77. Paul Says:
    July 8th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I am preparing to tile my kitchen and I have 3/4″ plywood as a subfloor and 1X4 wood planks under that. I cannot add any height to existing floor. Can I rip up the plywood subfloor and simply attach the cement board to these wood planks that sit directly on floor joists? The wood planks run on a 45 degree angle to floor joists.

  78. Louis Says:
    July 8th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    What is the size and spacing of the joists?

    BTW, direct attachment to planks is discouraged. Really need plywood or maybe even OSB.

  79. Pam Says:
    July 16th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I plan to lay vinyl tiles over old linoleum floor in a bathroom. Most of the floor is fine, but there is one section that is peeled away. How do I level/ prep that section for installation?

  80. mark Says:
    July 19th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I am looking to replace a laminate floor with a ceramic tile floor. Original laminate. I was told i would have to lift all the cabinetry in the kitchen to do so. Is it possible to replace the floor with out removing the cabinetry?

    I understand i would have to remove the dihwasher etc.

  81. Louis Says:
    July 19th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    The problem with NOT removing, and flooring under everything, is you may end up with the dishwasher boxed in. You may then need to lift the countertop if you one day replace the dishwasher. If you are very careful, and somehow make it so you can install AND REMOVE the dishwasher without lifting everything up, have at it. And good luck. I don’t think it can be done. Thinset, CBU, thinset, and ceramic tile. That’s a LARGE increase in height.

    For just this reason, I decided to put my ceramic tile wall to wall in the kitchen. But then, I am replacing all my cabinets at the same time.

    Remove all the laminate, and any possible luan, down to the subfloor.

  82. Louis Says:
    July 19th, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Pam. To do it right, and have the job last, you need to remove the old flooring. After that, if need be, you can use leveling compound.

  83. mark Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Hey Louis :

    I believe I mentioned that i would have to remove the dishwasher and refrigerator from the kitchen. The oven is built into the wall. I would like to redo the whole kitchen with the cabinetry, but it isn’t an option at this time. What would be your suggestion. ??


  84. Louis Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I believe the problem would be getting the dishwasher back in. I’m assuming that it is a built in, under-counter dishwasher. You will raise the floor maybe as much as an inch. You’ll have to calculate it. Let’s assume 1/8″ laminate floor and 1/4″ luan under it. Remove those, and the floor is 3/8″ lower than it was. Then figure 1/8″ to 1/4″ thinset, then 1/4″ CBU, then 1/4″ thinset, then 1/4″ ceramic tiles. So your new floor will be roughly 1/2″ to 3/4″ higher than it was, possibly more. The dishwashers I have dealt with will not have that much play in their height adjustments. You simply won’t be able to fit it back in without raising, and thereby probably destroying, the countertop.

    Do you plan to reinstall the dishwasher after the floor job?

    You could remove the baseboards, including any quarter round, and tile up to the cabinet kickplates and walls. Leave a 1/8″ to 1/4″ gap that you later fill with caulk (not grout or thinset). Then, in some future year, you could replace the cabinets. But they would have to have an almost identical layout to the current ones. You then put in plywood to raise the level of the cabinets to the tile level, and reinstall the dishwasher. Or if you want a different cabinet layout, you could fill in with tiles. But the grout will give you away, as it will never match.

  85. Melissa Says:
    July 25th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I have the same problem as Carla, but her question remains unanswered. I have stripped my dining room down to the concrete sub floor but my kitchen has a very secure vinyl floring that has no issues. The two areas connect and I want to lay ceramic tile in both areas for continuity. There is a 1/8″ to 1/4″ height difference between the kitchen and dining room floor. What can I do to even the areas out so I can lay the tile? Is there something I can lay down in the dining room to make it even with the kitchen, or should I just make the thinset thicker in that area? I am stuck, too. Please help!

  86. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 16th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Melissa (and Carla),
    Your question has been answered on our website in the article How to Raise the Height of a Concrete Slab for Tiling and on our July 30, 2011 Homefront radio show. Thanks for the question!

  87. Michael Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    If I tile over the existing vinyl. My tile will be higher than my carpet. Do they make a ceramic trasition strip that will match the tile?

  88. Cynthia Matsuda Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    HELP… I am wanting to put cermic tile around my bathtub and have been told it will be hard to get this done with out leaking down the road! How and what can I do to make sure this dosen’t happen.

  89. Laurie Says:
    September 28th, 2011 at 1:35 am

    I am planning on replacing kitchen and bathroom floors with ceramic tiles. I need to clarify the article above. The way I’m reading this is that if I use the Schluter-Ditra membrane I do not need the cement backer board. Am I reading this correct.

    I have a subfloor, underlayment (1/4 inch) and a single layer of securely glued vinyl flooring that I am hoping to leave in place.

  90. Rev K Jones Says:
    September 29th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    What type of glue could I get to put self adhedsive vinyl tile on top of vinyl tile when id did not stick to the old vinyl flooring

  91. brian Says:
    October 13th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I have a half inch plywood subfloor and three quarter inch particle board on top of that-there are two layers of vinyl flooring attached to the particle board-can i put three eights plywood over the vinyl and screw down to first layer of plywood -this will be for a kitchen floor that is very well braced to concrete crawl space. I intend to do floor with slate

  92. William Says:
    October 13th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    About 5 years ago, we had a “contractor” come and install a new subfloor to our 50 year old home in the bathroom. In doing so, he told us that we DID NOT need to use backer board. Never having a ceramic floor before, we went along with it. As you may guess the tiles cracked, came loose etc…We would like to put down new tile. Can we put backer board on the existing tile or will we have to destroy the tile and then add the backer board?

  93. Jerry Sturm Says:
    October 29th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The tile in our shower floor is constantly building up with mildew. We have regrouted, resealed, scrubbed and cleaned and keeps coming back. We spray with clorox and nothing seems to work. Our plan is to redo the existing tile floor without removing the existing tile. I am wanting to know if you can lay new ceramic tile over existing tile in a shower floor? What are the best and least expensive options?

  94. steve andros Says:
    November 13th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    i am tiling my kitchen. can i tile up to the cabinets. I dont want to take them up. i have a dishwashwr but it has adjustible wheels

  95. mike Says:
    November 15th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    can i install luan over old vinyl flooring?

  96. Mona Nowlin Says:
    November 27th, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I have been using Bono laminate floor cleaner on my laminet floors but the last time I bought it I accidentally picked up Bono hardwood cleaner. My question is can I use the Bono hardwood cleaner on my laminate floors without hurting them?

  97. france Says:
    December 12th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    can you lay porcelain tile in my kitchen over plywood that then has particle board over the plywood?

  98. Kim Says:
    December 30th, 2011 at 8:10 am

    We just purchased our first home and started fixing it up. In the kitchen we layed pergo over laminate flooring with a layer of thin foam between them. Now, only 4 weeks later, the pieces are rising and water/goo is coming out of all the cracks. There are areas that are completely bowed already. We don’t know what to do and we already poured so much money into it. Is there anything we can do to fix this?

  99. Dave Says:
    January 5th, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I am renovating a former rental townhouse built in 1980. I am planning to use a laminate through the townhouse with ceramic tile in the bathroooms. They are relatively small bathrooms and currently have what I believe is linoleum (or it could be vinyl, I’m not sure I know the difference.)

    The floors creak a little when they’re walked on, so I’m guessing the subfloor needs some type of repair. The floors leading up to the bathrooms are carpeted. The carpet is being removed and the laminate is going down.

    I have never tiled before, but would like to do this myself to save money. I’m concerned that the floors in the bathroom and bedroom/hallway will not be level with each other when all is said and done.

    How do I ensure that when the subfloor is properly repaired, tile is laid in the bathrooms, and laminate is installed in the bedroom/hallway everything will be seemlessly level?

    Also, I’m replacing the vanity cabinets in the 2 bathrooms. Should I replace them before or after tiling? The design of the cabinets has an opening on the bottom. I’m thinking that I should tile under them because there would be no way to seal.

    Thanks for the assistance!!

  100. Harrison Hill Says:
    January 27th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Can you put roofing felt on top of vinyl flooring to put ceramic tile down. The vinyl flooring is on a cement.

  101. Dion Hopkins Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Im in west Memphis AR! I’m about to try this method over vinyl flooring with concrete floor underneath. Wish me well I will keep you posted and thanks!

  102. Heather Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I want to lay a stone type tile flooring in my kitchen. The problem is I have laminate flooring laid over old asbestos tile. My dishwasher has leaked and swollen some of the laminate. The floor is on top of fir strip flooring. Can I screw the laminate down and lay the tile over top if I use lots of screws and make the fllor really secure ? I don’t want to take up the asbestos tile or laminate as my cabinets are installed on top and if I lay another layer of subfloor the floor will be too high for my doors to swing meaning I will have to cut them down.

  103. Loretta Ogletree Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I plan to lay Vinyl tiles over Linoleum Floor in my bathroom. Do I need to remove the toliet or can i cut the tile to fit around the toliet?

  104. Joe Fohrman Says:
    March 31st, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I want to lay tile over an existing vinyl floor. The existing vinyl is layed on a wood subfloor. Because thinkness is an issue, can I use a polyethylene membrane over the vinyl or do I need to use the cement substrate?

  105. Nan Snipes Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    We have a 1960s house, with small squares of ceramic flooring–black and white. A few pieces are missing at the closet door, and at the bathroom door. It’s a small house and I don’t want to, nor can I afford, a whole renovation. I just want it to look better. Can we use linoleum over the ceramic tiling?

  106. vfctor Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I have vinyl tiles on the floor.The edges on these tiles have risen but the raise is extremely minute. Can I put new tiles over these tiles or can I glue felt paper on the existing tiles and then put the new tiles on top of the felt paper. The new tiles are peel and stick.

  107. Annie Says:
    July 31st, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I am getting ready to put 12 x 12 linoluem squares over an existing linoluem floor. Can I just stick them directly on the old floor?

  108. Mark Kincaid Says:
    September 6th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    can i install a ceramic tile floor over linoleum without backer board if my floor joist are on 16in centers

  109. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    September 19th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Mark,
    Your question about installing a tile floor was answered in the first hour of our September 15th Homefront home improvement radio show. You can listen to the show on our website at

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