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Can/Should You Put Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Tiles

If you have a tile floor but would like vinyl plank, can you simply install the plank over the tile?

Tiles can make a suitable subfloor for vinyl plank flooring. They are solid, so the vinyl can either be glued down or it can float over the tile easily. As long as the tile does not have any defect or if the defect is repaired in advance, the vinyl can be installed successfully.

Vinyl Tiles for home interior designs and house renovation

Any solid surface can provide a suitable subfloor for vinyl flooring. There are some things to consider, however, to ensure that you are making all of the right decisions along the way.

Perhaps the first, and most important thing to consider is the manufacturer’s instructions. They have put a lot of time and effort into making sure you have those instructions so you know if there is anything to be avoided.

As an example, some types of floor, such as hardwood, may not be the best choice for a subfloor if the wood is glued down to concrete. Installing it in opposition to what the manufacturer’s instructions say could void the warranty so if problems occur, it’s going to be at your expense.

Generally speaking, however, you will not have any problem with installing vinyl plank flooring over tile. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Grout lines – If you have grout lines that are excessively deep or more than 1/4 inch wide, you may need to float the floor before installing vinyl plank.

The weight of the vinyl may eventually cause the grout lines to show through. It may take some time before it happens but once it takes place, it is going to be a permanent part of the vinyl plank.

2. Loose Tiles – If you are dealing with any loose tiles, it is important to ensure that they are properly bonded to the subfloor. It doesn’t matter if you put a new tile in place or if you repair the existing tile, it has to be solid.

If the tile is loose, it is likely to cause problems. That is especially true if the vinyl plank is glued down. A floating floor may not be as much of an issue but it could be an area that makes noise or moves when you step on it.

3. Damaged/Cracked Tiles – Any damage or cracks in the tile should be repaired before you put down the vinyl plank floor. This would ensure that problems are kept to a minimum.

In order to do so, you may need to install a new tile in its place. As long as it matches in elevation, you don’t need to worry about it matching exactly in color because it is going to be covered by the vinyl tile.

In the future, if you decide to pull up the vinyl plank and level the tile again, you may need to address that issue at that time.

4. Weight – Tile is heavy so you may already be reaching the maximum weight of what should be put on the subfloor and floor joists. Make sure that you keep this in mind before adding additional flooring because it will add additional weight.

Admittedly, vinyl tile is not very heavy but over the entire floor, it can add some considerable weight. It may not add much in any square inch, but consider how much all of the boxes of tile weigh and think of it spread out over the floor.

5. Height – Vinyl planks are not necessarily thick, but they will add some height to the overall floor. This can be a problem for a number of reasons.

First of all, you will have to remove the baseboards and reinstall them slightly higher. You also need to cut around the doorjamb so the vinyl plank fits underneath.

If any doors are close to the floor, they may need to be planed down so that they do not scrape against the vinyl tile. If you have cupboards with doors close to the floor, this could be a problem and you may need to tear up the tile first.

6. Transitions – Along with the height difference, you also need to consider the transition from room to room. This can be overcome with a transition strip but it may still produce a tripping hazard in some cases.

As long as you keep these things in mind, you can install the vinyl plank floor over tile without a problem. Let’s consider some other issues that may be involved.

Can You Put Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Tiles

Two man putting vinyl plank flooring

The question may sometimes come up if it is possible to put vinyl plank flooring over tiles. What is the issue?

Tiles can make a suitable subfloor for vinyl plank flooring. As long as they are free from defect and don’t have any excessively large grout lines, not much needs to be done to them other than cleaning them up and putting down an underlayment.

As was discussed, you should check with the manufacturer’s instructions before you put any vinyl plank floor down. It is not typically a problem to install it over tile but they may have some suggestions that would help make things go as smoothly as possible.

For example, you may have noticed that you can purchase vinyl plank in various thicknesses. As the planks get thicker, they are typically of higher quality and are going to be more expensive. However, you may find that a higher quality works better over tile.

Thin vinyl plank is not very sturdy and even small grout lines may show through. The only way to overcome this is to float the floor, but you are adding cost, weight, and even a little height that is unnecessary. You might find that purchasing a higher quality and thicker plank is a better option.

Should You Put Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Tiles

man putting vinyl plank flooring

The decision as to whether you will put vinyl plank flooring over tiles is often a personal one. There are certain things to be considered that will help you to make a good decision.

Many people appreciate the warm look of vinyl plank and they will happily cover up an old tile floor to do so. Vinyl plank has a universal appeal so it can easily cover over the tile and remain in place for many years without ever going out of style.

There are some factors to consider that may make it a bad decision to put vinyl plank flooring over tile. These should be considered carefully before you make the decision to get started.

One important factor is the height of the floor. If the tile floor has been down for a long time, there may have been some items installed that are well suited to that height.

For example, cupboard doors and even doors between rooms may be very close to the tile floor on the bottom. If you were to install the vinyl plank, they may scrape and that could be an issue.

Of course, the doors between rooms can be planed to overcome this issue but if it is an issue with cupboards, you may need to tear up the tile in advance or reinstall the cupboards.

Another factor that has concerned many people is the possibility that ceramic tile contains asbestos. That may be true and that leads to the question, is it a good idea to lock it in place?

Asbestos is in many construction materials, including some that are still installed in commercial locations. Asbestos is not a problem if it is contained in the material. It is only a problem when it becomes airborne.

If you do have old ceramic tile that has asbestos or, more than likely, if there is asbestos in the mortar or grout, you can cover it with vinyl without a problem. Disturbing the tile could be more problematic than going ahead and installing the vinyl plank.

How To Put Vinyl Plank Flooring Over Tiles

man putting vinyl plank flooring

If you made the decision to install vinyl plank flooring over tiles, it’s important to take the proper steps to do so.

The first, and most important step in installing vinyl plank flooring is to have the flooring in the room for a few days before the installation takes place. Vinyl will expand and contract according to temperature and humidity levels. It will take a few days for it to acclimate to the new room.

If you install vinyl plank before allowing it to acclimate, it could separate or buckle. You may also see gaps along the edge of the room as it does acclimate. It will take a few days, but it is well worth the wait in the end.

The next step is to ensure that the tile is well maintained, clean, and free from defects. If there are a lot of problems with the tile, you may find that floating the tile floor with a concrete floating mixture will prove to be very beneficial.

After you have the floor ready for the plank, you should put down some type of underlayment. This is optional, but it will add many benefits.

Underlayment can be installed to provide a soundproof barrier between the room where it is installed and the room underneath. It can also help to quiet the vinyl plank as people are walking on it.

In addition, the underlayment will add some comfort to the floor and, if necessary, even a moisture barrier can be added.

Next, it is time to put the vinyl plank in place. Most of the planks will be tongue and groove so they will simply snap together from one side of the room to the next. When you get to the edge of the room, you should measure it and rip the plank to put it in place.

Make sure that you use the spacers provided around the edge of the room to keep the floor from appearing and disappearing under the baseboard or to avoid buckling.

Vinyl plank can be installed over tile as long as the tile is in good shape. You can either fix any issues with the tile in advance or you can float the entire floor and have a solid surface where you will install the vinyl plank.

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