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Can You Lay Tile Over Vinyl Flooring?

Even if you are an expert DIYer, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming project – especially when it comes down to laying the flooring. So, it is understandable that you might be looking for ways to save time and resources. Laying tiles directly over the existing floor is one of these ways – but is it safe and convenient to do so?

Laying tile over vinyl flooring is possible if the resilient flooring is in good condition and glued on a sturdy subfloor. If your vinyl flooring is too high or made of luxury vinyl planks, you will have to remove it before applying tiles. The vinyl must be clean and intact before tiling it.

Tile floor

So, with the right tools and materials, you can lay tiles over vinyl flooring – but should you do so? Learn all about renovating your flooring on a budget and with minimal effort below.

Can You Lay Tile Over Vinyl Flooring?

Confused male scratching his forehead

Unless you are building a house from scratch, you will face the pre-existing floor that previous owners had laid down in the past when renovating a property. While sometimes you might be lucky enough to enjoy old marble or hardwood flooring, you will have to deal with old vinyl in most cases.

After entering the market in the 1920s, vinyl flooring became the most popular choice for homeowners during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is very likely for an old house to have vinyl flooring.

Since this material is incredibly resilient and durable, laying tile over vinyl flooring is possible – but not in all circumstances.

The first essential factor to consider is when the vinyl flooring was produced and installed. If this is before 1975, the sheet can contain asbestos, a highly cancerogenic substance linked with various diseases.

In this case, you should not only consider removing the flooring but also ask a professional to get rid of the old vinyl for you!

If the vinyl flooring you are trying to replace is newer, you can safely tile over it. Find out when you should – and when you shouldn’t! – below.

Should You Install Tile Over Vinyl Flooring?

Confused male standing

Aside from the age of your vinyl flooring, you will also need to consider other factors before applying ceramic or stone tiles without removing them first.

Indeed, when applying your ceramic tiles, you might also need to install cement board panels. These two elements, significantly when combined, add considerable weight to the flooring.

Therefore, it is essential to assess that the flooring and subflooring have no defects or flexion that can cause structural damages. And, of course, you will want your tile investment to last as long as possible! Vinyl flooring that is already flexing can lead to lead and bumps that can cause the tiles to crack.

Here are some factors to consider before installing tiles:

  • Is your vinyl flooring in good condition?
  • Is the substrate sturdy and intact?
  • Is the flooring already too high?
  • What is the subfloor made of?

Not all vinyl types are suitable for laying ceramic tiles. While you might install tiles on standard vinyl sheets or linoleum, you should not do so on luxury vinyl planks that are not glued down. Indeed, these are likely to move, causing damage to the tiles.

Examine the Vinyl

When evaluating the vinyl flooring, you should look at every imperfection and assess the damage that this might cause to the tiles. Some of the aspects to pay attention to include:

  • Is the vinyl curling? A vinyl sheet that is curling or buckling does not make an excellent base for tiles. You are likely to notice these imperfections, especially around the walls or doors.
  • Is the vinyl torn? Vinyl is a highly resilient and sturdy material, and tears are an obvious sign of age. While you can repair cuts and scratches, you should remove torn vinyl.
  • What kind of vinyl do you have? Some vinyl types, like perimeter-bond sheet vinyl and vinyl with a cushioned structure, do not offer a sturdy base for your tiles.

Assess the Subfloor

Even if the vinyl flooring looks in pristine condition, it is also essential to look at the structure underneath. Indeed, as we have seen, installing tiles and cement board panels will add weight to the flooring structure. Therefore, the subfloor must be sturdy enough to hold this weight without flexing.

While some tiles might not be the heaviest flooring materials, some, such as granite, marble, or slate, can carry significant weight. When checking the subfloor, ensure that it has minimal flexing and there are no visible damages.

Ideally, the vinyl and subfloor should have a combined thickness of at least 1.25 (3.7cm).

If you have a soft or thin subfloor prone to flexing, you need to consider applying a sheet of plywood to strengthen the flooring and provide a solid base for the tiles.

It is important not to forego this step if you wish to enjoy your tiles for years to come!

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 5, 2021.

How To Put Tile Over Vinyl Flooring

Tile floor installation

As we have seen, in most circumstances, you can apply tiles on existing resilient flooring such as vinyl sheets. For this project, you might not need the help of a professional but, due to the weight of the tiles, you might consider finding some help.

Or, keep reading for more in-depth instructions.

Gather Cleaning Supplies, Thin-Set Adhesive, and Tiles

  • Cleaning supplies (bucket, mop, sponges, and cleaner)
  • PPE (breathing, hearing, hands, and eye protection)
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Utility knife
  • Notched trowel
  • Drywall knife
  • Cement board panels
  • Cement board tape
  • Thin-set adhesive
  • Tiles

Clean the Vinyl Flooring

The first step is to clean and prepare the vinyl flooring. Firstly measure that the vinyl and subfloor are thick enough to support the added weight of cement boards, tiles, and grout.

Then, clean the vinyl to get rid of any residue of dirt, dust, and oil. After the initial cleaning procedure, use an oscillating sander to prepare the flooring and scrap any dirt that might still be stuck in the flooring fibers.

Apply a Thin-Set Mortar

Once the floor is clean and sanded, you can apply a thin-set mortar or adhesive. For this step, you will need to use a notched trowel that allows you to spread the thin-set adhesive once poured on the floor evenly.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 5, 2021.

It is essential to work quickly during this step, as the thin-set adhesive is designed to dry quickly. Having some DIY experience can help!

Lay Cement Board Panels

You will install the cement board panels between the vinyl and the tiles. After cleaning the vinyl, you can apply cement board panels on the thin-set adhesive, conversing the entire floor.

Before attempting this step, it is recommendable to do a test run by dry-laying the cement boards on the floor and ensure they fit the size of your room. You might need to use a circular saw to cut the boards to fit edges and corners. Make sure you are wearing PPE throughout the whole process.

Seal the Joints

After you have completed your test run, cut the boards to shape, applied the thin-set mortar, and set the cement panels, you will need to seal the joints between the cement board panels. You can use self-adhesive tape and a smooth trowel or drywall knife to fill every gap for this step.

Lay the Tiles

After the cement board panels are in place, you should apply the tiles. For this step, you should first do a test run by dry-laying the tiles. This strategy helps you understand the flooring design and check what tiles you need to cut for a proper fit.

Once you are happy with the tiles’ design, you can apply another layer of thin-set mortar on the cement board panels and set the tiles down.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 5, 2021.

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