Skip to Content

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Over Hardwood? (How To)

Tiles are attractive and so easy to maintain and clean that it’s no surprise that more people are adding them to their homes. The current flooring needs to be removed, of course, but that’s not always feasible. You may be wondering if it’s okay to leave hardwood floors and put tiles on top of them.

Installing ceramic tiles on top of hardwood isn’t necessarily recommended, but it’s not impossible. It will take extra preparation and some hard work, but if you really want to put ceramic tiles over hardwood, you can.

White and gray Ceramic Tile

You should make sure that your old hardwood floor is level and smooth before you put tiles on it, though, or else your tiles might get damaged.

Should You Put Ceramic Tile Over Hardwood?

Clean white ceramic tile

Some people may not recommend putting ceramic tiles directly over existing hardwood flooring. That’s because it can contract and expand because of changes in humidity and temperature.

Hardwood flooring with a flat, smooth surface can make it easy to install ceramic tiles on top when you’re able to place a cement backer board down before installing the tiles. You can also screw down a layer of plywood of about 5/8” under the cement backer board.

As long as the hardwood floor is still in good condition, installing ceramic tiles won’t be a problem. However, it’s not a good idea to install the tiles directly onto the hardwood flooring, and rather have a cement backer board installed first.

What Tools Do You Need to Put Ceramic Tile Over Hardwood?

confused woman standing

Properly installing ceramic tiles over hardwood requires the right tools and proper preparation. Not having all the tools you need ready can slow down a project, and in some cases, make it frustratingly difficult.

To successfully install ceramic tools over hardwood, you’ll need to have a trowel, measuring tape, basic cleaning supplies, chalk or pencils, a rubber mallet, grout, a grout sponge, and maybe a very sharp utility knife to cut tiles if the need arises.

You will also need to have a cement backer board ready, and it needs to be big enough to cover the entire hardwood floor where you want to install ceramic tiles. A drill, non-corrosive screws, a carbide-tipped scoring tool, and a trowel are some other tools you’ll need.

What Preparations Do You Need to Install Ceramic Tile Over Hardwood?

Yellow Clean ceramic tile

Although you’re likely eager to take the beautiful new ceramic tiles you bought and get them placed securely in your home, you need to take a few steps of precaution. Putting the tiles directly on top of the wood won’t be smart. 

Before installing your new ceramic tiles over your old hardwood floor, you need to install the cement backer board. This will prevent damage to the ceramic tiles as the hardwood floor expands because of changes in temperature and humidity.

It’s also a good idea to ‘dry fit’ your tiles before you start placing them permanently. That way, you will know if you have enough tiles for the entire space, and if there are any nooks that require the cutting of some tiles.

How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Hardwood

confused woman standing

If you want a beautiful room or space with ceramic tiles that are replacing your current hardwood floor, you need to install the tiles properly. Once you’ve made sure you have enough tiles and that you have all the tools you need, you can proceed to install the tiles.

You need to install the cement backer board on the floor before placing the tiles. This step is as important as how you lay the tiles. After that, you spread the thinset on your tiles and securely put them in place. You’ll also have to spread grout over the tiles.

Use our tile floor calculator to find out how much it’ll cost you to put tile over hardwood.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on October 27, 2022.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how exactly to install the cement backer board and tiles over hardwood flooring the right way:

Step One

Get the backer board ready and lay it at the correct angles on the floor so that it fits securely and isn’t wobbly. You should leave a gap of about ¼” between the backer board and your walls and a distance of 1/16” between the sheets themselves.

Step Two

Mix enough modified thinset and apply it to the floor to cover the backer board. You can use a notched trowel to spread the thinset. 

Step Three

Place the backer board on the area where you’ve spread the thinset and press it in place. You should use special backer board screws; usually, the manufacturer will recommend the best screws for the job.

Next, cover the backer board joints with fiberglass tape and let them set before you start to place your ceramic tiles. Cover the entire hardwood floor surface with the backer board.

Step Four

Once the backer board is securely in place and the thinset has dried, you can spread the thinset for your tiles on the surfaces. Place the tiles in the same pattern you decided on during the ‘dry run’. 

Step Five

Continue to lay your ceramic tiles until you have worked yourself out of the room backwards. Once you are satisfied with the installation, it is time to leave the tiles so the thinset can dry. You need to leave the tiles for at least 24 hours before you can safely walk on them.

Step Six

Once the tiles are properly dry and in place, you can grout your installation by spreading the grout over them with a grout float. You should hold the float at a 45-degree angle and press the grout into the joints from different angles.

Scrape away the excess grout with the side of the float and let it dry. About ten minutes should be enough.

Step Seven

When you have applied the grout and left it to dry properly, you can start to clean up the tiles and the room. Use a damp grout sponge to clean off the grout, and work in circles to give the tiles a thorough cleaning.

The grout should be left to dry after the cleanup for at least 24 hours before you can use the room with your newly-installed ceramic tiles.

Related Articles

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Over Laminate Flooring? (How To)

Can You Put Ceramic Tile on Ceiling? (How To)

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Over Epoxy? (How To)

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Over Drywall? (How To)

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on October 27, 2022.

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Over Linoleum? (How To)