Tiling over Vinyl Flooring

Is it possible to Install Ceramic Tile over Vinyl Flooring versus Ripping up the Vinyl Flooring First

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, I am planning to install ceramic tile in my bathroom however I am wondering if I need to first rip out the old vinyl flooring. Someone told me I could tile over vinyl flooring. Is this possible?

Answer: Carol, yes installing ceramic tile over vinyl flooring is possible, and as a matter of fact I have done so a couple of times.

This said, before moving forward and tiling over your vinyl flooring you need to evaluate the subfloor and vinyl flooring first, as well as do some initial tile site preparation work.

Key to a quality and long lasting ceramic tiled floor is a sound subfloor. As a result, it is imperative to make sure your subfloor is indeed sound and that there is no deflection when you walk around on it. If there is, the ceramic tile will fail in short order.

The second thing you want to check for when evaluating your subfloor is to check to see if the vinyl flooring is spongy or is lifting. Some vinyl flooring types are spongy, and if this is the case with your vinyl flooring then you should remove the vinyl flooring first before tiling. If the vinyl flooring is lifting up near the edges, then it is best to remove the vinyl flooring.

In the event you need to remove the vinyl flooring, you will need to install a backer board material or 1/2” exterior grade plywood on the floor for accepting the ceramic tile.

Tiling over vinyl flooring

If the subfloor is rigid and the vinyl flooring is not spongy or lifting, then you can install ceramic tile over the vinyl flooring. However before installing the ceramic tile, you need to prepare the vinyl floor surface.

First, start by removing all of the existing baseboard trim.

Next, use a very coarse sand paper and scratch up the vinyl flooring surface. This will help to provide a good bonding surface for the ceramic tile. Warning, if the vinyl flooring was installed before 1973 it may have asbestos in it. Do not sand the vinyl flooring if this is the case. Talk with an asbestos abatement contractor before moving forward with your tiling project.

After sanding the vinyl flooring, install 1-1/4” drywall screws on 6 inch centers over the entire vinyl floor area. Make sure you pay particular attention to the vinyl flooring edges.

Once the drywall screws have been installed, you are ready for installing ceramic tile over the vinyl flooring.

Tiling over vinyl flooring

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

See HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

See my “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower” Ebook to learn how to tile your own shower:  For a detailed set of instructions on tiling a shower floor and walls, including pictures for every step in the process, see my “How to Tile Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook”.

Related Information

Additional Ceramic Tile Resources from Amazon.com


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