Can I tile over vinyl flooring? This question is constantly asked by Do-It-Yourselfers, homeowners or installers who are thinking of removing their vinyl flooring and realize it can be a pain in the neck.
There is no straight answer to the question, as there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer. You can install tiles over your vinyl flooring through proper preparation and investigation into the condition of the vinyl and its bond on the surface below.
So in essence before you start, the preparation can look like this; removing a step first can be helpful. By doing that you will realize if you can install ceramic or porcelain tile directly onto vinyl flooring, without removing the vinyl.
However, as general conduct, it’s advisable to lay it with a slice of cement board which is the standard underlayment for floor tile or simply remove the existing vinyl.
Certain requirements must be met to successfully install tile on top vinyl flooring. If your vinyl doesn’t meet the requirements below, then you may not be able to tile on your vinyl directly.
What are the Requirements?
You should consider these questions and answers below before you begin any form of installation.
•Is your existing floor wrecked? If the floor features tears, lifting edges or tears, you won’t be able to tile right on top of it without prior leveling. However, if it is straight and aligns properly to the subfloor, then you can lay tile over the vinyl flooring. You will be providing proper treatments of its surface for better gluing.
•Can your floor covering bond to a cement subfloor? If it doesn’t, you will have to create a new underlayment that ensures the needed force and balance. It’s important to know that you should use adhesives over the whole surface, not along the edges. This is vital for fixing the vinyl flooring to the subfloor. If none of this can work for you, then removing the existing covering or providing correct underlayment would be the only solution.
•What are the measurements of your current floor? If you answered “YES” to the above questions, then you only need to account for the height of the tile using a layer of mortar underneath it and adding it to the current floor height. However, if the answer was “NO” you still need to add the height of a new subfloor. Nevertheless, you could just remove the floor to have some space reserved only if the height is not acceptable for the installation in regards to doorways, furniture, and tube.
•If after you’ve answered all the questions and it’s a positive answer, follow the upcoming instructions to install tile over your vinyl flooring.
Preparing the vinyl flooring for Tiling
If your vinyl meets the listed criteria above and you choose to tile directly on top, there are few preparations to make before installations. After the vinyl surface is set, you can install the tile with the right adhesives.
Clean the vinyl and free it from wax or other bond breakers
This is similar to any surface to which you want to bond. Adhesive and mortar manufacturers require a clean slate for bonding any thin-set. To get solid bonding the mortar, the glue must easily be able to contact both bonding surfaces.
In situations where none of the surfaces are stained with oil, grit, wax or other bonding inhibiting glues, a good bond is not realized because the adhesive isn’t able to contact the important areas, physically or chemically.
Since the vinyl has a very smooth surface finish, scarification will be required to improve its bond-ability. This procedure helps in enhancing the chances of strong physical bonding between both surfaces by providing more surface area on the vinyl.
It also improves the probability of technical locking and better physical product. For example, some of the non-wax floor finishes are specifically built to be smooth so the floor maintains its shine. In such cases, scarifying would even make it bond better.
N.B: if you are going to sand or scarify the floor before installing, you must check if the vinyl contains asbestos. It's simple. Flooring containing asbestos should not be sanded or scarified.
If you are unsure if the floor contains asbestos then you can cut out a piece and have it tested at local asbestos labs for a minimal fee. The health risk of scarifying a floor containing asbestos is unhealthy because harmful airborne particles would be generated.
The vinyl must be single layer and well attached. No cushion or foam back and not perimeter glued (as most are).
On rare occasions a cushioning layer is installed beneath the vinyl or the vinyl itself is cushioned back. This is wrong for tiling purposes. The reason is simple. It can cause much movement in the system that eventually leads to failure.
Even if the tile and vinyl form a good bond together, if the vinyl isn't tightened to the substrate or allows much bending, the tiling would fail.
Also in the case where you have to replace one tile from a vinyl layer that is not properly bonded to the subfloor could lead to damage in adjacent areas.
N.B: you should bond the vinyl with a full spread tacked system without being perimeter glued. This provides extra balance in the vinyl as a layer. Do not allow your floor to be perimeter tacked, so there can be enough movement.
The subfloor below the vinyl should deflect lesser than industry-standard L/360 deflection factor
Normally tile requires a subfloor of less than L/360 less than the sub-layer, similarly vinyl must meet the same criteria. Also, this includes ¼ inch in 10-feet. Defects showing up through the vinyl create bottlenecks during the tile installation.
Covering the vinyl with a sub-layer
After preparing your vinyl for tiling over it, it's time to cover it with a sub-layer and tile. While this method is not strictly tile directly over vinyl, adding a sub-layer eliminates the need to remove the vinyl and creates a better-balanced surface.
The only set-back would be the added height to the floor. You can reduce the additional height by using ¼ inch in 10-feet sub-floor made for floor tile.
•After the cleaning of the floor to get rid of all forms of dirt.
•Apply thin-set tile glue to the vinyl with a carved trowel.
•Lay the sub-layer into the sublayer and tighten the sub-layer sheets with screws driving into the sub-flooring. Leaving a gap of ¼ inch less than L/360.
•Close the edges between the sub-layer sheers with self-glue joint tape. Avoid using standard drywall tape
•Use a drywall trowel to mud over the tape with thin-set glue, thereby stumping the gaps between the layers.
•Once done, allow the thinset heal to heal properly before placing down the tile!
Did you enjoy reading this guide? Was it helpful to you?
So what's the final word on vinyl? Well in most cases, I recommend you use the manufacturer's options – you can find by checking the specific installation and product recommendations.
The reason is that most manufacturers already have products customarily built to bond tile with vinyl.
Okay, your turn!
Have you faced any issues installing tile over your vinyl flooring? Please let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this guide, please share gracefully!!! ~Remember sharing is caring! ~