Floor Installation - Porcelain Tile over VCT...Please help
I am removing my laminate floors and underneath is perfectly level VCT tile - no bubbling, undulating etc..as flat and level as it gets. I have consulted with many contractors and some say I can install 3/8in porcelain tile right over the VCT with Versabond fortified thin-set . Some say I should use anti-crack underlayment or backing board. Some even say that I can't install directly over the VCT tile and that it needs to be removed completely....I hardly believe this. I am only going to be in my apt for another 3-4 years so the idea of spending $600 on the underlayment is troubling considering the tile is costing $2000 for 550sq feet. I have neighbors who have flooded my apt more than once and I have given up on laminate flooring because of its poor ability to handle flooding, water spils etc., Also, once I remove the laminate flooring I only have 3/8in to 1/2in of space before the thickness of the flooring affects the closing of doors. The closet doors are made of wood and can be cut but the apartment entrance door is made of steel and can not be modified. This is the other reason I want to avoid thickening up the floors with an underlayment. During this floor journey, I have considered vinyl flooring, replacing damage done to the existing laminate flooring, new VCT and tile.I would love to hear from anyone who has experience installing tile and would even be open to installing something different over the existing VCT provided it can handle water better than laminate and is as visually pleasing as porcelain tile. Thanks for reading my post.
Ceramic will handle the moisture better than anything else will. Your situation is tricky. Ideally you'd want to pull the VCT out complete. However, it is possible to go over the VCT and not have any issues if you use the correct products. I'd recommend Schluter Ditra for this. It is approved for use over existing vinyl flooring provided it is sound and wax free. What you'll have to do is make sure all wax is gone from the VCT, install the membrane with a rapid set mortar then install your tile with unmodified mortar and grout as normal. Here is the link to the Ditra handbook http://www.schluter.com/media/DitraHandbook.pdf Look on page 9 for details pertaining to your type of installation.
RE; porcelain tile over VCT
Regardless of what the thinset bag says it can handle, it isn't a good idea. Adhesion isn't really the big issue. You'll probably end up with cracked or loose tile shortly after the install. Ditra is very thin. The real issue is cost. You'll spend more fixing the nightmare you are about to create than it'll cost to just put a membrane down. Ideally, put the time into removing the VCT. It's a risk to the ceramic install if the VCT should happen to come loose.
You have a few options.
1) (best) Remove the VCT. If it's a wooden subfloor under it you need a membrane before the tile. If it's concrete you can tile directly over it though if cracking is apparent then a membrane is still a good idea.
2) (acceptable) Leave the VCT, apply Ditra and tile. Schluter will warranty the install if done to their specs.
3) (?) Lay the tile right over the VCT and deal with whatever problems may arise. You might end up being fine. You may end up dropping another load of cash to do the tear out you should have done to begin with and to replace the tile you bought for the job.
The point is that you may think you are saving money doing it this way, but if something does go wrong, and the chances are high, then you are going to regret doing it the way you plan.
What thinset did you find that claims it'll work for this if you don't mind my asking?
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