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hmc 10-23-2005 03:14 AM

Tile over vinyl
My husband and I have purchased our dream home. While it is in very good repair there is some cosmetic work to be done...the decor is a bit too country for my taste ( e.g flowered wallpaper). I would like to lay tile in the bathrooms. The floors all have vinyl on them and they are all in good shape. Can I put down that backer-board stuff right on the vinyl and then lay the tile? Also, what kind of tile is the easiest to lay for a first timer...price isn't an issue. I want to do a quality job with quality goods...we will be here for a long, long time.

jproffer 10-23-2005 05:56 PM

Generally speaking, vinyl is too flexible (bouncy, if you will) to lay tile over, even with CBU. Chances are there is 1/4" plywood or luan under the vinyl anyway, which is also not good with tile. Rip up the vinyl and see what you have under it and come back. No matter what advice I give you, this isn't going to happen terribly fast, so might as well do it right ;)

Mike Swearingen 10-24-2005 12:50 AM

Lay tile only on concrete or cement board. You can screw the cement board on top of the vinyl, as long as it is on a solid floor without "give".
You will have to raise the toilet flange to sit on top of the finished tile floor, with only the thickness of the flange above it. Anchor the flange to the floor securely. You can use an awl or other sharp-pointed tool to tap a starter point on the tile for a drill with masonry bit to drill through the new tile.
Good Luck!

housedocs 10-24-2005 08:28 AM

The vinyl needs to go, it isn't an acceptable substrate for tile period. Also you need to determine if the framing and sub-floor will hold up to a tile installation.

Things you need to know are the size and spacing of the floor joists and the thickness and type of subflooring under the vinyl. If you install tile over an inadequately framed floor, you will be disappointed in short order. Cracks in the grout lines will be the first thing to show up followed by cracks in the tiles themselves.

Floorwizard 10-25-2005 08:47 PM

I completely agree with vinyl tearout.
It will work the best in the long run.

hmc 10-25-2005 09:31 PM

Thank you all for the advice. This sounds like a biger job than I thought. I guess by the time I get to the third bathroom I will be a pro. I do wonder...what would make my floor unable to support a tile install? Thanks again all.

jproffer 10-25-2005 10:55 PM

That calculator will tell you if your floor is sufficient for ceramic or stone tile, and if it isn't, you should be able to derive the "why not" from the info the calc. asks for.

Sorry for the external link Nate, but we don't have a deflectometer here:o

housedocs 10-25-2005 11:05 PM


The construction of the floor needs to meet minimum deflection ratio in order to support the tile without failing (cracks in tiles or grout lines) For tile the minimum is L/360 for stone it needs to be L/720.

What you need to know in order to determine this ratio is the size (2"x6", 2"x8", etc), spacing (distance between the floor joists, usually 16" o/c), the span or unsupported length of the joists. So basically what I'm saying is you need to look at the floor from the bottom and get those measurements & get back to us.

Also would be good to know what's under the vinyl as far as a subfloor, is it plywood or more likely osb, if it's 1/4" luan plywood, that should come up as well. If there is a floor register for the heat in the floor you can pull out the cover and get an idea of what the subfloor is and the thickness.

Get the info I listed here and post back and we'll go from there. Setting tile isn't the hardest thing in the world to do, but it's worth doin right the first time.;)

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