In recent years, vinyl plank and vinyl tile flooring have become increasingly popular due to their many benefits and various possibilities.
You may be one of many homeowners looking to replace your cold, outdated ceramic tile with warm and soft vinyl flooring. But tearing up tile can be costly, messy, and difficult. Is it really necessary?
Can You Install Vinyl Flooring Over Tile?
The short answer is yes, you can install vinyl flooring over ceramic and porcelain tile. One of the many positive aspects of vinyl flooring is the flexibility that makes it possible to install it over many different surfaces. There are a few important things to know about this process, however. It is not as simple as just laying the vinyl over the tile and hoping for the best.
Do You Need Underlayment?
Many types of vinyl plank flooring, especially the thicker and higher quality varieties, are manufactured with underlayment attached. In these cases, it is possible that using a secondary underlayment may void the manufacturer’s warranty. Read the product information carefully.
If you have chosen a vinyl flooring that does not come with underlayment, you will likely want to buy some and install it first. Underlayment helps soften the impact of your feet on the floor, which can help reduce noise as well as help you feel more comfortable walking around in your own home.
A good underlayment can also help pad over some of the flaws in your ceramic tile, so they are less likely to transfer through your vinyl floors.
Imagine laying vinyl plank that looks like wood, except for the visible grout lines leftover from your previous tile floor. For this, you may want to consider underlayment.
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This Are my top three underlayments in the best 10 list. To find out more about their ratings and other helpful pieces of information check out my post about best Underlayment for vinyl floors.
Pros and Cons of Installing Vinyl Over Ceramic Tile
Why should you consider installing your new plan or sheet vinyl flooring over the top of your existing tile? It may seem intimidating, but vinyl is known for being an easy job for most handy homeowners.
Removing tile hurts
Removing existing ceramic tile can be a difficult job that might leave you aching, sore, and exhausted. The process can also cause damage to surfaces you never intended to hurt, such as subflooring or kitchen cabinets. When you choose to install vinyl flooring directly over tile, you eliminate these risks and hassles.
Friendly on a budget
If you were to decide to hire someone to remove your ceramic tile for you, it could become a costly process.
It may cost you anywhere between $2-$3 per square foot for a professional to pull the tile up, but that cost might double to have the same professional remove the old tile and debris.
At the same time, you will be holding your breath that they don’t accidentally cause any unexpected damage in addition.
Imperfections may telegraph
When installing vinyl plank flooring or any other type of vinyl floor, it is important that the surface is level. It does not have to be perfect, but any dips and gaps will show through the vinyl.
They may also cause the vinyl flooring to separate over time, opening seams and gaps, and exposing the vinyl to damage from water or dirt buildup.
Vinyl plank compared to others such as hardwood flooring is a very thin material, but laying it over tile can result in enough thickness on your floor to make other work necessary.
You may have to shave a little off your doors so they can continue to swing uninhibited, or you may have to install additional transition strips to make the height difference less noticeable from room to room, even if you are using the same vinyl in both rooms.
How To Install Vinyl Flooring Over Tile
Despite the potential for a little extra work than you might have been looking for, it is still arguably easier to install vinyl flooring over ceramic tile, rather than tearing up the tile off.
What You Will Need
- Vinyl plank or vinyl tiles
- Leveling compound
- Utility knife
- Speed square
- ¼ inch or 3/8 inch spacers
- Jigsaw (Fine Tooth Blade)
- Tapping block
- Wide-angle pull bar
- Rubber mallet
Step One: Clean your floors
Thoroughly clean your tile floors. Any dirt and debris that gets trapped between your new vinyl planks or sheets and old tile may show through the vinyl after it is installed.
If your choice of vinyl is made to be glued down, dirt may also hinder the performance of the adhesive. You may also choose to remove your baseboards in this step.
Step Two: Level your tiles
You need to Level your tiles. Any broken tiles may need to be removed to make your surface level. You can use the leveling compound to fill these gaps.
For grout lines and minor issues, you can spread the leveling compound and use a wide putty knife to make it all one flush surface. Depending on the product you chose, it can take 24-48 hours for this compound to thoroughly dry.
Step Three: Test hight and direction
Test your vinyl in different areas of your space. Lay one piece at the foot of a door to see if it adds too much height for the door to swing effortlessly.
You may also want to lay a few test pieces in different directions, to plan which direction you will want to install your vinyl flooring.
Step Four: Laying the first row of vinyl plank flooring
Lay the first row of vinyl. Use spacers to keep a small gap between the vinyl and the wall (or baseboards. You can install quarter-round to hide this gap once the floor is complete).
The gap is needed for the vinyl to maintain the flexibility to expand and contract with the rise and fall of temperatures over time. Without it, your vinyl may buckle and separate at the seams.
If your style of vinyl is click-lock, fit the pieces together at an angle at first, tongue into the groove, and then flatten against the floor. You can test your success by gently tugging the pieces apart and see if they separate. They should not come apart easily.
One of the great features of vinyl is that you can score and cut it with a utility knife and speed square when you need to shorten the plank.
TIP: At the end of a row, for example. For any intricate cuts, such as around a corner, use the jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade.
Step Five: Laying subsequent rows
Lay subsequent rows. You will use the spacers again, to maintain the gap around the entire perimeter of the room.
KEEP IN MIND: When installing vinyl plank that is made to imitate wood flooring patterns, it is typical that you might have shortened six inches or more from the end of the first row. You can use this “leftover” piece to start the next row and create a natural-looking stagger, as well as additional stability to your new floor.
If your vinyl is click lock, you may need to secure the rows together with the tapping block and rubber mallet. Remember to be gentle, as too much force can damage the vinyl tongue or groove.
TIP: When you are up against a wall or even cabinets, the pull bar is a handy tool for fitting the last row into tight spaces.
Step Six: Install your baseboards
When you are finished laying your new vinyl flooring, install your baseboards or quarter round to hide the gap around the perimeter of the room.
Can You Install Vinyl Over hardwood or Other Flooring Types?
Vinyl flooring – plank or tile, floating or adhesive – can be installed over almost all the different types of flooring. It is not advised tho to install vinyl over laminate flooring. This is because laminate does not make a stable subfloor, especially if it was installed to float. It can shift, separate, buckle, and bubble (when exposed to water) over time.
Secondly, It is also not advised to install vinyl flooring directly over carpet. Learn how to remove carpet padding in my other post. The plush carpet is too soft to be stable for vinyl, and as you walk on it, it will separate at the seams. Alternately, You can lay a new particleboard subfloor over some types of existing carpet if you are unable to remove it.