Man Placing Pink Tile Over the FloorThis section is most useful to the residential user.

It is possible, with modern technology, to successfully bond tile to vinyl, asphalt tile, and seamless flooring. Done properly, a new tiled installation can be placed permanently over these existing surfaces.

Tile Doctor Tip: Generally it is recommended to remove existing finished flooring surfaces prior to the application of new tiled surfaces. Tiling over vinyl is not always practical especially if the existing flooring may contain asbestos.

If the existing flooring surface is dimensionally stable, meets the necessary deflection standards, has the required expansion joints, and is satisfactorily on-plane, this method can be used. Its desirability, however, rests on the user.

Note: Generally, these flooring products are lumped into a class of flooring products labeled as resilient flooring.

The drawback to this method is two-fold. First, will the resiliency of the existing product cause the new installation to fail when under load? Second, will the bond between the existing flooring and the substrate cause the new installation to fail?

Let’s look at the first drawback. Resilient flooring is designed to be resilient. Meaning that the product will remain flexible during its lifetime. This may also mean that it will compress a certain when under load. Remember that ceramic and stone tile will not generally flex without breaking. Hence, we have the first drawback.

The second drawback is this: When the new installation is properly bonded to the old flooring, the success of the entire installation depends on the original bond. If the original bond is weak, the entire installation may fail as a result.

For more information, please review the section on floor removal.

When making the decision to apply either ceramic or stone tile over the existing resilient flooring the following questions should be addressed. Is the existing flooring easily compressed and is it well bonded to the substrate? If the answers to these questions indicate that the existing flooring will cause the new installations to fail, removal or another method should be selected.

If the existing flooring is suitable a bonding agent or adhesive must be selected. The manufacturers guidelines will be the guide for the selection process. Whether the bonding adhesive is in the Portland cement or epoxy based class the manufacturers will indicate their products suitability for bonding to the existing surface.

Once the bonding adhesive has been selected, the procedure for tiling is no different than tiling any other suitable substrate.

For helpful steps and pictures on tiling floors, select floors interior.

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