Installing Floor Tile Over Old Linoleum

Ceramic floor tile is a great choice for many rooms throughout the home, and installing tile flooring is a commonly tackled project for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Many people have no trouble installing a full room of ceramic tile without calling in a professional, which can be a big money saver. If your existing floor is covered with linoleum, you can lay your new tile floor directly over the linoleum flooring to save money and time – and to add an extra layer of insulation beneath your tile. However, if you have a wooden subfloor beneath the linoleum, it is best practice to completely get rid of the old linoleum and underlayment beneath the linoleum before tile installation to prevent cracking and buckling of your tile due to the flexibility of the subflooring. If, on the other hand, the linoleum is only installed on top of a concrete slab, you can go ahead and lay your tile over top of it.

Preparing Your Floor

Before you begin installing your floor tile, you will want to remove any existing trim from around the edges of the flooring, including edge stripping and baseboards. Move any bathroom fixtures from the room, like the toilet. Clean the floor thoroughly, but do not rough up or sand the existing linoleum as many of the older types of linoleum may contains particles of asbestos that can lead to lung damage if inhaled. Use high quality sealant to block moisture from any spot where moisture tends to occur in the room. Lay out your tiles on bathroom floor to be certain that you have purchased enough tile flooring to complete the job.

Safety First

Before you begin to install your tile flooring over linoleum, be sure to open a window or provide other ventilation for the room in which you will be working. The adhesive that you will be using will let off fumes that can be toxic. You should also be aware that these fumes are also flammable, so don’t smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in the room while you are installing your tile.

Tile Installation

You will find it most convenient and a big time saver to go ahead and cut any of the pieces of edging tile that you will need to place around areas of obstruction in the bathroom, like water inlets for toilets, or pipe fixtures. A wet saw can be used to make cuts for these tiles. You will also need a tile nipper, which is useful in clipping small notches from tiles to make them fit into corners or around pipes. Wet saws are quite expensive, but luckily you can rent one at many home improvement stores in lieu of buying one outright. Starting in the center of the area where your tiles are laid out, apply adhesive to the back of the tiles using a trowel that is “notched”. This type of trowel provides a grooved surface for the tile’s back that will help it to adhere better to the floor. Use tile spacers to leave the appropriate amount of space between each tile to allow for grouting. As you work, immediately clean up any excessive adhesive that may seep from beneath the tile as it is installed. Next, you will need to use good quality grout to fill in between the tiles, and you will need to work the grout between the tiles using a grout float. And last of all, the application of a bead of silicone caulking to any spaces around pipes and fixtures within the room will help to finish up the look of your bathroom tile. You’re now finished with the tile and can begin to reseat the fixtures that you have removed, and then reinstall the edging, baseboards and other trim that were removed initially.

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Installing Ceramic Tile Made Easy and Fun

I’m a residential contractor AND I have recently done a Do-It-Yourself home project of installing tile in my own home.
Here are a few reasons you can and should install tile in your home:

First, every time I walk into my bathroom that my wife and I tiled last summer I still enjoy the idea that we did it ourselves. There is great satisfaction in learning to do a craft and seeing the end result especially in your own home.

Second, we saved a great deal of money. About 50 to 65% of the cost of installing tile is in the labor. And quite frankly, professional tile installers would rather be doing larger, higher volume jobs than a bathroom in a home. So they are not going to do it unless they are paid well.

And finally, the project can be done on your own schedule and like you want it done. The job is going to make a mess of part of you home for a while and you need to be able to schedule it around your life, not a professional tile installer’s. Use your vacation, your spring break, etc. You also have the flexibility to make changes as you go.

Then, of course, there are reasons you should be cautious about doing the tiling installation yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have the time available to complete the job?

Have you made adequate plans on how you want the tile done and how it will look when finished?

Are you prepared with enough knowledge of installing tile to make it a real success?

An upgrade to your home by installing ceramic tile is a good investment. Especially if you do-it-yourself. Our personal bathroom project was well worth the effort. And we get to see and enjoy what we have done everyday. I know a lot people that have done similar projects with good results.

Our project was not without some pit falls, but we learned and over came them. And we are looking forward to doing more tiling in our home.

Jay Leger has been working in homes doing insurance repairs since 1999. Have concerns about knowing all the details of your tile project? There is more information at Installing Ceramic Tile.

Flooring – Installing Ceramic Tile

Tile floors can be installed in any room, however they are most frequently seen in Bathrooms and Kitchens. I particularly like them in entryways, where they serve as a transition point from the outside to large carpeted or hardwood floored rooms. They make for easy clean up and are impervious to water damage.

Tile Types

Ceramic tiles come in two basic types. Glazed and Porcelain. Glazed holds up the best for heavy traffic areas and porcelain works well in bathrooms. Porcelain is typically more expensive, so consider your budget and the size of the area you want to tile. Tiles also come in many shapes and sizes. For flooring, however, I would suggest using larger tiles up to 12″ x 12″.

Underlayment

For proper installation the base foundation or the underlayment is critical. Typically it consists of ¾” to 1 ¼” of plywood. Tiling over Linoleum or existing tile is also feasible, as long as it is solid. I also recommend when Tiling over Linoleum that you first apply ring nails or screws 6″ on center over the entire area. Tiles can also be installed directly over Concrete. Make sure in all cases that the floor is level and free of dust and debris prior to installation. There are leveling compounds that you can apply before applying tile if necessary.

Preparing the Site

Before actually installing the tile, it is best to lay it out in the room to see how it will look. Pay close attention to how it runs out toward the walls, in the corners and next to cabinets, tubs and toilets. The trick is to lay the tile out such that stubby tiles do not show up in highly visible spots. Once you have completed this, make two marks with a pencil outlining the most centered tile. These lines should be perpendicular to each other. Also take note of the wall that is most visible from all the others.

 

Flooring – Installing Ceramic Tile