How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Different Floor Surfaces

Ceramic tile installation
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If you are installing ceramic tile over another surface, you need to follow specific recommendations and steps to make sure there will be proper bonding. Ceramic tile over wood, tile, concrete or vinyl should be installed by using certain products that will allow the right adhesion between surfaces. Always be sure that the existing surface has been cleaned and leveled.

How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Concrete

Installing ceramic tile over concrete requires repairing all cracks and voids prior to the installation process.

Fix all cracks with crack suppression products if cracks are small, or about 1/8 inch. If installing ceramic tile over larger cracks, you must consider removing the concrete section and pouring a new concrete slab. If you are concerned about cracks, you may want to have an isolation system installed onto the slab to separate/detach the tile from the slab. It is important to verify that there are no chemical products acting over the concrete surface. Chemical products applied over the concrete surface can reduce the bonding capacity of the tile over the surface. To check the slab for the presence of such a coating, drip a few drops of water on its surface. If the water beads, it's highly likely that a coating was applied.

How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Wood

Installing ceramic tile over wood requires certain knowledge and the wood surface must be structurally sound to support the ceramic tile weight.

Chip board, cushioned vinyl flooring, particle boards of any type, OSB (Oriented Strand Board), tongue and groove planking, and hardwood floors are unsuitable substrates to directly install ceramic tile over. Tile is hard and will break or dislodge if the surface bends under the load. If appropriate sand the wood surface to make it smoother. Remember that the installation will work better if it is being installed over an adequate subfloor and be at least 1 1/8" thick when combined with the subfloor.

If the tile installation is going to be made in a bathroom, consider applying an isolation membrane over your wood subfloor, it will protect against expansion and contraction. Interior grade plywood and particle board are not materials capable of withstanding ceramic tile weight.

How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Existing Tile

Before installing ceramic tile over existing tile you will need to roughen the existing ceramic tile surface to produce a rougher surface where the new ceramic will grip on to. It is recommended to sand the floor using 80-grit sandpaper. After the tile has been sanded, clean and remove all particles and dust, before applying a floor leveler product. The floor leveler product will fill in grout lines and level the surface completely for the new tile application. Use a thin-set to install ceramic tile over existing tiles. Consider that doors, cabinets, and other hardware might be reworked or replaced with new ones to compensate for the height reduction. Latex or epoxy type mortars are best for installing tile over tile.

How to Install Ceramic Tile Over Existing Vinyl

Installing ceramic tile over existing vinyl could be more complicated than expected. Installing ceramic tile directly to vinyl or linoleum surfaces should be avoided whenever possible, however, if you decide to install follow these steps.

First , you might want to remove the vinyl floor and its adhesive. If this is not possible, lay a backer board with thin-set and this will be your new subfloor material. It is important to use the recommended thin-set by the backer board manufacturer. Make sure all loose adhesive is removed from the surface and verify that a good bond to the substrate can be achieved. For cutback adhesive residue, verify that the thin-set manufacturer's mortar is compatible.