Are you thinking about installing ceramic tile over your vinyl flooring? While the concrete surface can cause adhesive problems between the tiles and grout lines, it’s not always the case. Read on to learn more about installing ceramic tiles in this article.


Can You Tile on Top of Vinyl?

Yes, vinyl can be tiled over. However, there are a few more factors to consider. Before beginning the process, it is essential that you clean and dust off any dirt.

Before you begin, evaluate the condition of the existing floor you plan to tile over. This evaluation ensures that you will effectively install your new tiles. Check for any bucking or curling. These are usually seen around tiles close to the wall and the vinyl edges, making the surface unstable.

Tiles can be laid directly over another tile floor. However, while working with vinyl, it’s critical to clean the surface first to ensure that the mortar adheres properly.

Tears in your vinyl flooring mean your floor is wearing. You could fill these tears before installing the new tile, but it would be preferable if you removed the old tile completely.

Conditions To Check Before Installing Ceramic Tiling on Top of Vinyl

Before you lay down a ceramic tile, make sure your floor is in good shape. Even if the resilient flooring appears to be in good shape, the subfloor and joists that make up the overall floor structure should also be in a good state.

Below are circumstances you need to check to ensure the effectiveness of your new tile installation. Though not all could apply to everyone, it’s still a good idea to keep these in mind for future references.

Vinyl Surface Should Be Clean To Foster Adhesion

It would be ideal to sweep and scrub the vinyl to ensure that the new tiles you’re about to install will stick or adhere properly. 

Multi-Layer And Loose-laid Flooring May Fail

Test and evaluate for any loose flooring. Your new installation will likely fail if the vinyl is wonky or easily movable. While standard, well-bonded vinyl makes a decent base for ceramic tile, it’s not always suitable for all other resilient floorings.

Subflooring Should Be Deflection And Movement Resistant

Squishy, slim, or damaged subflooring or smallish joists can bend or flex too much, cracking the tile and grout joints. If the subflooring lacks girth and stiffness, one remedy is installing a new layer of plywood as the subfloor on top of the resilient flooring and then a thin cement board.

Ensure The Added Floor Level Isn’t Too High

Additional flooring layers applied directly over the old tiles will make the vinyl thicker and increase the overall height, which is less of an issue since vinyl flooring is so thin. 

Around 12 mm at most compared to laminate, engineered wood, or solid hardwood flooring. Yet, even with vinyl, the extra thickness can sometimes cause issues with the baseboard trim or door frames.

How To Install Ceramic Tile on Top of Vinyl

If you want to get started with your ceramic tile over a vinyl project, here are the things you will need and the step-by-step procedure:

What You’ll Need

  • Cleaning equipment like a bucket, mop, a few sponges
  • Safety gear like gloves and eye protection
  • Sander specialty tool or sandpaper
  • Adhesive mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Cement panels
  • Drywall knife
  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Tiles


1. Surface Preparation And Cleaning

First, check if the subfloor and vinyl are thick enough to support the cement boards, grout, and tiles.

Then, in preparation for the adhering process, clean the vinyl to remove any debris, dust, or grease. Use a sander to smooth out the surface after the initial cleaning and scrub off any remaining dirt residue in the flooring fibers.

2. Apply Thin-Set  Adhesive

After the floor has been cleaned and sanded, a thin-set mortar or adhesive solution can be applied. To properly apply the glue on the floor, you’ll need to use a trowel for this step. Because the glue is designed to dry fast, it is critical to work quickly.

3. Set Backer Or Cement Boards If Necessary To Support The Grade

It is recommended that you try placing panels on the floor and confirming that they suit the room dimensions before proceeding. You may need to cut the boards using a circular saw to fit different corners.

Install the cement panels between tiles and the vinyl once everything looks fine. You can set the panels on the adhesive on the floor after cleaning the vinyl.

4. Tape The Joints

After cutting the boards to shape, applying the thin-set mortar, and setting the cement panels, the next step is to seal the joints between the panels. You can use tape and a smooth trowel or putty knife to fill any gaps.

5. Proceed With Tile Laying

After the board panels are in place, you can apply the tiles as the final step. Practice some dry-fitting and trim the tiles to size to ensure that everything fits.

Add another layer of mortar to the board panels and set the tiles down once you’re satisfied with the design.

You Can Install Ceramic Tile on Top of Vinyl Under Proper Conditions

If removing the vinyl before installing new tiles seems easier, it may be best to do so rather than tiling right over it. There are many situations where tiling directly over the existing tile is inadequate.

And if you don’t seem to get anywhere or have lost hope, you can always consult a professional. You can ask for professional advice or hire someone to do the work for you.

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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