Asked on Mar 2, 2012

Can I lay porcelain tile over sheet vinyl?

KMS WoodworksSherri BNichter's Home Services Corp


It is in good shape (not curled or loose), and laid over concrete slab I think. Would it be best to remove the vinyl or can I lay tile directly over it?
17 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Mar 2, 2012

    Its always best to lay tile directly on concrete. If this vinyl was over a wood subfloor then some Backer board could be adhered and screwed down first and then the tile set on that. I have removed vinyl over concrete using a heavy duty floor scraper. This is a shovel length tool that has a 6" wide chisel type blade...once you get an exposed edge it does a pretty good job of lifting the old material.

  • Certainly remove the vinyl first. It may be down good now, but might not stay that way. If it ever starts to lift in the future, it will take the tiles on top along with it.

  • As the others say.....DON'T DO IT! Remove the vinyl this on a slab or subfloor? Either way, you can often just pull sheet vinyl up....have a helper the vinyl up slightly with a hair dryer or heat gun. Peel back a corner, grip with a good pair of channel locks and try to walk it backwards. You may luck out and it comes up easily. Otherwise, you'll have to scrape it up with a floor scraper or an angled scraper. If you are on a slab, once cleaned, make sure you are nice a level. You can use a floor leveler mix to even out any rough spots in the floor. If on slab, install a concrete underlayment like Duroc with screws.....then you are ready to lay your tile! have fun....

  • Connie Sue K
    on Mar 2, 2012

    I thought as much - that I should remove the vinyl. More work for me! The vinyl is laid on a slab, so would I really need a concrete underlayment? This floor is in my kitchen and I was planning just to abut the tiles with the existing cabinets, not to have to remove them and set them back in. If so, then I would have to make height adjustments in the plumbing and gosh knows what else!

  • Shirley R
    on Mar 2, 2012

    I had vinyl in my kitchen and we removed the vinyl then laid the tile. Looks great and I would recomend that you take up the vinyl..

  • SawHorse Design Build
    on Mar 3, 2012

    I know that this question was regarding a concrete floor as the substrate so load is not any issue. However, if this was a wood floor system, you might not be able to add tile without reinforcing the floor. The extra weight of the tile could cause the floor to deflect even more and the tile could either pop us or crack. This is more common in older houses where the framing codes were not as rigid or even existing at the time of construction. The solution would be to add support below the space if accessible.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Mar 3, 2012

    Butting the tile to the cabinets in possible area for trouble though is with a dishwasher "hole" I had two challenging dishwasher replacement last week where hardwood floors "boxed" in the dishwasher. This makes a swap out a real pain....tile "box ins" are generally not as bad because the tile is thinner. Wood flooring in a kitchen is just itself. But that's a whole different animal.

  • Connie Sue K
    on Mar 3, 2012

    Thanks to all who responded!

  • KMS - makes a great point as always and one we often forget. If you have a dishwasher and it is not already sitting on ceramic tile...plan to remove it, raise the base cabinets, run tile throughout the kitchen and then reinstall. Otherwise, you will have created a maintenance nightmare when the dishwasher has to be replaced. Trust me, you will have to replace it at some point....

  • Cheryl F
    on Mar 4, 2012

    PLEASE...if you tackle any project like this, first make sure your old vinyl does NOT contain asbestos! If it does, it can't be scraped, or sanded or disturbed in any way that will allow asbestos to become airborne. A friend of ours had a contractor SAND the vinyl to 'make it smooth' before installing was a high end, 70s era home. Hot day, air on...asbestos throughout the entire house. They had to leave for a month while it was (expensively!) removed. Checking for asbestos should be the first thing anyone does on a home project - and many contractors don't know to do this. And it's not only flooring products - insulation and popcorn ceilings are two culprits, too. Be a bit OCD about it up front, and you won't have to worry once the job is done right!

  • Good call there Cheryl. You can get home testing kits at places like Lowes or Home Depot. They're relatively cheap and it only costs somewhere around $35 for the lab tests.

  • Unh - Dan, you must be thinking of lead test kits. Asbestos testing must be done by sending samples off to an eviro lab qualified to study it

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Mar 5, 2012

    Nitch..has that one right. My brother just had an ab test done on some weird stuff that was in his took 2 days to get the was NOT asbestos..yea haw

  • @Nichter - while they have the lead kits, they have the same idea also available for asbestos. Here is a sample products that is available at places like Lowes, HD, Ace, even CVS: You do have to pay a fee to have the lab tests done beyond paying for the kit itself.

  • Marketing gimick Yes - makes it convenient, but be clear that it is still a lab that does the testing. The 'kit' is just a way to send the samples to them. I can take samples and place them in a zip-lock baggie and send them to any of a number of labs and have it tested for anywhere from $25 to 85 bucks without buying a kit

  • Sherri B
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Remove the vinyl. Instead of removing ours, I listened to my Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none Dad and tiled over vinyl on our slab (because it could be asbestos!). Long story short, over the years, the adhesive holding the vinyl has loosened, and so has the tiles. Now I'm looking at removing BOTH and re-tiling. And I'm with KMS, no wood flooring in the kitchen or any other area that has potential of being a flood plain. That ranks right up there with tiling over vinyl. :-( And like HandyAndy says, just remove your appliances and tile under them. Worse case scenario, your refrigerator, stove and dishwasher sit in your dining room for 2 days. Believe me, you'll be glad you did (sigh, just take it from my experiences). :-(

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Mar 8, 2012 have earned your "been there...done that" badge. When I "preach" to some clients on the wisdom of many years in the trades....and then then insist on going in an opposite direction...I just shake my head and wonder what glossy magazine ad has caused all of the logic and common sense to leak out of their ears.

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