Laminate flooring over ceramic tiles is a common choice, especially when the tile is dingy and outdated. Here’s how you make the switch.
Many homeowners now wish to replace their old ceramic tile with laminate flooring.
Wood laminate flooring has grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years, for several reasons. Wood laminate provides the warm look of hardwoods flooring at a fraction of the cost. The soft feel of laminate flooring is easy on the feet, and provides a soft cushioning effect while walking. Finally, the factory finish of laminate flooring is more durable than just about any finish a hardwood flooring refinisher can put on a hardwood floor at a job site.
Can laminate flooring be installed over ceramic tile?
A big question is, can a laminate floor be placed over a ceramic tile floor? Fortunately, the answer to the question is yes.
There are many concerns of the type of flooring a laminate can be placed over for installation. The question is valid. Removing a ceramic tile floor is hard work, chipping away old tiles and mortar is extremely time consuming and labor intensive. If a laminate can be placed over a ceramic tile, the labor of the installation is decreased dramatically.
Installation precautions to take
Many laminate manufacturers specifically indicate that their product may be installed over ceramic tile. Since tile is a durable substrate, there is little risk of deterioration when another flooring substance is placed over it. There are a few precautions though.
First, the tile should be in good shape, level and free of depressions. As with any flooring surface, if there are major depressions and extensive cracking, the issue may be with the subflooring. If your flooring has such depressions, it may be a good idea to determine the cause, and have a professional inspect the flooring, if needed.
Often, a visual inspection of the sub floor from the basement will indicate whether a problem exists. However, minor cracks, not due to a defective sub floor; they can simply be filled with epoxy.
Filling grout joints first
Second, the grout joints should be filled to level with the top or face of the ceramic tile, to ensure a smooth surface for the laminate to rest. You can simply grout as normal, using very light pressure on the grout joint, to keep the joint level. Or you can use a grout bag to fill the joints.
Third, the ceramic tile should be free of loose dirt, grease, and moisture. After cleaning, ensure the tile has dried thoroughly.
Keep an eye on height differences from room to room
Fourth, remember that since you are not removing the tile, there may be a slight height differential between the newly laminated room and an adjoining room, if the adjoining room was level with the tiled area. This usually doesn’t create a problem for most people.
Provided the sub flooring is in good condition, the tile is clean, dry and the grout joints are level with the tile, you are now ready to install your laminate flooring. Your moisture barrier will go directly over the tile, which is why the flooring must be dry when beginning the installation.
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[This post was updated December 2015]