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blog banner: Can you install laminate over old tiles?

Can You Safely Install Laminate Flooring On Top Of Tiles?

When it comes to home renovations, one of the most significant challenges is dealing with old flooring. Particularly, many homeowners wonder whether they can install laminate flooring over existing tile floors. This detailed guide will explore the feasibility of laying laminate over tile, the benefits and potential drawbacks, and a comprehensive step-by-step process on how to do it properly.

Laminate Over Tile Installation

Laminate flooring offers a versatile and attractive option for those looking to upgrade their home’s appearance without the extensive labour and cost associated with removing old tiles. With advancements in flooring technology, laminate can be a great choice to install over various surfaces, including tile.

Why Might You Consider Installing Laminate Over Tiles?

Cost Efficiency

Installing laminate directly over old tiles can significantly reduce the project cost by eliminating the need for tile removal and disposal—which can be both messy and expensive.

Time Savings

Skipping the demolition stage of removing old tiles not only saves money but also time, making this a quicker renovation option.

Less Mess

Avoiding tile removal means you won’t have to deal with the dust and debris that come with it, resulting in a cleaner project.

Is It Advisable To Install Laminate Over Tiles?

Yes, it is generally advisable, but it depends on several factors that should be carefully considered:

The Condition of The Existing Tiles

The tiles need to be well-adhered to the subfloor with no signs of lifting or cracking. Loose or broken tiles will need to be repaired or removed as they can affect the stability and levelness of the laminate.

Height Differences Between Rooms

One must consider the height transition between different rooms. The additional height of the laminate on top of the tile could create a step, which might require a transition strip.

You might also need to shave down the bottoms of doors that open on top of the laminate flooring to avoid scraping and damaging the new flooring.

The Tile Surface Itself

Highly textured tiles or those with deep grout lines might require a layer of self-levelling compound to create a flat surface suitable for laminate flooring. If you’re installing over flat tiles, which usually have a glossy surface rather than stone-edge texture, you’re likely okay to install the laminate on top. 

The Potential Risks And How To Mitigate Them

Moisture Issues

Tiles, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens, are often subject to moisture. Laminate is not waterproof and excessive moisture can lead to warping or bubbling. Therefore, a moisture barrier should always be installed between the tile and laminate.

Think about the room you’re installing the laminate in. If it’s something like a kitchen, where splashes are frequent but small and easily dried, your laminate should be fine. 

If, however, you’re installing over tiles in a bathroom then the laminate itself is not suited to this sort of room. Too much moisture will seep into the joints of the laminate flooring and will swell or warp the wood. 

In this case you’d be better suited with SPC flooring, or Luxury Vinyl Tile. Both of which can give the appearance of laminate but are waterproof alternatives. 

Read about our best picks for bathroom flooring here. 

Acoustic Concerns

Tiles can create a noisy environment because they do not absorb sound. Installing a good quality acoustic underlayment can reduce noise levels significantly.

The Installation Process

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install laminate flooring over tile:

Step 1: Assess The Floor

Check for any loose or damaged tiles and repair these issues. Ensure the floor is clean and level. If there are deep grout lines, consider using a levelling compound.

Step 2: Measure The Height

Determine the new floor height and ensure it will not interfere with door openings or transitions to other rooms.

Step 3: Install A Moisture Barrier

Roll out the moisture barrier sheeting across the tile, overlapping edges by about 8 inches. Tape the seams with waterproof tape to secure them.

This is a standard type of underlay for laminate and protects it from moisture ingress from the subfloor. If you’re not on the ground floor then it’s less likely to be essential but if the grout of the tiles is damaged or cracked then there’s a chance water could’ve seeped in. 

Step 4: Install The Laminate

Begin laying the laminate planks at the longest wall and continue laying them by clicking them together end-to-end. Use spacers around the edges to allow for expansion. 

Step 5: Cutting To Fit

When necessary, cut planks to fit around corners or other obstacles using a saw, ensuring that cut edges are against the wall where they will be covered by baseboards.

Step 6: Install Baseboards or Beading and Transition Strips if Necessary

Once all the planks are laid down, install baseboards or moulding around the edges to cover the expansion gaps. If there are height differences with adjacent rooms, install appropriate transition strips.

Transition Strips, also called Reducers are different from typical Door bars as they are higher on one side – if you originally had a regular door bar down then there’s a good chance you’ll need a transition strip to cover the lip of the now raised laminate flooring. 

Step 7: The Final Touches

Do a final clean-up and inspection of the floor to ensure everything is properly installed and there are no gaps or misaligned planks.

Post-Install Care

  • Regular Cleaning: Use a vacuum or a soft broom to remove dirt and debris. Clean up spills promptly to prevent water damage.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Use cleaners that are specifically made for laminate flooring to avoid damage.
  • Use Furniture Pads: Protect the surface by using pads under the legs of furniture.

Exploring Common Questions

Can I Install Laminate Over Any Type Of Tile?

While laminate can be installed over many types of tile, surfaces with deep textures or uneven tiles will require extra preparation.

What About Installing Laminate In High Moisture Areas?

It is advisable to avoid installing laminate in areas with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, unless an excellent waterproof moisture barrier is used.

How Do I Handle The Height Issue With Doors?

You may need to trim the bottom of the doors to allow for the extra height added by the laminate and underlayment.

Are Moisture Barriers/Underlays Necessary?

Yes, especially over tile, as it prevents any moisture from the tiles from affecting the laminate.

What's The Best Way To Cut The Laminate Planks?

Use a circular saw, mitre saw, or laminate cutter for the best results. Always cut the planks face down to prevent chipping.

Cutting by hand with a regular hack saw can leave rough edges. Keep the laminate face down when cutting and cut so the rough side is next to the wall, where it can be hidden by the beading around the edge. 

In Conclusion

By following these guidelines, you can successfully install laminate flooring over tile, enhancing the beauty and functionality of your home while minimizing costs and disruption.

If you’re still on the hunt for new flooring or you’re not confident fitting the flooring yourself, why not give us a try? Easipay Flooring offers great prices on high quality flooring, including laminate, vinyl and carpets. We also offer free underlay for carpets and laminate, and to make buying your new flooring more manageable we’ll also let you split the cost into instalments over time too, interest free! Tap the button below to get started.