Ceramic Tiles Over Linoleum (Cement Board or Not?)

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-24-09, 03:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ceramic Tiles Over Linoleum (Cement Board or Not?)

Greetings Folks,

We could sure use some expert guidance here . . .

We're homeowners with a 40-year old (original) kitchen floor that is comprised of smooth, seemingly flat and exceptionally aged (i.e., brittle) 12" X 12" linoleum squares, and we'd like to lay a ceramic tile floor directly over the existing linoleum (with or without concrete board), but the recommendations available out there are incredibly conflicting or disparaging.

Fully 80-90% of respondents seem to state that the existing linoleum should be lifted or stripped away (no exceptions), and that the concrete slab beneath will prove to be far superior to any 1/4"-5/16" concrete board substrate for ceramic tile and grout, but here are several KEY problems with that line of reasoning that no one ever seems to address:

1) The existing linoleum (especially when its 40-years old) may very well contain asbestos, and though lifting or stripping it poses no real challenge, doing so just to gain access to the 40-year old concrete slab beneath, poses considerable health risk in addition to added labor; and secondly . . .

2) Who's to say that the original 40-year old concrete slab beneath the existing linoleum with its old adhesive is going to be perfectly flat or any better suited than "newer" (more porous) concrete board that is properly adhered to the etched linoleum via bonded adhesive and screws per product manufacturer recommendations?

I'm no contractor or professional tile installer, but it seems to me that these two points should (absolutely) be considered by someone before they start willy-nilly discouraging others from the use of concrete board over linoleum.

Am I wrong on this? The existing linoleum is both flat and brittle throughout, with no peeling or chips whatsoever, and further, we live in remote Hawaii where building codes and contractor skills were essentially non-existent 40-years ago. So how likely is it that the original bare concrete slab is going to be any better a substrate than the linoleum with or without concrete board? I'm stumped!

I'd sure appreciate any and all feedback on this topic.

Thanks All
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-24-09, 03:55 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Any aberrations in the concrete would have telegraphed through your 12 x 12 tiles and popped them at the corners had there been any. If they have been down that long, the concrete is presumably in good shape. I would just hate to put down a good tile floor to have the substrate give way either due to the dampness of the thinset used for the new tile, or just due to age.
 
  #3  
Old 08-24-09, 04:02 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Any aberrations in the concrete would have telegraphed through your 12 x 12 tiles and popped them at the corners had there been any. If they have been down that long, the concrete is presumably in good shape. I would just hate to put down a good tile floor to have the substrate give way either due to the dampness of the thinset used for the new tile, or just due to age.
Chandler . . .

Thanks for your response but I'm afraid you lost me? Are you saying that you think its O.K. to lay the ceramic tiles over the existing linoleum (if properly cleaned and etched) without the need for cement board?

Or are you saying that the vinyl/linoleum tiles should be lifted (regardless of asbestos concerns) and ceramic tiles placed on to the existing concrete slab directly?

Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 08-24-09, 04:16 PM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 8,044
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
First of all, cement board never gets installed over a concrete slab. Basically what Chandler is saying is that your new tile floor is only as good as what it's installed on. If the adhesive securing the vinyl decides to poop out, your tile will be affected as well.

Now, I've had to remove some brittle linoleum tile before, it was not fun. What did help was getting a heat gun and floor scrapers. It takes a long time, but it's worth it. Also, you are at very minimal risk of asbestos. It takes decades of long exposures of asbestos to be sick. A homeowner will never really see this hazard just removing tile. To calm peoples fears, just use a spray bottle of water and a dust mask.
 
  #5  
Old 08-24-09, 04:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
First of all, cement board never gets installed over a concrete slab. Basically what Chandler is saying is that your new tile floor is only as good as what it's installed on. If the adhesive securing the vinyl decides to poop out, your tile will be affected as well.

Now, I've had to remove some brittle linoleum tile before, it was not fun. What did help was getting a heat gun and floor scrapers. It takes a long time, but it's worth it. Also, you are at very minimal risk of asbestos. It takes decades of long exposures of asbestos to be sick. A homeowner will never really see this hazard just removing tile. To calm peoples fears, just use a spray bottle of water and a dust mask.
Thanx HotinOKC,

The spray bottle with dust mask is certainly advisable, but I'm not so sure about your assessment on "minimal" risk. My father-in-law married a woman (a widow) ten years ago that peeled her (asbestos-laden) kitchen floor on her knees without proper protection, and she DIED just nine months later of documented asbestosis. That's a fact! So yes, its a concern to me.

The thing that continues to puzzle me here is why removal of the vinyl squares is so much better an approach when the existing tiles are exceedingly brittle, flat, porous and well bonded to the concrete beneath? I just can't see how the bare concrete itself would be any firmer or any more porous?
 
  #6  
Old 08-24-09, 04:34 PM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 8,044
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I understand your concern, and I am a Occupational Safety & Health manager who deals with this stuff everyday. I have never heard of anyone dying from a short term direct exposure to asbestos and asbestosis usually only happens have prolonged direct exposure.

To answer your question about the tile though:

If the tile is very brittle, then it's not really secure as you think. You could clean it up, install your tile directly over it and never have a problem, but that's your chance to take. Depending on the linoleum, the thinset may not bond 100%. It would need to be cleaned thoroughly.
 
  #7  
Old 08-24-09, 06:12 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
I'm with Mark. No way would I want to take a chance on the existing tiles giving way. The thinset is wet. The water will be absorbed to an extend by the tile and the adhesive under it. Prolonged exposure to this moisture could release the tiles and ruin your job. Again, not a chance I'd want to take when the job can be done right.
 
  #8  
Old 08-24-09, 06:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler View Post
I'm with Mark. No way would I want to take a chance on the existing tiles giving way. The thinset is wet. The water will be absorbed to an extend by the tile and the adhesive under it. Prolonged exposure to this moisture could release the tiles and ruin your job. Again, not a chance I'd want to take when the job can be done right.
Thanx again Chandler,

Yup, excellent points on the potential for vinyl tiles and existing adhesive to swell, warp or loosen from water absorption in the thin set. I had NOT thought of that, and I agree, that alone is enough reason to peel the vinyl tiles. Consider them gone!

Thanks all. This was exactly what I needed (i.e., good solid advice).
 
  #9  
Old 08-24-09, 07:24 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Send us some pix when you get 'er dun.
 
  #10  
Old 08-24-09, 07:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Send us some pix when you get 'er dun.
Yup, will do! It'll probably a few weeks before we get it all completely, but I'll gladly do so once done.

Actually, I'm pretty psyched about it. Its a bit hard to describe our floor plan verbally, but we hope to use 18" (probably porcelain) tiles in a light mocha color, set squarely to the walls (as usual) for the main perimeter of the floor, but with a rectangular (inset) area right in the middle, comprised of somewhat darker (root beer brown), smaller (12") tiles, all laid diagonally, and offset from the main tiles around them by a 3" X 10" rectangular floral trim. Should be pretty darned cool if I don't botch it somehow! It all comes down to good planning!

Cheers!
 
  #11  
Old 08-25-09, 08:15 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 3,505
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
I'm coming in late here, but glad to see that you will be removing the vinyl tile as has been advised by the guys. You cannot really tell how well bonded the vinyl tile is until you try to remove it, and some areas of the floor may be better bonded than others. The adhesive used to hold the vinyl was never meant to hold the extra weight and horizontal movement of the slab and ceramic or stone tile. There would be a good chance for failure.

As to the slab, if there are problems with it, they would telegraph thru to the ceramic tile anyway, the vinyl would not prevent this. You'll have to evaluate the slab after you have removed the vinyl and adhesive.

Too many times folks come here with something in mind looking for someone here to confirm their plan. I'm glad to see that you aren't one of them. Good luck with your project.
 
  #12  
Old 08-25-09, 12:42 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HeresJohnny View Post
Too many times folks come here with something in mind looking for someone here to confirm their plan. I'm glad to see that you aren't one of them. Good luck with your project.
Nope, I don't visit these sites (on-line forums) for the purposes of advising others. I'm here to learn from those who've gone before me and already experienced the same journey. That's the true power of the internet in my view. Its no different than a trial by judge vs. a trial by jury; does one want a single (potentially biased) opinion or a whole fleet of independent opinions? That's an easy choice for me.

Thanks for the well-wishes.
 
  #13  
Old 08-25-09, 08:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ceramic Tiles Over Linoleum

Would these same "remove old asbestos tiles" rule apply in a very small, narrow bathroom? The old dark green tiles are original to the house, so 1956, and have no cracks. I have absolutely no ideal what is under them. My best guess is wood slats, but again I'm not sure.

I'm not removing the tub, so thats some cost saved. My plan was to install a new vanity on top of these existing tiles, replace the old toilet with a new water saving unit and spend the upgrade money on tile for the floor. This brings up another question...do I remove the toilet when installing the new floor or tile around the toilet?

The walls are also a huge mess, covered with old wallpaper that has locked to the old sheet rock, and the lower half of the walls are covered with old black mastik or glue of some sort. They were used to stick old fake tile panels. Another problem I am running into is what to use on the walls. I hear green board, then I hear no green board but cement board...but if cement board, then I've read I still need some sort of felt and mud.... ??? My head hurts. Is there one correct way that everyone can agree on...and if so, what is it???? HELP!!!

At this rate I'm scared to start removing the old sheet rock and plastic tub surround...and now the old flooring too....eeek!!!
 
  #14  
Old 08-26-09, 07:50 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 3,505
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Snugy

It would be better if you started your own thread so that you don't mess up bandits. It gets difficult to manage answers when you are responding to 2 different people.

Maybe a moderator can take this and start a separate thread with it.

Ok, here we go.

Yes the answer would be the same, the vinyl has to go. Additionally, if you have wood plank subflooring, you'll have to add at least 1/2" of exterior glue plywood over the planks. Planks are too unstable as they move independently of each other ahd will eventually cause cracked tile and grout. You'll also need to add either 1/4" cement board or an isolation membrane over the plywood.

Remove the vinyl and adhesive, add the plywood and either cement board or isolation membrane. Then tile, then install the vanity and toilet on top of the finished floor.

As to the walls in the tub surround if you plan to tile them, you can't use greenboard. You have to use cement board. You can use regular drywall in the rest of the bathroom outside the tub surround.
 
  #15  
Old 08-26-09, 09:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ceramic Tiles Over Linoleum (Cement Board or Not?)

Thanks for the info Johnny. I did start a new thread regarding the board questions. Didn't mean to take anything away from Bandit, but I too had the same questions regarding the flooring tile...just tried to ask the other question along with it.

Thanks Bandit for asking these questions about the "old nasty asbestos tiles" ....looks like we both have some removal to do. The info you received was great and has help me in my decisions as well.

Good luck with your project and thanks again to all!
 
  #16  
Old 08-26-09, 11:19 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Snugy View Post
Thanks for the info Johnny. I did start a new thread regarding the board questions. Didn't mean to take anything away from Bandit, but I too had the same questions regarding the flooring tile...just tried to ask the other question along with it.

Thanks Bandit for asking these questions about the "old nasty asbestos tiles" ....looks like we both have some removal to do. The info you received was great and has help me in my decisions as well.

Good luck with your project and thanks again to all!
Thanks Snugy, thanks Johnny! No worries! And good luck to you as well.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: