Hot Topics: Should I Remove Vinyl and Underlayment before Installing Tile?

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Original Post: Remove vinyl and underlayment before installing tile?

apsuhead Member

I am removing vinyl from our kitchen and bathrooms and installing backer board/ceramic tile. In our last home, I just removed the vinyl and my tile guy did the rest. I am going to attempt to tile this myself. My new house has a thin underlayment over the subfloor and under the vinyl. Should I remove this underlayment before putting down the backer board? Not sure how difficult this would be? I just don't want the new tile floor to be so much higher at the transitions to laminate hardwood, and it will also make the counters seem shorter. Any advice? Thanks!

Highlights from the Thread

czizzi Forum Topic Moderator

Will need a little additional information. Just because the house is 10 years old does not mean it meets specs for a tile installation. When the house was built, it was spec'd for vinyl, not tile. Tile needs a much stiffer floor (even stiffer if using natural stone). So for peace of mind, please provide the size of the joists, the distance between joists, the length of the unsupported span of those joists, and if you happen to see markings, the species/grade of the joists as well. We will also need to know what kind and thickness of plywood/OSB is currently down under the 1/4" underlayment. Joe is correct, the 1/4" underlayment and the vinyl needs to come up.

One final observation - the height requirements of the tile have no relation to the current height of the laminate. They are two different floor systems and have completely different requirements. If there is a difference (and most likely there will be) a reducer, t-molding or other transition piece will be used.

apsuhead Member

I am just in the planning stages. I will check out the flooring substructure next. I have enough tile to do the entire house (got it super cheap on clearance and had 20% promo code = $.25 sq ft). i have 2 lots - one lot will be used in the bathrooms while the other in the big kitchen area. I will start in the bathroom and see how it goes.

czizzi Forum Topic Moderator

All sorts of fun angles to play with in your bathroom. A wet saw is almost mandatory. Use some scrap tile cut perfectly in half as a template to mark you new rows to help maintain your "brick" pattern stagger. Just a pencil tick to help keep your half tile seams lined up. With luck, your walls and tub are at perfect 45 degrees relative to the direction of the floor. I use a speed square to transfer the angle onto the tile.

apsuhead Member

Any tips on removing staples? I removed the carpet staples from our 3 sets of stairs with flat head screwdriver and pliers, it wasn't fun. Someone suggested a cotter pin puller so I might get a set a set of those. My kitchen, half-bath, laundry room, eat-in-kitchen, stair landing area is big and full of doorways and angled cuts. Est 421 sq ft.

czizzi Forum Topic Moderator

Floor scraper held low to the ground will shear the staples off or pull them out.

Unless you are talking about staples in carpet pad. Then you have to pull them.

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