Tiling over vinyl flooring can be a straightforward, hassle-free project if you do your homework beforehand. Tiles tend to crack if they are subject to a lot of movement, so it’s best to install them directly over cement. However, if your vinyl floors are in good condition and firmly in place, tiling over them will work just as well.
Step 1—Inspect Your Floors
Make sure that your vinyl floors are in place solidly, and there is no warping, loose areas or wax. Wax can be removed with either sandpaper or a sanding machine, depending on the size of the area. Make sure that the end product is shine and dust-free and flat. If you have loose areas, raise them with the putty knife and place carpenter’s glue underneath. Allow the glue to set before moving on.
Step 2—Lay Mortar
Use a premixed thin-set mortar that has been designated for use on vinyl surfaces. This type of mortar is strongly recommended because it stays wet for some time, allowing the tiles time to set properly, and is already mixed with latex. Use the notched trowel to spread in small patches on the floor. It is recommended that you start in the middle and work towards the walls.
Step 3—Lay Tiles
Since you’re laying tile over vinyl flooring, it’s best to use extra-thick tiles which are smaller in width. This will limit movement, and excessive movement is what causes tiles to crack. Start in the middle of your floor and move toward the wall, placing tile spacers as you go. It may help to divide the room into sections and follow the grid lines.
Step 4—Cut Tiles, Allow to Set
Once you’ve reached the wall, cut any border tiles you may have with your tile cutter. When the tiling is finished, you can remove the spacers and allow the tiles to set—this will usually take about 12 hours.
Step 5—Apply Grout
After the mortar has set, you can start to apply grout. Follow the mixing instructions on the package, and when finished, find your rubber grout trowel. Using the trowel, apply the mixture between the tile lines and wait for about a minute. Take a damp sponge and wipe off any excess grout. Continue applying grout and sponging off the excess across the entire floor, taking care to wring out the sponge every so often to avoid spreading watery grout.
Step 6—Let Grout Set
Before you head off to relax and let your new floor set, make sure there’s no remaining grout you’d like to pare down and that your floor looks even. When you are satisfied that the work is finished, allow the grout to cure for about three days. During this time, keep moisture out of the area as much as possible—this will delay the drying process.
Step 7—Apply Sealant
The last step here is optional, but if you want to prevent the grout from staining or discoloring, apply a sealant over it once it has set.