Can You Lay Floorboards Over Tiles?

We have already established that it is not a problem for most of the flooring types we offer to be installed over tiled floors if that is what you wish to do. Not many people want to remove the old tile floor, as it’s usually a long and costly process.

However, in order to do it right and eliminate the risk of damages and the further need to replace the flooring (rather sooner than later), you need to consider several factors first.

So, how can you be sure that your tiles are suitable for becoming a subfloor?

To make it easier for you, we have prepared this short guide:

Consider Your Chosen Flooring

One of the most important things to take into consideration is the flooring type you have chosen for your project – hardwood is not the same as other types of timber flooring, and so on. Not everything will go well with tile subfloor, even if the latter is in the perfect condition.

Floorboards over tiles

Can You Lay Floorboards Over Tiles?

Long story short – yes, you can lay the floating floors over tile flooring, but you need to consider several issues first to choose the right floors and underlay, and prepare for the installation, or decide if it’s even worth it (as it’s not the case with all floors).

Should You Install Floating Floor Over Existing Tile Flooring?

Once you make sure your existing floor is in good condition and level, you can carry on with the installation of a floating floor, over tile whether it’s wood, vinyl, laminate, or whatever you want. However, bear in mind that it may create clearance problems for doors, and so on.

What About Timber Floor Over Tiles?

Adding timber flooring over the existing tile floor will naturally raise the height of the whole floor. As a result, it may create some tripping hazards that you will need to take care of and reduce the floor-to-ceiling height of the space. That being said, a wood floor over tile is not a bad option if you don’t want to remove the old floor, but you dream about a stylish wood look.

For the long-lasting, satisfying effect, you will need a high-quality underlay as well.

You also need to determine if the ceiling height still complies to the rules of your local building inspector before you start laying your new timber flooring.

Hardwood Floor

Can You Install the Hardwood Floor Over Tiles?

Usually, it is not recommended to lay hardwood over the old tile flooring. The former involves nailing the wood planks to a special (also wooden) subfloor. Therefore, the subfloor needs to be able to take in nails. Tiles can be adjusted to do the job, but it will take both time and money, so it might simply not be worth it.

What About Laying Vinyl Over Tiles?

Vinyl is a popular option among those who look for wood floors alternative on a budget. They are stylish and resistant, plus – yes, you can lay this type of flooring over your tiles after the tiles have either the grout lines filled over, or the entire tiled area has been primed and flood coated over.

Laminate Flooring Over Tiles?

As long as your tile flooring is even and smooth, you can easily lay the laminate floor on top of it. However, you will need the right underlay to ensure a high-quality effect, both in terms of looks and durability. An underlay is a cushioning between the existing subfloor (in this case, your tile floor) and the laminate. It’s usually rubber, foam, or felt that serves as an underlay.

Are Your Existing Tiles in Poor Condition?

Evident signs of potentially problematic tiles include cracks, missing grout, or sprinkled sand “jumping” when you’re tapping on the tile.

You will definitely need to remove the tiles if they are cracked extensively or are noticeably loose, as they will only cause more problems later. However, not all “drummy” tiles (meaning that they produce a hollow sound once they’re struck by a tool, which usually signals a larger problem) need to be taken care of. Sometimes, they are just glued with dobs of tile cement and therefore might sound hollow.

Be careful while jackhammering the bad tiles, though, as you can easily dislodge perfectly good tiles in the process.

So, first, cut through the grout with a diamond blade on an angle grinder to separate a tile from the rest of the flooring and take it out safely. Then, you can replace missing tiles with the spare or new tiles, or self-levelling cement compound.

Is Your Tile Flooring Uneven?

Visibly uneven tiles (like quarry tiles, slate, or just poorly laid flooring) will need priming and a complete flood coat. You might need a professional for this job unless you are a skilled handyman yourself. A tile floor that looks close to perfect should be checked with a straight edge or spirit level. Not everything can be perceived with a naked eye, but if you don’t level your floor properly, you will certainly feel it soon.

Push a flat length of wood around your floor and mark any high spots you notice. Then, grind these points down with a diamond cup on an angle grinder. Hollow spots can be dealt with by priming and filling them with a self-levelling compound. Any ridges formed must be scraped or ground smooth.

Bear in mind that all your hard work will not be in vain – a well-prepared subfloor will make for easier installation and higher quality and durability of your new floor.

What About the Grout?

Here, it depends on the flooring type of your choice. If you install stick down floors or most LooseLay vinyl planks over a smoothly tiled subfloor, the grout lines will eventually show through your floor. Thus, these grout lines need to be filled with a fast-setting filler, which excess has to be later scraped off and sanded back during the preparation for laying your floor.

Most hybrids and some LooseLay floor types can be laid across grout lines. If this is something that concerns you, contact our ID Flooring professionals to learn which floors will be more suitable.

What Is the Location?

Some rooms with raised windows and much furniture, such as bedrooms, may not need as much preparation as other rooms. Larger spaces, especially the ones where horizontal light falls across the floor, is less forgiving. In these cases, you will need to take your time to do the job right. These “critical light” zones are often near low windows or doorways, and the shadows created by subfloor irregularities can become quite visible and disturbing.

Choose ID Flooring for Your Next Flooring Project

Here at ID Flooring, we can understand how confusing and difficult laying a new floor might all seem. That’s why we don’t only offer the greatest selection of flooring types, including the latest trends, as well as all the extras you may need to get the job done – we are also more than happy to guide you through this choosing and installation process so that you can rest assured that you’re making the right choices. Only then can the results be 100% satisfying. See our Flooring Installation page to see how we can help you with your home’s next flooring project, or contact us today to get a quote.