I want to install tile on a floor that has linoleum flooring. I wonder if i need to use some type of underlayment. I want to avoid building up the floor too high. I have seen a soft type underlayment called 'Easy Mat', is this something i can use for an underlayment if necessary? Appreciate any tips or suggestions.
Thanks for your question, welcome to the community!
I worked in the flooring department at my Home Depot for many years, so I thought I'd give you a few tips and information on getting the best and thinnest floor for your project.
You hit the nail on the head when you saw EasyMat. It simply rolls out and eliminates using a thicker tile backerboard for your new ceramic tiles. You can click on the image below to read more information regarding this great product for your floor.
There is also another underlayment we sell in our stores as well, Schluter-DITRA. This orange-colored underlayment works in a similar fashion to EasyMat, with the difference being that is needs to be installed with a unmodified thin-set instead of having EasyMat's self-adhesive backing. Click on the image of DITRA below to read more info on it.
Both options will give you a thin and workable foundation in which to set your tiles on top. Before any underlayment is put down, you'll need to remove the existing layer of linoleum flooring first. Removing a linoleum floor is'nt a difficult task, but it does need to taken off so your new installation will work effectively.
Doing so will guarantee either underlayment you pick will last for years to come.
Again, bravo on finding EasyMat; it really is a great option for going under your new ceramic tile floor.
Let us know if you have any further questions,
I have used the Ditra product for a number of years now and am very happy with it.
Be sure to thoroughly read and follow to the letter, the manufacturers installation guidelines regardless of the material you choose.
General things you should be aware of.
1. I would not recommend installing tile over any type of cushioned flooring. Ditra and other bond breaker underlayments are designed to protect tile from horizontal movement in the substrate. Verticical movement such as what you would get with any type of cushioned flooring will not be solved with any of these products. The onlly acceptable solution is to remove the cushioned flooring down to the underlayment and then use something like Ditra.
2. Be sure that the deflection of the floor is less that allowed for the size of tile you are installing. This is one of the
single biggest causes of cracking in your new expensive tile floor. Beef up the framing underneath the floor if needed.
The larger the tile the more sensitive it is to cracking due to deflection. Products like Ditra do not stiffen the floor to take care of this. The most common way is to use one of the cementitious backerboards surch as WonderBoard or Durarock properly applied per the manufacturers guidelines.
3. Do not ever cut corners with tile work. Although tiling in theory looks very easy, mistakes are easily made. A skilled homeowner is perfectly capable of doing a great tile job if they take their time and completly follow the manufactures installation guidelines. Selecting the wrong products for your particular situation can be disasterous and very expensive to fix. The same applys for rushing the job or not properly preparing the floor. When in doubt call the manufactures of the installation materials for the information "direct from the horses mouth" , so to speak.
I am a 2nd generation tile and stone craftsman with over 40 years in the business and I stilll contact the manufacturers representatives on a regular basis. They are the ones who really know what works and what does not
as they are the ones that guarantee their material but only if it is installed "exactly" to their specifications.
The sales folks at Home Depot are indeed quite helpful but in the end are not experts. Go to the source, the manufacturers.
Thanks for input and welcome to the community!
I'm glad you've had great results with installing Ditra underneath your tiles, they really are one of the best products out there for that.
You are absolutely right about going to the source and contacting the manufacturer directly. Although we may not have the answer right away in the aisles of your Home Depot, we always can get you in touch with a product specific question by contacting the vendor directly, or even another product knowledgeable associate. This is important, as some companies don't deal with the general public, and we can get pertinent answers by calling them.
Again, thank you for posting some very informative information based on your many years in the business. Any further tips you may have, please do not hesitate to post!
I have a question,. We want to install ceramic tile in our kitchen. We have a vinyl/linoleum floor with a skim coat underneath, and underneath that another vinyl/linoleum floor that is pretty old. We are on a concrete slab foundation. The skim coat was done to prevent removing the older floor because it could contain asbestos due to its age. I have read that we need to remove the upper floor, but we want to leave the lower. Is it ok to remove the upper and leave the skim coat and lay the tile on that? Or, is it ok to just lay the tile over the vinyl/ linoleum? Thanks in advance for any advice!
Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!
It appears as though you have quite a predicament regarding all the layers on your existing floor. It would be better to leave them as is, since the older floor could have asbestos as you stated. The best solution for you would be to prepare the floor for an adequate underlayment for the new ceramic tiles. It can be done, so let's get started...
In your situation, I would recommend to put down a layer of 1/4" tile backerboard or a similar product like EasyMat or Ditra over the existing floor. In the previous links in the last sentence, you'll find more information on installation these items of your choice. I know the EasyMat post was tearing out the existing linoleum, put this won't be possible in your case. Using one of these forms of underlayment is crucial for not only the tiles, but to make the entire install sound and stable overall.
So to prepare your existing floor, making sure it is clean and level. Prepare it by lightly sanding down the vinyl with a sanding pole attachment, as well as using a sanding sponge if you have any hard-to-reach areas.
Lightly sanding down the linoleum floor will give whichever tile underlayment you want to put down (backerboard, Ditra, EasyMat) a better grip on adhering to the vinyl without fasteners screws. Equally as important to sanding is making sure all the dust from the existing floor is cleaned up off the floor. Using screws can go into the layer of
asbestos, making particles airborne, which is what we are not trying to do.
If you use tile backerboard, I would recommend using just a thin-set adhesive to secure the boards down. Use the same mortar alongside backerboard tape to secure all edges, allowing a watertight install. Using Ditra as an underlayment would have you using an unmodified (no acrylic additives) thin-set, but installs in a similar fashion.
As the final option for an underlayment, the EasyMat rolls out and is applied with a roller. The EasyMat has an adhesive backing, therefore it doesn't need any mortar or adhesives to place it down.
In whatever option you choose, using a barrier between the new ceramic tiles and the existing floor will mean you will get a very long-lasting floor for your kitchen.
Let us know if you have any further questions, we're here to help.
Very informative- thank you.
Is there a way to prep linoleum for tile using one of the above solutions (Easy Mat, Ditra, backerboard) that does not require sanding (i.e. stays with thinset, self-adhesive, etc)? Our linoluem is old and I'd like to avoid sanding or removing it if possible. Thanks!
Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!
Linoleum really isn't a suitable base for tile, unless there is something underneath is causing it not to come up, like asbestos).
If you follow my steps in the original thread in this post, you'll get the best results for a new tile floor. If you don't follow them, I can't guarantee your tile installation will last, and you very well could void any warranty you have on it. Just like building anything worthwhile in life...it starts with a solid foundation.