Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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Laying Wood Flooring Over Tile

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Prefinished engineered wood flooring.

Prefinished engineered wood flooring in a good choice for laying over a tile floor.

We are thinking about replacing our tile floor in the kitchen with hardwood. The tile is laid in a concrete foundation and would be huge mess to rip up. Is it possible to lay hardwood over an existing tile floor? If so, what do you recommend? -Donna

Hi Donna,

Yes, you can lay a wood floor over tile if the existing floor is in good shape and without cracks. I would suggest 3/8” thick, prefinished engineered hardwood flooring or easy to install laminate flooring. Some brands can be installed as a floating floor that locks together and is not attached to the tile, or you can glue it down.

Check to be sure the existing floor is flat first and fill in any low spots with leveling compound. If the wood floor is being glued to a slick tile surface, rough the tiles up a bit by sanding them to allow the adhesive to adhere better.

Good luck with your project,

Danny



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36 Comments on “Laying Wood Flooring Over Tile”

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  1. Patricia Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Hi Danny,
    My Kitchen currently has a vinyl floor which is glued down pretty good….I tried getting some of it up under the dishwasher area….Tough. Can I simply sand the existing Vinyl floor, make sure it is level and apply my engineered hardwood over top? My strips of EHW are aprox. 8 inches wide. Do I use glue, nails or both?? – Patricia

  2. lori montejano Says:
    December 27th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    My kitchen and dining room is exposed aggregate flooring and want to know if I can lay wood laminate flooring right on top? Also, we’ve tried using a do-it-ourselves steam cleaning on the aggregate and it just never looks clean. Any suggestionss?

  3. Becky Clark Says:
    January 8th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Hi, question, I want to put down red maple hardwood floor in my bathroom. Are there any special precautions if the house tends to be very humid and the bathroom in question is in the center of the house and does not have a an outside wall. There is very good ventilation though.
    Thx.

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 9th, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Hi Becky,
    Personally I wouldn’t put hardwood on a bathroom floor due to the potential of water and humidity causing long term problems with the finish and possibly causing the wood to swell. Tile or vinyl would be my choice. If you do try it, be sure you have a good bath vent fan and use it whenever you shower or bathe.

  5. Jim Acker Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Danny,
    For putting hardwood over tile,you suggested using a 3/8″ thickness for the wood. Is there any reason that a 5/16″ x 2 1/4″ wouldn’t work or would that be ok, too. For a 3/8″ thickness the width would be 3″. The wood will be going in the hall and entry. Also, our kitchen has the 5/16″ and it would be nice to have consistency.

    Thanks,
    Jim

    Thanks.
    Jim

  6. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Jim,
    5/16″ x 3″ engineered flooring should work fine.

  7. Jonah Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Can I lay 6 wideplank pine board over 12 x 12 ceramic tiles- Existing tiles are in good conditon, level and the area is about 800 sq ft – I do not want to rip them and height or transitions are not an issue- Would you lay a sub floor first or nail into grout lines?

  8. Jonah Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Sorry – I didnt specify- above 6″ wide pine or wideplank hardwood

  9. JIM JOHNSON Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    have outdoor tile deck (slippery when wet)that is being enlarged. Want to put 1/2 marine plywood on top of the tile, and then seal with epoxy type finish w/sand coat. Question: If i rough up the tile surface can i glue the plywood down…and will it withstand Palm Springs temperatures?

  10. Melanie Says:
    July 25th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Danny,
    I have tile in all my bedrooms in the new house I bought, in know laying a hardwood floor over it will heighten the floor considerably what about a vinyl that looks like would would that be difficult or raise the floor alot?
    Thanks Melanie

  11. Dixie Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Our house was built in 1969-70 with tile floors glued to the foundation. Carpet was added later. When the carpet was removed recently some of the tiles cracked when the nails and wood that held the carpet down were pulled up. We have noticed that some of the tile squares are no longer glued down in various places but a majority of the tiles are secure. We plan to install floating hardwood floors through out the house and do not plan to take up the existing tile floor. What do we need to do to prepare the tile floor for the wood flooring?

  12. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Hi Dixie,
    Your existing floor needs to be smooth and well attached, with no low or high spots. Start by removing any tiles that are loose and either glue them back down using thin-set or fill the void with floor patch. For more on preparing your existing floor or subfloor for a new one, check out our video on How to Level a Subfloor.

  13. BONNIE Says:
    October 27th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    DANNY , WE LIVE IN A OLDER MODEL DOUBLE WIDE AND THE DINNING ROOM HAS 4X4 PLASTIC TILES ON FLOOR. CAN WE PUT THOSE HARDWARE BOARDS THAT YOU BUY I BOXES OVER THAT AND WOULD IT BE A HARD JOB. THANK YOU BONNIE

  14. Maggie Says:
    July 3rd, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Recently bought a 1950′s house with carpet over vinyl floor over hardwood floor. We want to remove carpet and vinyl to expose the original hardwood. What is the best way to remove the vinyl and prepare the floors for refinishing?

  15. Tile Floors – Latest Tile Floors news – Hard Surface Floors: Choosing Between Tile, Hardwood and Laminate Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    [...] Laying Wood Flooring Over Tile | Danny Lipford [...]

  16. Donna Says:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Danny

    We live in a small rustic log cabin, The floors are part tile, wood and backer board and all level, we want to lay 4′x8′ sheets of knotty pine plywood down as our finished floors and stain them. what can we use to make sure our new floors stick to the existing tiles without problems?
    Thank you

  17. Pat Elliott Wroten Says:
    January 11th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I have a beautiful hardwood entry way and hall that butts up to my open kitchen floor. The kitchen floor is white ceramic with white grout. Can I lay wood flooring to match the hallway directly over the tile and use a thin wood strip between the two to compensate for the difference in height of the kitchen floor?

  18. kelly tyler Says:
    January 14th, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Hi Danny, I recently bought a house which is all tiled but I would like to carpet the upstairs. Will I have to pickup the tile first? If not are there any key points I should adhere to? My main concern is damaging the tile or having the tile print through with wear. Thanks

  19. Sam A Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Dan,I recently pulled up carpet in my livingroom to expose a hardwood floor. My problem is the floor is not completely hardwood, plywood patches. My question is can I put a hardwood floor over a hardwood/plywood floor. Thanks

  20. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 29th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Hi Sam,
    If the subfloor/hardwood floor is level, flat, and well attached, I don’t see why you couldn’t put another layer of hardwood flooring over it, but you might want to check with the company that makes the flooring first to be sure. Good luck with your project!

  21. Kristi Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    We recently built a new home and put tile in our entry, hall, kitchen and dining. I would love wood floors in those areas but it will butt up to carpet. Can I still do this and what would I do next to the carpet so that the wood floors aren’t taller than the carpet?

  22. Henry Thornton Says:
    February 7th, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I have a 3 year old house with tile floors except in bedrooms which have carpet. I have had to replace tiles in several areas because when you walk on them they make a crunchy sound. It sounds like they weren’t sealed properly. Now I am having the same problem in a number of areas. Would floating floors work over the tile? The flooring is level and no grout has come loose. Looking at the floor it looks great until you walk over it and then the crunchy sound is evident.What would you suggest? Thanks in advance. Henry Thornton.

  23. Natalie Says:
    March 18th, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Hi,

    we are moving into our new house and the livingroom, hall and Kitchen are all tiled with the same tile, and all run smooth. We want to put a laminate wooden floor in the livingroom (preferably over the existing tiles) but we are worried about this being raised therefore being higher in level than the hall and kitchen. Is there something you can do to fix this problem??

    Thanks
    Natalie

  24. ken Says:
    May 23rd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I removed tile from my shed floor and plan to lay OSB over the existing floor and paint it, how thick should the OSB be?

    Thanks,

  25. Jo Says:
    May 27th, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Hi my question is, I want to put over my ceramic floor wooden tiles, but I dont know how much glue should i use and what kind if you have any recommendations, thanks!

  26. Ray Says:
    June 26th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Danny,

    I am closing on a house in the next few weeks and there is ugly tile just about everywhere in the home. I am hoping that my wife and I will be there for about 5 years then turn it into a rental while we upgrade to a larger home.

    I would like hardwood floors in the home but if it becomes a rental, the tile would be more resilient so don’t want to destroy it. My thought would be to build a floating hardwood floor over the tile. I would get my 5 years of pleasure and if the renters destroyed it afterward, I could just rip it up and already have a tile floor.

    The problem is the grout lines not being level with the tile. So my question is: Could I contact cement luan sheets over the tile, place the recommended foam underlayment on the Luan and float hardwood over the foam covered luan?

    Do you have any other suggestions for keeping a usable tile floor under hardwood?

  27. Bel Says:
    October 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Hello Ben, We are in the middle of buying a house that has tiles. We are going to install laminate flooring over the tile. My question is can radiant heating be placed between the tile and laminate flooring? Thanks.

  28. wade Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Sam, MY house has some cracks in the ceramic tile. We have replaced them and the crack came back. My question is can i put wood over the tile and if i put (red gaurd) anti francture membrane down on the crack before the wood will it be ok?

    thanks for your help
    wade

  29. Kenneth Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I can not believe you would give such bad advice as to say it is ok to lay glue down wood flooring on top on tile. There as a few issues with laying gluedown wood flooring over tile. First, you have the height issues. Tile with mortar will range in height from 1/4″ to 1/2″. If you lay glue down wood on top you will add about 3/8″ to the height of the floor. That could lead to issues with baseboard issues and door clearence issues. Second, ceramic and porcelain are non-porous so the glue for the wood has nothing to grab hold of and will eventually come loose. The third issue is the grout joints of the tile. The wood glue is not intended to be used as a levler so on those spots where the wood crosses over the grout joints you will not have as much coverage against the wood floor thus you have another spot where the wood will come loose. It is not an matter of “if” you will have a problem if you glue down wood floor over wood, it is only a matter of “when”.

  30. Alida Says:
    January 5th, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I have ceramic tile on a concrete slab. My place is on the water and whenever it gets humid, it sweats and you can see my footprints across the floor. Can I still put down engineered wood on top of this along with a water vapor sheet?

  31. jim cope Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Wanting to finish walkout basement.Would like to lay laminate floor.8 year old house with cracks in concrete floor some 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.cracks run diagonally to walls.How should I prep and floor.

  32. jim Says:
    April 28th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    repair small void in 1/4″ luan from romoveing glue down tile

  33. Shanan Says:
    June 12th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Currently we have carpet in out living rooms and tile in our kitchen. I would like to have a quality wood laminate floor installed in all of these rooms. Can I do this without tearing up the tile. I was hoping we could tear up the carpeted areas only and put down ply wood to raise the formerly carpeted areas with the tile floor then laying a floating laminate floor over the top of it all.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  34. Mary Says:
    September 14th, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I HAVE 12×12 CERAMIC TILE THROUGHOUT MY HOUSE IT WAS INSTALLED OVER CONCRETE,IS IT EXPENSIVE TO HAVE IT REMOVED IF SO CAN WE INSTALL NEW HARDWOOD OVER IT ALSO THOUGHT ABOUT HAVING IT PAINTED BUT WHO DOES THAT AND IS IT A GOOD THING TO DO
    THANK YOU
    MARY

  35. Kristi Coker Says:
    October 10th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    We are thinking of putting redwood floors over the top of ceramic floors in a kitchen. What type of glue or sub flooring should we use?

  36. Danielle Says:
    October 28th, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I have a guesthouse with existing large square tile flooring… The tile in it is installed directly over a cement slab. I went to Home Depot and bought 18 sheets of plywood and had them rip them down into 8 inch wide planks. I plan to lay it down like you would hardwood flooring… My only question is if after I sand the tile down to scratch it up and create a marred surface for glue to adhere to, what kind of glue would Best hold the tile and the plywood planks together? Please help… I’m a little bit desperate with people telling me it can’t be done now ;-). Thanks so much! Danielle

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