porcelain tile directly over old vinyl tile, with radiant heat?

panvcOctober 16, 2011

Hi, I've been slowly upgrading my kitchen all year. Now I'm probably going to install porcelain floor tiles.

Does anyone have warnings about installing the new porcelain tiles right over the existing vinyl floor "tile" (if you can call it that), which is in good shape and not peeling anywhere? The tiler who did my backsplash normally puts down 1/4" backerboard on the vinyl, but reluctantly thinks it should work without it, too. The floor tile will probably be on the large side, at least 16"x16".

But I'm also thinking to install radiant heat (probably hot water tubes) between the joists under the kitchen. I'm not sure if this would affect how I install the tiles above it.

Thanks in advance for any insights!

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You must have a proper substrate or your tile job will fail.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 11:31PM
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I think the vinyl floor "tile" is just big sheets (but not sure how big) of multiple tile patterns etched on top. I'm guessing that it's very thin, flexible, and glued right to the subfloor. Would it be worth "unpeeling" this vinyl tile first? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 10:45AM
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I would peel up whatever vinyl sheets are there. Then scrape the rest with a scraper.

Tile needs a good substrate or the tile could crack, your grout break up, or tiles become loose. I would use something like Schluter-DITRA (Mike Holmes uses it constantly) orange waffle.

I used a blue mat I found in the tile section of HD. It's intended to quiet tile for upstairs flooring, but it had a sticky tar like backing that made it ideal for laying over old laminate that wouldn't come up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schluter-DITRA orange waffle

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Thanks for the tips!

Do you think it matters which gets installed first? That is, Floor tile vs radiant heat (water tubes under subfloor between joists).

How much risk is there to a newly installed tile floor which is then subjected to radiant heat tube installing requiring drilling through joists (and whatever other disturbance this normally entails)? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 8:28AM
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