How to Lay Tile Over a Tile Floor
By: Danny Lipford
Tile can be laid over existing tile, as long as the floor is in good condition with no loose or broken tile. To lay tile over tile:
- Clean Floor: Clean the floor to remove any grease or dirt.
- Cut Door Jambs: Use a jamb saw, or handsaw and spacer block, to cut door jambs to the proper height.
- Layout Tile: Layout the tile pattern on the floor by popping chalk lines to use in aligning the tile.
- Apply Adhesive: Use a notched trowel to apply thin-set mortar mix that has been modified with a latex or polymer additive to increase adhesion.
- Lay Tile: Lay the tile in the thin-set, using a level to make sure the tile are flat and even.
- Cut Tile: Make any cuts that are needed to the tile using a wet saw or tile cutter.
- Allow Adhesive to Set: Allow the thin-set adhesive to dry for 24 hours or more.
- Grout Tile: Apply grout to the floor, wiping off any excess with a damp sponge.
- Allow Grout to Set: Allow the grout to harden before walking on the floor.
Watch this video to find out more.
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Whether you’re updating the look of a room or seeking to improve the value of your home, the addition of a ceramic or porcelain tile floor is always a good move. Tile can be installed directly over a concrete slab or over a wood subfloor with an added layer of backer board. Tile can even be installed over an existing tile floor.
The result of this type of installation is especially dramatic if you’re changing to a larger size tile, as we are in this kitchen. These 8” tiles not only date the room, but the excessive, darker grout lines can actually make the room seem smaller than it actually is.
To begin installation, decide how you want the tile pattern to be laid out. Because the center of activity in a kitchen tends to be focused at the cabinets between the sink and the stove, finding the centerline between these cabinets makes the most sense. By popping a chalk line in both directions, you create the corner for your first tile.
When laying tile over tile, it is best to use a modified thin-set. This is a bonding mortar with either a latex or polymer additive. The modified mortar creates a stronger bond between the surfaces. However, it may be worth noting that you may need to wait a little longer between laying the tile and grouting to allow the thin-set to properly cure.
Because some tile floors can be uneven, you may experience slight dips and divots in the floor. Using a level to make sure each tile is on the same horizontal plane as each adjacent tile is always very important. In some cases, you may need to add extra thin-set to the bottom of the tile to keep it level.
A wet saw is the preferred tool for cutting tile to fit against walls or around corners. If you don’t own a wet saw, you can rent one. At doorways, use a jamb saw to cut the trim to allow tile to slip under the casing and the jamb.
Once you have completed laying the entire tile, allow a minimum of 24 hours for the thin-set to cure before allowing any traffic on the floor. After the curing is complete, you are ready to grout. Mix the grout according to manufacturer’s suggestion and force into the space between the tile using a rubber float.
Once the grout has been applied, thoroughly clean the grout haze from the tiles. This can be the most tedious part of the job, but extremely important for the overall finished look of the floor.
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