DIY Projects

How to Lay Tile Over a Tile Floor

By: Danny Lipford
Applying modified thin-set mortar to a tile floor.

Applying grout to tile floor.

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:

  1. Clean Floor: Clean the floor to remove any grease or dirt.
  2. Cut Door Jambs: Use a jamb saw, or handsaw and spacer block, to cut door jambs to the proper height.
  3. Layout Tile: Layout the tile pattern on the floor by popping chalk lines to use in aligning the tile.
  4. 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.
  5. Lay Tile: Lay the tile in the thin-set, using a level to make sure the tile are flat and even.
  6. Cut Tile: Make any cuts that are needed to the tile using a wet saw or tile cutter.
  7. Allow Adhesive to Set: Allow the thin-set adhesive to dry for 24 hours or more.
  8. Grout Tile: Apply grout to the floor, wiping off any excess with a damp sponge.
  9. Allow Grout to Set: Allow the grout to harden before walking on the floor.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

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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15 Comments on “How to Lay Tile Over a Tile Floor”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    February 15th, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Hi, Madeleine!
    You said the floor is in perfect condition, so there should be no problems with tiling over it.
    Tile options vary, and we’ve noticed that homeowners often follow the trends.
    Wood-look porcelain tile is pretty popular:
    So is ceramic tile that looks like marble, like this:
    At the end of the day, your choice should reflect your style.
    Have fun!

  • Madeleine Says:
    February 14th, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    We have ” mona Cotora” so called tiles which are laid on the bathroom floor and all wet areas. There are no signs of movement or cracks , even the grout in in perfected condition since laid in 1981. My question is, can we safely retile newtiles with no future problem, are there any quality tile preference as well you can recommend .
    Thank you.

  • Michael Katchmir Says:
    January 6th, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Is there any problem with laying tile over a, Vermont Stone Tile floor, that is in good shape. We want to change to something the look.

    Warranty problems etc?

  • mario Says:
    December 10th, 2018 at 2:52 am

    can i tile on tile in and ond on bathroom walls of existing tiles on walls

  • john Says:
    November 7th, 2018 at 12:06 am

    I thought that i must break tiles in my house to install new ceramic tiles however i searched about this point and learned that breaking is unnecessary. Have a nice day

  • Richard Says:
    April 13th, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    what to use to clean the existing tile before tiling

  • kalyesubula salim Says:
    March 15th, 2018 at 5:17 am

    is it possible to lay tiles on un slabbed fool

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Says:
    March 1st, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Hi, Mary!
    Here’s more information about this topic:
    Give it a read and let us know how things work out.
    Thanks for your question.

  • Mary Brotherton Says:
    February 27th, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Can you lay tile over tile in a tiled shower floor?

  • Nona GOODLAND Says:
    January 25th, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    how can I have vinylay flooring put in my kitchen on top of ceramic tiles without having to take them up. please

  • Cynthia Says:
    October 18th, 2017 at 1:39 am

    In your video you are not laying the thin set according to best practices, which is a straight pattern. And I have learned that the pattern in your video is common but results in a substandard adhesion of tile.

  • larry brown Says:
    July 18th, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I’m wanting to lay tile in my kitchen. It is a concrete slab that has a control joint running down the middle. Do I need to do something special over that joint?

  • Sil Says:
    July 3rd, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    We want to lay porcelain tile over ceramic tile. I have heard that we will need to be careful the height around the dishwasher area in the kitchen, so we would be able to pull out the dishwasher. Can you elaborate on this a little more?. Also, how do we deal around the toilet area in the bathroom having tile over tile. We just want to avoid pulling out/scraping off the old tile for the mess and for the cost this will imply. Thanks. Sil.

  • Pam Anderson Says:
    January 28th, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    We just removed laminate over existing tile over a floor. We are wanting
    to install new tile over the existing tile, but have found that there are some hollow tile, and used filler to fill in the hollow tile. Our installer is afraid that the new tile will start popping once the it is glued to the old tile.
    When he removed some of the base board the old tile came up with the
    base board which leads us to believe the tile was not glued properly.

    What a mess please give us your professional aopinion.

    Thank you

    October 7th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    after flooring is laid how to make a thrishold with a 1” drop.

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How to Lay Tile Over a Tile Floor