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Replace vinyl with tile flooring

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Dec 22, 2013, 11:45 PM
Replace vinyl with tile flooring
My up stair bathroom had vinyl sheet flooring (without cushioned) as in the photos below. We don't like this color as well as the artistic of it. It is placed on top of the wood subfloor. Pic #1 is looking from the inside. Pic #2 is from the hallway.

You can see in pic #1 the edge of bathroom vs. the hallway outside. There is a threshold (transition strip) 1/2" H x 2" W.

The vinyl sheet is glued down very good, no loose spot. My house is built in 1967.

My questions:

1. I plan to just put tiles on top of vinyl to avoid removing. Should I put backer board between the tiles and the vinyl? Or should I just put mortar on the current floor and lay tiles on top of it?

I read the following link

..and it said to put backer board anyways. Is that right?
If the joists are spaced 16 in. apart, the layers of structural flooring beneath the vinyl should add up to at least 1-1/8 in. With joists every 24 in., you need 1-1/2 in

2. Regardless of the method, I am afraid the new tile floor will make the bathroom flooring higher than the hallway's floor. What is the maximum height of threshold to use in that situation? I cannot find any information about what threshold is available and size. Is there any other creative way? I don't want to damage outside the hallway.


This message has been edited. Last edited by: quanghoc,

Dec 23, 2013, 07:24 AM
Tile should not be laid over linoleum or anything 1/4" thick which may be what your old flooring was laid over as an underlayment.
Have you checked out what size floor joist and there free spans are under that area to see if it will even support tile?
There's lots of sheet linoleums out there that look just like tile that would be a whole lot less work and be 100% waterproof that could be laid over that old floor after applying an embossing agent to level out the low spots.

Dec 23, 2013, 08:47 AM
Absolutely do not install on top of the vinyl!

You will likely find that the vinyl was installed on top of a smooth 1/4" thick plywood. Remove both the vinyl and this sub-layer, replace with 1/4" concrete board as a backer and then install your tile. This will give you a floor that will stay in place and will not be much higher than what you have already.

There are no rules as to how much higher one floor can be to another, but obviously the best is to keep them all at the same plane. For some transitions, purchase a ready-made threshold, for others, need to make one.

Dec 23, 2013, 11:30 AM
you already have a transition strip, so you should be familiar with them in the house. once the subfloor is out with the tile, and you put in a Durock or cement board underlayment, maybe a Kerdi layer if you're really feeling professional that week, and tile, you just transition-strip to the other side.

don't forget to lift the toilet after wet-vac'ing out the water from tank and trap, clean the flange thoroughly, and set one or two plastic levelling rings on the flange with silicone sealant between layers and a couple corrosion-resistant screws. use a "funnel" wax ring. the raised flange should generally be floor height with most toilets before you ring it. you will need new, longer bolts.

ought to work as good as it will look.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Dec 23, 2013, 10:03 PM
I just drilled a small hole to find out the thickness of this subfloor. It's about 2 1/4" thick below. So I guest @Jaybee was right: there is probably a 1/4" thick plywood under this vinyl sheet because I can see many layers.

About floor joist, something doesn't make sense to me. I took the picture below the bathroom floor. Is the red line considered a floor joist? Because they are very far away (~48") until there is another one like that.

One other piece of information: I am planning to replace all vanity and toilet (they are literally broken). That's why I want to put tiles on it, at least to increase home value.

Question to @joecaption though: why would you recommend sheet linoleums? Beside it seems to be environmental friendly & more colors. The blog below said it's harder to clean but most importantly it has no home value increase:

Dec 23, 2013, 10:23 PM
Does this happen to be a log cabin?

Your red line does cover a floor joist. What you have is a little unusual though as it appears that your joists are 4x10's set 48" OC and your subfloor is a 2" T&G. A 2" T& G can span 48".

Since you have a plank floor, there has to be a plywood layer on top to keep the joints from showing through the vinyl. In most cases, a 1/4" lauan smooth plywood is used as a backer under a vinyl floor.

The vinyl vs tile or other flooring products is part perception and part performance. Tile is considered a higher-end product than vinyl or other sheet flooring. Vinyl is saddled with the fact that you can get fairly cheap vinyl as well as very nice higher grade stuff. There are pluses and minuses to each.

Dec 24, 2013, 02:17 AM
Does this happen to be a log cabin?

Good question. I asked myself the same questions since I bought this house. You won't believe how much violations people did back in the 60s. Now my only question is if the house doesn't collapse on me. But no it won't! LOL

Do you have any recommendation on best way to removing the vinyl and the 1/4" plywood? This bathroom is quite small so I tried not to end up renting bunch of machine if I don't need to.
Dec 24, 2013, 02:42 AM
Your floor joist are spaced well over double what a modern well built house would be and the joist are under sized.
A homebuilt today most likely would be 16" O/C. and 2 X 10's.
Not sure where your getting your info but a vinyl floor is very easy to clean. There's no seams or low spots like with tile.
As far as adding value it would add more then cracked grout and tile caused from a weak floor system.
Adding floor joist, adding a layer of 3/4" A/C plywood would help with the flexing.
First thing I would have figured on if I had of been looking this house over to buy would be the cost to replace all that old steel plumbing.
It closes upon the inside with rust, and will all leak at some point. Plus there's always going to be rust stains in the fixtures even with a water softener.

Dec 24, 2013, 04:00 AM
@joecaption there is always something incorrectly done or too old for a house built in the 60s. Completely agree with that. But I am not trying to boil the ocean here with a somewhat small renovation. Plus it's not a house to spend a life time on (i.e my plan is to fix it for few years and move away).
Dec 24, 2013, 04:43 AM
No one's asking you to.
Do the job right and it only has to be done once.
Every new home owner complains about how it was built or how the old home owner did poor DIY fixes.
But then they ask what's a cheap fast way to fix it.
Cheap and fast short cuts almost never work out and end up costing more.

Dec 24, 2013, 05:08 PM
Easiest way to remove the vinyl and the lauan underneath: Set your circular saw to the depth of both the vinyl and the plywood layer under then cut all across the room in both directions. Ideal will be to make a bunch of 18" to 24" squares. Then pry up the individual squares. There will still be some ripping, especially near the walls where you can't get the circular saw in close, but it makes it much easier. A lot depends on how many nails were used and if it was glued.

Once the lauan is gone, then determine exactly what your subfloor is.

Dec 24, 2013, 10:36 PM
Thanks @joecaption and @jaybee I will start working on it and report progress ;-)
Dec 27, 2013, 10:23 PM
does your water taste funny? are your drains slow?
i see a lot of 60's plumbing..
i bet the hot water is considerable slower than the cold*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E
Dec 29, 2013, 02:09 AM
does your water taste funny? are your drains slow?
i see a lot of 60's plumbing..
i bet the hot water is considerable slower than the cold

Nope. We never had problem with water. It came out little yellow when we go on 3 weeks vacation. But otherwise, it was fine. Hot water pressure is pretty good too.