Tile can be installed over old floor tile if the existing tile is in good condition with no settling or major cracks. It's important to keep in mind that lying tile over tile can raise the height of the floor, which may require that you cut off the bottom of doors that open into the room. If any existing tiles are loose or missing, reattach existing or new tiles to fill in the spots. Here you'll find the steps for tiling over an old tile floor.
1. Examine the Existing Floor
Although your existing tile floor may look like it's in good condition, there may be problems that are not visible to the naked eye. Closely inspect the tile and grout for any cracks, as you don't want to tile over cracked flooring. Lightly tap on the floor with your fist. If you hear a hollow sound, it could indicate that the tiles are loose or that there is a subfloor problem.
2. Apply a Thin Skin Fabric
If you are tiling over old vinyl tiles, you will want to put down a thin skin fabric surface between the vinyl and mortar layers. Use a trowel to spread a thin layer of adhesive across the floor surface and press the fabric into the adhesive using a putty knife. The thin skin fabric is essential for creating a surface in which the mortar will properly bond.
3. Mix a Batch of Mortar
Create a thin batch of mortar by following the instructions provided on the package. Spread a very thin layer of mortar over the fabric evenly. Give the thin-set mortar approximately 30 minutes to dry. This will give you a smooth, hard surface to apply your new tile over.
4. Set the New Tiles
Apply a second layer of thin-set mortar over the floor and spread with a notched trowel. The size of the notch depends on the type and size of the tile you use. Use the flat side of the trowel to create even ridges over the floor surface to prevent air gaps which can lead to cracking in the future. Set the tiles into the mortar, leaving enough space between the tiles to install spacers at every intersection.
5. Mix and Spread Grout Over Tiles
Mix the grout according to the instructions provided on the package. Force the grout into the joints and remove any excess with a grout float. Once all the seams have been filled, wash the grout off the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge. Once the grout has dried to a haze, wash the tiles again with clean water.
Some homeowners are unsure if they can tile over their existing tile floor. In most cases, you can tile over tile if the underlying tile floor is in good condition. For more information about tile flooring, contact your local floor supplier. One company that offers tile flooring service is Toliver's Carpet One Floor & Home.