Should You Lay Laminate Flooring Over Tile? We Help You Figure Out

Kenneth Wilson

Laminate flooring is considered one of the best options for many. For starters, it's easy to work with, is low maintenance, all while boosting your home's value. What more could you possibly ask for on your new floors?

We talk to homeowners on the day, and most of them wonder: Can I put laminate over tile in my bathrooms?

Well, the short answer is yes. It's possible to install laminate floors over ceramic tile flooring, given certain conditions– that is.

Can I Put Laminate Floors Over Tiles?


Suppose your tile floors in the living room or bathroom are in considerably good condition (flat, level, and well-attached). In that case, you can think of an installation process similar to installing a laminate floor on a standard concrete slab.

Plenty of homeowners want to spare themselves the trouble of tile removal, so placing new floors over existing tile sounds like a total life-saver.

But, if your existing ceramic tile flooring isn't flat or smooth, with protruding tiles or ones that are out of level– it may not give you the best results.

Key Considerations Before Laying Laminate Flooring Over Tiles


Now that you know it's possible to install laminate over tile floors– here are some factors to consider.

Tile Condition


Ideally, your tiling must be in current decent shape. This means no visibly loose tiles or any crack signs.

If your tile floors are either cracked or loose– the results may only turn out to be a mess. It's best to fix any unlevel (or protruding) tiles before installing laminate over the surface. Some homeowners opt to apply a leveling compound to even out the tiles.

  • Installation Method: Another consideration is the particular method you want to install the laminate. Would you prefer gluing down the new floor? Or would you want to use the snap or click locking mechanism? You’re not limited to the standard glue-down method (though some situations will require this route). Snap-lock mechanisms are increasingly expected by the day for laminate flooring. This requires you to interlock laminate planks together, which gives better results than the former.

Floor Height


For laminate flooring installation projects like these, you’ll ultimately end up with more floor height. This may cause several problems with flooring transitions, door thresholds, and the like.

You may want to use a thin prefinished engineered laminate flooring for this reason. In placing laminate floors over tile, ensure to leave a ⅜ inch gap surrounding the area to cover expansion and fit below baseboards/molding.

Let's say you have several tiles protruding above the test by at least 1/16 inches (or 1.6 mm); you may need to chip them and fill the space with thin-set mortar afterward.

As previously mentioned, your existing floors must be even and level as much as possible. Fix any gaps before laying the laminate on the surface to avoid potential structural problems.

Underlayment


In most cases, homeowners assume there's a moisture barrier below the tile floors (if there isn't, the tiles can serve as the barrier). Therefore, they often skip this crucial step.

But it would be excellent to lay underlayment beneath your laminate floors to ensure a warm underfoot, better moisture protection, and acoustics.

Ensure to lay the underlayment after any leveling compound dries. Should your laminate floors have an attached underlayment, an additional one won't be required.

  • How to Choose the Right Underlay: When it comes to laminate installation, underlay is a no-brainer. Since there are different underlay types you can use for this project, the best one for your needs can be immensely challenging. Experts suggest choosing a standard 3 mm (1/8 inch) underlay with basic sound reduction properties.

How Do You Lay Laminate Flooring Over Tile?


You don't need to fasten your laminate floors to the subfloor in most cases. Sounds convenient, right? If you don't have the time or energy to commit to a hands-on installation process, this quality makes for a great flooring renovation solution. (Related: Step-by-Step Guide: How to Install Laminate Over Tile Flooring)

Simply place your new laminate floor planks over existing tile floors, and there you have it! Here are some pointers to keep in mind to ensure a proper installation.

  1. 1
    Inspect your existing tiles to ensure they are in excellent condition. If you see any visible cracks, chips, or loose tiles, you may need to remove the old tiles to install the laminate planks directly on the subfloor. Suppose the tiles are still in prime condition; simply lay down the laminate boards on the surface.
  2. 2
    Afterward, ensure that the added height or thickness won't affect the accessibility in your entryways or living spaces. If your household has taller occupants specifically, you may need to consider this an extra crucial factor.
  3. 3
    Ensure the tiling is leveled (the same thing you need to do if you're dealing with uneven subfloor surfaces). This prevents the probability of plank separation in the long run, especially if any occupant in your home steps on uneven tiles. The most common way to level your floors is by using a specific leveling compound, filling the troughs in the tiles and the deep grout lines. Doing so gives you a smoother, more uniform surface.
  4. 4
    The next step is to ensure an underlayment is installed, serving as the floor's moisture barrier. Additionally, this also offers improved insulation and cushioning. Once you ensure that the old tiles already have underlayment material, you may skip this step.
  5. 5
    Lastly, install the laminate floor planks over an even tile surface. In the process, opt to stagger them to improve their structural strength and aesthetic. Simply cut the planks in random lengths and ensure the end joints of each plank do not coincide with one another.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What other types of flooring can I put over laminate?

If you want to lay another flooring material over laminate for maximum aesthetic appeal, you can use ceramic tiles to do it successfully. However, you may want to avoid laying another floating flooring such as vinyl because it will undoubtedly lead to structural problems. Remember that laminate lumber is a poor subfloor material for vinyl floorboards.

Can you put peel-and-stick flooring over tile?

Yes, many existing surfaces like tiles can be laid by peel-and-stick flooring. Proper preparation of the tiled surface is needed to make the tile-on-tile installation successful. This may include cleaning any dust and debris on the floor to ensure the complete adhesion of peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. Uneven flooring may lead to gaps and problems in the floor structure, so ensure that the old tile flooring is appropriately leveled.

What do I do if my floor is too high?

Most homeowners solve the height difference with transition strips, molding pieces milled with uneven rabbets. This design compensates for the varying height. Ideally, it's best to leave this addressed by an experienced professional to ensure it is done correctly. Although it is tempting to attempt a DIY project to cut costs, matters of this importance must be left to the pros. You wouldn't want to spend more than what is necessary to correct your mistakes or poor attempts.

Final Thoughts


Homeowners looking for a quick and easy way to replace old or possibly worn-out tile floors can cover it with laminate. This is the quickest solution to give your home brand new floors in as quick as 24 hours!

Kenneth Wilson
January 4, 2022
Contractor Tips, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

Ask The Author Your Question In The Comments!


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

More From This Author


7 Best AC Drain Line Cleaners & Tools
4 Different Types of HVAC System: Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Best Ways To Cut Vinyl Flooring & What Tools To Use
What Is Forced Air Heating? Here’s Everything You Need To Know
5 Natural Ways To Make Your Tile Floors Shine (A Practical Guide)
Is Groutable Vinyl Tile Right For Your Home? (+ Pros & Cons)
>