Laying ceramic tile over linoleum [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-06-2003, 03:53 PM
:confused: I have bought ceramic tile for both my kitchen and my bathroom with the intention of replacing the linoleum flooring that is currently there. The problem is that when I tried to remove the flooring in the bathroom it appears to have been glued to last a lifetime and I have been subsequently told that I should just tile over it. The house was built in 1964 and the flooring is very likely original. I intend to rip out the rest of the bathroom but I am hoping I don't have to do the same for the kitchen. 1/2 in plywood and tongue and groove solid pine subfloors over a finished basement. Kitchen area 17 x 18. 2x8 joists 16' on center. Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated. I guess my main concerns would be can I install directly over the linoleum after screwing the crap out of it or do I definintely need backer board in which case doe that need to be applied with a thinset itself? Ok I'm rambling now................:bang:

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01-06-2003, 04:09 PM
Just got done this weekend ripping out some of that indestructable linoleum. I found heat guns were the answer.

An uncle recently had a whole house full of this stuff without an easy answer. His solution was to open the windows and doors and fire up the propane weed burner. He also used this to remove the wallpaper. Its hard to believe he didn't burn the house down.

John Bridge
01-06-2003, 08:38 PM
Hi and welcome. :) How about a first name? :)

Since you will need cement backer board over the plywood, I don't see any need to remove the linoleum.

Of greater concern is the size of the joists. 2x8s may be fine in the bath (the span probably isn't too long), but in the kitchen I don't think they'll make the cut unless they are supported by beams out in the middle somewhere. Sixteen feet is way over for 2X8s.

01-06-2003, 09:09 PM
Thanks John it's Todd by the way. That post on the 2x 8 is incorrect. They are actually 2 x 10 which I just verified now that I am at home. So if there is no need to pull it up because I should put cement backer board down what do you propose as the best way to do it? Should I apply thin set on both sides of the backer board or just screw it down really well?

01-06-2003, 09:12 PM

The thinset should definitely go between the CBU and the existing linoleum. Also use thinset between the CBU and the tiles

Once the thinset is troweled out on the linoleum, lay down your BU and Nail/Screw it to the subfloor as spec'd by the CBU Mfgr.

Don't forget to tape and mud the CBU joints as well. This can be done when the board goes down OR as the tile goes down.


01-07-2003, 06:52 AM

Based on 2x10 on 16" centers, 17' span, the computer says No to tile on your kitchen floor. :( Your deflection is about twice what we want to see. (L/360 is .566", your deflection will be 1.2"). With a finshed basement, your options are limited. Each joist would have to be sistered witha 2x10, or you will have to add a beam to reduce the span to less than 14'. Sorry!

01-07-2003, 07:15 AM
bbcamp, just thinking out loud, but might it be possible to use a couple of steel posts and a beam in the basement to support the kitchen floor in the middle?

01-07-2003, 07:35 AM
Absolutely! I've recommended that route a time or two, especially for slate installations due to the L/720 deflection criteria. The beam must support all of the joists, and will be carrying about 425 lbs/ft. Depending on a lot of things, 2 or three posts may be required, plus tieing in the beam at the basement walls. A steel beam would be ideal here, since it preserves as much head room as possible. But we're getting ahead of ourselves at the moment.

The problem with this case is that the kitchen and bath are over a finished basement. It's up to the Todd how much he wants tile upstairs if he has to remodel the downstairs to get it!

01-07-2003, 01:07 PM
:dunce: BBCamp thank you for the insight. I have failed to mention that I do have steel support beams in the basement already. I would have mentioned that if I had realized it made a difference for continuing forward with tiling. I am also curious as to how much weight stress 1/4 in cement backerboard and the tile is going to put on the floor when it is spread evenly over the entire suface. If someone could give me what to look for to determine how well my floor is prepared that would be great. Although my basement is finished it had a drop ceiling so I can see the subfloor and centerbeam etc..

01-07-2003, 03:44 PM
I'll let you in on a trade secret if you promise not to tell the other guys!

The entire tile installation will add about 10 pounds per square foot to your floor. Anything other than tile that you strip up to prepare the floor is peanuts. So what I do (and this is the secret part, so lean forward while I whisper) is add 10 pounds per square foot the the building code's requirement of 40 psf for residential construction, and evaluate the joists and compare the resulting deflection against the L/360 or L/720 requirement. Usually, this results in a 1 or 2 foot reduction in the maximum span given in building codes. It usually doesn't affect any floors, except those already at the maximum span limits. The good part about this method is that the floors are always stiff enough, and the homeowner doesn't have to be concerned about how he uses his property.

I evaluate support beams the same way. They must always be evaluated, because there are no code span tables to fall back on.

So, to make a long story short, if I have evaluated your floor, don't worry about the extra weight of the tile, it's in there!

01-07-2003, 03:49 PM
OK, where is this steel beam, in the middle of the span? If so, great! The joists are fine.

Pop up one of those ceiling tiles and measure the steel beam for me. I need the top to bottom dimension, the width of the bottom flange, and the thickness. Also, please measure the maximum span, too. I'm pretty sure that it's OK, but it won't hurt to be sure.

01-24-2003, 10:52 PM
So what I'm hearing is that to lay ceramic , without adding a beam or sistering joists , the max. span is 14 feet? Or is that just the case in this situation being plank pine and 17' wide and such?
Thanks BB.