Tiling Bathroom Floor [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-09-2003, 10:50 PM
Just found this forum - great resource! I need to replace a broken toilet and would like to use the opportunity to tile the bathroom floor. This would be my first experience with tiling. The current flooring is industrial rubber installed by the previous owners. It's surface was painted and the paint is somewhat worn. Is it possible to tile over the existing rubber? If so, is some special treatment required? Can thinset (or some other material) be used to build up the floor level to correct a slope? I'm reluctant to take up the current flooring unless it's absolutely necessary. I'd like to make this first experience as easy as possible!

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01-09-2003, 10:55 PM
Industrial rubber ?? Can't say that I've heard of it.

Nonetheless, I doubt very seriously if this is an approved substrate for tile. If you have a slab floor, remove the existing rubber and level the slab with a SLC ( self leveling compound). Then tile over the SLC with thinset

If you have a wood subfloor, remove the rubber and install cement board prior to tile. An SLC be used in addition to the CBU to correct any slope issues.

Let's see if any of the others are familiar with your type of floor


John Bridge
01-10-2003, 07:02 AM
Hi Merrillynn,

I would like to make your first tiling experience as painless as possible, but tile work doesn't work that way. ;)

We do need to know what the floor is made of, concrete or wood. And if wood, we need to know more about the rubber stuff and what's under it in the way of framing and subfloor.

01-10-2003, 07:18 AM
If this Industrial rubber floor is Rubber Tiles, And it was installed properly,it was set in thinset with a 3/4" half moon trowel.You may have a difficult time removing Them. I would be most interested in finding out if this is the case.

Finally something Unique!! :)

01-10-2003, 09:32 AM
Thanks for the interest in helping with my problem. In response to the questions asked, the subfloor is wood - a second storey addition built around 1985. The industrial rubber appears to have been installed in four pieces. The largest is approx. 3 feet by 3 feet. The other pieces were cut to fit the remaining floor space which is about 4 feet by 5.5 feet in total. Ditto for my second bathroom. (Yes, I'm blessed with two of these - but luckily the other toilet still works - sort of !) I do not know any details of the cement or adhesive used. Because of the potential difficulty in removal, and since I have a clean hard surface, I am wondering about the feasibility of tiling over the existing floor.

01-10-2003, 10:21 AM
Go ahead and fix the toilet. Even if you have to install a new one, it isn't hard and you can remove it later once we get this figured out.

The only approved material, other than plywood and cement-based products, suitable for use under tile is vinyl composition tile (VCT) and then only under specific conditions. The rubber must go. The reason is that tile, thinset and grout are rigid and brittle. They present a very hard surface, but if they are bent, they break. The rubber will flex under the weight of normal living. That's why it's used, to cushion your feet when you walk (it may be hard, but it's not concrete). When it flexes, the tile breaks!

Now, if you wanted to install 5/8" plywood over the rubber, then 1/2" backerboard, then the tile, it might work, but you won't get any guarantees from anyone. You will get a 1-1/2" height difference at the door threshold, and you will have to extend the closet flange, and maybe the vanity.

01-11-2003, 11:34 AM
How would you go about removing a rubber floor? I use the term generically because I don't know how one distinguishes rubber from vinyl, but I suppose it could be vinyl or some other substance. I do know that it is quite rigid and doesn't have any 'give' - it's not bouncy. I'm not sure what you mean by 'flex'. Now, as to installing plywood over the rubber, I'm not sure why you would put plywood overtop. Isn't it likely that there is already a layer of plywood underneath the rubber? I would be okay with the cementboard and SLC that was suggested, but 1 1/2" sounds like way too much relative to the threshold.

01-11-2003, 12:13 PM
Can you post a picture of the floor. perhaps 1 near the threshold and another near the stool/tub :)

01-11-2003, 01:20 PM
Great idea! Only problem - at the bottom of this posting page it says "You may not post attachments" and no "browse" button appears. Can the administrator permit me to post these pictures?

01-11-2003, 01:23 PM
there are some rubber floors out there(ie: nora,perelli,ect) as far as tiling to them __no-- as stated you might be able to glue and screw cbu over, then tile, but i would check with the mfg. of board. with out dought best would be to remove it.

01-11-2003, 02:47 PM
Thanks. Here are two pictures.

John Bridge
01-11-2003, 02:53 PM
Yep, those look like commercial rubber tiles all right. ;)

If the floors are otherwise firm, I would be tempted to put down CBU with thin set and roofing nails. I don't think those tiles are going to collapse.

[I can see the tile police coming after me now]


Tile Ranger
01-11-2003, 03:19 PM
Mr. Bridge?

Would you step over here with me, please?

And bring your copy of the TCA Handbook if you don't mind.

I just have a couple questions for you. This will only take a minute.

01-11-2003, 03:41 PM
This is what you have: http://www.johnsonite.com/products/roundel.htm#

If it was put in by professionals, then a 2 part epoxy adhesive was used, and they are very difficult to pull up...but not impossible....only one way to find out;)

I'm with Mr Bridge on this one...if you can't pull it up, then I would go on top of it with cement board. The room is small enough that it shouldn't be a problem. The flooring may be rubber, but it's a very hard rubber..it's not going to flex under foot traffic.

01-11-2003, 03:54 PM
Now that I know what y'all are talking about, I think it might not be all that bad. The only time I ever ran into that stuff it was installed on a wood floor with what looked to be just regular contact cement. Left a messy residue on the wood, but that shouldn't matter if you're gonna install CBU anyway.

I'd say remove that toilet (which you gotta do anyway) and try to peel the edge you find under there. See how tough (or how easy) it's gonna be.

01-11-2003, 05:43 PM
Thanks. I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as I proceed with this project. BTW, is BRIan from Ontario from the Toronto area?

01-11-2003, 06:16 PM
Nope..sorry...2 hrs east......9 hrs during rush hour;)

01-11-2003, 10:10 PM
Looks like your in good hands. Now if you could just convince them to cmon over and help :D

Rob Z
01-12-2003, 06:04 AM
Hi Merrillyn

You have presented us with a new one! :confused:

I've seen this type of flooring before, as well. It does seem to be extremely dense and non-compressible. If it is stuck down as firmly as Bri suggests, I would consider going over it backer board (assuming the framing beneath is suitable for tile).

John Bridge
01-12-2003, 10:54 AM
Boy, that Tile Ranger is everywhere. Wonder why he didn't get on Bri (who agreed with me). ;)


We do have a member in Toronto. His username is Ron. Nickname is Toronto Tile Guy. You can email him by locating his profile in the search.

Got another elusive guy up in Barie by name of Harry.

01-12-2003, 10:50 PM
Prolly on accounta Bri's in Canada. Maybe Tile Ranger can't write no tickets up there, eh? ;)

What did he cite you for, JB? You gotta pay a fine? :D

Looks like RobZ is kinda agreeing with you, too. Better y'all look out for your tile lisences.

John Bridge
01-13-2003, 08:23 PM
Just look back on the first page of this thread. That guy's scary, I tell ya. ;)

01-13-2003, 09:50 PM
I've been searching the forum and have some idea how to deal with the added floor height with regard to the toilet - flange extensions or double wax seals - but have been unable to find out what to do about the pedestal sink. Can it be raised or should I plan to tile around it? Are there extenders available for the plumbing fittings in order to raise the sink up to the level of the new tile floor?

John Bridge
01-14-2003, 07:27 AM

There is usually enough extra tubing in the joints to stretch the sink up a half inch, which is what it takes. Otherwise, the parts are not expensive. You just get new supply lines and maybe a section of drain pipe.

This requires a saw. What we do is leave the sink where it is and remove the pedestal from under it. We saw a half inch off the top of the pedestal and slip it back under after the floor has been tiles.

I wouldn't recommend tiling around it. It might need to be replaced someday.

01-14-2003, 08:09 AM
Of course, if you're talking about a ceramic pedestal, then sawing off a section is probably not a good idea. You should re-mount it, and use new lines from the shutoff valves, and replace the drain tailpiece with a longer one.

John Bridge
01-14-2003, 05:39 PM

Explain your reluctance to saw off a ceramic (porcelain) pedestal. I don't have any qualms about it at all. ;)

I won't argue that M. isn't probably better off moving the lav. Sawing requires a big saw and an experienced hand, and I probably shouldn't have mentioned it. (But I did. :D )

01-15-2003, 07:10 AM
I, er, ah, never done it myownself. I, er, ah, thought that, er, ceramic, that is, is rather , er, fragile, yeah, Fragile! And I break fragile things, and I wouldn't know what kinda saw to use, and it's easy to raise the sink, and I'm kinda tall, so I want the sink a little higher than standard and cutting off the base doesn't help, and if you're gonna let Merrilyn tile over rubber, at least raise the sink!

01-15-2003, 07:28 AM
Yea,what he said!!! If your gonna let her tile over Rubber (they make tires and superballs outa that stuff ya know)Raise the sink :D
Who was that masked man and how did he get such a cool nik!!

John Bridge
01-15-2003, 09:11 PM
Ah, Merrillyn, raise the sink, honey. I should have kept my mouth shut. :D

01-16-2003, 07:05 AM

01-17-2003, 12:26 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far. About the pedestal sink, I may not have mentioned that it is attached to the wall. Will I be able to remove it without damaging the existing wall tile? The tile, is in good condition and I am not planning to replace it.

Inching closer to actually tiling the bathroom floor, I have been reading all the posts I could find on tile cutting and am now thoroughly confused. The tiles I have chosen are 12.5"x12.5". I would like to lay them on a diagonal, so I will have cut edges around the perimeter. What is the best way for me to cut these without spending hundreds of dollars on a saw? I read some good comments about an inexpensive saw bought on ebay but no brand name was mentioned. If I go for a rental, is there a particular brand or type to ask for? Please advise me on the best and safest approach for a newbie to take.

01-17-2003, 01:37 PM
A lot of folks will tell you to buy the saw you need, then decide later to sell it or keep it for more projects. Others will say rent, especially if you know that you won't have more projects.

As to what saw to rent or buy, that is another can of worms. There are discussions going on right now on this subject.

John Bridge
01-17-2003, 03:45 PM

Plasplug. That's the name of the saw. About 80 to 90 bucks at Home Depot. Find a rubber or plastic apron someplace. The Plasplug throws out a bit of water. ;)

For a bathroom floor it will do the job. There are other brands besides plasplug, too. All of them act the same way, though.

If the sink is not tiled into the wall, you can probably raise it.

01-17-2003, 06:52 PM
If your pedestal sink is like mine, there are 2 lag screws holding the sink to the wall. Look underneath and see the nuts. Remove them and the sink will pull away from the wall. If it is caulked, cut thru that with a utility knife. Now place both nuts on the same screw and tighten them against each other. Then back the bolt out from the wall. Repeat with other bolt.

To raise the sink, finish installing the floor tiles, then stack the sink on the pedistal, place against the wall and mark the holes. These marks will be about 1/2" or so higher than the old holes. Drill thru the tiles, into the blocking board. Reinstall the bolts and the rest of the sink. Add new supply lines and drain. Caulk the joint around the sink at the wall.

And enjoy your sink!