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Unread 10-21-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
Ceceil
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How to replace vinyl tiles glued to wood sub-floor in bathroom

I want to replace vinyl tiles glued to wood sub-floor in two small bathrooms. This will be a DIY project. I’ve got a small budget but I don’t want to use cheap materials. I’m just looking for a budget friendly; professional and elegant look.

I’ve tiled a kitchen backsplash before but that’s all the tiling experience I have.

What are the safest and best tiles for bathrooms? What other materials are involved? Do I have to get rid of existing vinyl tiles? Existing vinyl tiles are glued securely to the wood floor and may be pain to remove. Could you help me get started?


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Unread 10-21-2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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Ceceil, are you asking about porcelain tiles or more of the vinyl tiles (but maybe a better grade)? A better idea of your budget limitations would help narrow it down for you.

Have you tried scraping the existing tile up? If it's ready to let loose, it will pry up with a stiff putty knife with a little help from a heat gun. If they are well adhered, a razor scraper with a long handle so you can put some muscle behind it will work. It will be work, though.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 12:58 PM   #3
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Hi Bob:

I'll consider whatever tile is best for bathrooms. I just want to get rid of the vinyl tiles.

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Unread 10-21-2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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Glazed porcelain tile with a fairly high coefficient of friction (if it is rated for outdoors, it is fine) are good for bathrooms. They are also fairly easy to install and maintain, and have fewer issues with the floor structure compared to stone. Your floor structure must meet minimum deflection criteria, and the subfloor must be a minimum thickness and be in good condition. You wuil need to add an underlayment of some sort. Backerboards are cheap, but add about 1/4" or so to the height of the floor. Membranes are lower (thinner) but cost more.

Sheet vinyl is probably the most accomodating flooring for a bathroom, but isn't usually a DIY job, mainly because the installation costs are pretty low, but also because it is a one-shot deal for trimming the stuff. Vinyl tiles can be purchased that very closely resemble ceramic tile. Both require some subfloor prep so any flaws in the subfloor do not telegraph through the vinyl.

So, besides just wanting rid of the old tiles, have you made any design decisions that may influence the choice of product?
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Unread 10-21-2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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As a DIY'er myself, choosing the tiles is the easy, fun part of the job.

But, the real work is in removing the old vinyl tiles, removing the adhesive, laying down the backerboard with thinset, laying the tiles while getting thinset everywhere and trying to keep everything straight and level, cutting tiles for the edges, and then grouting. It's hard physical work, and not for the meek. I didn't even mention about removing the toilet. How long can you go without having a toilet in the bathroom, while you are doing everything? Having said all that, the end result can be quite satisfying. I know you've done a backsplash before, but a floor is much harder.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 07:20 PM   #6
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I’ll go with the glazed porcelain tile. Here is the tile I chose:


MARAZZI Bengal Slate 6 in. x 6 in. Glazed Porcelain Floor & Wall Tile

Grade 1, first-quality porcelain tile for floor, wall, and countertop use
6 in. length x 6 in. wide x 3/8 thick

Glazed textured finish with a low sheen and a random variation in tone
P.E.I. Rating IV: High resistance to abrasion and suitable for heavy duty floors and walls, both residential and commercial installations such as entrances, commercial kitchens, hotels, exhibition and sales rooms. Some dirt conditions more severe

Vitreous flooring has water absorption of more than 0.5% but less than 3% for indoor use and some outdoor applications and is frost resistant.
C.O.F. greater than .60 to .79 is required for commercial applications to meet or exceed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Guidelines. Skid resistant. Indoor and outdoor use.

Completely frost resistant for indoor or outdoor applications; use a latex modified thinset for acceptable bond strength.
Residential and Commercial Use

I don’t know much about the sub floor's structure so I have attached a photo of the bathroom. Would you be able to determaine if the Marazzi tile would be suitable? I'll go for Membranes if it's not too expensive.

I figured this project would be challenging and messy but I'm willing to go for it if you can guide me.

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Unread 10-22-2010, 07:00 AM   #7
Edthedawg
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Ceceil,

We can only guide you inasmuch as you gotta do the research and digging on your end.

Injineer Bob (can I actually say that?) gave you a shopping list of things to find out. A photo of the room as it stands is not going to do much for us. Yes, you must remove those vinyl tiles before tiling over them. But what's under them? 1/4" plywood? old hardwood? 1/2" plywood? If you don't know, then you have no way of knowing if your tile work has any chance of survival. (Note: all 3 of those things are very common, and none of them are suitable to tile directly over, or even install most tiling substrates over)

If you want a high degree of confidence in your floor's future survival, you might plan to just do this: Demo the whole thing. Take out the entire floor. Right down to the joists. Measure those joists and see if you have deflection issues (L/360 min, as per the Deflecto calculator above). You'll find a number of ways of correcting such issues. Once you know you have a good structure, you can then properly install a whole new subfloor, so you're guaranteed a solid start. Then add a properly installed tiling substrate, followed by properly installed tile & grout - and voila! You've got a great floor that you know will give you many, many years of trouble-free service.
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