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  #1  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:19 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Laminate flooring over tile - OK?

This may be more of an IMHO thread, but I am looking for a factual answer: can laying laminate “wood” flooring over existing tile flooring cause problems?

The installer says it shouldn’t cause any problems; the underlay will prevent moisture from building up in between, and eliminate echoes. They’re going to remove the existing skirting boards and install new ones on top.

However, my wife is paranoid about stuff like this, and has been reading stuff online that scared her. She’s sworn off Yahoo! Answers and the like thanks to me, so I don’t know exactly where she’s getting this stuff. Everything I read says installing laminate over existing flooring is only problematic if the existing floor is loose or uneven. The tile in our house is original, and hence perfectly flat, and while there are some cracked and/or loose tiles, they’re all in the kitchen, where we’re not making any changes (yet).

I am aware that the floor will be slightly uneven between the rooms which we put laminate in and the ones we don’t, and I have no problem with that.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:39 AM
FoundWaldo FoundWaldo is offline
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I don't think the tile being even is a given just because it's original. I've owned houses with original tile that wasn't even at all.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:50 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Erp. Good point. It is perfectly flat, though. It's just ugly, per the wife.

I used the word "stuff" far too many times in the OP.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:03 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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A while back a friend of mine did this in a room. He never indicated any problems. It might matter what's under the tile. I assume your talking about flat linoleum type tiles secured with mastic. If there mounted on a proper underlayment they should stay flat and in place for a long time. If it was like the kitchen in my old house where tiles were laid on top of an MDF like underlayment, you might run into problems some day with the tiles coming loose. If you have to take the tiles off and smooth and level the floor underneath, you will be in for a lot more work.

I'd do it if I wanted laminated flooring.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:10 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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What problems are your wife anticipating? Can you give us specific questions like "will it cause [this problem]?" Is she worried because you have a slab?

FWIW I helped my cousin install a floating floor (no glue or nails) over a floor that had shitty vinyl tile over less-shitty-but-old vinyl tile and it has been great so far. It was cheap flooring and it's been in for 2 years with a crazy dog running all over it, an electric wheelchair riding around it and a few sloppy adults dropping stuff on it and other than a crack over a high spot it's still as good as the day we installed it.

The vinyl floor we installed over actually had gouges in it. We cut out the gouges and left tidy holes in the vinyl, then we bought a few self-stick tile squares and cut them up and put the pieces into the holes we'd cut. It didn't have to be perfect it just needed to be flat enough to no longer be a hole.

The foam sheet you lay down sort of takes care of everything else.

I still want to know what exactly your wife is afraid of.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2011, 11:29 AM
Rocketeer Rocketeer is offline
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We had sheet vinyl flooring installed over tile in our kitchen. The installer went over the tile with a levelling compound so the floor was smooth and level. Took him a couple applications, and man does that stuff stink. Then he installed the vinyl, gluing it everywhere.

Looks great and no problems of any sort.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2011, 12:46 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
A while back a friend of mine did this in a room. He never indicated any problems. It might matter what's under the tile. I assume your talking about flat linoleum type tiles secured with mastic.
They're large (12" by 12" I think) ceramic tiles with about a quarter inch grouted space in between. They're secured directly to the concrete subfloor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
What problems are your wife anticipating? Can you give us specific questions like "will it cause [this problem]?" Is she worried because you have a slab?
Honestly, I'm not sure. I'm guessing she's worried about moisture collecting underneath, because she's terrified about water damage (not unreasonably - we live in Florida, and we've had a whole wall replaced due to storm damage).

I really don't see what difference the tile makes vis-a-vis moisture. If I was worried, I'd be worried that the tile isn't as flat as the subfloor, so the laminate might buckle or something.

What do you mean by "you have a slab"?
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2011, 01:08 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
They're large (12" by 12" I think) ceramic tiles with about a quarter inch grouted space in between. They're secured directly to the concrete subfloor.

What do you mean by "you have a slab"?
Hmm. I have not actually done laminate flooring myself, but I've seen and helped others, and the most work was in leveling the floor. Are you planning to use leveling compound between the tiles? Sometimes square edge tiles have leveled grout, but usually the grout is recessed, and that space could be a problem. If the tiles are level, it shouldn't be hard to fill. The problems to avoid would be accumulation of moisture in the gaps, a route for bugs to travel under the floor, and constant stress on the flooring over the cracks. The stress may not matter if the laminate is strong enough. I don't think the foam is intended to deal with that situation, but maybe I'm wrong.

They would have to be pretty ugly tiles before I'd consider laminate flooring a better alternative, but my wife might not agree either.

A 'slab' would be the concrete floor at the lower level of a house. A one story ground level house with no basement would be built on a slab.

Last edited by TriPolar; 06-06-2011 at 01:09 PM..
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2011, 01:37 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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The grout is recessed. The installer says the underlay will take care of that because it's firm enough to distribute any weight on the flooring surface over a fairly large area. I'm not really worried about bugs; the house is remarkably critter-free considering its location. We've lived here for three years, and in that time I've seen far fewer roaches than I've seen in any other house or apartment in Florida.

I actually quite like the look of the samples we were shown, and I'm much too clumsy to deal with hardwood. Also, cheap.

Okay, that makes sense. It's a one story house with no basement.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2011, 01:57 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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There's flat and there is smooth. You can easily have much of one without much of the other or visa versa.

That thin foam layer will take care of minor unsmoothness (things like the random grain of sand). It won't do anything for stuff much bigger than that IMO and it certainly won't do anything for a smooth floor that when you lay a 3 foot straightedge down there is a decent fraction of an inch low area (think like a bowl) between the two ends.

The wood laminate would span something like that fine. But every time you walked on that area, the wood floor is going to flex down in that bowl then flex back up when your done. And, IMO, its going to fatigue to point of breaking sooner or later along the "seams".

You want the floor pretty smooth. But you also want it FLAT.
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2011, 03:22 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Thanks for the responses so far, guys. Keep 'em coming.
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2011, 03:37 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I'd ask the installer why he's not leveling the grout lines. Would it hurt? It's probably only a couple of hours work and a day of drying time.
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2011, 03:47 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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A level ceramic/stone/porcelain tile floor is practically an IDEAL surface to mount a floating floor, such as laminate flooring.

You don't need level grout lines because they will not cause the material over top to deflect over such a narrow span (the span being the width of the grout line!).

Proper underlay... proper gap all around to allow for expansion (as in all applications) and enjoy.
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  #14  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:02 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Yay! They start tomorrow. Maybe I'll post pictures or something. Thanks all!
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2011, 04:17 PM
wellanuff wellanuff is offline
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You won't have any problems where the laminate spans the grout, but you could have problems if the seam between parallel boards or the seam between butt ends of the boards happens to lie directly over a grout line. If your tiles are 12 x 12, that could mean at best a seam that is unsupported (except by the underlayment) for 12 inches...if the tiles are laid in straight lines so that the grout lines run in straight lines from wall to wall, you could have an entire seam across the room suspended over the grout line. If by bad luck you put one leg of a heavy table there, that might cause problems with one or both of the boards flexing.

A lot depends on how much of a height difference there is between the surface of the grout, the surface of the tile, and the quality of the underlayment.

Presumably, your flooring guy knows what he is doing, so you should be all right.
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  #16  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:34 PM
Disheavel Disheavel is offline
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I've done Pergo over a similar tile floor and vinyl over two others. Never had a problem. But I have always spent the day before with the floor leveling compound (looks like really soupy dry wall compound) and filled all the grout grooves and cracks to be level with the tiles and even put a layer over sunken tiles. I takes 30 minutes to do a whole room and then 30 minutes to sand smooth and vacuum up the dust and wet wipe down. It probably isn't needed, but it can't really hurt anything.
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  #17  
Old 06-07-2011, 09:01 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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You can run a seam right over a grout line, for a long distance and nothing bad will happen.

I mean, if using el cheap brand flooring, and the joint is pathetic, and it lines up with a grout line... well, then.... just maybe. But... I'd still wager there'd be no problema.
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  #18  
Old 06-07-2011, 09:43 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disheavel View Post
I've done Pergo over a similar tile floor and vinyl over two others. Never had a problem. But I have always spent the day before with the floor leveling compound (looks like really soupy dry wall compound) and filled all the grout grooves and cracks to be level with the tiles and even put a layer over sunken tiles. I takes 30 minutes to do a whole room and then 30 minutes to sand smooth and vacuum up the dust and wet wipe down. It probably isn't needed, but it can't really hurt anything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster View Post
You can run a seam right over a grout line, for a long distance and nothing bad will happen.

I mean, if using el cheap brand flooring, and the joint is pathetic, and it lines up with a grout line... well, then.... just maybe. But... I'd still wager there'd be no problema.
I'm not disagreeing with you Philster. You seem to have experience with the situation. I would just do the same as Disheaval out of caution.

Last edited by TriPolar; 06-07-2011 at 09:43 PM..
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