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Stephen Lathrop
Bathroom Floor Tile

Can you lay ceramic tile over previously laid ceramic tile? And if so what do you use for cement?

Re: Bathroom Floor Tile

While I'm sure someone somewhere has done this it in my opinion is not a good way about going about a tiling job. I would certainly recommend pulling up the tiles. One important reason especially in a bathroom is to to inspect the sub-floor for any water damage that may have occurred over the years. If there is you can fix it before it becomes a bigger problem. I would then get off all the old mastic and lay down a new sub-floor if necessary and flatten and level it. After the floor is nice and even and flat put down a cement board product following the manufactures instructions and then lay your tiles. If you do this stuff in my opinion you will end up with a floor that is much less likely to crack. I am not a pro but I have seen a lot info on this and I have never heard a professional tile person recommend going over old tile. Hope this helps you out.

Re: Bathroom Floor Tile

I tend to agree with the previous post. I'm currently involved in a project remodelling 20 bathrooms. The floors are all ceramic tile laid on a concrete slab with thin-set mortar as the adhesive. With a chipping hammer (kind of a down-sized version of a jack hammer) we can remove the existing tile in about an hour. A chipping hammer can be rented at any tool rental store for about $40 or so per day. For this small expenditure of time and money, it would be foolish to risk the liability & possible callbacks of leaving the existing tile in place. Tiling over the existing tile would also raise the floor 1/4" to 1/2", causing a problem at door thresholds.

If your ceramic is laid on a wood floor, rather than a concrete slab, the removal will be a bit more difficult. The underlayment, whether it is cement board, a full "mud" bed, or just plywood, may also need to be removed & replaced. This adds a bit of work to the project, but is well worth the effort.

That said, if you decide to forge ahead & leave the existing floor intact, there are a few caveats to remember. Any problems with the existing floor will "telegraph" through to the new floor. Laying a new floor over a loose, crumbling, or buckled floor will just give you a brand new loose, crumbling, or buckled floor. There is a product called an isolation membrane that can be installed on top of the existing floor to help minimize minor problems, but it is not a cure-all. It is typically used when installing tile over concrete floors that have hairline cracks, to isolate the tile from any minor movement in the slab.

Re: Bathroom Floor Tile

new underlayment by schluter, "it's orange" is great for all tile projects.

Re: Bathroom Floor Tile
Stephen Lathrop wrote:

Can you lay ceramic tile over previously laid ceramic tile? And if so what do you use for cement?

If the tile is really down good the answer is yes you can.
Use a MODIFIED thinset only or if you insist on using an unmodified thinset you need to add an admix.
Sand the old tile to scuff it up and clean it REALLY well.
You just have to be SURE the old tile is down REALLY well!!
Tap on the existing tiles too and listen to hear if they sound hollow...cept I doubt they will other wise they'd have probably cracked by now.
As long as all the additional floor heights don't bother anything you shouldnt have any problem.
One other thing...be sure theres no deflection at all in the floor.
If I remember correctly the delection rate is something like L/350 of the span of the joists...if you go into John Bridges Forum he has a deflection rate calculater thats free to use.
Here's the link to the Deflecto meter...lol http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl
and for anyone else reading this you may wanna put that link in your favorites like i did years ago...I refer to it all the time.
Handy lil' tool/link.

C Ed Wright
Re: Bathroom Floor Tile

The short answer is YES, you can tile over existing tile.

As andybuildz notes, the preexisting tile job must be in top condition and you must abrade the glaze before using a latex modified thinset that is rated for this -- its packaging will say so. If the existing is not solidly in good condition (I don't mean the glaze itself) you must take it all up. If you have cracking you must take it all up and solve the flexure problem or the new tile will crack too.

Tiling over tile is done where you want a different tile and the old is too well set to want to take it all up. Understand you will raise the floor level about one half inch. You might want to use what are called Hollywood saddles [or "threshholds"] in the doorways -- they have a wide tapering bevel on one side, to produce less of a "trip-step."

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