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Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

I am completely redoing a bathroom (with a contractor's help). We have a tile floor that is in very good condition, but terrible color. We plan to retile it. Contractor suggested tiling over the existing tile floor. Is this a good practice? Would it be better in the long run to rip up floor and start from scratch? I would appreciate any input! Thanks!!

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

Rip the old tile, smooth the area and prepare to install new tile.

Think about getting another contractor, someone with better ideas and who is not lazy.

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

I am in no ways an expert on this but over 15 yrs ago..in my first house I also had an old tile floor that was pretty scuffed up, bad color, but level (w/o high and low spots) and tight (no loose tiles). I tiled over the existing floor and was happy with my job for about 10yrs until I moved out of the house. I DO agree that it's probably best to pull up the old tile BUT this worked fine for me at the time.

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

Does the extra layer of tile create a tripping hazard at the threshold?

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

No, it does not create a problem with the threshhold. It actually would probably bring it level. The more I think about it, ripping up the floor would probably be better. I think our contractor was trying to save us $ by using a shortcut.

The thing is, there are so many options and so many different opinions when redoing a bathroom. We are doing this out of necessity, so it's not something we had spent a lot of time researching. We've decided on tile instead of a tub surround, and a cast iron tub instead offiberglass; now to decide to tile the entire room or just the tub area....

I'm sure it will look nice when it's done, it's just getting there....

Thanks for the responses!

MLB Construction
Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

i've done jobs where i've had customers on a very tight budget and other customers that didn't want the noise and mess of demo. which translates into about 5-6 times that i've tiled over existing tile. in all cases there were no flooring height issues, never been a crack or loose tile. it's certainly something you can do if the base tile is in excellent shape and the tile won't rise above the threshold. there's nothing wrong with doing it. is it the ideal way? no.

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

You certainly can tile over tile provided;

The old tile is in excellent shape- no cracks or loose tiles


You use a thinset rated for such installation.

We tiled over an existing tile floor, Hurricane Ike brought 18 inches of flood water. We picked out the dead fish, washed the floor and lived happily ever after.

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

OMG DO NOT tile over existing floors! Its easy, but is easy always right? Is it stone or laminate that is already down? Are you replacing with stone or laminates?

I ask because if its stone, its not good practice to just mortar over glazed (as bathroom tile should be) tile. So you'll probably want to put cement board on top of it. To do that properly you need to use flooring screws, but not an option on drilling through tile. So you might consider gluing the cement board down, again, bad idea. But lets say you do that any way, you've still got to get the new tile adhesive down and the actual tile. So you're adding at least 0.5" to your floor here.

If its linoleum/laminate you could possibly drill flooring screws through that to put new cement board down (because you definitely can't put stone tile over plastic). But you're still adding height to an already built floor.

Worst part: later on when you want to change the floor again.

My wife and I redid our kitchen floor. The "floor" was in pretty bad shap when we moved in. So we started stripping it up, we found 3 layers of floor that went: linoleum/plywood/linoleum/plywood/linoleum/plywood. Not very fun. You can imagine how high the floor was before we started, its nearly an inch lower now. So our new tile floor is installed directly over the original subfloor of the house. This is the way its supposed to be do, the best way to do it, and also the most difficult/expensive way to do it.

But do you want fast and cheap but low quality, or high quality and slow but slightly more expensive?

BTW, the floor feels so much more strong and solid doing it the right way. Our 1 layer of floor feels more solid than the 3 layers that were down previously.

Re: Tile Floor over Existing Tile Floor?

You can certainly tile over. The only issue is the added height, but for the extra half day's work (depending on your size of floor) it's worth ripping up the tiles. (Wear goggles as shards are extremely sharp)

Remember that the added height, should you choose to tile over may affect the W/C waste height and could be a problem, so best to check that out early.

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