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How to Replace a Vinyl Floor with Ceramic Tile

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner replace the peeling, vinyl floor in his bathroom with a ceramic tile floor


  1. Before getting started, all the appliances need to be removed. Disconnect and remove any sinks, vanities, and toilets in the bathroom. Loosen the flange and hold it up with spacers if possible.
  2. Next, remove any baseboard trim with the pry bar.
  3. Once the floor is clear, peel off the vinyl tiles with a putty knife. With the floor up, now is good opportunity to ensure the subfloor is properly secured.
  4. Add cement board to the subfloor to act as a base for the tiles. Cut it to size by scoring it with the carbide tip knife and snapping it, similar to drywall.
  5. Apply the thinset to the floor using the notched trowel.
  6. Secure the cement board to the floor using the cement screws about 8” apart. Make sure the cement board goes underneath the toilet flange. Cover the seams between the cement board with mesh tape.
  7. Dry fit the tiles to see how they will fit in the room. Measure and mark tiles that need to be cut.
  8. Cut the tiles using a wet saw.
  9. Apply thinset to the cement board using the notched trowel and lay the tiles on the floor. Nippers can be used to cut around the flange. Allow the thinset to cure for 24 hours.
  10. Grout the tile after 24 hours.
  11. Reinstall the vanity and toilet.

Tom chose a mosaic 12x12 inch tile with mesh backing from Daltile.

For the subfloor, he used ¼ inch Wonderboard lite cement board underlayment. For mortar, Tom used versabond thinset.

To trim the bottom of the casings, Tom used an osculating saw available at Home Depot.

All of these materials can be purchased at a home center.