LESLIE: Maryann in California is on the line with a tiling project. How can we help you?
MARYANN: Yes, hi. Well, I would like to replace the tile in my kitchen. They’re large and they’re – several of them are cracked and the grout is just – it’s wearing out and it’s pretty dirty. And I was just wondering if there’s something that someone who is not extremely handy, like myself, could do for a reasonable cost or is that kind of like out of the picture?
LESLIE: Are you talking about floor, backsplash, countertop?
MARYANN: Oh, I’m sorry. The floor.
TOM: OK. And you have tile now, so you have to either put a second layer on top of that or tear out what you have there. And you said it’s really dirty and gross. Is it structurally solid?
MARYANN: Yes, I believe so. Several of them are cracked.
TOM: They’re not separated from the subfloor, are they?
TOM: OK. You can put a second layer of tile on top of that. It’s possible to glue one tile on top of the other. The one issue you have to be careful of – do you have a dishwasher?
MARYANN: I do.
TOM: So you have to watch the height of that dishwasher cavity to make sure you have enough play on the legs of the dishwasher to be able to basically make it a little shorter, so you could make up the thickness of the tile layer. But you can put a second layer on top of it.
Is it a do-it-yourself project? Well, I mean if you can handle the layout, if you can handle the tile cuts – you need a tile saw – a wet saw – to do it. It’s a pretty adventurous home improvement project and of course, the material is pretty expensive and you – if you screw it up, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. So, it’s probably not the first do-it-yourself project that we would recommend but you can do it yourself.
MARYANN: I see.
TOM: But you’ve got to have special tools and a lot of patience.
MARYANN: OK. That sounds like it’s probably not for me then.
TOM: And even the grouting itself requires some skill. And if you don’t grout it right, it dries, it’s impossible to get off and you don’t get a second shot at it without a whole lot of work.
MARYANN: I see. But how about a different type of flooring that isn’t tile?
TOM: Now you’re talking. So what about a laminate floor, for example? This is a lot easier on you.
A laminate floor is great. You can get laminate-floor patterns that look like tile or look like marble or look like wood. They’re like puzzle pieces; they all lock together. There’s a strip version and there’s types that look more like tile.
And that’s a lot easier to handle. You can cut it with a regular saw and it floats on top of the tile, so you don’t have to pull up the old stuff. Still have the same height concern with the dishwasher space but it’s a lot easier and a lot more forgiving to do something like that. And it’s very durable. I’ve had a laminate floor down in my kitchen for more than 10 years and it’s great.
MARYANN: Yeah, that sounds like the way to go. So, I didn’t realize you could put it right on top of the – what you have already. The tiles that I have are not flat, smooth, you know? They kind of have a texture to them. Does that matter?
TOM: Yeah, that’s perfectly fine. No, there will be a slight – a very thin – underlayment underneath the laminate floor, usually a thin foam. It’s either separate or it’s attached to the back of the laminate and so that will take up any slight defects like that. But I think that’s the way to go.
Why don’t you head out to Lumber Liquidators? You can go to a Lumber Liquidators store, you can go to LumberLiquidators.com and take a look at all of the laminates that are there. You will be amazed at the number of selections. And choose one for your house. I think that’s a great option for you and a lot easier than trying to cut tile.
MARYANN: Oh, my gosh, yes. I wouldn’t even think of attempting that. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.