Installing Tile on Top of Vinyl or Linoleum? Check for Asbestos
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re talking to Georgia in Texas who’s got a question about tile flooring. How can we help you with your project?
GEORGIA: Yes. I live in a house that my grandparents originally built back in 1950. The flooring in the kitchen is what I refer to as the old linoleum. A rubber-topped linoleum is what I thought. But it is crumbling and someone at a tile place told me it is probably asbestos, because of the age of it. So, I have been told, yes, I can it rip it up and it’s OK or no, don’t mess with it and put something over it, like cement board, and then retile.
TOM: So, this tile floor is located where?
GEORGIA: In the kitchen.
TOM: And how old is the tile floor?
GEORGIA: It was put in in 1950.
TOM: Well, if you want to determine whether there’s asbestos in it, you’d have to take a piece of tile and have it tested.
TOM: But if it’s the original floor and you want to put a different floor over it, there’s really no reason not to. I mean laminate floor, for example, would be a good choice for a kitchen. And there’s no reason you can’t lay that right over the existing tile.
GEORGIA: Well, no, it is literally cracking and crumbling. I trip over it every day and another new piece goes flying across the floor.
TOM: Again, what I would do is I would probably not – tell you not to tear it up. It’s most likely simply vinyl tile. But if you want to be safe, just leave it in place and go ahead and floor right over it.
GEORGIA: OK. Well, I wasn’t sure, you know? The flooring underneath it – the wood underneath it – is still good. So, yeah, I just wasn’t sure which way to go or how to go about it, if I should go to the expense to put down the cement boarding and then put the – on top of the floor, screw it down and then put tile over on that.
TOM: Well, why are you going to put the cement floor down? Are you going to put ceramic tile down?
GEORGIA: It’d be nice. I grew up calling it “Mexican tile” or tile that’s made in Mexico.
TOM: Oh, OK.
GEORGIA: And it’s heavy and you’ve got to putty it and you’ve got to work with it and stuff.
TOM: Well, certainly, if you’re going to do it that way, you could put the board underneath the tile, right on top of the floor. There’s no reason you couldn’t do that, as well, OK?
GEORGIA: OK. Thanks.