How to Tile Over Linoleum

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We are crossing the finish line on this guest bathroom remodel and we are SO ready to be done! It’s taken about a month longer than we thought it would. Like everything else with this house, it was way more complicated than it should’ve been. But when nothing has been touched since it was built, you’re bound to run into some snags! The bathroom and laundry room had old nasty linoleum for flooring. Today I’d like to share the process we used to tile over linoleum.

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Can You Tile Over Linoleum?

Can you tile over linoleum? Should you? These were the questions we needed answers to so we began researching and reading about others’ experiences. There were pros and cons of placing the tile on linoleum. But for the most part, what we found was that if there’s just a single layer of linoleum over the subfloor and it’s in good shape (meaning to rips or tears), there’s no reason why you can’t tile over it.

Laundry Room and Guest Bathroom

The hubby had already tiled over the linoleum in our laundry room before we moved in. We thought it would be easier to get that done before we unloaded the washer and dryer in there. The laundry room leads into the guest half bath. When we found out we were going to have to replace our sewer line, we decided to go ahead and tackle both of those spaces, as well. You can read about the laundry makeover here.

tile over linoleum

In the laundry room, we went with a large 12×24 ceramic tile that looks like concrete. For the bathroom, we chose a more detailed marble mosaic tile.

Now, let’s talk supplies!

Tile Over Linoleum

For this project you need:

Wet tile saw
Your choice of tile
Tile spacers
Adhesive
Trowel
Grout
Large Sponge
Bucket for water
Bucket for grout
Measuring tool

Directions

Measure

First, you need to measure the space to see how many tiles you need. I purchased a handy tool that measures different angles for my hubby for Christmas and it’s was really helpful when cutting the tile. You’ll also want to measure to find the center of the room. You always want to start your tile in the center of the space and work your way out so it’s even on all sides.

Apply Adhesive

Using the trowel, apply the adhesive to the linoleum starting at the center. Begin laying your tile in the pattern you’ve chosen, making the necessary cuts as you go. For the laundry room, we wanted it laid in a brick pattern. For the bathroom, the pattern was already set since it was a mosaic tile so it was just a matter of laying the first tile down and matching the next one to it to continue the pattern and so on.

tile over linoleum

Insert Spacers

You’ll want to insert tile spacers to keep the spacing between the tiles uniform. Spacers come in various sizes so you can pick how thick you want the grout line to be.

tile spacers

Let it Dry!

The most common complaint we read about tiling over linoleum was that the tiles wouldn’t stay in place because of the slick surface. Many times this was because the tile adhesive was not given enough time to dry. Once all of the tiles were laid we let them dry for AT LEAST 24 hours. I think we gave the bathroom a full weekend just because we didn’t have time to get back to it before then. But we made sure the adhesive was completely dry and the tiles didn’t move before going on to the next step.

tile before grout

Grouting

After everything is dry, you’re ready for your grout. A tip on purchasing grout if you’re new to tiling: pay attention to whether or not it has sand in it. If you’re laying a ceramic tile, sanded grout is fine. This is what we used in the laundry room. But if your tile is glass or marble like our bathroom tile, the sanded grout will scratch the surface and ruin your tile.

If your grout did not come pre-mixed, you’ll need to follow the directions on how to prepare your grout. Once it’s ready, take your trowel and apply the grout in the lines between your tiles. This gets pretty messy! Work in sections, applying the grout evenly. Be sure to read the directions for the grout. For ours, it required a 15 minute resting time before you could go back with a sponge to begin cleaning the access off.

man grouting tile

After the 15 minutes, my hubby took a large sponge and a bucket of water and began cleaning off the tile and wiping off the extra grout. After going over it the first time there was still some leftover residue to he dumped the old water and refilled the bucket with clean water to go over it again.

Let it Dry (Again)!

Once the grout is filled and the tiles clean, let the grout dry overnight. We allowed ours to dry for another 24 hours before we started walking on it.

A Few More Tips

If your tile is in a high traffic area, you’ll want to seal it to keep it looking nice. Also, you can purchase caulk to match your grout if you need to fill in any spaces to give it a cleaner look.

That’s it! Both rooms turned out great and we’ve had no problems at all with having the linoleum underneath.

tile after grout

I’ll be sharing the full bathroom remodel next week and I can’t wait to show you! My hubby has worked really hard on it and it’s BEAUTIFUL in my completely unbiased opinion!

As always, thank you SO much for taking the time to stop by and read my posts! I appreciate it!

You may also be interested in:

Farmhouse Dining Room Makeover
Our Magnolia Bedroom Furniture: An Honest Review

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5 Comments

  1. These are great tips. my old home had linoleum but be used cork flooring over it.
    I love the tile you choose, its gorgeous!

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