Can You Put Linoleum Over Tile Floors?

Laying a new linoleum floor in a kitchen or bathroom can provide a new look, and also makes for a low-maintenance and resilient flooring option as compared to laminate or hardwood. If your kitchen or bathroom has a tile floor, you'll have to prepare the surface properly before installing linoleum. Installing linoleum over tile is very doable, however.

Loft Kitchen
credit: asbe/iStock/GettyImages
Linoleum flooring can bond well to tile floors.

Cleaning the Tile

Before you begin installing a floating vinyl floor over ceramic tile, completely clean the old tile. Contaminants such as dirt, dust, crumbs, grease, wax or oil from cooking or from skin contact can all ruin the way the linoleum's adhesive will bond to the tile floor. To remove all of these contaminants at once, clean the floor with a solvent cleaner such as mineral spirits. Rinse the floor with fresh, clean water to finish.

Be sure to let the tiles dry completely before you attempt to dry fit your linoleum. This is essential to allow the adhesive to stick properly and to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. Letting the room sit for at least 24 hours is a good rule of thumb.

Inspecting for Damage

Any damage to your tile, including cracks or jutting pieces, will show through your new linoleum installation. Sharp edges can also tear the new material, so you must attend to all damaged areas before you can install the new lino over tile.

With a chisel and hammer or a pry bar, remove all cracked and damaged areas. This will leave holes in the floor which you will attend to later. Run a shop vacuum over the entire area to remove residual dust or small pieces of debris from the broken tiles.

After this process, you may also wish to use a soft or damp cloth to gently remove dust that has accumulated from the debris. If you do so, be sure to allow the tiles to properly dry once again.

Leveling the Floor

The most important step is to level the tile floor. There will be gaps from the tiles you removed and there are also the grout lines to consider, which generally sit just below the surface of the tile. All dips and level differences will show through the linoleum.

Level the floor with filler putty or a leveling compound, which is basically a quick-setting concrete mixture. This must fill in all gaps and grout joints, and must dry completely before you can lay the linoleum.

Installing New Linoleum

Installing new linoleum floor generally involves simply spreading adhesive over the now-clean and level surface and rolling the linoleum into place. When installing, follow your manufacturer's instructions and recommendations regarding the type of adhesive and applicator to use.

Some flooring companies will not warranty the floor unless you use the company's adhesive. Most manufacturers will also provide advice regarding the best size of notched trowel or putty knife to use to spread the adhesive.

Do not attach the linoleum until you have dry fit the entire floor. This means laying out the linoleum tiles and marking with a pencil where they will need to be cut. When you have finished, use a utility knife to cut the linoleum against the wall as needed. Only once this is done should you apply the adhesive to the subfloor.


Samantha Volz

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.