Ideally, replacing a tile floor means ripping it out and starting fresh. This process is time consuming, messy and expensive, however, so many homeowners look for more economical options. There are many ways to cover an existing tile floor, including carpet, paint and new tiles. Temporary but durable tile stickers are also available. The one you choose depends on your taste and desired flooring outcome. If you rent, the need to make sure that the existing tiles remain undamaged will also influence your choice.
Area rugs are a fast and simple way to cover tile. If you prefer the full coverage of wall-to-wall carpeting, you can install it as you normally would with a layer of padding followed by carpet held in place with tackless strips. To attach tackless strips to ceramic tile, nail the strips onto the floor through the grout to prevent tile breakage. This strategy is perfect for renters who prefer carpet but need to leave their tile floor undamaged. You can also remove the tiles around the edge of the room and nail the tackless strips directly to the subfloor as you normally would. Self-adhesive modular carpet squares also work well on tile and are easy to install.
Fresh Vinyl or Laminate
If your existing tile floor is level, it's a cinch to install new vinyl tiles right on top of it. To do so, clean the existing tile with a degreaser and scuff off the tile's shiny finish with sandpaper. Once cleaned and roughed, your old tile will easily bond to the adhesive on the back of self-stick vinyl tiles. If you prefer, you can instead install a thin laminate floor over the old tile.
An interesting option with almost limitless color choices is painting the floor. If you use the proper paint, it will adhere well to floor tiles and completely change the look of your floor. Like any painting project, preparation is key. First, clean and scuff the tiles. Then, using a low-nap roller, apply an oil-based paint or a water-based paint that contains urethane. Let the paint dry and then clear-coat it for protection. Make sure you choose a clear coat that promises not to yellow over time.
Just as their name suggests, tile stickers are self-adhesive vinyl sheets that stick to clean tiles. Available in a wide variety of designs and colors, stickers either add accents or cover an entire tile. Their versatility allows you to add a design to just a few tiles to cover chips or scratches, or cover an entire floor for a brand new look. The surface beneath tile stickers must be clean but not scuffed, and the panels peel back off the tile cleanly. Tile stickers are great for those who want a temporary solution to tile problems rather than a permanent one.