Many homeowners opt for ceramic tiles because they are durable and have a long lifespan. However, the tiles aren’t comfortable to walk on and may not be visually appealing. That makes one wonder what kind of flooring can be installed over ceramic tile.
You can put laminate flooring over ceramic tile because it is easy to install and does not damage the tile underneath, like other flooring options. By installing laminate flooring over ceramic, you make the floor appealing to the eye and comfortable to walk on.
The rest of this article goes into the details of the main flooring options for ceramic tile, including hardwood, vinyl, and laminate flooring. It compares the options so you can make an informed decision based on what suits you.
Should You Put New Flooring Over Existing Tiles?
Ceramic tile is durable and as tough to damage as it is to remove. Since the material is set in dries like concrete, the removal process breaks the brittle material. It is not only messy but also expensive. Whether you choose to have different flooring because of comfort or aesthetic reasons, the better solution is to install flooring right over your ceramic tiles.
Can You Install Tile Over Tile?
It is possible to install a new ceramic tile over the first layer. However, this is a very labor-intensive process that requires sanding down the previous tile and ensuring that the tile underneath the level.
Moreover, most homeowners want to install flooring over ceramic tile for comfort, opting for another layer of tile defeats the purpose. However, if you are looking to replace the tile only for a visual change, using ceramic tile can make sense.
Types of Flooring That Can Go Over Tiles
Since you are looking at the flooring options that are compatible with ceramic tiles, it is essential not to look at which flooring can go over the tile, but the advantages and disadvantages of each flooring type. Since the flooring is being installed over ceramic, the tile is omitted from the comparison.
The following types of flooring can be placed over ceramic tile:
1. Cork Flooring
Cork is an ideal flooring option for ceramic tile in spaces where water is likely to be spilled. These include kitchens and bathrooms. Of all the options mentioned in the article, cork is the most water-resistant.
While it is ideal for bathroom floors and similar surfaces, it has too many drawbacks in other areas. Therefore whether you should use this flooring over tile depends entirely on the space you plan to install the flooring. The more in-depth comparison later in this article explains why.
Pros of Cork Flooring
When it comes to bathrooms, cork flooring has the edge over all other types of flooring. It resists water naturally. That is why it is used as a stopper in wine bottles. Wine bottles are meant to stay unopened for decades. Cork does not soak up the liquid like a sponge and remains dry on the other end.
That kind of water resistance means it can withstand water-spills in the bathroom. It also has other advantages like soundproofing. Though not as sound absorbent as most carpets, cork flooring can absorb sound like most natural wood flooring. It is also gentler on the feet because it is not as brittle as laminate floors.
Cork can withstand more foot traffic than other wooden choices, but carpets beat cork flooring in durability against foot traffic. It is the need to regularly clean that introduces more wear and tear to carpets.
Cons of Cork Flooring
Cork flooring has a set of sensitivities that make it less-than-ideal for almost any other place than bathrooms. It easily fades with direct exposure to sunlight. It does not do well in certain climates as well. Extreme climates, where the summer is very hot and the winter too cold, are not great for cork floors, and the temperature-fragile flooring fades and gets weaker.
2. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is preferable because it is easy to install, doesn’t require an adhesive, and has padding underneath, which cancels out any small unevenness in the tile beneath it. If you cover the tile with flooring, it is best to start with the option that can be reversed.
Since the laminate floor does not include the use of glue-like vinyl floors, it can be easily disassembled if the need arises. Moreover, laminate floors are made with a slim plank that does not take away from your space’s height. You can check out this article for more information.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
Among the advantages of laminate flooring is that it is relatively inexpensive. Again, this provides a direct contrast to hardwood floors, which require you to pay top-dollar. Laminate flooring, like hardwood floors, is not as easily stained as carpets. Therefore, one can assume that laminate flooring has all the advantages of a hardwood floor with a lower durability, smaller price tag, thinner planks, and the possibility of self-installation.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
There are certain drawbacks of laminate flooring that you must keep in mind. One of these, as mentioned earlier, is the relatively lower durability compared to hardwood floors. Not only can it get damaged from impact, but there is also the possibility of water damage. Tiles are often used in the bathroom, and if you are looking to use flooring over tiles in a bathroom, laminate flooring must be quickly taken off the list.
You do not want molding and other water-related problems. It also looks unnatural because it is made from recycled hardwood. That also makes it noisier than hardwood floors. Again, if you have tile in your house, you are accustomed to lowering sound output. You will have to purchase laminate flooring with sound-absorbent padding/underlayment, or you will be disturbed for a while before getting used to a noisier environment.
3. Hardwood Flooring
You can have hardwood flooring installed over ceramic tile as long as there is an underlayment that accounts for patch-leveling and stickiness. The underlayment, typically made of plywood, alongside hardwood’s thickness, raises the height of your floor.
Pros of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors are very durable and shield well against the brittleness of tile. They do not crack as easily as ceramic and can, therefore, lend a protective layer to your flooring. Moreover, they give homeowners the freedom to choose from multiple types of wood like oak and cherry and can also be dyed/stained.
This is a key benefit for those installing flooring over tile for a visual change. If the aesthetics variety is important to you, you may want to keep your options open when making further changes.
Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Unfortunately, that is also where the drawbacks of hardwood start to surface. While you have the freedom to change the look of the wood by staining it, you don’t have the option to easily take the flooring off if you wish to make a replacement.
Furthermore, installing flooring atop hardwood will take away from the room’s height because the wood and the underlayment are already significantly thick. It is advisable only to go for this option if you do not mind a difference of up to one inch in the room’s height.
It is also quite expensive and, more importantly, very noisy. Hardwood’s noisiness is worth mentioning because homeowners with tile are accustomed to far less noise from people walking or running across the floor. This disadvantage somewhat carries to laminate floors, but at least laminate floors are easily replaceable.
Carpet is highly compatible with ceramic tile as it can provide a softer texture that lends comfort. However, carpets can get stained very easily, and the adhesive used to stick the carpet can leave behind marks on the tile underneath. One way to avoid marks is to only glue the corners. Doing so leaves behind marks but only on the corners.
Pros of Carpet
Here, the carpet comes out ahead because it absorbs more noise than all of the options above. Not only does it absorb noise generated by walking and running across its surface, but it can also keep noise generated in one room from reaching another. This reduction of echo is especially advantageous when the space is quite large, and sound tends to echo off the walls and the floor naturally.
It is also relatively easier to replace than hardwood floors and only leaves behind marks than can be covered by alternative flooring. And on the subject of visual appeal, carpets provide the widest range of styles one can choose from. If your home has a look that does not go well with wooden-looking floors, carpets are ideal for you.
It is worth mentioning that carpets’ softness provides two benefits that directly contrast hardwood and laminate floors. The first is the warmth and comfort provided by carpets. It is gentler on the feet and more comfortable to walk on. The second advantage a carpet has is that it is warmer.
Moreover, the carpet is safer. If there are children in the house, carpet is a way of toddler-proofing the space. Little falls don’t cause as much damage as bare-tile or impact on wood. It also is less likely to slip on a wet carpet because it absorbs water.
Cons of Carpet
That also is its first disadvantage. Because carpets absorb water quickly, they get stained much quicker than the alternatives. Carpets are also magnets for dust and require you to vacuum regularly.
Every month, a deep cleaning may be in order. If you cannot vacuum the carpet as often as needed, dust-related allergies can emerge. And compared to laminate floors and hardwood, both of which require only semi-regular dry mopping, carpets are much more high maintenance.
Comparing carpets to wooden options, it is worth noting that carpets have a shorter lifespan. Most carpets are not as durable as hardwood, though they are only slightly more durable than laminate flooring. Because you will be shampooing and vacuuming the carpet more often than its alternatives, the high-impact cleaning methods will wear down the carpet.
It is not like you can opt to clean the carpet less often. After all, it is the easiest to get stained, which is why it is never the right choice for bathrooms.
What Glue Should I Use to Install Flooring on Ceramic?
If you are looking to install flooring over ceramic, you will likely require adhesive depending on the option you go with. Even if you are not personally installing the adhesive, it is good to know which adhesive will be used in the process.
- Urethane adhesive is used to stick hardwood flooring on tiles. It sticks the flooring permanently to the tile. Any attempts to remove the hardwood will only unearth the underlayment that will require alternative flooring (after sanding) to be usable.
- No adhesive is needed to stick particular laminate flooring as long as it has the right padding underneath, and the ceramic underneath is the right level. Laminate planks leverage joints to gain traction for stability. You may ask the provider if the glue would be required for your specific placement and opt for an all-purpose flooring glue.
- You will need cork-adhesive to install cork flooring over ceramic tile. Though specific substrate and padding may be in order, this installation is better left to professionals.
- Carpets can be placed without adhesive. If one uses it as an overhaul of the flooring underneath, an all-purpose flooring glue can be applied either across the borders or only on the corners. This is to avoid damaging a larger area of tiles underneath should you choose to return to exposing the tiles.
Laminate flooring is generally the right option to select because it is easy to install and replace. Therefore, even in the instance that it is the wrong choice, there is not much effort or regret involved. It does not cost as much as the other options and takes so little away from the space that a carpet can be added if the homeowner changes his mind.
For bathrooms, it is highly recommended to opt or cork flooring over ceramic tile. Carpets don’t make a lot of practical sense in such spaces, and hardwood floors and laminate flooring will open you up to the possibility of water damage.
Moreover, areas of the house with direct exposure to sunlight will wear out and make the cork flooring fade much earlier than they will impact wood or laminate flooring.