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Can You Install Hardwood Flooring Over Ceramic Tile?

Can You Install Hardwood Flooring Over Ceramic Tile?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I’ve had the same floors for years and I’m ready for a change! Right now I have ceramic tile but the thought of ripping it all up sounds like a nightmare. Can I install hardwood flooring over ceramic tile? Or do I have to rip it all up first?
Thanks! Bekki H.

Dear Bekki,

How exciting! You’re going to give your house a whole new look with hardwood floors.

Yes, you can install hardwood floors over ceramic tile, but with a few exceptions.

Whenever you install hardwood flooring over any type of subfloor, you must ensure that it is completely level. If your ceramic tile has grout lines that give it texture, you will need to fill those in to make your flooring completely level. If not, moisture could pool underneath the cracks causing serious damage to your new floors.

There are a few other important considerations to make when deciding whether hardwood flooring is the right choice for your home.

1. What is the installation grade of the room?

Usually ceramic tiles are installed in basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. If you are planning to install in one of these areas, you must take extra precaution. Solid hardwood floor can’t be installed in below grade rooms, such as basements and some laundry rooms, because the moisture content in these rooms could damage your floor even with the proper vapor barrier. Engineered hardwood floors however, can be installed on all grades of a home.

2. How do you plan on installing the floor?

Stapling and nailing planks to your subfloor is the most common installation method for solid hardwood floors. You can’t exactly stick a nail through ceramic tile or concrete, so these subfloors cannot support this type of installation. So instead of solid hardwood flooring, consider installing engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood flooring has a locking system similar to laminate flooring, so the floor can be floated using an underlayment and/or vapor barrier. No nails or staples needed!

3. What’s the moisture content in the installation room?

Some rooms have a higher moisture content than others. For example, kitchens, mudrooms, and bathrooms often see more moisture in the air from steam, or liquid spills from boots, sinks, or tubs. Keeping the surface of your hardwood flooring dry is vital. Higher moisture can cause the edges of the planks to buckle, or warp, where the water seeps in. If you plan to install your hardwood flooring in one of these rooms, you might want to rethink your choice of materials, or lay down lots of rugs. Maybe consider vinyl flooring, which is waterproof, so you’re not constantly worrying about your floor.

If you want the look of hardwood, but you aren’t sure it will hold up to your family, consider laminate or vinyl flooring as alternatives. One of our flooring experts can give you more details on which one is right for your specific room by calling 1-800-520-0961. You can also leave a comment in the section below and we will do our best to help you!

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