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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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About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at support@bestlaminate.com!

24 comments

  1. Hi William. Once you have the carpet pulled up, you will likely have to put an additional subfloor in the area that is lower if you would like the two to be the same height. This is easiest with OSB.

  2. I Have tile and carpet I want to remove the carpet and lay wood flooring over the entire floor, what can i do about the differnt hight ?

  3. Hello! Unfortunately Bestlaminate does not carry any products that would be suitable for outdoor use. Even in a garage, you would not be able to install laminate or vinyl because it would not withstand the weather or the wear and tear.

  4. Hi BOB and Betsy. I am looking for ideas for my driveway flooring and I love the laminate flooring

  5. You will likely need some sort of underlayment that has an R value such as felt or tar paper made for hardwood.

  6. Will putting hardwood flooring over ceramic tile that’s over concrete help to keep rooms warmer.

  7. Hi Helen, We recommend getting a licensed contractor to at least look at it. It would be very likely that there would be adhesive residue left and possible for the ceramic to be damaged underneath the hardwood.

  8. A house I purchased has engineered Brazilian hardwood over original ceramic tile. House is in Florida and was built 1981. I would like to remove it and return to ceramic tile floors. The wood floors are way too dark for the house. My 83 lb dog’s claws plus parrot cages have scratched up the wood and it looks awful. Can this be done? Would there be glue on the tile beneath? I’m sure this wood was expensive when previous owners installed it, approx 10 yrs ago.
    Thank you.

  9. Agreed Joseph!

  10. Hi Eric, thanks for the question. You can install plywood over concrete, however, I am unsure about tile. Another option would be to use leveling compound, as you will need to level out the grout lines as well.

  11. Joseph Christiansen

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I want to draw attention to the fact that if you do not have much experience working with wooden floors and wood in general, it is better to contact professional floor specialists. This work is not as simple as it might seem at first glance.

    Regards,
    Joseph

  12. I have an old tile / engineered wood combo flooring in roughly 1000 SQFT of the house. The thought of ripping up both to install life proof vinyl flooring doesn’t appeal to me. Unfortunately where the ceramic meets the engineered wood, there’s a little less that a 1/4 inch height difference and a transition is currently being used. We prefer to have a seamless look without transitions. My question is can I install a plywood subfloor over the tile to bring it even with the engineered wood before laying the life proof flooring down over both?

  13. Hi Edwin, thanks for the question. Yes, you can install engineered hardwood over ceramic tile. This may depend on the manufacturer. Check with the installation instructions and see what type of glue they recommend. This ensures your warranty will stay intact.

  14. Hi my name is Edwin my wife want to install wood floor over the ceramic tile can I do. If I can I know the best option is engineering wood floor glue down What you recomended

  15. Hi Paul, thanks for the question. Anytime you have moisture issues, it’s a concern for wood flooring due to the ability to expand and contract with the environment. I would figure out if there’s a way to stop the condensation from happening. Next, I would have a moisture barrier laid so the moisture will not affect the flooring. Also, I would recommend a vinyl floor vs hardwood in this situation.

  16. I have a room in my basement that has a ceramic tiled floor. It is prone to condensation. I want to raise the floor by 6/10 cms and lay a wooden floor. What is the best solution ? TIA, Paul

  17. Hi Bill, thanks for the question. If it’s on or above grade, you should be fine installing hardwoods. Glueing will be your best option with the ceramic being your subfloor. As long as you keep the temperature and humidity constant, you shouldn’t have many problems here!

  18. I would like to install a pre-finished 3/8 x 3 solid hardwood over an above basement (second) floor ceramic tile surface; the installer has recommended direct glue down. The area includes entrance, eat-in kitchen and hall. The benefit is that the flooring is an exact match to the remaining floors in the home. Can this be done without significant risk to future life of the floor?

  19. Hi Wanda, thanks for the question. Yes, laminate can be installed over ceramic tile. You just need to make sure it is level, in good shape and any grout lines are filled. Your carpet would need removed and the laminate can go directly over the subfloor. If you have a height difference, you can use a transition molding between each room.

  20. Can I instal laminate flooring over ceramic tile. It would also need to continue on into areas that have carpet?

  21. Hi Mit, thanks for the question. Yes, you can put LVP over ceramic tiles. You will need to fill in any of the grout lines to create an even, level surface. If you’d like to eliminate noise, you could also add an underlayment beneath the tiles if they are 4mm or thicker.

  22. Can I put LVP flooring over existing ceramic tiles? Do i need to prepare the floor with skimcoat? The existing ceramic tiles are bonded to concrete slab and they are in very good shape and leveled. This is for second floor installation.

    Mit

  23. Hi Susan, thanks for reaching out! We are so sorry to hear about the damage to your home. Did you consult the situation with your insurance company after your home suffered damage from the tree falling? Based on the way you describe it, we recommend pulling up both the laminate and hardwood and starting over. Laminate flooring is a floating floor and must be installed on a smooth and leveled subfloor, so you must remove the warping flooring beneath. Have you considered vinyl plank flooring? It is 100% waterproof, easy to install and very durable. It has the natural look and feel of wood without the maintenance, and could be a great replacement option for your home. Give us a call and we will be happy to give you further advice on flooring, the best moisture barrier underlayment for your home and installation. Hope this helps!

  24. My home suffered major damage when a tree fell inside.
    The house is on pier and beam, was built in the early 50’s, had carpet over hardwood floors, had been added onto in the past, and had to be gutted out.
    I wanted the flooring to flow from end to end. The hardwood under the carpet was repaired where damaged but the new addition flooring put down years ago was not level where the hardwood stopped and the addition started. So I decided to put laminate from end to end covering up the hardwood, saving it in case I in later years wanted to expose it again.
    Since moving back into the house the hardwood under the laminate is warping. I am so distressed. I looked at the installation guides and a black plastic sheet should have been put under the house on the ground to vent moisture. I am sitting here talking to builders, floor guys, and the warping is getting worse. I do not know what to do. The laminate has to come up to replace the warping floor. But do I replace and put the black plastic underneath, and put laminate back down or rip up laminate, replace hardwood, and let the house breath by keeping the hardwood exposed.
    I need to breath myself!

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