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Can You Install Hardwood Flooring Over Ceramic Tile?

by Bob and Betsy
Published: Updated: 29 comments 8 minutes read

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. We have compiled more information for you to help to decide what’s best for you. Cheers! Bob & Betsy

When it comes to installing hardwood flooring over tile, here are some important things to consider before making your decision.

1. What is the installation grade of the room?

Ceramic tiles are usually 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 cannot 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. You may also want to consider a waterproof option, like an engineered vinyl.

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 cannot exactly stick a nail through ceramic tile or concrete, so these subfloors cannot support this type of installation. So instead of a 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! There is also the possibility to glue down this flooring, however, floating will be the best option in our opinion.

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 rugs to limit direct exposure to water. Try considering vinyl flooring, which is 100% waterproof, so you’re not constantly worrying about your floor. There are many engineered vinyl flooring options that have a stable, solid core that can be installed over tile.

4. Are the ceramic tiles in good shape?

The subfloor is one of the most important parts of a hardwood installation. The ceramic tiles must be in good shape before installation on top of them. If you have cracked or loose planks, you will want to address this before installing over it. Also, the subfloor must be level. If your tiles are very uneven, you will want to fill in low spots to address any unevenness.

5. Will the height of adding hardwood flooring on top of ceramic tile be an issue?

Lastly, adding a hardwood above the ceramic tile will increase the height of the floors substantially. This can impact doors, cabinets, and transitions to other rooms. You will want to check if there is enough clearance for doors and cabinets before you decide on installing over ceramic tile. Don’t forget to include the thickness of the underlayment!

Hardwood Alternatives to Consider

A solid hardwood isn’t going to be the best choice for an installation over ceramic tile. Great alternatives are vinyl and laminate planks. The answers to the above questions will help you decide which flooring solution is best for your space! 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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29 comments

Elle Jones June 10, 2023 - 11:29 am

Notably, ceramic tiles are frequently used in kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, and basements. Some of the tiles on the exterior of my house need to be repaired. I appreciate the information about tile installation, and I’m hoping to find a respectable service provider for my house soon.

Reply
John March 3, 2023 - 9:21 am

I’d like to add hard wood floors over my ceramic tile floor, but there are a good amount of tiles that sound hollow. I’m suspecting that there’s an issue with my subfloor. What should I do and What kind of professional should I be looking for?

Reply
Rachel Vahcic March 6, 2023 - 11:44 am

Thanks for your question, John. It sounds like you may want to remove the tiles before installing hardwood due to the condition of your subfloor. If there are imperfections in your subfloor we would suggest having this fixed prior to installing flooring. We would recommend finding a nearby flooring installer or contractor to assess your project and advise what your next steps are.

Reply
Albat November 5, 2022 - 7:39 am

Thanks for share…….

Reply
Mats Wolff June 12, 2022 - 1:48 pm

Ceramic tiles are typically put in basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens, which is noteworthy. My house’s exterior has to be restored since some of the tiles are falling off. Thank you for the tile installation information and I hope to locate a decent provider for my home soon.

Reply
William October 11, 2021 - 5:59 pm

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 ?

Reply
Vanessa October 14, 2021 - 8:30 am

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.

Reply
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