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Can I tile over tile?

The tile in my entry way is in great shape--no cracks or loose grout--but the style and color are outdated and I want to replace it. Removing it and starting over will be a huge job because it was installed with an epoxy adhesive on a concrete floor. Can I just tile over the existing tile?

Tim Krohn, Middleburg, FL

As long as there are no cracks in the existing tile (indicating underlying problems in the concrete), you can tile on top of it. In fact, pros do it all the time.

Surface preparation is paramount. Start by making sure all the tiles are solidly bonded to the floor. Tap them lightly with a wood mallet or a chunk of 2x4. A hollow sound is an indication that a tile is loose. Remove and reset any loose ones with thin-set. Next, use a 4-ft. level to find any high spots and grind those down using a right-angle grinder with a masonry wheel. Then sand all the tiles with a belt or orbital sander (80-grit) to scratch any surface glazes. Remove any moldy or loose grout with a rotary tool or carbide scraper. Vacuum the tiles and clean with detergent and water to remove dirt, sealers and wax. Rinse the surface with clear water and let it dry.

Buy a latex-modified thin-set (one brand is FlexBond) and mix it in small batches to keep it from skinning over. Complete adhesive coverage is critical on large tiles (12 in. or larger) and even more important when you're tiling over tile. Some installers prefer to "flatback" each tile with the flat edge of the trowel before applying the tile to the combed thin-set. Others prefer to use a larger-notched trowel (1/2 x 1/2 in.) to apply the thin-set. Whichever method you use, always comb the adhesive in one direction (no swirls). Then set the tile on the floor and slide it perpendicular to the combed thin-set to knock down the rows and spread the adhesive.




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Title Annotation:tile flooring remodeling
Author:Muscoplat, Rick
Publication:The Family Handyman
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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