Can I install a mosaic ceramic tile floor over linoleum?

I have a very old little house - all crooked, dugout, etc. - that is very cute but I'll never get out what I've already put into it (fireplace, new windows, laminate flooring etc). Now I would like to lay broken ceramic tile in the kitchen and bathroom. I can get the tile for free because it's chipped or broken and the mosaic looks great (I did it around my fireplace) and it hides the crookedness. However, I don't want to have to hire a carpenter and buy wood as a base - I want to do this on a tight budget. The tile sales person says there is a different cement I can use on a linoleum floor so I can just lay it over top. Apparently its much more expensive but it's available.

Because it's small pieces I don't think levelling is such an issue. On the other hand the linoleum is water discolored from a time when my washing machine broke. What do you think? Can I do it? Or should I lay wood first - I have to hire someone to do that - can't do that myself.


The linoleum isn't old - the bathroom was put in about 4 years ago and the kitchen when I moved in 14 years ago. Problem is the water damage - in the kitchen from a broken washer and then it got ripped and in the bathroom because it was poorly installed and water from the shower leaked underneath. It's glued down and I can rip up the top layer in some places but not all - and it has the paper backing still stuck to the floor. LOL I just started ripping.

8 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Why don't you try pulling up the old linoleum. It shouldn't be too hard to lift it if it is already old and decrepit. And underneath it should be wood. So then you can save yourself the cost of the expensive linoleum cement, and just use the regular stuff.

    Once you have placed the broken tiles, I suggest sealing the floor to make it waterproof, so that you won't have to worry about your washing machine damaging your new mosaic floor.

  • Carol
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Common sense prevails along w/ some general knowledge. Sounds like you have that.. Go w/ a lot of woodys tips but a few.. # 7 up don t start out a 1/2 in away, you set the tile straight down and set into place w/ a twisting ( slight) motion ( ATC tile guidelines) And # 19.. Sealing (twice) should be done , in most cases 72 hours AFTER the grout is done.. The wiping of the haze should be done w/ a DRY towel , cheesecloth, or a white nylon scrub pad made for this. Cleaning w/ water (NEVER use a soap product) only captures the haze and spreads it more.. Any time a soap is used it will leave a residue that will attract dirt.. Tip # 20.. Spread grout and wipe off at a 45 degree angle going over the tile.. Going down the lines will pull out the grout. Tip # 21,, All cement products should be mixed and let set 5/10 minutes and mixed again.. Never mix grout with a power mixer and paddle ( traps airs and weakens grout) Any questions , email me thru my avatar and check my qualifications there GL

  • 1 decade ago

    Take it from a tile setter. Your tile salesman is out to lunch. There is no thinset that will stick to lino. Ripping up the lino will be a hassle even if it is old. I suggest that you go over the lino with 3/8 inch spruce or fir and screwing the edge at 4 inch intervals and the interior of the subfloor every 6 to eight inches. The subfloor is put in to provide strength for the tile and flex so the tile and grout will not crack. Your wood and screw gun can be picked up at home depot or rona. Good luck and happy tiling.

  • 1 decade ago

    i would lay a 1/4 tile board down screwwed to the can cut it with a utility knife.your sub floor needs to be 1 1/4"

    thick for tile so it doesnt move (deflection).if u do mosaic i would seal the grout a couple of times or get the new no stain.probaly cheaper to seal.the tile board comes 3'x5'

    and cost about $10.its a better base than you might need the thickness anyway.thats the best way to go

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  • 1 decade ago

    The linoleum flooring may well have asbestos in it. If you take it up you just can't take it to a dump.

    It would be best to cover the floor with cement board first.

    But if flooring is tight to the floor & you don't care if it lasts a real long time just put the tile over the linoleum.

  • suro25
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    1st off you need to remove the linoleum. Then I would recommend you putting down that concret board. Buy putting that board down the floor will not flex and you adhere better. When the floor is not flexing you are less likely to have your grout and tile cracking.

  • 1 decade ago

    Not to sound like I'm bragging, though I suspect I'll get usual thumbs down on any answer, but I've been in the trades a long time and have installed thousands of sq. ft. of various flooring.

    I re-did my kitchen in a great Terra Cotta tile, originally 16/16, all from broken pieces. approx. 200 sq. ft. It looks great,,,BUT I removed the old sheet vinyl first.

    In your case I suggest sacrifice another 3/4 inch, lay concrete backer board over the current floor, and tile away. Remove the cove base, and then replace.

    I do suggest trying small sections at a time, and try to maintain a minimum grout line. anything up to 1/2 inch works with sanded grout. beyond that non sanded is recommended, though in a high traffic area I go minimum. I also suggest a grout mix with a poly blend added in case you don't seal. Actually the job, while tedious looks well worth the effort after the fact. I sealed mine with clear polymer allowing ease of cleaning after the fact.

    With concrete backer board, you get a great substrate and one that allows in it's mini voids, mortar will not have to just set on a top/flat surface.

    Steven Wolf

    An add on. The flooring you have now...Lino or Vinyl is non porous, hence nothing for Thin set to adhere properly to.

    Source(s): 45 plus years as a contractor
  • MT C
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I completely agree with the above answer, tear up the lino as it will break up over time and will not provide the support required for the tile (it is too flexible for proper support).

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