Over one year ago, I installed luxury vinyl tile directly over pre-existing ceramic tile flooring. Today, I am sharing my one year follow-up review of the product.
The longer I live on this planet, the more I shy from taking risks (I think it has something to do with all of the trouble I encountered as a teenage daredevil).
Taking inventory of the past few years of my domesticated existence, I would actually have to say that installing luxury vinyl tile (LVT) directly over ceramic tile is pretty “up there” on my list of most daring acts accomplished(you can read the original LVT installation tutorial here).
While this confession is undeniably lame AF, let me explain just how bold of an endeavor this truly was…
Not only is LVT a relative new-comer to the flooring industry(this is not your grandma’s vinyl), the method in which I installed the product seemed to be highly controversial among home improvement professionals. Many traditionalists posed that placing floating tiles over existing flooring was simply lazy and improper.
Desperate to avoid extensive demo and labor (not to mention the loss of my kitchen for weeks at a time), I continued to delve further into research on this new product and proper uses for it. After months of investigation, it became clear that the true risk of installing floating tiles over an existing floor (like ceramic tiles) was a phenomenon known as telegraphing. Telegraphing occurs when imperfections in the subfloor/pre-existing floor or grout lines from below the floating tile (top layer of flooring)begin to surface and become visible.
My Kitchen Before:
How to properly select lvt flooring for uneven subfloors:
From the various articles I consumed, I gathered that the thicker the product was…the better. To avoid the risk of subfloor telegraphing, I would have to select an LVT product with a minimum thickness of 6.5mm. It was also suggested to only use a floating/click and lock product (not the glue down variety) specifically labeled by the manufacturer as appropriate for application over existing flooring.
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Given that most luxury vinyl tile is only 2-4mm in thickness and not indicated for use over uneven subfloors, my options were going to be quite limited. Much to my delight however, I was able to find the perfect balance of form and function when I stumbled upon this modern yet classic collection of click and lock LVT plank flooring from Mannington ( no one is paying me to endorse this product).
Even better? The product was the thickest I had come across (click here for the one I used). At 8mm thick, the manufacturer explicitly labeled the tiles suitable for application over existing tile flooring. As a result, there was no need to fill the grout lines with a floor leveler like Quickcrete. That being said, there were a few mosaic tiles in our kitchen that were obviously protruding from the rest of the larger tiles and as a result, we decided to remove them and fill the gaps with Quickcrete floor leveler.
Other than the removal of a few tiles, we left the existing ceramic tile flooring untouched.
In fact, the only additional prep work we had to do was remove the baseboards. Depending on the clearance you have underneath doors, you may also need to remove your doors and trim off height from them (as was the case for our pantry doors).
To see in detail how we installed our click and lock LVT, click here for the original tutorial.
My Click and Lock LVT After One Year
With a minimal investment of one weekend’s worth of labor and $1000 in materials (to tile my entire kitchen floor), I was afraid that floating LVT (click here for the type I used) was simply too good to be true. It couldn’t be that easy?! I was convinced some issue would rear its ugly head…
Well… it has now been over a year since we installed the LVT, and I have no complaints or issues with the product. In fact, we are so pleased with the product that we have decided to use it in our adjoining mudroom and powder room – this actually leads me to my only word of caution…
If you want the rows of tile to appear seamless when extending to adjoining rooms, you need to address all of the rooms at once – one continuous row at a time (I hope that makes sense). This will also eliminate the need for a transition piece between rooms as all tiles will seamlessly flow.
Because we waited an entire year to extend the flooring into the adjoining rooms (and you are supposed to install the flooring one row at a time), we had to rip up some of the rows we had previously installed in the kitchen. As a result, some flooring was wasted and we had to remove door trim to get the pieces to properly click and fit back in place.
Bottom line: When installing click and lock LVT, make sure each row of flooring is satisfactory before moving onto the next row. You don’t want to have to rip up all of your work to start again!
Not only are my padded luxury vinyl tiles so much more comfortable to stand on than my old ceramic tiles, I am freakin’ loving life without grout lines. The way this product conceals dirt, makes life so much easier.
This all has me thinking….perhaps some risks (the “calculated” ones NOT of the rebellious, teenage variety) actually do pay off.
For any of you considering a less labor-intensive and more affordable alternative to traditional tile flooring, I highly recommend this product.
Additional LVT Resources:
- All About Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring for Bathrooms
- What to Consider Before Installing Tile Over Existing Tile
- How To Install Luxury Vinyl Tile Tutorial
- What Types of Flooring Can You Install Over Existing Tile Floors?
Not get out there and design some good vibes!