Can You Tile Over Linoleum?

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Tiles appear to be a viable option for many homeowners looking for a DIY home improvement option. It has its allays of pros and cons as well, but can you lay tiles over linoleum?

Laying tiles over a linoleum flooring might seem complex and impractical, although the choice to lay tiles over a linoleum floor might have some benefits depending on the floor type and place of installation.

Can you put tile over linoleum?

To install tile over linoleum flooring, you must carefully consider the subfloor quality and the type of tile used. Most linoleum finishes are soft and flexible to provide a cushioning effect on the feet that might not be ideal when installing tiles over a linoleum floor.

Tiles require a rigid subsurface. Always ensure that your linoleum floor has a solid fit before attempting to install a new tile floor over linoleum. If you feel that your sub-floor has a soft underlay, removing the linoleum before adding the tiles might not be such a bad idea.

You can also add an extra substrate layer over your linoleum floor to provide a firm surface before attaching tiles.

How to lay tile over linoleum

Laying tiles over a linoleum floor is comparatively straightforward, but it involves a series of steps and considerations.

If your flooring has well adhered to the floor, you only need to add an extra layer of tiles. For flooring with a soft underlay (ideally 1/14 inches thick), adding a mortar substrate complemented with a few screws might be your best bet (be careful to check for the presence of asbestos that can be harmful and might require professional expertise).

Here’s how to lay tile over linoleum:

1. Prepare your floor surface.

Always start by preparing your floor surface before laying a new layer of flooring. Some of the crucial factors to consider are cleaning your old floor, conducting checks (and fixing) any damaged surfaces, removing pieces of furniture, or clearing the items in the room before installation.

It’s also advisable to check on the state of your linoleum subfloor before attempting to add an extra layer of tiles. A few under layers might be prone to rot, mold, and other inconsistencies that compromise the integrity of your floor. In the event of damage, replace or reinforce the flooring.

Some linoleum sub-floors consist of plywood, which is not ideal for tile installation. In such a case, it’s best to add a cement board or suitable tile base.

2. Test fit your tile boards.

Rough up the surface to create better bonding with the tile adhesive. It’s also a good idea to test fit your tile boards before installation.

Tile boards provide ideal waterproofing options and can be especially useful when working on a water-prone section of your room(like a kitchen floor or a bathroom surface). Cement boards are sturdy and highly durable options suitable for most households.

Test fitting your tile boards helps you to make adjustments and improve the overall quality of your work.

3. Apply an adequate amount of tile adhesive on your floor surface

Once you are sure that your flooring has an even base, you can begin laying and installing your tiles. Work on the floor with a trowel, spacers, measuring tape, and protective clothing.

Apply enough adhesive on the floor surface. Tile adhesives offer a cleaner and more reliable choice compared to thin-set mortar. You can easily apply the sealant on a floor surface, wall, and any surface that requires tiling.

Most adhesives have a long working period, making it easier to make adjustments without affecting other sections of your floor.

4. Install your tiles

Carefully install your tiles. An ideal tile size depends primarily on the floor surface. Shower and bathroom floors are better suited to size ranges of about 1-4 square inches per tile, while the more spacious living areas can have larger tile dimensions.

A helpful installation strategy involves first laying out your master line parallel from your wall. You can opt for different designs and patterns depending on the type of tiles, user taste, preference, and room design.

Carefully space each tile to create a quality finish and ensure each tile fits snugly on the flooring before moving on to another segment of the room.

5. Finish and Inspect

Remember to inspect your flooring after installation. Check for breakages, poorly installed tiles, or gaps within the tile edges to ensure that your finish retains a clean and polished look.

Some tile adhesives might take some time to bind to the surface. It’s best to leave your room overnight to allow for it to dry. Cement-based mortar might require some curing (but it’s always best to first check with the manufacturer before deciding to install tiles on your own.

How to install peel and stick tile over linoleum

Peel and stick tiles are ideal for low-traffic sections of your home. Unlike other types of tiles, peel and stick tiles are vulnerable to indentation when incorrectly installed. Installing peel and stick tiles is easy, given you have a basic level of technical expertise on flooring. You can install peel and stick tiles quite readily over a linoleum floor.

The alternative provides a viable home improvement option that can change the look of your house without the hassle and expense of regular tiles.

Here’s how to install peel and stick tiles over linoleum:

1. Clean(and prepare)your linoleum floor

Like with other floor surfaces, always ensure your linoleum floor is clean and free from dirt before attempting to install peel and stick tiles over your flooring. Vacuum your floor to remove dirt, grime, and other impurities before mopping your surface using the best cleaning method.

2. Measure and cut each tile

Make sure your floor surface is even and free from any indentations before you begin your installation. A notable plus of peel and stick tiles is the versatility and ease of installation. Unlike other tile types, you can easily adjust your peel and stick tiles to go around fixed surfaces such as toilets, counters, etc.

3. Peel it against the floor surface.

Peel and stick tiles have a pre-applied adhesive that can easily stick to a linoleum surface. After making your measurement and cuts, gently stick each tile to the underlying floor and adjust accordingly before moving to the next section. Once you are satisfied with the results of your work, it’s a good idea to give the floor a few hours to dry.

Pros and Cons of putting tile over linoleum

Tiling over linoleum has several benefits and downsides. A homeowner looking to spruce up the feel of their living space can consider adding a layer of tiles over linoleum for several reasons.

Here are the pros and cons of putting tile over linoleum


  • Tiles are highly resistant to staining in comparison to linoleum flooring.
  • Tiles provide additional waterproof features that make them an ideal choice for highly humid surfaces.
  • Ceramic tiles are highly durable(can last about 50 years with proper care) compared to linoleum flooring with a service life of about 30 years.


  • Adding a layer of tiles over a linoleum floor can change the height adjustments of your surface.
  • Inexperienced DIY home owners may find tiling over linoleum to be a challenging process.
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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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