My wife wants our basement floor tiled. The current floor is 40 year
old cement with a coat of gray paint. The paint is older than when we
moved-in, 7 years ago. I do not know what kind of paint, it is,
however, the paint is a flat color, not a shiny surface paint.
Couple of questions (well, actually 3 questions);
Can I tile over a painted floor, if so, what is the best method to
prepare the cement surface?
Ceramic or porcelin tiles? Is there an advantage to either?
Thanx in advance for your thoughts and advice.
I had a 600 sqft concrete patio slab, previously painted and lots of 1/8"
cracks. It is exposed to the rain. The paint was in good shape (not flaking
I used fairly large (16") tiles in order to bridge the cracks. The
contractor used a rotary sander to go over the paint, to roughen it up. He
then applied some blue goop (with a big swab) to absorb any future movement
of the cracks in the slab. They used the cement-based paste to glue down the
It's been three years and all is well. Looks great. No tiles popping up or
cracks anywhere. YMMV
Detroit, huh? It gets cold there, right?
Ceramic tile on a concrete slab is going to be pretty cold mid-
DAGS on your subject and you'll get lots of hits that say don't tile
directly over a painted surface. What's the Thinset going to bond
to...the paint? Not the securest of surfaces.
2 options to consider:
1 - Lay down cement board and attach it to the slab with a Ramset or
2 - Rent a concrete scarifier and remove most of the paint and rough
up the concrete so the Thinset can bite.
I think putting backerboard over concrete is a little overkill. I put
tiles on my concrete den floor 5 years ago and its still solid. Even
if the concrete is not perfect, the thinset can compensate for some
small minor irregularities.
If you can wear a T-shirt down there in the winter time, then it
sounds like you should be OK.
The backerboard was not to compensate for irregularities - it was to
insure that the thinset had something to adhere to other than the
paint. If the paint delaminates, so will the thinset.
Removing most of the paint and roughing up the concrete is another
option but a lot messier.
There are tradeoffs with all alternatives, including taking the chance
of just tiling directly over the paint.
Agreed; no need to add more substrate beneath the tile.
Modren thinset is pretty amazing stuff; did you know that it can even be
applied *directly* over Formica for kitchen counters? So I wouldn't
worry about putting it over a painted surface.
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism
re: "Modren thinset is pretty amazing stuff; did you know that it can
even be applied *directly* over Formica for kitchen counters?"
You can apply it directly over *anything* but that doesn't mean it
will be a quality installation.
All the thinset is going to do is bond the tile directly to the
formica (or paint). It's is not going to penetrate the formica (or
paint) so if the formica (or paint) is not securely bonded to the
substrate, you will never achieve a firm bond.
I'd be less concerned about putting tile directly over a formica
countertop than a painted floor, as long as I was sure that the
formica was securely bonded to the substrate.
If you have ever seen peeling paint on a concrete floor, you'd
understand why most people say that you should remove most of the
paint so that thinset comes in direct contact with the concrete.
Roughing up the concrete is an added bonus that I'll agree might not
be needed with modern thinset, but certainly won't hurt the adhesion.
The reason some people suggest backerboard in this situation is merely
because it is an alternative to the labor required and the mess
created by removing the paint. For all we know, the house is old
enough that the paint on the floor is lead. Throw down some
backerboard, RamShot it down, and you're good to go. You probably
don't even need to tape the seams since you're not going to get too
much movement from the slab.
I think I will tile the floor inside of a closet and see what
happens. Lead paint is a concern, but we bought the house from 2 guys
who were painters. They bought the house, fixed it up, and flipped it
to us in 2002. The entire house was newly painted, including the
basement floor. I would doubt the floor paint is lead, but who wants
to take chances. Will see about the out of the way closet, then decide
about paint removal. She wants the job done this winter, so I have
time to get this figured out.
Everyone, thanx for your advice.
I do not have an opinion of whether the tiles will adhere to a painted
surface, but I will say that I would err on the side of caution. The
tile and labor is substantial, you do not want to redo this once it is
You should be fine provided the surface is roughed up a little.
Ceramic or porcelain is fine.
But I agree with the other poster. It will get cold down in that
basement in Detroit, unless its super insulated and has a lot of heat.
Laminate flooring is a good alternative.
Frank from Deeeetroit | 2009-08-02 | 1:15:37 PM wrote:
Use a belt sander to remove the paint. You'll need multiple belts, so
get the bulk package of 60-grit. Wear a respirator. Close off the room
with plastic. Tape over all vents. Suck everything up with a good shop
vacuum with a filter.
When you're done, the concrete will be nicely textured for the tile.
Wanna have some fun?
Rent one of those circular floor buffers and use some 60 grit pads.
Keep all children, pets and breakable objects well out the area the
first time you use one of those things. I've heard stories of people
putting them through sliding glass doors!
We used to buff floors with them when I was in the service. A new
recruit almost wiped out a rack of high tech navigation equipment the
first time he turned one on. Luckily a nearby petty officer pulled the
plug just in time.
The number one rule: Guide them, don't fight them.
My wife retired rom her job as a security director at the Mall in our
city. Years ago, one of the mall cops transfered out of security and
into ground maintenance. He was buffing floors with a circular
buffer, for the first time, and the buffer took him for a ride until
crashing through the plate glass window of a store front. You can
imagine the cartoons that were posted in the locker room of this
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