Tile installation driving me crazy

I've never installed tile before in my life. So to kick start my 800+ sqft installation, I started in the smallest bathroom.
I ripped out the vinyl floor sitting on top of concrete. Almost at the end of removing the vinyl floor, I noticed that some piece of the floor came off with it.. On closer observation, I noticed that the builder had laid a thin layer of cement on top of the concrete slab. This thin layer was peeling off real easy in some places.
So I decided the rip out this thin veneer.... Painful.... I think I know why the installer put this veneer on, the builder painted the walls first and the floor had paint on it. So the installer rather than scraping off the paint, decided to put in the veneer. This is my guess.
Anyway, since I still have another 800 sq ft to go.... I'm wondering if it was worth the pain removing the thin layer of cement? Or can I install the porcelain tile on top of this veneer without any problems. My common sense says that I should remove the veneer. My body says enough of this torture. :-)
Of the remaining 800+ sq ft, about 500 is covered with carpet... I peeked under the carpet adjoining the tiny bathroom and I see the thin veneer going under the carpet too. Don't know if it's all over the house.
Please advice.
Regards, -R
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R wrote:

The thin layer is a leveling compound, sometimes called flashing (not to be confused with metal flashing for roofing and such). If it's well adhered you can set your tiles on top of it using thinset.
R
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I would use a shopvac to vacuum up the floor and what ever doesn't get sucked up by the powerful vacuum is tough enough to put the tile on. As long as the sub floor isn't sponge I'd go for it. For the few little spots that are missing that layer just add some extra thin set mortar that your using for the tiles. HECK my Dad poured a layer of levelling cement over carpet that was glued down and then laid tile over that, the tiles haven't moved.
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HotRod wrote:

Brings new meaning to the term underlayment, doesn't it?
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wrote:

I love your Dad. He's the MAN!
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I actually spent several hours trying to talk him out of it. Actually probably more time then it would have taken to help him chisel the carpet off of the cement. The only problem he has was air pockets in the grout... Not sure what that was about.
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R wrote:

And it could very well continue doing so. Remove it all.

Probably a leveling compound. But it shouldn't be coming loose. And it's not normally needed in carpeted rooms. I question why it's there. perhaps a very low pile carpet? Berber?

At least pull the carpet and look it over real good. Tap on it and listen for hollow sound. Dig around on it with a screw driver or something and see if it pops. Now's the time to find out. Scrape around the area that fell out and see if it's loose there.
Let common sense prevail or your floor may fail. You don't know for SURE what the product is, IF it was installed properly, etc. Too many variables. You want to chance a failure with 800 feet of tile?
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R wrote:

If the vinyl is well adhered to the concrete just use the best tile adhesive money can buy and lay tile on top of it. It's done like that in California all the time. Guess it depends where you live. I would never lay tile on vinyl in an upstairs bathroom though, for obvious reasons.
Rich
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
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Evodawg wrote:

I think from what I read that he's got the vinyl up already and has carpet to deal with now. You're absolutely right about installing over vinyl sheet goods. If it's glued solid it makes an excellent anti-fracture membrane, using modified t/s as you mentioned. As for second floor, a layer of 1/4" Hardi over the vinyl eliminates the removal of it.
The one to watch out for is the perimeter glue down vinyl which ya don't see around much anymore. That has to be removed before tiling. I've seen that one 'bite' a few guys over the years when they failed to remove it and tiled over it. :-)
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wrote:

OP said that he had removed the vinyl flooring. The veneer he is concerned about is almost certainly levelling compound. In general that could probably be ignored unless it's presence is causing severe out of flatness but since it's coming up by hand it should just be removed. I don't know about the age/brand of your compound but recently when I had to remove some I found that methylene chloride softened it to the point that it could just be scraped up w/a hand scraper. In particular I was using Jasco Adhesive Remover.
Of course if it was originally put down to flatten out the floor a bit and you remove it you will then have an out of flat floor that will have to be corrected. This should be done with (you guessed it!) levelling compound.
Incidentally I recently had a contractor intend on laying ceramic tile down over vinyl tiles. For this and other reasons I ended up doing the floor myself and as part of that I discovered that the vinyl tiles were not down nearly as solidly as a cursory inspection would have led you to believe. They came up rather easily by hand. So this whole business of laying down ceramic tiles over vinyl is, in my opinion, pretty risky, and really isn't worth the day or so (depending on the size of the floor obviously) that it will take to remove the vinyl and strip the remaining adhesive from the concrete.
ml
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What about laying 1 foot square ceramic tile over a small basement bathroom that has vinyl linoleum glued to the concrete floor? Thanks for your opinions.

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Dave wrote:

Learn to follow along. Read my last post.
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G Henslee wrote:

In fact, read them all. You've got opinions pro and con in this thread.
Not enough? google groups has hundreds.
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as has been noted it's all about how securely the vinyl is attached to the floor.
G Henslee noted that sheet vinyl flooring, securely attached, actually functions as an elastomeric membrane keeping slab cracks from telescoping to the tile flooring. In my case the problem was that was we thought was vinyl securely attached actually wasn't. And it was very difficult to detect that just by looking and touching.
It's even more difficult to detect loose vinyl flooring over usenet.
Another poster remarked that they would never leave vinyl in place in a bathroom, but didn't elaborate on the reason. I'm not sure but I imagine the reason is something along the lines that it would trap moisture between itself and the new floor. That's almost certain to make the new flooring eventually fail. Since you are redoing a bathroom I would make sure you understand the further issues they were referring to.
ml
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Thanks for the prompt suggestions/replies. Time to summarize all the replies I've got till now.
I will definetely peek under the carpet in other areas and see if this leveling compound is all over the place.
As for laying tile on the Vinyl.... The vinyl looks like it's really stuck on but when I was removing it, in someplaces it was peeling off in my hands and in someplaces only the top layer of the viny was coming off with the remaining stuck to the floor. So my guess is that glue wasn't applied to 100% of the Vinyl floor.
I thought it was a good idea to remove the vinyl first from reading.
This house is only 5 years old and we are in Dallas, Texas.
Thanks in advance, -R
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