As some of you have followed I'm replacing a vinyl tiled kitchen floor with
I had hired a contractor to do the entire remodel but had to let him go
because of quality issues.
As an example he recommended tiling right on top of the vinyl tile. I
checked this out here and with some professional tilers and the consensus
was while it's never a good idea if the vinyl tile is very well set and is
of the non-cushioned type you can get away with it. This contractor said
that the tile was as well set as he'd seen and that it would be fine to tile
Well yesterday (he's gone now and I'm completing this by myself) I was
painting walls and a caulk gun fell off a stepladder and chipped a nice
sized piece out of one of the vinyl tiles. Thinking this was odd behavior
for a floor that's so well set we can put ceramic tile over it I checked it
out a bit further and lo and behold the tiles came rather easily off of the
floor. This was next to impossible to detect with all the edges and corners
So I immediately decided to rip the floor up as was suggested by all but
this contractor and while I'm not finished yet so far doing half of it has
taken about 2 hrs. This is with a hammer and a scraper, nothing fancier
than that. To my thinking if this floor was really ok to tile over it
should have taken a lot longer than that. So one fortuitous accident (the
caulk gun falling) has probably saved me from laying a tile floor that would
have been nothing but a headache.
Ok now the questions
1) This floor is by no means down to clean concrete. There are remnants of
some sort of building paper they decided to put down in some places (and
oddly enough not in others, this is only a 12x12 room...) and there is old
Pretty sure I don't want to tile directly over this stuff. I have to level
the floor a bit anyway. What's the best way to prep this floor? Skim coat
it with leveling compound? Nail or glue hardibacker to it? I'd like to
keep the added height to a minimum. Do I have to sand all this crap off?
(god, please no)
2) Before I was told I didn't have to use the fiberglass membrane for
keeping slab cracks from telescoping to the floor. This was due to the
vinyl tile being in place. Well it's gone now so I assume I have to use
this membrane product. Should I install that underneath or on top of
whatever flooring prep (leveler or hardibacker or whatever) I use.
Incidentally, I have some insight now into the real reason the contrator
didn't want to remove this floor. Basically he had done it once and
believed he had been exposed to asbestos etc. (This was learned in a rather
long not very coherent rant when I told him that everyone had recommended
removing the floor.) He mentioned that it would take us 7 days to remove it
all and that "he would stake his contractor's license that this floor was ok
to tile over." It's taken me 2 hrs to do half of it by hand being careful
not to hit the cabinets we shouldn't have installed til after this was done.
If I had rented a tile remover removing the whole floor would probably have
taken no longer than an hour.
Thanks in advance for the help