Friday, January 13, 2012

How To Lay Hardwood On Top of Tile

When you purchase a new home there may be a number of things you want to renovate. Among the top of the list these days, is adding a beautiful hardwood floor. This look offers beauty, value, and extra life. But there are several things to consider when installing hardwood.  Depending on the amount of time you have, you may want to try to get rid of the tile... but this isn't always plausbile or possible, so here is the best way to lay hard wood over tile.

  • Remove Any Obstacles

Remove any obstacles such as baseboards so you can slide the hardwood underneath, and replace the base boards at the appropriate hidth. Much of the hardwood floorboards, such as clickwood or engineered are approximately 3/8″ high, and with an extra 1/8″ for the pad underneath, you’ll want to allow for about a 1/”2 gap between the bottom of the base boards and the top floor, prior to laying your hardwood surface.

  • Level the Surface (Remove The Tile if Possible)

Get ready for some back breaking grueling work. Before you begin this project, make sure you’ve got plenty of patience in store, otherwise you’ll end up walking out half way through or doing the project wrong.
One tile next to the other is substantially higher, this will cause problems when laying hardwoodTo lay hardwood down, you will want your surface to be as smooth as possible. If you have any drops that are close to a 1/8″ drop in the surface of your floor, it may cuase damage to your hardwood, or at the least it will creak and crack as you walk over the finished hardwood surface. Consider this – if the plan is 3 inches wide and there is an uneven surface underneath, it will teeter-totter depending on which side of the board you step on. That teeter-totter motion cause motion which will create sounds and wear your hardwood down quickly.

The effect of hitting tile with a sledge hammer on concrete

Divots left by the sledge hammer in tile which lies on concrete.

To level the surface the best idea is to get rid of the tile, depending on how easy that is. If the tile is installed on concrete, this may be more difficult. If it was laid in an area such as the upstairs over floorboards, this may prove easier. The reason being, you’re going to have to break the tile with a sledge hammer, and the surface underneath will need to be able to bend with the force of the sledge hammer so the tile can crack. Otherwise, you may just end up putting small divots into the tile and not actually break anything, as show with the picture on the right. The desired effect is to have long breaks up and down the tile which can be pried up. Place a spare towel over the tile as you hit it with the sledge hammer to avoid any flying tile shards

Leveling Tile in Preparation for Hardwood

If you are unable to remove the tile, let some leveling around the uneven portions of the tile, once you have leveled the surface (as pictured on the left) lay an 1/8″ foam pad which you will act as an additional leveling agent for your floor. Even though the tile absorbs water which may come from beneath your surface, this foam pad acts as an extra water barrier from moisture below.

  • Lay The Hardwood

At this point it’s your job to put the hardwood down. Cut to size, shape where necessary, and you should be done in a matter of just a few hours! Good luck!

My name is Kirk Salisbury and I am a do-it-yourself home repairman. The tips above worked for me, and I hope they work for you. I also design websites which focus on real estate around the country so I can help people find Washington DC HomesCharleston Real Estate, or Irvine CA Foreclosures