How To Install Tile Over Existing Linoleum Flooring


Wondering if you can install tile over existing linoleum flooring? The answer is YES – you can! Learn the process of turning your drab old flooring into a gorgeous tiled floor in a matter of days.

A great way to give your bathroom a fabulous modern look is with new tile flooring. If you currently have linoleum floors and want a new tile floor, let me show you how I installed my tile right over the top.

No time wasted on removing the linoleum, just brand new, stylish floors to enjoy!

how to install tile over existing linoleum flooring

I’ve been wanting to update our linoleum type of flooring in our bathroom ever since we installed our new flooring in the kitchen/dining room. But I was really hesitant to update our flooring because I though I would have to rip out the linoleum first.

But if your floors are still in good condition (even if they are 20+ years old) you are more than fine tiling right over the outdated linoleum surface.

Let me show you what you’ll need and all the steps I took to install tile in our half bathroom!

How To Install Tile Over Existing Linoleum Flooring

Last week I shared my new half bath room design plans! And this week I’ve already made some great progress by installing tile over our existing linoleum floors.

And I took pictures of all the steps so I can give you a very comprehensive tutorial. So let’s first talk about what you’ll need to complete this diy project.

Tools You’ll Need

Before starting on the new flooring, make sure to grab all your supplies. You will need:


Remove Baseboards and Clean Floor

The first step is to remove all you baseboards from the walls. Once that is complete you need to sweep and clean your floors thoroughly.

make sure existing floor is level and clean

My linoleum was not installed under the vanity. So I had to do an extra step by inserting a 1/4″ piece of plywood into the vacant area.

This was necessary to make sure the floor was level in all areas where the new tile would be installed.

Apply Floor Bonding Primer

Once the floor was clean and level, it was time to apply my floor bonding primer. This will help ensure the thin-set mortar to the underlayment.

multi surface bonding primer for floor

The process for applying it is super simple. Just stir with a paint stick for about 30-60 seconds to mix it well. Then apply a thin coat to all areas as uniformly as possible.

Then I allowed the primer to dry, which took about 3 hours.

linoleum floor covered with floor primer

Once dry, I proceeded on with the next step – the underlayment.

Cut Underlayment

I decided to precut all my underlayment. This was because I didn’t want to waste any time once I mixed my thin-set mortar.

underlayment needed to install floor tile

And if the underlayment was already cut and measured to cover the entire floor, applying the mortar would go so much faster.

cut underlayment to completely cover entire floor

Apply Mortar To Floor And Press-in Underlayment

Now that the underlayment is all sized, the next step is mixing the mortar.

One of the the mistakes I made in my last tiling project was mixing the whole bag of mortar all at once. DON’T DO THAT!

I was wiser this time because I had personal experience and I knew I wouldn’t need the whole bag to cover this small area of the half bath and laundry room floor.

HOW TO MIX PARTIAL BAG OF MORTAR: So I found a great resource online that saved me time and my mortar. This spreadsheet is a great reference for when you only want to mix a portion of the mortar.

It gave me a measurement guide based on pounds of mortar to water ratios. Total lifesaver!

I used my mixing paddle and only mixed up 15 pounds of mortar for this application. It was exactly all I needed to cover over the existing linoleum floor.

apply thin-set mortar to the existing linoleum floor then place down underlayment

Once I covered an area of thin-set mortar with my notched trowel, I placed the underlayment on top and the pushed it down.

Then I rolled over it with a rubber tile float just to help secure it into the mortar and get a good bond.

Tile Installation Process

Once the underlayment is installed over the existing flooring, you can immediately start tiling. So I measured out my tile brick pattern, starting in the center of the room.

I applied the tile adhesive mortar with my notched trowel, then laid the natural stone tiles in place. Then I added in my tile spacers to keep the tiles even and level.

apply tile adhesive then lay down tiles and add spacers

Then I just worked my way across the room, cutting tiles with the wet tile saw as I went. Nice thing about using bigger tile is that it was so much easier to cut. But the downside of bigger tile, SO HEAVY!

Finally, all the tiles were in place. I allowed the mortar to dry over night (or at least for 12 hours). Then it was time to grout.

Grout Tiles

When it comes to grout, I don’t follow the instructions on the bag. I like to go slow, take my time and work in small sections.

I’ve discovered the best way is to mix up small amounts at a time. The thing about grout is your looking for a mayo type of consistency. So start by adding some grout to a bowl then add in a little water and mix. I actually used a kitchen hand mixer to combine mine.

Once I got the mixture to a mayo type consistency, I let it sit for about 10 minute’s. Then mixed for another 3 or so.

Then grabbed my rubber float and started applying it between the grout joints.

grout all grout lines with rubber float

When I ran out of a mixed batch of grout, I would then stop grouting and start washing the excess grout off with bucket of clean plain water and a sponge.

Then I just repeated those steps until the entire floor was grouted.


Be sure to save a little grout mix to repair any grout that may dislodge or chip out of the grout lines over the years!

Remove Mortar and Grout Residue

The last step is to remove the white cloudy residue leftover on the surface of the tile from the mortar and grout. This requires a ton of washing with clean water and repeating.

cleaning white residue off new slate tone floor tiles

I did discover that a combination of 50% white vinegar and 50% water works really well at removing the cloudy leftover residue.

Enjoy New Tile Floors

And now our old linoleum flooring is all covered with some new beautiful slate stone tile. Love the contrast with the light gray grout and the slate too.

It does look a little fun with the old painted walls and sitting empty. But this week I will be installing the beadboard which is going to only improve this look even more.

new half bath room slate stone tiled floors

I’ve already added back the new thicker baseboards and can’t wait to see this room transform even more!

new half bath room slate stone tiled floors

I hope this tutorial inspires you to tackle some outdated flooring in your home as well. What do you think of the new slate tile updated look?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *