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Is It Possible To Install A Wood Floor Over Tiles?

Flooring choices make a tremendous difference to how a room looks because of how much it affects the furniture placed on top of it and around it.

Because of this, many people will carefully choose their flooring choice, from the versatility of luxury carpet tiles to solid wood flooring or the shimmering permanence of tiles.

Typically all of these will be built on a base of wooden floorboards on top of some kind of subfloor surface, so a common question will ask how easy it is to lay another flooring surface on top of this.

What is far more unusual is for someone to ask whether they can lay a wooden floor on top of a tile surface, whether those tiles are made of ceramic or natural stone.

It is understandable why someone might want to do this; they might be living in a listed building with a historical set of tiles they must protect and cannot remove, or perhaps they are uncertain whether a wooden floor would suit the style they are going for compared to the tiles.

As well as this, removing tiling can be expensive and time-consuming, and it may not be possible to put them back if you don’t like the result.

In any event, it is possible to lay wood over tile, but there is a cost to be paid.

Raising The Floor

Adding any flooring surface will raise the height of the floor and therefore reduce the height of the room, but wooden flooring in particular will raise it substantially, especially if you want solid rather than engineered wood.

You will need to add a subfloor thick enough to support the nails that you will use to affix the solid wood in place. If the plywood is too thin, the nails will break the tiles underneath. 

However, this added thickness on top of the wooden flooring material itself will raise the floor to the point where you will have a little step between this room and surrounding rooms. This can affect the use of appliances.

Engineered wood is a better option, or laminate if you are simply looking for a wood effect. These are both far thinner and easier to fit without nails.

You Need To Prep The Tiles

Ceramic tiles are not the best surface to lay a subfloor on top of, because they are often smooth, slick and uneven.

Clean the tiles first to remove any dust or debris. Check how flat the floor is and use a levelling compound to fill out the low parts. 

After this, you may need to sand parts of the floor to allow for the wood adhesive to stick better. Clean again before applying the glue.

Prepare Doors And Transition Strips

The biggest effect the raised height will have is on the doors, which will scuff against the new floor or simply will not close properly.

Sand down the doors to shorten them and make it possible for them to swing properly, and fit transition strips to account for the height difference between rooms if you are not going to add wooden flooring to more than one room.

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