Our kitchen has an original vinyl floor and we are going to get ceramic tile now. I assumed the vinyl would be removed before installing the tile, but a contractor says we should leave the vinyl installed and just cover it. Anybody know if this is likely to be correct. Please, no guesses. The opinions of people who truly know what they are talking about would be appreciated.
I'm not a contractor but, I have installed ceramic tile before and it would be foolish in my opinion to put down something that expensive and hard to do with vinyl underneath it because, vinyl is soft and will move and allow the ceramic to break when someone walks over it, Not a good ideal, don't hire this contractor at all.You can find all kinds of information at home centers on how to prepare the floor where you are going to lay the tile and one thing that is expressed from Ceramic Tile manufactures is you should not lay it on vinyl or anything else that has a soft like surface.
Here's your solution. Since you must use an underlayment of mesh and scratch coat cement or 'hardibacker' sheets, leaving the vinyl in place is one less step, and eliminates the possibility of airborne irritants like asbestos when you skin or sand existing vinyl floors. (relax, asbestos is very rare) Mesh and cement MAY NOT adhere to the shiny vinyl, so a backer-board is the only way to go. Make sure your tile contactor spreads 1/8 of mortar on to the floor BEFORE they lay the sheets into it, and nail or screw every 8 inches, on square. Trowel your tile setting cement on the backerboard and away you go. Most backerboard systems are warrantied for 1 year if you install them this way.
If the vinyl is not coming up or severely damaged and the subflooring is in good condition there is nothing wrong with installing the ceramic tile over it. A professional contractor will make certain the tile is laid level. . .and that's what is important in order to prevent any damage later on to the tile. Often when removing vinyl damage can be done to the subfloor due to the adhesive. If this happens it will cost you more time and money.