Can You Install Wood Flooring Over Tiled Floors

7 Aug 2023

Removing an existing tiled floor can be a timely, costly and messy experience. Can you save the hassle by installing your new wood flooring over the top of the existing tiles? The short answer is yes - but there are some important considerations to make to ensure the successful installation and a long-life of your new wood floor. Read more to discover all you need to know before installing wood flooring over tiles. 

Can You Install Wood Flooring Over Tiles?

Yes, it is possible to install wood flooring over tiles. Removing tiles can be an expensive task. It is also time-consuming and extremely dusty. You will either need to erect plastic protection or conduct a full house clean on completion of the tile removal process. This is why many renovators choose to install new wood floors over the top of tiles rather than removing them.

Laying a new wood floor over existing tiles is possible, however it does require careful preparation and consideration. We’ve put together some of the most important points and considerations to keep in mind if you want to install your new wood flooring over existing tiles.

Wood Flooring Over Tiles: Key Considerations

Tile Condition: The existing tile surface must be in good condition, free from cracks, loose or damaged tiles, and it must be level. If the tiles are damaged or uneven, it is necessary to address these issues before proceeding with the wood flooring installation.

Check for Dampness: Moisture coming through the floor can impact the quality and performance of any wooden floor. Check for moisture issues and make sure there is no evidence of moisture rising through the tiles. This will often appear as a salty residue on the surface. Wood is sensitive to moisture, so it is essential to ensure the subfloor and tile surface are adequately sealed and waterproofed.

Tile Cleanliness: The tile surface should be thoroughly cleaned and free of any dust, grease, or debris. Proper cleaning ensures a better bond between the tiles and the wood flooring.

Floor Height: Be aware that adding wood flooring over tiles will increase the floor height. Ensure that the new height will not create any problems with door clearances, baseboards, or transitions to other flooring surfaces. Some things to consider:

  • Doors may need to be undercut to suit new height of finished floor

  • Transitions to other floor finishes may have a larger step created

  • Less of existing skirting will be visible due to the increased height in floors

  • Transitions to sliding doors leading outside may have finished timber height greater than the sliding door channel or door thresholds.

Havwoods HW7364 Ivory Oak European Oak Wood Flooring | Denman Home, ACT

Wood Flooring Over Tiles: Installation Considerations

Type of Wood Flooring: Consider using engineered wood flooring rather than solid hardwood. Engineered wood is more dimensionally stable and less prone to warping or cupping due to environmental changes.

Installation Method: There are various methods to install wood flooring over tiles, including using adhesives, floating installations, or installing plywood or other subfloor materials over the tiles before installing the wood flooring.

Surface Preparation: The surface of the tiles must be roughly ground to create a texture that enhances the adhesion between the wood flooring and the tile. This process is often referred to as "etching" the surface or creating a "key" in for the adhesive to achieve a mechanical bond. The rough grinding of the tile's surface helps to increase the surface area and creates microscopic irregularities that the adhesive can adhere to more effectively.

Floor Priming: Fit for purpose primers and levelling products must be used for preparation. Mechanical bond primers for non-porous surfaces and fiber re-enforced or latex based levelling compounds are the only suitable products when completing preparation over tiled floors. These include products such as:

Suitable adhesive: The suitability of the adhesive to secure the new wood flooring to the tiles must be confirmed by an expert prior to adhering to ceramic tiles. MS Polymer adhesives are popular choices for sticking to tiled floors. Havwoods offer a tried and tested MS Polymer adhesive, Hav:Bond,  which can purchased along with your wood flooring.

Professional Installation: It is recommended to have a professional flooring installer assess the existing tile surface and determine the best approach for installing wood flooring safely and effectively.

While it is possible to install wood flooring over tiles, proper preparation and the right installation techniques are crucial to achieving a successful and long-lasting result.

What are the benefits of Installing wood flooring over existing tiles?

Installing wood flooring over tiles can offer several benefits, especially when done correctly with proper preparation and installation. Here are some advantages of this type of installation:

  • Cost Savings: Installing wood flooring over existing tiles can be more cost-effective than removing the tiles first. Eliminating the need for tile removal and disposal can save on labor and material costs.

  • Time-Saving: Installing wood flooring over tiles can be a faster process compared to removing the tiles and preparing the subfloor from scratch. This can result in shorter installation times and less disruption to the living space.

  • Aesthetics: Wood flooring provides a warm and natural look that many homeowners desire. By installing wood over tiles, you can achieve this aesthetic without having to replace the existing tiles.

  • Versatility: Wood flooring comes in various styles, species, and finishes, offering a wide range of design options to complement different interior decor styles.

  • Easy Maintenance: Wood flooring is relatively easy to maintain, requiring regular sweeping and occasional light mopping. Properly sealed wood flooring can be more stain-resistant than some types of tiles.

  • Comfort and Warmth: Wood flooring generally feels warmer and more comfortable underfoot compared to tiles, especially during colder seasons.

  • Noise Reduction: Wood flooring can help reduce noise transmission within the living space, making it a quieter and more peaceful environment.

  • Durability: High-quality wood flooring, especially engineered wood, is durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making it a suitable option for busy areas in the home.

  • Eco-Friendly: Opting to install wood flooring over tiles can be considered environmentally friendly, as it avoids the disposal of old tiles and reduces waste.

The benefits of installing wood flooring over tiles depend on the condition of the existing tiles, the quality of the wood flooring, and the expertise of the installation process. To ensure the best results and maximize the benefits, it's advisable to consult with a professional flooring installer who can assess the specific situation and recommend the most suitable approach for your particular project.

What are the risks of installing wood flooring over tiles?

Installing wood flooring over tiles can pose several risks and challenges if not done correctly. Here are some potential risks associated with this type of installation:

  • Tiles Lifting: There is a risk that over time, the tiles beneath timber floors may lift. Generally, if the tiles have been down for a long period of time, this is less likely.

  • Uneven Surface: If the tile surface is not level or has high and low spots, it can create an uneven base for the wood flooring. This can lead to an unstable and squeaky floor, as well as potential damage to the wood over time.

  • Moisture Issues: Tiles in certain areas, such as laundry’s or kitchens, may be more exposed to water and moisture. If the tiles or grout lines are not adequately sealed, moisture can seep through and damage the wood flooring, causing warping, swelling, and mold growth.

  • Adhesion Problems: Ensuring proper adhesion between the wood and tile surface is crucial. If the tiles are not thoroughly cleaned, or if the wrong adhesive is used, the wood flooring may not bond properly, leading to de-lamination and loose boards.

  • Height Differences: Adding wood flooring over tiles can increase the floor height. This height difference may create tripping hazards, especially at doorways and transitions to other rooms or flooring types.

  • Future Changes: If you ever decide to remove the wood floor and tiles in the future, it's important to consider that the doors and architraves, which may have been undercut to accommodate the new flooring height, would now leave a significant gap to the floor.

Havwoods HW6206 Ryde European Oak Wood Flooring | Malton Residence, NSW

Update Your Space by Switching Tiles to Timber

It can be a good option to lay your new wood flooring over existing tiles. To mitigate risks, it's essential to have a professional flooring installer assess the existing tile surface and subfloor conditions, use appropriate installation methods, and select the right type of wood flooring for the specific application. Proper preparation and attention to detail are critical to achieving a successful wood flooring installation over tiles but when done right, you will be enjoying your beautiful new wood flooring in no time.

Havwoods offer over 200 wood flooring products to choose from. Explore our products online and order free samples, or get in touch to speak with one of our experts for some guidance. You can also visit one of our showrooms and experience our products and service in person.

Order Free Samples Online

Looking for the perfect wood flooring to lay over your tiles? We have over 200 hardwood flooring products for you to choose from. Find the perfect product to update your tiled flooring and bring warmth into your space with wood.

Simply explore our products and when you see a product you like, click the "add to cart" button. When you are ready, check out and fill in your delivery details and we will pack and send off your samples direct to you at your home or office.

Explore our range of European Oak wood flooring products online today and find the perfect product for your project.

Explore products