How hard is it to remove tile and replace it with wood flooring?

Asked by Annie Sah
Cambridge, MA

What does it entail to remove tile and replace it with wood flooring? I don't know what's under the tile. The house was built in 1987.


Polly Bart

Answered by Polly Bart

Reisterstown, MD

Greenbuilders, Inc.

October 21, 2010

You didn't say whether this is ceramic or vinyl tile; I will assume it's ceramic?

  • In that case you need to break up the tile and completely remove it.
  • You need a good subfloor underneath to nail the wood flooring down; if what's there isn't suitable, you'll have to repair or improve it.

Besides creating a good, stable, smooth subfloor to install the wood, you need to check the height of the finished floor.

  • Especially if the tiles were vinyl (which is thin), you may end up with a floor height which is higher than what you have now.
  • This means cutting down doors to fit and possibly removing and reinstalling baseboard and/or shoe molding to fit. The fact that the house was built in 1987 means you don't have to worry about lead paint or asbestos.

Before you go too far, try to inspect underneath the tile in a corner or inside of a closet so you know what you're dealing with. You may be able to tell from underneath the floor (i.e., in the basement or crawl space) more easily, if there's access.

Tagged In: wood flooring

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