Replacing Vinyl Flooring with Porcelain Tile

Master bath tile in place and grouted

Finished Master Bath tile work!

One thing I’ve never liked about most houses’ finishes is the flooring selection. Unless we are talking about higher end homes, most home builders only offer two flooring options, carpet and vinyl.

I specifically want to talk about vinyl, because I understand carpet has its place, especially in colder areas of the country, where you don’t want your feet to freeze every time you get out of bed or walk around the house in your pajamas on a rainy Sunday morning.

However, I don’t understand why, in this day and age, they insist on offering the vinyl option. I know, it is cheaper, perhaps not by much though, after considering that they need to install some kind of underlayment under it, but other than that, I cannot think of any other real benefit when compared to tile (whether it be ceramic, natural stone, porcelain or others), which is my favorite flooring option, for many of the following reasons, and more:

VINYL FLOORING PROS:

  • A bit cheaper.
  • It is easy to clean.
  • It last long.

VINYL FLOORING CONS:

  • Petroleum product, toxic.
  • Unless you go with the expensive alternatives, it looks cheap.
  • It can be installed on top of almost anything, but it can also be extremely difficult to remove.
  • Color fade.
  • Almost impossible to repair.
  • It doesn’t add any resell value to your home.

TILE FLOORING PROS:

  • Non-toxic.
  • Can be almost as cheap as vinyl.
  • Most alternatives are easy to clean.
  • Unless you go with the cheapest of the cheap alternatives, they almost always look great, elegant and high quality.
  • On most alternatives, color does not fade.
  • Unless you are constantly dropping heavy items, they can last forever.
  • Cracked or broken tiles can be replaced.
  • Adds resale value to your home.

TILE FLOORING CONS:

  • A bit more expensive.
  • Cold to walk on barefoot.
  • More difficult to install.

Based on these, I decided to go ahead and replace the vinyl flooring with porcelain tile on both bathrooms and the laundry room, not to mention the kitchen, which is featured in a different post.

THE BEST WAY TO REMOVE VINYL FLOORING FROM CONCRETE

As mentioned, one of the cons of vinyl flooring is how difficult it is to remove, from my experience, the older it is and the more traffic it gets, the more difficult it will be to remove.

In my case, since this was an early 2000s-built house, it was not terribly hard to remove in some areas but very difficult on others, especially on high traffic ones like the kitchen and the main access from the garage to the laundry room, what a nightmare!

Laundry room, replacing vinyl flooring

Laundry Room, removing baseboard before starting to work on removing the vinyl flooring

Depending on what subfloor type you have, also determines how difficult it will be to remove, a concrete slab is easier than a wood subfloor, unless you don’t mind removing the underlayment, which can be difficult as well.

This house had a concrete slab, however, it wasn’t until after I had completed the kitchen, and was halfway done in the laundry room, that I realized that an electric floor stripper worked better than what I was using, a combination of a hand scraper, heat gun and an oscillating tool. Actually, I would go as far as to say that the floor stripper is the best way to remove vinyl flooring from concrete, it was way too easy!

I wonder how many hours of work I would have saved had I rented the proper scraper since the beginning!

Removing vinyl flooring from laundry room to replace with tile

Laundry Room, using oscillating tool, utility knife to remove vinyl flooring

 

Laundry room after removing vinyl flooring, before tiling

Laundry Room, after removing vinyl flooring

LAYING PORCELAIN TILE

Tiling is not difficult and as long as you follow the basic procedures, you should be satisfied with the results even the first time you do it. The first and more important step is measuring and marking the center of the room, a chalk line is very helpful.

Once that’s done, you can start laying the tile from the center mark to the walls, using tile spacers, to make sure you have tiles about the same size on both sides of the room, keep in mind however that sometimes, due to the position of doors, cabinets, et cetera, it may be easier to have smaller tiles on one side than the other than having to make difficult, u-shaped for example, cuts.

As long as you don’t have a complete tile on one side and a 1 to 2 inches one on the other you should be OK.

Once you are happy with the positioning of the tile, you can go ahead and start setting them in mortar, it’s really that easy! The end result of my tiling project can be seen on the following slideshow.

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In case you are interested, this is the porcelain tile I used.

Readers, what do you think about vinyl flooring? Have you ever decided to get rid of it to replace it with a nicer option? Did you know that depending on the tile you use, it can be even cheaper than vinyl?

Convinced of replacing your vinyl flooring with a better (tile) option? This is what you need:



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