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Can You Put Wood Floors Over Tile? Is It a Good Idea?

mosaic and wood floor tiles

Tile is inexpensive and durable, but it isn’t to everyone’s taste, especially after it gets worn out. This can cause many people to wonder if you can put a wood floor over tile. The short answer is yes, you can create a wood floor over tile, but there are several things to consider before you do. Keep reading as we explain the difficulties of such a project and how you can make it work to help you create the floor of your dreams.

flooring dividerCan I Install a Wood Floor Over Tile?

The biggest problem with installing a hardwood floor over tile is that builders usually hammer the boards into support beams below. Unfortunately, since tile is usually porcelain or another hard material sitting on a cement-like surface, you will not be able to hammer nails through it, making a traditional hardwood floor impossible. However, you can use engineered hardwood or a laminate hardwood floor over tile because these materials fit together like a puzzle, resulting in a sturdy and durable floor without needing to hammer through any tile.

Hickory wood flooring
Image Credit: Edgar Lee Espe, Shutterstock

Other Important Considerations When Choosing a Hardwood Floor

Room Grade

You can only install a hardwood floor in an above-grade room, meaning the room in which you want to place a hardwood floor must be above ground. Any room below grade will receive too much moisture to keep the floor intact, even with a moisture barrier.

Moisture Content

The moisture content in most bathrooms and even some kitchens will be too high to make installing a wood floor a good idea, especially when using laminate or engineered hardwood, which absorbs moisture easily. If you need to update the flooring in these rooms, you might consider vinyl flooring instead of wood, since it’s waterproof.

engineered hardwood flooring
Image credit: Ingo Bartussek, Shutterstock

Trips for Installing a Wood Floor Over Tile

  • Use a hygrometer or moisture meter to check the moisture content of your room for several days before choosing a hardwood floor. If the content is 55% or higher on average, vinyl flooring might be a better option.
  • The grout between tiles can create an uneven surface. Adding grout as needed is important to create a smooth surface, or moisture can build up in the air pockets.
  • Use an approved vapor barrier, like asphalt felt paper, for the longest-lasting wood floor.

What Tools Would I Need to Remove Tile?

  • If you aren’t afraid of hard work and think that it would be better to remove the tile floor and install a traditional hardwood floor, you will need a good pair of work gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to protect yourself as you work.
  • A sturdy 2-pound hammer will help you smash up the tile quickly.
  • A pry bar can help you pull up tile once you get under it.
  • A chisel can help you remove tile around corners and hard-to-reach areas.
  • A scraper will help you smooth the surface when the tile is gone.
  • A shovel and a bucket will help you remove the tile once it starts coming up.
  • The Shop-Vac will help make clean-up easy.

flooring dividerSummary

If you want to create a hardwood floor over tile, you should use a manufactured hardwood or laminate. It will fit together over the tile like a puzzle, providing a durable surface. That said, the room shouldn’t be too humid or below grade, and you must properly prepare the tile surface before installing the wood. The hard surface created by tile and mortar makes nailing in a traditional hardwood floor impossible unless you completely remove the tile and mortar first.


Featured Image Credit: shannonrphillips, Pixabay

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