Can Armstrong Alterna Tiles be installed over existing ceramic tiles?

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by NovaRob, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. NovaRob

    NovaRob New Member

    Hi - I am new to this forum and appreciate any feedback you all can provide. I am having my master bathroom remodelled. I live in a condo, so it is fairly small. I have selected the Armstrong Alterna tiles. I have had white ceramic tiles for 14 years. I am going with the Dellaporte Charcoal.

    My contractor told me yesterday that since I live in a condo, there is probably a fire resistent coating under the existing ceramic tiles that would need to be removed. He said this would be messy and time consuming. He suggested we put down a leveling compound over the existing ceramic tiles and install the Alterna tiles over the ceramic tiles. This doesn't sound right to me and I really would like some other opinions.

    Also, he suggested laying the tiles without grout. I can't visualize how the tiles will look without grout for a bathroom (maybe for a basement type area). I am leaning towards going with grout. Any suggestions for the color of gout I should use with the Dellaporte Charcoal tiles?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    If the tiles that are down now are solid and there's not cracking or hollow sounds then I can't see why a self-leveler system wouldn't work well over it. I would be more concerned with your contractor having had experience working with the leveler than I would worry about the product itself not working. As far as grouted or not, that's more a personal preference. But I believe most pros that have had experience with this type of tile would say that it's not "perfect" enough to be butted instead of grouted. I prefer grouted installations with this type of tile...with grout joints of no more than 1/8'.
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I agree with Kyle. But the question begs to be asked, why is the contractor suggesting no grout? Is it because the underlying substrate is not sound enough for grout? Is he afraid the grout will crack? Did the existing tile grout crack? If so, then there is a problem with the structure of the subfloor that should be addressed.

    PS: I like a little contrast in the tile and grout. For charcoal, a white might be too much contrast, but something midway between charcoal and white. Dellaporte doesn't have a charcoal - Mesa Stone does though.
  4. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    My guess is that he's suggesting no grout because it's much easier to install without grout and faster.
  5. NovaRob

    NovaRob New Member

    When I first bought the condo (brand new) 14 years ago, the tiles in the bathroom cracked. They said the subflooring was not installed properly, so they took up the tiles, fixed the subflooring and installed new tiles. They have not cracked since then. However, I had a handyman regrout my floor several years ago and he left it a total mess. There was grout haze all over the tiles and I was never able to clean them. I think the handyman didn't use the correct type of grout. Anyway, I shared this story with my contractor. I think that is why he suggested installing these tiles without grout, just because I had a bad experience with grout before. But he said it was my decision and we could certainly use grout if I wanted it.

    Dellaporte does have a charcoal, however it has been discontinued. My contractor says he thinks he can still get enough of the tiles since my bathroom is small. A flooring specialist would be coming in to do the installation.

    I am just not comfortable with them installing the floor over my existing tiles. I want it done right the first time. It seems the right thing to do would be to remove the existing ceramic tiles.
  6. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yeah, I think most people would agree that the fewer amount of layers of flooring the better. "Right" depends on a lot of things and I'll have to give your contractor the benefit of the doubt with this one. I have had to do things many times that don't exactly sound great on paper but was the right solution for the job.
  7. Taurus Flooring

    Taurus Flooring Over 30yrs Experience

    The two biggest factors for not removing the tiles would cost and effort. Removing the tiles properly will not affect the subfloor unless it had not been done right in the first place. Whatever you do choose to do, make sure you grout. If you don't, water will make it ways under and create a headache at some point. I personally like sheet vinyl(fiberfloor) for this area as it will prevent any leakage. BTW, it can be installed over the ceramic with no problems. :yesss:

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