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can you tile onto wood floors?

If you want to swap out your wooden floors for beautiful tiling, you may be wondering whether you can tile directly onto your floorboards, plywood, or chipboard, instead of ripping them up and having to lay a new foundation. Well, the good news is that it’s certainly possible! Find out more, here.

21 September

While there’s an inherent natural beauty to a well-laid wooden floor, if you’re looking for a change in scenery throughout your home, then you might be considering new tiled flooring. However, whether you want shiny porcelain tiles or a durable layer of natural stone, you might be wondering: can you tile onto wood floors?

It’s an important question to ask - after all, do you really want to have to go through the expensive process of tearing up your old floor in order to lay a new foundation?

Fortunately, the good news is that you can definitely start tiling onto floorboards, though there are a few things you need to know about before you get started. So, to make sure you’re doing your tiling right, here is everything you need to know about tiling onto wood.

Can you tile directly onto floorboards?

When it comes to tiling onto wood, floorboards are by far the easiest type of wood to adhere your tiles to. By getting your hands on a purposeful adhesive and taking the following precautions, you should have little trouble creating your new floor.

What to consider when tiling over floorboards

  1. Ensure any overlapping floorboards running from your landing area into other rooms are secure.
  2. Ensure all your floorboards are stable and securely fixed with screws into their supporting joists at 300mm centres.
  3. Make sure there is sufficient ventilation beneath your floorboards so they can breathe’.
  4. Remove all stains, polishes, and varnishes from the surface of the wood, as these 'contaminants' will prevent the floor tile adhesive from bonding with the planks, causing the floor tiles to crack or come loose over time.
  5. If your floorboards are old, we recommend priming the surface with a purposeful primer, such as Kerakoll Primer A.
  6. Be sure to replace any damaged or uneven floorboards before you begin tiling.
  7. If you’re fixing heavy natural stone tiles, such as limestone flagstones, it’s recommended that you fix battens between joists to reinforce the structure.
  8. Finally, consider installing an anti-fracture mat, such as Kerakoll Idrobuild, to your boards to reduce floor movement. Bounce can be a serious problem when tiling on wood, and you don’t want it damaging your tiles.


Can you tile onto plywood?

Although the wooden floors of most properties will be made of traditional boards and planks, sometimes, you might find that your floor is made of plywood.

However, this doesn’t pose an issue when tiling on wooden floors, as the majority of overboards required for wooden floor tiling (more on this below) are made of plywood anyway, making it well-suited.

Can you tile directly onto chipboard?

While possible, we do not recommend tiling onto chipboard. When tiling directly onto chipboard, you run the risk of the glue used to bind the chippings together reacting with the water in the adhesive, preventing it from setting properly and potentially resulting in your tiles coming loose in the future.

How to tile onto wooden floorboards

Once you’ve ticked off all of the above considerations, you’re ready to begin tiling onto your floorboards by following the below steps:

  1. Choose your overboard: the flexible nature of wood and the gap between planks isn’t always well suited to having tiles placed directly on them. So, you will need to select an overboard that matches your floor size, to lay your tiles on.
  2. Secure your overboard: using screws and adhesive, secure your chosen overboard to the floor, ensuring it doesn’t move and is entirely flat.
  3. Coat your board with primer: take your chosen tile primer and follow the instructions on the product label to coat your overboard.
  4. Lay your tiles: with the primer out of the way, begin laying your tiles as you would for any other tiling project.

And there you have it; you should now have everything you need to know to start tiling over floorboards in your home and create the new tiled flooring of your dreams! Just remember to prepare the surface correctly before you start, and you shouldn’t have any trouble fixing your tiles securely.

And, of course, if you’re planning on tilling over your old wooden flooring, then you’ll need to pick up some new tiles to begin with. Get in touch with the Stone Superstore team today to discover our full product range and don’t forget to browse the rest of our tile installation advice for more pieces like this one, including how to tile over concrete.