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Bathroom remodel; plumber doesn't do flooring. Husband and I have limited talents but will need to do it ourselves before new vanity and toilet can be installed. Existing floor is linoleum from 80s but could be as old as the 60s. Glued down and also as baseboard 4" up on wall.

Not sure about trying to remove it and tear up floor and wall. Is there a vinyl we can install over existing vinyl?

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I've had great luck with vinyl planks that are sold by Home Depot under the TrafficMASTER name (and now some other names). See: http://www.homedepot.com/b/Flooring-Vinyl-Flooring-Resilient-Flooring-Luxury-Vinyl-Planks/N-5yc1vZbzjz

It is a consumer grade of what was originally a commercial flooring. It is slightly thicker than vinyl tile or linoleum, so it doesn't significantly change the floor height (you use a matching transition strip at the edge, like at a doorway). It is like a vinyl tile with a laminate wear surface, somewhat similar to the surface of Pergo, although the woodgrain tiles have an embossed surface resembling wood. The appearance is very nice.

There are two versions. One has a pre-glued surface that bonds adjacent planks together. The other has an interlocking edge rather than glue. It can be installed on pretty much any flat surface, including vinyl tile or linoleum. It "floats" on top, there is no adhesive needed to bond it to the old floor, and you can put it on embossed vinyl or grouted tile without needing to fill the irregularities in the surface.

It is designed for untrained consumers to install themselves (it comes with instructions and there are online videos, they may even offer free classes). A room the size of a bathroom would be a fast job. To give you a rough idea, I did an area over 800 sq. ft. by myself, beginning to end, in a little over a day, just reading the instructions. The area included complications like closets, cabinets, irregular shapes and bump-outs, and a laundry room where I had to move a washer and drier.

About the only tools you need are a tape measure and utility knife (and something for your knees). The transition strip and quarter-round molding take simple tools like a miter box and hammer. Where you need to cut the planks to length at the end of a row, you just score it with a utility knife and then bend it to snap it (I used a tool with a round blade that looked like a pizza cutter). The cut edges don't have to be perfect because they are hidden under molding. It is impervious to moisture, so it's great for a bathroom.

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    Just finished installing this in one of our rentals this morning. Couldn't speak more highly of the TrafficMASTER name. It was extremely easy to accomplish on my own. – Scott Ramboz Sep 6 '17 at 21:15
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You can install anything over the linoleum. But the toilet is the issue - needs to be raised. There's a great video on the This Old House site where the guys do this. They remove the old toilet and there is enough flex in the old flange to simply lift it up and slip new underlayment down under it. Look for that video.

Issues:

  1. If this is just aesthetic then the flooring guy at HD or Lowe's can sell you something that will go down on your existing floor.

  2. If the floor isn't rock solid (eg has some bounce), don't use tile - it will crack.

  3. If you add a new floor on top, you'll need to raise the toilet - needs to be removed to make this judgement. (I reread your question and I think I read that the toilet is not there - so this is just an issue of the flange sitting on the floor correctly).

You can do this. None of this is difficult. However, if this is the only toilet in the house, then you'll need to plan to get it done in one day - or have nice neighbors.

There are probably 100 million videos on how to replace a toilet and lay down a bathroom floor on youtube. Actually, probably 200 million.

edit 4. You can lay down new underlayment on top of the old floor. Or you can demo the old floor. Without more info there's really no "best practice" here. In some cases demoing the old floor is just asking for a bigger, longer project. But if there are leaks you are trying fix or plumbing issues, then taking out the old floor will be the long-term right solution.

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Some vinyl flooring will be approved by the manufacturer for install over existing vinyl. However, it generally requires that the texture of your existing vinyl be smoothed with a product called "embossing leveler", so that the new floor doesn't eventually settle into it and cause damage or aesthetic problems.

Talk to your flooring salesperson.

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