We had to remove a kitchen cabinet to free space for a dishwasher, and now the visible floor is bare.

I have few tiles that I would like to install on that area, but I have no idea what steps I should follow to do it the right way. it is an old kitchen, 40 years old, I can see wood floor then another layer of wood then a layer of vinyl.

I'm looking for a fast fix for that area since our plan to renovate the whole kitchen in a couple of years. Appreciate your help!

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  • Do you have a specific question? Such has what would be a suitable or reliable temporary floor until i remodel in a couple of years? You say you have tiles but that is not a good temporary solution. If you could edit your question to more specific it would be easier to answer.
    – Alaska Man
    Jul 7, 2020 at 16:42
  • What is the issue you want to solve? once the dishwasher is in place you won't see the floor. it will be hidden under the dishwasher
    – Rémi
    Jul 7, 2020 at 17:14
  • Actually, the dishwasher will be inside the cabinet that we didn't move, it is an L shape cabinet that we removed one side of it to insert the dishwasher on the other side.
    – Susan
    Jul 7, 2020 at 18:29
  • My question is, What are the steps to put the tiles in that area? should I put wood first? vinyl? or just thinset? I have zero experience in installing tiles.
    – Susan
    Jul 7, 2020 at 18:35
  • A square area of tile in the middle of vinyl is something you see in the "ugly before" segments of some fixer upper TV program. Don't do it; bite the bullet, and rip out all the vinyl. Level the area of the square where a layer of wood is missing and tile the whole kitchen.
    – Kaz
    Jul 8, 2020 at 1:02

4 Answers 4


Based on the picture and what you described, you have tile set over vinyl sheet flooring that was put down over 1/4 in plywood used as underlayment, and the gray stuff underneath is the old floor boards. I'm assuming you want to tile this because it's no longer going to have something sitting on it and you just want it to match for the next few years until you renovate the whole floor.

The easiest quickest thing to do would be to fill the gap in the thin plywood underlayment with more plywood, either same thickness or a little thicker to make up for thickness of vinyl, then set tile over that adhering it with thinset directly to that plywood. If you don't put down plywood, you'll need to have the thinset a good deal thicker which means a) more thinset to buy+mix+handle, b) sloppy deep mess of thinset to work with and level tiles in, c) maybe over thickness spec for the thinset. Also you'll be adhering directly to the floor boards and that's not great because a) you'll probably ruin those boards and will have to replace them if you do anything else with the floor later and b) they're almost certainly not a good substrate for tile because they flex from load and environmental changes.

Quarter inch plywood over floor boards is still not great, that tile is likely to crack either when you set something heavy on it, when the seasons change, or just from walking around in the kitchen. Ideally, you'd make sure the structure underneath that floor is sufficiently strong so the floor doesn't flex, tare up the whole floor down to the floor boards, put down proper thickness of plywood, maybe some kind of waterproof membrane if you want a waterproof floor, then tile the whole thing wall to wall.

But as a temp fix, you can put down more plywood to make the hole less deep and protect the floorboards, set tile on it with thinset, and grout it. You can try to knock out the cut tiles like Jack said if you want to make it more continuous. For more info on setting tile, invest a few bucks in this book from amazon and check out the John Bridge forums.


I would be cleaning up that square, get rid of the wood and cut the edges straight down to the floor. Then mix up your thinset and set your tiles. I'm assuming you don't have the exact type of tiles so place the new ones in to your liking and then grout. If you do have the same type of tiles, then chip out the old cut tiles and add the new ones to match the old pattern, then grout.

  • thank you for your answer, so I should fill the depth with thinset only?
    – Susan
    Jul 7, 2020 at 18:37
  • Thinset only will work.
    – JACK
    Jul 7, 2020 at 21:50

While I'm no contractor, I've done my own tile for years, and helped quite a few friends tear out old and install new - and this looks an awful lot like a lot of the "tear out" jobs.

You have essentially three options:

  1. The cheap option. Fill in the hole with plywood, thick enough to generally match the linoleum, and apply thinset directly onto the plywood. It's not good for the wood, and it won't last long, either; I expect it to start cracking the grout within the first year unless the floor doesn't flex much. But, that's the cheapest and easiest option, if you need it done right now. Trying to put new tile on something as flexible as linoleum on thin plywood like that is maybe not the worst way to install tile, but it's pretty close.

  2. Fill in the hole with cement board, chisel out the cut pieces of tile, and cut out the linolem, replacing it with tile underlayment membrane. Thinset and tile on that. I would expect the tile to last maybe 5 years before either the tile cracks or the grout chips out. This is a good middle option, and would probably be ok, as long as you're willing to patch up the grout every few years or so. It'll last longer than the rest of the tile, at any rate.

  3. Tear out the tile, wall to wall. Rip out the linoleum. Depending on how bad of shape the first layer of plywood is, you might want to rip it out, too. Then, put in a layer of cement board (which will provide stiffness for the tile), put down a layer of tile underlayment membrane, then thinset and tile. This method will last the longest and look the best once you're done, but cost more than the other two... on their own. This is the only way to guarantee the tile doesn't look like a patch job, but like that spot was part of the floor all along. It also waterproofs the whole floor, which is a nice plus. If you have the money for it, this is the best long-term option.


Never tile on top of vinyl as it will hold the water if floorboards will need 9mm ply wood the tile when do your kitchen next time tile all will save lot of hassle and be easier

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