I have a small section in my house that acts as "utility closet" that does not have tile like the rest of the adjacent environment (sorry for the junk laying around):

enter image description here

My plan is to use some leftover tiles I have found in the shed and finish that part. I am unsure what I need to do, in order to affix the tile to the substrate that is some old vinyl and direct plywood where that is torn. This is a detail picture of how the rest of the floor:

enter image description here

To me it looks like they used thinset directly over the vinyl.

I plan to renovate for real this house in a few years, and the current floor is in a pretty good shape anyway, so I don't want to go overboard.

Can I just:

  1. Fix the holes in the plywood with similar material
  2. ???
  3. Apply thinset, tiles, and grout

It does not seem they used backerboard or uncoupling membrane for the rest of the floor...

  • 1
    That's the usual routine, but it looks like there's just one layer of subfloor. Does the rest of the room just have 3/4" plywood under the vinyl, or is there more to it. Most mortar makers want 1-1/4" minimum.
    – isherwood
    Aug 10, 2020 at 20:36
  • The second picture shows what I see, plywood, about a quarter inch of thinset, tile. 1-1/4" of mortar? I'm confused, the weight would be massive, what would it accomplish? Aug 10, 2020 at 20:59
  • 1-1/4" of subfloor. We're talking about subfloor. :)
    – isherwood
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:08
  • From the floor below I can see joists, plywood; this is also visible from above, in that section where the vinyl is torn. The vinyl is glued to it, then I showed in the picture what seems to be about a quarter of inch of thinset below the tile. I am not an expert in subflooring but in no resource I've seen online (youtube videos, DIY websites) they lay an inch and a quarter of mortar. The tiled area of my upper floor is probably 600 square feet; I also have carpet and hardwood in addition to that. I find it really difficult to see where an extra inch and a quarter of heavy material would go. Aug 10, 2020 at 21:51
  • Do you have any picture or diagram on what you mean? In any case I just want to replicate what I have now for this small section; can I use thinset over the vinyl and call it a day? Wat about the plywood area where vinyl is missing Aug 10, 2020 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, in this case you should lay tile over vinyl floor. (consider using peel and stick vinyl for step one to save time.) It should last you until your remodel in a couple of years. This is not an ideal way to install tile. however the rest of your floor was done this way. and this will not be the point of failure.

  • Thank you. Any idea where to find a small section of cheap (or even "scrap") peel and stick without having to buy a big case? Aug 11, 2020 at 0:37
  • a box of vinyl tiles gets you about 1 square metre or 10 square feet. a specialist supplier may have seconds or excess stock for cheap.
    – Jasen
    Aug 11, 2020 at 2:37

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