I’m renovating my 100year old house’s kitchen and found that the old existing tile was attached directly to hardwood flooring. This explained why so much of it was cracked even though it is the only room in the house that doesn’t squeak.

Now with the tile up, I want to secure the flooring to prepare it for a new tile. I’m adding blocking to the floor joists below but wanted to know if I could screw the above hardwood and plank subfloor to the joists from above with headlok screws? Or do I need to fully remove the hardwood flooring, secure the planking, then work from there?

I’d hope not to have to take out all the hardwood, obviously, so if you have any ideas please let me know!

Also, I’m trying to keep the transition from the dining room to the kitchen as minimum as possible…but I’m sure that means “take out the hardwood”…

This is my first time with all of this by the way!

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  • How thick is your subfloor?
    – SteveSh
    Sep 11, 2021 at 11:39
  • And generally, it is not recommended to lay tile directly over wood. I know it's done at times, but tile should be laid over an appropriate sub-surface, like cement board.
    – SteveSh
    Sep 11, 2021 at 11:41
  • The sub floor is 1x10 tounge and groove. I also planned on using a membrane or underlayment before tiling.
    – 100yrHouse
    Sep 11, 2021 at 12:11
  • 1
    The bit about underlayment is critical information and should be included in your question post.
    – isherwood
    Sep 11, 2021 at 12:51
  • What's your joist spacing? If it's typical 16" OC (not sure what was typical or required 100 years ago), then I think the 1" sub-floor should be fine. And then put 1/4" cement board on top of that.
    – SteveSh
    Sep 11, 2021 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


Solid wood is not an appropriate substrate for tile, no matter how well it's screwed. It just moves too much with the seasons. Even basic plywood is "engineered" in the sense that the plies are oriented at right angles, creating stability.

The alternative is to screw it all down, then lay plywood or cement board over the top, but that usually results in awkwardly high floors and corresponding transitions. It would probably need to be 1/2" thick.

Bite the bullet. A good, professional outcome is worth the time and expense. Best of luck.

  • Sounds like he currently has hardwood on top of the subfloor. If he removes the hardwood, then puts down 1/4" or 1/2" cement board followed by the tile, then I think it would come up close to the height of the adjacent floors.
    – SteveSh
    Sep 11, 2021 at 16:37

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