I ripped out two layers of linoleum flooring from my bathroom, and am ready to lay the porcelain 12x24 tiles (dry-fit done). The linoleum flooring had a paper underlayment, which was difficult to remove, so I left it down and planned to just tile over it.

A friend noticed and recommended removing it, unsure of what it is. From what I can find online, there are slight concerns of adhesion, but I tried a test piece of thinset, and it seems to stick better to this paper than it does to raw plywood.

The floor is a 3/4" OSB subfloor, then 1/4" ply, then this paper backing. I can't really tell what it is - it's not rosin paper (generally red from what I can tell, mine is grey). It's not tar-like at all, and it feels much thinner than 1/8", so I don't believe it's hardboard either. One answer I've found on this site seems to claim that it's actually a part of the old linoleum - I'm not sure about this From what I can tell, this bathroom was built in late 90's/early 2k's - I trust there's no asbestos in it, and I'm hoping the date helps with identification.

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Can I lay tile onto this paper?

  • Based on your dates, I'd agree that it's highly unlikely to contain any asbestos. Even if it did, whatever damage the fibers may do has been done. If you were to simply apply the tile over the top, you'll have encapsulated it and that's as good as removal and far less expensive.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 11, 2022 at 15:46
  • @FreeMan I appreciate the input. I'm less concerned about asbestos as I am about adhesion/tile issues Apr 11, 2022 at 17:20


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