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We are looking to do new flooring in our downstairs bathroom. My wife likes a flooring material by a company called COREtec; specifically their "Calypso Oak" LVP/LVT product:

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Our bathroom, which currently has tiled flooring, is small and has a toilet, a pedestal sink and a doorway leading into our kitchen (so we would need a threshold). My wife seems to think we can just install this COREtec right over the tiled flooring.

What considerations do we need to look at as far as (a) subfloor/bottom support for LVP-style products and (b) edge treatment/support (e.g. meeting walls, toilet flange, etc).

Can anyone weigh in on the proper installation for this material? In particular is it OK to install/float over tiling?

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    I would talk to the manufacturer to see if there are any problems installing directly over tile.
    – RetiredATC
    Sep 20 at 2:53
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    I would also ask the mfr to see if the product is recommended/guaranteed for use in baths.
    – peinal
    Sep 20 at 11:55
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    These are called "floating floors" precisely because they're designed to float over the sub floor material and NOT be attached/nailed down to the sub floor/each other like a traditional hardwood floor is. If you start driving nails into this stuff, you'll ruin it and be redoing it post haste. Keep the nailer far, far away from these click-lock flooring tiles.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 20 at 12:14
  • You've asked many questions in one post here. Please revise to ask just one.
    – isherwood
    Sep 20 at 15:17
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    "Someone" didn't close it, 3 someones did. Then it was edited for you to narrow it down to only one question (well, two, actually), which is exactly what the close notification box suggests you do. If you still have outstanding questions, please feel free to ask them individually.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 22 at 15:06

3 Answers 3

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I am currently planning a similar re-flooring job for my small bathroom that has a peel-n-stick vinyl tile floor. I've had many of the same questions as you; here's what I've found out (I'm no expert, though):

  1. LVP to my understanding has a grout-like central layer and thus needs to be well-supported to prevent cracking. My vinyl floor tiles apparently qualify as OK, so I will be installing on top of the existing floor. My manufacturer says a tile floor is OK too as long as its general subfloor smoothness conditions are met.

Approved subfloors: Concrete, Plywood, OSB, Particleboard, Chipboard, Hardwood (Solid, Engineered, Parquet), Tile (Ceramic, Terrazzo, Stone, Asbestos, Peel and Stick), Non-Cushion Sheet Vinyl, Metal, VCT, DRIcore

Must be level to within 3⁄16" in a 10ft. (4.76mm in a 3m) span; no bumps or low spots.

  1. Your sample seems to have a cork-like preattached underlayment. I would be concerned about using that in a potentially wet environment like a bathroom, where water may get underneath, be trapped and lead to rot. The product I am using is described as waterproof (i.e. no organic surface like cork and does not absorb substantial water), has a synthetic preattached underlayment and explicitly recommended for kitchens and bathrooms.

  2. The LVP I am using is click-lock style, which IS a floating floor, and does not use any fasteners to hold the planks together or to the underlying surface. As the scalloped tongue/groove shows, it's designed not to be able to separate sideways once you angle in the next plank and rotate that down flat.

  3. Because of the floating floor aspect, to account for expansion/contraction, my LVP maker recommends a 1/4-3/8 inch expansion gap around all sides. Baseboard or quarter-round wall/cabinet bottom molding, and surface transitions like door openings are not attached to the floor and will cover that gap. Toilets and tubs need to have the gap caulked with something that is very flexible and does not harden over time. In addition to the 100% silicone mentioned below, there are some specialty extreme flex caulking products available.

[it is] a floating floor and should be allowed to expand and contract freely. It must not be glued, nailed, or fastened to the subfloor in any way. Permanent cabinets, vanities, islands and similar items should be installed first. Then, install the product around them, leaving the proper 1/4-3/8 inch expansion gap. The product can be installed under vanities with legs. The product can be installed under toilets; leave proper expansion space around flange and use a premium waterproof 100% silicone caulk. Do not anchor toilet through the material.

  1. The toilet: There are two ways of dealing with this. One way is to remove the toilet, install the flooring right up to the flange (with expansion space and caulk), then reinstall the toilet with some kind of flange spacer or extra wax ring added to account for the raised height. The other way is to leave the toilet in place and install the flooring right up to the outside of the toilet (with expansion space and caulk, maybe no caulk in back so you can see any leaks). I haven't yet decided which to do, as I will also be installing a new toilet.

Edit: FreeMan makes an excellent point about the install around toilet:

The only drawback to laying the tile to the toilet (and not underneath) is if the toilet should ever need to be replaced the floor might have to be replaced as well because the new base might be smaller than the old base.

For similar repair/modify situations down the road, it's worth holding on to any extra LVP planks just as you would hold on to extra ceramic tiles from an install.

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    If the bathroom subfloor is flat enough to keep a tile floor from cracking it should be more than flat enough to keep a LVP/LVT floor from cracking. The only drawback to laying the tile to the toilet (and not underneath) is if the toilet should ever need to be replaced the floor might have to be replaced as well because the new base might be smaller than the old base. We have this issue in our bathroom - it's been left unfixed for a couple of years because a bathroom floor reno is in the works...
    – FreeMan
    Sep 20 at 12:11
  • @FreeMan Excellent point on the "after" choice locking you in to a certain outline.
    – Armand
    Sep 20 at 18:35
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I have installed that same flooring over tile there is no problem with that. Remove the toilet and when laying the flooring around the toilet flange add a bead of polyester caulk such as Vulkem between the ceramic tile and the new flooring. Then use a foam toilet seal. I like Saniseals available online. Have used them for years with no issues. When the floor is complete I caulk the baseboards to the floor to give it a little better seal in wet areas. I have used this method of install in over 30 baths in the last few years with no problems.

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  • Thanks @RMDman (+1) I understand everything you say here except the part about "When the floor is complete I caulk the baseboards to the floor to give it a little better seal in wet areas". What do you mean by "baseboards" here, can you elaborate a bit more? Also can you confirm you don't use a nailer to install, as one of the comments suggests? Thanks again so much! Sep 20 at 18:55
  • I'm sorry, Where are you located? In the USA the board that trims the bottom of a wall where it meets the floor is called a baseboard. In some parts of the world it's a "skirt" or "skirting board" Or do you not have any trim there at all? Yes there is no nailing of that type of flooring it just lays there...but when it is done properly it works fantastic.
    – RMDman
    Sep 20 at 20:55
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Personally, I would take out the tile, but doesn't sound like you have too. Some of the vinyl plank flooring is not strong enough to bridge the gaps between tiles where the grout is lower. Eventually, those lines will show through.

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