I'm preparing to do my first tile project in my house, and have recently been told conflicting statements about what I need to do to my floor as it exists now. I'm going to tile the floors in my kitchen, entry way, and bathroom. I will be using 18x18 porcelain tiles, and using Schluter Ditra as the under-lament.

Each of these floors are currently linoleum. As far as I can tell, under the linoleum is some sort of particle board, and underneath that should be the bare floorboards. It is/was my understanding that I needed to rip out the linoleum, have a decently clean surface, and then use thin-set to bond the Schluter Ditra down. It also is/was my understanding that you could also leave the linoleum down if you desired, but that you had to nail it down every so many feet.

My problem is now I've been told that I also need to take out the particle board layer that is underneath the linoleum. I'd prefer not to have to do this, as I'm sure I will have to cut it out around my counters, and around the areas where linoleum stops and carpet begins. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of having to make "precision" cuts only deep enough to cut the particle board, but not the floor board.

So I'm not sure what to believe. I thought Schluter Ditra would do just fine on top of the particle board, and possibly even on top of the linoleum. Boiled down to a very simple question, what can I safely put Schluter Ditra on top of?

2 Answers 2


I would most definitely take up the linoleum. Why? If it starts coming away from the floor substrate (particle board), it could then very well lead to the grout between the tiles cracking (breaking up) due to movement underneath.

Personally I have no time for particle board, therefore would be very! tempted to take it up and replace it with plywood (fixed down appropriately).

That said, according to Schluter-DITRA and Schluter-DITRA-XL: Wood Substrates you can probably get away with keeping the particle board down on the floor. Before commencing I would ensure the particle board is fixed down very! firmly (nailed or screwed @ 150 to 200mm centres). Select a nail or screw length that will not go all the way through the floor boards underneath the particle board, you don't want to go hitting any pipe or cable that might run underneath your flooring.

For total peace of mind I would contact Schluter Systems directly and seek their advice: Contact Schluter Systems


You may not have a choice here. Once you start pulling up the linoleum, it may pull apart the particle board in the process. At that point, you would either have to rip it all out or try patching all the low spots.

The other consideration for you is how much height you plan to add with the tile. You're probably looking at over 1/2" of extra floor height after the tile is installed. If you pull out the particle board, that will reduce that change. This is a consideration at the transition to the carpet and at any doors.

One final thought: the particle board could be there for sound proofing (e.g. Homasote). If that's the case, then you may want to do whatever it takes to keep it there, especially with tile going on top.

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