How to Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring Over Tile

All of the supplies and steps you need for installing sheet vinyl flooring over old tile yourself for a temporary fix.

Favorite project EVER! Okay, I say that about probably 50% of every project we do around here, but this one is definitely up there on the charts of most-transformative-for-least-amount-of-money.

If you’ve been following along on our master bathroom refresh, Robert and I had painted the walls, trim, and cabinet up until this past weekend. But the ceramic tile floor still looked like this:

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

Even though we had rescued the ceramic tile in our kitchen and hallway bathroom using grout pen in the past, this floor seemed a little farther gone. And since we were sticking with the existing countertop and shower for now (until a real gut/renovation down the road), I wanted a floor that would modernize the 80s beige a little better.

Except I wanted to steer clear of tile paint and the stenciling route like so many DIYers have been doing here lately. With a 3 month old in the house, I wasn’t loving the idea of fumes and I wanted this job to be quick and the install done in a matter of an hour or two.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

Normally, if you were doing a major renovation, I would NOT suggest putting vinyl floor on top of tile. I think for a permanent floor, it should be done the “right” way. But for a quick Phase 1 fix, it’s a great DIY-able solution to carry you through until you’re ready for a messy contractor job.

So if you’re wanting to do the same thing to some of your existing tile floors that have seen better days, here’s how we made it happen.

(Some affiliate links are provided below for convenience. Full disclosure here.)

How to Install Sheet Vinyl Flooring Over Tile:

Supplies Used:

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | fill grout lines with thin-set mortar

The Steps:

  1. Because you don’t want your sheet vinyl to settle into cracks and grooves in your subfloor over time, patch everything in your tile to create a smooth surface. Our tile was in great shape, so I just had to fill the grout lines with thin-set mortar using a putty knife.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | fill grout lines

Try to apply it as smoothly as possible.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | fill grout lines

2. Once the mortar is dry in about 24-48 hours, you can sand any rough spots with medium grit sandpaper.

3. Sweep the floor and remove any debris with a dust pan since you don’t want to trap anything under your sheet vinyl floor.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | remove trim

4. Remove quarter round and baseboards with a crowbar and mallet or hammer. Here’s a post to help you with it, if you’ve never done it before.   Set the quarter round trim and baseboards aside to reinstall after the sheet vinyl is in (assuming they’re in good condition).

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | measure... a LOT!

5. Measure all of the edges around the room and draw a diagram of your room on a piece of paper using those measurements. Never a dull moment with this guy around, even with mundane measuring jobs. 😉

Include measurements of any obstacles in the room as well. We removed our old toilet beforehand (this is a great video for toilet removal with a good tip to prevent water dripping everywhere), so we measured where to cut a hole in our sheet vinyl for that as well.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | measure for obstacles

6. Measure twice and double check that all of your measurements are correct on your diagram.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | Draw a diagram to create your template

7. Roll out your sheet vinyl and take a nap. Just kidding. 😉  Well… if you do, we won’t blame you. But at least roll out the sheet vinyl (do NOT flip it upside-down for measuring/cutting in the next step).

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | roll out your sheet vinyl

8. Use your diagram as a reference to mark your measurements using the tape measure onto the edges of the sheet vinyl to create a template.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | Use a chalk line to cut straight lines between measurements

9. Mark your lines between your measurements for the perimeter of your room with a chalk line.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | Cut out your template

10. And cut the sheet vinyl with sharp scissors or a utility knife. After your floor is cut, wipe up any remaining chalk line (Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work great).

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | cut out template

11. Haul your cut sheet vinyl into the room and roll it out. Trim any remaining spots with a utility knife as needed as you position it into the room.

12. Reinstall your baseboards and quarter round trim with a nail gun to hold your floor’s edges in place. (This was per our manufacturer’s instructions for our specific vinyl floor, but your floor’s manufacturer may require you to apply an adhesive first.)

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile | use silicone caulk on moulding

13. Then, apply white silicone caulk to fill cracks on the reinstalled trim. And attach sheet vinyl edging to where it meets up at a shower/tub/door threshold too.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

It looks SO much better in here now! And that beige countertop almost looks intentional… almost. 😉

But with the mix of warm and cool tones in this floor, I feel like it makes the blue and beige cohesive.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

So now next on the agenda is to patch, touch up a little paint, and install a new toilet (because the old one desperately needed to be hauled out for good).

I’ll be painting the door Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron this week to match the rest of the ones in the house that are already that deep charcoal color.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

And I’ll be hanging up a window shade so that the whole neighborhood doesn’t get a peep show when we actually are able to use this bathroom again. Ha!

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

And we’ll be hanging up new mirrors and installing a new vanity light this week too.

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

I keep debating on whether or not I should hang a long shower curtain in front of this shower door to camouflage it though. What do you think? Cover it up or leave it?

How to install sheet vinyl flooring over old tile

We’re finally in the home stretch over here! And then we’ll be gearing up for our first major renovation elsewhere in the house that I can’t wait to show y’all. Eek!!! One thing at a time though.

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All of the supplies and steps you need for installing sheet vinyl flooring over old tile yourself for a temporary fix. #flooring #sheetvinyl

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  1. How about a barn door instead of a shower curtain you have a long wall before you get to the toilet, and could still put the cabinet there for storage, just roll the barn door behind it. Have you thought about epoxy coating your counters? I keep looking at that as a budget friendly counter option.

    1. That’d be a cute idea but since this is all a temporary refresh instead of a major renovation, we’re going the simple route. We did use an epoxy paint on our counters in our other bathroom a couple of years ago and it turned out great! But the fumes were so extreme that we had to vacate the house for a weekend. With a baby in the house, I didn’t want to subject her little lungs to that. It does work though!

    1. Thanks, Sharon! Although, no need to worry about that heater. We haven’t touched it ever and I don’t even know if it still works. Can’t wait for the day when we can have it gone!

  2. Nice job, looks great, and your step by step directions are clear and easy to follow….must be the teacher in you! Your temporary makeover option is such a good idea. Thanks for bringing that option to light. Patience is another teacher trait! In the case of the shower curtain, I’d vote for no shower curtain. Keep it open and light.

  3. Looks great. I don’t know anything about flooring but I was really surprised you didn’t use adhesive. Makes it seem so easy. Thanks.

    1. I thought that was odd too, but it was the manufacturer’s instructions not to use adhesive. The underside has a grippy, rubbery feel to keep it from moving and the baseboards are what is supposed to hold it in place. It’s definitely not budging. But that bit would vary, depending on the floor’s manufacturing instructions.

  4. I am remodeling my bathroom and I love the vinyl pattern and colors that you installed. Where did you get it from? Your input would be greatly appreciated. Great job!!!!

    1. Good luck on your project. It seems we are tackling the same beast. 🙂 The flooring came from American Carpet Wholesalers.

  5. Looking good. The counter top seems to be a part of the room rather than standing out with the new paint and flooring. I think the shower is fine. A shower curtain will make the shower area feel darker and with your new blinds it just won’t fit. It seems a part of the plan so I would leave it alone until your big renovation.

  6. The floor looks great, and it all certainly looks coordinated and intended. I would go without the shower curtain..keep it crisp. And, with a tot to care for, one less thing to maintain.

    1. Beautiful job! You asked if you should put a curtain rod covering the shower door. because the pretty windows are adjacent, it’s a lot of glass. I’d try it and see if you like it.

      Thank you for the inspiring information!

  7. Lauren,

    That is a great project, and it looks like it came out flawlessly. I also agree that as a phase 1 DIY, this approach allows fow a rapid brightening of the floor, with moderate term longevity.

    You used the term thinset mortar. Your pictures show thinset mastic. In my experience the differences are stark. Thinset mortar is a cementuous based product. Thinset mastic is a latex/acrylic based with water clean up.

    I used mastic one time to set a floor, and will never do it again. Being water based, I would caution anyone using it on a floor, especially in a water environment to not use it, and instead got with a vinyl cement floor leveling compound. If you chose to use the mastic, I would increase the dry time to ash much as 96 hours.

    Again, great DIY to allow for updated feel, while planning the major phase 2 / 3 projects.

    1. Hmmm… are you sure? The container says “thin-set mortar”. I just used a white mortar, so maybe it just looks like mastic in photos? It’s definitely cement-based. I read the tip from Bob Vila to use thin-set mortar to fill grout to prep the floor for vinyl.

  8. Well I’m thinking curtain in a wonderful Toile. I have an aversion to glass showers. Just my personal take.

    1. I might have to buy a few and try them out just to see. If they don’t work, I can always take them back, right? 😉

  9. Thinking by putting a shower curtain in it might make the room feel much smaller. Think it would be up to how you feel it makes the room look. The shower frame goes with the other finishes in the room so I think it looks fine without.

  10. Lauren, great job on the vinyl. Seeing the heater grate made me want to ask you a question. Do you have any suggestions for either DIY or purchased replacements for those ugly white cold air returns. We have one in the den and one in the formal living area. They are 20 x 25, so really stand out like a sore thumb. I know I have to have an opening and grate but just hate that white slatted one. Appreciate any suggestions. PS – I put a shower curtain in front of our shower because the stainless steel tracks were so tarnished.

    1. I don’t, but I should look into something for that! That heater drives me totally crazy. We don’t use ours and have never even turned it on for fear the thing might just blow up. Haha!

  11. Lauren, you guys did a fabulous job – that floor looks amazing!
    Thank you for the tutorial!
    Your fella is adorable, what a good sport. ♥

  12. Looks great! Do you think you could use the same peel and stick that you used in your laundry room over the ceramic tiles?

  13. HUGE difference and it looks awesome! I like semi-permanent floors better in bathrooms anyway for the cleanliness and optional changeouts. This was a great pick!!!

  14. Wow, what a difference, Lauren! I’m in a rental and my bathroom tile is horrendous. It’s 2″x2″ dingy brown squares that have been in this NY apartment for probably at least 4 decades. It’s a tiny bathroom and I wouldn’t even know how to begin taking out a toilet but would you still recommend the same method with somehow cutting it around the toilet?

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