Ceramic floor tile is a great choice for many rooms throughout the home, and installing tile flooring is a commonly tackled project for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Many people have no trouble installing a full room of ceramic tile without calling in a professional, which can be a big money saver. If your existing floor is covered with linoleum, you can lay your new tile floor directly over the linoleum flooring to save money and time - and to add an extra layer of insulation beneath your tile. However, if you have a wooden subfloor beneath the linoleum, it is best practice to completely get rid of the old linoleum and underlayment beneath the linoleum before tile installation to prevent cracking and buckling of your tile due to the flexibility of the subflooring. If, on the other hand, the linoleum is only installed on top of a concrete slab, you can go ahead and lay your tile over top of it.
Preparing Your Floor
Before you begin installing your floor tile, you will want to remove any existing trim from around the edges of the flooring, including edge stripping and baseboards. Move any bathroom fixtures from the room, like the toilet. Clean the floor thoroughly, but do not rough up or sand the existing linoleum as many of the older types of linoleum may contains particles of asbestos that can lead to lung damage if inhaled. Use high quality sealant to block moisture from any spot where moisture tends to occur in the room. Lay out your tiles on bathroom floor to be certain that you have purchased enough tile flooring to complete the job.
Before you begin to install your tile flooring over linoleum, be sure to open a window or provide other ventilation for the room in which you will be working. The adhesive that you will be using will let off fumes that can be toxic. You should also be aware that these fumes are also flammable, so don't smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in the room while you are installing your tile.
You will find it most convenient and a big time saver to go ahead and cut any of the pieces of edging tile that you will need to place around areas of obstruction in the bathroom, like water inlets for toilets, or pipe fixtures. A wet saw can be used to make cuts for these tiles. You will also need a tile nipper, which is useful in clipping small notches from tiles to make them fit into corners or around pipes. Wet saws are quite expensive, but luckily you can rent one at many home improvement stores in lieu of buying one outright.
Starting in the center of the area where your tiles are laid out, apply adhesive to the back of the tiles using a trowel that is "notched". This type of trowel provides a grooved surface for the tile's back that will help it to adhere better to the floor. Use tile spacers to leave the appropriate amount of space between each tile to allow for grouting. As you work, immediately clean up any excessive adhesive that may seep from beneath the tile as it is installed.
Next, you will need to use good quality grout to fill in between the tiles, and you will need to work the grout between the tiles using a grout float. And last of all, the application of a bead of silicone caulking to any spaces around pipes and fixtures within the room will help to finish up the look of your bathroom tile.
You're now finished with the tile and can begin to reseat the fixtures that you have removed, and then reinstall the edging, baseboards and other trim that were removed initially.