How to Install Hardwood Flooring Over Tile

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular finish materials available to homeowners.

Finished wood floorFinished wood floor
It works well with almost any decor, and adds a sense of warmth to the home. When installing wood over existing tile floors, it is best to choose a floating system. This means that the wood planks are attached to one another, but not to the sub floor. With proper installation, your new hardwood floor will last for many years and require little maintenance. Follow these steps.

Measure the room to determine how much material you will need to purchase. Multiply the length and width of the space to determine the square footage.

Purchase your flooring material from a home improvement store or flooring retailer. Add about 10 percent to the number you calculated in Step 1 to provide for damaged or discolored planks, and to allow for future repairs.

Remove the baseboards and trim pieces from around the perimeter of the room so you have space to work. Remove any stray nails from these pieces and set them aside for reuse.

Cover the tile with a 6 mm poly moisture barrier. Overlap the seams a few inches, then use duct tape to fasten the poly in place.

Place a single layer of 1/4-inch plywood across the surface of the floor. This will give you something to attach your wood flooring to, and will also provide you with a level and stable base. Using at least 10 nails per sheet, fasten the plywood in place using concrete masonry nails.

Begin laying your flooring along the longest wall in the room. Leave a 3/8-inch gap at the base of the wall to allow for expansion. The "tongue" side of the wood should face the wall.

Apply a layer of wood flooring adhesive to the tongue side of a plank of wood, then slide it carefully against the first row of flooring so that the tongue and groove connect. Place a 2x4 on the floor next to the planks, and tap the 2x4 with a rubber mallet to ensure the flooring is firmly connected.

Repeat Step 6, working your way across the floor, and being sure to stagger the joints along each row. Use a miter saw to cut boards as necessary to make them fit, and discard any pieces shorter than one foot in length. Leave another 3/8-inch gap at the opposite wall.

Reinstall base boards and trim using a hammer and finish nails. This will cover the expansion joints and complete the project.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • 6 mm poly
  • Duct tape
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • Drill
  • Concrete masonry nails
  • Floating floor
  • Flooring adhesive
  • Miter saw


  • Choose a floor material with an integral foam underlayment if noise is a concern.

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.