How to Lay Self Stick Tile Over Ceramic Tile

Larry Simmons

Floor tiles often set the tone of the room in which they're installed. The look of the tile, the patterns, even the material the tile is made from plays a part in the overall look and feel of a room. As such, the tile in a room is sometimes changed to either revamp that look and feel, or simply because the tile has become worn and damaged. Laying new tile over old is a quick and easy way to change the tile. This is especially true of laying self-stick tile over ceramic, which with a bit of preparation can go so smoothly that an average room can be completed in a single weekend.

  1. Measure the total area of the floor, noting the square footage needed to cover the surface. Purchase your tiles, including an extra 10 square feet for any mistakes or partial tile needs.

  2. Remove any floor trim or baseboards using a pry bar to carefully pull the trim away by the nails. Place the trim to the side for reinstallation.

  3. Clean the ceramic tiles completely using a floor cleaner specifically formulated for use on ceramics. Allow the floor to dry completely before continuing.

  4. Create a smooth level surface on which to install the new floor tiles. Ceramic tiles have an uneven surface because of tile joints and beveled edges. To create a smooth surface mix a self-leveling compound purchased from a home improvement store. Pour the compound onto the floor surface and use a trowel to completely cover the tiled surface with the leveling compound. Allow the compound to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. As it dries it will self-level, creating an even surface to which the tiles can adhere.

  5. Locate the center of the floor by measuring the walls of the room and marking the center of the walls. Run a chalk line from opposing walls at the center points and snap a line mark onto the surface by raising the chalk line slightly and then releasing it to hit against the floor. With the two lines marked, the center where they cross will be the dead center of the room.

  6. Lay practice lines of tiles without removing the adhesive backing paper using the snapped lines as guidelines. You should create two crossing rows, determining the best placement of tiles so that there are as many full tiles used as possible. Edge tiles should be placed against walls not seen from the entry door. Remove the practice tiles.

  7. Remove the adhesive backing paper and placing first the tile in the room's center with two of the edges against an angle formed by the chalk guides. Press the tile firmly against the floor and then place a tile next to it using the first tile's edges and the guideline to position. Continue to place tiles, working from the center of the room toward the edge.

  8. Place any partial tiles at the gaps on the edge of the floor. Place a full tile over the one bordering the gap against the wall, and mark a line where the tile should be cut to fill the partial gap. Use a tile cutter rented from a home improvement store or equipment rental shop to cut the tile along the line, and then place the partial tile. For tiles that need to be cut around items such as a commode or kitchen island, measure the partial space directly and cut the tile according to measurements before placement.

  9. Use a floor roller on the placed tiles, rolling over them firmly to ensure the tiles are placed securely. The floor roller looks much like a rolling pin on a pole and works like one as well.

  10. Replace the wall trim and baseboards to complete the tile installation.