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Do It Yourself or Not: Install ceramic floor tile

By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Content Agency on

Even in a small bathroom you'll see a dramatic change by installing ceramic tile over an old vinyl floor. The array of sizes, shapes and colors of ceramic floor tile is dazzling, and the material creates a long-lasting surface that's easy to clean and maintain.

While it may be tempting to not remove the toilet and vanity before laying the tile, you'll get the most professional looking results if you do; so, the job involves plumbing and carpentry work as well as setting the tile. A stiff base is needed to support tile and its subfloor to prevent the tile and grout from cracking, so check for the floor's thickness by removing a floor register or the door threshold to get a peek at what's below the existing floor.

A tile installer will charge $1,114, which includes labor and material, to lay good quality ceramic floor tile over an existing vinyl floor in an 8-by-10-foot room. That includes removing the toilet, vanity, door threshold and base molding. Then the installer applies an underlayment of cement board with thin-set tile adhesive, followed by more adhesive and the ceramic tile, and then grouting the tile.

The job is completed by trimming out a new baseboard for the room. Expect to pay more if the job requires removing several layers of old flooring or to reinforce the existing floor. And since the level of the floor will be raised by the new tile, you may have to trim the bottom of the door and replace the threshold.

If you're handy and have plumbing and carpentry tools, you can do the job for $180, which includes the cost of the subfloor, adhesive, tile, grout, baseboard and threshold, with an 84% saving. Plan to rent or borrow a tile cutter from the retailer.


If you hire a plumber to remove and then reinstall the fixtures, budget more.

Pro Cost: $1,114 -- DIY Cost: $180
Pro time: 13.6 -- DIY Time: 13.6
DIY Savings: $934 -- Percent Saved: 84%


To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.



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