How to Install Tile Over Asbestos Tile

Ceramic tile comes in a variety of shapes and styles.
Ceramic tile comes in a variety of shapes and styles. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you have a floor that is covered with asbestos tile and you want to create a unique look, consider covering the area with ceramic tile. According to The Tile Doctor’s website, asbestos tile cannot be removed by anyone who is not a professional. However, covering it with ceramic tile is legal. Installing ceramic tile over asbestos is possible with the proper preparation. Preparing the area is necessary to ensure the new floor covering bonds well. Also, the current flooring must be level and in good condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Mop
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Cement mortar
  • 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch trowel
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Large sponge
  • Grout sealant
  • Face mask

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Inspect the asbestos tile for tiles that are chipped or broken. Make sure the floor is flat and level. If there is any damage, it cannot be covered, and a licensed professional must remove it.

Mop the existing asbestos floor with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Remove all of the dirt and oil from the floor, rinsing your mop as often as necessary. Allow it to dry completely.

Mix the cement mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The consistency should be close to that of thick pancake batter. Using a 1/4-inch trowel, cover the section of asbestos tile you are covering first with the mortar mix.

Press the ceramic tiles one at a time firmly into the cement mortar, starting in the far corner of the room and working toward the outer wall. Hold the tile in place for 10 seconds to make sure the bond is properly formed.

Place a spacer where the ceramic tiles meet. This helps ensure that they are an equal distance apart. Repeat the process until the area is covered with the ceramic tile. Allow the tiles to set overnight before you walk on them.

Mix the powder grout with water according to the label instructions until it reaches a peanut butter–like consistency. Spread the grout evenly on your tile, using a grout float. Use a large, damp sponge to smooth the grout in the cracks.

Apply a grout sealant in areas where moisture is an issue, such as foyers, kitchens or bathrooms. Grout sealant is available at your local hardware or home improvement store. Spray on the sealant as directed by the label.


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