About this Blog
MAPEI Tech Talk is a blog devoted to the flooring and construction industry. It is updated on a regular basis by the social media team at MAPEI Americas, and it will feature guest bloggers occasionally as we provide you with viewpoints from across the industry.
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Shawn is a Regional Technical Representative at MAPEI Inc. and is based at its Delta, British Columbia, facility. He provides technical assistance, training and general advice on all of MAPEI’s product lines to users across western Canada.
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MAPEI’s Advanced Primers for Self-Leveling And Primers For Special Applications
by Shawn Millman
Water is not the enemy: Monolithic systems for wet environments
by Alain Pomerleau
Installing over worn vinyl sheet flooring
by Shawn Millman
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September 17, 2019 - 18.11
Installing over worn vinyl sheet flooring
by Shawn Millman
“How do I install tile over my tired old floor?” This is one of the most common upgrades, and maybe one of the most frequent recurring questions, that I receive. Luckily, there are many easy avenues by which a person can update his/her floor without the complication of removing his/her current vinyl sheet flooring. Such tricks of the trade mean that the work gets done faster and more affordably.

Is my floor a candidate for installing over it without removal?

Here are some conditions of the existing floor that allow for subsequent floor coverings:

  • It must be a single layer of flooring. It is not appropriate to install an additional layer of flooring onto a product that has already been installed over previously.

  • The existing floor shall be intact, in good condition, and free from separating and curling seams. It must also be a standard noncushion-type sheet vinyl that was installed by fully spread adhesive application. These floors generally look like a faux tile with an embossed pattern and should have little or no indentation ability. 

You can always contact us if you are not sure about the floor you are working on.

Existing sheet vinyl over concrete

This situation is quite simple to handle. Before applying tile, a suitable, existing sheet vinyl floor should first be scuffed through light sanding. Just produce a “scratched” texture by hand sanding or using a belt sander or orbital sander. 60 grit seems to be a good coarseness for the sandpaper. Be careful not to sand your way through the floor’s wear surface. Next, clean the floor so that it is free of all loose laitance, old film and residue that might otherwise be present. Tile can be installed directly onto this surface using a MAPEI thin-set mortar that lists sheet vinyl as a “suitable substrate” on its Technical Data Sheet (TDS). Ultraflex 3 mortar is one such example, as shown below.


Existing sheet vinyl over wood-frame construction

Care must be taken when going over sheet vinyl installed onto a wood subfloor/underlayment combination. The floor in place must not present noticeable deflection if tilework is to be installed over wood-frame systems; if the floor joists are well supported, short in span and rock solid, then you can consider installing the tile. Prepare the sheet vinyl by following the same steps discussed in the “Existing sheet vinyl over concrete” section: Scuffing the floor by sanding and then cleaning it thoroughly. MAPEI’s Mapelath can be attached (see the TDS for fastening instructions) to facilitate a mechanical attachment to the substrate. Mapelath is a synthetic-lath product that is lightweight, noncorroding and compatible with a variety of MAPEI products. Tile can then be installed using Ultracontact or Ultracontact RS full-coverage thin-set mortars.

My sheet vinyl is in good condition, but I want to install something other than tile

Other coverings can be installed over existing sheet vinyl; popular choices include luxury vinyl tile, luxury vinyl plank and updated sheet vinyl products. Prepare the floor by scuffing with sandpaper and cleaning, and then follow with an application of Planipatch® patching compound mixed with Planipatch Plus® additive. This combination (known as the Planipatch Plus System) forms a cementitious skimcoat that can be adhered to once cured and dry. The system must be applied in two or more coats. The first coat shall be a very shallow coat and includes Planipatch Plus undiluted. The second coat requires Planipatch Plus to be diluted – one part Planipatch Plus with three parts water. (see table below)

Use a steel trowel to apply the mixtures and allow sufficient drying time between coats. Once the existing sheet vinyl is completely hidden underneath a smooth monolithic layer of the Planipatch Plus System, you may install other coverings.

Need more information?

I hope that you find this information helpful. Feel free to contact a MAPEI Technical Services representative if you have any questions about putting these systems to use.

Application Directions for Use Recommended Thickness
First coat – leveling embossed resilient sheet goods having a vinyl or urethane wear layer Mix Planipatch with full-strength Planipatch Plus Up to 1/16" (1.5 mm)
Second/subsequent coats – extending pot life of Planipatch by up to 20 minutes Mix Planipatch with diluted Planipatch Plus (3 parts water, 1 part Planipatch Plus) Up to 1/4" (6 mm)

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