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repairnewbie 05-30-2005 07:43 AM

Using Adhesive tiles on cement
Does any one have experience placing adhesive tiles over cement? Our bathroom floor is a cement slab. I would like to use 12"X12" adhesive tile since I have no experience laying tiles of any sort.

tooltime 06-19-2006 05:13 AM

According to Armstrong Flooring Vinyl Tile Installation Instructions

If subfloor is concrete:
o If the floor has been painted, make
sure the paint is completely dry and
firmly bonded to the floor.
o NOTE: Only self-adhering tiles can
be installed over a painted concrete
floor. Tiles that require adhesive
should not be used.
o Fill low spots with Armstrong S-183,
S-184 or S-194 Underlayment.
o The prepared subfloor must be
smooth, clean, dry and dust-free.

crispky 06-28-2006 04:47 PM

vinyl tile on concrete slab
I made the mistake of putting vinyl tile down (with adhesive) on my enclosed patio slab. It looked good for a while, then the edges of each tile seem to curl. So I decided to take them up (what a job!) in order to put ceramic tile down. I scraped about half the room of tiles and adhesive, then realized why the tiles had come up to start with. The slab was wet! When my house slab was poured 30 years ago, they did not put a moisture barrier down and since I live on the Gulf Coast, the ground stays wet most of the year.
Now I don't know what to do, except to pay a tile person to come in and put water-resistant underlayment (cement board) down and then put ceramic on top of it. I don't even know if I can paint the stuff, provided I get all the old tile and adhesive up.
Any suggestions out there?

tooltime 07-17-2006 11:53 PM

I have been trying to think of some suggestions for you, crispky, but all I keep coming back to is a moisture problem.

You could use the concrete board and do your ceramic tiling on top of that,.. you could even go one better by throwing down a waterproofing membrane between the slab and the board, but you will still have, and possibly increase, the moisture problem.
I think that if you sealed the concrete surface, it would not do much good, in fact I think it would cause the slab itself to deteriorate faster than it currently would. To stop the problem, you would have to seal it on the underside. Doing your best to keep water from accumulating around the house.Gutters + good drainage away form the house, would help, but hard rains may cause the issue again.

So, my only possible suggestion at the moment, would be to remove all the debris formt eh slab, clean it, prep it, and then use a concrete stain. Not to seal it, but to make it look nice... or at least better than a plain slab.
I would hate to see you invest in a beautiful tiling job and have the slab, or the grouting turn to crap because of the trapped moisture.

JBS 05-24-2010 05:53 AM

Same problems
The Johnsonite stuff curls at the edges. Don't use thier adhesive.

samfloor 05-24-2010 11:32 AM

If you put ceramic on concrete that wet, it will fail. And before it fails it will probably grow a good crop of mold.

Nestor_Kelebay 05-24-2010 10:32 PM


If your concrete is clean and dry, I don't see any problem laying Peel & Stick tiles over concrete. One problem with Peel & Stick tiles is that the adhesive doesn't cure hard so that the tiles can move with time. When they do, the exposed area of floor quickly becomes dirty cuz everything sticks to the residual adhesive on the floor. But, you gotta start somewhere.


U might consider glueing down a 100% Olefin carpet on your concrete slab with a latex or acrylic adhesive. Moisture from the slab can evaporate through the latex or acrylic adhesive and the carpet. Also, Olefin is both the most water resistant fiber used to make carpet, and therefore the most resistant to staining by water based liquids. Because all Olefin fiber is "solution dyed" (meaning that the colour of the Olefin fiber comes from tiny coloured particles (called "pigments") inside the plastic fiber, you can use bleach straight out of the jug to remove difficult stains (like candle wax dye) from a 100% Olefin carpet without damaging the carpet. That also means that if the carpet gets wet and starts growing mold inside it, you can literally shampoo a 100% Olefin carpet with bleach to kill anything growing in it. (I'd dilute the bleach with 10 parts water just to prevent any possible damage to the machine.)

Also, if you can find a solvent that will dissolve the flooring adhesive you used to put the vinyl tiles down on your concrete, you can apply that solvent and then cover with wax paper. The wax paper will prevent the solvent from evaporating as it works. That means that the solvent can be left on longer for more complete dissolving of the adhesive, and that will make the adhesive easier to remove.

(This wax paper method works particularily well when removing paper backed linoleum because you can remove the vinyl wear layer first and apply solvent to the remaining paper backing that's still adhering to the floor. The wax paper will prevent the solvent from evaporating as it penetrates down through the paper to the adhesive. Once the solvent reaches the paper/adhesive interface, and dissolves the top surface of the adhesive that's holding the paper down, the paper scrapes up off the floor easily.)

samfloor 05-25-2010 08:35 AM

Just be aware that some solvents will leech into the concrete and can cause the failure of future adhesives. Most ceramic installers, tell you absolutely not to use solvents.

Nestor_Kelebay 05-25-2010 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by samfloor (Post 45059)
Just be aware that some solvents will leech into the concrete and can cause the failure of future adhesives. Most ceramic installers, tell you absolutely not to use solvents.

I've heard that products like Goo Gone and Goof Off can do that, but that's because they don't evaporate completely; they leave behind a residue, and it's that residue that can cause problems. Both of those products are petroleum distillates, which means they're derived from crude oil in a refinery, just like mineral spirits and kerosene. You can also use mineral spirits to remove that residue and therefore avoid future problems, it's just that some people don't think to do that.

The way to tell that you're solvent won't leave behind a residue is by looking at the "percent volatiles" on it's MSDS sheet. If the percent volatiles is listed as 100%, that means that everything in the can or jug will evaporate into the air, and nothing will be left behind on the working surface.

Take a look at the following MSDS sheet for lacquer thinner:

This isn't a particularily good MSDS sheet because it doesn't give a typical composition for their lacquer thinner, but you'll notice that in Section III it lists the "Percent Volatiles by volume" as 100 %. That means that it evaporates completely without leaving a residue.

All of the more common solvents will evaporate completely without leaving a residue. For example, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, toluene, xylene, MEK (or methyl ethyl ketone), methyl, ethyl and isopropyl alcohol and even methylene chloride (which is the active ingredient in conventional paint strippers) will all evaporate completely without leaving a residue.

("Paint thinner" MAY differ from mineral spirits because it may contain some surfactants and other things to help the paint spread smoothly or whatever, but mineral spirits is a mixture of petroleum distillates, all of which evaporate completely without leaving any residue, so you could clean up any residue left behind by paint thinner with mineral spirits. Also, paint strippers would have gelling agents in them to help the methylene chloride stick well to vertical surfaces, and those gelling agents might not evaporate, and might need to be removed.)

An easy way to tell if there is any residue left behind by a solvent is just to use some ordinary masking tape. Stick the masking tape to the surface you want to check, and see if it pulls off any easier than it should. If it does, then there is something on the surface that's interfering with the bond of the glue on the masking tape. If it pulls off the way it should, then you can be reasonably sure there's nothing on the surface interfering with the adhesion of the masking tape.

samfloor 05-26-2010 12:37 PM

You can beleve what I tell you or what Nestor tells you, that is up to you. I have been a flooring installer for almost 40 years and a flooring inspector for 20.

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