Ask the Carpenter: Should you install a floating floor over tile?

Ask the Expert Home Improvement
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Q. I have a downstairs full bath/laundry room with white tile. I would like to cover it with a floating one. We put one in upstairs and love it. The person I consulted said it would be very expensive to rip up the old tile and put down a new floor. Is there any flooring that I can put over the tile to make this project more practical?


A. I’m not a fan of doing this, because it creates clearance problems for doors, appliances, etc. That said, installing a floating laminate floor over tile is not much different then putting one in over a concrete slab. Just make sure that the existing tile floor is in decent shape (level) and well-adhered to the tile substrate. Loose, cracked tiles will cause your installation to fail.

You need to use prefinished engineered hardwood or laminate flooring if you are installing flooring over tile. Whether you need to glue or float the floor depends on the manufacturer. Some brands fit together with a tongue-and-groove design, while others click and lock. After a period of time, these floors become one monolithic floor, with the parts expanding and contracting together.

Be sure to leave a 3/8-inch gap around the perimeter for expansion. This gap can be covered with baseboard trim or ¼-round “shoe’’ molding if you are not removing the existing trim.


Q. I have a problem with my new dishwasher. Right from the beginning, it has given off a hot, rubbery smell. The store sent out a technician, but he couldn’t find anything wrong. I called customer service, and they said some customers notice a “new car smell’’ coming from their dishwashers. He suggested running it with a quarter cup of vinegar in a shallow dish. The vinegar hasn’t really helped. Do you think this is just a new-appliance smell that will eventually go away?


A. Ours had a similar gas smell that dissipated in a week or two. We use our dishwasher daily. I am publishing this in hopes that our super-smart readers may have an answer. Stay tuned.

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to [email protected] or tweet them to @robertrobillard. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at