QUESTIONGood morning! We own an 18 yr old single story villa in Southwest Florida. It is built on a concrete slab. It has original 18”ceramic tile throughout most of the house and both the tile and grout are in perfect condition. We are remodeling our kitchen, which requires us to change the flooring. This got us thinking about changing all of the flooring since it is a rather open floor plan, but we don’t want to undertake the messy removal process. We found a great cork-backed luxury vinyl plank flooring that is waterproof and very realistic looking. It can be installed over tile. The flooring company performed the golf ball test on our floor and found random hollow sounds, and many around the walls. They now refuse to install over the tile. This tile is rock solid after 18 years. Should we be concerned about it’s stability at this point?
ANSWERANSWER - The finish material installed over the existing tile floor is only as good as the tile floor. If the tile floor is installed well, doesn't have excessive moisture migrating up through the tile or grout joints, and is properly cleaned and prepared for the vinyl tile, then I don't see any reason why you can't install vinyl over the existing tile.
Having hollow sounding tiles doesn't mean there is a bonding problem, but it could be a symptom of tiles not adequately bonded or of tiles with excessive voids under them. Hollow sounds in itself is not a defect, but can be a symptom of a defect. The only way to fully understand what is causing the hollow sounds is to remove some hollow sounding tiles to look for evidence that explains why it sounds the way it does.
Although the vinyl itself may be waterproof, but that does not make the installed floor waterproof. Vinyl products normally have limitations on what the relatively humidity or moisture content is in the floor they are install over. They are susceptible to being compromised if they are installed in conditions where they will be subjected to excessive moisture. Ceramic Tile is much more resistant to moisture than vinyl products.