I want to install some new floors in our kitchen , which currently has a linoleum on it. Can I leave the old linoleum in place and install the new flooring directly on top of it? (The linoleum goes under the kitchen cabinets) Ideally I would like to install some sort of engineered hardwood or some tile. Is this possible, or do I have to tear up the old linoleum? Thanks
Rob ~ Portland, OR
Rob, the new flooring that your choose for your kitchen may well likely determine whether or not you'll need to remove the existing linoleum floor first. Some flooring manufacturers recommend that their products be installed only over a flat wood sub floor or a level concrete slab, so your flooring choices might be limited, especially if you are unwilling to remove the old linoleum in your kitchen.
Ceramic floor tile is one option for your kitchen remodel, although you should not install ceramic tile directly over the old linoleum. Instead, install a layer of 1/2" cement backer board on top of the linoleum, and then install the floor tile on top the cement board. If you do this, keep in mind that the cement backer board must be securely fastened to the sub floor, which lies underneath the linoleum. Another flooring option for your project could be factory finished hardwood flooring, as some types of wood flooring can be installed directly over linoleum (assuming that the underlying sub floor and linoleum are in good shape). In this instance, the individual flooring strips would have to be nailed into an underlying wood sub floor. If you want to install a flooring material that is glued into place, such as vinyl tiles, then you may be better off just removing the old linoleum and starting with a clean sub floor.
Perhaps the best way for you to get started on your project is to choose a flooring that both meets your budget and looks good in your kitchen, after which you can decide how best to install it. Removing old linoleum is not that difficult, and if need be, you could cut the existing flooring around the base of the cabinetry, which would mean that you could avoid lifting up the base cabinets to get at the old linoleum. One benefit of removing your old flooring is that you'll have the opportunity to inspect your kitchen's existing sub floor and make any needed repairs.