Ceramic Tile Over Vinyl Tiles - Ditra or Concrete Board?

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Aug 18, 2022
Boston, MA
First off, thanks in advance for the help everyone.

The Situation:

Wife wants me to redo the floors in our bathroom with Ceramic Tile. Our house is quite old (1860) and the bathroom has three floors on top of each other. The top layer is just stick on tiles from probably ten years ago. These are followed by linoleum or vinyl tiles from maybe the late 80s. Finally, there is a layer of linoleum/vinyl tiles from the 70s on the bottom. I can pull the first two floors off with ease, but the third one - closest to the wood subfloor - is most likely asbestos (I had an expert look at it). There are also spots under the vanity that are bare subfloor. (The new vanity is going in the exact same spot - and there is an old sewage pipe from when someone moved the toilet there - so I am not concerned about breakage in this area because it is never seeing the light of day.)

My plan is as follows:

1. Pull up the floors that do not contain asbestos (i.e. the first two).

2. Use Schluter-Ditra over the (likely to contain asbestos) vinyl or linoleum tile.

3. Put the tiles on top of the Ditra. (Again, these are 10x12x6.35mm Mosaic Tiles - meaning there are many, hexagonal 1" or so tiles strung together on each 10x12 - so I am hoping they can stand some movement.)


Am I better off using Concrete Board in case some of the asbestos tiles begin to come up as I remove the other floors?

Can Ditra go over the (likely asbestos) vinyl or linoleum floor? Or can it only go directly on the wood floor? (I know it is better if it is on the subfloor, but can it be done on vinyl/linoleum?

I know the dangers of asbestos and I would much rather just seal up those old tiles rather than sand or saw them. (I have young kids.) I understand it would be better to have a professional remove them, but that defeats the purpose of DIY and the guy I consulted said it is not a hug concern if I am not sanding/cutting the asbestos tile and just sealing it under Ditra/Thinset/Tiles/Grout/Etc.

Opinions? Experience?

Thanks for the help.
If the tiles come up easily remove them with a scraper. There is no danger from Asbestos in solid form such as floor tiles. Shouldn’t be any need to cut or sand them. If you’re the extra cautious type always best to wear a mask when doing any kind of demolition. Probably best to keep the kids out of the room when doing it…Unless they wanna help.

For mosaics a mud floor would be my first choice, then cement board, then Ditra. As mentioned Ditra is the easiest. Although I’ve never used it with small tiles I can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t work if done properly. I used the Ditra in my own home over a new layer of plywood and installed the optional heating element… Works great, Wife loves it.
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