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I'm making plans to redo the bathroom in my '62 ranch style house. The floor now has resilient flooring over the original 1" tiles. The sub floor is a mortar bed that's at least 1" thick and laid on top of 3/8 plywood. The original tile was in decent shape when it was covered so I suspect the mortar bed is intact too.

What are my options here? Should I try and re-use the existing mortar bed or what complications might I run into in doing that? How hard will it be to get the old tiles off the mortar bed and be left with a usable flat surface? Is it better to knock it out and rebuild the sub floor entirely?

Sorry for all the questions. The experience of the group here has been very helpful to me in the past.

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If you remove the old tiles you will be left with impressions of those tile in the mortar bed and most likely you will chip more of the mortar bed trying to remove the tiles. I would plan on a complete demo of that floor down to the subfloor, then install a concrete backer board floor product this way you will have a level surface to work on.

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I redid my 1950's bathroom over 10 years ago. We tiled over the old floor ceramic tile floor. If you don't mind the slight step-up to the new floor and you are not relocating the fixtures, I would clean (remove the resilient tiles) and use the old tile floor as a base because you know the floor is stable. Just make sure that the new transitional door saddle is slightly raised above the bathroom floor to keep water in the bathroom.

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I agree with Scott. It?s going to end up saving you time and aggravation just to start clean. Take the floor down to the joist then lay a new subfloor with cement board and your tile will lie easier and look a lot better. If you want to match the existing floor (which I would prefer if my own) that might be complicated. Good luck and would love to see some before after pictures.

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I don't want a higher finished floor. I'll experiment to see how easy the tiles come clean from the mortar bed. If that gives me any trouble, the whole thing will come out.

That mortar bed will cause problems if you leave it. Even a good visual inspection will not pick up cracks in it. Take it down and start over. You don't want to hear crunching under your new tile in 6 months.

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