Hilary Farr's Money-Saving Trick To Update Tile Flooring On A Budget

When renovating a home on a budget, it's always nice to be aware of any tricks that can help lower costs. Luckily, Hilary Farr, HGTV's host of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," knows how to make a home look great without breaking the bank. In Season 1, Episode 8 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," the designer is tasked with helping a couple update an outdated home while keeping costs low. Although their budget is $100,000, costs can quickly increase when you're tearing down walls and purchasing new décor. And, like other areas of the home, the children's bathroom needed a ton of love, especially the tiny square-mosaic tile on the floor. 

However, instead of paying the cost of labor to remove the tile and install a new material, Farr believed it was best to lay down the new material on top of the old. "So, we didn't have a lot of money to do this bathroom," Farr said (via HGTV). "... So, all we've done is... gone over the tiles with this LVT (luxury vinyl tile)." Here, we'll explain how this trick can save costs and what to know before trying it out.

How much you can save

If you'd like to start from scratch and remove the existing tile before laying down your new selection, it'll cost you around $4 per square foot for the labor of just removing the tile. And, the cost can increase depending on the difficulty of the task. Considering that the average cost of luxury vinyl tile is $1 to $12, depending on the design and quality, it's as if you're paying the cost of the tile times two.

So, when you install LVT over tile, like Farr did in the children's bathroom, you could be saving about $800 in labor costs in, let's say, a 200 square foot space. Imagine having an extra $800 in your budget? That money can go towards bathroom fixtures, paint, light fixtures, or other areas of the home that need some work. However, before trying this money-saving trick, there are a few things to be aware of.

What to know before trying this trick

The first, vital, step is to examine the condition of your floor. Is the existing tile leveled? If not, the new tile will not be able to stick to the old tile, resulting in the new material lifting after installation, which can allow water to seep underneath. This can produce mold and cause water damage, which can cost as much as $7.50 per square foot to repair. So, be sure that either you or a professional double check for any abnormalities in the existing tile, like sagging grout lines.

Also, remember that when executing this trick, you will be adding additional height to the floor since the tile will sit on the old material. It's important to measure the thickness of the new tile to ensure there will still be enough space for the door to open and that appliances and furniture will be able to sit comfortably on top.