How To Transition Hardwood and Tile Floors
Written by Todd Fratzel.
I’d like to share some thoughts on how to transition hardwood and tile floors. Hardwood Flooring has become a very popular DIY project for many home owners. Also every DIY program on television has featured numerous programs on installing your own hardwood and tile floors.
So you might ask why I’m focusing on the floor transition? The answer is simple, I’ve seen so many DIY flooring projects in homes that look really great except for one detail, the floor transition looks awful.
Whether you’re installing solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, laminate, or tile the issues are all the same. You really need to plan the floor transitions before you start any flooring installation. There are several basic issues that arise at the floor transitions.
You can find many of these transition pieces at: Online Floor Transition Pieces
- Elevation – The final floor elevation of each type of material is a major issue that needs proper attention in order for your new floor to look great and not become a maintenance issue.
- Location of Transition -The actual location that you stop one flooring type and start another within a door opening, cased opening or room separation is a very important aesthetic consideration.
- Special Transitions – Stairways can pose some interesting transitions that need special attention and transition pieces.
Elevation changes are fairly common in remodeling projects when sub-floors can’t easily be adjusted for different flooring thicknesses. As you can see in the adjacent photo, the use of a transition threshold molding is the easiest way to take care of this problem. This can occur if you install a hardwood floor over an existing floor adjacent to a flooring material that will not be changing.
Location of Transition
The location of the transition depends on the area where you’re changing floor types. The easiest transition is a cased opening because there really isn’t a right or wrong answer on the location. In the top photo you can see a cased opening where I changed from hardwood to tile between our kitchen and mudroom. The key to that transition is to install a piece of wood perpendicular to the running direction in order to have the transition piece parallel to the tile.
The other location that needs consideration is at doorways. As you can see in the adjacent photo I transitioned the hardwood to tile under the closed door. This way when the door is closed you only see hardwood on the hall side and tile from inside the bathroom. It’s important that you know the exact location of the door if you’re installing the flooring prior to hanging the door.
Stairways are locations which need special moldings in order to create an aesthetic finished look. The use of a matching stair nose molding is the best way to achieve the finished look. As you can see in the photo I used a piece of Brazilian Cherry nose molding to transition from the engineered Brazilian Cherry flooring to the top step on our stairway.
The key to a successful DIY project is preparation and attention to details. Make sure you order all the transition moldings you need and take the time to lay them out before you begin. Proper floor transitions will make your new floors look like they were professionally installed.
You can find many of these floor transition pieces at: Online Floor Transition Pieces
You may want to purchase several flooring books for reference:
You may also want to read: Recommended Hardwood Floor Installation Tools
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