Sub-floor to help with hardwood/tile transition


Old 07-19-13, 12:37 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3
Sub-floor to help with hardwood/tile transition

Hello everyone,

New homeowner here! We have quite a bit going on with our new house, just trying to change it from a house into our house! We are taking on a lot of the works ourselves for a couple of reasons:
  • Experience: We want to. We want to learn and want to put our own sweat into it. I think in the end it will be more rewarding.
  • Cost: Monetary cost that is! Its amazing, if you have the time, how much money you can save doing things yourself.
Well I found this site a couple weeks ago and it has already proven to be a huge help! Anyways… My reason for posting is to get y'alls opinion on how to handle transitions through the different floor types/heights? I plan to install 3/4" solid hardwood through 85% of the house. I know that there are probably 5000 posts on here about how to install hardwood and maintain transitions so sorry to add yet another…

The house was built in '62 and is 2 levels so I will break my questions up by levels:

I don’t think the upstairs is going to be an issue (key word is think). It has 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom and a hallway/landing. The entire upstairs is 3/4" plywood subfloor secured to joist. I plan to replace any needed plywood subfloor (there was some water damage in the bathroom under the vanity) and re-secure any areas that need to be secured using decking screws. I then plan to lay down some felt paper (butting the edgiest together) and then nail/staple the 3/4" hardwood directly to the subfloor (in both bedrooms and the hallway). The bathroom will get tile. So the question is should I lay down felt paper and then 1/2" concrete backer board on the floor in the bathroom and then the tile which will help level out the transition from the hallway into the bathroom?

The downstairs is concrete slab over grade (not a basement, I live in central Texas so its pretty dry but I will check moisture of the slab). I plan to lay down felt paper then 3/4" plywood for the subfloor parallel to the direction of the hardwood I will be laying. I am going to just nail it directly to the slab using a .22 nailer and a sledge to finish them off. I have a few questions for the downstairs:
  1. Between the plywood subfloor should I use another layer of felt or should I use some sort of vapor barrier (is felt a vapor barrier)?
  2. There will be three rooms that will get tile: the master bath, a half bath and a utility room. Should I install the 3/4" plywood subfloor in those rooms as well and then just like the upstairs lay down backer board at 1/4" or 1/2" thickness (which ever is needed to help level out the floors) and then tile directly onto the backer board?
  3. I mentioned it for the upstairs but should I put felt between the backer board and the subfloor?
Sorry for the long post and do appreciate any feedback!


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Old 08-01-13, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 10
First off congrats on the new house! Doing your own projects can be rewarding, just figure this is ambious project. Let's first talk hardwood. 3/4" hardwood has the added step of stain and clear coat. Have you considered manufactured flooring. The upside is it is prefinished, once installed your done.
It also does not require ply over concrete. Adding layers over the concrete will affect your door - trimming bottoms and thresholds and exterior doors. What did you consider for the stairs? A project all by itself.
For tile , getting close to flush is desired but reducers are commonly used. It is best to use concrete float but hard backer is an accepted method.

Good luck

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