Hardwood to tile transition idea

Old 11-19-03, 05:24 PM
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Hardwood to tile transition idea

I'm still wrestling with the layout of my floor project to be done next month. I saw something like this on a restaurant floor and wonder what the experts here think.

I will have a ceramic tile foyer flanked by 3/4" x 2-1/4" hardwood strips extended from each side. (The other two sides of the tile will be against walls.) Since 1/4" tiles on 1/2" backer board will be the same height as the 3/4" oak, I could use a T-moulding but that will leave a bump I'd like to avoid.

My thought is to fill the groove of a strip of flooring to make that side flush, polyurethane that edge, and face nail it in place snug against the tile (and blind nail the other edge through the tongue). Then I can fit the flooring ends onto the tongue edge of my transition strip. It's not a lot different than using a traditional reducer except that it's "square", not tapered.

I see two potential problems:

1. The transition strip will be parallel to the floor joists and not likely to rest exactly on a joist. But then, a traditional reducer or T-moulding would have the same problem.

2. There is no expansion gap between the tiles and the transition strip or between the transition strip and the field. Again, the same would be true of a traditional reducer or threshold.

Do you see any problems with this concept or is it the way it should be done anyway?

For the record, the flooring will be pre-finished with eased edges only. That means that I will have exposed square ends of the field boards ajoining the eased edge of the transition strip. Is that going to be a problem?

Old 11-20-03, 04:26 PM
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You need a " expansion. Since the tile and hardood are the same height. A "T" molding is used, to maintain the expansion gap. If you didn't know, tile needs expansion too.
Old 11-20-03, 06:34 PM
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Originally posted by Carpets Done Wright
You need a " expansion. Since the tile and hardood are the same height. A "T" molding is used, to maintain the expansion gap. If you didn't know, tile needs expansion too.
That I did not know. Thanks. I would have figured that a ceramic tile glued to a cement board glued to a plywood subfloor wasn't going anywhere. LOL

As for the transition strip, it sounds as though there is no acceptable way to make a flush transition if the filler strip has to overlap one or both fields. (I swear I saw this in a restaurant, though.) Anyway, I guess the alternative is to use 1/4" hardibacker under the 1/4" tiles and find a reducer that will overlap the tiles and "step down" from the wood to the ceramic by 1/4". That wasn't the look I was hoping for, but it's better than having a raised bump between the two surfaces.

Old 11-21-03, 11:03 AM
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There are installs with flush tile inside the hardwood floor (ie, sections of tile surrounded on all sides by tile). I have never done one of these as they are high end custom jobs but I bet they run the hardwood to within a quarter to half inch of the tile and then use a flexible caulk which is color matched to the tile grout.

But as far as expansion, you have to think this through. If one end of the floor is fixed, the other end will move twice as much. Also, the side adjoining the tile would need to be anchored so it would not tend to crush the caulk joint. This can be done to some extent by nailing into the joists where you wish to reduce movement or you could screw and plug the transistion (the latter might make more sense for you since your strips are ending at your transistion).

Just FYI, flooring tends to move in the direction of the tongue (solid wood) because the way the nails go in and movement in the direction of the grain is a fraction of the movement across the grain. I suspect that with engineered flooring the movement in the strip direction may be higher than solid wood with the grain because there is cross grain in the engineered in the strip direction (did I confuse you?). But of course the engineered has much less movement across the strip.

Please don't take my advice as gospel. You may want to call a high end installer, tell them you are in the planning stages and explain what you want to do and the issues. If they think there is a chance they can get the job they will often give advice.

Don't give up so easily.

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