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Friday, July 03, 2009

How to install ceramic floor tiles next to wood flooring

Ceramic tile floors form a natural complement to hardwood floors. The trick lies in how you transition from tile to wood. Since the two materials are so dissimilar, they expand and contract at very different rates. You should never simply butt new tile to an existing wood floor, or vice-versa. Let's look at the two most common scenarios.

A. Your new tile floor will be nearly the same height as the existing wood floor:

This occurs fairly often, since hardwood floors are generally 3/4" thick. Floor tile is often best laid over 1/2" cement board; add tile that's about a quarter-inch thick, and the two floors will be nearly equal. In this case you'll need some sort of simple expansion joint. ...

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... [and]

B. Your new tile floor will be significantly higher than the existing wood floor:

This happens quite often, given tile's requirement for heavy, solid underlayment. Many wood-slat floors, typically of oak, are only 3/8" thick. It's not at all advisable to lay tile to match this thickness -- you'd have to omit the underlayment entirely, not a good idea!

Another common reason for a tile floor that's higher than wood is that you'll be covering up a portion of an existing hardwood floor by laying tile over-top. This is done to create a traffic-friendly foyer area where your front door enters directly on a wood-floored room. ...

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With careful planning and attention to detail, you can allow your new tile floor to peacefully coexist with your original wood floor. Your transition will be strong and aesthetically pleasing, while it protects your new tile from edge damage. Done properly, your tile to wood transition will last as long as either of these highly durable materials, and look great the entire time.

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  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  2. Thanks for dropping in. All comments appreciated. Interesting user name, by the way!

  3. Great article, it would be great to see a follow up article on advice with what to do when your are tiling from your kitchen up against a carpetted surface. Thanks

  4. Great idea, FTG! I'll try to make a point of following up with that. Thanks for dropping in. I've been busy laying tile, and nearly missed your comment. ~Jim

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  7. Ganka Vasileva9:23 AM

    Ceramic flooring is becoming the popular choice among homeowners today. This is because although it is cheap, ceramic flooring gives an upscale look, and is easy to maintain.

    Here is a link that might be useful:
    Ceramic Flooring | Cost | Buying Tips | Installation | Maintenance

  8. Anonymous2:28 AM

    Floor tiles are commonly used in home renovations today. Your post discussed the two possible scenarios when tiles are installed beside hardwood flooring.Among the two cases, the one with uneven levels is problematic. I agree with Floor tile guy that a follow up about repairs in those instances would be very useful to your readers.

    In our case, spared us of such problems when we renovated our house. We have a maple hardwood flooring for the living area and used ceramic (Brandon) tiles for the kitchen. The floor looked neatly done because we had ample time to plan and discuss details like sub-floor foundation. In any case, a renovator must be very keen on details like measurements of the sub-floor and thickness of the tile to achieve a fairly even floor for his house.

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