Edging between tile and hardwood floors

Written by j.m. pence
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Edging between tile and hardwood floors
Edging material is needed to protect tile where it meets hardwood flooring. (Tile wall image by Pontus Edenberg from Fotolia.com)

Where tile flooring meets hardwood floors, a significant difference in the heights of the two may exist. Whichever is higher will be vulnerable to damage because whenever a person steps on the transition, the higher piece will absorb the brunt of the footstep. Edging will protect flooring materials, especially tile, from becoming chipped or worn down, and will give a finished look to the transition between the two floors.

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Metal

Metal transition and edging strips come in bronze, brass, aluminium and other metal finishes. They can be found in a variety of shapes to protect the edge of the tile whether it is higher, lower or the same level as the hardwood flooring.

Wood

A quarter-round piece of wood, stained to match the hardwood floor, can be used as a transition piece between the two floors. It is often called a reducer because it reduces the height between the two floors. A quarter round is used only if the difference between the wood and tile is less than an2.5 cm (1 inch). If the difference is more, a strip of bevelled wood about 5 cm (2 inches) wide and stained to match the hardwood will provide a gradual transition.

Tile

If the tile is higher than the hardwood, it may be possible to purchase a matching finishing strip of the same material as the tile. Some tiles, especially those that are also used on counters, have special edging pieces in rounded shapes called bullnose, fancier cuts such as ogee or bevelled 45-degree angled cuts called a chamfer.

Cultured marble

Cultured marble is a manufactured product that is a mixture of resin and limestone or marble powder. Strips of it can be used to form a threshold. It is available in many colours and patterns that resemble tile, marble, granite and slate. It won't match the tile exactly, but it is inexpensive, and a narrow piece might not be very noticeable. Cultured marble is more delicate than tile, and will not hold up well in a high-traffic area.

Cut or sand edges of tile

If the tile is only slightly higher than the hardwood, and if it does not have a top glaze and is homogenous throughout the entire tile, it may be possible to round the edges of the tile pieces that are against the hardwood. This requires cutting or sanding the tile to form a natural transition to the hardwood without any intervening material.

T-moldings

T-mouldings are wide pieces of hardwood shaped like a T. The vertical part is placed between the tile and the hardwood floor, and the top horizontal bar lies across both the hardwood and the tile. This type of transition is very noticeable and is often used in doorways and when the two floors are approximately the same height.

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