How to transition from ceramic tile to hardwood floor

Written by b. ellen von oostenburg
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Transitions, as they are known in the building industry, cover the edges where a ceramic tile floor meets a hardwood floor. There are manufacturers of extruded vinyl transitions and manufacturers of milled wood transitions. They include Johnsonite, Genotek, Moso and Armstrong. Schluter, another manufacturer, specialises in engineered transitions that protect the edges of floor tiles from chipping and cracking, while blending the tile floor with a hardwood floor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Schluter brand T, U and Ramp transitions
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hacksaw
  • Thinset mortar
  • Trowel
  • Grout

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Instructions

    T transitions

  1. 1

    Choose a Schluter T transition when a tile floor surface and an adjoining hardwood floor surface are identical heights. Johnsonite manufactures a vinyl T transition that is installed the same way, and Accra produces wood T transitions.

  2. 2

    Measure the width of the entryway where the two floors meet.

  3. 3

    Cut the metal transition with a hacksaw.

  4. 4

    Fill the joint between the hardwood floor and the tile floor with the sealant recommended by the manufacturer.

  5. 5

    Press the vertical stem of the T transition into the sealant. Each half of the horizontal portion of the T will rest on top of each floor.

    U transitions

  1. 1

    Choose the Schluter U transition to marry the tile floor and the hardwood floor, if they are at different heights.

  2. 2

    Cut the U transition to fit, and apply thinset mortar to the underlayment being tiled over.

  3. 3

    Press the vertical edge of the transition tightly against the edge of the hardwood floor while pressing the horizontal metal base flange into the thinset.

  4. 4

    Trowel thinset over the top of the flange, and draw the grooved edge of the trowel through the thinset.

  5. 5

    Set the floor tile on the thinset. Wiggle it back and forth to seat it into the mortar and press it tightly against the opposite two ribbed edges of the U transition.

  6. 6

    Allow the thinset to set before grouting.

    Ramp transitions

  1. 1

    Install the Schulter Ramp transition for a longer, gentler sloped transition between the two floors, especially if there's a 1/2- to 1-inch difference in floor heights. It will eliminate trip hazards. This transition works well where wheelchair accessibility is needed.

  2. 2

    Trowel mortar on the subflooring that the tiles will cover. Bring the mortar all the way to the edge of the floor in the entryway.

  3. 3

    Position the Ramp transition so that it's spanning the hardwood and tile floors. The portion of the transition in contact with the wood floor rests on the top of the floor, rather then abutting its edge. Set the opposing horizontal flange into the mortar as with the U transition. Trowel mortar over the top of the flange, rake grooves through it, and set the tile, pushing the tile edge tight against the metal transition.

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