How to make a level transition between a laminate floor & a tile floor

Written by marion taylor
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How to make a level transition between a laminate floor & a tile floor
Create a custom moulding to transition between laminate and a higher ceramic floor. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

While there are many mouldings for making smooth transitions between laminate and other flooring types, most are designed for floors that are level or lie lower than the laminate. When laminate butts up to ceramic tile, the ceramic floor is often 5/8 inch higher, so typical mouldings won't work. If it happens the two floors are level, installing a "T" moulding into a metal track and leaving room for an expansion gap on the laminate side does the trick. Otherwise, create a custom moulding to taper the difference in elevation.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shoe moulding or quarter round
  • Handsaw
  • Stain
  • Jointer plane
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails

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  1. 1

    Use a tape measure to determine the length of the doorway where the floor transitions from laminate to ceramic.

  2. 2

    Measure the difference in height between floors. Plan to use shoe moulding for a height difference of 1/2 inch. Use quarter round for a height difference of 5/8 or 3/4 inch.

  3. 3

    Use a handsaw to cut the shoe moulding or quarter round to fit the length of the doorway. (If using quarter round, run it through the jointer plane to trim the height to 5/8 inch. If the height difference is 3/4 inch, you don't need to plane.)

  4. 4

    Stain the moulding to match the flooring.

  5. 5

    Leaving room for the expansion gap, fix the shoe moulding or quarter round into place with a hammer and finishing nails. Sink the finishing nails on an angle into the expansion gap near the ceramic floor.

Tips and warnings

  • To prevent the custom moulding from tilting into the expansion gap, cut a piece of laminate the length of the doorway, 1/4 inch wide and the combined height of the expansion gap and elevation difference. Drop it into the gap, flush against the ceramic to act as a prop, then nail the moulding into place. Make sure there's still enough room for the laminate to expand.
  • Take the quarter round to a wood shop for planing if you don't have access to a jointer plane.
  • Do not hammer the finishing nails into the laminate, as this will cause the floor to buckle.

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