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How to Transition Between Hardwood and Tile

Flooring Contractors

s appealing as it would be to have one flooring material, like hardwood, throughout the house, it isn’t always practical. For example, you’d end up having hardwood in rooms with plenty of moisture like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, or tile in rooms that should be cozy, like the living room. 

This is why it’s common for homeowners to pivot between hardwood and tile, so that each room’s flooring is both comfortable and functional.  But the trick is knowing how to transition between materials. The key to a good transition is seamlessly marrying the two materials via transition strips. We’ll dive into that and more, below. 

Why Transitioning Between Materials Matters

It may be tempting to overlook transitions when you have a flooring contractor laying your new flooring, but it can make or break your design. Aesthetically, going from wood to tile offers a textural, colour, and design difference, meaning the contrast can create an eyesore if it’s not properly transitioned. One solution to this problem is using transition strips to move gently from one material to the next. 

Another reason you need a transition between hardwood and tile is that tiles sit higher, so you may need a metal strip to bridge the height difference. The height difference between hardwood floors and tile flooring boils down to the number of layers. Hardwood is straightforward; usually, there’s only an underlayment, whereas tiles require mortar. Not to mention, tile thickness also varies. Altogether, this means that tiles always tend to sit higher than hardwood and can cause a tripping hazard if not properly transitioned.  

Moving From Hardwood to Tiles Seamlessly

If you want a seamless transition from hardwood to tile, talk to your flooring contractor about which transition strip works best to unify both spaces. Transition strips are your ticket to harmoniously moving between flooring materials. The strips are typically lightweight materials, usually wood or aluminum, that bridge the height gap between hardwood and tile floors.

  • Aluminum Strips: Metal transition strips are a great bridge between tile to wood flooring. Aluminum comes in silver or brass colours and has a satin, matte, or shiny finish. 
  • Wood Strips: Wood is another way you can create a divide from tile to wood. You can use wood transition strips to bridge the gap between hardwood and tile or get your flooring contractor to install a wood board like an end cap between tile and hardwood. Wood transition strips are especially used in doorways. 

No matter which option you choose, a transition strip is key to creating a smooth, even flooring throughout your home. 

Transitions: Full or Half Saddle

When flooring contractors refer to bridging the gap between flooring materials and whether they’re the same height, they refer to it as a full or half saddle. Simply put, full saddle transitions mean the height of both floorings is level, while half saddle transitions mean the flooring isn’t level.

Other Types of Wood-to-Tile Transitions

You aren’t without options if you’re looking for a more creative bridge between materials than a transition strip! You might also consider:

  • Tile Carpets: Tile carpets are a few lines of tile to break up wood flooring. These are gaining in popularity as they are an expert way to have hardwood near an exterior door, without wrecking your wood. Having a tile carpet at an exterior door means wet or muddy boots won’t warp the hardwood floorboards and the tile makes for easy clean-up.
  • End Caps: The ultimate design between wood-to-tile are end caps. End caps are wooden or tile “borders” used to create a striking transition between floors. Wood end caps blend in, whereas tile creates visual interest. For instance, you can use mosaic or neutral tiles as a threshold between flooring to add more character to the space.

When it comes to transitioning between hardwood and tile, there are options. Whether you’re looking for a subtle transition or to increase visual interest, there’s a transition solution for you. 

Transitioning Between Hardwood and Tile

As flooring contractors, we see different flooring materials converge all of the time; most often, it’s tile adjoining hardwood. The secret to marrying both flooring types is utilizing the correct transition. For full saddle transitions, homeowners can get creative and install a transition strip or an end cap. For half-saddle transitions, homeowners should use a transition strip to balance the height disparity. 

If you’re considering hiring a flooring contractor to help redo your flooring, give the Brothers Flooring a call today for a free consultation. Let us put our 20+ years of experience to use, so we can help figure out the best way to add transitions to your space!

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