Flooring and Carpeting/Floor transitions


QUESTION: Hi Perry.  I am installing flooring over a concrete slab that is on ground level.  I am planning to install 1 row of tiles around the perimeter and wood flooring in the middle.  I would like to make a flush transition from tile to wood.  I plan to first install the wood, then level out the tile flush with thinset. I have read about using sanded caulk to make the transition, but also read that over time that joint will crack.  read about schulter strips, but not sure if I still need to add expansion joints .  if you have any advise or links to sites I would greatly appreciate it.  thank you in advance

ANSWER: Thank you for your question Dmitri,

   The format you have planned for your install is straightforward and simple...typically these work best. I am not a fan of adding a "third element" such as a schlueter strip between differing materials. If you can keep the transition "line" straight and tight (1/8" or less) then the small joint that remains between your wood and tile will be perfectly acceptable to caulk and should perform as expected. Even if you were to use a metal bridge between the tile and wood there would then be two joints existing with which to determine what to do...follow me? So rather than that find a neutral color between the two and caulk. With the differing materials perhaps ending up close to 3/4" thick I would recommend that you caulk the joint twice as the first will in all likelyhood shrink or settle and then the second offering should take care the remaining space. It is possible that a small crack may develop but there isn't a much easier thing to fix than a light bit of touch-up with caulking. You will be pleasantly surprised. Any of the sites that sell transition strips are also going to "recommend" that you use one as it only makes sense to them to do so. But are they necessary to your project?...I hardly think so Dmitri. Your better off leaving out the third element so there is less to distract the eye when folks come over to see your new floor. Ok that's it...I hope this helps you with your project, feel free to return anytime..

Perry V.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you so much Perry for a very clear and understandable answer.  I now understand the "third element" aspect and do really want to keep it simple and elegant. after reading this I will likely plan to use the caulk.  my follow up question is do you recommend I frame the wood flooring portion and then install the end joint stagger pattern inside the frame, or should I install the wood end joint stagger pattern without framing its perimeter with the wood.  I guess what I am trying to ask is if framing the wood has a better outcome when it comes to expansion /contraction.  hope that makes it clear.  thanks again for your great help

Welcome back Dmitri,

    The short answer is yes....to picture frame the interior area will do two things minimal for you. First it will highlight and draw attention to what is captured within the frame. May I suggest that you use a wider plank to do the sectioning framework, perhaps a 4" or 5" just to make a simple yet clear statement as to what is happening where they will be looking. Secondly is of course the consistently longer boards will make your caulking reveal straighter and more uniform throughout the run of tile to wood. Expansion and contraction will be minimal between the wood and tile just stay at the 1/8" separation and you will be fine. I like the sound of this design Dmitri and I'm confident that it will render a satisfying visual result. Thanks for returning, feel free to come again anytime...


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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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