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We have a hardwood insert on our kitchen floor and we will be surrounding it with slate tile. Also the room next to the kitchen is all hardwood floor. Our heights are correct for the tile (with the backboard installed) but i'm curious as do I put down thin-set mortar between the backerboard and wood and then grout between the tile and wood as well?

It seems like I should but I haven't found much information on tile/wood combinations.

edit: picture!

+++ #### wood and tile
+++ ---- wood and backerboard
======== sub-floor

So to clarify, do I need to put mortar between the wood and backerboard?

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Normally when flooring changes you would use a proper transition. for example where your tile meets your other room, you will want to leave a small gap between the wood and the tile and then use a transition to cover the gap. I would guess if you have a wood floor in the middle of a tile floor your going to have to leave an expansion gap all the way around, which will be a good place for crumbs and debris to collect. –  Tester101 Sep 28 '10 at 16:43
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You might be able to use silicone to fill the expansion gap, as it would be able to flex when the wood expands/contracts. I don't think I would put grout there, because it will most likely crack when the wood moves. –  Tester101 Sep 28 '10 at 16:46
    
I'll second Tester101's comments. Wood needs to flex as moisture and temperature levels change, so often 1/4" (depends on species and environment) is left between the wood and walls, for example (often covered by baseboard. Perhaps a low-profile transition strip might allow the flexibility while framing your insert? –  r00fus Oct 13 '10 at 4:49
    
@Tester101 - use your comment to answer the question –  mohlsen Oct 21 '10 at 16:31
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Normally when flooring changes you would use a proper transition. for example where your tile meets your other room, you will want to leave a small gap between the wood and the tile and then use a transition to cover the gap. I would guess if you have a wood floor in the middle of a tile floor you're going to have to leave an expansion gap all the way around, which will be a good place for crumbs and debris to collect.

You might be able to use silicone to fill the expansion gap, as it would be able to flex when the wood expands/contracts. I don't think I would put grout there, because it will most likely crack when the wood moves.

Here is an example using a transition.

enter image description here

And without a transition. enter image description here

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We put our kitchen floor tile right up against our wood parquet dining room floor about 20 years ago. We just butted the cut tile all the way to the wood. Luckily the height was the same. The floor has been perfect without any grout or silicone. We live in Iowa where the temperature and humidity both hit extremes. See photo. We are getting ready to remodel -either all slate or all wood.

 - so we

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