I have ripped out some old carpet and am preparing to install a new solid hardwood floor myself. In several places, the floor transitions to an existing tile floor. The hardwood floor guys told me the best transition between the two is a T molding. You simply leave a gap between the two floors, and then place down the T molding between the two floors, so it sits on both surfaces. Sounds simple enough.

However, the height difference of the two floors is considerable, and the T molding does not sit flush. What are my options? Here is a diagram showing the dimensions.

floor transition diagram

NOTE: Using the T molding is not a requirement, I could go some other route if there is a better option.

  • Just one additional thought. Don't worry if the molding is slightly out of level. The foot won't usually notice it and from eye level you won't see it. Nov 15, 2011 at 21:51
  • Yes, that is what the place said where i bought it from. For little differences, this would work, but the height difference is to noticeable in this case.
    – mohlsen
    Nov 17, 2011 at 13:25

5 Answers 5


In your situation, I'd use reducer molding instead of T molding: enter image description here

  • And I would just cut the bottom of the reducer to get the height I desire? From that picture, I think it would be a bit too height and then it would not sit flush on the hardwood.
    – mohlsen
    Nov 15, 2011 at 19:37
  • You can trim it down, yes, or the aluminum joins (other answer) are an option, although I think they're uglier. Nov 15, 2011 at 19:43
  • 1
    I agree that they are not as nice, but there is much more variety of shape. Nov 15, 2011 at 21:54
  • 3
    Of course, there's the redneck solution: cover the gap with duct tape! Nov 15, 2011 at 22:05
  • 1
    If I could give that comment multiple upticks, I would. Nov 15, 2011 at 22:10

I ended up taking advise from @chris's answer and making my own transition from actual flooring. I cut away part of the flooring to make the transition piece sit flush on the floor and then on top of the tile. I then routed a rounded edge so the piece on top of the tile flowed down more gradually.

I was a little worried about the routed part and how it would look compared to the top (finished) of the flooring. But with a little flooring varnish, and then a rub with some scotch brite to dull the finish, it was a perfect match. This worked because the wood was not stained, and natural in color. If it has been stained, it would have been a little harder to match.

We are very happy how it turned out. It's a smooth transition, more so than an actual transition piece like a T or reducer since it does not rise up higher than the hardwood floor or the tile.

Here is a pic of a cut away piece with the routed edge:

enter image description here

Here is a pic of the finished transition:

enter image description here

  • 2
    This is a very elegant fix. I particularly like that there's no additional rise above the hardwood height.
    – gregmac
    Jan 6, 2014 at 18:17

You might have some more flexibility if you went with aluminum. Something like this: enter image description here

Or this:enter image description here


Another option if you want to avoid using a molding between the two surfaces is to cut down the hardwood a bit so that they meet flush.

This may or may not be feasible depending on the construction and thickness of the hardwood, and how long the join may be.

From your diagram, it looks like you'd have to cut down once side of the hardwood about 1/4", and remove the underpad from the last couple of inches. You'd also probably have to glue the last piece down to the floor, which might not work well if there could be significant expansion/contraction.

  • Thanks, your answer inspired me to make my own and then do a little more. See the accepted answer for details.
    – mohlsen
    Dec 9, 2011 at 16:32

I ran into a similar situation with engineered hardwood transition to a master bath small format tile. Before finding this page I looked at a number of different solutions. IN the end I decided to under cut the plywood engineered wood, similar to the process used by some of the other folks above. As the lip of the cut back boards rest on the tile and the expansions space is only 3/8ths inch wide it would take a massive amount of pressure at a specific spot to do even moderate damage to the floating connection. Obviously this is a photo of a scrap piece rather than the finished product which has a close fit versus the large gap shown. The exposed plywood edge is unnoticeable except on close examination. scrap initial cut for fit purposes

Because the area could potentially get wet or be in a more humid environment, I sealed the raw wood with lacquer.

I imagine the same process could be used when laying laminate flooring also. dark laminate would be easiest to color match.

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