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I'm trying to replace some tiles, but the transition between the hardwood floor and tiles has caused me some trouble. The hardwood floor was installed sometime after the tiles, so the transition strips were on top of the tiles.

I broke apart and removed the old tiles, and was hoping I'd be able to simply (but carefully) pry up the transition strips, install the new tiles, and then put the transition strips back in place. Unfortunately, the transition strips seem to be attached to the rest of the floor somehow.

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It feels almost like a tongue-and-groove connection, as I can't get the strip along that edge to come up more than maybe 1/32". That just is surprising to me, because it seems like it would be very complex and difficult to have a cut angle like that and still have a tongue-and-groove connection. I was expecting glue maybe, but because of the way it bends it doesn't feel like glue or epoxy. I can work it back and forth and it doesn't seem to weaken or give any more.

Using the pry bar, I haven't pushed it really hard yet, easing up as soon as I can feel the floor start to move a bit, as I'm trying not to break anything (yet). I also haven't tried putting anything between the strip and rest of the floor, as I'm fairly sure I'll damage the surface by doing so.

Before I go to the fully destructive option (and just replace these with new T-Strips or something), can anyone give me some insight into how these are attached? What would a profile view of this board look like?

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    Do you have an oscillating tool? If so, try and cut as many of the nails as you can. (Ideally leaving some on the underside with which to pull the nail through after.) This might free up the strip to wiggle forward if there is a tongue/groove kind of connection. – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 8 at 4:29
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate, you had the right idea, I just elaborated a little. If you want to make your comment an answer, I will delete my answer. – Jack Mar 9 at 3:01
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Aloysius is right about the T&G. The border piece looks to be the same width as the rest of the floor. I think the installer took the time to groove the angled ends to allow the tongue of the border to engage it.

Aloysius is also right about using an oscillating tool with a metal cutting blade to cut the nails or staples holding it down. If the last piece that was installed can be determined, that will be the first one to try it on, since the angled cuts will make it difficult to take it out any other way.

  • Good answer. Thanks for the detail. – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 11 at 0:22
  • So yes, this is exactly what they did. I was able to get my inspection camera down under the baseboard to verify. Unfortunately, they put a couple of the nails near the tongue side, and too far away for any oscillating tool blade I could find to reach. I might have been able to get at them once I got started, but I was afraid there would be no turning back if I couldn't. Luckily, I mentioned this dilemma to my wife, who asked "why not just put the new tiles next to the boards and leave them as-is?" ... to which I had no good answer. So, that is what I did. i.imgur.com/EiHD5Ss.jpg – gregmac Mar 20 at 1:50
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It's really hard to see but it looks like your moulding is a peice of your hardwood flooring with a relief cut to fit the tlie under it. If the flooring guy put that peice down before the rest of the room (that's how I would do it) it would have nails closer to the hardwood side with a towards the tile from top to bottom angle to them. To remove it without damaging it I would use a small but sturdy flatbars with a lever point under it as close to the threshold as possible and push down firmly working the peice up from one end to the other.

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