I'm troubleshooting this transition between a new level floor on the right and an uneven tile (the tile in the front of the picture is about 1/2" higher than the tile in the back of the picture) floor on the left of the picture. I've had one contractor suggest floor leveler but I'd like to keep the new floor flat and not spread the problem into the new room.

Another contractor suggested putting in new tile to between the existing tile and new wood to make up the unevenness.

The width of the space between the tile and the edge of the new plywood floor is about 4 inches.

Any tips or ideas?

One idea I had was a thick grout joint between the two and coloring it somehow to be the color of the wood. Or a really thick T-mold that is a bit flexible. Neither of these ideal but this situation is less than ideal to begin with.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

enter image description here

  • One thing I just found is the Schluter transition strip. I wonder if I could extend the tile and then use this to transition to the lower wood floor which will be different height differences at different parts of the transition schluter.com/1_7_reno_v.aspx
    – Ryan
    Jun 23, 2014 at 21:51
  • Is the strip of flooring just sitting there to help illustrate the difference in height? To confirm, the transition, whatever is used will have to twist, or be thicker on one end than the other, as wel as taper down to meet the floor on the right?
    – Jack
    Jun 24, 2014 at 1:22
  • What about making the sub-surface level by shimming the near side with 1/2" plywood, the middle with 3/8" plywood, the far end with 1/4" then putting the transition board over that?
    – getterdun
    Jun 24, 2014 at 1:47
  • @Jack Yes, I left the piece of new flooring as a reference. It's height is about the same height as the tile at the tile's low point. I think what you're saying is correct. There would be a slope in two directions, down to the wood floor and down the length of the transition as the tile changes elevation. Also as I mentioned, the tile and wood floor will meet up about perfectly on the near side.
    – Ryan
    Jun 24, 2014 at 2:22
  • @getterdun I think I understand what you're saying. Then you'd have the first wood floor board sloped with the tile, but how would you match it up with the next board that is flat. One of the floor installers I spoke to said he could lay one board down on the transition and use two T moldings but he said it would look bad and didn't recommend it
    – Ryan
    Jun 24, 2014 at 2:35

2 Answers 2


With all the various pieces that make up the sub floor, I would not run tile over any of that. I would use the wood floor all the way up to meet the tile leaving a grout joint's width away from the wood floor to tile. With the wall and tile meeting on the far side, esthetically it may be best to finish the tile there anyway. You may even choose to redo the subfloor in that area to get rid of the small pieces that make up the surface in that area.

When the floor is sanded, the wood floor that is higher than the tile, if any, can be sanded down if it is a stained/finished in place floor. The floor can be shimmed to get it higher if need be also. This looks like a pretty long run, the wood floor can twist slightly to accommodate the different planes. In the case that it may be a prefinished floor, shimming is still done the same, but if the wood floor is above the tile, then the flooring is planed down on the backside, keeping the prefinished side intact, and glued down if need be, since the chance of having a blind nail or staple holding it down is diminished.

Edit 6-24-13

Since this is a cased opening, You can treat this 2 ways either will give you what you need.

My preference, since the wall is not that far away, would to shim the floor all the way and graduate it out to zero. With a 1/2" needed, the shims will need to be about 4' long, made with a table saw. I can describe an easy way to do that if you need, I can whip out enough to place these shims 3" apart over a 8' run in about a half hour, setting them would take about another hour, and you would need to run your floor over it immediately! But first, you need to check the floor to see if it can handle an extra 1/2" incline. If the floor is level in that direction, yes. If the floor is not level, favoring being made more level by adding the shims, definitely yes. But if the floor is already running the way that exacerbates the incline, well, that will need to be studied to determine the pros and cons. You will be surprised though, how far a floor can be out of whack and not show up until a piece of furniture, or other detail is added to make a thing like that show up.

The second way is while you are fixing the subfloor issue is to bring it up to the height needed to get things to plane into the tile floor. Make all your saw cuts 1 1/2"+ away from any finish or frame to add backing/blocking to tie the new subfloor back together with the existing using glue and screws to fasten it together. If this brings the floor out of level, it would not be good for future renovations.

In my opinion, I would not use a grout joint to make up the 1/4" difference in the finish. When you approach the tile floor from the wood floor side, the joints in the main run of the floor would look much smaller than the joint you made to make the 1/4" difference, since the joint will be facing you, because it is sloped in that direction.

  • Thanks Jack. I definitely wouldn't run tile over it as is. We are planning on fixing the subfloor at the transition. The piece sticking up will be removed and the subfloor would be flat before the tile was placed. So if we then ran wood all the way up to the existing tile, some of the tile would be about 1/2" higher than the tile and some would be about even. Would you just use grout to make up the slope then? The new wood is prefinished so there will be no sanding, but shimming up to the tile height or just to make up a 1/4" might be a good idea, then use grout to make up the other 1/4".
    – Ryan
    Jun 24, 2014 at 11:46
  • I added more to the answer, it was a bit much to fit here
    – Jack
    Jun 24, 2014 at 13:25

After rethinking your situation, I would cut a piece of flooring to make the transition piece like below. I wouldn't expect the slope at the bottom of tile side of the transition to be that noticeable because of the two lines above it being parallel to the tile.

enter image description here

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