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I want to install a wood transition board where wood laminate meets ceramic tile at a basement bathroom doorway.

The previous homeowner grouted the joint between the ceramic and the wood laminate flooring - from what I am reading here, they should have instead either left it open or caulked it, as different materials expand differently, tending to cause any grout between them to crack. The grout is a mess - a huge chunk apparently popped out at some point, and it is either cracked or not bonded to the laminate along its entire length, so it is essentially a glorified spacer that seals nothing.

Should I grind out the crummy grout seam and replace it with caulk (or leave the gap empty) before putting the transition down? (I intend to use Liquid Nails(R) construction adhesive to bond the transition to the floor surface on both sides of the grout seam).

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I would advise you to remove all that old grout. Give the laminate room to expand and contract. When you put the new transition piece in, if possible to make it secure by only glueing it on the tile, that would be best. If that doesn't seem to hold it secure enough, glue to the tile and use a caulk that stays flexible on the laminate side. That laminate wants to move in temp and humidity changes.

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