Installing floor threshold/transition - should I remove existing grout between wood laminate and ceramic tile?


Remove any debris from the laminate countertop with a wet cloth and kitchen soap. Dry the countertop with a clean cloth. Measure the dimensions of the countertop with a measuring tape, and use scissors to cut a piece of fiberglass paper that corresponds to these measurements.

Use a trowel to spread the tile adhesive over the laminate surface. Spread the fiberglass paper over the adhesive, and flatten it into place with a putty knife. Work out any bumps and air bubbles in the paper by using the flat side of the putty knife blade.

Use a putty knife to fill in any dimples or dents with mortar, then go over the whole countertop with a thin layer of mortar. Pull a straight edge down the length of the countertop to remove any excess mortar. Let the mortar dry completely.

Apply thinset with a trowel, raking it so that the tile has a ridged surface to which to adhere. Butter the bullnose, or rounded, tile first with mortar, then apply these pieces to the edges...

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By Todd Fratzel on Flooring

Floor Transitions

I’d like to share some thoughts on how to transition hardwood and tile floors. Hardwood Flooring has become a very popular DIY project for many home owners. Also every DIY program on television has featured numerous programs on installing your own hardwood and tile floors.

So you might ask why I’m focusing on the floor transition? The answer is simple, I’ve seen so many DIY flooring projects in homes that look really great except for one detail, the floor transition looks awful.

Recommended Reading

Complete Flooring (Stanley Complete) (Paperback)

Whether you’re installing solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, laminate, or tile the issues are all the same. You really need to plan the floor transitions before you start any flooring installation. There are several basic issues that arise at the floor transitions.

You can find many of these transition pieces at: Online Floor...

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Laminate flooring over ceramic tiles is a common choice, especially when the tile is dingy and outdated. Here’s how you make the switch.


Many homeowners now wish to replace their old ceramic tile with laminate flooring.

Wood laminate flooring has grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years, for several reasons. Wood laminate provides the warm look of hardwoods flooring at a fraction of the cost. The soft feel of laminate flooring is easy on the feet, and provides a soft cushioning effect while walking. Finally, the factory finish of laminate flooring is more durable than just about any finish a hardwood flooring refinisher can put on a hardwood floor at a job site.

Can laminate flooring be installed over ceramic tile?

A big question is, can a laminate floor be placed over a ceramic tile floor? Fortunately, the answer to the question is yes.

There are many concerns of the type of flooring a laminate can be placed...

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Prefinished engineered wood flooring in a good choice for laying over a tile floor.

We are thinking about replacing our tile floor in the kitchen with hardwood. The tile is laid in a concrete foundation and would be huge mess to rip up. Is it possible to lay hardwood over an existing tile floor? If so, what do you recommend? -Donna

Hi Donna,

Yes, you can lay a wood floor over tile if the existing floor is in good shape and without cracks. I would suggest 3/8” thick, prefinished engineered hardwood flooring or easy to install laminate flooring. Some brands can be installed as a floating floor that locks together and is not attached to the tile, or you can glue it down.

Check to be sure the existing floor is flat first and fill in any low spots with leveling compound. If the wood floor is being glued to a slick tile surface, rough the tiles up a bit by sanding them to allow the adhesive to adhere better.

Good luck with your...

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Lay full and cut tiles while watching for straight grout lines. In this case, the handmade saltillo tiles are uneven and spacers are unnecessary. However, to keep grout lines straight when using more uniform tiles, use spacers between each tile. Push the first tile into the combed mortar bed with a twisting motion. Using a protective scrap piece of lumber, tap the tile with a mallet to set it. For the first tile only, pull it back up to make sure the combed mortar is think enough to cover the entire bottom of the tile. Spread more mortar in a thicker layer if the bottom of the tile is not covered completely when pulled up. If the mortar coverage is sufficient spread mortar in small sections and set tiles. Allow mortar to set well before applying...

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Questions about floor cleaning?

Besides their phenomenal beauty and versatility, porcelain tile floors have the advantage of being very low-maintenance. Ceramics are made of natural particles that are shaped and fired in a kiln at very high temperatures.

This process creates a durability and resiliency that is unmatched by most other flooring surfaces. When glazed, they also have a protective barrier from dirt, water, stains, and chemicals, making them even more impervious to the elements. Even while easy to maintain, there are some steps to take to ensure that it remains in optimal condition.

How should you clean your tile floor?

One of the most important aspects of cleaning your tile floor is making sure dirt and spills do not have a chance to get comfortable.

These things happen; instead of banning everyone but yourself from walking on your floor, clean up spills or tracks as soon as possible.
This is easy enough to do with a...

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I'm just getting ready to lay down the grout after successfully tiling our master bathroom. I've been told in no uncertain terms that I must remove the spacers between tiles (or else grouting over them can result in cracking of the grout). That makes sense -- however, I'm also reading on the box that I should "clean the grout joints". They show a tool that appears to be scraping excess mortar from the joints.

Do I need to be worried about scraping down the hardened mortar so that the joints can be completely filled with grout or are they talking about simply removing any loose mortar? Although none of my joints have mortar that rises above the grout, many of the tiles have some sections where the mortar is higher than others. I'm reading elsewhere that it's ideal to get rid of all excess mortar between tiles before it hardens (whoops).

How important is this?


As of September, 2011, it's been 9 months since I completed this job and things have been...

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By Todd Fratzel on Flooring

Location of Transition

The location of the transition depends on the area where you’re changing floor types. The easiest transition is a cased opening because there really isn’t a right or wrong answer on the location. In the top photo you can see a cased opening where I changed from hardwood to tile between our kitchen and mudroom. The key to that transition is to install a piece of wood perpendicular to the running direction in order to have the transition piece parallel to the tile.

The other location that needs consideration is at doorways. As you can see in the adjacent photo I transitioned the hardwood to tile under the closed door. This way when the door is closed you only see hardwood on the hall side and tile from inside the bathroom. It’s important that you know the exact location of the door if you’re installing the flooring prior to hanging the...

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