I'm getting ready to make some transition strips that will bridge the gap
between hardwood flooring and saltillo tile. The two are about 1/4"
difference in height. I have a gap between the two of around 5/8". What
I had planned to do was to fashion a transition out of hard maple that will
bridge over the gap and sit on the wood floor/tile. As well, I was going
to leave stock in place to fit into the space between the two floor
treatments. I don't have a shaper or moulder. So cut to length, rip to
width then cut the "top" of the transition (face) at an angle on my table
saw creating a "crown". Then run it through my router table to create the
"rabbits" (different heights to allow for the difference in floor heights)
leaving a strip in the center to fit into the gap between the floors. I'd
have to use some blocking under the piece when doing the second rabbit for
support as I run it through the router. Then, assuming all that works, hit
it with a belt sander etc...to round over the crown. Does this sound
viable or am I just missing something totally obvious? Thanks!
You could just go with reducer molding and fill in the gap if needed.
You can buy them so cheap it may not be worth it unless you need it in
Yeah, I thought of that but whatever I've seen to date is either not high
quality or would need some modifications so I was just thinking of doing the
whole enchilada myself. Thanks for the recommendation.
Be careful them there rabbits don't get away from ya'! :) (This kind
is w/ an "e" not an "i")...
I'd cut the rabbets on the ts as well, probably, and altho I'm not sure
I'm totally clear (but I think in essence, you're making a "T"
moulding), I would start w/ a wider piece of stock, cut the rabbets and
bevel on it, the separate the moulding from the stock when done rather
than try to cut the rabbets on a narrow piece of stock.
Otherwise, if that doesn't work for some reason I can't envision, I'd
definitely cut the second rabbet vertically rather than horizontally as
it's easier to control the stock against the vertical fence than on the
I did similar but there was more height differential (= 3/4 subfloor).
I stopped the wood floor about 2 1/2" from transition point and put in
the edge beveled transition piece so it overhung the subfloor, slid
Saltillo under it by about 1/4".
In your case, given the small space between tile and wood and small
height differential, I don't think I'd do that. What I would do
depends on which is higher...
1. If wood is higher than tile, I'd rip a bevel = height differential
and maybe an inch wide along the adjoining wood and grout the joint.
If wood is already laid, I'd just shave in the bevel with a plane &
If the floor is already laid and is laid so you'd have to bevel ends,
I might cut out an area to receive a new plank, bevel one edge and lay
it perpendicular to the others. Not that it is impossible to bevel
plank ends (especially with a disc sander) but unless you are used to
doing so it might be easier just to replace.
2. If tile is higher than wood I'd do the same thing - Saltillo is
very soft - by sanding a bevel on the tiles with a belt or disc sander
with 120 grit.
I'd do it as above to avoid the crown of your way.
Thanks. The saltillo is higher than the wood. I was looking at doing
what you describe but unfortunately, the saltillo and wood edges are not
smooth (think jagged up to 1/4") so I moved into the space of "covering" up
the edge. There is still merit in what you suggest however so I'll be sure
to keep that in mind when finalize what I'm going to do.
Yes, having laid 3000+ sq.ft. in my house, I know. However, the
uneveness is no problem; if you can maintain them in a fixed position
top up while beveling the bevel will be greater in high parts, lower
in the low. For example...
1. Radial arm saw with masonry blade, tile bottom down, use saw to
2. Any tile saw where the blade or saw will tilt. Doesn't matter
whether it is a bridge type saw (radial saw equivalent) or table saw
where the tile is pushed into the blade.
I've done the above 1000s of times as all my baseboards and window
trim are Saltillo...cut a tile into 1/3s, cut a bevel on one edge,
round bevel by rotating bevel against a drum sander.
In re-reading your comment I now think you mean that the problem lies
not with the thickness variation of Saltillo but that they - and,
apparently, the wood planks - were not laid with edges aligned. If
that is the case, you could cut both so the edges are in a straight
line. Why would they install either that way in the first place?
Yes, the edges of the saltillo and wood planks are not aligned, albeit
slightly (say 1/8"). I really don't want to have to cut them in situ to
give me a straight line but may if that's necessary. I could always cut the
wood to fit and fill in the gaps with grout. I've put down 100's of feet of
saltillo (not 1000's as you did!) and found them to cut quite easily. I
too made baseboards from them. Looks really good. But back to the
transitions, I'm leaning towards making a crowned piece to cover the gap
and then glue that to a strip fitted for the gap (well my wife is leaning
towards the crowned look!). I'll letcha know what I end up doing.
I would do some of what I've seen posted here and use one of my hand planes
to deal with the "crown"
A low angle bevel up smoother or jack plane from our favorite tool peddler
(Lee Valley) would make
short work of it.
I do have a problem in my shop though, I can't decide if I like my L/N 4 1/2
or my Veritas bevel up jack the most. :-)
The Veritas with two irons , a 25 deg and a 38 deg really makes it an
THe folks who make laminate flooring offer transition strips tha come
with a cleat yu fasten to the flooring and use to clip in/secure the
Just a thought, but the come in a million finises and are available at
Lowes, HD, Flooring Outlets, Online, etc.
No visible faseners. Secure (doesn't pop out) and prefinished.
Thanks. RayV mentioned something similar above in the thread. The problem
I have with these is I would have to modify them to the extent that I'm
thinking I should just make my own. I will definitely keep these in mind
as I progress however if my "homemade" versions are not turning out well!
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