We recently did an installation of factory-finished, engineered plank flooring that adjoined a marble tile floor at two openings. At one opening (the entryway), the variation in the elevation of the tile was over 1/2 inch thicker from one end to the other over a 10 foot distance. This was because the marble was installed on a hand-troweled heavy mortar base. While the marble tile looked okay, it was not level, and there was nothing that could be done about that. A typical approach with a situation like this would be to install some kind of clunky looking T-moulding to bridge the difference. We took a different approach.
We installed glued-down pieces of 1/2 inch pieces of plywood underlayment over the subfloor we were working on, and used very coarse sandpaper to grind the underlayment over a broad span, providing a uniform thickness where the new flooring met the marble. Feathering the thickness of the underlayment over a large enough area provided us with a finished floor that was at least as even as the marble floor, and resulted in a very slight slope that was barely detectable by walking on the floor. We matched the elevation of the wood to the marble where it showed: at the match line. This was far preferable to just giving up and installing a moulding that would serve as a cover-up.
We always say, “The real work is at the edges. . .” Certainly true on this job, and it is the case on almost every factory-finished flooring job. There is usually some transition to other flooring materials required. Our view is that the transitions should be at the same elevation as the finished floors, or should be matched with a slight slope that is barely detectable. We don’t want to create transitions that trip or limit foot traffic in any way, and we don’t like factory-made moulding pieces that don’t provide a smooth transition.
We have to make our own transitions, and we do so using materials similar to the factory-finished flooring being installed. Then we sand, hand scrape, dye the wood, stain and finish, and anything else required to match the factory-finished flooring. We do the same with wood heat vents installed in the floor. We match and set the heat vents flush with the floor, instead of using a drop-in self-rimming style that furniture and dust mops have to fight with.
We take pride in installing exceptional hardwood floors, whether we are using factory-finished flooring materials or traditional unfinished flooring materials. Contact us to see what we can do for your floors.