How to Combine Laminate Flooring & Ceramic Tile
Laminate flooring and ceramic tile are two floor coverings that look well together. Both offer a variety of looks, styles and finishes, and choosing a match that showcases your home to the best possible advantage is fairly straightforward. Beyond color and style, consider floor heights and transitions between floors. For safety reasons, you want smooth transitions underfoot to save your guests and family from stumbling every time they walk from one room to the next.
Choose flooring that suits your home, traffic patterns and decor. An exact color match between floor coverings isn't essential, so long as your choices are complementary. Take samples of laminate and ceramic tile home and lay them down next to each other in the area where you plan to install them. You wouldn't pair a high-gloss, beveled edge laminate with twig furniture any more than you'd butt it up to a porous, low-quality ceramic kitchen floor. Ask yourself whether the patterns on the laminate and ceramic look good together and whether they match your room furnishings and style.
Think about potential differences in elevation between the two types of flooring. Often ceramic lies about 5/8 inch higher than laminate. If this is the case, you might offset the difference by laying the laminate over a sheet of 5/8 inch thick plywood to make the floors level. Or resolve the difference in floor heights with the flooring transition you decide to use.
Choose a floor molding that is level or tapers any difference in elevation between the laminate and ceramic floors. If the floors are level, install "T" molding into a metal U-track for a smooth transition, leaving room for an expansion gap when fixing the track in place. If the laminate sits higher than the ceramic, use floor moldings to taper the transition.
Create a custom molding if the laminate lies lower than the ceramic tile. Quarter-round works well for height differences of 5/8 or 3/4 inch. Shoe molding tapers a 1/2-inch difference in elevation nicely. Cut the molding to fit the length of the transition, stain it to match the laminate and hammer it in place, sinking the finishing nails near the ceramic side of the expansion gap.
- Consult a flooring professional with specific questions about floor transitions, moldings and custom moldings. Often you need access to a good table saw or jointer plane to create custom floor moldings.
- Laminate needs room for an expansion gap of 1/4 to 1/2 inch where the two floors meet. Never lay a laminate floor flush against ceramic tile. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
A writer since 1989, Marion Taylor's clients span a broad spectrum of public and commercial enterprise sectors, including agriculture, broadcasting, technology, enforcement and not-for-profits. Taylor is chief writer for “Market Matters,” the newsletter for Farmers' Markets Ontario. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Carleton University.
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