Hardwood meets tile

Q: Hardwood meets tile! I have two doorways or thresholds where my hardwood floor (solid ¾ x 3-1/4″ white oak) will meet with ceramic tile.

The boards will run parallel against the tile. The expanse of flooring is approximately 10-12 feet total in this area. The wood and tile will be the same height. I don’t like the look of t-moldings and other transitions. Would it be okay to leave a ¼ inch gap between the tile & wood and fill it with some sanded caulking that matches the tile grout? How about where the floor meets a sliding glass door? Could I do something similar? (smaller expansion gap and caulk instead of a molding?)

A: A small gap could be left between the hardwood and tile provided there is not a significant difference in height between the 2. As for the sliding glass doors, why could the flooring not be cut tight up against it? Or, at least close enough that you could put a small bead of caulking.

Related Q: Hi! I have old ceramic tile that I am ripping out of my kitchen. I plan on putting a new tile in its place. My contractor is talking about putting a new subfloor and a product to level the uneven surface but it will raise the height so it won’t be the same level as the hardwood in the next room. It becomes complicated because on one side of the kitchen there is a wooden railing that the tile butts up against. The contractor suggested pulling out the railing and beefing up the base so that it sits level with the tile but it becomes a very expensive and time consuming job!

A: I assume the old tile wasn’t all cracked because of movement in the original sub floor. Can’t he just install that fairly new dimple board (forget what it’s called) and put the tiles directly on that? You may or may not need a transition strip.