On Location – How to Detail A Tile Inlay

For durability reasons, it is a good idea to detail a resilient flooring at your front door. One elegant solution is to create a tile inlay because it visually allows the hardwood to flow through to the entry while simultaneously providing the durability of a floor mat.

An inlay simply means that the tile surface is set into the hardwood as opposed to having tile laid wall to wall. There are three critical details to take into account if you are considering a tile inlay in your home: the first is to “picture frame” the hardwood around the tile inlay, the second is to reinforce the joint between the hardwood and the tile using a metal edge and not rely on the strength of the tile grout and the third is to extend the tile all the way to the sill of the front door so to avoid any chance of direct foot to floor contact with the hardwood at the threshold.

Today’s Slides:

  • Anonymous

    A new word for our Bananagrams matches – schluter.  Is that the correct spelling?  Does this schluter detail also apply to bamboo or cork floors as well?

  • Steve in Van

    The wooden ‘frame’ looks great where the tile abutts the hardwoord running perpendicularly.  Does the frame serve a purpose where the tile could have run to the wall?

  • Matthew North

    Hi Stoick – yes – your spelling is correct – “Schluter” is a brand name – they have a variety of transition products that would work between any hardwood (bamboo, oak, maple etc.)  and tile. I am not sure about a cork to tile connection – hopefully one of viewers can respond to this.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Steve – the frame just helps to keep the visual continuity of the hardwood throughout the entry – even though the tile could run up to the wall on the two sides. A small detail point also – I prefer the baseboard to land on hardwood as opposed to tile – it is a bit more even at the bottom with hardwood – but that is a minor item.

  • BradW

    The tile/hardwood combination used in this front entry is very well executed. It is always tricky when two finishing materials join. To make this combination work without additional subfloor complications, it is likely the 3/4″ thick hardwood has been used. You need that thickness for the tile installation to build out flush with the wood. If the wood was much thinner the installation would not be possible without changes to the subfloor construction. 

    Also, with regards the other material choices such as cork – If the wood/cork is a floating floor and you want to inlay tile I think you are in for trouble duplicating the same clean transition shown here. 

  • BradW

    One other thing, it would have slick if the hvac covers could be more integrated. The air return could have been done by cutting slots in the wood base. The heat register in the tile presents a bigger challenge will the likely solution being have to move the vent into the wood section of the floor.  

    Hey it is an expensive custom home let’s go wild – I already noticed the signature low switch positioning.