Whenever you reach a point in floor tiling that presents a visible edge showing of the floor tile, to give the job that professional finish you should always insert a transition piece of some description. Whether it is at a doorway connecting two rooms of different flooring, or even around the edges of your tile baseboards, a transition piece will hide the ugly edge of the tiles and either the mortar or adhesive which is holding it down, as well as giving the tiles a smooth, cosmetic, and definitive ending to the overall design.
Tile transition pieces are available in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, materials, and styles, so as a brief rundown of what’s actually available without going too much into detail, I will briefly mention each option which you have to consider suitable for your particular tiling project. Beginning with your cheapest option, plastic transitions come in a wide variety of matching colors ideal for coordinating your color scheme. These however, being your cheapest option, can actually give your finished job a cheap look.
With plastic simply being plastic, it certainly is easy to work with and trim to size, but I don’t really recommend in using these for any tiling job. They will just take away all the appeal of your tile installation hard work and money spent in an instance, and for that little bit extra to add to your budget, I advise you purchase metal transition pieces instead for a more professional and complimentary finish. If you decide to spend a little more, then you will definitely get a lot more for your money.
The metal transition pieces I normally buy are made by Schluter Systems. They offer a wide variety of buffed and polished metal finishes in colors ranging through bronze, platinum, silver, chrome, etc, and are certainly good quality and value for money. As well as the numerous styles available, they also offer these transition pieces for a variety of applications and different depths to suit your tile thickness.
With the nosing transition for instance, this piece is ideal for when tiling a flight of stairs. When the cut-out end is inserted underneath the tiles into a fresh bed of mortar, the extended oversize downward lip on a nosing transition will hide any visible subfloor giving your steps a superb clean finish.
Sloping transitions are ideal for when your tiled floor transfers onto a floor lower in height such as vinyl or hardwood flooring, removing any foot-catching abrupt ends. With flat butt transitions, these are used when transitioning to basically anything you want, including another tiled floor. They are also ideal for finishing off edges such as tile baseboards fitted around the perimeter of the wall, and can give a more pleasing aspect rather than just a bead of silicone cocking finish.
One important factor you should take into consideration though when buying your transition pieces, is the actual thickness of your tile. To give the perfect match, transitions are available in a number of depths to suit tile thickness, but you should always buy one which rests ever so slightly higher than your floor tile when butted next to each other. The reason being for this is to always remember to compensate for your depth of mortar bed, as this will most certainly raise the height of your tile by at least a minimum of 1/8″ inch. This is obviously depending of course on how thick your bed was laid, in respect to the size of your notched trowel used for spreading.