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How to Transition Flooring

Hot to Transition Flooring

If the flooring in every room of your home could flow together perfectly, you could pick one flooring type, have it installed and enjoy a cohesive look. While this sounds ideal, it’s not realistic for many homes. The rooms in your home have different uses, which necessitate different flooring needs. Living rooms call for cozy and soft flooring for relaxation, whereas bathrooms and kitchens require increased water resistance.

At some point, the different flooring types in your home meet. Whether bathroom tile reaches hallway carpet or kitchen vinyl meets dining room laminate, you are bound to have some transition concerns. To allow all of these flooring types to coexist, it’s important to consider the types of flooring transition you may want to implement.

Importance of Transitioning Flooring

When you’re selecting new flooring, you’re focused on the styles that accentuate your home. An equally important element is how your new flooring will transition into other flooring types in your home.

These flooring transitions serve two crucial purposes, including:

  • Aesthetics: Flooring transitions help mitigate visual appearance where jarring colors and textures meet. A neutral floor transition can go a long way to help blend different flooring styles and designs. In addition, transitions between flooring can cover up unsightly gaps to make your flooring appear seamless.
  • Safety: Height difference is a big concern where flooring types meet. If thick tile meets a low pile carpet, you may have a small — but potentially dangerous — height gap. Even small gaps could become tripping hazards, especially for small children. In these scenarios, flooring transitions act as mini ramps to create a safe gradient from a high to low floor type. Additionally, transitions protect the edges of your flooring from wear, tear and fraying.

As you address aesthetic and safety concerns, the type of transitions you use will depend on the flooring types you are transitioning.

Aesthetics in Floor Transitions

Transitions Between Similar Floors

When it comes to transition, similar floors could refer to the same type of flooring material or different flooring materials with similar thicknesses. Though height differences may not be as much of an issue between similar floors, transitions can help reconcile aesthetic concerns. Depending on your flooring, there are two options you can pursue.

Option 1: Meet Without Transition Strip

In a few cases, you may be able to transition flooring without using a transition strip. Your flooring may qualify for this option if:

  • The flooring types have the same thicknesses.
  • The flooring colors and designs mesh well.
  • The flooring edges don’t require protection.

This option is not common, but it may work for transitions from tile to tile flooring. Before you pursue this option, talk to your flooring professional to make sure it is a safe and beneficial course of action in your situation.

Option 2: Meet With Transition Strip

In most cases, it is wise to use a transition strip between similar flooring. Floors with similar heights benefit from a transition type known as a T-molding. This transition strip does not adjust for height, but it provides a smooth shift from one flooring to the next.

If you are transitioning from one hardwood to another, you could also opt for a seam binder instead of a transition strip. Seam binders are like normal wood floor planks that run along the edge of your flooring.

Your installation crew should be able to take flooring materials and transition best practices into account. For example, if you are transitioning between two hardwood floors where expansion and contraction are a concern, be sure the T-molding or seam binder isn’t attached to the flooring.

Transitions Between Different Flooring Types

Transitions between different flooring types require more precise strips tailored to the specific floor materials. For most of these transitions, balancing out flooring heights is a primary concern.

Carpet to Hardwood or Tile Floor Transition Tips

Carpet transitions to thick flooring like hardwood or tile present a significant height difference. Carpet texture and style varies from that of hardwood and tile, and a transition strip can help them combine well. It also plays an important role in protecting the carpet edge from fraying.

Reducer transition strips work the best to achieve an even surface between carpet and hard flooring. Be certain to use a reducer with a metal strip and carpet tacks to ensure the carpeting remains stretched and in place.

Vinyl to Tile Floor Transition Tips

Sheet vinyl is a relatively thin flooring type, whereas tiles can be quite thick. Without a transition molding, exposed tile edges may serve as a tripping hazard and could chip from exposure. Much like a carpet to hard flooring transition, vinyl to tile transitions require a reducer strip. You’ll want to make sure the reducer’s curved end leads down to the vinyl for a smooth transition.

Hardwood or Laminate Floor Transition Tips

In areas where hardwood or laminate meet a door threshold, step or other flooring type, you may need a different type of transition strip. The goal in these areas is it match the existing flooring, compensate for height gaps and create a smooth transition. End cap or end bar transitions may work best for a hardwood or laminate transition.

Types of Transition Moldings

As we’ve discussed, different types of flooring require specialized transition molding or strips. Here are some common molding types and their different uses:

  • T-molding: T-molding has a long vertical piece attached to the center of a shorter horizontal piece. This shape creates equal-sized gaps on each side of the molding, which allows it to transition between similarly-sized floors.
  • Reducers: Reducer transitions use a rounded effect to form a curve from a tall flooring to a shorter flooring. For minor height differences, the reducer may have an even arc shape. For more pronounced height differences, a reducer may have a ramp shape with a flat top that curves down toward the shorter flooring.
  • End bar or cap: End bar moldings are shaped like reducers but have a wider range of applications. These transitions strips can be used at doorways, around fireplaces, for different flooring transitions and more.
  • Multi-function: The shape of a multi-function molding depends on the specific brand you purchase. These transitions are meant to perform as more than one type of transition molding depending on the type of flooring you have in your home. Using a multi-function molding allows you to have uniform transitions throughout your home, even with multiple flooring types.

In addition to their function, transition moldings have a variety of material options. You can typically find transition strips in metal, vinyl or wood varieties. The material you pick will depend on your preferences, what matches your flooring and your durability needs.

Types of Transition Moldings

Craft Seamless Transitions With 50 Floor Planning and Installation

Transitions are an essential finishing touch for your flooring purchase, but they may be overlooked during the selection and installation process. When you work with the experienced professionals at 50 Floor, we care about these important details.

To find flooring you love, start with our free in-home consultation. Browse a variety of samples in the comfort of your home, and compare your favorite styles to your current flooring. Our experts will share their knowledge and help you think about both your selection and your transition needs. Once you’ve found the perfect flooring, enjoy hassle-free installation from one of our vetted professionals. Our installers are happy to move furniture, clear out old floors, examine subfloors, put new flooring in place and ensure it transitions seamlessly.

For unparalleled customer service and helpful advice at every step, schedule your free appointment with 50 Floor today!

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