The Complete Guide to Floor Transitions: What You Need to Know

You may have read our article on combining two types of flooring in one room or our introduction to flooring transitions. In this article, we delve further into the topic of floor transitions to explore the types of transition strips used between rooms and on stairs, plus artistic methods of transitioning flooring.

Transitions Between Rooms

You may have noticed the strip of material that covers the gap where the flooring of two floors meets. The most noticeable ones cover the gap between the bathroom and the hallway or bedroom and the area between the kitchen and dining room.

If your kitchen or bathroom uses vinyl, tile, linoleum, or something similar, a metal transition strip typically covers the end of one floor and the beginning of the other, which might consist of carpeting or hardwood flooring.

Conversely, when you need to cover the gap between two floors of wood or a flooring of wood and either ceramic or marble tile, you'll typically use a wood transition strip. These take various shapes, depending on the area of use and their shape. These collectively get referred to as reducer molding.

Types of Reducer Molding

Generically known as reducer molding, use this two- to four-inch-wide strip of veneer layer or thickness of the floorboards to join two floors of slightly different heights or materials.

End Cap Transition Strip

Note the words "slightly different." We're talking a hair, a fraction of an inch, a breadth. Opt for an end cap transition strip if you need to join two floors with a half-an-inch or greater height difference.

T-Mold Transition Strip

Do your two flooring areas share the same height? Use a t-mold transition strip. It offers the best coverage.

From the top, these items all look the same. That means when fitted between the two floors, you look down and see a strip of wood, and in all three cases, it appears to be the same strip of wood. Turn it over, and you'll see how each transition strip got its name.

Reducer molding offers an angle on its underside, so you position the strip so that the lower end of the angle meets flush with the lower portion of the flooring. The higher end of the angle meets the higher floor. Secure it with nails down its center line.

An end cap transition strip caps off the end of one type of flooring and tapers it down to the next flooring. You'll note a sharp angle on its underside, like a hill.

The underside of the t-molding looks like the capital letter "T" and offers an even on both sides slant. Its "pole" slips into the crevice between the two portions of flooring.

All of these transition strips come in more than one material. Choose from wood, plastic, and resin. Sometimes, you can find transition strips in other materials, such as cork or bamboo. Use these when installing that type of flooring for a professional appearance.

Metal Transitions Strips

What about metal transition strips? They work similarly to "T" molding but don't use them with wood because it can dent the wood. They work best for joining vinyl or linoleum to another flooring type.

Stairnose Transition Strips

Stairs get their own special type of transition strip - Stairnose transition. It fits onto the very outer edge of the step or stair, covering the area where two boards joined to form the 90-degree angle of the step. It does the job of making the steps look pretty.

Artistic Transitions Between Flooring

You may want something more exciting than a strip of wood dividing your wood floors. You can have an exciting transition area using small or medium-sized tiles, marble, pebble, glass, or ceramic mosaic pieces.

When you install your flooring, mark off a space of six inches on either side of the doorway or in a large room you want to divide. You can use a chalk line to make it easy to see so you don't mar surfaces like an already laid floor.

Install your flooring as normal up to the chalk line. Go to the other room and install your floor to the chalk line. Install your tiling or mosaic between the two, creating a seam between the wood flooring and the mosaic or tile with the grout you use to join the tiles or ceramic pieces.

Do-It-Yourself or Use a Professional?

We're fans of both options, but which you use depends on your experience level. If you have never installed hardwood flooring or a mosaic, practice on small jobs first. You could damage your home and cost yourself extra money trying to do the job yourself.

If you have tons of DIY experience, go ahead and enjoy the accomplishment of installing your own floors. Do read our necessary tools guide before starting this job, though, so you know what you'll need to buy or rent if your experience comes from small jobs or helping out your friends.

Shopping for High-Quality Materials

Shop From The Forest for a wide array of hardwood planks, molding, trim, and supplies. Choose from natural hardwoods, engineered hardwood, and laminate flooring. If you want the look of hardwood without the installation challenges, try using tongue and groove flooring or click-and-lock flooring. These options can move along the speed of installation and offer an easier installation than traditional planks.

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