From Room to Room: Flooring Transition

Flooring transitions are one of the final touches that will make or break the finished look of your floor. Such a small thing and such a big impact.

As with all flooring there are some extra bits and pieces that will be required to make the floor ‘user friendly’, hide unsightly edges and polish the overall look.

You’ll want to transition the gaps from changing direction or rounding off a doorway. Most likely you’ll also need to make the transition to another flooring material. How it’s accomplished can either complement the natural beauty of your floor or appear to be an afterthought to the installation.


The floor coverings in your home normally vary in thickness depending on the subfloor, the underlayment and flooring material itself.

Vinyl flooring can be very thin although it’s often installed over plywood which can add a little to the height. Carpeting varies in the depth of its nap and the quality of the padding underneath – both of which can determine just how thick the combination ends up being. Ceramic tile in your foyer, kitchen, or baths can be high since the mud bed can often raise the material way up off the subfloor.

All of this should be taken into consideration when planning your hardwood and the flooring transition that must take place when it meets one or more of these other materials.

Just in case you didn’t have enough to think about, the thickness of the hardwood also enters into the equation. Solid unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring is normally ¾ inch thick, but engineered and laminate floorings are normally much thinner products.


There are 2 primary objectives when choosing the transition trim for where your hardwood meets the other flooring materials in your home:


  1. Selecting a trim that’s attractive and complements the floor and interior décor
  2. Picking something that isn’t a tripping hazard. The most beautiful hardwood floor in the neighborhood loses a little of its impact if guests stumble every time they enter the room.


  • Vinyl – due to the height difference between vinyl and most types of wood floors the best flooring transition is often a piece of reducing trim. These basically appear to be a piece of ¾ round trim that someone has flattened. They are available in various heights depending on the hardwood being used and reduce down to about 1/8 inch thick where they sit on the vinyl and can normally be purchased in prefinished colors.
  • Ceramic Tile – one of the most popular transitions for where ceramic tile and hardwood meet is a threshold which can either be wood or marble. The profile of the threshold can vary depending on just how noticeable you wish it to be – however they are normally rounded off at the corners to avoid catching toes.
  • Carpet – this is a matter of personal preference as some homeowners prefer the look of a natural flooring transition from carpet to hardwood with a carpet tack strip installed along the edge of the wood to prevent the carpet from coming loose.
    However, others like using a modified threshold with a notch to allow the carpet to run underneath without appearing to be crushed.

These are just a few of the most common flooring transition trims available – consult with your flooring distributor or contractor to find out what others might work for your application.

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