Transitioning to Hardwood Flooring

Sara Miller
Posted in:
Buying Guides

When you finally start to draw up your plans for a recent remodel or build, you've had to plan for your flooring as well. You've chosen hardwood flooring as your primary choice, and it's a very good decision. From Brazilian Teak and Walnut, to Tigerwood and Red Oak, the range of hardwood species, styles, and colors is unparalell to most flooring options. 

So, you may have made the decision to install hardwood in your home or commercial space, but what if you want different types of flooring in connecting rooms? Because every room in your house or commercial space serves a different purpose, the material and style of your floors can vary. 

So, how do you transition hardwood to other rooms? Here are a few suggestions, based on the transitions of hardwood to hardwood, carpet to hardwood, and tile to hardwood.

From Hardwood to Hardwood

Transitioning from two varieties of hardwood is reasonably easy. If your two connecting rooms have completely different functions, the transition between rooms must be very noticeable without being too abrupt. You may try to select noticeably different colors for the two rooms (from light and easy amber, to a dark and formal brown). Or, you may try simply altering the layout style of the hardwood planks (from a fun, modern diagonal, to a more formal horizontal). If you wish, you can even alter both color and layout style.

If the transition needs to be smooth, try using similar colors or the same layout style (vertical layout in both rooms). To do this, first measure the transition space, then select a wood transition piece. Then you'll need to cut and fasten the wood piece onto the transition area. 

Also, hardwood-to-hardwood transitions are made easier by hardwood borders. Hardwood borders may be used both for noticeable transitions and smooth transitions, dependent entirely on the style of border used.

From Carpet to Hardwood

Transitioning to hardwood flooring from carpet flooring is also relatively easy. It may involve simply rounding out the edges of the carpet, or choosing to use a hardwood molding piece as a transition. However you make the transition, be sure that the edge of the carpet is fastened down. 

SF Gate recommends: " For this type of installation, use a transition strip called T-molding. T-molding sits in the small gap between the floors and has two flanges that rest on both sides of the flooring. For transitioning carpeting to hardwood flooring in your home, use a T-molding assembly with a track installation." First, you'll want to measure the transition area. Then, measure and cut a tack strip for the transition. A tack strip has small metal hooks that hold the carpet in place, preventing the carpet from loosening from its position on the subfloor. After, you'll attach the tack strip to a metal track, which then attaches to the T-strip.

From Tiles to Hardwood

If you're thinking of transitioning to hardwood hallways from tiled bathrooms, it can be as simple as placing hardwood borders between the two floors. Keep mind: Most of today's floor tile is ⅜ inch to ¾ inch thick. Most hardwood flooring is ¾ inch thick. This means that you have to be extra cautious of providing a flush transition between materials. The easiest way to connect tile with hardwood is with a transition strip, which can be finished to look like the floor or painted to stand out. To install, leave ⅝ inch to ¾ inch of space centered underneath the door for the bottom of the transition strip. Then put a piece of scrap baseboard or plywood in the same size, it'll help keep this channel clean of thinset, making the installation of the strip way easier.

More Resources:

"Transitioning Hardwood Floors Between Rooms - Part 1" (VIDEO)

Home Construction Improvement- "How to Transition Hardwood to Tile Floors"