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Choosing the Right Transitions for Laminate and Hardwood Flooring

By Scott Summers, (318 words) Posted in Floor Transitions on March 24, 2009
There are (101) comments permalink

T-Molding Transitions are commonly used between two different flooring types, such as ceramic tile and hardwoodI’ve seen hundreds of laminate and engineered wood flooring installations installed by both DIY’ers and professionals. Unfortunately, a common thread in many of them is the improper use of transitions and the lack of necessary expansion gaps. The most common reason for failure in these floors is lack of expansion. There is some wiggle room, depending on what part of the world you’re in, but the manufacturer’s recommendations should always be followed as closely as possible to minimize the chances of failure.

Samples of wood trims and moldings: baseboard, quarter round, t-molding, transitions and stair end capsReasons for not using appropriate transitions range from cost (transitions are sometimes the most expensive component of the job) to undesirable height differences, to aesthetics. Regardless of the reasons, it is our responsibility as professionals to do things right the first time. Don’t be afraid to get creative with transitions when necessary. Try reversing the direction of a reducer strip to cover the height difference at a tile transition; or using "T" molding to cover the bottom plate of a stair railing. You can also miter a 22 ½ degree return at each side of the “end–:cap” required at exterior door ways for a nice finish to an otherwise cumbersome transition detail. Many installers also use a jamb saw extensively to undercut sheet rock and wood-work to ensure proper expansion without sacrificing aesthetics. One last money saving tip is to purchase unfinished ¼ round from your local lumberyard and stain it to match or contrast with the flooring.

Most jobs have areas that make it difficult to leave the necessary expansion space. Take your time. Give it some thought. Be creative. Call-backs always take longer than doing it right the first time.

Icon: author blog About the Author:
Scott has several years experience in the flooring industry
image: blog cloud comment

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