Going with the Flow: A Guide to Types of Flooring Transitions
It would be a dream come true if you could choose the perfect flooring for each room of your house and have them flow seamlessly from one room to the next without a second thought. However, this isn’t realistic for most homes.
Typically, you don’t choose the same type of flooring throughout the entire home since each room serves a unique purpose and not all flooring is suitable for every room. While living rooms and bedrooms require soft, cozy flooring which is easily achieved with plush carpet or the classic luxury and timeless beauty of hardwoods while tile or vinyl flooring are better suited for bathrooms, kitchens, or mudrooms.
Once installing the perfect and unique flooring for each room that delivers both on aesthetic and function, you’ll want each room to flow, or transition into the next without a hitch.
Choosing and installing the flooring transitions from room to room is equally, if not more, important than choosing the flooring itself. In this article we will address the different types of flooring transitions and how to use them.
Why Do I Need Flooring Transitions
At some point, the floors in your home will meet–whether it is the tile in the bathroom meeting the hardwood in the adjoining hall, or the vinyl of the kitchen touching edge with the carpet in the living room, moving easily from room to room, floor to floor, will require a transition to provide that seamless flow that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated, but is completely needed.
Flooring transitions serve three main purposes:
- Aesthetics– When choosing new flooring for your home, we are often focused on styles that accentuate our home. Likewise, flooring transitions mitigate the abrupt ending of one floor and the beginning of another where jarring colors, patterns, or textures meet. A neutral flooring transition can balance and blend different styles and designs to bridge the gap (literally and figuratively) between the various flooring.
- Safety– Where the floors meet, height differences between types of floors can be potentially dangerous underfoot. This is where a flooring transition can be particularly beneficial when avoiding tripping hazards, providing a safe ramp or gradient between floors where height variance may be a concern.
- Durability– Not only do transitions protect from tripping, but they create a seam and barrier that protects the edges of the flooring from fraying, chipping, cracks and general wear, tear. Flooring transitions help your flooring last longer and stand up better to everyday use. Transitions are particularly useful near doorways where changes in temperature and moisture may also be damaging to flooring.
Types of Flooring Transitions
There are many types of flooring transition strips available to finish your flooring seamlessly. Really, there are many more than one might think to choose from, so it is important to understand the common types of transitions and how best to use them.
First, let’s define a transition strip. A transition strip is a narrow piece of molding that bridges the two flooring pieces together in order to provide a smooth transition from material to another material, or in most cases from room to room.
Here are some common types of flooring transitions:
T-bar is made from solid wood and is ideal for transitioning between hardwood and another hard surface flooring type such as another hardwood or ceramic tile. The name T-bar comes from the T-shape of the transition material. It can either be glued or nailed to the subfloor.
Reducer molding is a type of transition strip that is used to join floors of different thicknesses, such as laminate or tile floors. The wide end of the reducer is made for use on the thinner flooring material, while the thinner end goes on the thicker flooring material creating a transition that appears seamless and smooth. Reducers can also be used for carpet with a metal track being used beneath the transition piece and the flooring gap.
Also referred to as “end caps” or end molding, end bars are the transition strip to use where a flooring gap meets a door or step. An end bar has a bullnose or gradual slope at one end and a notch at the other covering the hard flooring to create a clean edge. End bars are usually made from laminate or hardwood to perfectly match your floors and are available in widths ranging from slightly over 1 inch to 2 ½ inches.
As indicated by the name, this type of flooring transition is used for creating a smooth finished edge on the front of a step or stair. It makes the stairs safer with a neat edge and a slightly increased length of each stair. This material also protects the edge of the step from damage. Stair nosing is either nailed or glued to install.
Skirting board is a wooden board used to hide the expansion gap between the floor and the plastered walls. It protects the floor, but also prevents scuffs, scratches, and damage to the walls. It also serves as a decorative piece to finish the room. Skirting boards are either glued, nailed, or screwed horizontally to the wall.
There are several more types of transitions that provide different looks and decorative elements. You can ask your flooring provider, like the experts at Flowers Flooring to go over the extensive list with you at your consultation.
The Finishing Touch
No flooring project is complete without choosing the right trim and transitions. While there are many designs and materials to choose from for flooring transition slips, you can still make some design decisions to help flooring transitions appear more natural and seamless. Here are some tips to create a totally finished room:
- Rug placement– an area rug is an economical way to add a touch of flair to your room while serving as a way to connect flooring and smooth a transition such as moving from a dark to lighter wood or tile to laminate or even a hard surface to carpet. Area rugs give you the flexibility and freedom to change it up and match your decor and compliment your overall design as you like.
- Wall paint– painting walls different colors from room to room is another way to create transitions and add to the flooring transitions. Choose paint shades that complement your flooring choices and decor.
- Natural start and stop points– when choosing your flooring, consider the natural start and stop points or rather the natural flow of your home from room to room. Following this natural guide as to where to place transitions or change flooring materials is one of the preferred ways to make sure the flow is truly natural and seamless.
- Anticipate transitions from room to room– thinking ahead is also vital to achieve cohesion throughout your spaces. Anticipating transitions in flooring, such as from hallway to bathroom, bedroom to hall, kitchen to dining or living room and more, you’ll want to think big picture of how specifical spaces are used, the natural transition from room to room, and the most effective transition of each. For this reason, often replacing floors across multiple rooms at once is ideal, but that is not always feasible, so at least mapping it out and having a connection plan is critical.
This process can be very overwhelming. Especially with all the different products on the market and materials, the various price points, difficulty of installation and so much more to consider. Not only when choosing the flooring itself, but of course when creating cohesion with transitions. To help ease the process, you can book a free in-home estimate with a flooring professional at Flowers Flooring to answer all your questions and determine the best solutions for your home flooring project.
About Flowers Flooring
Flowers Flooring is your family flooring specialist with two locations – Cornelius, NC, and Winston-Salem, NC. Both locations service a 100-mile radius from the showroom. Both locations specialize in flooring sales and installation, including carpet, laminate, hardwood, sand & finish, hardwood restoration, vinyl plank, vinyl tile, rubber flooring, tile floors, tile showers, tile backsplash, area rugs, interior painting, and more. To reach the Cornelius, NC location please call (704) 445-7750 and to reach our Winston-Salem location, please call (336) 660-0977. Please be sure to inquire about our current promotion and financing offers.