Uneven transitions between flooring can create a hazard in your home. If you transition from a wood floor to another type of flooring, or even wood flooring of a different thickness, leaving a gap between the two surfaces or using thicker than necessary transition strips can cause people to trip and fall. Elderly people, or those with poor eyesight, may have difficulty navigating the transition due to diminished depth perception. Using the correct transitions for your wood floors can make your home more attractive as well as safer for your family and guests.
Transitioning your wood floor to another flooring material that is nearly the same height requires a T-molding transition strip. These strips can be rounded or angled on top to create a smooth transition into and out of the height of the strip itself. A short stem drops down from the "T" shape under the molding to help position and support the strip between the two flooring materials.
If looking for the smoothest transition possible, choose a T-molding the same color as your wood floor and a rounded, rather than angled, top. For a bolder transition, select a paintable T-molding and paint it the same color as your accent wall or trim in one of the adjoining rooms. For this purpose, an angled T-molding is fine because although the rounded version provides a less cumbersome transition for feet, the bold color change will alert everyone to watch their steps.
If your wood floor connects to thickly padded carpet or some other flooring that is higher or lower than the wood flooring, use a reducer strip to drop the floor level while providing a smooth transition. Reducer strips are also available in angled or rounded wood. For these strips, you may want to call more attention to the change in elevation. Rather than trying to blend the strip with your wood flooring, paint the strip to tie in with your decor, as with the angled strips above, or keep it in a wood tone, but instead of matching your floor, match it with wooden furniture within the room. For a classic look, match your reducer strip to your wood floor but make sure the area is well lit from both sides of the strip for safety.
T-moldings can be used to transition your wood floor within the same room, such as if you want the planks to lie in one direction in part of the room and perpendicular or angled to that direction elsewhere in the room. For these transitions, choose the flattest type of T-molding possible and design your transitions so they will not interfere with flat surfaces for furniture legs. For this purpose, use T-moldings that match your wood floor exactly, unless you want them to make a boldly contrasting statement. For bold looks, use more than one transition and contrast the color of the T-molding with the main body of the floor, but also use the T-molding color for your baseboard trim. For example, you can artistically offset a natural-stained floor with cinnamon-stained T-moldings if also surrounded by cinnamon-stained 1/4-round baseboard trim and a cinnamon-stained transition into the next room's flooring.
- Photo Credit Floor image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com
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