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How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors?

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Transition pieces are those strips of flooring that help tie two separate floors together so they seem as if they were always meant to be there, giving you a more cohesive finished look – making your flooring project a success. So How do we do it:

If our flooring is level, we can utilize Seam Binders, which come in a variety of materials, or we can experiment with uneven patterns and mix them together. On the onther hand, transition strips are required if our floors are uneven and of varying heights.

How can you Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors?

How can you Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors?

Some houses and types of wood tend to work better in some spaces than others so we use different colors and material. In between two different flooring types, we put transitions or make irregular patterns to blend them.

There are three main methods when transitioning your floorings.

  • Using Seam Binder
  • Playing with irregular patterns
  • Using Transition strips

Using a Seam binder when transitioning

A seam binder is another very important part when it comes to transitions. It creates a smooth transition between two different types of flooring. They are designed to connect two floors of equal height.

A seam binder is usually made from aluminum or vinyl and comes pre-finished but you can still stain or seal it to match your floor.

Aluminum Seam Binders: These transition strips are made from aluminum and come pre-finished, therefore no staining is required after installation. They also come in a variety of widths and colors to choose from.  

7" Wide x 1/2

Wooden Seam Binders: These type of transition strips are made from prefinished wood and come in different widths.

M-D Building Products 85613 3-Inch by 36-Inch Seam Binder, Unfinished

Transitioning with Irregular Patterns

Many people use transition strips to connect two different types of flooring materials, especially if they are quite different in terms of color or texture. Since the surfaces don’t match exactly, you may want to consider using an irregular pattern for your transition strip.

For example, you could put a dark wood floor in the dining room and a taupe carpet in the living room. You could then put a dramatic-looking transition strip that imitates the herringbone pattern of the dark floor and make it an irregular shape to accommodate the cutout for the carpet.

TIP: This style can help give your home a more cohesive look that blends well together.

Transitioning with transitional strips

Transitioning with transitional strips can be used when you easily want to cover a gap between two flooring surfaces of unequal height. They are usually made from durable aluminum, wood, or vinyl and easily cover gaps up to 3/8 of an inch.

Transition Strip Options:

1) Prefinished Transition Strips: Although these strips come prefinished, there is still some room for customization. You can still stain and finish these strips with a color of your choice. Prefinished Transition Strips come in various materials such as aluminum, wood, vinyl, etc….

M-D Building Products 43319 M-D Reducer Flute with Snap Track, Aluminum, 36&quot

2) Unfinished Transition Strips: These unfinished transition strips give you more freedom to customize the look of your flooring and are made mostly from wood. Just buy a prefinished board of the type you’d like to use as a transition strip and stain or finish it to match your existing floor.

M-D Building Products 85415 Extra Wide 2-Inch by 36-Inch Carpet Trim, Unfinished, Brown, Pack of 1

What are the best materials to use for transition strips between two different types of flooring?

Depending on what type of flooring you have, there are various materials that will work. Wood, Aluminum or vinyl transition pieces can all be used in most areas.

Aluminum – these work well in high moisture areas and can withstand daily traffic without damage. Strips are easy to customize and come in a variety of finishes.

Wood – available in unfinished and prefinished options, these look natural and will blend into your existing floors. Wood transitions come in different widths, sizes and colors for different types of flooring.

They are one of the most popular choicees because they closely resemble the flooring already present, but they require more maintenance than others.

Vinyl – waterproof, these can be installed in any area in your home. Vinyl transitions are durable, easy to maintain and come in a variety of colors.

7 Important Tips for choosing right transition for your home

  • Always determine the height difference between flooring surfaces before installing transition pieces.
  • Decide whether you want to use wood, aluminum or vinyl for your transition strip – some are more resistant to dents and scratches than others.
  • It is best to choose one that matches the color of the main flooring throughout your home rather than just in one area.
  • In high humidity areas, consider aluminum since they are the most resistant to corrosion and moisture damage.
  • In areas where your dog has free access to the flooring, consider a material that will stand up to his or her wear and tear.
  • Consider the amount of traffic that your floors will be subject to when you are determining what material to use for your transition strip. For heavy foot traffic, a material that is scratch resistant will be your best bet.
  • Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing any flooring transition strip.

How should I prepare for the transition between wood floorings?

ve decided on which style of transition you wish to choose, these are the valuable tips to follow:

  1. Clean the subfloor free of dirt and residue – To do this, start by vacuuming well, then wipe down the entire area with a dry cloth. If you have any leftover adhesive, clean that up with adhesive solvent available in most home improvement stores.
  2. Layout the transition strip in the desired orientation – with aluminum, wood or vinyl transition strips, make sure it has a straight edge along one side and a curved edge on another. Some of them will have a pre-marked guideline to help you lay them in straight lines.
  3. Layout the cross-sections for cutting – Once you have placed your transition strip in your desired orientation, now it’s time to layout where you will cut the cross-sections. Take a measuring tape and draw straight lines onto the transition strip using a pencil.
  4. Cut across all cross-sections – Using a saw, begin cutting the excess parts of the transition strip to make it fit well. If you have chosen an aluminum or vinyl type of transition strip, you can cut it using a hacksaw or Jigsaw. If you have chosen wood transition strip, use either a table saw or circular saw to make the cuts.
  5. Screw down the transition strip – Now with all the cross-sections cut and laid out, start attaching them one by one. The aluminum, wood or vinyl type of transition strips can be easily attached with screws as it is quite flexible as well as durable.
  6. Once you have finished screwing down all the cross-sections together, check if they fit well. If any of the cross-sections are out of place, remove the screws carefully and re-adjust. Once you have made sure that all the cross-sections are in place, reattach them with screws again.

Related Questions

Can you mix two different hardwood floors side by side?

Yes, with the correct transitions. The larger your room and the greater the difference in height between the floors, the more extensive your transition needs will be. There are many different types of transition strips to choose from depending on what type of flooring you have.

What tools do I need to install transition strips?

You will need basic tools for installation. Keep in mind that you may also need specialty tools if your floors are not flat or have grooves, ridges or bumps. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing these pieces.

  • Wood – Hammer, chisel, nail set, hacksaw or jigsaw with metal cutting blades, power drill/driver
  • Vinyl – Electric screwdriver/drill, staple gun
  • Aluminum– Hammer, reciprocating saw with metal blade
  • Vinyl – Hammer, razor knife/box cutteruring tape and pencil

Why should you use transitions?

There are two main benefits using them:

  1. Gaps between the floors won’t collect dirt and debris.
  2. If you don’t use them, floors may appear janky due to the rapid transition to a different type of wood flooring.

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