Carpet to Tile Transition Pieces

Updated February 21, 2017

When tile flooring meets carpet there is often a significant difference in the heights of the two. In most cases the tile is higher than the carpet, but no matter how the two match up, the square edge of tile will be vulnerable to damage and should be protected. There are a number of ways to do this. The method chosen will depend on personal taste and budget.

Transition Strip

T-shaped strips come in brass, aluminium or vinyl. In this transition strip, the vertical bar goes between the tile and carpet, and the top of the T overlays both pieces. Such strips can be used when the difference between the two floorings is small, and the primary concern is to protect the edge of the tile.

Wooden Reducer

Reducer is the term used for a piece of wood that is cut at an angle and is placed between the tile and carpet, to “reduce” the difference in height between them. For example, if the tile is 1 inch higher than a carpet, a strip of bevelled oak about 2 inches wide and stained to match the wood trim elsewhere in the room will provide a gradual transition. Reducers can also be used when the carpet is higher than the tile.

Raise Carpet Edge

If the carpet goes in after the tile and is slightly shorter, the carpet layer can raise the edge of the carpet by using shims. He would need to be sure to tack the carpet in such a way that it protects the edge of the tile.

Marble or Slate Edging

If the tile is higher than the carpet and made from marble or slate, it may be possible to purchase a matching finishing strip of the same material. When one edge is rounded, the shape is called a bullnose or simply a round. If it has a bevelled 45-degree angle, it is called a chamfer.

Cultured Marble Threshold

Cultured marble is not stone, but a manufactured mixture of resin and limestone or marble powder. Cultured marble comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to form a threshold when the tile is the higher piece. It is available in many colours and patterns, including granite and slate lookalikes. It won’t match the tile exactly, but if a narrow-enough piece is used, the difference might not be too noticeable. Keep in mind that cultured marble is more delicate than stone and so should not be used in high-traffic areas.

Round Edges of Tile

When the tile is only slighter higher than the carpet, depending on the type of tile stone used, it may be possible to round the edge of the tile pieces that will butt against the carpet. That would mean cutting or sanding down the tile to form a natural transition without any intervening material.

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About the Author

J.M. Pence has written magazine articles and essays for a variety of publications, including “Sunset,” “Mystery Scene,” “Cat Fancy,” and “Idaho Magazine,” plus 15 novels, a novella, and several short stories. Published since 1987, Pence holds a master's degree in journalism and a B.A. in history with a minor in political science from U.C. Berkeley.