How to transition between carpet & floor

Written by tanya lee
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Creating a neat transition from carpet to hard flooring can present a perplexing challenge unless you have the correct materials and tools. A variety of hardwood mouldings are available to create the transition. For a low-pile carpet to wood transition, the easiest solution is a hardwood reducer moulding, which would also work for a ceramic tile to wood transition. A reducer moulding is a strip of hardwood moulding where one side of the strip is bevelled and the top is flat. Reducer moulding transitions work for glue-down and nail-down wood floors, as well as for floating wood floors. A T-moulding would work if the carpet and the wood floor are the same height. T-moulding is flat on top and bevelled on both sides. A "keel" of wood runs along the length of the moulding on the bottom, giving it a T-shape in profile.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wood carpet shims
  • Hardwood reducer moulding
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Construction adhesive
  • Masking tape
  • Electric drill
  • 1/32-inch drill bit
  • Hardwood T-moulding
  • Carpet knife

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Instructions

    Hardwood Reducer Molding

  1. 1

    Leave or create a 1-inch gap between the carpet and the hardwood floor. If you need to create the gap, pull the carpet back and cut it with a carpet knife.

  2. 2

    Pull the carpet and the padding back 2 inches from the edge, and insert wood carpet shims between the subfloor and the bottom of the padding. The wood shims should extend into the gap between the carpet and the hard flooring.

  3. 3

    Butt the reducer moulding against the wood floor so the two are level. The moulding should sit firmly on the carpet but not compress it. Remove the moulding. If the carpet is too low, use additional shims to raise it a little. If there is a gap of more than 1/8 inch in height, use a different-size reducer moulding.

  4. 4

    Nail or glue the wood shims to the subfloor. Use finishing nails or carpenter's glue.

  5. 5

    Apply a 1/4-inch bead of construction adhesive to the back edge and the back of the bottom of the moulding. Butt the back edge of the moulding up against the wood flooring and hold it in place with masking tape until the glue dries. Alternatively, nail the moulding into the subfloor. Predrill holes for the nails so the moulding does not split. Use an electric drill and a 1/32-inch drill bit.

    Hardwood T-Molding

  1. 1

    Leave or create a 1-1/4-inch gap between the carpet and the hardwood floor. If you need to create the gap, pull back the carpet and cut it with a carpet knife.

  2. 2

    Pull the carpet and the padding back 2 inches from the edge, and insert wood shims between the subfloor and the bottom of the padding. The wood shims should extend into the gap between the carpet and the flooring.

  3. 3

    Dry-fit the T-moulding in the gap between the carpet and the moulding with at least 1/2 inch of moulding overlapping the floor. The moulding should sit directly on the wood floor and rest firmly on the carpet. If the carpet is too low, adjust the shims.

  4. 4

    Nail or glue the wood shims to the subfloor. Use finishing nails or carpenter's glue.

  5. 5

    Apply a 1/4-inch bead of construction adhesive to the bottom of the keel and set the moulding in place, holding it down with heavy objects until the glue dries.

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