Getting Transition Molding Right

Submitted by Steve Cooper

Molding for transition from one flooring material to another appears inconsequential. It hardly seems worth a blog post. That is, until you walk barefoot over a threshold that has been poorly designed. How does a bad transition make you yelp or squirm? Let’s count the ways.

transition wood_carpet1. Too narrow

2. Too high

3. A too-sharp edge

4. Splinters

5. Nails

You’ll know what’s wrong the minute you step on it. Your foot may glide across the transition but get creased by a sharp back edge. A nailhead may snag your stocking. Or the width will be so narrow that it’s slightly painful if the molding is stepped on squarely.

transition moldingWood-molding remedies are easy as long as the design gets attention prior to installation. Don’t let one be made so tall that you can stub your toe on it. Instead, have it built at least 3 inches wide, tapering down at each side. A 6- to 8-inch-wide transition may seem excessive, but it provides comfort. All nails should be set and the holes filled. For screws, countersink holes to eliminate a potential hazard.

If you are using metal or any other material for the thresholds, check for comfort before installtion by testing it with bare feet. Make sure no screw heads will be sticking up.

Let your installer know that you are concerned about comfort at transition points. This often goes unmentioned and, since molding is the last item during installation, it does not always get the attention it needs.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.