You finally started tackling that kitchen remodel—new Cabinets, new paint, and, best of all, new hardwood flooring. You couldn’t bear another morning staring at that linoleum floor while eating your cheerios. You are about to lay the final piece of flooring leading into the living room. Suddenly, a shock of terror runs down your spine; the living room has an entirely different hardwood flooring. You don’t know how to transition between two different wood floors! Was this all for nothing? Do you need to rip everything up and start over? Relax; we have your back. Here are three easy ways to transition between two different wood floors.

how to transition between two different hardwood floors
Photo By FWStudio

How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors With T-Molding

T-molding is a great transition option for two floors roughly the same height. The “T” in t-molding refers to the fact that if you view it from the side, it is shaped like the letter T. The T’s vertical section sits between the two flooring sections, while the horizontal section rests on top.

If you plan on using this transition style, you need a gap between the two floors slightly larger than the width of the vertical section. By making this gap marginally larger, you allow yourself to have some wiggle room to line the molding up nicely. If you know that you want to use T-molding ahead of time, leave a gap when laying your flooring. Suppose you have already laid your flooring tight to the other flooring. In that case, you can cut your gap with an oscillating saw, but it may be better to use our following transition style.

how to transition between two different wood floors
Photo By Pixabay

How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors With a Seam Binder

A seam binder is similar to T-molding except that it does not have a section that sits between the two areas of flooring. A seam binder is a flat piece of trim with tapered edges that sits on top of the two sections of flooring. 

When considering how to transition between two different wood floors, a seam binder is ideal when the two sections of the floor are the same height with little to no gap in between. Some seam binders come with pre-drilled holes for screws. You can also use small finish nails to attach your seam binder to the flooring.

Unlike T-molding, which is structurally pretty strong due to its shape, seam binders are a bit fragile by comparison. Because of how thin they are, you shouldn’t use seam binders to transition floors of different heights; they will be susceptible to breaking. Plus, it won’t look great. So how do you transition between two floors of different sizes? That is where our third style of transition strip comes in.

Photo By FWStudio

How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors With a Custom Transition Strip

Look, I’m not going to lie to you; when considering how to transition between two different wood floors making custom trim is the most complicated option. But the reality is, when you transition between two floors of different heights, your choices become slightly limited. You can try to use one of our options listed above, but usually, that will result in a weird gap on one side. Your trim piece will also look odd because it won’t lie flat; it will be at an angle.

Here are some tips when making a custom transition strip;

  • You want your transition strip to be sitting flat.
  • A table saw is the best tool to use for this project.
  • Taper the top down to the edges, so your transition strip is not a kicking hazard.
  • Make your piece, so it sits firmly on both sides of the flooring.
Photo by Andrew Neel

A Few Additional Tips

  • If your floors are two different colors, match the transition strip to one of them. Make it a completely different color if you cannot get a perfect match. If you’re going to miss, miss big. 
  • As with all hardwood flooring projects, before you start shooting nails and driving screws, check to ensure that you won’t be puncturing any radiant floor heat.
  • If you buy an unfinished transition strip, it is a good idea to finish it. Polyurethane will help extend the life of the wood, make it easier to clean, and prevent splinters. 
Photo by Digital Buggu

How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors- In Conclusion

Once you know the products available, figuring out how to transition between two different wood floors is easy. You may have to get creative if your floors are significantly different heights. Don’t get intimidated; consider this your chance to channel your inner woodworker. Now get out there and finish that project; you can do this!

Editorial Contributors
Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena is an accomplished writer specializing in a wide range of home improvement topics, including flooring, plumbing, and other essential aspects of home maintenance. With a passion for empowering homeowners with practical knowledge, Andrew's writing is known for its clarity and ability to break down complex concepts into easily digestible information. His expertise spans various flooring materials, plumbing systems, and maintenance techniques, making him a reliable source for readers seeking guidance on enhancing their living spaces. Andrew's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and step-by-step instructions, helping readers make informed decisions about flooring options, troubleshoot plumbing issues, and undertake DIY projects with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner in need of professional guidance, Andrew's writing is sure to equip you with the necessary knowledge to transform your home into a functional and aesthetically pleasing haven.

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