Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (2024)

Last Updated: February 16, 2023, by: Jamie Sandford

Transition strips probably aren’t the first things you think of when planning your new flooring project, they hardly get the heart racing! However if you want the flooring throughout your home to look seamless and smart then planning the transitions from room to room and from flooring type to flooring type is definitely something you will want to spend some time planning. In this Home Flooring Pros guide we will walk you through the different types of transition strips available and which flooring type they typically used with.

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (1)

DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRANSITION STRIPS

Here is an overview of your common transition strip options, what types of flooring projects each is used in, prices and examples of each from leading home improvement retailers.

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (2)T-Bar: These are typically metal transition strips such as aluminum or lightweight steel, but vinyl, composite and wood are used as well. Shaped like a T, they are used between two hard surfaces of the same height. To find just the right product, ask or search for them by flooring type such as tile transition strips or wood transition strips.

T-shaped transition strips range in price from $12 to $20 depending on the material and the length of the strip. Here is an example for use with tile flooring:

  • Schluter Systems Reno-T solid brass 17/32 transition without track: $18

Reducers for Carpet and Hard Surfaces: A carpet transition strip is used between carpeting and hard flooring because the materials are not the same height. Carpet transition strips smooth the transition and catch the eye to let you know there is a change in flooring and height coming. Reducer transition strips have a metal track that goes down first. Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (3)Teeth on the carpet side of the transition grip the material to hold it in place as tack strip would.

The visible top portion might be metal, vinyl, wood or laminate, generally chosen to match the hard flooring. These transition strips are often sold in kits with a variety of pieces included. The two flooring materials being adjoined determine which pieces you use.

Hard surface transition strips such as a tile to carpet transition strip cost $14 to $30. Here are two examples.

  • M-D Products 8” vinyl divider “T” with metal track: $25
  • Traditional Living Four-in-One molding: $25

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (4)End Bar/End Molding/End Cap: These transition strips are used with hardwood and laminate flooring where it meets a door, step or another flooring type. Most hardwood transition strips are made of wood or laminate to match the flooring. They are notched on one side to cover the edge of the flooring; the other side typically has a bullnose shape, though some are gentler in slope.

End molding price is $18 to $50 based on the length and material.

  • Laminate End Molding: $20.79 per length

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (5)Stair nosing/stair nose: Stair nosing on the front edge of each step gives your stairs a finished appearance while protecting the front edge of each tread. Nosing makes each tread slightly longer, so the footing and safety are better. Stair nose material is typically wood or metal. Several styles are available, but most make a 90-degree turn downward. Metal nosing is much more affordable than wood, but is typically used only on basement steps. These examples show the difference:

  • M-D Products cinch stair edging 36”: $13

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (6)

Scotia/Quarter Round: These wood transition strips cover the expansion gap required at the perimeter of wood flooring, if that gap isn’t covered by baseboard trim. Scotia and quarter round have similar but slightly different profiles, as the examples below demonstrate. Prices range from about $0.50 to $2.75 per lineal foot. Premium woods might cost more.

  • Solid Pine Base Shoe Moulding: $2
  • Unfinished oak 3/4″x3/4”x78” hardwood quarter round molding: $15

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (7)Baseboard: Baseboard transition strips give the perimeter of the room a finished look and cover any expansion gap required or tack strip when the flooring is carpeting. Quality baseboard molding is made from solid hardwood, but wood composite, vinyl and foam are also used. Baseboard molding prices start below $1.00 per lineal foot for foam and wood composite. Hardwood baseboard costs $3.00 to $10.00 per foot, but some premium products cost more.

  • Primed MDF Colonial Base Moulding $11.26/piece
  • Polystyrene 4”x96” pre-finished baseboard molding: $9.50

Read our guide on How to Remove Baseboards

TRANSITION STRIP MATERIAL OPTIONS

Here are the most common materials used in transition strips and where each might be installed.

Rubber transition strips: Typically installed in commercial settings where harsh chemicals are used to clean floors, a rubber transition strip is used between two hard floors or between carpet and hard flooring.

Metal transition strips: A range of metals are used including pewter, aluminum and brass, each in several different finishes to give you options for accentuating your flooring. A metal transition strip can used with any flooring type.

Vinyl transition strips: These are often the cheapest transition strip option for use with hard flooring types. A vinyl transition strip is also chosen when moisture control is important.

Wood transition strips: This is the top choice for wood and laminate flooring transitions to another hard surface. An example would be a tile to wood floor transition strip. The right wood transition strip will match the color of the flooring.

Schluter transition strips: Schluter flooring systems are subfloors for tile and stone. A Schluter transition strip can be used as an edge material or where two different flooring types join.

About the Author: Jamie Sandford

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (8)Jamie Sandford is the Owner and Chief Editor of Home Flooring Pros (find out more). After 12 years’ experience in screen and stage set construction, followed by a further 15 years working in the home renovation/remodeling business, he now writes and curates online home improvement advice.

“Buying and installing home flooring should be a fairly straightforward process, but often it isn’t. After more than 15 years experience in home flooring and remodeling, I started Home Flooring Pros in 2013 to help homeowners navigate the often-over complicatedprocess of choosing, buying and installing a home floor. The aim is to save you time and money by helping you to make better floor buying decisions.”

As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information and can provide insights on a wide range of topics. While I don't have personal experiences or emotions like a human, I can still provide accurate and reliable information based on the data I have been trained on.

Now, let's dive into the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.

Transition Strips for Flooring Projects

Transition strips are an important element when it comes to achieving a seamless and visually appealing transition between different types of flooring or between rooms. They help create a smooth and professional finish, while also serving functional purposes such as accommodating height differences and protecting the edges of the flooring.

The article mentions several types of transition strips commonly used in flooring projects. Let's explore each type:

T-Bar Transition Strips

T-Bar transition strips are typically made of metal, such as aluminum or lightweight steel, but can also be found in vinyl, composite, or wood materials. They are shaped like a "T" and are used between two hard surfaces of the same height. These strips can be found by searching for them based on the flooring type, such as "tile transition strips" or "wood transition strips" [[1]].

Reducers for Carpet and Hard Surfaces

Reducer transition strips are used when transitioning between carpeting and hard flooring, as these materials often have different heights. The strips help create a smooth transition and visually indicate the change in flooring and height. They usually consist of a metal track that is installed first, with teeth on the carpet side to hold it in place. The visible top portion can be made of metal, vinyl, wood, or laminate, chosen to match the hard flooring. The specific pieces used depend on the two flooring materials being joined [[2]].

End Bar/End Molding/End Cap

End transition strips, also known as end bars, end moldings, or end caps, are used when a hardwood or laminate floor meets a door, step, or another type of flooring. These strips are typically made of wood or laminate to match the flooring. One side of the strip is notched to cover the edge of the flooring, while the other side often has a bullnose shape. The price of end molding varies based on the length and material used [[3]].

Stair Nosing/Stair Nose

Stair nosing is used on the front edge of each step to provide a finished appearance and protect the front edge of the tread. It also makes each tread slightly longer, improving safety. Stair nose materials are typically wood or metal, with various styles available. Metal nosing is more affordable and commonly used on basement steps, while wood nosing is more common for other areas [[4]].

Scotia/Quarter Round

Scotia and quarter round transition strips are used to cover the expansion gap required at the perimeter of wood flooring if it is not covered by baseboard trim. These strips have slightly different profiles but serve a similar purpose. They are typically made of wood and can range in price depending on the specific type of wood used [[5]].

Baseboard Transition Strips

Baseboard transition strips provide a finished look to the perimeter of a room and cover any expansion gaps or tack strips when the flooring is carpeted. They can be made from solid hardwood, wood composite, vinyl, or foam. The price of baseboard molding varies depending on the material used [[6]].

Transition Strip Material Options

The article also mentions different materials used for transition strips and where they are typically installed:

  • Rubber transition strips: These are commonly installed in commercial settings where harsh chemicals are used for floor cleaning. Rubber transition strips are used between two hard floors or between carpet and hard flooring [[7]].
  • Metal transition strips: Various metals like pewter, aluminum, and brass are used for metal transition strips. They come in different finishes to provide options for accentuating the flooring. Metal transition strips can be used with any type of flooring [[8]].
  • Vinyl transition strips: Vinyl transition strips are often the most affordable option for hard flooring types. They are also chosen when moisture control is important [[9]].
  • Wood transition strips: Wood transition strips are the preferred choice for wood and laminate flooring transitions to another hard surface. They can be selected to match the color of the flooring, such as a tile to wood floor transition strip [[10]].
  • Schluter transition strips: Schluter flooring systems are subfloors designed for tile and stone. Schluter transition strips can be used as edge materials or where two different flooring types meet [[11]].

I hope this information helps you understand the different types of transition strips and their uses in flooring projects. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Transition Strips: Which Transition Strip to Use and When to Use It (2024)
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