How to Transition Between 2 Different Types of Flooring


The transition between two different types of flooring is just one of the many flooring options that are possible in your home. There are transitions between levels, landings, steps, indoor and outdoor, as well as the different purposes for different rooms. And that’s just from a functional point of view.

It’s also important to take into account staying true to the design intent, continuity, color palette, and overall safety and tripping concerns. This may seem overwrought for a small project – right up until you’re all finished, and you wish you would have thought of it before. Take a few moments to review the tips we’re about to share with you before you start cutting down your options.




Entrance Way Transitions

Depending on the climate where you live, you might want to consider treating your entryway differently than the rest of the floor. A small area of natural slate or porcelain tile floor or even weatherproof flooring can give visitors and family members a convenient place to take off muddy shoes. It can also serve as a silent reminder to do so if they forget. Your floors will stay cleaner, and you won’t have to act like a high school hall monitor as people come in.


Threshold Transitions

It’s all too easy to have a brand-new floor installed and then wish you would have done something about the worn-down threshold. It’s not impossible to replace the threshold after the flooring installation is finished, but it will take a lot more time and money.


Focal Point Transitions

Many homeowners like to draw attention to certain areas of their homes. For example, you may want to draw attention to a fireplace. The rest of the room might be solid hardwood flooring, while the floor in front of the hearth might be natural stone. Even if there’s no real danger of flying embers because you have a tempered glass-enclosed gas fireplace, a floor transition will look more professional.




Tripping Hazards

When you’re young and nimble, it’s unlikely you’re going to be concerned with ensuring a smooth transition from room to room. But if you have toddlers or seniors in your home, eliminating tripping hazards is always a good idea. It’s a simple task to accomplish if you remember to plan for it ahead of time.


Wheel Chair and Walker Access

Sometimes what seems like no big deal can become a problem for those who need a little extra care to get around. It’s important to plan ahead for different levels and sometimes different flooring materials.

A high-gloss, laminate floor might be easy to get around on, and so can a thick pile carpet. However, the transition between the two can become a challenge for some. Here again, it’s essential to think ahead.  


How to Match the Color

If you’re replacing the wood flooring in a living area separated by a door, matching the color of the original floor can be relatively straightforward. However, be careful because even if you select the same wood species and the same color stain and finish gloss, different manufacturers interpret colors differently.

It’s a good practice to compare a sample of the new flooring side by side with the original flooring in the same light. The lighting in your home is most likely different than the lighting in a showroom. The easiest way to avoid making a mistake is to find a retailer with a shop-at-home service.

The Trouble With Aluminum Strips

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You’ve seen aluminum strips before at big box stores. They come in a variety of textures and colors, and many homebuilders and DIYers use them as a simple way to transition from one flooring material to another. These strips definitely have their purpose. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to install. The trouble is they are suited for very limited and specific applications.

In some cases, an aluminum strip may not be the best way to transition between different levels of flooring. Here’s one example: the finished floor level of a terra cotta tile combined with the mud to install it might be too much of a level difference between it and a laminate floor. It might be necessary to even out the levels before installation so that the finished floor levels are more similar.


Area Rugs Are Great, If . . .

The debate of whether or not to use area rugs will go on forever. Some people swear by them at entryways, under dining room tables, and as a way to visually connect furniture pieces together in order to separate one living area from another. For other people, area rugs are diabolical tripping hazards and early signs of hoarding behavior.

Whichever side of the debate you are on, it’s good to agree to some ground rules. For example, make sure area rugs are anchored with non-skid pads underneath. If you insist on area rugs on carpeting, using contrasting colors can help unsuspecting guests avoid a stumble. Also, it’s ok to assign vacuuming duties to whomever wants an area rug with a fringe.




Vinyl Flooring Transition Strips and Other Ideas

There is no end to human ingenuity and creativity. Today’s flooring options combine both excellent performance and design benefits. As long as you keep safety in mind, you can let your imagination run wild. Some of the most interesting solutions emphasize room transitions instead of trying to mask them. It’s not all about straight lines and 90-degree angles.

Some transitions intermingle two different flooring materials in such a way as to gently and creatively go from one to the other. Other transitions are bold and unmistakable in that there is no attempt to minimize the break between one area and another.

Think of the baseball field where there is a distinct area between the infield and the wall or fence. Outfielders don’t even have to look down to notice they are nearing the barrier. They can feel the difference with their feet.

If you’re considering new flooring in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, give us a call to schedule your free estimate!




(214) 390-0850



Dan Ratcliff

Dan Ratcliff is the CEO and President of Flooring Direct in Dallas / Fort Worth. Over the last two decades, he has grown Flooring Direct into a premier Shop-at-Home traditional & hardwood flooring company. With a true dedication to customer service and integrity, Flooring Direct has become DFW's largest highest-rated Dallas-local flooring dealer. Dan has lived in Dallas all of his life and was raised in Dallas with family roots and love for the community and local sports. It's with that sense of family that Flooring Direct has contributed to and sponsored children's organizations like Jonathan's Place and scholastic athletics like Plano's Girls Soccer.