Repair & Care
Handling Curved Transitions With Hardwood Floors
Creating odd or curved shaped transitions where hardwood floors meet tile or carpet can present a unique look, but the question has always been, how to go about it? For the most part the biggest difficulty is finding a solution with an existing tile floor that was previously connected to carpet.
Installers have several ways of approaching this, but depends heavily on the thickness of the new wood floor and tile. With most tiled floors ending up at 3/8 to ½ inch vertical height including the mastic used to adhere the tile, choosing the right thickness of hardwood should be considered.
Transition Without Moldings
While some have a distaste for moldings in open areas, two options can be considered for an existing tile floor. One, reduce the curve and shape it into angles. This would require trimming the existing tile with a hand held grinder equipped with a diamond cutting blade that is capable of cutting clean straight lines. The emphasis on straight will have a profound effect on installing the hardwood against the tile without a transition. By creating a jig so the saw can glide along a straight line is suggested. This could be as simple as using a straight 1"x4” anchored at both ends. If the tile radius is something you want to keep without using transitions skip to butting to tile without moldings.
Transition With Moldings
Three options exist here with a curved radius; one being less expensive than the others. First, refer to the previous section that eliminates the radius. Once the area is cut to manageable angles, common trim pieces can be used with the most common being a t-molding for prefinished floors.
A more dated option is having a custom threshold molding made up through a local milling shop with folks that build custom stuff being the preferred choice. Depending on who is doing the work, size of the transition, and how much you want to pay, two methods are used.
For a molding that doesn’t look pieced together, the final product with be laminated where many thin layers of wood are fused together by gluing. This is very similar to the method in which curved stair railings are made. A less costly procedure will offer several solid pieces glued and splined end to end, then cut to the desired pattern.
One of the newest forms of handling curved radius trim moldings are manufacturers that offer flexible moldings. One in particular is Flexitions.com (shown right). These are not your common flex moldings used primarily for paint grade application in the likes of quarter round or baseboard. The company has developed moldings that offer textured and actual wood grains that can be stained to match floor colors.