When I became a member of the floor covering installation product community in 1965, the major product being manufactured was the aluminum moulding used to trim the edges of carpet and resilient floor coverings. The various products were broadly categorized as Applied Before or Applied After trims.

Aluminum gripper bar for stretch-in carpet.
When I became a member of the floor covering installation product community in 1965, the major product being manufactured was the aluminum moulding used to trim the edges of carpet and resilient floor coverings. The various products were broadly categorized as Applied Before or Applied After trims.

Applied Before mouldings are put in place before the floor covering is installed. The material is then fit to it, and a lip is tapped down to protect the raw edges of the flooring product after the installation of the material (basically carpet) is complete.

Aluminum gripper bar for glue-down carpet.
Applied After mouldings are just that: they are installed on top of the material to protect the edges after the floor covering products are installed.

Resilient door edge
Most manufacturers of aluminum mouldings produce them in two colors: gold and silver, anodized to protect the finish. Although a moulding manufacturer’s catalogs and product charts depicts a myriad of items, 80 percent to 85 percent of the aluminum products stocked by distributors, and actually purchased by installers, consist of eight to 11 shapes. In most of the country, gold-colored mouldings make up the majority of those installed; in a few pockets, silver is the preferred color. Overall use is 80 percent to 85 percent gold and 15 percent to 20 percent silver.

Stair nosing
There are other products that can be used to protect the edges of the floor covering after it is installed. Made primarily of vinyl, they are available in a wide range of colors to blend or contrast with the color of the material being installed. The majority are Applied After shapes, except for vinyl mouldings that are tapped into an aluminum channel or hard-vinyl channel installed prior to the floor covering.

Binder bar (installed on top of the carpet).
Vinyl product sales have increased in conjunction with growth in the ceramic, wood, laminate and resilient floor covering segments. Trims are used to protect the raw edge of the carpet at the transition from carpet to another floor covering material. There are a few aluminum shapes with double-winged tap-down lips serving the same purpose. Some installers just turn and tack, or used a “Z” bar with the carpet at the transition, but in time the turned edge of the carpet will become fuzzy due to foot traffic or cleaning.

There are many installers who are not using trims to protect the floor covering edges because of a lack of compensation for the labor and additional materials. But the pennies saved are not worth the shoddy appearance of the installation, and the reputation that may result from it, when trim is not used.