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A few years ago, I wrote an article about "Ramping to a Higher Edge." The material I suggested using to make the transition were #3 undercourse cedar shingles (Photo 1).

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These shingles are available at most lumberyards for less than $15, and are approximately 18 inches in length tapering smoothly from 1/2 inch at on end to a little more than a 1/16 at the other. One bundle will ramp about 15 lineal feet. It is kind of a pain in the neck securing each shingle with nails at the thicker end and pad staples at the narrower end (Photos 2 and 3), but was the best we had.

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Since I wrote that article, there have been some new product introductions to address that ramping problem. There are vinyl products from two of the cove base manufacturers, Johnsonite (Photo 4) and Roppe (Photo 5) and a pressboard wood product from a company called Carpet Shims (Photo 6).

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Each of these manufacturers offer their products in a variety of sizes generally ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch at the thick end and less than a 1/16 for the vinyl and about 3/32 for the wood, at the narrow end. They are 12 inches wide and 4 feet in length. Carpet Shims also offers theirs in an 8-inch width 32 inches in length, the size of a doorway. Carpet Shims as well offers a "Universal Side Shim" for making a smooth transition from the side of the ramping material and an easier method for turning corners (Photo 7).

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Using the 3/8-by-12inches wide-by-4 feet long sizes as an example, the prices will range from approximately (suggest list) $3.60 per l/f for the vinyl products from Roppe and Johnsonite; around $1.90 per l/f for the wood product from Carpet Shims and about $1.00 per l/f for the shingles. In my opinion, the time lost messing with the shingles is not worth the small cost savings.

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Using each of the products, including the shingles, is very similar. Lay the material sideways to the floor you are finishing the carpet to. Place a small piece of the carpet on a scrap of tackstrip; move it up or down the ramp until the top of the carpet is flush to the floor surface (Photo 8). Mark the material and cut to the desired length. Each of these can be cut easily with a utility knife and a square. The shingles are the hardest to cut, taking a few passes with the knife. The vinyl products cut like thick covebase and the Carpet Shims just score and snap.

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On a wood floor attach each of these materials the same as shingles; nails at the thicker ends pad staples at the thinner. The thing I like about each of these is they are so much faster than the shingles as you are dealing with 4-foot pieces rather than 3- to 8-inch pieces.

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Now on concrete floors it is a bit different. The easiest way is to glue the ramping material to the floor. Dry lay the ramping material, mark the end (so you know where to stop the glue), remove the material and apply the adhesive. With the wood products (shingles and Carpet Shims), you can glue them to the floor using a regular multi-purpose adhesive, I use a carpet trowel 1/8-by-1/8-by-1/16-inch V notch, then allow the adhesive to get very tacky. With the vinyl products you will need to use a special adhesive that is compatible with vinyl. The same goes if the installation is a direct-glue application. Multi-purpose adhesives are not compatible with vinyl; you will experience plastisizer migration; the oils that keep vinyl pliable will attack and break down the multi-purpose adhesive causing a glue failure. To avoid plastisizer migration, completely encapsulate the vinyl with a portland-based floor patch or use a vinyl compatible adhesive at the ramped area. The vinyl compatible adhesive is the easier way to go, check with the manufacturer for their recommendations. I have found you can speed up the drying time of the adhesive by using fans or place the ramping material in the adhesive to get transfer. Remove the ramping material and lay it aside adhesive-side up. Let the adhesive "tack up." When you replace them in to the "tacked up" adhesive, you will get a contact like bond. Installing strip on concrete through ramping material presents a small problem that is easily resolved with a hammer drill, 1/8- inch masonry drill bit, and 1-inch fluted masonry or aluminum drive nails. Drill a 1/8-inch hole through the strip, ramping material and into the concrete floor. Drive one of the fluted masonry or aluminum drive nails (which are about 3/16-inch diameter, slightly larger than the 1/8-inch hole) into the hole anchoring the strip through the ramping material securely into the concrete floor underneath. Another way to secure the strip is to extend the 1/8-inch drill bit to drill at least 1 3/8 inches deep. Hold two round toothpicks together; using a hammer, tap them all the way into the hole. Snap off the excess toothpicks, even with the top of the strip. Using a 11/4-inch lathe or roofing nail, hammer into the wood-plugged hole for a tightly secured strip.

Whichever of the products mentioned in this article you chose to use will give you a smooth transition between flooring materials of different heights and textures, giving your customer a beautifully finished edge (Photo 9).

More information the above mentioned products can be found at the following web sites: