Edge protection and transition profiles between hard and soft surface flooring are probably the last thing consumers consider important in having an installation performed, when in fact they are a vitally essential part of the installation process. The cosmetic difference – of significant importance to consumers – can be either flawless or a major disaster. Admittedly, the easiest type of transition to install is a piece of flat metal (either screwed or nailed into the substrate), bridging both surfaces. However, most consumers will find the look ugly, and they will want anything but that used.
Numerous types of transitions for use between hard and soft surfaces exist. To choose the type best for a specific installation, both the hard and soft surfaces to be joined must be considered. These include reducers, flat, T-mold, square nose, Z-bar, and baby threshold, just to name a few of the more common. Likewise, these profiles can be constructed of a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, laminate, stone, ceramic, vinyl, rubber, etc.
Doing it right and doing it wrongA year or so ago, I was talking shop with a floor covering installer after a training session. We were discussing how most installers are not paid by the hour or even by the job, but are instead paid by the square footage or square yardage installed. All usually agree that the more efficiently they work, the more money they can make. With that in mind, when an installer hears a good installation tip, it is indeed “like money in the bank.”
The installer with whom I was speaking considered the installation of the snap-in type of transition moldings a real pain. However, he told me that just a couple of days prior to our conversation, he had figured out a way to insert the rubber transition into aluminum tract in a fraction of the regular time required. He had just finished a large glue-down direct carpet job that had what seemed like miles of this type of transition, but stated that with his newly discovered method, he didn’t even have to get down on his hands and knees to tap it into the track with a rubber mallet.
He described how one of his workers got the end of the rubber strip started into the aluminum track. Next, he simply applied pressure using his 100-pound roller to lock it into place. He bragged about how his newfound system allowed him to install the transition as fast as he could push the roller. He suggested that I give it a try on my next job since it had worked so well for him.
After hearing his story and considering his tip, I told him that since he had just finished the job he probably hadn’t received the phone call yet – the one where the customer was wondering why there was a large gap approximately every 12 feet in the transitions. Suddenly realizing that his tip might not be so good, he decided it would be a good idea to go back and fix the problem before he got the phone call.
Times do exist, however, when a transition piece need not be installed. It is possible to transition from carpet to a hard surface without the use of such if the heights of both surfaces are similar. In these situations, a bead of adhesive placed in the “gully” between the two can prevent the carpet from eventually pulling loose or fraying.