Should I use transitional molding between tile and hardwood?

This is a questions I get on a regular basis from my customers.  Therefore, I would like to quickly address this issue and hopefully offer everyone a better idea while making the choice.

First of all, let’s talk about the molding.  The purpose of the molding is to “cover” or “finish” the gap or edges between two different types of flooring.  It could be from carpet to hardwood, hardwood to tile. or carpet to tile.  There are a few types of transitional molding: T mold, reducer, end caps/baby threshold.  The choice of molding will depend on the the type of flooring it’s going over.  For example, if the carpet is meeting the new hardwood flooring you are installing, then we normally will use an end cap to finish up the hardwood end for a clean finished look.  Or if it’s between the bathroom tile to hardwood, we will use either a T mold or a reducer.  Now the questions is, can I do away with molding between hardwood and tile with the same thickness?  Can do away with molding completely?  Well, it depends.  Even if the hardwood floor and the tile are the same thickness, per installation guideline, we still need to leave enough expansion space. Therefore, a t molding is necessary to cover the gap.  If you want to do away wit the molding, that means the gap will need to be closed.  This could potentially cause buckling on either surface.  This issue might not exist for soft surfaces such as carpet, but it certainly should be a concern while dealing with hard surfaces. (tile, laminate, hardwood)

The flooring contractor should be able to recommend the best fitting molding for your transitions.   Every project is unique in its own way so there isn’t a golden rule to what type of molding you should use to make it look right.  However, if the purpose of the molding goes beyond just the look, then I would recommend following the NWFA installation guideline.

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