Hot Topics: Installing Wood Flooring With Transition Strips

A house with wood flooring.

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When installing wood floors over a large area, is it best to include a transition strip at doorways? While the decision may rely on aesthetic preferences, some in the forum point out that transition strips can help with discrepancies in house framing and for expansion and contraction of the wood being used.

Original Post: Install Wood Flooring With or Without Separation Between Rooms

dderolph Member

I want to remove old carpet from the living/dining area and two bedrooms on one floor of my home and replace all of it with wood flooring, which would be Strand Woven Harvest 3/8 in. thick Click Lock Bamboo Flooring. A short hallway connects the living/dining area to doorways of the two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a closet.

One of the questions I've been pondering is whether the installation of the flooring should flow continuously from the hallway into bedrooms or have a break at the doorways with a transition strip to cover a gap between hallway and bedrooms. When I first thought of doing this project, I was thinking of installing the entire flooring area with no breaks at the doorways. More recently, I've been thinking of having breaks and then covering gaps at doorways with transition strips.

One reason for having breaks at doorways is that I feel less need to get this entire project i.e., all rooms, done at the same time. I also wonder about having this entire area with a floating type of flooring all connected in one unit. Is that OK or not?

On the other hand, having no breaks and avoiding transition strips at doorways is how wood flooring is typically installed in new homes. And, not having the little bump attributable to transitions strips is appealing.

ShortyLong Member

First of all, what's under the carpet? There may already be an existing wood floor.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Not all (or maybe even most) new homes have the flooring laid continuously. It's not uncommon to have a transition strip at the doorways. That helps to take care of any discrepancies in the house framing; it's rare for the entire house to be square. Once sanded and finished with the rest of the flooring, there is no bump. Even with prefinished flooring, there shouldn't be a noticeable bump.

dderolph Member

@ ShortyLong: The carpet has padding under it, which will, of course, be removed. But, no older flooring is beneath the carpet. In other words, when the carpet and padding are removed, the OSB subfloor will be exposed. I know this for sure—I'm the original owner of this property.

@ marksr: By "bump," I did not mean an unevenness in flooring. I simply meant the presence of a transition strips such as TrafficMASTER 72 in. Tile to Laminate Hardwood Transition-18503 - The Home Depot I'm assuming a transition strip would be part of the completed installation if the flooring has breaks between hallway and bedrooms.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

You don't have to use that type of transition strip. One piece of flooring turned 90° will also work and should be level with the rest of the flooring.

Marq1 Member

So when I did my floors last year, I went through the exact same decision—continuous throughout all the rooms or use a threshold piece of flooring (piece at 90°, not a transition strip) and am very pleased with that decision. I looked at homes with continuous flooring and decided I liked the way that the flooring stopped at the door. I also found it to be much easier to install, not having to go across three rooms at once. My wood also did not line up between rooms and as much as everybody said that would look terrible, it's not even noticeable.

czizzi Member

Any floating floor such as what you wish to install usually requires a transition strip at doorways to help control expansion and contraction. Always default to the manufacturer's recommendations. It's also easier to install your floor if you provide for these adjustments as the math involved in making all transitions work with all doorways can be tricky. Unlike a nailed down floor, you can not easily change directions at thresholds to make a continuous lay. Transitions initially seem like a bother and an eyesore, but once you live with them for a couple of weeks, you will hardly notice that they are there.

Marq1 Member

"But once you live with them for a couple of weeks, you will hardly notice that they are there." An excellent observation. It's amazing how focused we can become on the most minor detail we find during installation that is never noticed by anybody!