How to Install Transition Strips

A roll of transition strips.
  • 4-48 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-100
What You'll Need
Transition strips
Tape measure
Liquid nails
Caulk gun
Heavy objects
Masking tape

Installing transition strips is an often overlooked part of the installation of hard surface flooring. If you are installing laminate or hardwood, you will most likely need to put some transition strips down at some point. These can finish off the edge of a floor and make the job look much more professional. Here are the basics of how to install transition strips effectively.

Step 1 - Determine the Proper Transition Piece

When you are installing wood or laminate, there are several different types of transition pieces that you could potentially use. Before installing, you need to make sure that you choose the proper piece for the job. If you are going from wood or laminate to carpet, you need to use an end mold which is also sometimes referred to as a carpet reducer. If you are going to a vinyl floor, you will need a vinyl reducer. If you are going up to another hard surface floor, you should use a t-mold.

Step 2 - Measure

Measuring is perhaps the most important step of this process. Transition pieces are generally very expensive and if you cut the transition short, you will either have to live with a gap or purchase another piece. Because of this, you need to take great care when you are measuring and try to be as detailed as possible. Measure down to the smallest increment that you can find. Take your tape measure and stretch it across the opening on the floor. Measure twice to be fully certain you get it right.

Step 3 - Mark the Transition

Once you have the dimension that you need, mark the transition piece that you are about to cut. Stretch out your tape measure on the transition piece and then use your pencil to mark the appropriate dimension.

Step 4 - Make the Cut

After marking the transition piece, you need to cut it so that it will fit in the opening on the floor. If you have a table saw, this would be the easiest way to cut the transition piece. Place the transition under the saw blade and hold it steady. If you can put the transition piece in a vice, this would be ideal. If you are cutting a laminate transition, you need to be extremely careful. The top layer of a laminate transition piece is a type of construction paper. If you do not make a clean cut, you will tear the edge of the paper.

Step 5 - Attach the Transition

You can attach the transition in one of two ways. You can glue it to the floor with liquid nails or you could use the track that comes with it to attach it. If you are using liquid nails, apply a bead of the liquid nails to the underside of the transition. Then press it onto the floor. When using the track, you will screw the track down to the ground and then snap the transition into place. If you glue down the transition piece, you need to put something heavy on top of it while it dries. Don't forget to mark the area with masking tape to make sure no one walks on it until the liquid nails fully cure (which often takes 1-2 days).