Q: We have just installed 3/4” Capella engineered pecan plank flooring and now we are doing the trim and molding. We have a couple of open doorways where the hardwood floor meets a tile floor about 1/4” lower. How can we transition the base molding and base shoe between the two floors over what amounts to a 6” wall? Angling the base molding across the transition seems like it will make the area look like a poor finish, and there still will be the problem of the base shoe not meeting up.
In the same doorway, what is the best way to transition the floors? Can T molding still be used with a 1/4” drop? That would seem to leave a fair gap on one side. Should we rip and glue a shim piece to the T molding under one edge? If we just rip reducer trim to fit, I will need some way to deal with the edge of the tile and the reducer edge.
Lastly, we used the floating sub floor method to install the flooring over a concrete area, but this has left us with doorway height transitions of 1” down to other types of flooring. Can you offer a way to deal with this situation?
I followed up with Gary to get a few photos to get a better idea of the precise trim and situations he is working with here.
Follow-Up: Thank you for getting back to me. I moved ahead on two of the problems and I think the issues turned out reasonably well. At least my wife seems satisfied. [flooring 71.jpg] shows the final T molding transition from ¾” flooring to the tile which was about 3/16” low on one end and 1/16” on the other. [flooring 069.jpg] shows more detail on the “high” side. I ripped down a long wedge piece of scrap flooring to match the 1/16” to 3/16” gap over a 30” span. A little nerve wracking cutting a long thin piece. I also had to make a one time use angle jig for my table saw to get the shim taper correct. Finally, I sanded down the shim to the ½” width to fit under the T molding. This photo only shows the high end of the T molding transition at the greatest height in the photo. The photo actually brings out all the imnperfections, you don’t really notice the joint as easily from a normal position.
Here is the [flooring 71.jpg] photo Greg refers to above.
Here we have [flooring 069.jpg] where you can see the base shoe and the other side of the t-mold.
The photo above also shows my solution to the base and base shoe trim problem. I realize now I should have given more detail on the base and base shoe. The base is 3” x ½” standard pine primed base, and the base shoe is ¾” by ½” primed base shoe. I used a Dremel drum sander bit to knock off the edges and match the “high side” base to the “lower side” base. I am hoping once I fill the nail holes, fill the shim line and paint, the drop will hardly be noticeable. From a standing position it does not seem to draw the eye to any flaws. Nevertheless, I would very much appreciate your suggestions.
The third problem concerning the >1” difference between floors is stickier and I have not figured out anything at this point. The lack of three dimensions make the photo a bit hard to interpret. The gap between the rooms was intentionally left fairly wide because I felt reasonable sure I was not going to end with a sharp drop off solution. [FR transition 2.jpg] and [Family Rm floor transition 1.jpg] show one case where the floor drops through the doorway to a Pergo floor. [FR transition 2.jpg] is an attempt to show a little better the 3D character of the problem from one side. The arrangement is concrete, vapor barrier (blue), floating sub floor consisting of 2 layers of 3/8” staggered plywood sheets, glued and screwed together, rosin paper, and finally the ¾” flooring. The engineered floor is nailed with 1 ½” T nails and 1 3/16” T nails for face nailing. [FR Bath Transition 1.jpg] is a second case where the hardwood floor drops off to vinyl flooring, but the problem is pretty much the same.
Here you can see the transition for [Family Rm floor transition 1.jpg]. Notice that the doorway’s frame is already undercut in anticipation of an angular transition.
Here is [FR transition 2.jpg] that Gary mentions. You can see a fairly big drop off to the pergo and the corner of a door, which can be a major problem when planning such a change in floor heights.
Here we see [FR Bath Transition 1.jpg] where the Capella floor is dropping down to vinyl. Again notice the frame of the doorway has been cut in preparation, but we will have to deal with a door for the bathroom.
I would greatly appreciate any solutions and advice you can offer on dealing with these transitions problems. I suppose you might be wondering why I would create such a large drop in the first place. I preferred to not have to deal with power nailing into concrete and I was concerned about the mess with gluing the floor directly to the concrete. Pneumatic nailing was the more straightforward approach, even though I did realize that I was going to have to deal with a high to low floor problem.
The flooring was purchased through ifloor and we are pleased with the Capella flooring quality and Ifloor service. The only glitch, which is being resolved right now, is that the wrong reducer trim thickness was send on a second order for additional trim.
Thank you for any help you can offer.
A: Thanks for the photos, as they say a picture says 1000 words. Your shim work on the t-mold looks good and I agree that unless someone goes down to floor level to inspect, it should be practically invisible to the eye. I also agree with the approach you have taken for your base mold. When it comes to corners, it can be difficult to get a good look, but with a bit of patience and some paint your base mold should look good.
Let’s dig into your problem with the big drop in floor heights. The problematic areas will be where you have doors. Typically for a dip like this I would suggest using a stair nosing. Think of this similar to the lip of a sunk in living room or raised kitchen areas. To cover the short hop, treat it much like a stair and install the proper nosing (stair or bull nose). This is your best molding solution for this type of drop. Luckily Capella makes flush stair nosings to match their floors.
Now there are two potential problems here. First off, although this is the best molding solution it is not necessarily a smooth transition as you will have the rounded portion of the nosing which will have an appearance similar to the lip of stair. This is less of a problem, but more of a matter of taste. The second issue is in areas with doors. Depending on how the nosing would sit and how the door swings, you may run into an issue of fitting the nosing in. Based on the pictures you have sent, it appears any doors will swing into the rooms that are previously floored, which means they will swing away from the nosing – which is a huge help to the case here. I whipped up a quick sketch to illustrate how the nosing should sit and how it will cover as a transition. You will notice in the sketch that there is a lip to these nosings which will drop down to cover a portion of your plywood substrate. Now assuming the door comes up to the end of the nosing (give a small gap just to be save) you should be able to keep a very good looking transition as the doorway itself will help to break up the appearance.
If this is not an aesthetically pleasing solution, the you will have to look into a custom molding solution, either via building a piece with some careful work on your own behalf or by finding a local molding house that creates custom moldings. In the end, the easy solution here will be using a stair nose. Doors can be an issue, and you will need to decide whether the door comes up flush to the nosing if it swings away from the molding, or to undercut or raise the door in order to account for the difference in height. Luckily from what I can see, it appears your doors should swing away from the nosing, so this project can be completed with a simple nosing install allowing room for the door’s movement.