View Full Version : Installing a hardwood floor....

Donnie Raines
06-23-2004, 11:56 AM
I have installed one before, and got lucky. But our new home has a bit of challenge ahead for me. We want to install hardwood in the kitchen. The kitchen and family room adjoin each other...the family room is carpet..the kitchen is vinyl. Currently, where the floors meet they are "level". When I install the hardwood I am going to have a transition up from the carpet to the hardwood. What is the best way to make this flow?..in terms of tresh holds and the like. Dont want to trip every time I walk through.


Jamie Buxton
06-23-2004, 12:22 PM
The usual solution is a blender strip. It is a flooring strip which is tapered in cross section. One edge is as thick as the hardwood flooring, and the other is thinner -- generally a quarter inch or so. You can often buy blender strips where you buy flooring, but you can make your own too. If you make your own, you get to tweak that 1/4" dimension to anything you like -- maybe depending on how thick your carpet is. You also can make the blender strip from some contrasting wood color.

Oddly enough, floor height changes which happen in doorways rarely trip people. Think about it -- you've probably got a threshold in your front door, and how often do you trip over it? I think we subconsciously expect something in a doorway, and lift our feet a little higher.

Chris Padilla
06-23-2004, 12:28 PM
Ha, good point, Jamie.

Donnie, I did the very thing Jamie described when I layed a marble tile floor in the 1/2 bath. It was ~1/4" higher than the oak floor so I grabbed a few pieces of oak flooring and fiddled with the dimensions to get it right...looks nice although color is a bit off. I made the oak just a ~tad~ higher than the marble tile to protect the edge of the tile. You don't even notice it...even in bare feet/socks.

Donnie Raines
06-23-2004, 12:30 PM
Good points on the tresh hold. I guess the diffrence is that when one is walking from the kitchen to the family room(assume a cold beverage in one hand, hot wings or the like in the other) our thoughts are, "yummmm...food!". and we would trip over the tresh hold.

I was thinking that i would end up making my own tresh hold to accomadate this. But I wanted to see what my options were. thanks again.

Donnie Raines
06-23-2004, 12:32 PM

Does that get in the way of the door operation?..dont tell me you had to joint the bottom of your door..... :rolleyes: :D

Chris Padilla
06-23-2004, 12:37 PM
:rolleyes: Uh, yeah...I had to trim the door another ~tad~ (maybe 2-3 ~tads~ IIRC).

Later, the LOML wanted to put a small carpet down but the door dragged on it too hard. I even offered to trim the door (again!) but she said forget it and returned the carpet! :eek:


Jamie Buxton
06-23-2004, 1:32 PM
Donnie --
Here's another thought... If your house is like many I've seen, the carpet plus its pad are laid on the subfloor. The sheet vinyl in the kitchen is laid on particle-board underlayment which is in turn stapled to the same subfloor. I suppose you could just do the easy thing and nail the wood flooring over the vinyl, but that will ensure a big height change at the transition. A better approach is to rip out the vinyl and its underlayment. That gets the wood floor altitude lower. Depending on the thickness of your carpet and the flooring, you might not have much of a height difference at all.
Heck, wood flooring comes in different thicknesses. The traditional solid-wood stuff is 3/4" thick. However, "engineered" flooring is often thinner -- 1/2" or even 3/8". Engineered flooring is generally composite, with several layers of laminates inside it. Often it is prefinished. Often it is intended to be installed with adhesive instead of nails. Use this kind of stuff and you might well be able to step (slightly) down into the kitchen.
(While I'm talking about engineered wood floors, let me distinguish wood floors from Pergo and the like. That class of flooring is much more like Formica than wood: the wood-like pattern is printed on the surface. Any wood guy -- that is, anybody who reads this board -- would be unsatisfied by it.)

Donnie Raines
06-23-2004, 1:58 PM
Another good point. I planed on tearing out the vinyl, but was not sure what would be below that...the "basic" floor will be ply(basement). I hope it has what you suggest could be there...that would make life great.

I will be useing soild cherry for the floor....I have a bunch of it and it is milled to 1/2" thick.

Chris Padilla
06-23-2004, 2:04 PM
Sounds nice, Donnie! Be sure and post pics of the project!

Donnie Raines
06-23-2004, 2:29 PM
Ahhh...yes! The request for thy photos. Trust me...if this turns out like I invision it, there will be a series of photos coming your way. :D :D

Jim Becker
06-23-2004, 2:43 PM
I made a threshold like Jamie mentions for a friend when he re-did a bathroom in his home. The end result was a much smoother transition between levels. The work, itself, only took a short time in the shop...it actually took longer to go get the wood than to make the item!

Phil Phelps
06-24-2004, 8:55 AM
[QUOTE=Jamie Buxton]Donnie --
(While I'm talking about engineered wood floors, let me distinguish wood floors from Pergo and the like. That class of flooring is much more like Formica than wood: the wood-like pattern is printed on the surface. Any wood guy -- that is, anybody who reads this board -- would be unsatisfied by it.)[/QUOTE

Laminate floors have their place. I would not lay one where water is used. In certain applications, they are great. BTW, Donnie, is your home pier and beam? If it is, you would tear out the under layment. Your new wood floor would be level with the transition from the other room. You are going to sand and finish the flooring?

Donnie Raines
06-24-2004, 9:57 AM

Well....the house has a basement thus the floor has a substraight of what appears to be 5/8 ply board. From the basement prospective, you see lots of 2x6's running one way, along with some larger beams the other(newer house...and sorry...I dont no proper "home" lingo for what the construction type is).

there is no doubt that once the vinyl is removed that the hardwood(1/2) will stand proud...just every so slightly. I am going to sand finish the floor myself...which I have done before with success.

Any suggestions on a proper finish for a cherry floor...compared to an oak floor by chance?