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How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors

Today’s interior decorating schemes certainly allow for having two different wood floors in adjoining rooms but unless you know what you’re doing, it can be difficult to pull off. Many homeowners try to match the two different woods that are laid side-by-side. Unfortunately, doing so typically only accentuates the differences.

Here are some terrific tried-and-true tips and tricks to help you achieve a smooth transition:

Choosing The Wood

Contrary to popular belief, it’s more aesthetically pleasing to use two different types of wood that contrast rather than to try to match wood exactly because unless it’s from the same lot, it’s doubtfully going to happen due to the tone and grain. Woods that are similar but not the same don’t typically look good together.

To install two different shades of hardwood, a good rule of thumb is to go dark with one and light on the other. You can also get by with medium-dark and medium-light. An example is mahogany next to maple or white oak. Do be sure the hues don’t clash though.

Once you’ve chosen the woods, make sure you are laying them in the appropriate room. Dark woods tend to show dust and dirt that can get tracked in. Light wood shows grease, spills, and so forth. You’ll also want to keep from having the darkest wood in a small room because it will make it appear even smaller. It’s a good idea to have the darkest wood in the lightest, largest room.

Adding Continuity

Although it is generally best to contrast the areas of flooring that will be touching or close to touching, it works well to match the color of your room with wood on your furniture, shelving, and trim so you maintain a sense of cohesion and don’t clutter up the room with too much contrast.

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Separating The Rooms

When trying to decide how to go about separating the rooms, it largely depends on which rooms you’re working with. In modern open floor plans, dining rooms, family rooms, living rooms, entryways, and kitchen are often combined into one open space to allow natural light and traffic to flow. There is the possibility you would want the rooms to be open but to be separated into different spaces. That’s when you might have the need to transition between two different wood floors.

The use of noticeably different hardwood flooring within the spaces you are wishing to separate will give you the distinguishing look you’re wanting. Choosing contrasting woods and positioning them in variance like going from a straight arrangement to a parquet design. The object of the game is to make the statement that the floorings are intentionally different.

Transitioning The Floors

Even though you want the flooring not to be the same, you still want to create a smooth transition – for aesthetics and for safety. To do so, you can use wood-to-wood seam binders or T-moldings.

Nouveau 6 Collection

Laying The Flooring

Laying the actual flooring is not difficult if you follow the guideline below:

  • Gather your Materials
    You will need wood panels or wood board, T-molding, saw, tiles, grout, hammer, tile adhesive, glue, nails, and measuring tools.
  • Choose a Technique
    Irregular: For making the design irregular, use a diagonal, shaped, or curved line. Be brave and be bold! As long as it’s obvious you intentionally designed it, if you like it, go for it.
    Buffer: If brave and bold isn’t your style, you can add a buffer area. To achieve this technique, separate the two woods with tile or another non-wood surface.
    Intentional Extension: If you’re looking for a gutsy move, intentionally extend one of the two floorings well past where it would traditionally be such as going partway into the kitchen with the wood from the dining area.
    Border: Add a thin border around the area that ends one of the floorings. It’s good for it to be well-defined such as the spot where the dining table goes or around the bar. The border will serve not only to transition the two floorings but to highlight the chosen area as well.

Other Details In Laying The Flooring

A situation you may encounter when transitioning two wood floors is uneven grounding. In that case, you’ll need to level it off or have a sloping area pre-planned. If you are at a loss, you can consult a flooring expert for further suggestions and instructions. Don’t be afraid to get creative but by all means, keep it safe.

Unplanned Wood Unions

When transitioning wood floors, it’s easier if you are the one instigating the plan such as if you are adding on to your home. If you purchase a home that has a poor transition, chances are you’ll want to remedy the situation. Often, that entails tearing up one of the floors and keeping one or ripping both out and staring fresh.

In the event there are two floorings that meet and they are close to the same color, maybe they’re even the same type of wood – but they don’t look good together, you’ll want to decide if either is worth keeping. If so, you’ll want to tear the other one up and find a wood that is lighter or darker than the one you’re keeping. If the one you’re keeping is showing wear and tear, you can always choose a distressed look for the new one, so they blend in better together.

Owning The Transition

The most important factor to keep in mind when transitioning between two wood floors is to own it. Whatever you decide to do, do it with confidence. It is better to love your choice in floorings that to live up to the taste of other people unless, of course, you are putting your house on the market.

The more thought you put into the look and feel you want to give your floorings, the better chance there will be that you will adore your transitioning floors and that’s what it’s all about.

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