What kind do you need
This is as easy as looking around at your room. Imagine your new floor in the empty room or space. Wherever it will meet up with a wall, there you will need some trims. Wherever your floor will meet another floor, usually between rooms, there you will need a transition piece. You will also need transition pieces for areas where the floor ends at a doorway or a stairway.
What type do you need (of each kind)
Here we’re talking about coloring. There are three main options.
Exact Match: Some manufacturers make trim to perfectly match their flooring patterns and colors.
Close Match: Some manufacturers do not make trims, so there are third party companies that make a variety of colors and styles of trims to match the most popular styles of flooring.
Unfinished: Trims are also available which need to be painted or stained by the owner. This can be helpful if you would rather your trim accent the walls than mimic the flooring. Also, if an exact match is not made, you can take a sample to a paint store and have them match the basic coloring in a stain.
How much do you need
In short, you measure the length of the walls at the floor to determine how much trim is needed there. Measure any doorways, closet entries, transitions from your new floor to another floor in another room as well. If you’re taking notes, list each area separately, because each need has its own trim type. You might need just one kind of trim, and you might need five different kinds.
One often overlooked consideration is with any floating floor, usually a laminate floor. If you are installing a floating floor that goes more than 25 feet in any direction, it is always strongly recommended to divide that floor into smaller sections shorter than 25 feet, using a trim called a T-Mold to form the seam joining them. If that is your case, you will need to select where in your area it will be best to divide your floor with a trim piece, and measure that distance.
We recommend adding about 10% to your order of any type of trim to cover any mistakes that could occur in measuring, cutting, staining, or any other things that might come up. Trims generally come in lengths of 72″, 84″ or 96″. Since it is unlikely that your needs will divide exactly by the offered trim lengths, if you need just a few pieces of any trim, then you will probably have your 10% just with the extra on your last piece.
We will look at any specific tips we may have for each trim in detail separately, but there are a few general tips we want to share for all of them.
Depending on the style, trims are either attached to your walls or your subfloor, almost never* to the actual flooring you are installing. Remember that the floor may move due to temperatures. The trim is designed to hide that movement underneath, not to move with the floor and pull away from your wall.
Doorways. Say you have two doorways, collectively longer than one piece of trim, so at least one of these doorways is going to have two pieces of trim joined together. Aesthetically, it is usually better to plan on the split being in the middle of the doorway rather than having one short piece meet one longer piece.
Because of the thinness of the pieces being used, it may be best to use small finish nails, or staples, rather than standard nails or screws, to install your trim.
At corners, two trim pieces are cut at an angle, so they can perfectly meet. This is called “coping” the molding, and it can be a difficult thing to do for the inexperienced carpenter. If you’re installing your own floor, and this process seems out of reach, you should look for pre-cut trims.
Details on dermining which trims you need
You should be aware that trims are a little like beef. There are a bunch of different names for the same cut. We’ll try to give them all, so you’re equipped wherever you shop. Clickable titles lead to more details.
Trims to go around the perimeter of a room, where floor meets wall
For vinyl & carpet
For tile & stone
Transition Pieces to go Between Floors
These are called transition pieces because they do not help your floor stop at a wall, but rather assist in the transition from one floor to another.
(aka Sill or Saddle) For any floor, made of wood, metal or stone
(aka step down) For wood & Laminate
* This one is the exception, when you occasionally DO attach the trim to the flooring.
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David has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with W. David Lichty
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