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Installing Hardwood Flooring Around Trims & Transitions

How to Install On Stairs, Around Trims, Transitions, Brickwork & More.

Download Hardwood Flooring Installation Instructions | PDF's
PDF icon for PDF fileQuick Guide on How–to–Install Hardwood Floor – 300kb pdf | Our short installation guide for those with DIY experience.
PDF icon for PDF fileFull Guide – Complete Installation Instructions on Installing your Hardwood Floor – 1.5 mb pdf | Our full set of DIY installation instructions.

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Hardwood flooring can be installed in a variety of special circumstance areas such as on stairs or around brickwork. For best results, you'll most likely need to install hardwood transitions or trims. Not sure what these are or how they can help complete your hardwood flooring project? Find the information by reading below or clicking on one of the links above for our full Installing Prefinished Hardwood Flooring guide.

Choose from the following hardwood transitions when installing hardwood on stairs:

  • Prefabricated stair treads and risers.
  • Stair nose and flooring boards.

Safety is a major concern when installing hardwood on stairs. All stairs should be glued as well as nailed/screwed down every 8".

For complete installation instructions and safety information, see the full Installing Prefinished Hardwood Flooring guide above.

When installing hardwood around brickwork (such as fireplaces) you can:

  • Undercut the brickwork and install the hardwood underneath. The brickwork will cover all expansion spacing.
  • Install the hardwood flush with brickwork and use end molding to hide the expansion spacing.

Transitions and Trims

Install transitions and trim to hide all the expansion spacing and put the finishing touches on your room.

Once your floor is completed, you can install your transition pieces to hide the expansion spacing at doorways as well as transition to other types of flooring. The following transition pieces can be used:

  • T–Molding – For transitions between hardwood floors and interior/exterior doorways and transitions between similar height flooring surfaces.
  • Overlap Reducer – For transitions between floating hardwood floors and lower height floors (such as vinyl, tile or carpeting).
  • Overlap Stair Nose – Used for floating hardwood installation on steps (such as into a sunken living room) to provide the proper overhang.
  • Flush Reducer – For transitions between glued and nailed/stapled hardwood floors and lower height floors (such as vinyl, tile or carpeting).
  • Flush Stair Nose – Used on steps (such as into a sunken living room) or on staircases to provide the proper overhang.
  • End Molding/Square Nose/Universal Edge – For carpet, similar height floors or outside threshold transitions; also can be used around brickwork.

Hardwood transitions are either glued to the subfloor with a quality adhesive or secured using trim tracks. Floating hardwood floors may need shims installed below certain transitions for additional support.

Install Trim

Install all wall base, shoe base and quarter round to hide the expansion spacing around the perimeter of the room. Always glue the trim to the wall. Do NOT glue to the subfloor. Nail trim at an angle to the wall every 16". Use caulk to hide significant gaps between the trim and the wall.

Correct Defects

Use wood filler, putty sticks or stain to correct any defects and fill all nail holes. Only use fillers designed specifically for hardwood floors.

Seal Moisture Prone Areas

Use silicone sealant and/or weather stripping to seal all expansion spaces near moisture prone areas (kitchen appliances, outside doors, etc.) as directed by your manufacturer.

Hardwood Manufacturers