Installing Hardwood Floor Moldings and Trim
Finishing Your Hardwood Installation

It’s the final touch on any flooring project – the moldings and trim. Installing flooring moldings and trim is an essential component that serves two purposes:

  1. It makes your flooring look complete;
  2. It hides the necessary expansion gap between your floorboards and the wall.

Some flooring comes with matching trim. For solid flooring, most companies will provide custom moldings for a blended match with your floors and decor . Having this on hand before you start your installation project will help you finish the job faster so you can start enjoying your new floors as soon as possible.

Finding the Right Trim

You’ll need trim and moldings to cover every surface that meets the floor. This includes more than just walls. It can also include cabinetry, fireplaces, doorways, other types of flooring, and doorways.

There are a variety of types of trim and moldings available. Knowing the differences between these will guide you in choosing the right one for your needs.

  • Wood to tile/wood. This is also known as T-molding because of its shape. The long part of the T fits between the seam of the two types of flooring. The top part of the T is the rounded part that bridges the gap between the two floors to equalize the height.
  • Uneven surfaces. This goes between two different types of floors that vary in height. It is also known as a “reducer” because it reduces the height difference between the two sides.
  • This is commonly used in doorways or to connect wood and carpeting. It hides the expansion gap by covering it with trimming.
  • Do your stairs end flush against your flooring? You’ll still need an expansion gap. Cover the gap with a stair nosing or bull nose trim. You can also use a square edge trim.
  • Baseboards, such as wall bases and/or quarter rounds are used to cover the expansion gap between the flooring and the wall. They give the appearance of framing the room and come in a variety of styles.

There are a few special circumstances where it might not be obvious that trim or molding is needed. Some of these circumstances include:

  • Doorways. If you plan to continue the same type of flooring from one room to the next, you might still want to use a transition piece. By adding a T-molding, you give your room a little more flexibility when it comes to expansion. If you’re installing floated floors, this is a must.
  • Fixed objects. Are you installing your flooring around a kitchen island, pipes, vents, or any other fixed object? If so, molding is a must to conceal the expansion gaps.
  • Fireplaces. The area around a fireplace is often uneven, which makes it a challenge for flooring installations. The best way to put the finishing touches on this area is to cut the hearth itself using a diamond tipped blade on an undercut saw. Make one cut vertical with the floor and another cut flush with the subfloor to create an area for the flooring to slide underneath.

No matter what area you’re installing trim and moldings, make sure it matches your flooring, walls, and decor. Many baseboards are painted white to offer a clean transition between the wall color and the wood.

Installing Your Moldings and Trim

Installing your moldings and trim isn’t as hard as you might think.

Allow your moldings and trim to acclimate for 72 hours, like your floorboards. When you’re ready to install, pre-drill the holes to avoid splitting the wood.

  • Install baseboards by attaching them to the wall every 16 inches. This can be done using staples or nails.
  • Glue transitional T-moldings in place to the subfloor. Some T-molding trims have a tongue and groove edge that allows you to to attach the floorboard to the hardwood and overlap the edge of the other surface.
  • Overlap reducers and threshold trims can be glued or nailed into place.

Start your installation on the longest wall and work your way around. Do not drive your nails downward. Instead, staple them directly across. Use a miter saw to trim the molding to the right size.

Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your flooring installation questions.

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