Transitions: To Replace or Not to Replace? That is the Question.
Feb 2
Ben Bauer

You’re taking the plunge and installing new flooring.

Should you automatically replace all your transitions? (A transition is a piece of hardware that covers and protects the seam where two different flooring surfaces meet.)

Not necessarily. In fact, your best bet is to make a separate replacement decision for each transition.

Most transitions probably should be replaced, unless you’d be happy with discolored, scratched or dented molding sitting atop your shiny new floor

Some transitions, however, may be worth keeping, such as molding that you’ve had stained or painted to match your home’s woodwork.

It’s also important to note that transitions may sometimes be bonded to the existing floor and may actually damage it if removed. Common examples include:

Ceramic flooring meets carpet; transition is grouted to the tiles; you’re replacing only the carpet.
In some cases, it’s virtually impossible to remove the existing molding without damaging the tiles or grout. If you have replacement tiles on hand, removing the old transition may be worth the risk. If not, full replacement of the ceramic tiles may be necessary if you accidentally crack a tile. (For this reason, some homeowners choose to butt transitions against ceramic tile rather than grouting them to the tiles.)

Metal transition glued under vinyl flooring. It may not be possible to remove the existing metal without damaging the vinyl.

Severely damaged or deteriorating carpet edge covered by transition; carpet is not being replaced and cannot be trimmed due to placement of transition. Removing the molding may expose the damaged portion of the carpet and prevent it from being attached to the new molding.

Taking a few minutes to consider these factors for each transition can help ensure that your home improvement project yields the best possible results.

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