Tips for Matching Wood Floors

Avoid a mismatched look with the successful blending of new wood floors with preexisting sections.

Blending Basics

From bullnose trim to stain pens to T-molding, there are many ways to blend new wood floors with preexisting floors to ensure a seamless transition and a polished, designer look.

Match Tones

Sun fading is a leading cause of mismatched floors. When laminate or engineered flooring is involved, try and match the faded tones of the existing floor to new products being installed. Gather samples with different intensities of the same color, then pair them with the existing, faded floor. Choose whichever sample is closest in color to the existing floor. Even though the match may not be exact, once furniture, area rugs and accessories are added to the space, the slight difference in floors will be minimized.

Staining

When hardwood flooring coverage is expanded, it's not always necessary to sand and stain both the preexisting and newly covered areas at the same time. Instead, consider having a custom mixed stain matched to the same intensity of the existing wood. This often entails having a contractor water down a stain color until it matches the sun-faded or dulled tones of the existing planks.

Flooring Dilemma

Real estate experts and interior designers are apprehensive about mixing different types of wood flooring, because the abrupt transition can cause rooms to feel disjointed. Here, a red-toned hardwood hallway leads to a master bedroom covered in ebonized obsidian plank. Prior to hiring an interior designer, the abrupt transition drew attention to the bedroom floors, creating the look and feel of an afterthought. An excellent way to solve this dilemma is with T-molding.

T-Molding

T-molding is used to bridge gaps in hardwood. Commonly used in doorways to camouflage rough cuts made where two different installations of hardwood flooring meet, T-molding features a narrow channel which slides between two gaps in wood, then masks the area with a slightly rounded or square piece of trim which sits nearly flush to the existing floors. Here, the T-molding will lay directly over the seam where the red-toned hallway wood meets the ebonized bedroom wood, blurring the lines between the cuts from each plank.

Fix Imperfections

Over time hardwood floors are likely to receive their fair share of nicks and scratches. These isolated mishaps can be fixed with the simple use of stain pens. Similar to paint pens, stain pens need to be shaken before use. Press the white tip down to allow the stain to saturate the tip. Fill in any imperfections with the stain, then wipe away excess stain with a damp cloth. Should the stain dry too lightly, add an additional coat until the imperfections are adequately camouflaged.

Shoe Molding

Shoe molding is a wedge-like trim that conceals gaps between cut planks of wood and surrounding baseboards. To keep shoe molding from looking mismatched, invest in full strips of shoe molding to span the length of a wall rather than having multiple cuts where additional shoe molding has been added. This requires taking off the existing shoe molding with a mini crowbar, mitering its corners, then attaching with a nail gun.

Carpet and Hardwood

Carpet transitions are used to slightly overlap the edge of wall-to-wall carpet at the point at which it meets hardwood floors. To install, a small gap is left between the edge of the hardwood and the carpet itself. A channel fills the gap between the two, and then notched rectangular trim conceals the edge of the carpet, helping protect it from fraying.

End Molding

End molding is used to transition hardwood with any other materials or architectural features with which they come in contact such as steps, platforms and fireplace hearths. This molding is especially helpful along any areas filled with mortar or grout. To install the end molding, lay it out along any gaps, then secure in place using glue.

Bullnose Trim

Bullnose trim is used to create a finished, rounded edge which serves as a definitive stopping point. Here, it was used to cap off the landing of a staircase; however, it's also useful on raised platforms and architectural ledges.