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How To Transition From Tile To Carpet [Carpet Installation Plan In 5 Steps]

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Deciding on the best transition from tile flooring to carpeting can seem like a bit of a challenge, initially. Choosing the best material for the transition and the quickest process may take a bit of consideration and definitely require careful planning. In this post, we will cover some of the factors to consider and the steps to transition from tile to carpet.

The steps to transition from tile to carpet vary slightly, depending on whether the installation occurs before or after the carpet is installed. Below, we've provided the steps for transitioning tile to carpet for each method:

Transitioning Tile Before Carpet Installation

  1. Draw transition line
  2. Set the tile
  3. Measure the carpet
  4. Lay the carpet down

Transitioning Tile To Existing Carpet

  1. Draw the transition line
  2. Set the tile
  3. Lay the transition strip
  4. Lay the carpet under the strip
  5. Secure the transition strip

As you keep reading, we'll describe in detail how to perform each step in this process. We'll also discuss various types of transition strips and alternatives, so you will have the appropriate materials for the job. Finally, we'll discuss how to remove tile (if necessary) and delve into whether carpet or tile is really the best flooring type.

A gorgeous rustic themed living room with a carpeted floor, dark furnitures and a fireplace on the middle, How To Transition From Tile To Carpet [Carpet Installation Plan In 5 Steps]

Transitioning Tile Before Carpet Installation

A carpet installer using a long ruler and to install a carpet

1. Draw Transition line

Draw a straight line where the transition will be. It's best first to measure the transition line and to include measurements for the transition strip. You can use a waterproof black marker or a straight-edge to make the line.

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2. Set The Tile

When you start to set your tile flooring, use your trowel to comb the thin-set along the line, and then set each tile on the outermost edges against the drawn line. Be sure to use your trowel to scrape up excess thin-set that may get squeezed out when you lay down the tiles.

3. Measure the carpet

Measure the carpet to make sure that the area where it meets the tile is the correct length so that you don't have to go back and cut with a razor or use a knee kicker to pull it to reach the transition strip.

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4. Lay the carpet down

After the grout has cured, lay down the carpet. Then, take your tacking strip and measure it, ensure that it's the appropriate width and length (it not, you may need to cut the edges with a saw). Then set the strip between the tile and the carpet transition, using nails or screws to secure it in place. Be sure that the edge of the carpet is beneath the tacking strip (if it is not long enough, you can use a knee kicker to stretch it so that it reaches the strip). There should be about half an inch to an inch of carpet beneath the strip.

Transitioning Tile To Existing Carpet

1. Draw the transition line

Use a black waterproof marker or a straightedge to draw your transition line between the carpet and the tile.

2. Set The Tile

If the carpet is already installed (and the tile has been measured), it's best to lay the tile so that it reaches the carpet no more than an inch away. It's also a good idea to lay down a drop cloth on the carpet (not covering the edges) to avoid getting any thin-set or grout on it.

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3. Lay the transition strip

It's best to measure your transition strip again after the tile has been laid to ensure that it is the right length and width for the space. The strip's edges should have about 1/4 inch spaced on either side and cover both the tile and the carpet about 3/8 inches to 1/2 inches. Sometimes, it may also be a good idea to place a bit of wood glue under the strip for a secure fitting.

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4. Lay the carpet under the strip

Take a look at the carpet and make sure that it is the appropriate length to fit under the transition strip. If not, you will need to cut it with carpet shears or a utility knife. Once it is the correct length, position it beneath the transition strip. If the carpet is too short, you can use a knee kicker to help it reach the transition strip.

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5. Secure the transition strip

Use screws or nails to secure the transition strip in place. You can also add a bit of an adhesive beneath the strip if it's made of vinyl or metal. If you are using nails be sure to correctly position the nail over the transition strip's holes before hammering it in place. If you are using a wooden transition strip, be sure to pre-drill the holes into the strip before securing it with the screws (if you don't you can break the strip by trying to drill the screws directly in the strip).

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The Different Types of Transition Strips

There are a few types of transition strip materials that you can use. Let's take a look at the most popular ones.

Wood

Wood transition strips are perfect for tile floors that have a wood appearance. These strips allow for a smooth transition to carpet and give the room a more cohesive look.

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Metal

Metal transition strips are typically made from aluminum, brass, and pewter. Each material has a variety of finishes to choose from that can help to accentuate your flooring design.

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Vinyl

Vinyl transition strips are probably the most commonly used strips (especially in industrial buildings). They are typically the cheapest transition strip option on the market and are fairly flexible and easy to install. They are also great for providing waterproofing for entryways and doors.

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Other Transition Options

Z-Bar Transition

Z-bar transitions can help provide a seamless transition from tile to carpet. They are great at hiding the edges of the carpet and preventing them from accidentally being pulled out. This transition is better suited for spaces where the carpet is installed before the tiles. It involves simply screwing or nailing the Z-bar to the floor at the transition line and then gluing a tack strip on top of it.

Check out his strip on Amazon.

Reducer Strips

Reducer strips come in various styles and shapes and make an easy and seamless transition from carpet to tile. These strips work by locking the flooring materials in place using screws or glue. Their installation is fairly easy, requiring only 30 to 40 minutes to install. They can come in a variety of materials, including vinyl, wood, and metal.

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How Long Does It Take To Transition Tile To Carpet?

The time it takes to transition between the flooring materials depends on how big the space is and the installer's experience. Laying carpet or tile flooring can take anywhere from one to two days per room. However, laying a transition strip can typically be done in 30 to 40 minutes or less.

How Hard Is It To Remove Tile?

Removing tile is a physically demanding project. Typically, it can take one to two days to remove tile from a single 12' x 12' room. The majority of the effort involves breaking up the tiles and using a pry bar to lift them from the floor. Here is an overview of what this process looks like.

Prepping the area

Before removing tile, you'll first need to gather the right equipment, including a pry bar, hammer, chisel, and bags or containers to place the tiles in once they are removed. Prepping the area for removal includes removing any freestanding items such as furniture for other personal items.

It would be best if you also sealed any vents, as this job can generate a lot of dust when the tiles are broken up. Lastly, you may need to remove the baseboard trim so that it doesn't become damaged or get in the way of the removal. During this time, you also need to remove any screws from the transition strips around the edges of the tile.

Breaking up the tile

Next, you'll need to do to use your chisel and hammer to break up the tile and pull it away from the adhesive on the floor. You can also use a pry bar to help lift tiles that harder to remove. After the tiles have been removed, you'll need to inspect and repair any damaged areas on the underlayment (or replace it) to prepare it for the new flooring. 

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Clean Out

After the tile has been removed from the floor, it's now time to take your trash bags, buckets, or other disposable container and blow them with the tiles and toss them in the dumpster. This can also be a physically grueling task, especially if you remove tiles from more than one room (they can be pretty heavy).

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Can You Ever Lay Carpet Directly Over Tile?

Yes, there are scenarios where you can lay carpet flooring directly over tile as long as the tile is in good condition. If the old tiles are damaged, broken, or faulty in any way, they will need to be removed before the carpet is installed. You can also use material products such as Rapid Cement to help even out the subfloor before installing the carpet.

Is It Better To Have Carpet Or Tile?

Both carpet and tile are great flooring options. It really depends on your lifestyle and the look you prefer. Each flooring type has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are a couple of the main differences between the two.

Maintenance

Tile is generally easier to clean and maintain than carpeting. You can easily wipe up spills and debris from tile, while carpeting may be more likely to leave stains and require specific removal solutions.

Comfort

When it comes to comfort, carpet is definitely the winner as it can provide made softer feel when you step on it, and it's more inviting to sit or lay on.

Wrapping Things Up

Transitioning tile to carpet is a pretty straightforward process and can be easily done once you map out a plan. The most important thing to remember is to measure your carpet and transition strips accurately, as this will help you to avoid having to fix the area once you lay the strip.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

Is Carpet Cheaper Than Laminate Or Wood?

Should Carpet Be Darker Or Lighter Than Sofa? [Inc. Pictures]