I ordered the recommended flooring transitions to match my cork flooring. They were special order, because of the 6 ft length and to match the cork. They totaled about $320 for seven transition pieces. I thought the price was outrageous, but after already saving $700 on the flooring purchase I didn’t give it much thought.
I was nervous about ordering them from the start. I should have listened to my instincts. I spent almost an hour with the flooring associate trying to get them ordered and making her verify they would match. They don’t have any samples to show and the tiny picture on the computer screen looked dark brown. The associate was very nice. She verified codes. She called the supplier. She did everything to try to make sure they were a match.
Well, sure enough…they were not a match. They were apparently so bad I did not even snap a picture of them. They looked like, in my hubby’s words, “chocolate bars”. They were a very dark brown. The worst part is they were faux painted that color. There was a little variation, but for the most part they looked like big painted brown floor transitions. I was so disappointed, mostly because of the cost.
I took them back to the store along with a sample of my floor. I worried they would not except them for return, because they were special order. Once I showed them the transitions next to my floor sample, they did not hesitate to refund my full purchase price.
I looked at other floor transition options in stock at Home Depot and did not find anything suitable. I went over to Lowe’s and found some unfinished hardwood floor transitions. They were in stock in the store in 6 ft lengths. They were also less than $20 each. I took one home to experiment with staining them to match my floors.
I was able to successfully match the color of the cork by staining the wood with Early American by Minwax and Weathered Gray by Minwax. It took a few rounds of trial and error to figure out the right order of staining. I just did different applications on 6 inch sections of my test piece of wood. I eventually found the closest match by staining first with Weathered Grey, then with Early American, and then again with Weathered Gray.
I measured and cut my transition pieces to size. Then I laid them out on the cement floor (soon to be covered with carpet). I raised them on scrap pieces of the cork flooring.
For the first coat of stain, I used Weathered Gray and let it sit on the wood for 10 minutes before wiping it off.
I wipe it off with a clean white cloth. The result was a nice weathered gray look, but not a match to my cork…yet.
For the second coat, I used Early American. I let it sit on the wood for 10 minutes before wiping it off. I used a new clean white cloth to wipe off the stain.
For the last round I used weathered gray again. I only let the stain sit for two minutes before wiping it off.
Finally, the transitions looked the same color as my cork floor. The match was pretty remarkable.
In the end, the new DIY floor transitions only cost me about $80. Turns out I only needed four 6 ft pieces (3 carpet reducers and one t-molding) to finish the project, not the seven I was originally quoted and paid for. I saved nearly $240 by returning the poorly matched custom transitions and staining my own. I plan to finish the transitions with a coat or two of Polycrylic for durability.
I wish the flooring industry would do something about the poor choice of matching trim pieces. I remember having similar issues getting transitions to match our bamboo floors in our last house (Lowe’s now carries in store two colors of bamboo transitions). I have heard that transitions for cork flooring are particularly troublesome. They don’t make them out of cork, because it not a good product for transitions. There are also so many different colors of cork available now. John and Sherry were able to special order an engineered dark wood floor transition to match their darker cork floor. Just something to keep in mind if you plan to install a cork floor.