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Flooring and Carpeting/Carpet stairs to tiled floor join


left corner top stair step and tiled floor
left corner top stair  

center part top stair step and tiled floor
center part top stair  
Hello R. Adams,

We tiled the second floor, and now we're changing the staircase carpet. In the pics you can see the top step where it meets the tiled floor. The old carpet has been removed, and I'd like to know what my options are when installing the new carpet in this step in order to handle the transition from the carpeted area to the tiled floor. Thanks in advance.



Hi Richard:
You asked what your options are. I have listed them below. Regardless of which you chose you will want the carpet as close to the same height as the tile where they adjoin for appearance and usage reasons. Make sure the sub-floor is scraped clean. Take a scrap of the carpet and the pad you will use and butt it to the tile to see if there is any height difference. If it the carpet and pad sits lower you will want to use an additional piece of plywood under where the carpet is going to raise it up to about the same height. If the carpet sits higher then you can use a thinner pad. Try to get it as close as possible.

Transition options:
Tuck method
The traditional way of making the tile-to-carpet transition is with the tuck method. This is best done after the tile floor has been installed, The tack strip for the carpet is installed 1/4 to 3/8 inch from the edge of the tile, then the edge of the carpet is cut off at the direct tile edge, or it can span the slight gap between the tack strip and the tile edge. The carpet is then stretched over the top with a knee kicker and the slight overhanging carpet edge is tucked into the gap, with the hooks of the tack strip holding it in place. For existing carpet, simply ensure that your carpet is cut a few inches longer than where you want to end the tile, roll it back, then unroll it and cut it to fit when you finish the tile.

Z-Bar Installation
If you are looking for more insurance for the edge of the carpet where it meets the tile, a Z-bar is an optional security measure. In essence, it is a bar of metal that spans the transition length and is formed like a "Z" so that the edge of the carpet is tucked under one edge. This is screwed or nailed to the floor and the tack strip is installed on top of the Z-bar with flooring glue.

"T" transition strip
This will cover the edge of the tile and the the edge of the carpet, protecting both from wear. Similar security as the Z bar. T strips are available in vinyl, metal and wood so you will have a choice of colors and looks.

Binder bar
Simply a flat piece of metal that has beveled edges that you place on top of the seam of both and screw in from the top. Similar security as Z bar and the "T" but screws are obvious.

Remember that the carpet is going to depress under the weight of traffic unlike the ceramic tile so even when you get both the ceramic and carpet at or near the same height there is going to be some height difference with usage. But if you did what I said in the first step above you will have minimized that and your transition will look good longer.  

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R Adams


Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.


Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Hartford Courant

B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

Past/Present Clients
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