I'm raising an 80's style dropdown livingroom to be even with the rest of the floor. The dropdown area I'm raising will be carpet and the adjoining floors will be laminate (hard floor).

The goal is that the carpet and laminate look the same height, with a simple transition strip between them to hide the ends. To do this right, I need to know what height difference I should make between the dropdown area and the adjoining floors. What are the typical transition heights between hard floor and carpet? Is this completely dependent on the carpeting and padding I select?

Picture the following diagram:

  Laminate    Carpet
A --------------------- 1
B __________            2
C ==========|__________ 3
D           |__________ 4
E           |========== 5

Level A and level 1 are the carpet and laminate tops, evenly installed (assume there's a low profile transition strip between them). On the laminate side, level B is the bottom of the laminate. Level C is the top of the floorboards. Levels D and E are under the floorboards. On the carpet side, level 2 is carpet bulk. Level 3 is the bottom of the carpet. Level 4 is the bottom of the pad. Level 5 is the top of the floorboards.

What is the typical difference in height between levels C and 5?

  • 1
    It depends on the type of carpeting and the mat the numbers could be anything from 3/8 to 3/4”.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 13, 2019 at 16:09
  • @EdBeal So if I choose a little less than 5/8", I'd be half way between the most common heights?
    – user19565
    Aug 13, 2019 at 16:15
  • Would one even notice an 1/8" height difference, when there's a transition strip between them?
    – user19565
    Aug 13, 2019 at 16:17
  • 1
    Even at this point in the project you should know if you want a plush carpet with pad or if you want more of a commercial/playroom carpet that is very thin.
    – JPhi1618
    Aug 13, 2019 at 18:22
  • 1
    Meanwhile, I'm compelled to suggest you go completely wild and build the entire dropped side on a giant scissor jack, so it can be either same level or dropped back down as you see fit. That would be awesome! Aug 13, 2019 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


What is the typical difference in height between levels C and 5?

NONE- the top of the floorboards should be at the same height. Any slight difference between the height of the laminate and carpet is dealt with by using a transition bar.

Your floor coverings are temporary and will be removed and replaced eventually (perhaps when the next owner restores that sweet 80's sunken living room...); you should not build to different subfloor heights to accommodate the temporary floor coverings.

  • I'm pretty sure I've seen such a thing though, in a professional built house.
    – user19565
    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:48

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