Which Way To Lay Wood Floors

Choose The Type Of Finish

Determining the direction to lay/install Hardwood, Laminate, or Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring

There’s a whole spectrum of finishing products, says Jones, from penetrating oil to oil-like hybrids to site-finish polyurethanes to prefinished UV-cured urethane finishes. But to simplify, most finishes fall into one of two categories: oil or polyurethane.

Oil penetrates the wood and has a look and feel thats very soft, matte, and natural, says Caroll. But it isnt as impervious to stains and damage as polyurethane, which creates a hard topcoat on the surface of the wood thats more resilient to wear and tear, especially for people with children, or when food is flying around the kitchen.

Oil finishes scratch more easily, but also make scratches less noticeable. Theyre also easy to touch up on a spot-by-spot basis when theres a problem, says Caroll. With polyurethane, you generally need to replace a board or buff and recoat an entire section of floor.

Maintenance is a pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later proposition, says Jones. With a soft oil finish, you have easier maintenance, but you have to do it more often. The harder you go with polyurethanes, the less often you have to do maintenance, but the more involved the maintenance is to do.

The Direction You Choose Should Meet Your Needs

Last, but not least, the direction that you lay your hardwood flooring should match your personal preferences. Take the time to visit a showroom and see how different hardwood flooring directions change the way that a room flows. The best hardwood flooring direction for you is always the direction that matches your home and your design aesthetic. Do any of your friends or family have hardwood flooring in their homes? Next time you visit their homes, take the time to pay attention to how the hardwood flooring is placed on the floor. Does it add to the architectural features of the room or detract from them? Is there a center point of the room that it leads to? The more that you pay attention to the direction that other hardwood floors are pointed, the easier it will be for you to make your decision.

Select Solid Or Engineered Flooring

Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooringplanks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles. All wood moves in three directions: Theres tangential, radial, and longitudinal movement, says Jones. With engineered products, youre creating opposing forces within the board to try to restrict the natural movement of the wood.

For basements and apartments with concrete subfloors, engineered flooring offers an installation advantage. Whereas solid wood is generally installed over one or two layers of plywood, which can raise the height of a floor and interfere with existing doors or marginally reduce ceiling height, engineered flooring can be glued directly to concrete, or over a soundproofing mat, says Caroll. Its also suitable for installation over radiant heat.

But choose carefully because some engineered floors have top layers so thin that they cant be sanded and refinished in the future. Higher-quality products feature a thicker layer where youre getting as much usable wood as you would out of a solid board, says Caroll, noting that with solid hardwood, you can only use the part above the tongue and groove for refinishing.

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How To Install Hardwood Flooring



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One of the most popular flooring choices for homes, hardwood flooring can add warmth, value and style to any room in your home. Hardwood flooring is durable and available in engineered and solid options, as well as a variety of colors. If you want a DIY hardwood floor, there are several install methods you can learn.

When learning how to install hardwood floors, its important to understand the three basic types of installation: nail-down, glue-down and click-lock. This guide will teach you how to install hardwood flooring on your own, so you can make an affordable and attractive update to your home.

Hardwood Plan Direction With Your Homes Floorplan

Which Direction Should You Run Your Wood Flooring? Well...  DESIGNED ...

According to SFGate Home Guides, running your floorboards lengthwise away from the door towards the opposite wall, will visually elongate the sight lines and cause your home to appear larger and neater.

Running the planks perpendicular to the entryway can create intimacy in your space.

You may prefer to combine directions for visual interest or to highlight a particular area.

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Laying Laminate Flooring Throughout A Home

When you plan to install laminate flooring in every room in your home, youll need to consider the planning a bit more carefully. That means you have to consider the way light flows into a room along with doorways, transitions, and hallways.

In our experience, we found that most homeowners and professional flooring installers lay laminate in the same direction throughout the entire house. This ties everything together and allows the flooring to flow, compared to changing direction from one room to the next. In this case, youll want to find the longest side for your home, and run the flooring parallel to it.

The Correct Direction For Laying Hardwood Floors

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While personal preference is a factor, the direction in which you run hardwood flooring boards is governed by visual and structural guidelines. Visual congruity usually requires the boards to run away from the main entrance of a room, but structural integrity mandates that they run perpendicular to the floor joists. When installing a floor in an entire house, the structural requirement may constrain you to maintain a certain direction throughout unless you fortify the subfloor.

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Which Way To Lay Wood Floor

Guide to which way to lay floor including the best placement and design considerations.A common question asked when first installing wood floor in a room, is which way to lay wood floor. It is essential that you have the right idea regarding the proper direction for floorboards because this can have a big impact on the floor design.

Below are some considerations you can take in order to achieve the preferred perfect wood floor design.

Laying Hardwood Floors: What Direction Is Correct

Installing a hardwood floor: which direction should I lay it & where should I start?

Installing new hardwood floors is a great way to update the look of your home. If youve picked out your flooring type, color, and installation method, there is just one more decision that needs to be made before you start: The layout. Will you go vertical, horizontal, or go a more unique direction?

Your personal style, as well as structural integrity, both come into play when making your decision. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding how to lay your hardwood floors:

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How To Lay Floorboards On Joists

Laying wooden floorboards on joists is a fairly easy process, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • First, you need to make sure that the boards are the right size. They should be at least 8 inches wide and no more than 16 feet long.
  • Secondly, you will also need to make sure that the boards are properly spaced. The standard distance is 1/8 inch, but you may need to adjust this depending on the width of the boards.
  • NOTE: Keep in mind the expansion of wood in different weather conditions as you don't want your boards to buckle.

    Once you have the boards cut to size and spaced correctly, you can start nailing them into place. You can start by nailing the first board into place at one end of the room. Then, work your way down the length of the board, nailing it every 8 inches.

    Make sure that the boards are properly aligned. This means that the edges should be flush and the ends should be level.

    Have You Inspected Your Sub

    Before you install wooden flooring, you must thoroughly inspect your sub-floor, regardless of when your property was built. This is so you can check how to level your sub-floor.

    If you notice that the sub-floor bounces when you walk on it or that there is obvious drooping between the joints, you should install your wooden flooring perpendicular to the floor joists.

    Furthermore, you can get devices to assess the flatness of your sub-floor if youre having difficulties deciding whether its flat or not. Keep reading, I have mentioned my favorite laser levelers down below.

    Alternatively, if youre concerned, you can hire an expert to inspect the sub-floor and floor joists who can provide you with the information you need.

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    Choose Prefinished Or Site Finish

    Hardwood planks can be purchased with a raw face that gets finished by a professional after installation, or prefinished, which arrives with the stain and topcoat already applied. The advantage of prefinished wood is that you know exactly what youre getting, says Caroll, noting that once you select a product, youll have an exact sample to use in coordinating your homes color palette and choosing other design elements, such as textiles, wall coverings, and cabinetry. Prefinished flooring also takes less time to install, because there’s no need to apply color or sealant. When you choose to do a site finish, he adds, youre rolling the dice a little bit, and relying on the skills of the flooring contractor to get it right.

    Still, on-site finishing allows for a level of customization that appeals to many homeowners and designers. That way, we have a lot more control over the stain and sheen, says Miller. The final product will be smoother too, notes Miller, because unfinished flooring is typically sanded after its nailed down and then finished as a single continuous plane. Its a small detail, she says, but it does make a difference.

    Inlays And Partial Replacements

    The Right Direction for Your Hardwood Floors

    Working with a portion of the floor as opposed to the entire floor creates room for exceptions to the normal aesthetic rules. For example, replacing a portion of the floor with a different type of wood or being unable to match stains can be a good excuse to change the direction of the new boards. This makes the transition appear to be planned.

    Inlays, borders, and similar features are also a good reason to place the boards in different directions from the main portion of the floor. Having multiple directions, in this case, brings more attention to the detailing. Many expensive homes use this technique to add extra beauty and complexity to a room.

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    Which Direction Should I Lay My Hardwood Flooring

    Your wood flooring was delivered last week and your installer is scheduled to come over tomorrow morning to install your hardwood flooring. What seemed so intuitive at the store now seems overwhelming with the decision you must make on which direction to install your hardwood flooring. After all, this might be a decision you will have to live with for a long time. Luckily, we are here to help you make the correct decision.

    The direction in which you install hardwood flooring boards is dictated by several factors which we will cover in this segment. Factors such as visual aesthetics, structural integrity, and the installation method should all be considered when installing your new hardwood flooring.

    Consider the Subfloor

    The first factor we must consider is the subfloor and method of installation. If the subfloor is concrete, structural considerations for direction will have little effect on the performance of your flooring. However, if we install with the more standard nail down method over plywood, the direction of the floor joist must be taken into consideration. The general rule of thumb is to install perpendicular to the floor joist, doing so will allow the flooring to keep its structural integrity if the joists sag. Exceptions can be made with the use of additional subfloor use to strengthen the existing subfloor.

    Which Direction To Lay Laminate Flooring

    As one of the top styles of flooring for homeowners that want to do it themselves, we receive plenty of questions in regards to laminate installation. One of the first involves actually placing the boards down in a room and figuring out which layout works the best. The answer isnt simple, however, as you have to consider the room itself along with several other factors.

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    Black + Decker Laser Level

    It is the perfect laser level for anyone who wants an easy leveling experience. Its 360-degree rotating wall attachment means that you can project my laser line at any angle, and the backlight makes it easy to see in any lighting condition.

    Plus, this laser level comes with Class 3R lasers so you dont have to worry about hurting yourself while using it.

    This laser level is ideal for hardwood floors because it is small and compact. It also has a built-in bubble level, so you can make sure that the device is properly calibrated.


    • Makes levelling easy vertically and horizontally
    • Handy and affordable tool

    Does It Matter Which Direction You Lay Hardwood Flooring

    Installing Hardwood Floors – Which Direction?

    Hardwood flooring direction matters as the right layout makes the hardwood flooring aesthetically pleasing. With a random layout, the flooring may look clumsy and distorted.

    If the right direction of hardwood flooring is maintained, you can get neat and organized flooring. Also, the space looks larger than it is when the direction is right. For example, going across the length of the room makes a room look larger. Also, following the width of the room in a narrow room gives an illusion of a larger room. Therefore, for the aesthetics of the flooring, the direction matters.

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    Seesii 4d Laser Level

    This is a top-quality laser level that comes with two 360° horizontal and two 360° planes, making it perfect for all-around leveling coverage. Moreover, the self-leveling feature ensures that the beam is always level, no matter what surface youre working on.

    Unlike other lasers, Seesii has an in-built alarm that notifies you if the device is not level, so you can make the necessary adjustments. This is a great feature for hardwood floors, as it ensures that your lines are always perfect.

    Plus, the green laser is three times brighter than red, bringing better visibility. What I love about this laser is the number of features it has as compared to the price point.


    • Magnetic bracket makes it easy to hold on any metal surface such as a tripod
    • Comes with a remote control
    • Rechargeable batteries


    Therefore The Most Popular And Significant Way To Run Your Wood Flooring Is To

    Run it from the front door, straight to the back of the house, perpendicular to the front. You want those boards to look like they are laid they way they are in a bowling alley, all the way into the home through to the back.

    That’s right: Stay away from turning your wood flooring in different directions in different rooms in an attempt to create interest. It makes a house look chopped up, and it costs more money to installparticularly so in smaller and in open plan homes.

    Installing your floor this way is a general rule and common practice in installations. However…

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    Have You Considered The Light Source

    Is there a lot of natural light in the space where youll be laying the wooden flooring? If thats the case, you should consider putting the boards in the direction of the light.

    This is because if you hold them perpendicular to the light source, the light will fall evenly across the various joints. This means that even the tiniest variation in board height will cast a shadow. However, if you lay the floor in the same way as the light falls, youll avoid this problem.

    Laying Laminate Flooring In Hallways And Closets

    How To Install Hardwood Floors In Your Home

    Does your home have one or more hallways? They can pose problems, especially when separated by doors that branch off into multiple rooms. Depending on the width of the hallway, it can be one of the more challenging areas to deal with besides closets as you may not have as much room to work.

    If you want your hallway to appear longer or more spacious, the best choice is to run laminate flooring in the same direction as the long walls. This will give the illusion of more length, whereas running boards across a hallway will have the opposite effect. If you are running it from one into a hallway and lay it the same way, it also prevents you from using transitions.

    As for closets, we recommend that you run the laminate flooring into any closets in the same direction that it goes into the room. If its a small closet with a door or oddly shaped, you can use a transition and switch the layout of the run to better suit your needs in these small areas.

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    Which Direction Should Wood Floors Run

    One of the most valuable improvements you can make to your home is the addition of wood flooring. Wood floors have their own special maintenance considerations, but you may not be aware that they also have unique rules for installation.

    Understanding the aesthetic and structural requirements of your new floor can mean the difference between disaster and raising both the value and enjoyment of your home.

    Determine The Installation Method

    Youll want to start by determining the right procedure for the floor you selected. Installation methods vary depending on the width, thickness, and construction of the hardwood product, and where it’s being installed, says Pastrana. Typically, solid hardwood flooring is nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor. Engineered hardwood can be mechanically fastened, glued, or installed as a floating floor, depending on the product selected. He also notes that solid hardwood should not be installed below grade.

    Pastrana cautions that nail or glue installations can be challenging even for homeowners with plenty of DIY experience. Hardwood floors are an investment, so you want to do it right, he says. A hardwood flooring installation takes time, precision, and know-how. If youre unsure, hire an installer who can get the job done right the first time.

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