What Direction Should I Lay My Timber Flooring?

What Direction Should I Lay My Timber Flooring?
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Before You Begin

While personal preference is a factor, the direction in which you run floorboards is usually governed by aesthetic and / or structural factors. Aesthetics usually dictate that the boards run away from the main entrance of a room, however structural aspects may have an effect in some cases. For example, if you are fixing to joists, structural integrity dictates that they should run perpendicular to the floor joists. Alternatively, if you are direct sticking to a subfloor, you can lay the planks in any direction you choose. If you are floating your floor, you can still lay in any direction but borders and direction changes mentioned below may not be recommended as these require custom cuts where the locking joint may be removed, which is necessary for your flooring planks to keep joined together.

In older homes or buildings, the walls aren’t always perfectly square. If you lay your first row of boards using one wall as a sole point of reference, and this reference wall isn’t perfectly straight, (or is at a different angle to the other walls in that room), you may find at the end of the installation that your entire floor is on an angle. If this is a concern you or your fitter should carefully measure the walls to calculate the angle at which the boards should be laid.

Standard Practice

Standard Plank Laying

Laying floors from the front door (or main entrance) of a room toward the end of the house (or opposite wall) is the most commonly accepted laying direction. This allows the plank pattern to take the centre of attention as your eye can travel seamlessly down the planks. Alternatively, when the flooring is laid crossways from the main entrance, the floor joints visually cut off your line of sight, making the plank pattern become less of a feature and the joints themselves more noticeable. This is especially valid for narrow plank flooring. An exception to this - a very wide plank can make quite a nice feature when laid crossways when the boards are wide enough for the plank pattern to still feature.

For other areas such as open-plan spaces or rooms with multiple entrances it can be more difficult to decide on the best plank direction. Open plan rooms can appear to flow smoothly into one large area if wood flooring is installed from the long end of the space to the other. In other rooms planks can be laid to lead the eye towards a room’s focal point, such as a fireplace or other architectural details. Light sources should also be considered; how light falls between the boards can either lengthen or shorten the perceived size of a room. Boards that run from the entrance outwards can make a space appear longer or larger, while flooring laid from side wall to side wall will shorten visual impact, but can make a room feel smaller and cozier.

Transitions Between Rooms (or areas)

Many new homes now have open-plan living, where the flooring generally looks best laid running in a singular direction. However you may come across circumstances such as if you have laid the planks straight down a hallway you may wish to change direction for rooms coming off the hallway. Or if a house has multiple wings that run in different directions it may look best to change the direction of the planks to match the direction of each wing.

Transitioning between one laying direction to another can be done neatly by laying a piece of the flooring perpendicularly, directly across the line where you wish to change direction and running each flooring angle into this plank. For example, in a doorway you could lay a plank cut to the same width as the doorframe from one side of the frame to the other, then change direction from there. This gives a nice tidy look. Alternatively, if you were changing direction in an open space, you could use a full with plank (or cut narrower if preferred) laid directly across the line where you wish to change direction and run the planks from each direction straight into each side of this plank.

In Summary

Overall, which direction to run your wood flooring is up to your personal preference and design aesthetic. In either case, engineered wood and laminates are available in a wide range of patterns, colours and grains that are sure to enhance any interior!

Date Added: Monday, 10th July 2017
 


 


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