There is no doubt that with its easy installation and water-resistant properties, vinyl plank flooring is the hottest trend right now. But one question we often get from customers is, “Which direction should I install my vinyl plank flooring?”
It is determined by the design and size of your space. If you want to make your room look wider, place your planks parallel to the longest wall. Alternatively, if you want to make the room seem longer, install them perpendicular to the longest wall.
Generally speaking, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to installing vinyl plank flooring. Just use your best judgement and go with what looks best in your space.
However, there are some things that can help you make the right decision. Keep on reading, I have discussed everything you need to know about vinyl plank flooring direction.
Which Direct Do I Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Your home is a unique space where you get to spend most of your time. You deserve a flooring that you feel comfortable with and can enjoy for many years to come.
It is essential to lay the vinyl planks in the right direction because it can make or break the overall look and feel of your home.
For instance, the right direction can be used to expand or shrink your space, draw attention to a point or give your entire home a uniform look.
The ultimate choice is yours. However, despite the above-mentioned benefits, many people find it difficult to choose the right direction for their vinyl plank flooring. Let’s have a look at important factors professionals consider before laying down a vinyl floor:
Which Directions Are Possible When Laying Down Vinyl Floors?
Before deciding on any direction possibilities, the first step is to bring home a few planks, casually place them over the space and see if they fit perfectly. Keep changing the direction until you find the appropriate one.
You might be surprised to discover a direction or pattern that you haven’t given much thought to until now.
1. Horizontal Or Parallel
The most common way of installing vinyl plank flooring is running the boards horizontally or parallel to the longest wall in the room.
It gives your space a wider and more spacious feel, which is perfect if you want to make a small room appear larger.
If you want the ends of your flooring to point from left to right, you'll have to stand at the room's entry and lay it horizontally.
2. Vertical Or Perpendicular
Installing planks perpendicular or vertical to the longest wall in your room will make it seem longer.
It is a great way to add character and style to any space. It also works perfectly if you want the boards to run from front to back.
In this case, you'll have to start laying the planks at one of the room's corners and work your way towards the opposite end.
Installing boards in a diagonal direction is less common, but it can give your space an elegant and unique look. It creates the illusion of more space and is perfect for areas that are oddly shaped or have irregular angles.
Professionals typically use a 40-degree angle when installing planks in a diagonal direction.
Many homeowners believe this is the ideal way to connect different rooms, make them feel more spacious, and add a modern aspect.
4. Herringbone And Chevron Patterns
Chevron is a zigzag type pattern which requires you to trim the corners of the plank at 45-degree angles. As a result, they are slightly more difficult to install than herringbone.
On the other hand, the herringbone is a classic pattern that has been used for centuries. It is created by placing planks next to each other at a 90-degree angle and then offsetting them by half their width.
If you want to add a touch of sophistication and style to your home, opt for a chevron or herringbone pattern.
They are perfect for any room in your house, including living rooms, bedrooms, and even kitchens!
5. Brick Or Stack Bond Pattern
The brick or stack bond pattern is created by installing the boards in a staggered formation. It is a great way to add interest and texture to any space.
If you want to achieve a more rustic look, opt for this pattern. It is perfect for country-style homes or anyone who wants to add a bit of personality to their space.
6. Randon Or Plank
The random or plank pattern is created by installing the boards in random order. There is no set pattern and the boards can be installed in any direction.
If you want to add a bit of whimsy and fun to your space, opt for a random or plank pattern. It is perfect for children’s bedrooms or play rooms.
The parquet pattern is created by installing the boards in a herringbone or chevron pattern and then adding an additional layer on top.
If you want to add a touch of luxury and sophistication to your space, opt for a parquet pattern. It is perfect for formal living rooms or dining rooms.
TIP: Use the reward flooring to quickly decide which type of planks suit your space.. They allow you to upload photos of your room and visualize what will certain type of vinyl flooring will look like.
You might also like my post Vinyl flooring buying guide.
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Direction of Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation?
Each area is unique and should be thoroughly evaluated before beginning. However, there are a few principles which most professionals adhere to.
Note: The direction you lay your planks will have an optical effect on the rest of your house.
1. Spatial Relationship of Objects in the Room
The first thing you need to do is take a look at the room and determine the placement of doors, windows, and other objects. Once you have a clear understanding of the spatial relationship of these objects, you can begin to plan your installation.
2. Parallel to the Longest Wall
Vinyl planks are frequently recommended to be installed parallel to the room’s longest wall. This is particularly useful in small kitchens and hallways, where most people want the area to feel as spacious as possible. Furthermore, it gives the impression that the room is “longer.”
Alternatively, running the planks parallel to the room’s shortest wall might bring the walls “closer together,” making a huge space feel cozier and a small space feel smaller.
3. In Relation to Light
Some homeowners prefer to place vinyl planks in the direction of the room’s natural light. This is because, if the light comes through your window in a perpendicular direction to the wood grain you select, it may bring out the color and character of that wood grain.
On the contrary, some people believe that direct sunshine might reveal seams and imperfections in your flooring installation, so it’s entirely up to you and what you notice when you test the floor in front of your windows.
4. Features of Interest
Another thing you’ll want to consider is the room’s focal point. This might be a fireplace, a window seat, or an antique armoire.
You’ll want to make sure that the flooring runs in a way that doesn’t obstruct your view of or access to these features. Additionally, you may want to use the flooring to highlight these features by drawing attention to them.
For example, you may choose to angle your flooring to run parallel or directly toward a diagonal wall depending on the desired impact. If an angled wall indicates the room’s orientation, your eye will be drawn straight to it.
NOTE: The direction of the grain can draw your eye to a specific feature, so if you point your floors to a wide bay window, it will likely be the first thing people notice.
5. Consider the “Traffic Flow”
Another important factor to consider is the “traffic flow.” This refers to the path that people take when they enter and exit the room. You want to make sure that the vinyl plank flooring is installed in a way that doesn’t block the traffic flow or create any trip hazards.
6. Staircase Installation
If you’re installing vinyl plank flooring in a room with a staircase, you’ll need to take that into account as well. The best way to do this is to install the planks in the same direction as the staircase. This will make it appear as though the flooring continues up the stairs and create a cohesive look.
If the wood grain you’ve chosen is vibrant, with distinct grain patterns and distinguishing characteristics, it is best to keep the installation simple, either with horizontal or vertical lines.
Modern patterns, such as chevron or herringbone, might make your flooring appear busy or chaotic. These patterns, on the other hand, are well-suited to enhancing more modest designs.
8. Ease of Installation
Finally, you’ll want to consider the ease of installation. Some vinyl plank flooring is designed to be installed in a specific direction, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remember it is crucial to think about the obstacles you'll have to overcome as well as the amount of room you'll have to work with.
Furthermore, you can save a little money and make your project more ecologically friendly by planning for the least amount of waste.
What is The Best Pattern for Vinyl Plank Flooring?
The best pattern for vinyl plank flooring is dependent on the space in which it will be installed. If you’re working with a large, open area, you may want to consider a diagonal or herringbone pattern.
These patterns can help to make a space appear more dynamic and can also be used to highlight specific features. Alternatively, if you’re working with a small space, or if you want to create a more cohesive look, a simple horizontal or vertical pattern is best.
Where to Start Laying Vinyl Plank Flooring?
The best place to start laying vinyl plank flooring is in the corner of the room. This will give you a reference point from which to work and will help you to avoid any issues with the alignment of your flooring.
Additionally, starting in the corner will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to the placement of your vinyl plank flooring before you move on to the rest of the room.
How to Find a Straight Line When Installing Vinyl Flooring?
If you’re having trouble finding a straight line when installing vinyl flooring, there are a few things you can do:
- Use a chalk line – to mark a straight line on the subfloor. This will give you a reference point to work from and will help to ensure that your flooring is installed in a straight line.
- Use a laser level – this tool will emit a laser beam that you can follow when installing your floor. This is a great option if you’re working in a large space and need to make sure that the planks are installed in a straight line.
- Use a tape measure – to measure the distance between the wall and the vinyl planks.
What if I Need to Install Vinyl Flooring in Multiple Rooms?
Maybe you’ve opted to use the same vinyl plank flooring throughout the house, from the front door to the garage and every room in between. The amount of space and rooms may make deciding which direction to go significantly more difficult.
This type of circumstance may require changing the flooring direction in some rooms and installing a transition strip across any doorways to hide gaps.
NOTE: Use transition strips as sparingly as possible. Also, some homeowners decide on one direction to lay the entire floor, thus eliminating the need for transition strips altogether.
How Do You Transition Between Two Rooms with Vinyl Plank Flooring?
There are a few different ways that you can transition between two rooms with vinyl plank flooring. One option is to use a T-molding. This is a strip of wood or plastic that fits into the space between two flooring surfaces and provides a seamless transition.
Another option is to use a reducer strip. This is a strip of wood or plastic that sits on top of the two flooring surfaces and creates a gradual transition between them.
Finally, you can use a threshold strip. This is a strip of wood or plastic that sits on top of the two flooring surfaces and provides a clean, finished look.
How Should Vinyl Plank Flooring Be Laid?
Vinyl plank flooring should be laid in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The best way to achieve this is to start in the corner of the room and work your way out.
- Starting in the corner of the room, lay your first piece of vinyl plank flooring.
- Continue laying the planks until you reach the other side of the room.
- If you need to cut any pieces to fit around obstacles, use a sharp knife or a saw.
- Once you have reached the other side of the room, install any trim or molding to cover the edges.
Example of Floorplan
Running parallel to the longest wall in each space, such as a ten-foot by six-foot entry that branches into a hallway on the left, a narrow kitchen on the right, and a tiny, open living room straight ahead, might produce a box-effect with transition strips at the junction.
To maintain the area open and coherent, consider running the planks horizontally where they will become vertical in all the other rooms and hence also eliminating the need for transition strips.
Which Side of Vinyl Plank Goes Against the Wall?
When installing vinyl plank flooring, the tongue is always installed against the wall. The reason for this is that it provides a secure fit and helps to prevent the planks from shifting.
Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring in Hallway?
It totally depends on your preference. There are a few different ways that you can lay it in a hallway. For example, you can either lay it parallel or perpendicular to the longest wall in the hallway. Or go with a herringbone pattern.
How to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring Around Corners?
First, mark the corners with a pencil. Then use a sharp knife or a saw to cut along the marked lines. Finally, install any trim or molding to cover the edges.
How to End Vinyl Plank Flooring at Doorways?
The best way to do so is to use trim moldings. They’re thin strips of wood or plastic that sit between the two flooring surfaces and give your room a polished, finished appearance.
Does It Matter Which Way You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Yes, it does matter which way you lay vinyl plank flooring because it will affect the overall look of the floor. For example, if you want the floor to look wider, then you should lay the vinyl plank flooring parallel to the longest wall in the room or vice versa.
Can You Put Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Garage?
Yes, you can put vinyl plank flooring in a garage. However, it is important to choose the right type of flooring for the application. For example, if you are going to be using the garage as a workshop, then you will need to choose vinyl planks that can withstand heavy traffic and wear and tear.
Do You Need a Straight Floor for Vinyl Planks?
No, you don’t need a straight floor for vinyl planks. However, it is important to make sure that the floor is level before you install the flooring. Otherwise, it may not lay flat and could end up shifting or buckling.
Do You Need Transition Strips for Vinyl Flooring?
If you are installing vinyl flooring in a room that has multiple doorways or is connected to other rooms, then you will need to use transition strips. Transition strips provide a smooth transition between two different flooring surfaces and help to prevent them from shifting or buckling. This is especially important if you are installing vinyl flooring in a room that has a lot of traffic or is subject to moisture.