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Which Direction To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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You chose vinyl plank, found the color and style you love, and now you are getting ready to lay it down. But how do you get the most out of your new floors? Is there one direction that is better than another? Which direction do I install vinyl plank flooring?

Which Direction To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Which Direction Do I Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Your home is unique and you deserve to enjoy it for years to come and get the most out of it. The right direction can expand or shrink your space, draw your attention to a specific point in the room, or make your whole home feel uniform.

The choice is ultimately yours according to your personal preference of course. We will cover the factors that professionals consider when making this important decision to help you the most making right decision.

Which directions are possible when laying down vinyl floors

To make the decision a little easier, evaluate what your options actually are. If possible, bring home a case of the planks you chose, and lay them loosely on the floor to get an idea of the bigger picture.

You may be surprised to consider a direction or pattern that you did not give much thought to until today.

Horizontal

Standing at the entrance of a room, your flooring will lay horizontally if you want the ends to point from left to right.

Vertical

Again, standing at the entrance of the room, if your planks are vertical, the grain will run from your feet to the wall opposite you.

Diagonal

Professionals typically use a 40-degree angle when laying vinyl planks diagonally.

Many homeowners believe this is the best direction to tie multiple rooms together, make them all feel more spacious, and add an element of modern intrigue.

Herringbone viny flooring installation

Herringbone

If you butt the narrow ends of your planks together to form a 90-degree angle, you have a herringbone pattern.

Chevron

This type of zig-zag will require that you trim the corners of your planks, usually done at a 45-degree angle.

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What to Consider, when choosing right direction of vinyl plank flooring installation?

There are a few guidelines most professional flooring installers will follow. Each space is different and should be carefully considered before you get started.

NOTE: The direction you lay your planks in can have an optical effect on your entire home.

Parallel to the Longest Wall

It is often recommended that you run vinyl planks parallel to the longest wall in the room. This can be especially beneficial in narrow kitchens and hallways, where most people want the space to feel as big as possible. You could say it makes the room feel “longer”. When running the planks parallel to the shortest wall in the room, it can bring the walls “closer together”, which can make a large room feel cozy, and a small room feel smaller.

In Relation to Light

Some homeowners choose to lay vinyl planks according to the direction of the natural light in the room. Perpendicular to the direction of the light that comes through the window, the natural sunlight that comes through may enhance the colors and character of the wood grain you chose.

Some believe the direct sunlight can also bring out the seams and any flaws in the installation of your flooring, so it really is up to you and what you see when you test the floor in front of your windows.

Features of Interest

In a room with a diagonal wall, you may want to angle your flooring to run parallel to it, or pointed directly toward it, depending on the effect you want to have. If an angled wall sets the direction of the room, it will draw your view straight to it.

NOTE: The direction of the grain can draw your eye to a specific feature, so a large bay window will likely be the first thing people see if you point your floors to it.

This concept also applies to hearths, entertainment centers, and other features that may be the focal point of the room after the floor is installed.

Staircase

When installing vinyl plank on stairs, you are somewhat forced to run the wood grain horizontally. This can significantly impact your decision on which direction to lay the flooring at the bottom and the top landing of the stairs.

If it is all flowing in the same direction, the entire home and space feel cohesive.

Pattern

If the style of wood grain you chose is colorful, full of distinct grain patterns, and characteristic features, it may be prudent to keep the installation simple, with horizontal or vertical lines.

Moder patterns, like chevron or herringbone, can make your flooring look busy or erratic. These patterns are well-suited to enhance more subtle designs, however.

Ease and Waste

Sometimes it just comes down to how easy you want the installation to be. Especially if you are doing it yourself.

TIP: It is important to consider the obstacles you may have to work around and the amount of space you have to work in.

If you plan for the least amount of waste, you can save a bit of money and make your project that much more environmentally friendly.

What if I Need to Install Vinyl Flooring in Multiple Rooms?

Perhaps you have decided to install the same vinyl plank flooring from the front entry to the garage and every room in-between. The decision for which direction to go in could be far more complicated by the number of spaces and rooms.

This kind of situation may require you to consider changing the direction of the flooring in some rooms, using a transition strip across any doorways to cover any seams.

Some say to use them as sparingly as possible. Furthermore, many homeowners will decide on one direction for the entire floor, eliminating the need for transition strips altogether. The decision is entirely up to your preference and circumstance.

Example of floorplan

If you have a ten-foot by six-foot entry that branches into a hallway on the left, narrow kitchen on the right, and small, open living room straight ahead, for example, running parallel to the longest wall in each space could create a box-effect with transition strips at the junction.

You may consider running the planks horizontally, where they will become vertical in all the other rooms and eliminate transition strips to keep the space open and cohesive.

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