Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

by Charlie
Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

If you are putting down vinyl plank flooring in your home, one of the first and most important questions is which way the flooring should go. This will be critical to understand because it will help you to determine how much flooring you need to buy and how long the planks need to be. If you don’t think about this, you might buy the wrong number of planks.

You might think it doesn’t really matter, but which way the planks run can make a surprising amount of difference to the appearance of a room – so don’t dismiss this as unimportant. Instead, take the time to figure out what you’re going to do.

Which direction to lay vinyl plank flooring? Various factors dictate which way the planks should run. Some people choose to run the planks parallel with the longest wall of the room, while others prefer to follow the flow of natural light and position them in line with a window. In a hallway, you might run the planks in line with the door, and in some cases, you might want a diagonal pattern.

Which Direction Should the Planks Go?

This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on quite a few factors. If your room is very small, running the planks parallel to the longest wall is a good way to make it feel more spacious and open. Sometimes, the grain of the wood or the way the light falls will dictate which way the planks should be positioned.

Sometimes, you’’ll want to arrange the planks to draw attention to a particular feature (such as an impressive fireplace or staircase) and sometimes they’ll need to be in line with a doorway. Thinking about your individual space and the impression you want to create is therefore critical, because there is no “right” way to do this.

When Should You Lay the Planks with the Wall?

A common option is to run the planks parallel with the longest wall in the room. This involves using fewer planks, but often much longer ones. It makes the room looks bigger, so it’s best done in small spaces where you want to maximize how open the room is.

This will often (but not always) override the other considerations because it can make such a big difference to appearances. If your room is only around 15 feet at the widest, you’ll generally want to follow the wall. Cut your planks to be as long as possible, rather than making lots of short stretches.

When Should You Lay the Planks with the Light?

If you have particularly pretty vinyl planks, laying them with the light is often a good idea because this will ensure that plenty of light falls on the planks. It will highlight the pattern better and bring out the richness of the wood.

For rooms that only have a little bit of natural light, this may not work very well, so think about the size of the window as well as the appearance of the vinyl. If your window is small, you might want to prioritize other reasons for choosing the layout of your vinyl.

When Should You Lay the Planks Diagonally?

Laying the planks diagonally can be more challenging, but it will look great in some specific circumstances. If your room has any irregularities or if the walls are angled, angling your planks too can make it appear more uniform and deliberate. Straight planks don’t tend to look great when paired with angled walls.

If you’re going to lay the planks diagonally, make sure you have checked the angles thoroughly before you start. Angled planks can also make a room feel bigger, because they create longer expanses of vinyl.

Sometimes, you might want to lay the planks in a pattern, such as herringbone. This can be difficult in a small space, however, so take this into consideration when deciding whether a pattern will work or not.

What About Laying Planks Around a Feature?

Sometimes, you can use the appearance of a major feature to decide how to lay your vinyl. For example, if you have a staircase, you will probably need to lay the planks horizontally, rather than vertically – as vertical planks don’t tend to work well on stairs. They look strange and can be very hard to fit.

This will also generally affect how you lay any vinyl around the staircase. For example, in the hallway below and above, you will probably need to continue the horizontal lines, because otherwise you will have an awkward transition area that will not look particularly attractive.

Other big features in your room might also influence which direction you lay your vinyl planks in. A large fireplace, a window seat, or other fixed features could all encourage you to lay the planks in a way that will draw your eyes to the feature. You’ll usually want to lay the planks so that they are perpendicular to that feature, as this guides your line of vision.

However, be cautious about doing this with any features you might later remove, especially if you are going to ignore other factors (such as the longest wall or the flow of natural light) for this.

What If You Still Aren’t Sure?

If you’re still uncertain about the direction of your planks, it’s a good idea to purchase a few planks and then test the different options. Just laying a few planks should help you to determine which looks best. Remember, you don’t need to cover the whole floor in order to make this assessment.

This can be really helpful if you have several conflicting factors, such as a window on one wall and a fireplace on another. Try your chosen direction before you start setting it in place.

Final Thoughts

If you are putting down vinyl plank flooring, it’s important to think about the direction before you begin cutting and laying it. Think about things like stairs and big features you will need to work around first, and then consider things like room size and the direction of the natural light before you make any decisions.

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