I received a call today from a customer who was uncertain as to what kind of pattern he should be trying to create with his random length engineered flooring. Now, you may be no Monet…
…but a little attention to detail will go along way in determining the overall look of your floor.
Essentially, you want to keep in mind three things: colour, length, and end joints.
Colour: hardwood flooring is a natural product so colour variation must be expected. Recognizing that, you want to spread out differing shades accordingly.
Length: with a random length floor you want spread out the differing lengths much in the same way as you do with the colour. You may consider reserving a few longer pieces for hallways and more conspicuous areas. Likewise, shorter boards can be used to start your run off the wall or hidden away in closets.
End Joints: This is a consideration of both aesthetics and performance. First, always be sure that the end joints of two rows side be side are never within 6″ of one another. Beyond that, there are two culprits watch out for- H-Joints and Stair Stepping. An H-Joint is when the end joints of two rows are within 6″ of one another but are separated by another row in the middle. A stair stepping pattern can result from a succession of joints separated by, say, less than 12″ in a 45 degree angle. Either of these pattern not only look bad but also compromise the ability of the boards to support one another.
Always start by opening 4-5 boxes so that you have the full range of your flooring at your fingertips. From there lay out 4-6 rows without fastening. Step back and take a look at the overall appearance of the floor, keeping in mind colour, length, and joint spacing. Adjust accordingly.