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What Is the Best Direction to Lay Plank Flooring?

Plank flooring is a popular choice in homes because it is easy to care for and provides a sophisticated look. It’s easy to soften up the look of plank flooring by laying down a plush carpet in high-traffic areas of the home. Whether you’re laying plank flooring for the first time or simply changing out your flooring, deciding on the plank direction can play a major role in the finished look of the material you choose.

plank direction
Bruce Hardwood Flooring American Treasures Collection in Plymouth Brown Hickory / SKU: 15257371

Types of Plank Flooring

Before you can decide how you want to install your plank flooring, you must first decide what type of plank flooring you’ll feature in your home. Among the most popular options are:

Deciding the Best Direction to Lay Plank Flooring

Plank flooring features a rectangular shape that lends itself toward many different patterns and directions. The most popular options include:

  • Vertical
  • Horizontal
  • Herringbone
  • Diagonal
  • Chevron

Aesthetic Considerations for Choosing Plank Direction

Cabot Vinyl Planks – 5mm SPC Click Lock – Redondo Collection in Oak Bluff / SKU: 15270215

Focal Point

If you have a fireplace or focal point in your room, you’ll want to lay the flooring in a way that draws the eye to that focal point. Lay the planks so they point toward the item you’d like to feature. If you have an open-concept home, this method can be difficult because you could have more than one focal point in different areas of the home.

Cohesive Sight Lines

plank direction
Sonora Floors Bamboo Collection in Vertical Carbonized / SKU: 15247396

When you want to enlarge the look of your home and make the space seem less busy, run the flooring from the front door through the back of the house. If the home is open concept, it’s important that once you choose a flooring direction, you stick with it throughout all the rooms that open onto one another. Laying the flooring in the same direction as the pathway from the front of your house to the back of your house is by far the most popular choice. Not only does it make a space appear larger, but it also helps invite people into your home by showing them what direction to go.

Modernizing the Look

When you want to make a statement with your flooring, choosing a diagonal floor plank installation is a great choice. This look can get a little busy, so make sure to only consider this option in large rooms, as it can become overwhelming in smaller spaces.

Adding Visual Appeal

Tungston Tungston Plank – Herringbone White Oak Flooring / SKU: 15101937

Show off your artistic style when you opt for a chevron or herringbone plank flooring pattern. This pointed way of laying flooring is a fantastic choice in large rooms or in homes where one space flows into another. Point the chevron from the front door through the back of the house to make the whole space appear larger and invite people into the space. This pattern could result in the creation of a statement hallway or passage from one space to another.

Showing Off the Flooring

When you absolutely love the look of your plank flooring and want to highlight all the colors and details of the product, run the flooring perpendicular to the light source in the room.

Material Consumption

Laying your flooring horizontally or vertically will help to get the most coverage out of the fewest materials. Any time you choose a more intricate pattern, you increase the amount of material needed to complete the job. If budget is an issue or the material is limited, this will be an important factor. Figure out just how much flooring you need to complete your project by knowing how to measure the space.

Functional Considerations

Sometimes, the needs of the space can supersede the aesthetic look of a flooring pattern. Before you make a final decision, consider the specific needs of your home. Some of the most common functional considerations include:

Floating Flooring

plank direction
Jasper Waterproof Engineered Hardwood Robin Ridge SPC Click-Lock Collection in Desert Hickory / SKU: 15271131

If you’ve chosen a floating floor, there may be a limit to how long you can extend the flooring without breaking it up with a threshold. If this is the case, the dimensions of the room may help determine which direction the plank flooring needs to be installed.

Installation Cost

There’s typically a standard installation price for running your plank flooring vertically or horizontally. If you start getting a little fancier with the design by choosing a chevron, herringbone, or diagonal arrangement, the price of installation is sure to increase.

Time Frame

When you’re trying to get your flooring installed quickly, choosing a vertical or horizontal arrangement is the most time-effective solution. The different methods used to piece together a diagonal, chevron, or herringbone pattern will also extend the time frame for installation.

Final Tips for Laying Plank Direction

plank direction
Lamton Laminate – 12mm AC4 – American Ingenuity Collection in Sandblasted Pine / SKU: 15270329

If you still haven’t chosen on an ideal layout, we have a few final tips that will help you make that final decision.

Lay the Flooring in the Space

Once you have the plank flooring in the space, place a few of the planks down in the direction you’re considering. There’s no substitute for seeing the boards in the space. If you’re installing the same flooring in multiple rooms, test out the arrangement in multiple rooms, as well.

Consider the Style of the Material

plank direction
Vesdura Vinyl Planks – 5.5mm SPC Click Lock – Vigorous Collection in Avebury / SKU: 15235041

If your plank flooring has intricate detailing, a simpler pattern is called for. If your flooring is more monochromatic in design, it can support a more visually interesting installation pattern.

Ask the Professionals

If you’re having the floors professionally installed, rely on the professionals to help guide your way. They have installed many floors and are sure to have seen every pattern in the past. Use their expertise as a guide to help you achieve the look you want.

When it all comes down to it, there’s no right or wrong way to direct plank flooring in your home. It really comes down to personal style preferences and what best fits the personality of your home. Check out pictures of rooms with different flooring designs and plank directions to help you determine which one will reflect your personal preferences. These tips don’t just apply to plank flooring. They can also be used as a guide for installing ceramic tiles designed to look like wood, as they often share the same rectangular design.

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