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We are installing laminate flooring in our house and are considering how best to orient the flooring planks. The flooring will be installed in the Living Room, Dining Room, hallway and 3 bedrooms. There will be transitions placed at the doorways to each bedroom off the hallway, but the Living Room/Dining Room/Hallway area will be one continuous lay.

In terms of which way to orient the flooring planks, we have seen conflicting recommendations. We've read that, generally speaking, the planks should be aligned along the long axis of the room. We've also seen advice that the planks should be placed parallel to light coming in through windows. Lastly, some say that planking should run down the long axis of the hallway.

Given the floorplan as laid out above, how should we proceed? Should we lay the planks in a north/south direction, as that is the long axis of the Living Room/Dining Room area (and natural light will also enter from the north and south)? If so, as the flooring runs into the east/west hallway, it will run perpendicular to the hallway's long axis, which I fear could make the hallway appear short and stubby and give it a "boardwalk" effect when looking down its length. Should we instead orient that entire area east/west instead?

Also, once we establish a plank orientation for the main Living Room/Dining Room/Hallway area, should the bedrooms conform to that orientation as well, or should each of the bedrooms be decided individually based upon its individual merits?

  • My vote is, "down the long axis of the hallway." However, check to make sure the hallway walls are parallel. If they are not, make sure you start and end with as large of full size board as possible. If the hall tapers, it will be noticeable with a small board. – Lee Sam Apr 20 '17 at 4:42
  • I usually go perpendicular to the joists, because that's how traditional hard wood flooring was done. Nowadays floors tend to have subfloors, so it can be installed either way. Installing the flooring diagonally is another option. – Tester101 Apr 26 '17 at 1:14

"Running down the long axis of the hallway" is just a specific case of "running along the long axis of the room". I think this is very important, especially in a hallway.

In your case, I would do both. Lay the living room and dining room planks north-south, along the long axis, in one continuous piece. Then, put in a transition at the hallway and run the hallway boards east-west. Even though the transition isn't ideal, I think it will be much better than having either the front rooms or the hall seeming "compressed".

Then, at the bedrooms, you could revert back to the living/dining room orientation. This would have the effect of the hallway being "different", pulling all the similar rooms together.

In fact, if you're feeling inspired, you may even choose to use a different wood color for the hallway. Your mileage may vary :)

One thing to be aware of is that a house usually isn't square. If you have any features with parallel lines, such a tile hearth, make sure that these areas are lined up precisely with the laminate planks. The eye will easily pick out any problems there. On the other hand, you won't even notice if you have to taper by an inch or so over the length of a room.



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