I am about to install engineering flooring for my living room. At first, I plan to start based on wall A (the longest wall, please see image below). However, there is a projection (or indentation, depending on your view). If I continue to start based on wall A (which means planks will parallel to wall A), shall my first row start from Wall A & Wall C (where wall A meets wall C) , or shall it start from the the corner of the window projection/indentation (where wall A meets window).

Or alternatively, shall I star based on wall B or wall C?

Thank you!

Room Layout

  • 1
    Which way do the joists run?
    – Tester101
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 12:27
  • @Tester101, not being snarky -- what's the significance of the joists? Thanks. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 15:35
  • 1
    The joist direction doesn't matter very much assuming you've got a relatively solid subfloor. But if you don't, then you might want to install them perpendicular to the joists.
    – friedo
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 16:21
  • 1
    @InbetweenWeekends Historically hardwood flooring was always laid perpendicular to the joists, since at one point in time there were no subfloors. So for authenticity, flooring is often installed perpendicular to joists. However, it also serves a functional purpose. Driving the fasteners into the joists provides better hold, than driving them only through the subfloor material. Obviously not every plank will be nailed/stapled to a joist, but you should try to hit the joists when possible. (continue).
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 17:32
  • (continued) Also if the subfloor is not quite as stiff as it should be, installing the plank perpendicular to the joists will reduce movement in the flooring.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


Obviously starting and ending with a full plank is ideal, however, it almost never works out that way. You'll want to avoid installing skinny little pieces of a plank (less than half a plank), so you'll have to make some calculations up front.

Measure the distance from wall A to wall D, then based on the width of your planks determine how many rows you'll need. You'll not want to end at wall D with a little sliver of a plank, so you may find that you have to start at wall A with a half plank to avoid that.

You'll also want to measure from the projection in wall A, to wall A and wall D. Then determine if you started with a full plank in the projection, that you won't have a sliver along wall A or D.

Once you have that all figured out, then you can determine the right place to start. And whether you should start with a full plank or not.

Don't forget to include expansion gaps in all your calculations.


I would start from the window corners on the north wall (not the window projection). The reason is this would be the most noticeable area. Also measuring is only a concern if you had a door or room on the south wall. {And I am giving this advice based on you aesthetically wanting to run the wood the length of the room. It would be easier and transition easier running it up and down starting on C }

  1. Don't put a seam right on the corner. If your planks are long enough try to run one right over the window. If not have the planks meets near the middle.
  2. Run your entire row on the north wall (not window area). Make sure that your row has spacers on the wall so that your run lines up correctly with the rest of the room. You may need to cut the bottoms off your drywall.
  3. Carefully run your second row - this would be one row south of your top row. Have someone hold the plank(s) near window area when tapping in second row.
  4. Do the window area starting from the south (next to the first row). Make sure you add in spacers by the window - I usually use a piece of the engineered hardwood flipped on its side.
  5. Do the rest of the room from north to south. I usually install 3-4 rows at a time to make sure that my overlaps are smooth and not contrived looking.

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