The perfect flooring can transform a space, and the secret to achieving it may lie in something as simple as the direction in which it’s installed. When it comes to vinyl plank flooring, choosing the right direction can make all the difference in the aesthetics, functionality, and overall flow of a room. But how do you know which direction is the best for your space?
You’ll need to consider your room shape and focal features, light source, and type of flooring to make that decision. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of the impact flooring direction can have on your space.
- There is no wrong direction to lay vinyl plank flooring, and you can experiment with different directions and patterns to achieve a unique and visually appealing result that suits your personal style
- Popular vinyl plank flooring patterns and styles include straight lay, diagonal lay, and herringbone
- Preparing the subfloor, accurate measurement and planning, and precise cutting and trimming are essential for a successful vinyl plank flooring installation.
- Consider the following when deciding on vinyl plank flooring direction:
- Direction of natural light
- Room shape and size
- Room flow
- Focal points and room features
- Material cost and sizing
- Personal preference
Factors to Consider When Deciding on Vinyl Plank Flooring Direction
A well-thought-out layout can not only enhance the visual appeal of your room, but also improve its functionality and create a sense of harmony. The general principle is to lay the planks parallel to the longest wall of the room, but sometimes it makes sense to experiment with different directions to achieve a unique look or accommodate angled walls.
Natural Light Source
The direction of natural light plays a significant role in determining the direction of your vinyl plank flooring. This not only enhances the visual appeal of your space, but also contributes to a more open and welcoming atmosphere. When planning your flooring layout, take note of where the sun’s rays enter the room and how they move throughout the day.
If you have a large window with a flood of natural light, you can lay the planks vertically facing the source of natural light to give the floors a smoother look as the light shines on them, giving the illusion of a larger space. If you prefer a more stacked look, lay the floors horizontally, perpendicular to the window. You can also experiment with diagonal or herringbone placements, playing with light and shadows to create your desired look.
Paul McCrae, renovations contractor of over 12 years, says light source does play a part in choosing how to lay vinyl planks. “If you’re going perpendicular to the direction where the light is entering the room the light could accentuate texture that’s part of the plank. This is personal preference.”
Room Shape and Size
By choosing a direction that complements the room’s shape and size, you can create an illusion of spaciousness or coziness, depending on your desired outcome.
For example, laying the planks in a diagonal pattern can create an illusion of a larger room, whereas laying them in a straight line can give the space a more ordered look. On the other hand, arranging the vinyl along the shorter wall can give a more expansive room a more intimate atmosphere.
McCrae says this isn’t just about aesthetics, however. “If you have a hallway and rooms, you want the vinyl planks to run the length of the hallway, then branch off into the rooms in the same direction, he says. “The longer the pieces are on a project the more stable the floor is and the more resistant it is to shifting. This adds stability to the whole installation.”
Room flow refers to the connection between rooms in terms of design and functionality, influencing how people use a space. An effective flow facilitates transitions from one room to the next, allows for ease of navigation, and enables people to pass by one another without any awkwardness.
By matching the direction of flooring in adjoining spaces, you can ensure a seamless transition and create a sense of continuity throughout your home. This not only enhances the overall design, but also contributes to a more cohesive and harmonious atmosphere.
McCrae recommends laying all planks the same way in rooms as well as hallways—not perpendicular to each other. “Aesthetically, it’s nice having to avoid adding a transition strip in the door. The planks are only engineers to connect lengthwise with themselves not perpendicular.”
Focal Points and Room Features
Focal points and room features should also be considered when determining the direction of your vinyl plank flooring. By choosing a direction that best accentuates these elements, you can create a visually appealing and well-balanced space. For instance, directing the planks towards a fireplace or large window can create an eye-catching effect, as the lines between each row will guide the viewer’s gaze towards the focal point. Additionally, placing the floor planks diagonally at a 45-degree angle can add a unique visual element to your room.
Material Cost and Sizing
While vinyl flooring is known for its affordability, you still need to consider the total cost of your materials and how each plank’s size will affects your laying options. Usually, vinyl planks are manufactured at standardized sizes, so in order to lay them perfectly in your room, you’ll need to manually cut and size them accordingly. You may want to save time and material by laying the planks in a way that’ll maximize the long planks so that you only need to cut a few planks rather than loosing a layout that emphasizes lots of cuts.
Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the direction of your vinyl plank flooring. While the above factors should be considered, your preference will determine the overall look and feel of your space. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different directions and patterns to achieve a unique and aesthetically pleasing appearance that suits your personal style.
Popular Vinyl Plank Flooring Patterns and Styles
Now that we’ve discussed the factors that can influence the direction of your vinyl plank flooring, let’s explore some popular patterns and styles that can help you achieve a unique and visually appealing result. The three main patterns and styles are straight lay, diagonal lay, and herringbone pattern. Each of these patterns and styles offers unique benefits and can greatly impact the final appearance of your flooring.
The straight lay pattern is a classic and straightforward option for laying vinyl plank flooring. In this pattern, the planks are laid in a straight line without staggering them, typically running parallel to the longest wall or the primary light source. This creates a clean and orderly appearance that works well in a variety of spaces.
The straight lay pattern is often the simplest to install and can be an excellent choice for DIY projects. It’s a versatile option that can work well in both small and large spaces, providing a seamless and visually appealing result.
The diagonal lay pattern is a more dynamic option for vinyl plank flooring. In this pattern, the planks are laid diagonally across the room, typically at a 45-degree angle. This creates a sense of movement and visual interest that can make a space feel more dynamic and engaging.
The diagonal lay pattern can also create the illusion of increased length and width in a room, making it appear larger and more spacious. However, this pattern can be more complicated to install than other options and may require more cutting and trimming of the planks.
Despite these challenges, the diagonal lay pattern can be an eye-catching and unique choice for your vinyl plank flooring.
The herringbone pattern is a sophisticated and intricate option for vinyl plank flooring. This pattern consists of a series of interconnected diagonal lines, creating a distinctive zigzag pattern that adds texture and depth to a space. The herringbone pattern is an excellent choice for those looking to create a visually appealing and unique flooring design.
However, the herringbone pattern can be more challenging to install than other patterns, as it requires more exact measurements and cutting. Additionally, it can be more expensive than other options due to its complexity.
Despite these drawbacks, the herringbone pattern can be a stunning and stylish choice for your vinyl plank flooring, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to your space.
Tips for a Successful Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation
Armed with the knowledge of various factors, patterns, and styles, you’re now ready to tackle installing vinyl flooring. Here’s how to do that:
Preparing the Subfloor
Before installing your vinyl plank flooring, ensure a clean, level, and debris-free subfloor. This provides a solid foundation for your flooring and helps prevent issues like unevenness or gaps between planks. To prepare your subfloor, thoroughly clean the surface and repair any holes or cracks using a suitable filler. If you encounter any unevenness in the subfloor, use a self-leveling compound to rectify the issue.
Measuring and Planning
Accurate measurement and careful planning ensure successful vinyl plank flooring installation. First, you’ll need to calculate the square footage of your room as follows:
Length * Width = Square Footage
Account for cuts and waste by adding an additional 10% to the square footage.
Cutting and Trimming Vinyl Planks
Precise cutting and trimming of vinyl planks provide a seamless and professional-looking installation. Use a sharp utility knife and straightedge to make clean, accurate cuts, and create templates for more complex shapes, such as around doorways or curved walls.
For larger or more intricate cuts, consider using a jigsaw or circular saw with a fine-tooth blade.
There’s no Wrong Direction to Lay Vinyl Flooring
The direction of vinyl plank flooring affects the aesthetics, functionality, and overall flow of a room. Although there’s no right or wrong way to lay your vinyl plank flooring, by considering factors such as room shape and size, natural light source, focal points, room features, and transitions between rooms, you can choose the perfect look for your space. Moreover, experimenting with popular patterns and styles like straight lay, diagonal lay, and herringbone pattern can create a unique and visually appealing result.
Remember to follow my tips for a successful installation to achieve a stunning and functional vinyl plank flooring installation that elevates your space and reflects your individual style.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you install vinyl plank flooring in either direction?
You can install vinyl plank flooring in any direction, as there’s no wrong way to lay them as long as the planks are all following the same direction.
You can even play around with various directions and pattern options for your new floors, or create a unique and eye-catching effect with diagonal laying.
Does vinyl flooring go lengthwise or widthwise?
For a room that’s wider than it is long, I’d recommend installing the planks perpendicular to the longest wall. This can make the room appear wider and shorter, balancing the size.
Why do you leave a gap when laying vinyl plank flooring?
Leaving an expansion gap when installing vinyl plank flooring allows for the material to expand and contract due to temperature changes, thus avoiding buckling or slipping apart.
What are some popular vinyl plank flooring patterns and styles?
Popular vinyl plank flooring patterns and styles include straight lay, diagonal lay, and herringbone.