How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring

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Vinyl plank staggering is the process of installing vinyl planks that have been cut out at random lengths to create a staggering pattern at the end joints of adjacent rows of the vinyl planks. The process is usually undertaken during the installation of Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF) for a natural look with enhanced visual allure.

To effectively stagger vinyl plank flooring, get correct needed tools, Measure the room widths and length to determine the no of rows, start laying the vinyl planks until the room is completely covered with vinyl flooring.

Read on for a detailed look at the process of staggering vinyl flooring, as well as how to accurately determine the amount of vinyl flooring you need for your space.

How do you stagger plank flooring?

How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring, floating flooring

To properly stagger your vinyl plank flooring, follow the steps described below:

  1. Start off by purchasing and collecting the necessary supplies and equipment for the project. These include your vinyl plank flooring, replacement blades, a utility knife, personal protective gear, a tape measure, and a T-square.
  2. Next, use your tape measure to determine the width of the room. Then, divide that figure by the width of the vinyl planks that you want to install. This will help you determine the number of rows you’ll need to install. For instance, if your room is 100-inches wide and each plank measures five-inches wide, you’ll need to install equally-sized 20 rows of vinyl planks.
  3. Now, it’s time to lay down the vinyl planks. For proper staggering, you’ll want to layout a full plank at the start of the first row, and a plank that’s cut out no shorter than six-inches long at the other end of the row. This minimum length requirement ensures that structural stability is maintained.
  4. Proceed to the second row and cut-out the first plank by about eight inches. Since you used a whole plank for the first row, the end joints of these adjacent rows will form a staggering pattern, as the second one will be shorter. As with the previous row, the ending plank in each row should be no shorter than six inches in length.
  5. For the third row, cut out a piece that’s about the same size as the cut-off piece used at the end of the first row. This will ensure the continuation of the staggered pattern.
  6. Repeat steps three-five above until you’ve completed all rows and your vinyl flooring is fully staggered and properly installed.
How to Stagger Floating Floors : Laminate Flooring Installation & Repair

What happens if you don’t stagger vinyl flooring?

Vinyl floor staggering not only serves an aesthetic purpose by giving the floor a natural, beautiful appearance– but also a functional one. By failing to stagger your vinyl flooring as you install it, your floor frame runs a higher risk of losing its structural integrity over time. A vinyl floor fitted with vinyl planks that haven’t been staggered is more prone to buckling and separation, both of which are further discussed below:

Vinyl floor buckling/bowing

Vinyl floor buckling occurs when the flooring can barely support the weight of the house, including heavy furniture items. Staggering ensures increased structural integrity of your flooring, thus minimizing the chances of buckling.

Separation of vinyl planks

Sometimes, gaps may form between adjacent vinyl planks on your floor, especially if you tend to move heavy furniture around the house. Staggering your vinyl planks during installation can help to prevent such loss of structural integrity due to weight pressure coming from above.

Do you have to stagger vinyl flooring?

No, while staggering vinyl flooring provides additional structural strength and stability, it’s not always an installation requirement. This is especially true for glue-in vinyl flooring, as the flooring is usually glued to the subfloor, thus significantly minimizing chances of structural issues like buckling.

For loose-lay vinyl flooring, however, staggering the vinyl planks during installation provides a significant structural boost. What’s more, even for glue-in vinyl floor boards, staggering ensures a superior visual appearance that heightens the overall aesthetic appeal of your room.

How much do you stagger vinyl plank flooring?

how to stagger vinyl plank flooring, staggering vinyl plank flooring pattern repeat

The key to properly staggering vinyl flooring is to ensure that the first plank in every third row is at least two-three inches longer or shorter than the first planks in the two rows. This results in a neat, staggering pattern that also offers added structural stability.

Also, remember that even as you space out your planks for proper staggering, you still have to leave a quarter-inch gap around the perimeter of the room. This space facilitates the expansion and contraction of your vinyl floor boards.

Read Also: How Soon Can You Walk on Vinyl Plank Flooring after Installation?

How do you calculate how much vinyl flooring you need?

When it comes to residential construction projects, cutting down on supply expenses is a very crucial factor; as you don’t want to buy more or less material than you need. To accurately determine how much vinyl flooring you’ll need for your room, follow the procedure detailed below:

  1. Measure the length and width of the room, then multiply these two dimensions to determine the area of the room. If your room is irregularly shaped, you can sub-divide it into various shapes including rectangles, semi-circles, and rectangles; then, calculate the area for each portion and add up the sum to establish the total area.
  2. Incorporate a 10% waste allowance into the total area calculation, as you’ll be cutting out some of the vinyl plank pieces to fit the floor space.
  3. Next, take this area measurement to your local vinyl flooring store for professional guidance on how many sheets of vinyl flooring you’ll need to buy to cover the entire floor. Alternatively, if you prefer vinyl tiles, you can divide the total area by the coverage listed on your chosen vinyl manufacturer’s packaging. This will help you determine the total number of vinyl plank cases that you’ll need for your space.

Read More: How to stagger laminate planks flooring. The best underlayment for vinyl planks flooring.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

1 thought on “How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring”

  1. Hi Joe question for my problem floor. I have an outside patio/ garage rooftop I want to cover with an acceptable coating. We use this area and have in the past installed indoor,outdoor carpet but always end up with mold,mildew and moss. There is a rubber membrane on top of roof board. What can withstand sunshine and cold


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