Whether you’ve chosen to purchase real or engineered flooring, and regardless of whether it’s in a laminate or plank style, there will be one more decision to make before you have it installed: you will need to decide which direction your wood flooring will be placed. This article covers the two main orientations for wood flooring planks to be most commonly laid, which is in the straight and diagonal directions.
The Benefits of Straight-Laid Flooring
Basically, you can run your wood flooring in any straight direction from north to south or east to west if the flooring will run in straight lines. If you’ve decided on the straight route for your flooring, then one way to make the area of your floor look larger is to choose orientation by the longest walls.
Laying your flooring in a straight orientation is very simple, both if you decide to do it or you hire installers to. As well, laying flooring in this pattern allows for very little waste to be created, as no cutting is required. This means that more of your purchased flooring can be used.
Continuity is another benefit of laying flooring in straight lines. When run through an open space or several rooms, such as connected rooms along a hallway, this can serve to bring several elements and features of a home together, as well as make hallways appear to be longer.
Whilst laying floors in this way may not offer the most unique option, nor be the best choice for unusual room shapes, laying floors in a straight direction can take far less time.
Another way to lay flooring straight is by placing it not along the longest line of a room, but perpendicular to it. This too is a straight pattern, but is far less common than laying flooring along a room’s longest lines. Although many more cuts are required in order to lay floor in this direction, the perpendicular style can work very well in situations where the widening of a narrow room is needed, as it emphasises existing width.
The Case for a Diagonal Direction
Laying your engineered wood flooring in a diagonal direction also has benefits. First, it allows for the creation of very long lines, which can increase the appearance of a room’s size by a great deal. Diagonal flooring is commonly seen in flats and condominiums, where it’s important to have an open, large look and feel. The non-traditional placement of wood flooring in a diagonal direction also helps to normalise oddly-shaped rooms, or rooms that contain unusual angles.
Some skill is required to lay flooring in a diagonal direction, as finding a starting point can be challenging. As well, installing flooring in this direction requires mitring at the edges and therefore, causes the generation of more waste.
Despite its challenges, lying flooring diagonally can give it a unique and appealing appearance.
Another way to give a unique look to the rooms in a home is to install flooring in no specific direction. This can be done by staining existing flooring a dark colour and then applying sealing. A strategy like this can work well because staining allows the texture of the flooring to come through, whilst rendering the between-board seals invisible.
If you’ve lived in a your home for some time and have found you’ve gotten tired of your existing flooring or feel it’s gone out of style, the above ideas can certainly help to inject some interest. There are also several other directions in which to lay your flooring, including in the parquet, herringbone, square and inset. A future article will cover these styles and more.