Deciding What Direction to Lay Timber Flooring

May 23, 2019

Before You start

We believe that timber flooring looks most beautiful when viewed looking down the length of the plank - this allows your eye to travel seamlessly down the board and take in the beautiful grain pattern of the natural timber. Alternatively when the flooring is viewed looking across the width of the planks, the planks joints visually cut off your line of sight, making the beautiful pattern become less of a feature and the joints themselves more noticeable. This is especially valid when working with narrow plank flooring. It is also wise to take in account that flooring laid horizontally in a space will make it appear even wider, whereas if it is laid vertically the room will appear longer.

Your eye is naturally drawn down the length of flooring planks so you can use them to lead to a feature that you want to show off! Flooring can be laid strategically so that it draws the eye in the direction of a focal point. For example in a house with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning outlook you might choose to lay the flooring so that it leads your eye towards the view. You could also use flooring to lead your eye to a feature wall, a piece of art and so much more!

Large rooms & open-plan spaces

  • You can choose to lay the flooring along the longest length of the room, or alternatively in the direction you will be most commonly be walking in the space. This will ensure you are looking down the length of the plank the majority of the time and are able to admire the beautiful grain pattern of the natural timber.
  • If you'd like to make a feature of an area of your floor you can go against this advice and lay the planks on a 45 degree angle - this is a sure way to create a statement!
  • You may also like to consider how the flooring will meet with outdoor surfaces such as decking and whether you want it all to run in the same direction or to change between the indoor/outdoor spaces.

Adjoining areas

  • When laying flooring throughout a series of rooms we recommend considering where the doorways are and how people will move throughout the space.
  • Where possible it is good to keep the floor running in the same direction as too many changes can make the space look busy. However it is entirely possible that somewhere in a plan you'll come up against some adjoining spaces or rooms where the timber flooring may need to change direction.
  • Scenario 1 - An open-plan area where the room splits off on an angle. We suggest to have the planks mitered so that they meet at a point where the angle of the room changes. You could also have a plank border installed between the two angles if you wish to define between the areas (see photos for an example).
  • Scenario 2 - Rooms off hallways or adjoining rooms. Here we suggest installing a plank border across the door frame to help define and separate the spaces (see photos for example). 

Hallways & Narrow spaces

  • In long narrow spaces such as hallways we recommend laying the timber flooring planks down the longest length of the room. This will ensure you are looking down the length of the plank the majority of the time and are able to admire the beautiful grain pattern of the natural timber.
  • If you do wish to lay planks horizontally across a hallway we recommend using a wide planks for the best effect.
  • Again, if you want to make a feature of your hallway floor you can go against all previous advice and lay your plank flooring on a 45 degree angle - this is a sure way to create a statement! 

Corners

  • If you come across a corner (for example in a hallway), you could will probably want to adjust the direction of your flooring to suit. One way you could do this is by mitering the planks so that the ends meet perfectly at the corner.
  • Alternatively, a weave-type effect could be used where the straight ends of the planks run into each other alternately at the corner (see photos for example). 

Odd-shaped spaces

  • Odd-shaped rooms can make it quite difficult to determine which way to lay your flooring. Generally we suggest either laying the planks down the longest length of the majority of the area, or in the direction that people will mostly be walking. You will usually want to line the flooring up with at least one straight wall if possible. 

Stairs

  • Planks are most commonly laid across the tread of the stair. However in some cases, for example in a hallway with a small flight of stairs, you could opt to have the stairs laid down the tread so as not to interrupt the line of sight. 

If you need help with deciding what direction to lay your flooring, feel free to send a copy of your plans to our customer care team and one of our experts will be in touch to discuss!

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