how to layout plank flooring in multiple rooms & closets

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Forum topic by Wade Campbell posted 10-22-2018 04:39 PM 1172 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Wade Campbell

9 posts in 2584 days

10-22-2018 04:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plank flooring layout plank flooring

I am installing engineered wood laminate flooring (that I will staple down) in multiple rooms, and need advice on how to do it while minimizing transition pieces and direction changes. A rough layout plan follows, and in the large room the planks will run left to right (vs. top to bottom) of the plan.

I need advice on both a) layout (i.e., whether to maintain the same plank direction (left to right vs. top to bottom) throughout, or not, and b) where to start and when/how to do the closets.

-- Wade V Campbell

4 replies so far

View David's profile


199 posts in 3947 days

#1 posted 10-22-2018 05:55 PM

I would start with the wall between the closets and the large room and just plan on a few direction changes in the closet. If it’s tongue and groove flooring the splines they sell for direction change are easy to use and invisible when done carefully (even to the installer). IMO a lot easier than trying to measure carefully and start an outside wall to avoid a change or two.

If my project, I would start at the wall between large room/closets, finish toward the bottom of the drawing, then do the hall and closets starting from the middle. You’ll get the best/longest pieces for the room where presumably you want it to look best, and can use the rest in the closets where appearance isn’t as big of a deal. I put wood in my prior house and the closets are all of the leftovers, knots, etc. Even I couldn’t remember where the direction changes were and I knew to look for them.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View bmerrill's profile


127 posts in 1357 days

#2 posted 10-22-2018 08:57 PM

Start on at the wall in the large room at the bottom of the picture and work toward the closets.
Once in the closets, you’ll only have a few planks in each to lay backwards.

-- Woodworking, the transformation of nature to culture.

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3653 days

#3 posted 10-22-2018 10:09 PM

I did my entire 2nd floor with hardwood. I think you could start on either long wall of the main room. It shouldn’t really matter. With my place I ran a single straight row the entire length of the house, and then worked off either side to keep the orientation the same through every room, closets and all. (I used the splines David mentioned to change the direction, worked great.) I think it looks a lot better than transitioning at each room.

Personally, I would maintain the same direction/orientation of the flooring up the hall and into the closets. My second choice would be to transition at the hallway entrance and turn the boards perpendicular to the main room, and follow that direction into and through the closets. I would avoid changing direction at each doorway.

-- John

View clin's profile


1128 posts in 2280 days

#4 posted 10-22-2018 11:20 PM

Sometimes this type of flooring only easily goes in from one direction because you have to tilt the new piece up to lock it in. If it is that type, I agree with bmerrill, start at the bottom of your drawing and work up towards the closets. Be sure to note if the room width varies so you can still try to make the wall, common to the closets, the the reference wall. So your starting board may need to be ripped at a slight angle. Usually you don’t need to actually cut an angle, just cut the boards progressively wider or narrow as you move down the length of the wall (stair step like). This assumes you have baseboard that will cover this.

Also, watch the width of the room, sometimes you have to rip the first board narrower so that the last board isn’t too narrow. In other words better to have the boards on both sides of the big room be a little bigger than 1/2 width, than for one to be full width and the other something stupid narrow like 1”.

You won’t necessarily be able to control this in the closets, but if you do end up with something really narrow like 1”, it won’t be seen much in a closet or get much direct use like having a piece of furniture on it.

I don’t see a need to change directions of the planks, and so no need for transitions. As you build down the “hall” towards the closets and then into the closets, you will of course end up working backwards as bmerril said (down in your drawing). But if these are smallish closets, that shouldn’t be too hard to do. And if the wood just slips together, like tongue and groove, it makes no difference.

There should be very little waste. You want to stagger the pieces, so the ends of the boards do NOT line up across rows. Usually you start with full length boards, then the cut-off of the last board. This cut-off becomes the first board on the next row. Of course it needs to be a minimal length, and not so long it is too close to the end of the other board. If that is the case, then you save the first cutoff for the start of the next row. This actually works well even when the ends have fancy shapes for locking together.

Some other advice I’ll offer is to not ignore the manufacturers guidelines for leveling the floor. It of course doens’t need to be level, but needs to be flat within a certain range. This prep can be as much or more work than laying the actual flooring. But don’t cut corners or you may have boards that separate, pop loose, squishy to walk on, sound hallow, or squeak.

-- Clin

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