How to Decide Which Way to Lay Laminate Flooring

There is no one right direction to lay laminate flooring. Each home and each space has its own distinctive characteristics, such as size, decor, and lighting. Deciding which way to lay laminate flooring depends on those characteristics.

Video to help you decide on how to layout laminate floors.

Below you can find information on common ways to lay your flooring, different types of patterns and tips on avoiding laminate flooring installation fails. Note: Google Images and Pinterest serve as great resources, too, if you are stuck or need some more ideas.

Common Ways to Lay Laminate Flooring

In the vast majority of cases, you will run your laminate flooring straight through from the front door to the back door. This creates a cohesive look that complements most spaces, typically resulting in running the floor parallel with the longest walls.

Not only does this approach typically save you money, but it creates good energy flow in your home.

In fact, one of the most basic principles of feng shui for the home is that the front door is the main portal for energy (chi) to enter the home. Running your laminate from the front door to the back door lets the chi run throughout your home.

One exception to the front-to-back rule comes into play when you have already existing wood or laminate floors. If you try to match a new area with an old area, it won’t typically match well.

In this case, you may choose to purposely install the new flooring perpendicular to the existing flooring.

worker is laying laminate, measuring planks

Introducing Patterns to Your Laminate Flooring

Deviating from laying your laminate flooring from front to back will happen when your space to too small or awkwardly shaped to allow it. This is an opportunity to introduce a pattern into your flooring.

Borders / Parquet

You may also want to do a border or a special inlay which includes a pattern referred to as parquet. Depending on your design aesthetic and personal taste, you can choose to install modern or classic wood floor patterns with your laminate flooring. You can do classic parquet laminate floors which include alternating squares of laminate boards, which look like individual tiles made of wood.

Modern parquet patterns include chevron, herringbone, and hexagons.

Avoid Laminate Flooring Fails

Although laminate flooring isn’t real wood, it’s durable, cost-effective, and difficult to tell whether it’s real wood or not when using good products. Laminate wood floors are meant to look like wood, so they need to be staggered.

One of the biggest laminate flooring installation fails is using full planks without cutting them; you need different size cuts to stagger the boards so they look natural. This also creates stability on the floor, too.

Some other laminate flooring fails to watch out for include:

Faulty subfloor

Take time to make sure your subfloor is level before installing any laminate flooring, with or without a pattern. If you put down the floor over uneven subfloor, your laminate floor will also be uneven.

Using bad planks

Inspect every one of your laminate planks for defects. Bubbles and bumps in the wood can create problems down the road and they don’t look so nice when your new floor is complete.

Not leaving proper gaps

In small rooms, you must leave about a 1/4 inch around the edges to allow for the laminate floor to expand and contract with climate. Larger areas and hallways require a 1/2 inch gap. Without the proper space, it’s likely your laminate floor will buckle.


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