What direction should I lay a laminate floor?

There are several different methods for laying flooring planks. Until recently, each installation procedure depended largely upon the type of subfloor being covered. Every manufacturer=recommended method of floor laying has its advantages and disadvantages. However, since the introduction of the innovative "click and fold" method of installing laminate and hardwood flooring, the type of subfloor being covered has become less important when deciding in which direction to lay the floor.

Start laying wood for a glue-down installation against the wall directly opposite the entrance to the room. Since glue-down flooring requires 24 hours for adhesives to cure, and walking on the floor causes individual planks to shift, starting elsewhere puts you in danger of painting yourself into a corner, so to speak.

Nail the starting row of flooring against the longest wall when using the nail-down method. This wall is invariably built parallel to the flooring joists. Nailing boards directly onto the joists is the best way to secure nail-down flooring.

Install laminate click-together flooring in the same direction that the main source of light enters the room. This is purely for aesthetic reasons. Sunlight or diffused light reflecting from a largely unbroken surface enhances the beauty of wooden flooring. As an exception to this rule, lay the flooring parallel to the walls in a passageway or in a long, narrow room for the best results.


Before laying boards down a passageway, divide the width of the passage by the width of a finished plank. Divide the remaining fractional width by 2. This will tell you how wide to cut the starting and finishing boards. It will also position the main flooring down the centre of the passageway.

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About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.