How to stagger joints

Written by alexis lawrence
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How to stagger joints
Staggering hardwood floor joints creates a more stable floor. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Any time that you install plank-style flooring, such as hardwood or laminate, you should stagger the joints where the planks come together to avoid straight joint lines across the floor. This creates a sturdier flooring surface, which holds up better under normal use. Though it might sound like a puzzle, staggering the joints in a flooring job is a simple process that can be accomplished by trimming flooring planks.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flooring planks
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw

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  1. 1

    Lay the first row of flooring planks out in a straight line across the floor near one wall. When you reach the end of the first row and cannot fit a full plank, measure the space left at the end of the row and cut the final plank down to that size with a circular saw to fit it into the leftover space.

  2. 2

    Measure 6 to 8 inches from the end of a flooring plank on each edge and mark the plank on each side. Trim the 6- to 8-inch piece off of the flooring plank. Place this at the beginning of the second row of planks, locking the plank into place with the tongue-and-groove feature of the plank.

  3. 3

    Place full-size planks next to the trimmed plank at the start of the second row up to the end of the row where you can't fit a full plank. Cut a plank down to fit the space as you did for the first row.

  4. 4

    Measure 12 to 16 inches down from the end of the flooring plank to start the third row, marking each side of the plank and cutting the piece off with a circular saw. Lay the plank down to start the third row, placing full-size planks down the row next to it until you reach the end of the row and then cutting the final plank to size.

  5. 5

    Start the fourth row with a full-size plank just as you did the first row and lay the planks out as you did in the initial row. Cut the next row's first plank down by 6 to 8 inches, the following row's first plank down by 12 to 16 inches then continue the three-row pattern across the room to stagger the plank joints.

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