What direction to lay wood floor

Updated November 21, 2016

Laminate flooring is a beautiful alternative to real hardwood floors. This is a floating floor system and installs by snapping the planks together. There is no need for glue or nails. Careful preparation of your subfloor and using the appropriate underlayment will make your floor last for a lifetime. It really is not difficult to determine the direction that your floor should be laid.


Technically, laminate flooring can be installed in any direction that you choose, but there are things that you should consider such as the look as you enter a room, if you are installing the flooring in a hallway and if you will be installing the flooring in multiple rooms.

Room Direction

Most hardwood floors, including laminate, are installed horizontally to the doorway. When you look across the room from the entrance, the lines do not run vertically; they are horizontal to the entrance unless it is installed based on a natural light source. Laminate floors look better when they are laid in the same direction that natural light shines in from a window. When laid in the opposite direction, the floor can have a waved look to it.


You cannot always base your decision on window lighting. You must also consider the direction of your flooring if you are also installing it in a hallway. Flooring lines will ideally run parallel to the walls. If you install the flooring horizontally across a hallway it will make the hallway seem short and narrow. From your hallway you can flow right into a room seamlessly and without transition strips.

Joining Another Floor

If you already have laminate or hardwood floors in another room it is best to install the new floor with your lines flowing in the same direction. This will give your floors a seamless look throughout your home.

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About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).