Which Way To Lay Laminate Flooring

You’ve selected your high-quality laminate flooring in roasted mocha — just the right hue to perfectly complement the ivory and caramel color scheme of your home. Now it’s sitting in your house waiting to be installed and the one question you never previously considered suddenly rears its head: which way should you lay your laminate flooring? 

Find out right here, in addition to the essential pointers you need to be aware of when installing your brand new floors to ensure you get to feel thoroughly satisfied with your gleaming surfaces at the end of it all.

A Question of Preference

While many tips and pointers exist which can help you make your floors appear especially alluring, the truth is that you should be guided by personal preference in terms of the direction in which your laminate surfaces should be installed. This is because this effect is purely esthetical and is subjective as a result, as opposed to a procedure that must often be followed as required.

Choosing the Right Direction to Lay Your Laminate Flooring

When laying your flooring, factoring in the direction of the lighting and the dimensions of your rooms can actually make the areas in question appear brighter and larger or longer.

These tips show you how:

1. Take Note of the Shape of the Space

Rectangular spaces: If an area happens to be rectangular, installing your floors parallel to the longest wall can make the space appear wider.

This principle is also followed when installing laminate planks in hallways and the effect serves to attract the gaze straight ahead so the focus is on the length of the space.

Paler or lighter flooring planks and even walls can enhance the effect further.

Conversely, installing your floor parallel to the shortest wall may make it appear smaller.

Extremely small spaces: If an area happens to be especially small, placing your floor planks diagonally will attract attention to the corners. It will also create longer lines and enhance the spaciousness of the area.

Placing planks diagonally also ensures a seamless transition between two areas, such as the lounge and your study, for example.

2. Follow the Direction of Natural Light

Our gaze tends to be attracted to light and to follow its path as well. As a result, laying your laminate flooring at right angles to the main source of a room’s natural light can make it seem larger, brighter, and airier.

What if you happen to have multiple points of entry for natural light? Simply install it according to your own design preferences.

3. Pay Attention to Entrances and Focal Points

Placing laminate floor planks at right angles to the point of entry of a room will ensure the gaze of anyone who comes in will naturally follow them. This has the effect of making an area appear more spacious.

Focal points such as artwork, bold wallpaper, TV consoles, and fireplaces, should also be taken into account and it is best to install your planks at right angles to them as well. This is because doing so will naturally direct the gaze to your room’s defining feature.

4. Ensure Uniform Installation

When installing your laminate flooring, ensuring the planks follow the same direction throughout your home can serve to provide a sense of uniformity.

This especially holds true if you have an open-plan home.

Laying the flooring parallel to the longest wall of the house is the best option to draw the gaze of the occupants longitudinally, making any space they are in seem larger as a result.


Why should I stagger laminate planks?

Staggering your laminate flooring will make it more structurally sound since the end joints will be more stable and less likely to separate. It will also enhance the aesthetic appeal of the entire surface.

Manufacturers recommend staggering your planks by a measurement of between 6 – 12 inches.

Are there any differences between installing laminate flooring diagonally and doing so horizontally or vertically?

Yes, there is. Installing planks diagonally is rather difficult compared to the other two standard directions. 

The procedure requires taking careful measurements before the actual installation process can begin. What’s more, the first planks must be placed at the center of the room as opposed to being placed against a wall.

The diagonal installation will also require a degree of skill and professional assistance may be required.

It is also worth noting that doing so will result in a higher proportion of unusable cut-offs and is likely to involve more waste as a result. 

How can I work out how much laminate to purchase?

Simply measure the length and breadth of the room you wish to install the flooring in and multiply the figures you obtain to work out the area of the total flooring surface. Next, add 10% of that figure to allow for wastage.  (This percentage should be increased to 15% if you intend to install your floors diagonally.)

Can I install laminate planks over an existing flooring surface?

Yes, you can as long as the existing surface is hard, flat, smooth, and in excellent condition. 

Suitable examples include: concrete, cork, ceramic tile, marble, linoleum, porcelain tile, sheet vinyl, and solid hardwood.

Unsuitable examples include: brick, carpeting, and engineered hardwood.

What is underlayment and why is it necessary for laminate flooring?

Underlayment is a thin layer that serves to smooth out any irregularities in the subfloor, provide enhanced stability to the laminate planks, and also provide additional sound, heat, and moisture insulation.

It varies depending on the type of flooring: underlayment for laminate surfaces often consists of closed-cell foam or layers of cork with a thickness that typically ranges between 6 – 8 mm. 

Certain varieties of laminate flooring come with underlayment and if the planks you have purchased belong in this category, you will have to avoid laying underlayment before installing them since doing so may actually void your warranty.